Reconciling Disparities

There are a couple of things sitting on my brain today. Most of them are directly about my brain. My brain is in serious question right now.

There are a number of things, very personal things, I am going to share with you today. Some of them may be uncomfortable truths, that you might share, but have not confronted. I am trying to confront my uncomfortable truths.

Part of this line of thought began with the viewing of this video by Dr. Amit Sood. It is about how to have a happier brain.

I like to walk to clear my head. You have heard many people say that, but I really, really walk to clear my head. I try and get a handle on the shit rolling around inside it, and then I try to bang one side of my head really hard to knock the crap out of the opposite ear. So as I am walking, it is treated as a meditation. The process begins by searching, as I am walking for a more relaxed gait. But with all meditation, the realization that the head never stops becomes acutely apparent. So the relaxation needs to expand to the head. And here is where the uncomfortable repetition of nonsense goes around over and over again like your laundry on an eternal spin cycle.

The fact that these thoughts have an emotional component is just another truth that reveals itself.

This has been a difficult year for me and my family. We are in the midst of serious paradigm shifts in the way we live, and money is always a difficulty. The work that I have done for the past 20 years also seems to going bye bye. We are living on fumes. It is not helped by the fact that there seems to be pockets of people just having a grand ole time while my wife and I try to figure out how to get on with our lives. So I begin to question whether the reality being painted in my imagination, needs to be supplanted by one of acceptance and tolerance. And this is where bearing my own contradictions are revealed.

As I am walking down one of the local strips here in Ditmas Park, I overhear some well fed white couple saying something about the housing that strikes me as completely naive and entitled. And the first thought that pops into my brain, in the midst of searching for this “acceptance and tolerance” is, “We really need a fucking virus to kill off all these fucking bastards. Really.” and as this thought manifested itself, I was faced with the contradiction of it. Then my mind went off on an evaluation of racism, classism, economic disparity etc. And I began to have a few insights as to why the world is locked in a downward pattern.

The thoughts of a hungry man are very different than one who is well fed. As Stephan Colbert once said “There is no hunger in the world, because I just ate!”

In the face of these truths, how can we expect anything to change. We know many things about the world.: climate change is real, and if at the very least you do not believe that, the impact of man on the planet is undeniable—with all the garbage on the streets, do we have any doubts of the impact of our consumerism? We know that air quality is bad and needs to be improved, but people now drive and buy cars more than ever. I can keep citing examples, but you get the idea.

So back to my brain. Trying to live a happier life, change my worldview in an instant, and accepting my own contradictions. This is what is at the core of real change in the world. And realizing that the pain of the world is affecting me at every moment. The change will never come from the outside. It never has. It has always and will always come from within.

Another book I recently cherry picked off my book shelf is “The Millionaire Mind.” I am not advocating for this book, nor do I agree with most of it. But there were a few very useful exercises. One was to recall the events in my childhood  where those around me influenced how I thought about money. I wrote down some of these and had to also remember how I felt in response to those events. In review, I did not get a whole lot of encouragement. Everyone around me succeeded in passing on their fears and doubts—and those tapes have been replaying themselves on loop ever since. But the writer encourages us to expose, and then replace these tapes with a more positive imagining. This is where it gets hard for me. Do I replace one load of bullshit for another just so I can acquire more wealth? Exposing the painful thoughts for me is very useful. It reveals to me that I live under the auspices of a lie. I am filled with doubt because that is what I was taught by the adults in my life. And they were taught that by their elders and so on and so forth back to Moses.

I am not sure I can wrap this particular rant up in a nice neat package. It is what it is. Soon winter will give way to more sunny days, and my outlook may become more hopeful. For now, I offer my own mental purging in the hope that maybe we can begin to have a meaningful conversation. Because that is what I truly wish for. That is the beginning of community. In a real community, no one goes hungry or uncared for.

Do what you will, this world’s a fiction and is made up of contradiction —William Blake

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