Eyes wide-shut

At school we were taught that in AD 64 the emperor Nero played the violin or something similar as Rome burned. As a child I saw this story as the epitome of evil and depravity. As I grew older it became clear that the story also spoke of the human condition: “To occupy oneself with unimportant matters and neglect priorities during a crisis”.  Also “Heedless and irresponsible behaviour in the midst of a crisis”. You don’t have to be a Claudian emperor to behave like Nero.

Our genetic mission is to survive and pro-create. For this we need a sense of what we must protect and pass on. This is the purpose of ego. The more we identify with our ego, the more we become prisoners of our thoughts and emotions. We quickly lose sight of any bigger picture and our behaviour becomes more like that of the emperor Nero. Whilst we wreck our planet, whilst our only home burns, we worry about our “social media” fantasy life, our appearance of success, our smartphone, what car we drive,  being successful as defined by others. We buy things we don’t need, often with money we don’t have to impress people who don’t care. Fiddling whilst Rome burns, sleep-walking to our own extinction.

Politics is a great example. Politicians across the world and across the spectrum are so often outstanding examples of the worst characteristics of humanity: lies, cynicism, greed, amassing power and wealth by frightening already frightened men into hating their “different” neighbours.  Demonization and division, rather than understanding and consideration, have become the new “normal”.

I have spent much of my life travelling and working in different countries and cultures. I have been fortunate to have received teachings in different religions and philosophies. My experience is that we all have more in common than we have differences. Unless we can expand our consciousness, then arguing over who is right will be about as meaningful as to two fleas arguing over who owns the dog.

So as this year starts out ask yourself where are you in all this? What difference do you make?  Could you reduce your use of energy (directly and indirectly)? What are you doing to develop compassion for other beings? What have you done recently to try and bring happiness into the life of another (without expecting anything in return)? What are you doing to expand your consciousness/to be more present in your life?  When was the last time you really listened to another human, not to win or prove your point, but simply to fully understand.

I suggest the following projects for 2020:

  1. Make kindness your religion – be actively kind!
  2. Be present in your life – expand your consciousness
  3. Try to fully understand the points of view of people, especially those you do not agree with.
  4. Be grateful for the good and the bad – each brings its lesson
  5. Learn to forgive

The key is to act in the physical world. It is too easy to think that somehow we are contributing by commenting, attacking or defending online. One simple act of kindness is worth a million evocative images and  “inspiring” comments.

Make this your year of action!  With Love.

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