How Simple is it?
First our body and brain develop. We learn to see patterns, understand language, and to interpret our world. We are not in control of these developments. Sights, Sounds, Smells, Taste and Touch are all there to begin with. The deep power of our DNA guides us every step of the way. If we are the lucky ones and nothing has interferred with our eary development, our learning process explodes into colors, language, and all the gifts of seeing and interpreting our world. It is all knowable and sublime mystery and magic all at once. This is our gift of life. Soon enough we will take conscious control of our participation in it.
At some point in time we get to choose. We can choose what we do, how we behave, what we think, who we connect to, how we connect, what we learn, what we believe, what paths we follow, who we follow. And at some point in time we forget that we have the power of choice. We lose consciousness and an awful lot of our life decisions and activity goes on auto pilot. We are not aware that this has happened to us. It takes a special jolt or a series of jolts to get our attention.
As part of our journey we must return to awareness and the power of choice. Choosing requires us to be present in the moment, to be in the Now. What this means is that we cannot choose if we are unconscious. If we are guided by or directed by our past or fears for the future we are mostly unconscious. Eckhart uses the phrase "Intense Presence" to describe your total attention and awareness of this one moment in time. To become aware of our inner emotions or thoughts about the past seems to dilute their impact. Our response then mirrors the event not our fear, anger or pain associated with our past. To be aware and to accept what is as it is (pain, disaster, illness, inconvenience, ...) is to diminish its impact. Our natural tendency is to create a story around anything that happens to us or has happened to us. These stories reenforce what ever emotions we have associated with these happenings. This unconscious churning of thoughts, stories, emotions creates more of whatever feeling and emotion we experienced in the past and are experiencing in the present. Many people have lived or do live with this looping mind behavior. It is very difficult to get out of the loop.
Once the experience of "Observing with intense awareness" becomes part of you, all of the bad stuff loses its grip, is diminished in power, and no longer chooses for you. This is freedom, unlike any you have experienced before. For to be aware of the feeling, allow it to be, and yet allow it to pass without further commentary is like quieting an angry tiger and watching it lay down peacefully at your feet. I will now mix several ideas and concepts from several guides on my own Journey.
Family and friends that did not realize they were shaping what and who I was. Unique adult friends that I believe did. A disjointed and experimental religious upbringing. A special group at Tuesday school led by two delightful and savy Nuns (Kay and Pat). Eckhart Tolle who popularized and explained the idea of being in the Now, Brian Swimme who turned our awareness from self indulgence to Cosmological significance, Wayne Dyer who brought the wisdom of the past into the present. Many, many others that added their insights and teachings to my pool of knowledge about who and what I am, and how best to respond to the gift of life. And at some point in time, I became responsible for who and what I am.
How simple is it? Very simple when you remove the complexity caused by our unconscious responses to life. Very simple when our self image and Egos take a break as we assume full awareness. Very simple when we live in the moment.
Why is it complex? Despite what I just said life is very complex but only because we have all of our history and all of our identity wrapped into our responses to the world, to each moment. It is complex because there are billions of us, each with our own picture of what is good, what is right, what is true, and of course what is bad, what is wrong, what is false.
The only reason the question is even relevant is the disparity between an unconscious Ego centered response to life and a conscious fully aware response to life. The driving force in one is unconscious need (pain, anger, issues, history, fear, approval, love). The driving force in the other is full awareness and the power of choice as each of these elements of our past or projected future appear. The moment is what it is. Our labels, opinions and judgments do not change anything but our perception of each moment. "Your level of consciousness at each moment in your life will determine how that moment turns out".
Every Project Manager who is responsible for the outcome of very large and complex projects follows four very important principles of project management. Have a detailed plan and timeline of all of the elements of the project. Have competent people responsible for every detail of the project. Know what can go wrong and have an alternative backup plan. When something goes wrong that is not in the plan, apply all resources available to fix it immediately. Above all, keep it simple, step by step.
The reason the phrases 'move a mountain one pebble at a time", "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step", "keep it simple" are so popular is because they are so true. They tell us all complexity, all over whelming efforts can be reduced to something simple and easy if we take it one step at a time.
When we look at the vastness and complexity of the Universe, life here on Earth, the dynamics of all the interacting humans we forget one small point of view. Our creator started everything from very small things and evolved complexity one step at a time over long stretches of time. The greatest example of ultimate simplicity and ultimate complexity is our own DNA.
Four molecules (the 4 letters of the alphabet) arranged in a very long sequence tell each cell of the human body what other molecules to assemble, how to use them and where they go. From different combinations of twenty amino acids all of the living elements that are us are assembled within each cell, each with a different job. Even a single cell is a complex manufacturing center. Each cell is brought into being, assigned a job, does its own repair and dies when it can no longer do its job, and is replaced. All of this happens millions and billions of times while we are still walking about, doing what we do.
We as a species are mostly overwhelmed by our perception of the complexity and size of our living arrangements on this planet. There are so many of us, each with a different opinion and view, there does not seem any possibility of common ground. We protect our turf. our ideology, our beliefs, our self image, our presumed territory. We even try to simplify without understanding what all of the interactions are. It is interesting that some groups latch on to this simplicity concept and apply it across the board. Some even think that because they have narrowed the problem down to a basic few elements, all others who don't agree are either misinformed or bad. This keep it simple idea, which has great merit in most cases, is misapplied in many cases. It is the weapon of choice. Because it is so simple those who are literal about the idea cannot be swayed into looking at life differently. Simple is cemented into truth, truth is weaponized, battles are fought, humans are lost in separation from each other.
A perfect example is our war on drugs, our war on terror, our immigration issue, the current violence across our southern border. Take gun control. The drug leadership within this country and south of the border has their own armies and approximately 50 Billion Dollars in revenue. We sell arms throughout the world. In fact we are one of the largest arms dealers in the world. Clamping down on local shops in the US to restrict the huge supply of arms South of the Border borders on the rediculous. They can get arms from any where in the world. The problem is not arms control in the US it is the power of the revenue from Drugs and human trafficking. It is poverty, it is corruption, it is a system that cannot provide economic opportunity to its citizens. Gun control is not the simplest common denominator.
This Web Site seeks to alter our perception of the building blocks of our species. What is simple is not necessarily truth cast in stone. Life is truth in motion, it is not static. Three of the building blocks of our living arrangements is awareness, the observer within, the power of choice (the intense presence of being in the Now). These allow us to be in the moment and to respond to the moment as it is not as we would wish it to be or not to be.
What we are doing here is taking one step at a time. It is not a new truth or a new rule of living. It is not a new religion or new politics. It is not conversion from one truth to another.
It is a recognition that the power for significant change is within each one of us. Our individual wisdom has been buried beneath all of the instructions for living we have been inundated with our entire lives. This freedom to see ourselves differently and to respond differently is transforming. If you are aware of but no longer goverened by your own past then each moment become more and more alive. Conflicts diminish, misinterpretations diminish, and the power of our own needs diminish. Our ability to respond to the moment, as it is, multiplies a thousand fold. Whether to see the beauty of creation in a budding life, or to respond appropriately to threat or violence, or to do nothing is by itself a transforming state of being.
Neither I nor any other can say all will be well. This transition period is frought with problems. But one thing is certain, we can all only take one step at a time, pick up one pebble to move a mountain, solve one small problem in our lives at a time.
Keep it simple, always keep the mystery alive, and do what we can each moment of our lives.