I drove home from work behind an Audi. At a long light, someone needing money held up his sign, and it was the Audi driver ahead of me who gave the guy some help.
I immediately considered that dude lucky, because I am just certain that an Audi driver more than likely hands out hundreds at traffic lights.
I began, then, to think about money again. It is such a hot-bed of blocks for me, this whole money thing. It is the judgement, the shame and the fear attached to money that I find so aversive. The parts within me that are still shivering alone in dark corners, wanting so much to be included, and not knowing how.
So I let those parts stray into the light for the rest of the way home.
My Indian friend told me once that there were certain people she avoided at all costs, because they could not be taught. She said, in India, they have a saying about this. "Ripe wheat bows."
What are luxury cars and 6,000 square foot homes, diamond jewelry and designer purses, a vast portfolio and a fat savings account, or even $100 pairs of shoes and $50 sweaters? What are these symbols of? My culture tells me that these are symbols of success.
Because of a combination of simple peer pressure and a vast and infectious cultural/media matrix, if I owned all of the above, I would think I were well within my rights if I felt these things proved my superior intelligence, my superior cunning, my superior nature, because surely, if I have all of this when many have little, there can be only conclusion: I am better than you.
The punch-line is, those are not symbols of status. They are symbols of a system I never believed in. They are excessive. They are unnecessary. And, I have to believe that if a terribly wealthy individual is deeply and humbly honest, they would admit they were being overpaid.
Not that they don't deserve it. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against the finer things in life. But, really, there are limits. It is Thorstein Veblen's Theory of Conspicuous Consumption Thorstein on steroids. It is a symptom of an illness, one from which we are now acutely ill. The illness, I don't know if I have come up for its root cause, therefore I do not know its name.
But the symptoms are so clear, so easily identified. It is the illness of victim-hood. It is the illness of feeling you must hide something. It is righteous indignation. It is the queasy feeling you get when you're convinced the people around you can't stand to be in the same room with you. It's the compulsion to make up a lie or take something that isn't yours. It's the cloak of a feeling you have when you are among friends or family, but feel utterly alone. It's looking back on something you did or didn't do and feeling contempt, for yourself or for someone or something. It's hugging a sister or brother and feeling oddly uncomfortable, knowing there should be closeness, or love.
They are symbols of people taking the most physical of "shortcuts" out of their pain, thinking however stupidly, that one can simply buy oneself out of one's suffering. The rich put on a good show. They found a fancy way to tamp down those symptoms. We all do it in our own way.
The only way out of that pain in through. Much prayer and assistance is required for all of us at many points on our path. But always, the first step in addressing these horrific symptoms, is the removal of attachments. One by one they go away, one by one the tethers which once defined you as purely earth-bound snap away from your slumbering form, and bit by bit you awaken. It is a story old as time. "Oh how the mighty have fallen." How much more classic is that? Some are unwilling to let go of attachment, but then the guides just get more harsh. They'll get your attention. Stretch you to the maximum, and then some more. We lose first that which we cling to the tightest. Simple math. Expect the financial system to tank. Duh.
Well, as I got off the highway and into my neighborhood another, more unifying thought came to mind. I began to think, not of all the judgements I have, realizing once again that I am more quickly and deftly maneuvering out of 3d judgement sticky stuff, and being able to pop up a little higher... It occurred to me that perhaps it just doesn't matter what people own anymore. What if very soon, the only currency was kindnesses, and the greatest status symbol (silly in 5d terms) is humility.
Last night, I made magic with a highly mentally disturbed and developmentally challenged person. We bridged a gap I created and her illness magnified. We were able to build a calmness in the field. We stitched a stitch of love into the Earth today. With the gift of my humility, by admitting I had been wrong, and beginning it all by asking her if I could approach her, she gave me the gift of her trust. Her gift was far rarer than mine, much more precious, because it was hard for her. She's still actively suffering. Still, her mood lightened, and by the end of the shift she was giddy. She'd regressed to a 7 year old, but she was a happy and complete 7 year old.
As I was putting the key into my front door, I realized that I really do not know what it is that puts me on the side of the counter that I find myself on. I never have. Ever. I know it's not luck, but there is no difference between this patient and me. I could have been her. People overreact when they are fearful. Trust is key. I know what it is like to doubt my own reality. I know what it is like to have something happen and everyone in your life says it didn't, or to have them minimize it. How different is that from how a psychotic person feels all the frakking time? That would suck so much. And I know the wound that just keeps reopening and reopening every time anyone is rough or rude in any way, until it is finally and miraculously healed, by degrees.
"I was wrong. I could have done better. I did not set out to hurt you. Please forgive me for any harm I have caused. I'll do better now. Please let me know if I fall into old thinking habits. Thanks for understanding."
How many troubles could be solved if tense, fighting or warring people could meet face to face, in similar clothing, with no sense of need for back-up or witnesses, and those very words were uttered, humbly and with reverence?
What prevents us from being that open, that vulnerable with everyone? When we wrong someone, owning up to it, saying I'm sorry, more if need be, but never with any intent, any outcome in mind, just the act of noting a wrong and correcting it. How wonderful but how rare this is!
And there are times when one's reality must not be so malleable as to lose its features. There are certain core traits and "things" that I am. And then there are the things that seem negotiable and non-negotiable. Therein lies the fun.
Even so, there is no difference between me and you, she and I, them and us. Personal preference and foibles are things to be cherished, celebrated by none other than self first. If we come to get a hint of our own worth, it becomes impossible to trash someone else. That person could BE you. We are all in this together. Yes, we have our own themes, our own essences, but we all have the same raison d'etre.
You and I may not know each other's brand of suffering. I may not have known the barren road you had to cross to be sitting in front of a monitor at this moment, reading this blog. But, by now each of us understand that we are the other. There is no other. It is an ugly myth whose time has come. This separation, this illusion of difference, of superiority and inferiority, worthy and unworthy, wealthy or poor, it's all illusion.
And this illusion's task-master is judgement. Sitting in judgement, feeling any strongly "negative" emotion, these are simply a clue that there is something there to work on. So to release a little judgement I have toward the rich, as instigated by that awesome Audi driver, is something I am deeply grateful for. It has helped me enormously.
More, I am grateful for that lovely patient tonight. She taught me a lot. She reminded me of so much. Luck of the draw. There but for my pre-arranged conditions for this lifetime go I.