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Archive for January, 2016

Authentic Connection in the Tech Age

Years ago, as a devoted seeker, I would go to regular Truth gatherings. These meetings were set up as ‘suggested donation’.  One day, a member of the the volunteer staff, who knew just about everyone who came, watched people as they entered and passed by the donation station at the entrance. He found that in a high percentage of cases,  those that had very little monetary wealth, the individuals living on the fringe and barely getting by, paid the full donation suggested or even more.  Those persons that owned their own homes, worked at high paying corporate jobs, or who had inherited a lot of money often passed the donation table and gave less than suggested or left no money at all!

This revealing observation mirrors the story of Jesus and the rich man who was told by Christ to ‘give up everything and follow me’–and the rich man, in shock, responded:

“Give up all I have earned and all my father has earned!” His monetary wealth was valued more highly than the deepest spiritual truth. He was looking for a new possession. The rich man turned and walked away with his caravan of slaves and concubines. Christ then looked at this devotees and said:

“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

In one moment all your monetary wealth can be wiped out and in the next your health taken from you no matter how many financial resources you own. Deep down no one can deny this truth.

We live in a culture that values technology, possessions, and things- much more than intimate connection with our fellow humans. Technology for all its practical benefits of quicker access and ease of movement place to place, has usurped our connection to the natural world, our emotions, and our deepest Self, God, Supreme Being or Pure Consciousness.

And like money, body dis-ease is another area where powerful attachment dwells and authentic intimacy easily replaced. Serious Illness propels one into the greatest fear: Death and Dying

As the spiritual teacher Robert Adams once said:

“Most of us perhaps are able to overcome certain fears but when it comes to leaving your body nearly everyone, no matter how enlightened you think you are, starts to worry about this. When you’re able to run around the world and do what you want you never think of death. You never think of dying. You don’t want to talk about these things. You say, “When I get older I’ll be ready to discuss it.” Yet if you don’t work it out now when you’re ready to go you will have total fear in every iota of your being.”

During the last 5 months I have been undergoing what I refer (in lieu of ‘dis-ease’ or ‘chronic illness’) as a ‘health regulation process’ or sometimes, playfully:  ‘perpetual renewal adventure’.  A deep vulnerability and humility pushed through as the primal existential fear of death continued to unwind within.

I wrote an email to about 25 friends and family members asking for HELP–in whatever way they could. The cascade of energies, mostly beneficial, compassionate and kind are still reverberating.

A few friends instantly sent money. One sent out a long email to the group, including equal parts, deep embodied spirituality while educating people about my condition. Others, right away, sent emails expressing kindness and compassion. A few more of friends sent out interesting ideas for fundraising, recommended health practitioners, suggested healing devices, one family member sent a two page email showing me how to get state disability and food stamps, another urged me to ‘find a low cost doctor to review my blood work’.  Only two people called. The rest of the correspondence stayed on the email screen.

Back and forth we danced emails with each other. I suppose if I still had a cell phone, I would have gotten a bunch of text messages. The landline phone, which has replaced my cell phone (for health reasons) is mostly an obsolete tool rarely used at all anymore.  Skype, a step towards more intimacy, is used even less. To meet face to face is an awkward adventure akin to a first date for many in today’s world. The young people in our modern age grew up with a tech toy replacing their first pacifier. The older group has now been relentlessly indoctrinated with the latest technological advances. Applications now express kindness and compassion for us. They are intermediaries, buffering agents, registering our anger, shock, horror and essentially performing as surrogate parents, friends and teachers. Robotic gadgets and computers have taken charge of every aspect of our lives.

I admit to using the tech tools too; I am using them now–my laptop computer! The truth is, I much prefer human touch and am nurtured by direct, face-to-face human contact. I truly enjoy having real connection with people, especially individuals interested in living more consciously, those who are earnestly attuned to the indwelling spirit and less interested appearances and things.

Sadly, tech devices, even when not in use, are standby agents, offering us a readily available escape from uncomfortable feeling states. These devices impede real human connection in the guise of practical necessity.

I do not miss my cell phone one iota. Sure there may be a day, with dwindling phone booths around, when my car breaks down and I long for a cell phone but I will savor that as an opportunity to connect face to face with someone.

I love living in the country, where the trees are still one moment and the next- bursting with life as a strong breeze bends their branches to near horizontal while the sound of rain pelts against the roof. The animals frolic and fly in and out of the meadow. I spend as much time as possible in nature, both inner and outer, contemplating reality and observing the natural way. This simplistic way of living can make me appear boring and lazy or blissful and at ease depending on the viewpoint.

We are living in a fragile time; massive transformation is at hand.  A new paradigm of living is upon us. We are being forced to help one another or become even more fiercely egocentric in our ways.

 

What kind of world do you want to live in?

a) One where we begin to turn to each other as our Self and help one another as brothers and sisters, sharing our gifts freely and getting what we need, while giving what we can.

OR

b) Become even more fiercely egocentric, narrowing our definition of family down to a small biologically-centered group of 3-5 people and turning to robotic devices in place of heart to heart sharing.

Grace…

Whether one is experiencing the greatest joy or most painful circumstance, it is all grace.

To realize the grace underlying Reality, we must understand that the Universe is our own reflection. The Universe and all its contents are contained within Consciousness. As we slip out of the conditioned role of playing a person and fall back into our True Identity, life simply unfolds Itself.

From the Absolute vantage point, there is no drama, story, chaos or confusion. It is so simple to see things as they really are. The mind cannot grasp it, so one begins to witness the appearance and disappearance of mind. Soon we stop paying attention to: concepts, ideas, thoughts, beliefs and stories. We must do this over and over again until we are convinced, with Absolute Certainty, about what we really are.

Until that moment of utter conviction, we appear to have gains and losses, troubles and ecstasies. We must persevere and endure these periods, where it feels as if we are lost in the dream world of mind’s creation. Any moment we can see the truth and disassociate from the thinking process.

Eventually we come to full conviction and are imprisoned in Reality. Everything we see is part of that all-pervading Self. It does not matter what name we give to that Ultimate Reality. Trust in That!

 

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