A Vision for a Better World

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These are times in which many people feel harried and overwhelmed. We are in a world torqued by division and judgment, where so many so often feel weak, or sad, or angry, or helpless. It’s almost a tragedy that our distracted attention and impatience mean that many times we cannot engage with some of the most meaningful experiences in life.

While it may seem to be totally unlikely for most readers, Esquire’s brilliant 2017 piece on Mr. Rogers invites us to have such an experience. At a time when life feels short, and fast, and harsh, and superficial, Tom Junod introduces us to the depth of a man who is impossibly patient, kind, loving and strong.

In almost every way Fred McFeely Rogers and I could not be more different people. Where he is a minister, with a wife and family, in a cardigan, on a kid’s show; I am single man whose passions have played out by racing cars, playing in blues or jazz bands, and by intellectualizing or philosophizing about science, business and the modern world.

I cannot help but look at Mr. Rogers with awe and humility. If he is a caress, I am a straight-razor.

Despite those differences, there is one key way in which I feel that Mr. Rogers and I are essentially identical: our vision. There is, after all, a central, fundamental truth to all human beings. While we may all have our differences and our unique qualities, in a way far too beautiful for me to capture in words, it is as though everyone and everything on Earth shares a single soul.

It is as though a single source of glorious light is coming from every direction. And in that light a truth exists; a kind of knowledge that is at the source of everything. In Fred Rogers words, or in his reactions to any person, he is always responding to that central truth.

Mr. Rogers does not look at a troubled toddler threateningly waving a sword as being an angry, unapproachable person –he sees a child; worried and afraid; a soul who seeks to return to love and who requires comforting. This is the gift of vision; to see the truth behind the ego’s facade.

All of us know the wonderful feeling we get when are able to do something of value for someone we care a great deal about. Now imagine doing something like that for a person who is a hero to you –someone you love and respect more than any other person in the world. Then imagine that everyone you meet feels like that person.

People doubt or wonder how I can say that I can love everyone the moment I meet them. And I realize that can seem strange or unlikely until you consider this: what’s strange isn’t my reaction, it’s people’s inability to see how incredible and worthy of love they truly are. It’s not my or Mr. Roger’s vision or sense of others that is special –it’s all of you.

I do not think as others think, so I cannot maintain the shroud of thought that others so commonly use to darken their spirits. While others question why the comforting light of our shared soul has passed them over, I see only beauty, strength, genius and grace.

If you would like to see this fractured world as this single, beautiful, glowing reality, may I recommend an exercise? Today I would like you to do me a personal favour:

I want you to choose someone today who you deeply admire –someone who inspires you to show them the sort of appreciation and patience that can only be made present by love. I would like you to show them kindness. Express your deep affection and respect, and be profoundly generous with the faith you place in them. And as one final, additional favour to me, I would like that person to be you.

I may be nothing like Mr. Rogers. You may be nothing like me. But this I know: we are all born from the same source. The light we see in others is the same light that shines within us. So as you would look upon the person most beloved to you, cast that vision upon yourself, unclouded by a veil of thought. It is only then, in that sacred silence, that will you get a glimpse of what Fred Rogers and I see when we behold the glory that is you.

peace. s

Mindful Being

I want to clear up some potential confusion. I want to make it clear that there are many stages to becoming the kind of healthy that everyone intuitively wants to be. If you’re busy thinking me-based thoughts about what you’re missing or what you need, then yes—thinking more positive and constructive thoughts will elevate your consciousness, but don’t lose sight of the ultimate objective—which is to go beyond thinking into being. So good thoughts are better than bad thoughts and no thoughts is best of all.

633 Relax and Succeed - You don't think your way intoThe next question is usually about how to stop thinking? Again, that’s easier once you’re conscious—once you’ve become aware of your thinking by learning to steer it toward whichever feelings you find the most rewarding. As you redirect those thoughts you’ll come to recognize that they exist in patterns. And as you add a touch of patience and understanding to the mix then you always come to the same conclusion: you forgive people for whatever happened. But eventually you realize that—if you’re going to do that—then you didn’t have to actually process all those thought-details, you could have just skipped it and shrugged, truly knowing from experience that there is no reason to think those thoughts. They are truly meaningless thoughts and once that is understood you simply stop. As I’ve said before, you’re in control of you. You don’t go into restaurants and order food you don’t like.

So the first thing that happens when you’re more conscious is that the words start to make less sense and you start to be more interested in steering your feelings rather than judging ideas. But the next step is where you go into the world. This is wonderful thing to do and it’s why people like me are constantly in wonder and why we can’t believe how beautiful the universe is. Mathematicians see the magic and beauty of a formula. Engineers see the elegance and confidence in a structure. Grade One teachers see achievement and potential in every student. Computer Programmers see elegant and artful coding, and many people can see the beauty and meaning behind a lot of work by designers or artists. But once your thinking quiets it’s like you can see all of these other kinds of beauty. You can see the elegance of a formula that can get a microwave-sized space ship to travel to Mars so predictably, through that sense that the 633 Relax and Succeed - Zen is not some kind of excitementuniverse makes. We can see the beauty of a formula that makes that rocket successful. But we can also love children and flowers and airplanes and sky and and and and.

Drop all the words and get into life. Feel the weight of your coffee cup. When you take off your jacket, really feel what you’re body is doing. Feel your hands slide against the inside of the sleeves—feel the experience more fully. Don’t think while you do something. Just do the thing. Fully and completely. No busy thoughts about other things, just move toward the peace and harmony that exists when you join with something. For instance, if you’re reasonably stable, then doing this will ensure you never spill anything again. Because being truly mindful means that you’re aware of how you relate to the world, rather than seeing the world as relating to you. And that’s when you start having realizations like—if you think about your coffee cup as having the weight in the bottom of the cup rather than on the surface of the coffee, then suddenly you simply let gravity do its thing and you start working with the universe and nothing gets spilled.

You can do this with all kinds of things. You’ll know when you’re becoming more mindful because you will start having a lot of insights about the world. One I’ve written about before that I remember having was when I was quiet-minded, stirring some hot chocolate when I was about nine or ten years old, and I realized that the tone of the clinking against the glass was changing as the chocolate milk powder slowly dissolved. And then I heard the tone level off to one particular note, and that told me I had either saturated the liquid or I had dissolved all of the particles. So from then on I always knew when to stop stirring and when to keep going. That’s how being mindful can help you. Better driving, less silly mistakes or losing things, 633 Relax and Succeed - One word of explanationfewer things are dropped and spilled as has happened to many clients—you can finally catch things that are thrown to you. 🙂

Get into your life. Immerse yourself in the world itself. Get out of your useless personal thinking and into the universe. Become a part of it. Cooperate. Don’t talk about it, be within it. Just let go of the words that tell you the stories and slowly replace them with weights and temperatures and angles and other awarenesses. This leads to patience and understanding and that’s when you not-spilling really ends and your being in the universe truly begins. It’s that is an experience worth having. I’ll make sure to keep an eye out for you out there. Have yourself a spectacular day.

peace. s