Monday, December 5, 2016

The Gift of Seeing

The Mystery within...
“The whole of life lies in the verb seeing.”  Teilhard de Chardin

I turned on my television Saturday night just as Frank Capra’s classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” was ending.  I heard guardian angel, Clarence, tell George Bailey he had been given a great gift--that of seeing what the town of Bedford Falls would have become had he not been born.  Without George’s kind, compassionate presence in Bedford falls, Mr. Potter, the well-off unscrupulous banker had free reign to devalue the people and their town. Seeing this alternative outcome without his influence turned George Bailey’s desperation to end his life into a joyous celebration for it.  Seeing George, his family and Bedford falls celebrate their joy, made my eyes over flow.

Another gift of seeing is beautifully written in Isabel Wilkerson’s historical account of America’s black migration north in search of work and freedom from Jim Crow laws in “The Warmth of Other Suns.”  Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, is one of three people through whom Wilkerson relates this previously unacknowledged immigration story within America.  She says of Ida Mae:

“ She has big searching eyes that see the good in people despite the evil she has seen…”

“She had a way of looking past the outer layer of people and seemed to regard everyone she met with a kind of searching intensity, as if this were the first person she had ever seen…”

“She was too good natured to waste energy disliking them no matter what they did but looked upon them as a curiosity she might never comprehend.  She learned to give them the benefit of the doubt but not be surprised at anything involving them.  This alone probably added decades to her life.”


What if we learned the life giving energy of gifted seeing more often? 

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Long View

The Mystery within...
My hopefulness for America’s future needed some bolstering so I was happy to come across some Teilhard de Chardin quotes.  He’s the French born priest (1881 – 1955) who was active in the fields of paleontology, philosophy, theology, cosmology, and evolutionary theory and interested in the synthesis of theology and science.  He is a master of the need for the long view.      

Teilhard wrote the following in October 1945, “It seems to me that the Russian prestige is declining and that America holds in its hands the immediate future of the world:  as long as America knows how to develop the sense of the earth at the same time as her sense of liberty.”

So I ask, will the destructiveness of America’s self interest now be highlighted to shine a light on the creativity needed for a future that embraces the health and well being of all others and our planet? I can only hope it will be.

There are other cultures that do a better job of providing for the health and well being of its citizens and our common home.  Some countries have enviable health care, family care, and better education, and not surprisingly a correlation to drastically lower incarceration rates than America.  The following quote from Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD’s book “The Body Keeps the Score” should give us all pause:  “Could this approach to public health have something to do with the fact that the incarceration rate in Norway is 71/100,000 in the Netherlands 81/100,000 and the US 781/100,000, while the crime rate in those countries is much lower than in ours, and the cost of medical care about half?  …The United States spends $84 billion per year to incarcerate people at approximately $44,000 per prisoner; the northern European countries a fraction of that amount.  Instead, they invest in helping parents to raise their children in safe and predictable surroundings.  Their academic test scores and crime rates seem to reflect the success of those investments.”  For me it begs the question:  Is the height of America’s stock market the only measure of success for some and our legislators?  I hope not.

More Teilhard: 

“The whole life lies in the verb seeing.”

“We are one, after all you and I, together we suffer, together exist and forever will recreate one another.”

“The most telling and profound way of describing the evolution of the universe would undoubtedly be to trace the evolution of love.”


“What if we really saw how we recreate one another through love, more often?”

Monday, November 21, 2016

Evolutionary Hopefulness

The Mystery within...
I found some hope for my two previous posts Election Eve Thoughts and Post Election Thoughts on the evolutionary trajectory America appears to be on with president elect Trump. Michael Dowd, an evolutionary evangelist, gave me that hope after watching his UTube presentation titled “Evolutionary Gratitude for Challenging Times” (post election). 

Dowd’s first premise for evolutionary change is decline is divine because the chaos it creates catalyzes creativity.  Adapting to what’s real is forced through breakdowns and bad news.  Self-interest’s destructiveness is highlighted and then real change can follow. I find hope in that even though it requires a long view. 

Dowd’s second premise is we need mythical interpretations for everything to highlight we are one with the earth and all creation.  What we do to and for the earth and others we also do to ourselves.

Dowd’s third premise is we each need to know we leave a legacy.  We cannot predict our individual impacts on the future but each of us does impact the future through both our positive and negative actions and both can eventually lead to good.

Decline, chaos and my search for answers in the mythical natural world is my personal creation story in “God Never Hurries.” It tells of the messy difficult business of finding and learning to use my voice.  It is a testimony to both positive and negative actions eventually leading to good.


What if we all saw hope in decline and chaos more often?       http://evolutionaryevangelists.libsyn.com/58-evolutionary-gratitude-for-challenging-times

Monday, November 14, 2016

Post Election Thoughts

The Mystery within...
Profound disappointment and real concern for the future shook me when learning who America’s next president will be.  I took those feelings to my yoga class where we sometimes bring troubling events for brief discussion and meditation.  I left class embracing our instructor’s suggestion that the best thing I can do is work on being the best person I can be.  It was comforting to realize I am in control of how I react to the election’s result.  And I already had some direction to draw on from David Sloan Wilson’s survey questions in my November 7 blog Election EveThoughts that helped me generate the following guidance: 

Resolve conflicts without hurting anyone.
Be sensitive to the needs and feelings of others.
Develop empathy and respect for the other.
Tell the truth even when its not easy.
Serve others in the community.
Help solve social problems.
Make decisions on behalf of the common good.
Strive for consensus.

The above list truly challenges my emotional vulnerability and my courage.  It highlights what it really takes to love one another, which is the work of a lifetime.


What if all disappointment and concern for the future showed us how to truly love one another?    

Monday, November 7, 2016

Election Eve Thoughts

The Mystery within...
We Americans are at an evolutionary crossroads in our country.  The idea that we have a say in how we evolve should give us all pause to reflect on what constitutes a healthy society.  It is the same attributes of a healthy ecosystem—namely a symbiotic interaction with diversity.  I reviewed my past blogs from November 4, 2013 to December 16, 2013 where I blogged my way through David Sloan Wilson’s book “The Neighborhood Project—Using Evolution to Improve My City One Block at a Time.”  Following are excerpts from those blogs: 

Wilson:  “Every movement made by an organism is based on a physical environmental input, which initiates a physical chain of events inside the organism, which results in the physical movement of the organism—its behavioral output.”

Wilson’s reflections led him to survey thousands of public school students who rated themselves anonymously on a scale of 1 (this doesn’t describe me at all) to 5 (this describes me exactly) to the following questions:

I think it is important to help other people.
I resolve conflicts without anyone getting hurt.
I tell the truth even when it is not easy.
I am helping make my community a better place. 
I am trying to help solve social problems.
I am developing respect for other people.
I am sensitive to the needs and feelings of others.
I am serving others in the community.

Me:  Life is a pinball machine and how I react to what I bump into determines my progress or decline.  The ability to reflect on my experiences is the vital spark that transforms, and being flexible in how I respond, determines my success or failure.

Wilson:  “The idea that self-interest promotes the common good is profoundly wrong…”  “If we are not making decisions on behalf of the common good, then we will be generating conflict, neglect, and decay…

Wilson:  “We are designed as a species to cooperate in small groups that are coordinated and policed by norms established by consensus.”

From the conference on the “Nature of Regulation:”

-      Rethink the theory of human regulatory systems from the ground up.
-       Learn from other biological systems about the nature of regulation.
-       Reach a consensus on what constitutes human nature.
-       Appreciate the importance of environmental mismatch.
-       Take cultural evolution seriously.


What if we all took cultural evolution seriously, reflecting on how to respond to what we bump into, knowing our actions can determine the success or failure of our country.