Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Inspiring video

What courageous women these two are. Makes me proud to be a woman. And shows how something inspiring and positive can come out of suffering.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Inspirational Quote

“Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” — Albert Einstein

Monday, 15 August 2011

Priority Shift

My rant about consumerism yesterday focussed on the idea that the world has become driven by power and money. Thinking some more about this I’ve realised that an important distinction needs to be made. Money and power themselves are not bad because they are both a neutral form of energy. It is the way they get used that is the problem.

Money is a fact of our reality, it is our method of exchange and it isn’t going anywhere. We all need some money to survive in the modern world and wanting to prosper is not a bad goal in itself. Where things get sticky is when we start to love money a bit too much. We start to desire money for money’s sake, just to have it. We start to see the accumulation of money as proof of our success and power. We start to view ourselves as superior to those with less money. And we start to believe that we’ll never have enough.

Power is also necessary in the world. We each need our own sense of empowerment if we are to ever see our dreams fulfilled. Without empowerment we lack confidence and we begin to doubt ourselves and our abilities. Without power we can never reach our potential. Power, as a positive attribute, allows us to stand up for ourselves and be treated with respect and love. But when used in the wrong way power can corrupt and devalue others. Power can be used to maintain superiority.

The way I see it, what the world needs now is a shift in priorities. Working to accumulate money is ok. In fact, it is a necessity in today’s world. But perhaps a line needs to be drawn. Just how much money does each person really need to survive? There is enough money in the world to feed us all, and then some. A more equal distribution of wealth would make more sense than what is happening now - some people being absolutely saturated with money while others do not even have enough to buy food.

Our value system needs a shake up. We need to realign ourselves with the desire for personal growth rather than financial growth. We need to choose to experience interconnectedness with all others instead of seeking superiority. We need to remember and live in accordance with the values of joy and love and generosity and compassion. Our work needs to be a way for us to contribute to the greater good, not just a way for us to contribute to our ever expanding bank account!

This quote I found sums it all up –

“Let’s stop loving things and start loving people. That is the measure of true wealth.”

Sunday, 14 August 2011

love this!

Consumer Greed

I want to start this post by saying – I hold my hand up; I’m a consumer just like everyone else. I sometimes buy things I don’t need. The majority of my possessions aren’t necessary for my survival. Without them I would still continue to exist.

But that’s the thing about modern society – merely existing is not enough anymore. We want to thrive. And in today’s world that means owning a lot of ‘stuff’, and having lots of money in the bank. We’ve all become conditioned to see success as financial abundance alone. I fall into the trap – thinking that if I just had that new pair of jeans or that new book or that little bit more money in my account then I’d feel complete and happy. But it never ends – I just keep wanting more and more and more.

I do understand how we got this way. After the First World War and the Depression we wanted to embrace life and create a world where suffering didn’t happen. We wrongly assumed that by increasing our wealth we would in turn increase our power and then no one could hurt us again. Power, it seems, became the driving force.

To this my father would say – humans are animals therefore we will always be competing against one another to secure our place at the top. The fittest survive, that’s the way the animal kingdom works.

And he’s right; we are just animals. But the difference between us and other animals is that somewhere along the line we grew a brain that is capable of awareness. We’re able to view our behaviours and our actions and decide if they work or not. The lion does not consider his behaviour good or bad. He attacks and kills the other animals so he can eat, so he can survive. His motivation is hunger. He has no other choice. He is not able to set up a veggie patch in his backyard and grow his own dinner!

Humans on the other hand have a so called ‘intelligence’ that we’re supposed to use to our advantage. We’re supposed to use it to come together and help one another. We’re supposed to use it to make the world a better place. In many ways, I think we’ve failed. All we seem to care about these days is our own superiority. We’re power–hungry. We’re greedy. We’re selfish. We’re irresponsible. We’re morally corrupt. And we’re a bunch of hypocrites.

I admit when the riots were happening here in London I was angry and scared of the young people running around the streets. I watched them on the news and thought ‘how stupid are these kids. Who do they think they are?’ But slowly I began to realise that I’m part of the problem myself. I’m not helping these kids, trying to make it all better. Instead I’m sitting in my flat judging them, feeling superior to them because I don’t resort to violence to be heard. Don’t get me wrong, I know that violence is never, never the answer. But why is no one addressing why these kids are acting out? Why is no one trying to help them? Why do our governments spend millions on the Olympics (where we once again compete against one another), but very little is spent to help those who really need it? Why is a movie star paid millions more than they need while people are starving in the world? Why do the mega-rich find legal ways to avoid paying taxes? Why are there legal ways to avoid tax in the first place? Why are we so quick to applaud the wealthy and judge the poor? Why have we let money and power become the cornerstone of a successful life?

What has happened to compassion and community?

I don’t know what the answers are, but I know we must start to admit the part we all play in creating this type of world. It is not just someone else’s fault, it’s not just the politicians fault, it’s not just the wealthy person’s fault, it’s not just the uneducated or unemployed person’s fault. It’s my fault and it’s your fault. For as long as we continue to mindlessly consume, to go after more wealth and more power, to ignore the harsh realities of the world we created, then we’re all to blame.

We need to change now, no matter how much it scares us to give up our comforts or our time in an effort to break out of this money-driven mentality. Because you know what is a hell of a lot more frightening than change? - what will happen to our beautiful Earth if we continue like this.