What DO you believe in?

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that he needs no church because his church, his belief, is simple: Kindness.

If you think about it, the very deepest core of all religion is that: kindness. To one another. To nature. To oneself. Unfortunately, the vast majority of us humans consider much more than the concepts of our religious beliefs and go directly to the dogma. We want to be TOLD what to do and how to think because – it’s easier. It is much easier to read something than to think it yourself. Words are easy. Ideas are not.

Kindness, compassion, love and benevolence may seem to be simple concepts on the outside but can be very complex when you get below the surface. Oddly enough, once you get all the way to the core, these concepts become simple again.

Concepts, like love, drift in and out of our lives on so many levels. I love ice cream. I love sunsets. I love classical music. I love my dog. I love my child. I love my partner. I love my God. I love myself. These statements, while all containing the word, love, mean TOTALLY different things based on the object of that love. Consequently, that word – and why English (and other languages) has only one word for love (care, adore, fondness, lust and affection just don’t cut it!) baffles me – and then meanings get misconstrued. People hear or read one thing and think/feel another.

And miscommunication, misunderstanding, mistakes – sometimes chaos and horrible life decisions – ensue.

You can now see why it is incredibly important to make specific statements when communicating your beliefs. If you do not, problems can/will arise and you won’t even realize that it was you, yourself that created the environment for misconception.

In my lectures, I remind everyone that no one sees, hears, tastes, smells or feels things exactly the way you do. No one. I use the example of the color: red. When I say it, everyone creates that color in their mind’s eye. If there are 20 people in the room, 20 slightly different colors will be imagined. 100 people, 100 colors, and so on.

So when you say something, be as clear as possible. There is an entire branch of comedy based on misreading or mishearing words. Puns. Play on words. But quite often, folks won’t get any humor out of misunderstanding something that was not spoken clearly in the first place.

What has this got to do with beliefs? Just about everything. We so often believe what we see and hear. Some go to their grave believing misconceptions. Religion isn’t the only belief system – surprise, surprise. We tend to think that books, movies, television and the news represent accurate facts. We believe them and pass them on.

Yup! Text books don’t always get it right. And neither does the news: The Wright brothers were not the first humans to fly in a mechanical contraption. Folks before the Greeks used advanced mathematics. America wasn’t discovered by Christopher Columbus. In July 2021, the pandemic is still raging and increasing in numbers even if it isn’t front-page news. The list goes on. These are beliefs based on misconceptions.

Whatever YOU believe is your truth. If you wish to share your truth, please make sure it doesn’t trample someone else’s. You can’t change a person’s mind to believe what you do. You can, however, educate someone in facts (FACTS with no less then 3 different sources) that will enlighten them to change their own mind.

Once you follow this path, you may begin to see the bigger picture. Kindness is the only church you need.

All about patience & Perspective

We all think we are patient people. It’s our own subjective outlook that we are the default and everyone else is wrong, mistaken or in error somehow. There are a precious few that understand EVERYONE has that same point of view. Nearly every conflict humans have with things – or one another – comes from that EGO (a person’s sense of self-worth) as being somehow greater than the next guy.

In reality, we’re all in the same boat and no one knows where we’re going. While that may seem frightening to a lot of people, others, increasingly, realize we’re all just along for the ride. For those who live life as it comes along – taking unexpected turns with grace and interest instead of fighting them – their lives seem altogether easy. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. But who can tell, really??? Anyone who compares themselves to another is just on the outside trying to look in. You can try to stand in someone else’s shoes. You can assume that you understand them. You are, however, just fooling yourself. It is just not possible.

So how are we to live? In this year, the 2nd season of the Covid Saga, we need to remember patience and perspective. Those things aren’t taught in school and are not on a parental list of concepts you should teach your kids (well, maybe, but there’s no actual list and it can easily get overlooked). How does one understand such abstracts like patience or perspective? Let’s define what they are not:

Modern life has stripped us of our patience. The average person doesn’t think that way, but it is true, nonetheless. We’ve gone from being pleasantly surprised when something doesn’t take as long as we expected it to – to downright ornery and in some cases violent when our perceived expectations don’t happen when we want. Think about it. Computers made everything faster, but if it takes an extra few days for your drivers’ license to arrive in the mail – you’re annoyed. Commutes lasting over 60 minutes and maybe as many miles are common, and so are traffic jams that cause blood pressure to rise (it’s documented). Want a whole meal delivered? No problem to order it, but if it arrives 15 minutes later than estimated, you don’t tip the driver because the wait hacked you off.

Perspective has disappeared, too. The lines have gotten pretty fuzzy when it comes to how a person sees things. For example, what’s more true: a blurb from Facebook or The New York Times? When you think about it, maybe you’ll catch yourself being impatient and just wanting some quick snippet of news – not caring what the source is. If you carry that bit of information with you and pronounce it as fact to someone, you are further blurring the lines between what IS and what could be, but isn’t.

Understanding patience and perspective is necessary when humans live together in communities. We’ve discussed some ways to be patient in earlier blogs: breathe with conscious thought; walk rather than drive if it’s possible; sit outside for an hour; play with your dog; do some gardening. Did you notice that none of these things are related to technology in any way? That they’re more about nature than anything else? Nature is on its own time. We were there once, too. We’ve strayed – to our own peril. And, when you deal with nature, you’re also peeking in on another perspective. Nature doesn’t care about you. Not about what you think. What you feel. How you behave. It just IS. It follows that the more you connect with it, the wider your perspective will be and your perception of other people will change.

I’ve talked about TaijiFit before. It is also a doorway into these concepts. I invite you to join me on Thursday mornings at 11 am, USA Central Time, on my Zoom channel 827 2322 1722 and try it for yourself. We ‘play’ tai chi for about 35 minutes. The password is good4you. The offer stands through July 1, 2021. If I’m not there, I’ve been called to help someone in person.

Life is a journey that seems a whole lot longer if you lose patience!