Snippets 2020 (4 )..Polarisation

At the start of 2020 I was unsettled by my sense of pending change and uncertainty and whilst that has abated considerably as the year has unfolded, I still have some reservations and concerns about the directions we may still choose to take in the near future. Will we make the right choices?

 

As a spiritual aspirant my life is considerably enhanced and guided and I do forget that I probably do not have to do anything more than continue my daily practices. But as a veterinary scientist and an advocate for the natural environment, I subconsciously allow my mind and my ego to cause me more problems than necessary and then dissatisfaction and impatience cause me to lose my equilibrium and my joy.

2020 has been a joyless year on the whole.

There have been definite bursts of goodness and happiness this year that remind us of our purpose but we must try harder now to cultivate these precious opportunities to be kind and considerate. Our lives depend upon our perseverance to be happy.

The spirals of negativity that abound in an age of overreliance on social media  and the rabbit holes of confusion and nonsense that ensues are increasingly difficult to ignore once they are given importance and impetus.

 

As this difficult and disastrous year draws to a close I am reminded that with every New Year comes a new hope and a new promise.

 

“On the eve of the New Year, a new consciousness dawns on earth. God once again inspires each human being, each creature, with new hope, new light, new peace and new joy.” — Sri Chinmoy

I am feeling much more positive about the New Year and its possibilities for positive change with a renewed focus on doing many things better. If given the proper chance to identify, discuss and implement these crucial adjustments back to what really matters for our health and happiness we will come out of this year stronger than we entered.

 

2020 provided the catalyst and 2021 must be the driver of this long anticipated progress.

 

An impediment to sensible and effective social and global change will be the culture of polarization that has been allowed to take hold in many areas of society over the past decade and has become firmly reinforced over recent months. This has brought a mind centered, anxiety provoking way of solving disagreements by gross oversimplification of important issues  and assigning them as absolutely right or absolutely wrong. The acceptance of misinformation or poorly formulated advice is creating havoc and distress for many people who understandably cannot discern the truth in the mire of confusion that is being sold to us as news or official views.

 

Polarity has become rigidly entrenched in our wider global society. It has insinuated its way into becoming the norm and many of us do not even realise the dire consequences this brings to the establishment of a peaceful and harmonious community. If we are polarised in our views then we cannot ever come together to solve anything.

 

Polarisation employs a mindset of extreme rigidity and prevents all discussion and communication of ideas. This current sociopolitical culture that places everyone who is not “with us” as being “against us” and shuts down any discussion whatever on the subject at hand is of grave danger to democracy.

 

A polarized society is a war zone and the proponents of this are dictators.The terms Anti this and Anti that are clear indicators of polarity as this literally means ‘against’.

 

A progressive and peaceful society, in contrast, ought to embrace open discussion and unpacking of the bigger questions facing us all without pigeon-holing us into convenient boxes that can have the lids nailed shut at the whim of a few for even suggesting a dialogue on uncomfortable subjects. We therefore all have an obligation to reject polarised opinions and fight our own tendencies towards extremism.

There are many controversial topics that have been polarised and we must be more open minded to see the truth and to create peace. We have to be prepared to find a meeting point without fear of retribution.

I choose to engage on health issues because they are naturally of specific interest to me and because without natural healthcare options and food sovereignty being recognised and reinstated there will be very little future for any of us here or elsewhere, regardless of our choice of personal identity, lifestyle or endeavour. We must be much more discerning about what we really care about if we are to survive and we must be prepared to  engage in informed discussion without prejudice or personal criticism derailing the exercise. We must prioritise discussion of issues that are relevant to everyone and not just to a minority.

Australia must reclaim her independence as a food nation and focus attention and resources on producing organic, clean and healthy foods at a local level. I am glad to see that this is happening.

Food production, availability and affordability should be the most important topics on the table and we are still ignoring them in the bigger picure for the sake of argument over things we will probably never agree upon.

In the background there is a worrying overreliance on non-Australian owned corporations and businesses that would shock the majority of Australians if they had access to the truth or the machinations of governance. If you own the food, you own the people. Our government is democratic but by no means transparent and increasingly unrepresentative as it sells us all off to the highest bidder and hopes we won’t notice. This, along with the serious issue of overreliance on technology to solve all our problems, is a topic for another day except to say that localization is a concept that urgently needs addressing. We should be focusing on what we can do here and now at a local level so that we can regroup and move forward together as we reject the divisive agendae being forced upon us.

I have personally felt quite isolated this year at times, as I have been provoked into debates and situations that have taken me away from my centre. We must stop fighting with each other and allowing fear to dictate our actions.

As there is strength in unity so must we strive to achieve unity. There is a reason that SriChinmoy refers to the world as a Oneness Home where we can choose to dwell either in our mind caves or our heart gardens.

This week the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) has issued an invitation to members of the wider community to identify and address priorities for a sustainable future for our region. This is as commendable as it is promising.

 

kudos to CoGG.

We will be given an opportunity to suggest and discuss options for sustainable practices including local food production but encompassing a wide sector of our local community, from building and development to education, business, health and the natural environment. We will be given a chance to listen to each other and work together and better understand what really matters as we build an inclusive, supportive and harmonious society. We have a chance to be happy about the future here if this can be achieved by embracing and welcoming change for good.

Opportunities such as this bring us in touch with inspiring, innovative and enterprising members of our community that have passion and vision for humanity and the wider ecology of our planet.

 

We will need all hands on deck to best represent the whole community and to give us a better chance of formulating a clear positive direction forward that will take most of us with it. It is possible to have a heart centred approach in all human endeavour and this is our strongest and most commendable quality that now needs to come forward as our population explodes and our resources become constrained. We need a better and more regulated building code that puts the environment and the community above profit. We need public spaces set aside for local food production and we need to engender respect for our natural resources by employing organic management practices and maximizing rainwater collection to name a few basic and easily implemented codes of practice. I also will be advocating for natural weed control with goats in urban places. I want to see us get smarter about the way we do things creatively, cleverly, compassionately and for the right reasons, the greater collective good.

I want to have something to look forward to again.

Ask me later whether my optimism was well placed and in the meantime hope that it sets a precedent for informed, compassionate and effective governance. At least at a local level to start with.

 

Merry Christmas to all my dear readers and their families, furry and otherwise. May 2021 bring us all a renewed enthusiasm to attain peace in our own lives and in the wider world through our untiring striving for perfection of our nature, illumination of our minds and opening of our hearts.

Question: If somebody feels that he is doing something for his community or for mankind, but at the same time he feels that what he’s doing is slowing him down in his aspiration, what should he do?

Sri Chinmoy: If he is insincere, if he is just showing off in the name of helping people, if it is not God within him but his ego that is compelling him to try to help people, then he has to change his attitude. You can serve someone with true devotion because you want to please God, or you can do that very same service just to feed your ego. If you are doing it just to feed your own ego, then it is worse than useless. In that case, it is a serious mistake and it will delay your own progress.

The best thing is to get the inner command about whether or not you are authorised to help your community. If you feel that the answer is yes, then the next thing is to do your part devotedly. You should be grateful to the Inner Pilot, the Supreme, that He has authorised you to serve Him in mankind, and you should do it with utmost humility. In the spiritual life one has to get the inner command about one’s service to the world. Only if one is authorised, should he serve God in mankind. Otherwise, it will be a terrible spiritual mistake.

Sri Chinmoy, Politics and spirituality: can they go together?, Agni Press, 1977

 

 

 

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