Do you surround yourself with people who agree with you ? If yes, you are not alone. I was once like that too. Yet it is when we listen to those who do not share our opinions or our beliefs that we allow ourselves opportunity to understand and grow. Where could such a thing happen with love and respect ? Join us...
These days I think a lot about life. What is it ? What is it truly like ? Is there a purpose ? Did we arrive only to find our tribes, rise, polarise, and then fall. Human history is an extraordinary odyssey of repetition. If it were fiction surely the author would be tried for plagiarism.
Yet it is not. It is extraordinarily real. It begins, it ends, there are cycles of flow, stagnation, drying up like vapour, down pours of rain, spectacular falls, redirections, and moments of union. That sounds like a river to me. More importantly a river always has two banks. It finds its way across the land to unite with the sea. Along the way it allows two sides to meet, creating a gap that accepts, and finds a way forwards.
The ancient sage Rumi once famously said "Out beyond the ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing there is a field. I'll meet you there." We find ourselves in a world which has polarised on so many topics. Where is this field ? Is it a mythical utopia or the river of life itself ? Is it so close that we miss the opportunity of harmony and peace that is so freely available to us.
My exploration began with the polarity that could exist on either side of the river. What was right and what was wrong. Every world religion, theology, philosophy and code of etiquette share a few universal truths relating to our thoughts, words and deeds.
If everything begins with a thought let us begin here. The mind can can be filled with the storms greed, hatred, delusion, anger, resentment and fear. Or it could be illuminated with love, kindness, compassion, stillness, generosity and wisdom. Can we be aware of the reality that occupies the mind ? More importantly could we consciously choose the states of a luminous mind. Ancient sages used to train the mind with the same dedication an olympic athlete conditions their body.
Words have so much power. Which ones do we choose ? Do we think before we speak... Is our speech true ? is it useful ? does it cause harm or add value ? Are we really improving upon the silence or adding to the noise of a world which is cluttered with distraction. Such reflections bring new meaning to conversation - however, trivial an interaction maybe.
Our deeds. Action born of love and wisdom creates a better world today and tomorrow. Action born of fear creates an inheritance of loss. How will we act today. Will we allow the past to repeat its cycles or define a new trajectory for humanity.
To step into the river and listen takes courage. It is not comfortable to listen to those who share different views yet without this fundamental ability we set in motion the catalysts of conflict. When we listen we will notice the feelings that come up within. Sometimes it is easy. It feels wonderful and inspiring as the different opinion is one which opens us up to a new reality that is better than the one we knew. At other times it can be filled with trepidation as you silently contemplate - really ? now I have reason for concern.
When we listen completely with the quest of understanding we hold up an extraordinary mirror to the one who speaks. There is a vortex of discernment which opens up. A greater sense of connection. Listen with the quality of timeless awareness. Bring your presence to the moment.
Both speaker and listener have a choice to respond or react. To accept and integrate, or respectfully let be. The most powerful transformations come from within. What questions will we ask to make the best next choice. Is our choice making biased ? It is likely our personal cornucopia of experience will play a major role in how we finally deal with the information we just heard. We can learn to be aware of our bias and seek a unity which is rooted in wisdom and integrity. When we step into the river and improve the quality of our questions. This is one of the most powerful ways to find better solutions.
Nature has much to teach us. Just because we can does not always mean we should. There is a timeliness to our human stories that weave the destiny of tomorrows children. We cannot make Spring come early. Yet we can do our work in the winter and be ready for the promise of Spring.
We must begin to try...and succeed! Using the words epitomised by Barack Obama - Yes We Can!
Let us see where the river supports and takes us.
Participation in river flow is easy. Follow the posts on this page and the river flow facebook page. This is a new space and it will continue to grow and evolve. Take the ideas you learn and try them in your own community. Everyday try and listen to at least one opinion which is different to your own.
Allow yourself to approach the difference with a beginners mind. Be curious, explore and trust your own wisdom and grace to choose.
I look forward to hearing from you.
River Flow from Dr Oshi's Heart of Gaia
to all human prayers
with embracing care
from mother earth
with a gentle hand
on every land
knowing the promise it brings
from deep within.