Monthly Archives: May 2013

Pure Cooperation Enriches Life

Do you want to tap into the power of the Divine Life and experience its flow through you as Divine Love’s joyful radiance so that you know who you are, know why you are alive, understand how to reap value from hard times and feel deeply satisfied with your life? This essay tells you why purified cooperation frees you to receive increasing power, insight, understanding and satisfaction as you purify your motives for cooperating.

The more you purify your motives for cooperating with another person, the more Divine Power flows through you as Radiant Love that fulfills your heart’s desires, including your desire to be empowered to pursue your passions and to feel deeply satisfied with yourself.  Ulterior or mixed motives for cooperating dampen Divine Power’s flow. To share in and reap the benefits of Divine Power’s miracles, it’s necessary to purify our hearts so as to live as God’s lives towards others. Purity of motives matters maximally in God’s Life Enrichment Plan. One benefit of purifying your cooperative connection with the Divine is that God creates the future and will help you have the best future possible.  If you tend to worry about the future, focus instead on purifying your cooperation with God now and leave your future in God’s hands as you help others to enjoy and appreciate their lives more in the present.

Spiritual teachers are plentiful these days.  Many promise to teach you how to experience more power by tapping into your inner realm where power waits to be released through you into your life experiences.  They are pointing in the right direction.  Much of what they teach is good as far as it goes but it does not go all the way to the heart of the matter.  Your power does abide within you, in the core of your being. It’s there waiting to be tapped into and drawn to the surface to be expressed by you as you.  I want to add a tip of wisdom to your endeavor to tap into this power.  The wisdom is this: don’t mistake your own puny power to develop your own “improved” lifestyle as measured by personal convenience, wealth and social status as Divine Power.  That’s the measure many teachers use to entice you to pay attention to them.  They seduce you with promises of increased convenience (a parking space!), prosperity and social approval. If that’s all you seek as a goal, then you’ll not be interested in the wisdom tip I’m sharing here.  However if you’d like to experience Divine Power as Radiant Love and a promising future on God’s terms, keep reading. The most direct way to tap into Divine Power is to cooperate totally with its Divine Purpose.

Divine Power is God’s to share with all who seek it on God’s terms for God’s purpose.  God’s terms do not focus on our personal convenience, wealth and social approval.  God’s terms focus on our learning to deliver to others experiences of divine love, heartfelt comfort, healing oneness and blessings of life in abundance.  Please take note: The key is our capacity to deliver the goods to others, not merely our capacity to soak up the goods for ourselves as if we are the end consumer of God’s Divine Power.  If we truly want to experience Divine Power in all of its miraculous nature and scope we simply must cooperate with God on God’s terms and not try to dictate terms to God or impose our limited purpose for its use.  God’s terms include God’s wholehearted commitment to demonstrating God’s oneness with all people. Most people are not comfortable with humbling themselves before God so as to receive as generously as God is willing to give.  Their egos get in the way because their egos are rooted in belief in separation from God and from one another.  God’s purpose of demonstrating the Oneness of Life, within which all things are interconnected, violates the ego’s basic premise that separation is real.  The ego resists humility because humility offers no place for ego.  If you want to receive and deliver to others the divinely enriched good life that God has in store for you, be prepared to cooperate with God even when your ego protests that you’ve offended it and all it values.

Here’s the scoop:  God has always wanted every human being to receive Divine Power and all of its life-enriching benefits.  It’s never been God’s will to shortchange anyone or leave anyone unfavored. There’s a way to share Divine Power among all of us that God knows and reveals but our egos ignore and obscure. We are each created to express Divine Power but we adopt egos as false social identities to survive in our society where egos and ego’s values and priorities determine how social approval and disapproval are distributed.  If you want to set Divine Power free to flow through you, be prepared to encounter turbulence as your own ego and egos around you react to your violation of ego’s rules, roles and routines and accuse you of being a boat-rocker and rule-violator – too “different” in your attitudes, beliefs and social orientation for a conformist society to approve of – while you are not a social deviant except to the extent that you exceed social standards by deviating towards excellence. The ego may declare you a hero one moment, a scapegoat the next and then do its best to ignore you entirely as it exiles you from its company. More than likely our ego-based traditionalist society will do its best to make you feel unwelcome and regret siding so radically with God as to value God’s will that Love reign supreme over our pathways to freedom and joy. You will not experience the flow of Divine Power as your natural inheritance until you reclaim God as your Divine Parent and participate fully in Divine Family Life, treating every other human being as your brother and sister, as beloved of God as you are.

Purifying our hearts means letting go of all fear so as to allow Divine Love to radiate where fear once imposed the gloom of separation and loneliness onto God’s celebration of oneness and companionship throughout all circumstances from lovely to harsh and back again. Purification of our hearts is a process that conflicts with modern practices and principles now widespread throughout our fear-based, fear-saturated society. Social norms support our maintaining hearts filled with fear as if that’s a desirable goal. Purification sets our hearts free of fear so that we become social nonconformists (even sometimes feeling like a freak) until being pure of heart becomes the new social norm. In the transitional phase during which society shifts from being fear-based, fear-saturated to being love-based, love-saturated, mutual encouragement to make the shift is vital.  We most need to learn to no longer fear Divine Love and instead to share it generously with mutual appreciation for all we are daring to be and to become.

In modern times, while fearing Diving Love, humanity mistakenly subscribed to the lie that human life evolves towards an ideal standard of improvement on account of the “survival of the fittest.”  In fact, quite the opposite is true.  The ideal standard of improvement for humanity is an increase in the flow of Divine Power to comfort, heal and bless us all. (Students of A Course In Miracles may recognize this statement of Divine Purpose.)  Human life evolves towards increased flow of Divine Power through the service of the fittest in promoting the welfare of the whole so that all members of the human race thrive, not merely survive.  Service by, not survival of, the fittest is what matters. In other words, empowerment for humanity is not about outdoing the competition by being fitter for survival than others.  It’s about being fitter for service than others may currently be.  Empowerment and life-enrichment happen naturally from learning to be more helpful towards others – with pure hearts, based on motives as pure as God’s.

Those who serve others on God’s terms (e.g., not co-dependently, compulsively or fearfully) are models of humanity’s divine nature as they serve the best interests of the whole, including those who may at first appear to be least suited for survival or service. It is wise for honored leaders of society to be spiritually oriented servants of those with the least social status.  When those at the leading edge of humanity’s social privileges reach out to aid those at humanity’s trailing edge and lift them forward along with the whole of humanity, we all move forward together. Within the dynamics of service of “social bottoms by social tops,” progress sustains itself because those previously at society’s trailing edge learn to participate meaningfully on leadership teams at society’s cutting edge of positive developments.

In sum, God’s plan for humanity’s progress in awakening to our divine nature is a wrap-around process that leaves no one out of the circle of mutual service – the Circle of Life. Humble service means that socially privileged people do not use spiritual principles and practices to continue to feather our own nests and expand our experiences of convenience and privilege. Instead we adopt humble lifestyles that free our discretionary resources to be applied voluntarily to benefit less privileged members of society, elevating everyone together into a sustainable range of lifestyles that are totally adequate but not extravagant or self-indulgent.

How can this idealistic “bottom served by top” social dynamic become reality? It is guaranteed to become society’s new reality when we commit to cooperating with it wholeheartedly because God’s orientation to humanity is as our Wholehearted Supreme Servant.  Serving us all with Divine Delight, the Ultimate Top will orchestrate the creation of the new society rooted in purified cooperation. God asks not that we serve Him/Her but that we serve each other while we also allow God to serve us all without imposing any restrictions on God’s faithfulness and generosity towards all of us through each other.  We become God’s means of equity, liberty and justice as well as creativity and multimedia beauty when we cooperate with God’s will.  While we have been uncooperative with God instead of serving each other with grace and joy according to God’s divine plan for our evolution (awakening), we have learned to crucify (do a disservice to) each other by habits of our egos while we know not what we do. We are ignorant of what we are doing because our buried guilt and shame numb our sensitivity towards others and cause us to ignore how we are harming them (and ourselves) emotionally as well as in other ways. Our natural sensitivities that would alert us to our wayward ways are offline because development of an ego and its social habits requires that we deny our hearts, tune out our emotions, limit our listening, defend against change (including improvements offered by God) and turn away from each other in distrust.

A forgiving, attentively listening, trusting God waits patiently for us to repent and turn back to Him/Her to be restored to awareness of our innocence (free of guilt and blame as well as pride and shame) so that we might once again walk with God in humility to love mercy, do justice and liberate all captives of the ego – setting them free to walk, dance and sing along with God as well.  Universal mutual service will set us free of ego’s cruel tyranny and resurrect us from the deadening effects of benumbed hearts and painfully confused minds. In serving each other’s best interests as God defines what is “best,” we will regain clarity of mind as we regain purity of heart. God’s mind is clear.  God’s motive for serving all of us is pure love.  To serve as God serves and become living channels of service under Divine Authority, we must purify our motives by learning to love as God loves and to trust one another as God trusts us.

“Let he or she who would be greatest among you be servant of all.”  Such a calling strikes at the heart of the heartlessness of the egoistic culture modern society has become.  In modern times, shrines are built to egos while hearts are shrouded in despair.  Their kinds and styles vary but the purpose of each shrine is the same – to glorify to a lesser or greater degree an ego-imprisoned person who has failed to serve with humility on behalf of the health and happiness of many who would have benefitted from a life lived egolessly.  Pervasive neglect of the needs of others and studiously maintained ignorance of God’s divine plan to bless us all hide behind every enshrined failure of an ego-bound person to serve others.  Some who are popular in the eyes of fans (or Facebook friends) may protest, “But I mistreat no one!”  Yet all of us are at risk of allowing our craving for social approval to cause us to be more concerned about cooperating with other people’s egos than about cooperating with God.

Eager to get along (survive) socially, we please others at the cost of being empowered (thriving) spiritually. We protest against being called “indifferent” towards the needs of others only because we are unaware of the many we could serve but fail to serve when we focus our energies and resources on cooperating with egos to conform socially instead of cooperating with God to transform spiritually. We are more inclined by ego’s habits to use our resources to insulate ourselves from people in need than to come into contact with them personally as we naturally would do if we serve them with all our time and resources. Once society makes cooperating with God its standard procedure, we’ll be able to conform both socially and spiritually.  But not yet while social norms ignore God’s offer to enrich our lives through service empowered by purified cooperation.

Under the ego’s current reign, with few exceptions, the socially privileged are blessed and yet of little blessing to others.  In catering to our egos, we divert into shrines of varying degrees of personal isolation, convenience and self-aggrandizement time, energy and other resources intended by God for the welfare of others.  God blesses us to empower us to bless others, but we restrict the flow of blessings by diverting them into futile attempts to satisfy insatiable egos. In so doing we continue to mislead generation after generation of children to believe that the path to greatness lies along the ego’s way and not along the way of service to those God calls us to serve. All shrines, tiny and elaborate, divert resources. It is time to awaken to the error of the ego’s claim upon our lives and rise free to serve as our hearts’ wiser nature is restored to its rightful preeminence as guide and counselor in place of ego.

For centuries, men and women have clambered over each other to acquire greater fame and fortune through socially valued achievements ranging from minor to major in the eyes of other ego-oriented people.  Today we accept the approval of others and amass wealth in excess of our basic needs on account of our performances as employees, employers, entrepreneurs, professionals, politicians, captains of industry, entertainers, sports figures, experts, critics, religious leaders, middle managers and other paid and unpaid roles – and as common citizens who allow social approval to be our false god.  We admire others for their performances, allow others to admire us (often for our pretenses as much as for our performances) and bask in the glow of spiraling social approval as often as possible.  Often we blindly accept our social approval ratings and fail to point our admirers to God as the only Being truly worthy of admiration and imitation as a role model. Instead we accept praise as if it were truly due us.  If we mention God, we do so only in passing. We tip our caps to God but do not topple ourselves from the pedestals our adoring fans and friends erect for us – or emerge again from the tombs of shame we may endure if we offend our fans and friends. To be clear, there’s only life-enrichment to be gained through expressing and receiving heartfelt gratitude and genuine compliments. It is awe and worshipful praise we must reserve for God alone.

Of course, because we are not A-list celebrities and rarely attract media attention, most of us will deny that we are heavily invested in self-serving lifestyles and continue to participate in moderate mutual admiration societies we call friends, co-workers and other restricted-entry social gatherings. By the ego’s trick of comparing ourselves to others and finding ourselves “not as excessive as ‘them,’” we justify our modest participation in a society that is blind to God’s plan.  But ego’s success in diverting our attention and investment of our lives from God’s plan is still controlling our decisions and blinding us to the truth of how God would have us serve if only we were more cooperative with God and less cooperative with egos.

We prefer to applaud and admire the few who serve in exceptional ways and call then “heroes” than to become one of them according to God’s calling in our hearts. If we share a portion of our wealth and other resources with others, we do so only according to some token measure that assuages our guilty conscience but does not honor God. Our tokenism reveals our egoism.  All we have received we hold in trust as endowments from God yet we give back to God only the little that legalistic social conformity requires.  A tithe perhaps, but not the whole.  We trust not God’s promise to return to us a thousandfold all that we might give cheerfully to God. We trust not the engine of universal prosperity that would function for the benefit of all if only we would honor God and give all to divine service as God gives so generously to us.  We take credit for God’s part in our successes and fail to express our gratitude to God as fully as God expresses His/Her generosity to us. Today there are many who continue to make excuses for glorifying ourselves according to the ego’s subtly deceptive model rather than step entirely free from self-serving lifestyles to serve God and let God be glorified. The time for undiluted, uncompromised cooperation with God has arrived to save humanity from extinction.  It’s likewise time to be entirely free to love as God loves and to be loved in return with equal power and commitment.

Our devotion to the ego’s way results from competition that epitomizes the deceitful proposition that survival of the fittest causes humanity to evolve.  As evidenced by events and conditions worldwide, the truth is that competition dehumanizes the human race and causes us to dissolve, not evolve.  Cooperation is the way of Life – of ever-expanding Vitality. Symbiosis and mutuality of living are features of Life. The ego belittles being truly helpful as humiliating and debasing “obedience” as if living humbly in harmony with God’s will is evil or at least an embarrassingly nonconformist way of life to be avoided at all cost.  The ego declares generosity to be a sacrifice instead of a sacrament that expresses God’s nature and an opportunity to live in oneness with God, with one another and with all forms of Life according to God’s plan of creation and sustainability for us all.

Life is God’s to design and implement.  When we gracefully serve God in all humility with joy in our hearts, we return to God the grace God first extended to us with divine joy.  By grace, we participate in Life fully and it flows through us as joyfully as a bubbling brook of crystal clear water.  Many are those who come to the Water of Life that God shares through us when we cooperate with God and serve as God serves.  Only then can we declare as protector of the socially less powerful “Such grace as has been given to me I give unto you” and open the way for the healing of our lands through the healing of our hearts.  Such gentle generosity and grace compose the way of true power because it is the way of life amid which we encounter and embrace God as He/She encounters and embraces us.

Life is not a process primarily characterized by disintegration and lack of integrity as ego’s false version of life presents.  Life is a process primarily characterized by continuously upgrading integration of creative ideas around a core of integrity that is eternal as well as internal.  Spiritual principles and practices of many paths of faith invite us to experience the wonders of this expanding process called “Life Everlasting” or “Limitless Creation.” An apt analogy for this expansion from the inner core outward is found in the growth rings, spreading branches, abundant fruitfulness, towering majesty and longevity of ancient trees.  That is one reason the Tree of Life so frequently appears as a universal symbol of Eternal Life.  Our pure cooperation with God creates a reality that will outlive all physical symbols used to convey its nature through human languages other than the universal nonverbal language of love found in smiles, twinkling eyes, heartfelt laughter, music, dance and other signs of peace and goodwill among all peoples of the earth.

How did we go astray from God’s plan for a continuously upgrading integration of creative concepts around the core of timeless wisdom? We strayed off target when we mistakenly equated our lives with the physical expressions of other kingdoms of life – of minerals, plants and animals – and failed to recognize 1) the human kingdom’s unique identity and qualities as the pinnacle of God’s creation and 2) our developmentally unfolding wholeness as an expression of God’s nature being progressively revealed throughout humanity with some individuals unfolding in time ahead of others.  We misunderstood our status as God’s most exalted creation as an excuse for exercising power over all other kingdoms of life without regard for the counterbalancing responsibility that comes with greater power.  Even Spiderman had to learn that “with great power comes great responsibility.”  It is time for humanity to learn that lesson too.  When we wield power over others for the sole purpose of serving supportively under those we serve we achieve the delicate balance required of stewards of divinely augmented power wielded on behalf of all.  Through this spiritually enriched, ethically administered paradigm of power we achieve the greatest good for the greatest number by ensuring the best for all in the long run. Such are God’s ethics.

Each of us can personally wield the power of life ethically if we wield with wisdom and committed cooperation the power God entrusts to us.  As we grow in wisdom in its wielding by allowing God to purify our hearts, God entrusts more power to flow through us.  We maximize this power’s potency and perseverance by minimizing our ego’s intensity and interference.  We cause death – and impose upon others fates worse than death – through all forms of abuse and by a thousand slices of neglect when we fail to exercise our divinely entrusted power wisely with pure motives.  God is relying upon us to master the art of wisdom so as to cooperate with Him/Her fully before all forms of life upon the earth are damaged too heavily to sustain life for human beings.  God ensures the sustainability of all other kingdoms of life.  They will thrive well without humanity’s presence if we humans insist that they do so.  They will thrive well with humans present only if and when we are present as God is present in relationship to all such kingdoms and serve them well so that they may continue to serve us well in turn.

We have a choice to live in harmony with God and all created kingdoms of the earth and thereby share in the mutual benefits that flow from the symbiotic miracles of nature or to defy God’s plan of creation and render it unsustainable for humanity.  The other kingdoms will recover from our abuse and neglect once we are gone.  The issue is only whether we want to render ourselves extinct on account of failing to cooperate with God and with each other as children of God or prefer to perpetuate our race as one race under God with liberty, justice, beauty and grace for all – for all of Life in every form created.  To choose in favor of purified cooperation with God – with total commitment to accepting and adjusting to its terms and conditions – is to choose to be true to ourselves as expressions of God, to perpetuate the human race as God created us and to place our futures in the hands of a Most Competent Supreme Servant who knows how to lead us into the experience of our Divine Home on earth modeled on Heaven’s Home now imagined to be only reachable beyond earth. We need only imagine that Heaven is already here on earth for us to begin the transformation God has in mind for all of us.

© Art Nicol 2013

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Knowing What to Do in Times of Change

Modern society is passing through a chaotic transition. Old ways are no longer producing desired results and new ways are not yet in place to serve as new routines and traditions.  We are trapped in a chrysalis of change, no longer the caterpillar we once were and not yet the butterfly we will become once we are successful in completing our struggle to transform and emerge — paradoxically restored to vitality as ourselves and yet no longer ourselves as we once were. The times they are a’changing, as Bob Dylan wrote some years ago: 

The Times They Are A’Changin’
By Bob Dylan 
Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

 

What approach  is most helpful during times such as these? It’s most helpful to learn to listen closely to wisdom and to increase our capacity to hear and to heed what wisdom is saying. Wisdom is not swept away by rising riptides of change because wisdom is rooted in ancient truths that stand up well even to the severest tests of time.  Wisdom may be time-worn but the wear and tear it’s endured only makes it all the more valuable like well-polished jade in a setting of gold.

In times of tumultuous change when former traditions cease to serve well as guides, you can easily lose your bearings as you discover how unprepared you are to navigate through turbulent waters.  The more you’ve previously lived a sheltered life, the more shocked and afraid you may be as you are exposed to the turbulence today’s changes entail.  Even if you’ve been exposed and vulnerable to hard times before, it can still upset you to face them again, especially on the intense, society-wide scale we are now enduring.  Feeling ill-prepared for life as you are forced to face it is unnerving. Discouragement and despair may come knocking and perhaps even take up residence for a while.  Being thrown off balance by turbulence is natural.  It’s not necessary to fault yourself for how you react to unpleasant conditions.  It’s more helpful to have confidence that you can find your way through the turbulence to better opportunities beyond it.  And you surely can if you apply yourself to learning all you need to learn to achieve that goal.  One thing that may seem puzzling is that you are better prepared to succeed than you yet know.  Part of what you’ll learn if you apply yourself with focused attention is how to recognize your hidden qualities that make you more prepared than you realize. 

As Dylan points out, you can hardly tell at the beginning how things are going to turn out.  But wisdom knows how to guide you through winds of change and clouds of doubt to an outcome you’ll welcome along a journey you’ll enjoy as an adventure.  And you can know what wisdom knows if you’re willing to listen closely to its cues and allow them to guide you forward through the confusion and chaos of storm-tossed times.  We are surely going through stormy times as modern society wrestles with the unforeseen consequences of its past decisions and tries to find its answers within the very patterns of thought that caused its current problems. There are many wise sayings that describe society’s current dilemma.  Among them are two attributed to Albert Einstein:

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
“The solution cannot be found at the same level of mind at which the problem was created.”

These quotes suggest that we’ll only drive ourselves more and more insane if we continue to try to address society’s currently deepening problems from the same perspective or traditional thinking from which we created the problems. It simply does not help to dwell upon them as if they are both worrisome and hopelessly unsolvable.  We dig our hole deeper by worrying our way around in it in circles.  We’ll only worry ourselves into self-sabotage through this limited approach. Wisdom knows that we are capable of a much less limited and immensely more promising one.

The dilemmas facing society signal that we’ve reached the limits of the way of thinking in which we’ve mainly been indulging for many centuries. With rare exceptions like Einstein, most people have simply failed to master the art of thinking for themselves and instead allowed others to tell them what to do.  We’ve become so accustomed to looking to others outside of us to do all the thinking that we don’t know how to think for ourselves and may only panic when expected to do so.  As we learned how to be accepted and belong within our society, we entrusted the responsibility for thinking to those to whom we looked as our teachers/trainers – authority figures whom we believed to be in charge of our society for us.  What we don’t realize is that those to whom we looked to tell us what to do are not running society “for us” in the sense of “for our benefit.”  They are running it for other purposes that are not necessarily beneficial to us in the long run – and many times not even beneficial to us in the short run.  In fact, one of the signals that we are in trouble is the reduced “duration of benefit” we’ve received on account of our letting others do all the real thinking for us while our minds are pre-occupied with trivial pursuits. 

Allow me to expand upon the example of shrinking “duration of benefit” to explain what I mean.  “Duration of benefit” refers to the time elapsed between purchase and disposal of a product or service.  As this period of time becomes shorter, the lack of correspondence between the cost of our investment in the purchase and the value we receive from our investment becomes increasingly obvious.  Examples that are hitting home include the decreased time during which material goods remain useful to us – before we either pay dearly for their repair or upgrade or replace them entirely.  Equipment once classified as “durable goods” has become progressively less durable and now approaches the status of disposable.  For example, common household items like clothes washers, driers, dishwashers and refrigerators have proliferated in options and styles that only make it more likely that one of their complex features will fail and cause a repair bill that rivals the cost of replacing the equipment. Due to equipments’ increasing complexity, reliance upon electronic controls and rapid turnover in models composed of parts not used in previous models, home repairs have become less adequate as a solution.  Artificial complexity and shifting models has put the handyman-homemaker out of business and required homeowners to seriously consider throwing away equipment that in earlier days would have A) lasted longer in the first place and B) been repairable by the homemaker. Similar rise in complexity and decline in useful lifespan have afflicted automobiles and other formerly durable goods. 

The arrival of computers and accessories like monitors, printers, scanners, modems, routers and methods of interconnection has added a new category of consumer goods subject to change-induced obsolescence that the common user rarely has the know-how or access to repair parts to address when something breaks down.  In addition, “new and improved” models rush to market before many owners of previous models have learned how to use all of the features of their existing equipment.  New software requiring larger memories and storage capacities as well as upgraded monitors and modems drive older equipment out of use before they are actually failing as products.  Expanding demands of Internet web sites expect visitors to connect through equipment with the latest features and capacities. New methods of interconnection challenge users to keep abreast of the latest developments. The whole interlocking world of computers, software, accessories and their uses has expanded at a rate that is incredibly profitable to those who provide the equipment, software and related services but leave most users at the mercy of market-driven motives to render existing investments inadequate to perform and require consumers to spend more money to remain current with the latest state of affairs.  Whom is this reduced duration of benefits serving?

It’s as if the universe of computer technology has replicated the cosmos as a system of infinite possibilities that is expanding at the speed of light and far outdistancing the finite resources of many explorers of that universe. Many explorers resort to debt to keep up. In fact, all too often “duration of debt” now exceeds “duration of benefits.” Another example of this phenomenon is the proliferation of ever-upgraded cell phones and accessories that render the previous models old news within as short a time as six months.  Related to this example is the spectacular meteor shower of accessories and apps to use with cell phones. Keeping track of the inane number of such cell-phone-related features and their various uses occupies the minds of many users as a distraction from more significant alternative uses of their minds. Functioning in a similar manner to interfere with slower paced contemplation is time spent reviewing and commenting upon Youtube and Facebook postings and watching engrossing movies, TV reruns and entertainment programs ranging from supposed “reality shows” and talent contests to hit fiction shows of all kinds. Add sports broadcasts and commentaries plus endless newscasts, pundits and, heaven forbid, bloggers commenting upon life from every possible angle and who’s got to time to think for oneself?

Those with the youthful curiosity to master new skills and the desire to prove their competence ride the leading edge of trends in the age of high tech electronics and information overload.  These trends now wash across society like a multi-wave tsunami to sweep all previous technology into the trash bin long before many older users have discovered how to use their features and reap their benefits.  Although it is developmentally appropriate for youth and young adults to be curious and to exercise their minds to learn new competencies that prove their worth to themselves and others, to place a significant market that affects society at many levels into the control of young adults who are also discouraged from asking why they are doing what they are doing is another outcome of insanity’s reign in our society. Society is not well-served by intentionally occupying young minds with electronically hyped and accelerated trivial pursuits with the effect of diverting their attention from the core issues with which our society struggles.  We need the minds and hearts of youth and young adults focused more intentionally on social issues if ever we are to resolve them successfully.  We cannot address and resolve significant societal issues without the full engagement of youth and young adults. Their participation is essential to our success! It is their future and the future of those who follow close behind them that is at stake and must now be clarified and implemented in a manner meaningful to them. It is vital to the health and welfare of all of us that young minds not remain hooked on fascinating electronic stimulation that draw them to focus on trivia and away from focusing on what is truly significant to their futures.

I mean no offense to youth and young adults when I question whether it is wise to turn over our society’s major techno-trends to their controlling passion for mastering new technology and exploring new territory of experiences as their natural appetites and passions operate in their legitimate quest for a vision of a life worth living. I mean only to caution us all that wisdom percolates into our hearts and minds through experiences which take place at slower paces, occur over longer periods of time and require more intense and deeper personal engagement with other people than most fast paced endeavors promoted by the technology market cultivate. Many youth and young adults have such lire-enriching experiences.  We need to help them to tap into the empowering wisdom of their library of experiences that are stored deep beneath trivial pursuits.

Modern society does not encourage youth and young adults to identify, appreciate and process such slower paced, in-depth experiences but rather leads youth and young adults in circles in the shallows chasing meaningless superficial changes that matter little or nothing in the long run.  I really do mean no offense to youth and young adults. In fact, I devote my life to helping to correct the way society is misleading youth and young adults to ignore they capacity to think for themselves and listen to and be led by wisdom from an early age. I have met youth and young adults who have proven to me that they do sometimes listen to themselves in this manner and experiment with thinking for themselves.  I’ve also learned that it is precisely when they do listen to their deepest inner guidance and think for themselves that they are most likely to come into conflict with modern society’s shallow values and priorities and be labeled “rebellious,” “uncooperative” or “misfits.”  We need to encourage rather than discourage such independent, “rebellious” thinking that resists cooperating with the norms of modern society and instead develops creatively activated “misfits” better suited to leading the new society that is arriving in our midst than to remaining loyal to the old society that is fading from our midst. It would be wise for all of us to switch our loyalties from the fading society to the emerging new one.

Youth and young adults have an inborn capacity to listen to and reap the benefits of wisdom as guidance for their lives.  However, modern society teaches us all to ignore our in-born, wisdom-oriented capacity and instead to listen elsewhere for guidance.  Based on our past social training, too often we listen to the fading society’s standards and expectations instead of to the emerging society’s standards and expectations.  As children we are naturally inclined to listen to our parents, teachers and other older adults for guidance. But as the guidance from those adults proves less and less useful (largely because it’s not all that helpful to resolving the issues we face during times of transition), youth and young adults understandably turn away from that source of guidance and seek for guidance among other voices available to them.  Many of these alternative voices are found among media of various kinds.  Others are the voices of admittedly well-meaning but similarly misled peers. In a society where everyone is taught to have an opinion no matter how little investigation and analysis may go into forming it, media personalities and peers can sound as if their voices are authoritative when in fact they are voices of ignorance and arrogance. Most media and peer voices do not yet convey the wisdom and understanding needed to provide truly helpful guidance for life, especially guidance for navigating turbulent times such as we face now. In effect, by teaching us to orient our listening outward into the turbulence rather than inward into the deep inner calm at the core of our beings, social norms and traditions have cut us adrift from and now block our awareness of the wisdom and understanding we would otherwise naturally access within ourselves. Our submission to social pressures to think, act and live as social-approval seekers sabotages our ability to enjoy higher quality lives and robs us of the inheritance we would otherwise naturally receive from Divine Love’s Presence within the calm at the core of our beings.

Bob Dylan was a voice to which many of his generation listened and through which many found comfort. He voiced the thoughts and feelings of many in his generation.  Lyricists and spoken-word artists today frequently voice the thoughts and feelings of their generation too. Many are their cries for greater understanding and wisdom.  Fewer are the voices by which understanding and wisdom come forth in response.  I hope that my voice will provide some of the understanding and wisdom that youth and young adults hunger to discover is present in the world on their behalf, at their service.

Knowing what to do in changing times is a mystery worth addressing. It is a valid question to ask “How do I know what to do when traditional answers no longer point the way forward?”  My response to this question is simple: Learn again to trust yourself to know deep inside what is best for you.  Take the time necessary now to stop, look and listen inwardly.  Your native-born, inwardly tapped guidance will encourage you to be true to yourself because that is best for you – in times of turbulence as well as times of calm. That is why I focus so much of this web site on helping visitors to regain confidence in their authentic nature. To do so, one must abandon every attempt to fabricate an artificial or false identity because pretending to be someone you are not gives too much value and power to what other people think of you.  False identities emphasize image-making (social approval and reputation) and pleasing others by words and actions that are not true to your own heart.  You access both your short-term happiness and your long-term joy and success when you stop pretending and instead live true to yourself under all circumstances. When you master the art of remaining true to yourself during turbulent times, you emerge from these times as a master surfer emerges from waves that tumble others off their boards. Once you master the art of authenticity amid challenging waves of change, you can rest in calmer waters with ease and grace.

Being true to your own heart is key.  To trust yourself to know deep inside what is best for you is the same as trusting yourself to love and care for yourself even when it seems at the moment that no one else agrees with you.  Your heart is the “deep inside” where I encourage you to learn to listen.  Listen to your heart and heed its guidance and you’ll learn to hear the wisdom that it shares with you from the divine realm of inner peace with which it is in touch.  The “heart” of which I speak is not the physical organ. It is the core of your being associated with the fourth and central chakra (energy center) where your spirit listens to your emotions.  It is your sensitive, intuitive nature.  It is what some call our “feminine side” mainly because men are taught to not be in touch with and express their emotions openly and caringly. The attributes of humanity that society associates with being in touch with and expressing one’s emotions openly and caringly are stereotypically considered “not masculine” and therefore by default “feminine.” In addition, masculinity is associated with the male body’s procreative capacity to thrust and penetrate and not with the female body’s procreative capacity to open and receive. When we see ourselves as merely bodies, we remain blind to our more expansively authentic nature and fail to grasp the far broader picture of who we really are as spiritual beings engaged in a human experience through our bodies.  As whole, authentic human beings, we are not merely bodies but also spirits, wills, minds and emotions expressed within relationships.

There is a myth afoot in modern society that the aggression associated with masculinity equates to being strong and powerful and that the gentleness associated with femininity equates to being weak and helpless. This myth is so pervasive and persuasive in modern society that women who seek equality with men tend to think that becoming more like stereotypical males brings them greater power.  This tendency to equate stereotypical masculinity with power is based on the false notion that power equals aggression and violence.  It escapes our notice that aggressive behaviors are symptoms of internalized insecurities that aggressors fail to honestly admit and prefer to cover up. Aggressors use aggressive words and behaviors to distract the rest of us from noticing and addressing underlying emotional issues and discourage us from calling their bluffs.  Aggressive men and women are not displaying their power. They are in fact displaying their buried feelings of insecurity, inadequacy and resentment as they use intimidation to silence, confuse and dominate others by shifting their negative emotional energy onto those they seek to control. These negative, crippling emotions are not the energies of a truly powerful, self-confident person of either gender.  Gentleness, tolerance, defenselessness and patience are signs of true power in both genders.

Our gender-neutral capacity for tuning into inner guidance and flowing with its nuanced leadings grows as we nurture our wholeness and learn again to be aware of the full spectrum of our emotions and become comfortable expressing our colorful emotions’ full range.  Our wholeness unfolds like a satellite dish to capture more and more of the signals that wisdom sends to us constantly as guidance.  As we learn to unfold our sensitive antennae and tune ourselves to wisdom’s broadcasts, we’ll find the guidance we seek.  Wisdom wants to give us our heart’s desires.  Our hearts are listening for what wisdom says is ours to do and ours to enjoy.  The harmony between our hearts and wisdom is akin to cooperation between an orchestra and its conductor. The music of our heart is unique to each of us as individuals and yet also plays in harmony with the chorus of life within which we are all valued participants. Our confidence to participate in this chorus grows as we become increasingly aware of our creative capacities and interests that blossom as our wholeness comes online through mutually interactive encouragement within the communities that we serve and benefit.

Wi-Fi is an apt analogy for the capacity of human wholeness to empower each of us to thrive as happy, productive contributors to the welfare of various groups and communities to which we belong.  We are naturally equipped to pick up energy signals wirelessly and to translate them into guidance received in the form of intuition, hunches, gut reactions, day dreaming, sleep time dreams, creative endeavors and selective listening to others.  A writer may receive wisdom as he or she listens within and records to share with others what he or she allows to flow from within while also listening to messages in the environment that resonate with and lift up his or her spirit, heart and mind.  A poet or lyricist may do the same. Composers, painters, dancers, actors, sculptors, ceramicists and other artists and creative thinkers may likewise share with others what they are discovering deep within themselves – especially when encouraged by others through social connections to dig deeper and share abundantly.

As Einstein and others demonstrated, scientific discoveries surface to be shared in a similar manner.  The creative process is natural to all of us because we are created by a Creator who shares the power and dynamics of Creativity with us. The quality of human life as shared within a society or any smaller group of people is determined by the process of inner listening and outward expression. In fact, all relationships are always shaped and energized with meaning and significance based on the voices to which we listen inside. To the extent that we listen to internalized voices of former external authority figures who in turn conformed to former external authority figures generation after generation we participate in a chain of conformity and replicate the past, imitate rather than create, conform rather than transform and cause our destiny to come forth as a repeat of our history.  To the extent that we question and, as wisdom guides, set aside such internalized voices of others who bought into the artificiality of modern society and listen instead to the gentle voice of Wisdom whispering within our hearts, we contribute to the creation of a wiser alternative society on terms of love and truth in which authenticity is honored amid ever strengthening bonds of trust.

Within such a trust-bonded society, we will appreciate and respect rather than judge and condemn each other. We will cooperate with one another to bring peace to troubled waters and dispel clouds of doubt as refreshing breezes of clarity appear in their place. Beyond modern society’s chaotic transition, we are sailing together through storm-tossed seas towards a more highly evolved expression of humanity than our human memories can tell of. It is recorded in our imagination as visions of the brighter, gentler and more promising future our hearts have long desired to share.  Into open hearts wisdom freely flows. Let us open our hearts together and, with persistent playfulness and ceaseless celebration, grow forward into this vision of a better world to come and wholeheartedly welcome our transformed selves as manifestations of that better world.

© Art Nicol 2013