I've always liked riddles and in my teens was introduced to the Zen variety when an older brother asked me to figure out, "What is the difference between a duck?". The latest one I've come across is "The last one out opens the door!" They don't make sense at first look, and they are not supposed to. They are geared at making us think. You can try and figure the first one out for yourself. I'll give you my understanding of the second one.
We are all in this together. We all believe that we are separate from each other. As long as anyone continues to believe in separation then we are all kept separate. Even though I believe that we are all one, and you may believe that we are all one, we still have to wait for the last person to give up their belief in separation. So, the last one out of separation opens the door to all of us becoming one again.
There are many ways of looking at the world. We can see it as a hell on earth. We can see it as a large biosphere floating through space. We can see it as totally neutral. We can even look at it as a school. Singer songwriter Paul Brady may have got it right when he sang, "The world is what you make it, baby."
The idea that the world is a school leads to the common belief that we will always be learning. That we are here to learn our lessons, and if we don't learn them all in this life, then we will come back again and again until we do. This is not necessarily true. If we could live our lives in complete peace and happiness, then our learning would be over and we'd have no need of school anymore.
We are all making decisions all the time. Some of us are aware of this and are conscious decision makers, others go along with the flow and allow others to make our decisions for us. But, allowing someone else to make them for us is also a decision.
When we believe everything that the Media tells us we are allowing them to determine the way we look at the world. We are handing over our power to decide for ourselves to them, even though they may not have our best interests at heart. The view of the world that is portrayed is very bleak and that of the future is even bleaker.
Whatever the future may hold there is one thing for certain, the way we look at the world will end whenever we decide to change our thinking about what it is and, most importantly, what we are. For most of my life I believed that I was a body, limited to its range of perception. I now know that we have an infinite range of perception and the only thing limiting me is my thinking.
When we were in school the teacher always asked the questions and was always looking for the right answer. This makes us believe that there is only one right answer to any question, and once we get the answer we stop looking for any other. Fortunately (and sometimes unfortunately) for me, I did not go along with this and began to look for answers other than the orthodox ones.
This has led me on a merry dance of research and exploration for the past fifty years. In retrospect it has all been to do with our minds, how they work and how we get deluded about ourselves. In 1996, I started working with "A Course in Miracles" (ACIM) and it has been the biggest influence in my life, mainly because it gave me a thought system that made sense of all the others. I have been studying it for the last fifteen years and am currently on my second go round of the lessons. The reason it has taken me so long is that I am loyal and stubborn and had great difficulty letting some of my crazy belief's go.
We are all teachers. We teach what we have learned. We are always sending messages to those around us. At a body based level these messages take the form of words and gestures. Our body language tells people what we are thinking much more reliably than what we are saying, and most of the time we are not aware of, or in control of it.
We are all searching for something. We seek new things. We become attached to our possessions. Take a look around at all the things you have got. This is your investment. We are very reluctant to give it up. Don't worry, I'm not going to ask you to leave them all behind. We have a much bigger investment in our thought system. This we have been investing in since we were one month old. And this one is nearly impossible to let go. But ask yourself what is the return on your investment?
Back in the 60's McGregor and others proposed a management theory called Theory X Theory Y that proposed two different views of people at work. This was based on Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
In Theory X, people are assumed to be inherently lazy, dislike work and will avoid it if they can. As a result of this, we have to be closely supervised and comprehensive systems of controls developed. A hierarchical structure is needed with narrow span of control at each and every level.
In Theory Y, people are assumed to be ambitious, self-motivated and exercise self-control. We enjoy our mental and physical work duties and regard work as natural as play. We possess the ability for creative problem solving, we seek out and accept responsibility and exercise self-control and self-direction in achieving goals to which we are committed.
During training, managers were asked which theory they would like applied to them, most went with Theory Y. When asked which theory they applied in their work-place, most went with Theory X. I fully embraced Theory Y and used it in all my management roles. The thing that amazed me most was how difficult it was to convince the people working for me to adapt Theory Y. It was like Theory X was ingrained in them.
At the time I was working in a very specialised area and was very insular in my views. I though that a management theory applied only at work. As the years rolled on, I began to take a more generalised view and realised that Theory X Theory Y applied to the world. But nobody used these terms and anytime I brought them up in casual conversation, people looked at me as if I had two heads. So now instead of talking Theory X I say "fear" and instead of Theory Y I say "Love". (I've capitalised Love, which is general, to differentiate it from the special state we refer to as 'in love')
It is apparently simplistic to think of everyone in the world living their lives based either on fear or on Love. But it depends on how we look at it. They are mutually exclusive, we cannot be in both states at the same time. If we are in Love we cannot be in fear. If we are in fear we cannot be in Love. We can switch from one to the other and I'm proposing that we spend more and more time in Love and less and less in fear.
In "A Course in Miracles" lessons 128-132 define three mind states: a world based on fear, a world based on Love, and Heaven. The fear and Love states we can talk about, but Heaven can only be experienced. Heaven can be hinted at and we can even get instructions on how to achieve it, but, ultimately each of us finds it in our own way.
In the lessons the first two states are described as 'this world' and 'the world beyond'. And to have any chance of gaining the Heaven experience we have to move out of 'this world' and start embracing 'the world beyond'.
Beyond fear, there is Love.
Beyond darkness, there is Light.
Beyond death, there is Life.
Beyond conflict, there is Peace.
Beyond misery, there is Joy.
Beyond illusion, there is Truth.
Beyond control, there is Power.
Beyond weakness, there is Strength.
Beyond danger, we are Safe,
Beyond slavery, we are Free.
Beyond bounds, we are Open.
Beyond evil, we are Holy.
Exercise: World View
What is your view of the world? What do you see happening in the world? What do you think is going on?
1. Media refers to any form of communication other than personal experience, and includes television, newspapers, internet and gossip.
2. This blog could be filled with links to sites that I have found useful. I prefer to let you make your own choices. If you don't understand a word or an idea, enter it in your search engine and then decide which sites you want to look at.