A Long Wind

Posted: July 17, 2012 in Change, Mindfulness
Tags: ,

[music: Caught in a Long Wind – Feist] – a song about both a little bird and the sea…

Manu Chao last week – the Dipabhāvan Meditation Center in a few days. This blog IS about change and July was about the unexpected. So today I decided  to put some thought behind what I originally set out to do.

I am discovering that change and the unexpected are things many people fear. Even though no two moments are the same, we are all changing as individuals, as groups, societies, the universe; people/groups/organizations (hereafter referred to only as persons/people) generally fear the unknown, they are not curious about what’s out there… or ‘in there’. Looking for the comfort and stability of routines, many let the years pass smoothly; but how can you be both mindful and in a comfortable and familiar routine?  Clinging to routines is by definition blocking out the possibilities of the world around you, deliberately existing unaware. It seems to me that fear of change and mindfulness are incompatible.

Part of being aware means being receptive to the unexpected and open to change – and thus personal risk.

Maybe this is a sign of the times in the Western World – sufficiency through superficial connections to real people and the real world. I found this interesting metaphor on the internet: “…un cinéphile qui, au cinéma, visserait les écouteurs de son iPod sur ses oreilles pour s’assurer de ne pas se laisser prendre par l’histoire du film (ne pas avoir peur, ou rire, ou pleurer).” Is Brandon in in McQueen’s movie ‘Shame‘ the role model for the 21st century; living “in an underworld melodrama of fear…“?

Have we abandoned the search for meaning? Can we really find happiness in our selection of an endless supply of video games, social events, TV series, endlessly re-hashed movies, shopping, internet surfing, and meet ups?* Have we replaced the simplicity that emerges from grappling and coming to terms with real life complexities (emotional, inter-relational, societal, intellectual) with ready packaged doses that instead allow us to easily ignore and flee the task?

*not that there is anything intrinsically wrong with any or all of these activities, I refer to them here as easy means of escape from or as substitutes for meaningful life events.

Though I have more questions than answers, I think that I have learnt a few things:

1. Change is happening regardless of our ‘awareness’ decision; to people, to groups, to organizations, societies and the natural world around us. Humanity generally chooses to deny or ignore these changes, but there are exceptions.

2. Change in of itself is a priori neither positive nor negative. But it is the point of view of this blog that at an individual level, awareness, acceptance and engagement lead to superior outcomes.

3. The decision to embrace change and accept the consequences is personal. All efforts to change someone will be unproductive unless they have embraced the decision themselves. All one can do is extend a helping hand.

So in a few days I am off until September. First stop, a break from all electronic links to the world that I have become addicted to: iPhone, computer, e-mail, internet, music. Instead, meditation, seated, standing, walking, chores, and more meditation. Parts of my world could end, I will only know at the end of the retreat. Once the retreat is over, I’ll the the Universe decide what’s next and see what wind carries me.

[Bonus track: Babylon – David Gray]

  1. hook says:

    It won’t be the Universe (or God or Comrade Stalin) that will determine your state of mind in September; it will be George. George after a lot of thinking. George after isolation and contemplation, but still, it will come from your cerebral cortex, Finnian. Don’t settle for getting by, but don’t demand perfection. We all have our strengths and our flaws and, if we’re lucky, we’re content do the best we can with them and find happiness, each in his own stumbling, idiosyncratic fashion, and maybe even do some good.

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