I went to school back when technology was something people knew a lot about or a little, depending on what they did for a living. For example, the scientist, mathematician, artist, doctor or chef knew next to nothing about technology first-hand. Instead, they deferred to the philosopher, psychologist or economist to explain to them what tech was and where it was relevant. This may explain why doctors still know less about using technology than, say, a graphic artist. For the latter, like the architect, knowing how to use the latest technology is critical to what they do. For the physician, what is critical is what they know — what’s in their brains and how good they are at utilizing what they’ve learned/remembered from ‘practice’.
So tech has changed a great deal in 30 years. Even those of us who use all kinds of electronic tools or toys each day, and that’s everybody here, know very little about the back story to technology as we now live with it. Here is where a little animation might fit in nicely, if you’ve not seen some of the RSA animate talks on YouTube, check out the links at the bottom. Not to digress much, technology has provided a means for people to calm themselves, to feel a part of the bigger thing that’s going on and to have that sense of being in the know. But when you just check yourself out in the morning or evening or afternoon quiet, do you really believe you know what’s going on and what you are a part of? The reason why many of us don’t (if we’re honest), is that tech was never meant to provide these things to you. The objects of technology are meant to be treated objectively as a proxy for real experience–a surrogate. In that sense, a music and video player provides me with a substitute for the experience of sitting in front of a person playing a tune with people running around doing things while the music is playing. It’s stimulating to sit by a creek and simply hear the movement of the water rumbling along its path. All of my senses are stimulated by it. Not just my eyes and ears. What about my sense of touch, or smell and taste.
You know, space has a lot to do with technology. If you don’t have any space to stretch out in, you can make believe you do by just playing with a pocket device, like a portable game or music player. These provide a false feeling of ‘ok-ness;’ but then there’s the let down after using up all of the songs, the levels, the minutes, the something that is measured and usually priced. Unlimited minutes and data are great, though, aren’t they? That should do it. Why doesn’t it? Remember, I started by writing that technology is not well understood by those whom you would think use it the most. The artist, which I am not, understands the limits of technology quite well. She knows that tools extend her reach onto the canvas or with the raw material which she is about to fashion into an image that expresses … something. The computer and a program enables her to render more from her imagination than mere sticks and oils ever could. But she knows there is a creative cost for her excursion into the realm of surfeit tools and processed manipulations. Technology says what you can do. But who or what says you should do it? Did you get the memo; were your parents or mine asked whether we wanted easy access to friends and neighbors with the click of a button or the flip of a switch? There’s nothing necessarily wrong with it. It’s just that I did not order it or know it was on the menu.
Until now — or let’s say 20 years ago, we could see most things coming and decide if and when we wanted them to arrive at our doorstep. As it is today, we don’t know what is coming next; and if it arrives tomorrow in our inbox or as a tweet or a scroll on our wall, we will only be able to say OMG, right. Maybe because I’m old, I don’t see the value in having my sensibilities attacked constantly in this way. When you turn on the TV, you must have the remote handy or you are likely to be experience emotions that you aren’t prepared for. You must protect yourself, because we’ve lost control over the things that have been made. And our privacy is compromised, big time. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. People are not as comfortable with themselves as we used to be. So many may feel like they don’t particularly want to be alone, have waking time to themselves. The phone rings, there’s a text, a twit, a message all of the time. Makes you feel kind of special, until you look at it objectively. Look, I think it matters that you feel good about yourself. Go ahead and utilize all the tools and gadgets tech has provided us with to maintain that comfort. Just don’t forget that the thing is not the thing. Friends on face book are not friends in my living room or at my kitchen table or next to me on the beach. The latter folks never ask to be my electronic friend. They visit, call, and touch me in the old-fashioned ways.
Be like the artist. Use these fun things to get serious work done–for your school, your town and your planet. Check out websites like Open Culture, Kevin Kelly and TED to find out about real stuff. I mean, tech is great for looking out of your window (your eyes) and seeing what is happening everywhere. Then we have to decide how we are going to make a real difference in the real world, because the surrogates won’t.
This road here teaches something new to everyone on it. And those things that I learn will be no match for yours; for we are not the same. As one is unique, there is mystery in the other. No, don’t let your person be simplified or broken down to make it easier for another to understand. You have a place to go – a destination state and a new land, with passport in hand. Whether you travel by air, sea, rails or roads, enjoy the going all the way. It should feel different; because what you have to share, and how you do it touches everyone and everything, to make a singular impression. That is why there is no smile like yours, no beam of light to compete with the sparkle in your eyes. I have no comment though– any words sent from my mind to these lips are dissolved by emotions and only my eyes can speak for my heart as we meet. Give me a script or I will not know how to break the spell of grace revealed in your face. Can you? No, never mind. I knew no words would come.
This road is yours to travel in peace, even as trials beset on the left and on the right; you, indeed are a follower of the light. No one yet understands enough to approach (you) carefully, sincerely and with respect. At least will I recognize the spirit of the most high God (in you), step aside, and gather my thoughts. Your spirit is admired – a witness to mercy and grace – and available to all. Having turned right to go straight, your road is adorned with natural beauty on both the left and right. As you go, may His blessing be upon you by day and by night.
I encourage anyone who can read to return to it while you can. It isn’t necessary to set aside a day or even a few hours. If you don’t have time just do a few minutes at the start, and when you find something you like you will read for longer and longer periods. Binge reading can take hold in the same way as binge watching, except with more reflection.
Where to begin this process? If you get a book, most people would start reading at the beginning. But as we have learned from other artistic communication, what seems to be page one is not always where the story began. You can crack open a book to page 27, 93 or 168 and see if those paragraphs grab you. You could read on from there with a clear conscience. When you share that you have been reading, do you think people will ask if you started at page one or chapter one. Many authors just choose to name chapters, without saying they are chapter 1, 2 and 3. When you get to a certain point in the book and wonder whether there is more backstory about a character or an event, you go to an earlier page to find out. Sometimes I am disappointed to learn that the author did not explain (to my satisfaction) who this person really is, what they were doing with the protagonist or antagonist anyway. So many questions; and then the laundry is done, or the baby wakes up, or your boss walks into your cubicle area. Whatever it is, the reading then stops.
We were supposed to get shortcuts and efficiency from our technology; then something happened, unexpectedly: since there is no end to what can be done with the gadgets we have and love to use without end, meta-authors–people writing apps for games and communication–bombard us with endless varieties of the unimportant. And they can’t be ignored. Yet, right now I will ignore them to talk about what I really want to say.
When you start something, how can we know what the beginning really is? Your first day on the job wasn’t a real first day because everyone and just about everything was already there; then you showed up. It was nice and folks said, “welcome.” Then you were in the middle of something after that. No second or third day or week. The middle may have happened a few hours after you sat down. In this life – not that other life – we awaken to the perception of things that have a long, long history. And as much as I might want a beginning or newness or to get in on the ground floor, I must accept the reality of the middle.
You meet someone in the middle of their life; and it’s the middle of yours too. As much as I want there to be a beginning of “us,” that really is not possible. What is possible is my respect for the journey that you’ve been on all this time. And, as I marvel at the story you tell me (if I am patient and listening), your middle becomes clearer to me. Someone tells me a problem or a story, and I say “OK.” This means that I respect what they have shared with me out of my interest in them. I want to know; so that if we become real friends or real traveling partners on this road of life, a growing reference of their experience exists within me as a resource for understanding. To learn someone’s heart, just listen with yours. It doesn’t mean, however, that you will get to the beginning; and we might not get to the end either.
Still there is one who tells us what was the beginning. He is even nice enough to remind us that He is the beginning and the end – the Alpha and the Omega. So we need not worry. I think worry comes from believing that I have a whole lot to do with what happens, and I don’t. Now ask yourself, how much do you think the state of the world and the universe depends on two of us, or two million or two billion. There is a simple reason why believers worship: we were born out of love to experience joy. When someone hugs you (or shakes your hand) out of authentic affection, do you get a rush? I hope so.
When we embrace the living God, we are in the middle of something, together. And the peace I feel should extend from hours to days to weeks on end, being thankful. Gratitude is just a mental orientation that recognizes my position in this vast unfolding drama, as a child in awe of whatever is around that next corner. He does not lose his mind wondering about the details of clothes, food, and shelter. A child can accept things from anyone. They may not necessarily want to accept. But they can do it, because they are just going along for the ride, and always looking for a way to make it enjoyable.
In reading we take on the child’s persona; we are open to what is revealed and do not need to know how it began or why. To engage the other is to let them tell their story and be their story. If they want you to become part of the story with them, just like Huck Finn, they will invite you along for the ride.
Come along, Come along child
and sit here with me
you’ll hear a few stories
of your history
The things you won’t learn
at school during the day
that make your life mean
much more than they say
the black man has planted and sown seeds galore
but reaped only pieces of what he worked for
on the face of the man whom we hold in disdain
is a legacy of service and a lifetime of pain
He tried to be good in the schools where he went
but teachers said his worth was less than two cents
He played several sports, but not being the best
he gave up on the effort, and was ignored like the rest
He then went to parties, all dressed in his vines
brand shoes, suit and top hat complete to the nines
when some asked the question, what the party was for
he just shrugged his shoulders and did party some more
and since he was able to smoke and drink hard
he did it to his death with no other regard
Now the manchild had women and children for sure
There were those that he knew of and then there were more
He thought for a moment, how to cope with all these
and chose to be shiftless, in a life full of ease
So come along little child, this is told just for you
to make of your life something noble and true
the purpose of school is to climb that great fence
that kept others down due to fear and expense
the guards are on break now, you can quietly review
the foundations of knowledge and tools you can use
work hard, don’t you skip on the work of today
we need your help badly to make a new way
the child is our hope for a change in this land
and we love you so much, that’s why we command
that you study and strive for the most you can get
don’t worry that old heads have been losing their bets
Every life has a meaning and purpose to share
Dislike what you see? Then you just don’t go there
There’s people I know who would say to you now
Be a good boy or girl, and we will show you how
When I see my mistakes, I just want to cry
If they hurt little children, it seems I could die
So look at us elders as a book you can read
and make better choices, so that you can lead
come along little child, come along and learn well
The future is waiting for your time to tell
In my heart there are many who have always have been near and very dear, as I watched them, listened, felt their joy and sorrow, their touch and experience of love as we know it can be.
Without ignoring these and many others whose offerings have allowed me safety, comfort and satisfaction, I look to the One unseen, who, without beginning or end, must be present among us. Love has a source from above and here below, we have given Him names: Lord, God, Hananim, Yahweh, Allah, Jehovah. As quaint as these titles may be, our intent has been to revere our Original One, showing piety and respect to the furthest reaches of our minds.
We shed tears and sweat, allowing even our lifeblood to flow out from us as a witness to the Glory, Honor and Majesty that belongs alone to the Creator. So without malice or offense toward my brothers and sister, father and mother or child, I yield my heart to the Lord God Hananim Yahweh, Allah, Jehovah in this prayer. The Lord knows all of me, for the source of what is best in me is only a drop of grace from above this plane.
And in prayer, no sentiment toward earthly relations prevails, while in communion with the Most High. Seeking guidance and instruction, clarity in the highest or definitions, the beam can shine brightly, resting on calm waves of water. “These are notes to myself,” would say some who wrestle unaware of the light, bearing sorrows of a disappointing season on earth alone. But some are not all. We who do know the Original One with many many shades of intimacy can at least walk in grace and extend our faith to our neighbor.
Do I pray as a child? Well, what child would it be? One with physical needs that must be met by someone here (on earth) with me. Perhaps the child that needs insight and direction for decisions affecting the next chapter of my life. Or should it be the mature child who has learned extensively about this world – how to navigate it, and is ready to be an instrument of change called upon from above (the earth) by the One.
What then is my appeal? Does it pertain to the loftiest aspiration – and what would that be? or do I ask the Lord, “what is Your request?” Emotions may manifest is a variety of ways, but there is indeed a source. Do we know it? An outpouring of feelings that overwhelm the senses come from a place we may know not of yet; let’s find out. With respect, but not fear, seek to know and understand.
There is an end to this stage, where the lights shine and I am known by others here. Yet we have known for so very long that the stage is limited, this curtain lowers and these lights dim. Still there is that invisible within us, as mysterious as can be, that lives on eternally. Be curious, learn more. Some are seeking this in churches, synagogues, mosques and temples. Others are going a la carte with the best slogans they can remember. Like breathing, we take in and give out in unique ways.
A friend told me long ago to reflect whether the way I go is working for me. In learning I follow; and with wisdom, I lead. Our bond as siblings and offspring of the One True Parent should strengthen daily. Your joys cover my sorrow and mine yours. We are guardians one to another, and we appeal as we ought to the One who guards us all.
Thus my prayer emerges from what eyes have seen, ears have heard, hands have touched and even what the heart has felt. I report back to the Lord and seek more wisdom, energy and charity to drive this life rather than being driven. In the garden, intent is all I can offer, from an acute angle; so it must be the One, the Lord of 360 degrees who develops all of the lawn, flowers and fruit. That goodness for which I pray.
Things sway when touched by a force
an energy irresistible
that causes a thing to move
to one side, then back again
It can be easy to see what caused
the change to occur, often a source
bigger, stronger, more dense than the object
In my mind, a force unseen
unknown even to the wind
approaches without warning
acting on this mind
and his heart
to go further
longer than before
It was a day ago, I felt this way
but tomorrow, there’s more
a new song, a set of words to share
something viral making me resist
to sway back the other way
but I’ll be glad to feel what comes
because it is hopeful
to want to change
the old must be removed
no, I won’t do it
the sudden will
makes me respond
seeking to find
what eyes can see
and ears can hear
when at last, I yield
There is but one chance for any person to succeed in an endeavor; and a key element is recognition. He and she should know that what lies before them in the present moment. We hold energy beyond quantification; and, if directed, can exert an irresistible force on our environment and its people.
The smallest blade of grass carries the majesty of its entire field because it is made of the same stuff. While the specific particles and their properties may exist or behave in ways that can measurably be differentiated, the general audience of that blade can not tell one from the other. Likewise, we classify many things according to what the limits of our cognition tell us. A tree is a tree. From a sufficient distance, they may all appear the same; but upon closer inspection, enough unique traits reveal themselves to persuade me that I have met the most unique and wonderful tree, with which I want to bond in friendship. Plants and trees are adoptable as much as are cats and dogs. The idea of having a pet starts with aligning your characteristics with that of the object and then coming to some decision about what that particular object means to you.
So then I look for ways to describe my relationship with it. I love it; and I want it to be mine, till the end. This to me is the idea behind having or owning a pet. Now, how does this relate to succeeding in an endeavor? Look at what brought you to the pet decision. You inspected, studied and evaluated, incorporating emotional energy and made a determination about the relationship. To do these tasks you employed your senses, thoughts and current feelings, along with the projection of future feelings that would be associated with this object. People do not do this only with nature and animals. They also engage in similar fashion with inanimate objects and with other people. While this may seem to be a bit upsetting at first, a dispassionate review of the relationship building process supports the natural tendency to simplify ways to connect to “things” around us. The popular phrase, too much information, means that we prefer to be unencumbered by complexities unlikely to deliver the comforting emotional satisfaction we seek.
We live in a system. Where it came from, who set it up and when, how they did it and why are questions few of us explore or care to. With the universe at our fingertips (literally), we are satisfied with significantly less than our birthright. I defend the wood and stone under which roof I dwell, but will make light of many acres of forest and miles of mountains that seem to have no connection with me. But they do. We notice others only to the extent we notice ourselves. Self-awareness is more than just self-interest. It positions me to better understand the other person – you know, the one with whom I have 99.5% (DNA) in common – but feel somehow ready to flee or fight on impulse. Ignorance of who I am naturally leads to ignorance of the other; and perhaps the opposite is just as true. I want to find out.
So back to line one: success; and line two: living in a system. By pursuing more of a grasp of this self-awareness mentioned earlier, I aim to become successful in the system that exists here and now. Will you help me? If you do, there will be a win in it for you as well. What I want you to do is ask yourself a series of questions. As your desire for and pursuit of answers to these questions intensifies, write down what you discover about yourself. There will be things that you knew, but forgot and things that you have never known, but now cherish.
Question 1: Why was I born? Not how, or by whom, or when. What purpose does my existence on earth serve? Before you begin to think this a futile question, let me suggest a few things: Consider your family – siblings, parents, cousins, nieces and nephews, grands, even adoptees. Then consider friends, new and old, people whom you might think don’t give that much about you, but that’s because you provide something so vital that they dare not let on, lest they scare you away. I’m talking about people who love you probably more that you (currently) love yourself. They can’t imagine their living without you. This is not to say that you were born for them; but something about you provides others with a store of value they can’t otherwise access. You are a key for them.
After these considerations, return to question 1. You did not get an answer yet; you have just surveyed the landscape of your existence and the colorful people and objects that populate it, as a way to gain perspective. It seems best–for this exercise–to detach those familiars from your sphere. As brightness is growing, you might notice that the course of your life has unfolded in a discernible manner. You recognize events and people and spoken words that influenced decisions you made (early on) and made an imprint that follows you like a shadow–for better or worse. You need not study with a major in psychology or a minor in history. These disciplines, along with math and science are already at your disposal.
The intrigue of it all is: what you discover helps me, and what I discover helps you. How? Energy is everything. As you clarify your identity, how you relate to others takes a natural change. So your relational landscape or some of the tapestry may change. As you decide that your life matters, then so will the lives of all those with whom we have a 99.5% DNA match. Onward.
Question 2: Who is my neighbor? For those who lived in past centuries, the word referenced a proximate person who, for purely geographical (hence-coincidental) reasons we saw, heard and interacted with regularly. Of course today, anyone anywhere at all can be my neighbor. Yet, as you check several definitions and descriptions, you get the sense that we should have an affection toward one so described. No doubt, there were countless times in human history where neighbors were truly instrumental in helping one another weather storms, wars, disasters, disease and many other maladies small and large. Proximity was the sole criteria, (along with that DNA match thing); for, in periods of catastrophe, we remarkably notice how much we have in common. But the question of recognizing the other in less dire social crises is one that takes the spirit to another level. And this is an especially important time to do it, while we are calm, fed, and not facing imminent ruin (as of 8/23/2017). The thing about this question or round of questioning is that the stakes are higher — so the point values are doubled.
To answer the question, who is my neighbor, you have to go out and meet people, individuals and sometimes families. You have to find out how to like them. Why? Because of the big picture: we are everyone and everyone is us. Aren’t you amazed that an infant child understands this implicitly, until it is ‘nurtured’ out of them over many years of brutal education, family and social chaos. I know this does not describe everyone’s upbringing. But for those who had a very peaceful and positive childhood, is question 2 easier for you to answer? Think about it. How are the points doubled? You come to realizations about life and the universe that will benefit you forever, or for longer that you can imagine, if that’s easier to accept. As spiritual beings, our existence does not end at death, it goes on. The atmosphere of spirit is meant to be one of love and beauty. To enjoy that environment, we must have the capacity to give and receive love. So we should practice quite a bit while we have the chance.
Question 3: What is our destiny? What do you think the world would be like and what would eternity feel like if we were self-aware and had the ability to give and get love. God is our source and our destiny, so there is the answer. But knowing this does not guarantee the grand prize. Just as you discover yourself and learn to love your neighbor, we then have to work together to prepare this planet –the one we’re living on– for God to live here with us. If we have a parent, who has loved and nurtured us to become the the dignified, honorable and loving people we are, we want to show them the fruit of their labors. If the original true parent is God, the creator of heaven and earth, to whom all glory, honor and appreciation is due, we are tasked with preparing a place for Him to settle with us and reign as Lord forever.
Although it appears more like a statement than a question, we are more energized by questions than answers. So I encourage you to form your own inquiries within these and beyond them. Let’s see how far we can go.
On a mission at dawn
to mark the world
with a singular purpose
for group persuasion
Over here, over here
listen to me
Uh, this is today’s message
we share blue sky
and clouds across many miles
you see what I see
although the chaotic but visible things
surround me closely, calling
and I must obey them
Faith shaken to its core
uncertainty gives us coupons free daily
Still today’s message is blue sky
the green of nature
the softness of soil
signifying gentle touches from tips to toes
a natural exchange of joy, beauty and love
where love’s order reigns
that truly signals a good morning