redcairo

Obligations of Life?

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When I was young, I thought I was obligated to watch the news and be 'involved' in everything, local and global, to whatever degree. Like it was a responsibility of every human. My heart bled for everything and everyone, everywhere. Save the whales. You name it. I was a vegetarian for awhile because I love animals so damn much. Wrecked my health for awhile since I lived on nothing but grains and dairy, possibly the two worst ingestible-entertainment substances for my body (I have since spared myself grains but still ingest dairy). I watched the news whenever I could and read the paper and really felt like I was 'involved.'

.Then I went through a stage feeling that was all indoctrination and in fact nobody was obligated to do anything except pay taxes and die, and the first was a debate and the second at least one could hope was far away.

Then after too-close exposure to the... inherent qualities of mainstream news, the founding and operation of the AMA and FDA and their histories, more study of organized religion, I was so demoralized I didn't want to be part of anything at all because I felt we were all just powerless cannon fodder at the mercy of evil, or machiavellian greed that might as well amount to that.

Over the course of life my feelings have changed about this "involvement in the world around me" many times. I recall reading A Course in Miracles a million years ago and going through stages with it. For awhile it was magical. And then it was horrible. Everything was fake. Nothing mattered! back and forth.

Eventually I got caught up in my own life and attempt to reparent myself, remake the messy outcome of an unhappy youth and become something akin to what I wanted to be instead of the seemingly accidental and not very pleasant result that had occurred prior to self-intervention.

And life has a way of keeping you very busy and distracted for a long time if you let it.

*

Once in a meditation, in another world, I was observing a small army troop (this was world development about equal to ours maybe 1000 AD or so), and they were corrupt and were planning to go to a ranch house nearby, kill the people, take their food and horses. I wanted to stop that, but what could I do against a bunch of men, and I was frustrated, and so (sitting in a tree above them) I thought grumpily at a guide inside me, I can't do anything. This is none of my business anyway. And he said, "It is always your business when this kind of thing is in your immediate reality." So I had to try and come up with something to change that probability.

But the comment stuck with me. If we are responsible for cocreating our reality experiences, then it's a given that if it's in our face, it's reflecting us in some fashion, and hence becomes "our business." It's not my business if the guy down the street gets mugged some night while on the town, at least unless I 'choose' to make it so, but it is if it's happening in front of me.

The advent of media intrusion into our lives, makes everything happening right in front of us.

At any given moment we could 'curate' the info around us and the primary focus would be the extinction of rare species or something. As opposed to what we focus on now, which mostly depends on what we do for news and entertainment -- and of course, what we 'think about.'

Is there really an obligation? People are dying everywhere. There is injustice and war all over. At any moment, whatever it is we're up in arms about, thIat's one of at least 100 things of equal worth that we're just not hearing about or focusing on, it's not as shiny in the moment. And there's also good and beautiful things that we're unlikely to hear about because apparently good stuff is not nearly as inspiring... misery loves company, or something.

I've known people really 'into' a subject that is local, like 4H or something they owned a business for, or their church, and their whole life centered around that info. They didn't need to focus on anything else, there's only so much time in a life and theirs was filled. What was their obligation? Was it fair to obsess on 4-H when, oh I dunno, the soup kitchen on the other side of town was closing for lack of volunteers, or a grave injustice was being carried out because citizens were inured or ignorant about something going on with city council or the police, or -- check one anything.

What IS a person's obligation -- spiritually, and as a citizen, and do those differ?

I feel obligated to put kids first, veterans first, but is that really fair to the average 35 year old guy who also needs life saving or needs a job? Is that a biological obligation, survival obligation, cultural obligation, citizenry obligation, or is there any such thing?

When I say obligation I don't mean that in the government way where someone forces you to do something. I mean it in the more wholistic way where you are moved to do something because it is, even if indirectly, a part of you and that feels appropriate.

I don't separate the physical, psyche and spiritual much, because my particular road is a big blend of vivid spontaneous and intentional and light, sometimes it's another world entirely and sometimes, it's all about suddenly understanding why the doorknob to my closet and my kid's bedroom are both having issues and how it pertains to the energy in me.

But lately I am wondering, if media makes something "in my life" then does that create a sort of spiritual obligation? In other words, if we're going to "attach ourselves" to what is going on in... oh, France, say... do we do both ourselves and France a disservice by NOT 'becoming involved actively' in some fashion? Is there subtly an effect on the 'the target of our attention' by our focus, which if we're going to be passive, is more harm than help?

If we cannot change what happens in some ways, should we avoid the topic?

And is it some statement of projection if we choose to care more about what is happening in Syria or France than what is happening across town at the soup kitchen or whatever?

These are the things I've been thinking about lately.

RC
 

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Call it lazy self-interest, but I`m not a big believer in obligations.  Particularly obligations to be involved in social causes.  There`s only so much a person can do in life, and, while it`s noble to want to improve the world, I think we`re entitled to choose a focus.  People can contribute by making music or painting pictures or hosting backyard barbeques.  People can design beautiful gardens that delight passersby or make a lot of money and give a good portion away to save malnourished babies in Africa.  There`s no end to the possibilities.  My particular talent is intuiting what people really want to do with their lives, and encouraging them to do it.  It doesn`t pay very well, but it`s a small way of contributing to the planet and seems worthy enough to me.

 

We can drive ourselves crazy worrying about the state of the world, the gazillion things that have gone wrong or are about to, things that we likely can`t do a darn thing to fix.  (Unless, of course, prayer helps -- and maybe it does.)  We drive ourselves crazy, and then we`re all worked up and no good to anybody.  We`re just a bundle of nerves compulsively watching the news and waiting for the end of the world.

 

Then again, sometimes we hear about something gone wrong and we can get involved, and our involvement can actually help.  I think the key here is to work from the inside out.  Most people try to go about things the other way: trying to create peace in the world, for instance, before they`ve created peace within their own bodyminds. One of my favorite Paul Reps quotes speaks to this issue.

 

http://www.paulreps.net/images/PicturePoems/DrinkingTeaL.gif

 

or even more to the point, this one (also by Paul Reps)...

2q9e5g9.png

Edited by liminal_luke
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The world is too much with us.  Modern news is a distillation of all the bad things happening in our town and our world. 

 

Too much news, creates impotence.  A feeling of powerlessness.  Being at peace, centered, then doing something that helps another is.. the opposite.  We should be practicing more then reading (or writing) about practice.  We should be helping others, more then reading about problems across the world. 

 

Do what you can do, where you are.  A great man once said 'Making a cup of tea, I stop the war'. 

 

Karma yoga, turn off the news and volunteer to help others, or just look for opportunities during the day to brighten other peoples lives.  We're not superheros, but being good people is enough. 

 

I find Gratitude and Generosity are essential in this world, but easy to forget about in day to day life.  Be grateful, give thanks; appreciate what you have- from not being in pain, to having enough to eat and all in between.  Often the best expression of gratitude is passing it on, being generous, even when its a smile or going a little out of the way to help another.  Being Generous we build a better world, being grateful, we stop to enjoy it. 

 

And Red Cairo, that includes being good to yourself. 

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Obligation in life,are best when there is a personal connection either with your family or your community.

 

It is easy to not get involved,but we do get involved when it matters,using the example.(used it before apologies)

 

The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe had sought the removal of the two dams since they were built. One hundred years later the elwha river was freed of the two dams.

Despite not being involved it is not hard to imagine,when objecting to renew dam lisense in 1968,there frustration disillusionment.

From disempowerment to 2011 success helping to return of the salmon.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elwha_Ecosystem_Restoration

 

Modern communication allow us to see the world as it happens,it is really incredible.

Can we personally help everyone?,not directly.

We can get involved in things that matter to us or our local community,often through community services paid for by you the tax payer,or directly as volunteer with habitat restoration planting native flora.

 

And changes do happen,imperfect,impermanent as we are.

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I used to obsess over all the things I should be doing to improve the world and others...

sometimes I still do.

 

I'm still trying to heal and let go of the man in NYC who was choked to death for selling cigarettes on the street.

and there have been over 50+ more pointless murders since then...

 

the cascade of external sources for joy and despair are endless

 

focusing here in life, drove me to suicidal impotence and despair on more than one occasion...

thankfully this despair caused a shut down and an internal exhaustion which triggered an instinctual shift

that resulted in me to looking within for the cause of such suffering

 

when I turned within, when I was so thoroughly exhausted and no longer seeking anything anywhere something happened

 

clarity, emptiness, light... there was a light abiding inside... underneath all the noise of seeking and judging

 

I cultivated this light and now I realize that the real work, the only work for me, is to stop obsessing on and seeking what is wrong with everyone else

 

and work on healing my self.

 

If someone, or something else can be the cause of my suffering or joy, of my lack of contentment and cultivation...

then I am truly a slave.

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"If someone or something else can be the cause of my suffering or joy, .... then I am truly a slave.

 

In my opinion we are all enslaved to one degree or another, be it from the need for external validation, or connection to some one some thing (s) larger than we are. We are connected to each other, and our nature reflects that connection (s). 

 

No man is an island...

 

Because I am involved in mankind,

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well said.

 

I find any notion of independence absurd in the extreme.

 

resoundingly and completely absurd...

 

independence is to me, a concept of illusion created from the very fabric of the delusion of separation

a concept that is as unreal as it is inhibiting...

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I used to go camping 'by myself' to be 'alone'...

 

one time, about four days into my alone experience, I realized I was absolutely saturated in company.

ants, birds, shrubs, grass, stones, trees, mountain lions

 

I started laughing so hard, I could hardly catch breath...

tears of joyful laughter saturating my face...

 

I would have looked like a dirty insane man had there been any humans nearby...

what I was really seeking was a bit of quiet from the noises of man and the presence of human energy fields

 

I was never alone, even when I felt isolated.  potent realization that...

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When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,

A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.

And all the birds in the trees, well they'd be singing so happily,

Joyfully, playfully watching me.

But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible,

Logical, responsible, practical.

And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,

Clinical, intellectual, cynical.

 

There are times when all the world's asleep,

The questions run too deep

For such a simple man.

Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned

I know it sounds absurd

But please tell me who I am.

 

-Supertramp

 

 

We create our own obligations. Those we create with people dependent on us should be taken seriously. Well, all of them should be but damage done to those truly need us weighs heavily. Thing is, it can be hard to tell.

 

Here's the thing -- all of it matters but, at the same time, none of it does. When this no longer seems nonsensical, when this seems simultaneously unreal and the most real thing that you've ever encountered, when the juxtaposition makes you laugh with tears streaming down your cheeks, you are on the right track. Until then, take other people more seriously and yourself less.

 

Of course, what do I know???

 

Have you seen my picture?

<---

 

EDIT: I probably should have mentioned, though it is of little consequence until after the fact, that we have one other obligation which is also self-imposed -- that is to figure out what it is we intended to figure out during this life. Few of us do, and it is an obligation without negative consequences -- and one which only makes sense after it has been satisfied, so talking about it is kinda silly. <shrug>

Edited by Brian
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We create our own obligations. Those we create with people dependent on us should be taken seriously. Well, all of them should be but damage done to those truly need us weighs heavily. Thing is, it can be hard to tell.

 

Here's the thing -- all of it matters but, at the same time, none of it does. When this no longer seems nonsensical, when this seems simultaneously unreal and the most real thing that you've ever encountered, when the juxtaposition makes you laugh with tears streaming down your cheeks, you are on the right track. Until then, take other people more seriously and yourself less.

 

 

Sometimes I think I spend too much time on Daobums.  That it`s a sinkhole of negativity and useless bickering.  And then a post like this comes along, the kind of knock-you-on-the-side-of-the-head wisdom that makes me realize this place is alright.

 

So anyway -- thanks!

 

LL

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I find refuge "Up on the roof"  or in the boughs of a tree.

And yes from time to time at the Daobums.

Something about "That which does not kill me..."

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Sorry to necro, but Brian I couldn't quite understand this quote of yours.

 

Quote

Until then, take other people more seriously and yourself less

 

Actually I find that I do the opposite. Intuitively it makes sense to take myself less seriously, but i'm having hard time applying it because hey, if I don't take myself and my life seriously, who will?  

 

Thanks in advance

GL

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Yes, we should take ourself seriously when appropriate.  But then, we shouldn't take life too seriously.  Our individual life is just one of the un-numbered processes in the universe.  

 

The coming and going of all things.

 

Edited by Marblehead
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9 hours ago, Goldleaf said:

Actually I find that I do the opposite. Intuitively it makes sense to take myself less seriously, but i'm having hard time applying it because hey, if I don't take myself and my life seriously, who will?  

 

Thanks in advance

GL

Plenty of folks will take you seriously if they see genuine compassion for others in action. Taking ourselves too seriously makes us self-absorbed ego maniacs. Maybe not to that extreme, but you get what I mean? ;)

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Maybe the long version is- take your desires and opinions less seriously.  No need for the dramas and ping ponging between happy and sad depending on outcomes in an uncertain world. 

 

 

Occasionally I'll work with the paradigm 'Take your dreams seriously and consider your life as dream'.  Which I take to me look for meaning and direction from your dreams, honor them by taking action according to your interpretation.  Lifewise it means looking at life happenings symbolically, as if you're just a character floating through the story, enjoy the show and look for the archetypes and hidden meanings. 

 

You can only such saying so far, but it's nice to change up ones point of view every now and then. 

 

 

Edited by thelerner
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