What Do We Have So Far
It will do no good to change the outer structures (ideologies, organizations, systems) without changing each person's inner level of consciousness. All of the insanity propagated by outer structures is the direct result of the insanity of individuals and groups, i.e. their inner level of awareness. Adults are trapped by the past and/or their anxiety and concern over the future. If you are present or intensely present in this moment, such traps cannot exist.
To make the future unlike the present, to not repeat the mistakes of the past, to end our destructive behavior towards ourselves, towards our living environment requires more than problem solving, more than solutions. It requires change at the deepest most fundamental level possible. Each individual must acknowledge their own power to be, to see, to choose.
No longer can we be driven by a phantom self, itself consumed by the darkness and demons of the past. Nor do we need this phantom self to persuade us with the enticement of future happiness or salvation. To correct all of our behavior we must individually and collectively become tuned to the present, harmonize with the moment, and accept what is. By doing this we honor the past and protect the future. By doing this we simplify the moment, respond appropriately to what is. By doing this all of the real energy we siphoned off into anger, anxiety, worry, resentment or revenge is rejoined with the natural energy of the light of being, being here, now, always. The stakes are huge. But all we can do is here, now, one step at a time, one adult at a time, one child at a time.
All of the explanations for why being in the now is the best thing are good for a certain kind of understanding. But these explanations talk to the mind and ego of each of us. The part we are trying to reach is beyond logic and thought. The value of the words is to provide a pointer to the idea and practice. The idea is awareness through the observer within. The idea is a deep understanding that the mind (our intellect) is a tool for navigating our external world, but when it owns us through the past or the future we are only a small piece of our potential. We are barely alive. The practice is allowing the observer to become intensely aware of the present and by this ability to witness all of us (inside and outside). By noticing emotions as they arise, their power to grab a hold and direct our actions is diminished and over time eliminated.
The only way we have the power of choice is through a quiet mind, a conscious awareness of the moment and a complete acceptance of what is. Resistance come from the phantom self, our self image, our ego. Anything that threatens this self in any way, shape or form will be resisted. All emotional tools (call them weapons) will be used for its defense, under any conditions, to any degree necessary. While this may seem scary or excessive we have plenty of examples that can confirm this is the way we behave, this is the way we think, this is what we believe about ourselves.
But if one adult changes, and this one adult reaches one child. everything about their relationships will change. Each moment will be more alive with healthy energy that will harmonize or resonate with all other life energies. This is how simple it is and how powerful it is.
What Happens Along the Way
Many people question this entire process. They are not unhappy, they have good relationships. "Sure I have thoughts. I think about work, my family, projects. I fix things that are broken. travel, have friends and watch my children grow and leave home. We have a retirement nest egg and plan to travel. Life is good." "there are a million things I can do nothing about. World poverty, human trafficing, the war on drugs, predatory companies, dictators, famine, etc. etc. etc."
"You tell me stillness is better than thinking but thinking solves problems, creative thinking brought the airplane, the car, life saving medicine, democracy, and jobs for all kinds of people. I really don't need this. I go to church, take care of my family, work hard. And you want me to practice awareness, stillness and become an observer? Nice talking with you."
On a superficial level many of us are or believe we are ok. The entire thrust of this web site and the wisdom it points to is to create a pointer to the fully human inside each of us. No matter what our status is in any part of the world, no matter what our surface success, stability, happiness, no matter how we compare to any other person on this planet, we individually and collectively are not ok. Our collective behavior illustrates our dysfunction, our individual behavior illustrates our dysfunction.
What is often confusing is that there are levels within each of us. These levels become real, rise to the surface, depending on what in our lives triggers them. Our Phantom Selves don't always show themselves to be obnoxious, angry, or in pain. Sometimes we appear happy. The interesting idea is that this phantom self, our Ego or Self Image, can be very happy every time it is successful at getting what it wants. Whenever we get what we want, we feel good. Whenever approval comes our way we feel ok. Whenever we win (whatever winning means at the moment) we feel bigger, better, bolder. Whenever we lose (relationships, challenges, work, illness, status) we feel bad, sometimes very very bad.
Losing does not mean you are a loser. Losing means that you have lost, at this moment. Winning does not mean you are a winner, but that you have won, at this moment. Only the phantom self, our identity our EGO, translates these events into a form or structure that can be toted around and displayed for all to see. "I am a winner, I am a loser, I am successful, I am a failure".
Why do people hoard extreme wealth? It is a badge, it is a big, very visible statement to the rest of the world. "I have wealth, I have power, I am a very important person". It also generates a sense of great security. "My wealth will protect me, insulate me, allow me great freedom". These Ego based feelings are illusions, the great polishers of the self image.
Can great wealth help others? Can it be used for research into acquiring new knowledge? Can it pay for invention, engineering, design and development of useful and good stuff? Of course. Great wealth can allow other creative minds the freedom to create, to invent, to build, to help others, to advance knowledge.
What is the point? To live without the illusion. To know that everything in the world of form (Lao, Eckhart, Jesus) is transient and is not who we are. Am I a better person because I have 1,000,000 marbles and you have only 3? Of course not but our world of form and our place in it defines who we are. That definition is a false idol which our self image feeds off of. There is no such thing as "enough" to our Ego or self image.
Why do we accept the phrase :"Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely"? Because we intuitively know that as the Ego identifies with this power over others, even life and death, it believes its own propaganda and become more important and better than everyone else. After that we are all pawns in the game of "exercise of power", we are no longer human but objects to be moved, used, and discarded in the interests of the greater goal. What goal is that? Whatever I desire it to be, that's what. Scary isn't it.