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Shut up and Drive

2017

This year saw the beginning of a new revolution. As a democracy … as a community, we have discovered what happens when, as individuals, we don’t pay attention. A culture is called a culture for a reason. It must be tended to and cared for. Just as a life must be tended to and cared for. We have let it get out of hand … just as we do from day to day in our own lives. Over time, this negligence accumulates and we end up with a leader who is proud to call his supporters “poorly educated” and has no respect at all for what the people want. Churchill pointed out that the United States will do the right thing, after it has exhausted every other alternative. This president is that last alternative.

Words are losing their value as they are substituted for actions. What trump has done is unhook language from reality. He trades on the human tendency to dream and the unfortunate state of education in this country. The powers that be at the moment have no interest in seeing the people better informed, let alone being able to think for themselves.

A person can’t grow up and hold a steady picture of the world without a philosophy – a way to connect seemingly separate events, from one day to the next or from one state of mind to another. The self-serving, power-driven model that we currently use to find leaders clearly needs to change. The question is how?

The answer is from Voltaire: each individual must cultivate his own garden. Ancient teachings and state-of-the-art science tell us that, in a holographic universe, changing a part changes the whole. It may be a small effect, but it adds up.

America is a take-it-to-the-limit culture. Screw it, just get it done. It is that spirit that brought us to this edge of things. Force without form. As I discovered personally over many years, power alone will not complete a project. In our rush to get rich, we have forgotten about the design. What is our intention? Our real intention is to feel safe and in control. As we see in 2017, pretending to be in control doesn’t work in the long run.

It’s cliché, but money and power don’t do it. The joy of life is found in being who you are. And who you are is a spirit learning how to be in a body. Behind the bodies, we are all that spirit. The confusion is created by identifying the individual body as the center of things. The solution is to learn to put that ego aside. Soon, hopefully, the USA will put the largest ego I have ever seen aside. That would be a start.

This is the time of year that the earth returns to the sun, celebrated in various myths. We need that reminder. Experience happens in cycles, not a straight line. This is a time for family. Other times, one must leave the nest. The chill of Winter builds appreciation, if not worship, for the sun. What appear to be opposites, dualities, become units of reciprocation – can’t have this without that – reflecting a larger whole. Growing up means concluding that there is always coming and going, there is always here and there, the ball hits the bat as well as the other way around. One’s destiny is to own one’s experience, to be responsible for one’s own perception of life … not to blame ‘the world out there’. If you change the name, do you change the thing?

Waiting for ‘the world out there’ is what got us into this mess in 2017. When I have struggled to find the joy in life, it has generally been because I have displaced the responsibility for my state of mind and my point of view. As we have seen this year, if you don’t make up your own mind, there is always some one who wants desperately to do it for you. These days, we are in serious danger of mistaking the word for the thing, the promise for the act, the map for the territory.

We have fallen into seeing ourselves as passengers on the cosmic bus. It makes stops we don’t understand and often seems to take the long way around. To turn the bus in a direction we would like to go takes more than wishing and hoping. One must be behind the steering wheel.

When one of us dis-owns his or her experience, that person generally then starts blaming others. That is giving the power away in order to have a reason for the suffering. We settle into being passengers, complaining about the ride. As adults we learn that we can get away with talking about something without actually having to do it. ‘Truth’ becomes subjective, tailored to suit our needs. We have the current leader of the free world as an example of the dream-state our culture has fallen into.

The world’s great religions all teach the same thing as modern scientists are now proving. Each of us is actually creating a unique path through the circumstances, unknowable to others except by way of what we have in common … which is that each of us is steering a unique path through the circumstances. By being unique, I am being myself. No one else sees things from my point of view. By being myself, I am resonating with the universe as a whole. There is a feeling to it. One feels connected.

We are here to express a self. What each of us needs to do in 2018 is shut up and drive.

lighthouse-small

Pigeon Point

People and Patterns

I visited several National Parks over the summer, along with millions of other people. Wherever I went, I heard about the crowds. I got there early, for the most part. But still, people were everywhere. Here in Utah, at The Arches, I decided to put people in the landscape. We are so used to taking our surroundings for granted, that when we are in these magical places, what we see takes us out of ourselves.

People in Arch small

Person in arch small

The Hopi Indians considered these arches to be sacred, portals to spiritual dimensions. Something of that lingers for the tourist.

In these awesome patterns of the earth, we see something … something for which there are no words. … something vital to our spirit. Putting humans into a landscape that’s 150 million years old provides perspective.

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Person in cave 2 small

People between rocks small

Adding an observer makes it a moment.

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Person in arch 1 small

A moment we can understand. 150 million years, not so much.

 

 

Random Thoughts

Glacier Park is a brutal landscape. The force required to scrape out those canyons through solid rock almost can’t be imagined. But there it is. Raw power. Changing the shape of the planet. Extending the scale of things.

Glacier rock 1 small

In my imagination, I try to see all this sedimentary rock being compressed under a vast ocean, as it was for millions of years. I am more than 6600 feet up. I can’t do it. My mind won’t bend that far.

Glacier rock 3 small

This is the dimension of the formation of planets, of stars bursting and galaxies being formed. On this scale, I am beyond microscopic. From this dimension, I am just an idea.

Hidden Lake small

Wildfires have draped a veil of smoke over the Northwest. Going-to-the-Sun Highway has become Going-to-the-Haze Highway. Fortunately, I did find some sun, but the sky was never the deep blue one looks for up here. Shit happens. These random factors – fire, floods and earthquakes – force Nature to adapt. Evolution depends on it.

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And there’s water everywhere. Walls along the highway appear to be weeping. Falling down the mountain, water chatters and gurgles down the path of least resistance, pulling life to the path it wears away. Friendly. But it was mile-wide glaciers that carved out the valleys for the lakes at either end of Going-to-the-Sun road, across continental divide.

Going to the Sun highway small

Going to the Sun Highway

It was frozen water that tore off the sides of some of these mountains, exposing millions of years of history. On earth, water eventually wins.

Virginia Falls small

In an odd way, I feel like I belong out here. I am a part of something larger. I don’t feel that way in the city. The contours of the city, the concrete and steel, don’t flow through my senses like life up here does. Here my mind flows. In the city, my mind gets bashed, from one corner to the next.

St Mary Falls small

St. Mary Falls

There is a time for mind-bashing. One has to take care of business. But out here is where we belong … in a landscape that calls to the minerals in our bodies … where every breath feels precious and every day is different.