Friday, April 12, 2013

The peace that passes all understanding...

is living in the present moment.
I finally did something fulfilling today -- I watched a webcast of Eckhart Tolle and Oprah discussing 'A New Earth'.  I've been watching these off and on for a while now and it was definitely time for a review.

Eventhough I have the knowledge, I am still ruled by my ego.  I focus way too much on the future, hoping that it will bring me some kind of fulfillment.  When all I really have is the now.  The future as I know it is just what I want it to be.  And when it's not, I am disappointed.  So many good take-aways in this webcast worth noting.

Here's another -- I've noticed that acceptance feels really good.  There's a certain peace that comes with letting go and just accepting what is, rather than clinging to what you want it to be.  It can be difficult to not resist, but when you finally do it's liberating.  The ego always wants to compare itself to others.  When I'm feeling superior or inferior to someone else, I am being ruled by my ego.  These are great reminders because I do find myself doing this.  Another sign is feeling threatened when someone challenges my opinion.  It's just an opinion, it's not who I am.

Same things goes with being tied to things.  When I lose or break things, I sometimes get upset.  They are just things, they are not who I am.  Instead of accumulating things, try appreciating them for what they are and walking away, such as window shopping.  Wanting more is another sign of the ego because the ego is never satisfied.  I lived that one just today when I realized that something I so desperately wanted had lost its novelty already and made not one ioda of difference in my life.  Again, it's striving for some future state instead of just being happy with what you have and what you are in the present moment.

How about being tied to our identity, such as youth and beauty.  External beauty fades for all life forms.  It is our destiny.  Accepting that is powerful.  The irony is thick, because I am living that now.  But a good reminder is to not put that on my daughter.  I don't want her growing up thinking that who she is is 'pretty'.  She most certainly is, but pretty fades.  She's way more than that.  Last one is labelling things instead of experiencing their aliveness.  This is easy to do -- we treat others according to their role, or according to our own perceptions of who they are instead of just experiencing who they are in that moment.  I'm feeling really good about all this.  I hope it sticks.  I'll keep blogging about it and re-reading it until it does!

Reverse Discrimination

I've always felt that when I'm discussing an important social issue and someone brings up reverse discrimination, it completely takes the wind out of my sails.  Rather than get to the heart of an issue and try to make sense of an injustice, I feel like the conversation has been taken off the rails and I'm being forced to give credence to an irrelevant view point.  I used to think I was the only one who felt this way, until I read this excellent article today:
The article pokes holes at the notion of 'reverse sexism' and bigotry against men stating that since bigotry is defined as perpetuating a stereotype that reinforces the imbalance of power and the balance of power is not with women, there is no such thing as reverse sexism.  I couldn't agree more. 
For me it's these kinds of claims that take away from the important issues that need to change.
I'd like to highlight some of the key points for my own sake -- helps the message sink in:

  • talking out loud about stigmatized issues, expressing anger and frustration is a good thing -- it's where change beings
  • getting mad at the root causes such as male patriarchy and male privledge does not mean getting mad at you (men) personally
  • sometimes there's a lot of fear and hurt and anger that are brought to these conversations and it's not particularly welcoming for men
  • it's not bigotry, it's a reaction against years of being diminished
  • if I'm on the power side of the equation and want to engage in a conversation to effect change by being an ally, I have to own up to the structural inequalities that exist.  We need to be able to hear the ways in which those inequalities have hurt other people, even if the stories are ugly and make us uncomfortable and we want reassurance that the ugliness isn’t our fault.  It's not the job of the oppressed to make us feel better.
  • recognizing and challenging those generalities in our own actions is the way to change and to eventually make the generalities disappear