As a young child, my parents taught me that my external environment is a reflection of my internal environment. As I look around the chaos of our current world, and I increasingly feel the spiral out of control, I remember that the only true solution is to redouble my commitment to tend to my insides.
It seems easier to point fingers outside - at politicians, at money-hungry businessmen with dubious interests, at medical doctors committed to toxic dogma, and at neighbors who we judge to be doing wrong. In fact, it would appear that this is what most of the world is busy doing. But while we’re fighting each other and arguing about who is to blame ... I think about what I can actually control. What I can actually DO. And the only thing I can truly control is my response to this chaos.
The most incredible thing has unfolded for me in the last few weeks ... the more absurd everything becomes, the less attached to the drama I feel. It feels a bit like a theatrical event. It’s a delicate balance: remaining aware of current events, while walking lightly rather than spiraling into involvement with each detail.
There are two famous quotes which continue at the forefront of my mind these days. The first is by Aldous Huxley, an author and philosopher (if you have yet to read Brave New World, I cannot recommend it highly enough - particularly in light of our current times):
“It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.
Throw away your baggage and go forward.
There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet,
trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair.
That’s why you must walk so lightly.
Lightly my darling,
on tiptoes and no luggage,
not even a sponge bag,
The other is from the book Dune by Frank Herbert (I read this recently for the first time, and was consistently blown away by its relevance today). Fun fact: this quote was a large contributor to my father changing his last name to Sardonicus as a young adult!
“Greatness is a transitory experience. It is never consistent. It depends in part upon the myth-making imagination of humankind. The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in. He must reflect what is projected upon him. And he must have a strong sense of the sardonic. This is what uncouples him from belief in his own pretensions. The sardonic is all that permits him to move within himself. Without this quality, even occasional greatness will destroy a man.”
Too often we struggle with the duality of nature; with seemingly opposite truths being simultaneously true. Though wave is both a particle AND a wave (not sometimes one and sometimes the other, but both at the same time), this reality feels uncomfortable in most of our minds, and so we artificially choose one reality to believe. That is, many people are fully mechanistic in their worldview, while others swing heavily towards energy and “woo”.
We are both a spirit / energetic entity AND a physical human body. So I find myself in a constant practice of recognizing the myth in which I’m living ... AND still needing to participate in this world (because this is where I am!)
Among other things, it means letting go of the need for these musings to have a fully coherent *point* 😂 other than to practice expanding consciousness to include awareness of the many dimensions of existence ... to practice stretching my mind to perceive more perspectives, more ways of interpreting this bizarre human experience.
It’s a dangerous thing to pretend to KNOW really what is happening. I look around and I see so many people shouting with certainty that their perspective / interpretation of current events is right (and others’ is wrong). Aaaaaand by me noticing this dogma, I know that in order to see it, there must be some internal recognition of my own frozen judgements - my OWN dogmatic positioning.
So I’ll just be over here doing my best to soften my ideas about what’s happening, and focus on observing from a place of center. And when I have the energy, doing what I can to help those around me in whatever small ways I can.
Tending to my insides means focusing on identity and values, on being a person of integrity, not only with others, but with my internal sense of right and wrong. Keeping my promises and commitments to myself. And most importantly: being present in the here and now, gently returning my mind to center when it (inevitably) spirals into the external drama.
It is the only thing over which I really have any control anyways ;)