“Essential People”

the tribunal of the king
Photo by James Finch on Pexels.com

In the small town in which I live, I recently saw a colourful poster staked on the front of lawn of an apartment building. It read as follows: Thank you all essential people!” The contributing artists had obviously spent time and effort to produce a poster that was as beautiful as possible. The message–no doubt–came from a sense of deep sincerity and gratitude.

As I drove past, I was struck with the another, deeper level, of the message on the poster. We should not assume, but in this case it’s impossible to write this article without doing so. Given the world’s current situation, it’s probably safe to state that the message was intended for first-line responders, paramedics, nurses, doctors, lab technicians and anyone else employed in work related to healthcare. If that’s the case, it’s wonderful that people are expressing their gratitude for work well done, especially during challenging circumstances. But what is the other message that is lying just under the surface of the words?

To me, the other message is akin to a situation that might occur in a large family; one in which there were ten children and two parents. Imagine how nine children might feel if one–and only one child–was repeatedly singled out for praise. Would not the nine other children feel, or possibly believe, that they were not special? And believing such, is it not likely that they might assume they had to work very hard to rise to be favoured–to be noticed, to be loved, and to be praised for the good that they do? Until they received that praise, however, those nine children might feel somewhat less than the child who had been praised. They might believe they were unworthy. To live with such emptiness is a desolate way to live; for it places many individuals on a treadmill from which they cannot escape.

The point of this article has absolutely nothing to do with whether health care professionals are the ones (deservedly) receiving praise; and everything to do with a point that is much broader in scope. To habitually praise the good we experience is a wonderful way to live; for it elevates all of us. As Meister Eckhart once stated: “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. The point that I’d like people of the world to know is this: All of you are Essential! A whole is not whole–for such is impossible–without every one of its parts. That literally means that You–whether labelled John or Mary, Miguel or Ruta, Ajay or Urvina–absolutely matter! Your name is not your essence; nor is the label connected with whatever work you perform. Your essential Self is made of the one thread of Gold that weaves through all of us.

So: Thank you to All. You’re all essential. You were born for a reason–a good one. Your gift is unique to you. Be blessed. Be safe. Be happy. Be good to one another. You are loved. And just for the record: A sincere thanks to everyone who is experiencing the current situation in the world, including each and every health care worker! We’re in this experience called life…together.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

 

The Vegetable Garden

The Vegetable Garden

The deliberate application of the Law of Attraction is about making our dreams come true. The Law of Attraction is about discovering What–not who–we actually are. The Law of Attraction is about thinking, believing, and acting in accordance with divine laws that can–and do!–make what we habitually desire manifest in our lives. The Law of Attraction is about deepening our knowledge, aligning with power, and expressing our potential. Our success can inspire others to reach for their divine potential and, in doing so, reveal the best that is within us to give. With all of the above in mind, I’d like to offer a poem that I wrote when I was a teenager. Is it the deepest or most well-written poem you’ll ever read? No. But does contain a message that I hope will help you continue to reach for your heart’s desires? Yes.

The Vegetable Garden

Into the rich soil of the garden

Three seeds were sown

And two weeks later

Two sprouts had shown.

The first seed, a pea, was growing fast,

To soak up the sun, the rain, and be eaten at last.

The second, a carrot, had sprouted a top

And kept on growing until frost made it stop.

But the third, a potato, was

Afraid to get burned

Afraid to get wet

Afraid to grow up

Afraid to pass on;

And as nature took her course,

The potato, whether willing or not,

Lay safe in the earth but starting to rot.

Everyone of us has vast untapped potential. It is our birthright, for it’s what we are. That potential is not there by accident–there are no accidents. That we exist proves that we have purpose. A clue to discovering that greatness within us is to examine what we love to do. To what dream–not “idle wish” (borrowed from “As A Man Thinketh,” by James Allen) would you devote uncounted hours lost in glorious amazement of Divine creation? What makes your heart thrill, your body electrify, your Being sing with delight? Find that answer, and when you do embrace it tightly. Hold it for dear life. Be not afraid to shout, “This is my dream!” Trust. Give of yourself. Believe that the achievement of your dream is not only possible, but already accomplished, and watch it manifest through continued faith and action.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

The Corona List of Ten

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The situation regarding the corona virus is evolving daily, with media coverage of new cases, accounts of shortages in grocery stores, and ample footage of people wearing masks and gloves. Social distancing is the norm. There is talk of potential vaccines, talk of how to manage our career from home, and talk of conspiracy theories with various motives. The subject has talked many of us to a point of mental numbness, as evidenced by our blank stares. Amidst all of the news there has been one major upshot: Our forced hibernation has provided an opportunity for our hearts to open. We’ve been given time to contemplate how we’ve been living, and to ask ourselves what holds real importance. The following list may reflect some–or all–of our conclusions:

  1. Love.
  2. Refer to number 1.
  3. Refer to number 1.
  4. Refer to number 1.
  5. Refer to number 1.
  6. Refer to number 1.
  7. Refer to number 1.
  8. Refer to number 1.
  9. Refer to number 1.
  10. Refer to number 1.

The love within our heart exists for good reason. Now may be the best time to become more aware and question whether we are expressing it with family, friends, colleagues, and, yes–even the man or woman standing six-feet away–in the best possible way.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

When…

When

Humans are an intriguing bunch, with mindsets that often range from delighted to deranged, and variations, thereof. Depending on our mood, the day, or the news, the majority of us express behaviour that reflects how we feel on a moment-to-moment basis. Now we’re fine–smile, relax, and breathe easy; now we’re not–frown, swear, and kick a garbage can. The stock market is up! The stock market is down! We got the job, the house, and the spouse, or–$#!%–we lost the job, the house, and the spouse! To surrender to such an existence is to fate ourselves to misery. To state that such behaviour is unstable is a gross understatement.

We’ve become so accustomed to these swings that we accept them as being perfectly normal. We reason that such is just the way life is. One day up; the next day down. The world is currently in the throes of a virus that is accentuating our tendency to swing between pleasure and pain; and until we evolve into greater awareness, our habitual behavioural swings will become even more dramatic. Is this truly desirable?

If permitted, our mind would deprive us of every last drop of genuine joy. How it loves to convince us that we are dependent on persons, things, or circumstances and watch us trot–like wayward donkeys chasing carrots–between desire and fear. The mind often employs the following trickery disguised as logic: “I’ll be happy when…”  We need not be geniuses to realize the “whens” that might apply to the situation regarding the virus: “I’ll be happy when the virus is under control. I’ll be happy when I get back to work, or find another job. I’ll be happy when life gets back to normal. I’ll be happy when the grocery shelves are fully stocked again. I’ll be happy when masks, gloves, and social distancing are of the past.” The list could go on and on.

Such thinking, although understandable, only chains us to a vulnerable position. Why? Because it encourages us to hibernate in our fear and put our dreams on hold until life becomes perfect and perfectly safe–which, of course, is impossible. It also encourages us to become wait-and-see specialists who place our faith in masks, gloves, one-way arrows, and the efforts of those who would presume the ability to save us. Will eleven or twelve feet be enough social distance during the next virulent times? That’s not to be negative or to criticize our present precautionary efforts; rather, to state a truth. When the Corona story has played itself out will not yet another circumstance vie for our attention? When a virus is no longer newsworthy, will we not merely shift our focus to a different life-robbing headline?

So what’s the positive amidst the current situation? That we can consciously choose to take back our power–now! Free of the minds dominion, we can rise in awareness and dare to proclaim: “I am happy in this moment, right here and now!” We can stop searching for guarantees that don’t exist! We can shift our awareness away from the flesh-and-bones costume with which we have mistakenly identified, and step into the glory of our True Nature. We can deliberately practice gratitude, and in doing so train our mind to seek that which is noble, worthwhile, and good. We need not surf the mind’s tumultuous wave between good or bad, triumph or defeat. We can detach and yet still do our part to make our collective life experiences as good and as safe as they can be. When this current situation is finished, we will remain–as always–the silent witness that is above the mind and, most importantly, beyond the reach of fear.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

Feel Our Roar!

Feel Our Roar

A worldwide situation related to a virus is currently–understandably–garnering the largest portion of our attention. The subject seems to leave the majority of individuals with little vision for any other focus. We begin our day with thoughts about it; marinate our minds in it throughout the day; and often permit it to be the last thought before we drift off to sleep, exhausted. The weight of the situation is made heavier by the fact that many people are experiencing personal and professional consequences from every direction.

What the virus doesn’t know, however, is that we didn’t arrive at this stage of our evolution by being a pushover. The negative and often frightening stories that are currently circulating might temporarily cause us to forget our true position in life; but we are wise to remember that we possess reserves of incredible strength. If we fall down for the hundredth time, we will rise–fist punched skyward–for the 101st and shout, “we will prevail!” Again and again we rise, for however many times it takes to triumph. There’s a roar waiting within each and every one of our brave hearts. It’s there. We can feel it!

Along with our innate strength, we possess an ever greater power: Our power to think. We can originate thoughts and also attract them. We realize that we have the ability to direct our attention to whatever we desire. Most importantly, we know that whatever we focus upon–be it courage or cowardice, strength or weakness–is ultimately reflected in the circumstances of our lives. By imbuing our thoughts with feelings of strength–in spite of our situations–we exhibit more strength. The same principle holds true with regard to our vision of vibrant health.

Please look at the image of the lion atop this page. It would have been easy to select a stereotypical image of a lion posed on a cliff, roaring at the top of its lungs. Not this time, and for good reason. I wanted to convey power at rest and help you–incredible brave hearts–to remember the tremendous power that is within you. The lion exudes power without having to demonstrate it. It is confident in its strength. It is powerful because it realizes that of which it is made. Human beings are vastly more powerful than the lion. We have ROAR inside of us, waiting to be unleashed. Now would be a good time to feel that power.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

The Fifty-One-Percent Principle

jet cloud landing aircraft

From Creative Mind by Ernest Holmes, I offer the following quote: “An hour a day spent in silent meditation will not save us from the confusion of life. The fifty-one percent of a man’s thinking is what counts.” Most of us have written our fair share of exams, and few would believe that fifty-one percent could represent a passing mark. In this highly competitive world. we have most likely been taught that we require marks consistently in the high nineties, or even perfect, to rise to positions of distinction. With regard to the current situation related to a virus, however, such is not the case. We might be relieved to know that fifty-one percent will, indeed, help all of us.

Marc Allen, one of the founders of New World Library, once expressed the fifty-one percent principle regarding our goals through the analogy of a plane in flight. What he shared is paraphrased as follows: A plane that sets out for a destination often deviates (contrary to public opinion) from its flight path. Strong winds, storms, and various other conditions are constantly at play and must be taken into consideration. But if the pilots continuously steer the plane back onto course, the plane (and its passengers) will finally arrive at their destination.

All of us are seeking safe passage though the current world situation. There are no guarantees, simply because life never came with any. The good news, however, is that we can all play a role in helping us land safely at our common destination. It’s important to realize this: All of usnot just someare pilots. What each and every one of us think, speak, and do literally matters. Are we steering toward optimism, or veering toward pessimism? Despite appearances to the contrary, we are One. The following is a short list that can help us arrive safely:

  • Gratitude: If possible (and it’s always possible), place your attention on an aspect of  life for which you are thankful. Is your heart beating right now? “Thank you, heart.”
  • Self Care: Devote at least a few minutes each day to an activity or non activity (such as meditation) that nurtures your soul. Habits that contribute to a positive mindset are invaluable, for they provide a sense of stability.
  • Sleep: Although this may be challenging, all of us realize the importance of getting enough rest. A mechanism that never stops is subject to a great degree of wear and tear. Sleep can–and often does–shift our entire outlook.
  • Contribute: Finding a way to contribute is a powerful way of shifting our focus from the little egoic “i” that may be so fearful or stressed right now. By helping someone else, we help silence worries related to self.
  • Deliberate Optimism: The world has weathered countless past storms, and we have done so through deliberate focus. We always have choice, and now is the time to apply it. Wayne Dyer was attributed with the following quote: “The law of floatation was not discovered by contemplating the sinking of things.” Through awareness, we can learn to watch our thoughts and, thereby, better govern our attitude. If a thought serves us, we are wise to keep it. If it doesn’t, we can deliberately choose to replace it with a positive one.

The fifty-one percent principle can help us power through this current situation. The will to survive–and thrive–is within us. Let’s all buckle up and do what’s in the best interests of everyone.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

An Interview With Fear

red hoodie

Clutching my thin briefcase, I tentatively entered the large room, which was ornately paneled with dark wood. Four dim-lighted sconces on the front wall were the only source of light. As I stepped forward, I heard the door close behind me, followed by the soft click of a key turning. The room had a high ceiling and an echo-like empty feel to it. I walked forward and stopped in front of an immense oak desk that was centered on a raised platform. A person would have had to climb stairs to sit behind it. I looked up, but I could see no one.

“Mr. Doe?” came a resonant voice.

“Yes,” I replied. “John Doe.”

“I understand that you’re here to apply for the position of Fear Specialist.”

“Yes,” I replied.

“What makes you think you’re qualified for the position? We don’t hire just anyone, you know.”

“Well,” I replied, as I attempted to hand my resume upward to the voice above me, if you’ll take a look…”

“Just give me the highlights,” said the voice.

“Well, I know something of fear myself, so I can well relate. When I was four, I was afraid of the boogeyman–so scared that I occasionally peed the bed. When I was eight, I was afraid of getting a few scrapes when I was learning to ride my bike. I cried more than a few times. And when I was a teenager, I was so afraid of being rejected by the in-crowd that I turned against myself to be accepted.”

“Nice,” said the voice, “that’s a good start. But what have you done recently?”

I flipped to the second page of my resume and scanned down the lines. “Well, during recent years,” I said, “I have dwelt upon as much bad news as I possibly can. In fact, I fill myself with it. As a result, I’ve endured a lot of fear and a tremendous degree of physical pain and mental anguish. I’m quite familiar with the coverage of war, terrorism, bomb attacks, and even viruses.”

“Very nice,” said the voice. I imagined it smiling, if such could be possible. “You may be just the man we’re seeking.”

Inwardly, I smiled. How I needed the job. I slid my resume back into my briefcase.

“What are you willing to do to fit into our organization?”

“Almost anything,” I said, but as soon as the words exited my mouth I felt a twinge stab through me.

“Bow,” said the voice. It was a command, not a question.

“Pardon me,” I said. “What did you say?”

“I said ‘bow.’ The voice was harsh now. “Do it now, or this interview is over. There are plenty more like you that are eager for an interview.”

Time stood still as the realization of what I was being asked–no told!–to do settled within me. A cold shiver ran down my legs. Was this a nightmare? What price was I willing to pay to get the job? From somewhere deep within me, I felt the warm wellspring of power rise within me. It felt glorious, a power that was beyond any fear related to humankind. I need not bow. I would not bow.

A few moments later, as I felt that power surge within my being, I turned my back to the courtroom and marched proudly toward the door. “Come back, come back!” the angry voice called, but I refused to turn. The door opened easily, and as I stepped toward the light, I felt the building collapse into a heap of ruble. For the first time in years, I knew I was free.

***

This article is not intended to imply that we are wrong for taking sensible precautions during a challenging period; nor does it imply that we’re not brave if we feel a degree of fear or insecurity as the current situation unfolds. I’m only suggesting that we can ask ourselves if fear must dominate our lives. It can’t without our permission. More faith, less fear. We are strong.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

Caveman Wisdom 2.0

I first published Caveman Wisdom as an article in my blog in 2017, but I believe its content is just as relevant today as it was then. The article affirms a great truth, which many individuals may not yet fully realize: that the quality of our lives–and our world–is directly related to the nature of the thoughts we habitually think. And when thought is imbued with feeling, we hold the key that unlocks a destiny that we deliberately choose.

***

caveman-law-of-attraction

Two cavemen, Gronk and Thogg, were sitting on a rock ledge, overlooking the expanse of land that stretched before them. The afternoon sun was full and bright; not a cloud was in the sky. In the near distance, wildlife grazed or darted playfully to and fro. The warbled songs and stabbing calls of various birds filled the air. Life was good. Impulsively Thogg turned toward his friend and said, “You know, Gronk, I’ve been…thinking.” It felt as though he was admitting a dirty secret.

Gronk lowered his head and stroked the hair of his forearm. “There’ve been rumours,” he said.

“Yes, no doubt. Word gets around.”

“What’s it like?”

Thinking?”

“Yeah…thinking.”

Thogg was staring dreamily off into the distance. “It’s wild. Can take you on amazing trips without ever leaving the cave.”

“Really?”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Sounds almost like a drug,” said Gronk.

“You ever been tempted?”

“Nah, can’t say that I have,” said Gronk. Indifferent, he began to pick at his teeth with a small twig. A few moments later: “It’s new, isn’t it?”

Thogg leaned against a slab of rock behind him and spread his arms wide, sitting as though on a couch. “In the big scheme of life, yes, relatively.”

“It’s just a fad, though, right?”

“No,” said Thogg, “I think it’s here to stay.”

“What is it…actually?”

“It’s a higher intellect function that sets us part from wildebeests, monkeys, and such. They haven’t got it, but we do. With thinking, we can produce ideas, decisions, and memories or have opinions about something.”

“You don’t say,” said Gronk. Staring off into the distance, he absentmindedly scratched at his chest. “Is it good for anything?”

“Well, can be,” said Thogg.

“Yeah?”

“Remember two moons ago, when we were working on that straight stick?”

“For sure.”

“And how I used a rock to shape the end into a point?”

“Yes, marvelous, simply marvelous. What a stroke of luck!”

Thogg grinned. “Uh, uh, wasn’t luck. It was thinking,” he said–tapping a crooked finger against his head.

“Nah! Really?”

“For sure. Thinking is great stuff; we just have to use it carefully.”

Gronk scratched his chin. “Whadya mean?”

“Well, thinking is like any other tool–like fire, twigs, rocks, and clubs. We just have to make certain that we’re using our thinking rather than our thinking using us.

Gronk swatted lazily at some flies buzzing near his head, and then turned–with a puzzled expression–to face Thogg. “I’m not sure I follow,” he said.

“Hmm,” said Thogg. “Well, you know when we make fire? How we have to be careful?”

“For sure,” said Gronk. “Because if we’re not we can get burned!”

“That’s right,” said Thogg. “Thinking is much like building fire. We must always control the fire, and fan only the positive sparks of thought.”

A glimmer of understanding lit across Gronk’s face. “Tell me more,” he said.

“It’s really not that complicated,” replied Thogg. “With thinking, we can imagine all sorts of new ways to improve life. The key is to focus on good stuff…here,” he said, pointing to his head.

“Sounds wonderful!” exclaimed Gronk. I’m going to try this new thing called thinking on for size.”

“Before you do,” said Thogg, “just remember the caveat.”

“Humph,” said Gronk, “the what?”

“The ca-ve-at,” said Thogg, with a roll of his eyes. “It means a warning or caution.”

“What’s the warning?”

“That we must only think positively–never negatively, or about what we fear.”

“Just one more time…why?”

Thogg cleared his throat, and leaned forward. “Because all thought–both good and bad–is creative! If we focus on negative thoughts, we’ll create negative outcomes! You may not know this yet, but we’re creators–the top of the heap! And thinking is our greatest tool. If we think the right way, there’s no telling how far we may go. But if we think the wrong way, absolutely no good can come of it.”

Gronk stuck out his chin and nodded. A beetle crawling by soon caught his attention. As though mesmerized, he nudged it several times with his finger. And just as suddenly as their discussion had begun, it came to an end. Gronk yawned; thinking about thinking had made him tired. He groaned softly as he stretched out on the flat rock to soak up the heat of the sun. Thogg, however, felt energized. Compelled by a creative spirit that would not be denied, he clambered up a nearby hill. At the peak, he raised a hand to his prominent brow and scanned the horizon–dreaming and thinking of a better future not yet a reality. As twilight fell, a lone eagle crossed his field of vision. Thogg craned his head and watched it soar in wide circles above him. How effortlessly it flew, barely moving its wings. A grin crossed his face. “One day,” he said aloud, “maybe one day.” And with that thought echoing in his mind, he ambled back to his cave and dreamt away the night.

***

Now, as ever, we possess the choice to determine what we will focus upon. We can remain riveted to the seemingly nonstop media coverage and statistics regarding the current situation in the world, or we can turn away–if only briefly–and give ourselves and the world a welcome respite. The choice is ours.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

 

 

Present-Moment Living

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There are many great authors and teachers who have taught us how to come back to the transcendent beauty of the present moment: Eckhart Tolle, through The Power of Now; Jon Kabbat Zinn, through Coming to Our Senses; Rupert Spira, through The Nature of Consciousness–to name only a few. For persons (egos) who are unconsciously obsessed with their doings, this may seem an absolutely absurd and useless subject. “What do you mean, I should be still and appreciate the beauty around me! I have business meetings to attend to, major transactions to conclude, and a 12:15 appointment to summit Mount Everest!”

Consider, if you will, what many of  us have previously valued:

  • Multi-Tasking: The highly revered ability to accomplish not only one task at a time, but three or–better yet–five! Productivity at any expense, whether personal or professional, has been praised as the crowning glory of humankind. A sidebar should be added: Once started, this self-driven habit must be continued until the first shovelfuls of dirt are splattering upon the top of our coffin. Job well done!
  • Earning Money: The ability to earn money–not just enough to provide for the necessities of life and to tuck away some savings–is often the little-g god that we worship. Many of us may have wanted to earn enough of the stuff to impress the neighbours to our left. Won’t they be envious when we tell them our story of our wonderful travels, or show up in our new (insert the brand of the nuts-and-bolts thing here). In all likelihood, however, the neighbour to our left doesn’t give a damn about our life story because their too busy trying to impress the neighbour two doors to their right.
  • Personal Goals: A topic near–and now not-so-dear–to my heart. A short sentence sums up my sentiments now:  “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” All of us are created to pursue our goals; because the drive to create is encoded into our DNA. We are creators. Setting out to achieve our goals is still worthwhile, but wouldn’t our goals–and the quality of our lives–be enhanced by deliberately bringing balance and harmony to whatever we do?

The short list above could have been much longer; but the number of points doesn’t matter, only the underlying message. How can an article about present-moment living be of any assistance right now, especially given the current focus of a virus in the world? It can be of great value, if we will slow down–even a little–and consider the following point: Fear and doom and gloom are not present in the current moment. Nonsense!” readers may cry. Are you implying that there isn’t a very important situation occurring in the world right now? Not at all; that’s not the point. The intended message is this: When we deliberately bring our attention back to the present moment, we escape so much of the mind-created torment. If we will Be Still–even for a few moments–we can realize  that the fear we may be experiencing is a creation of the mind. In the present moment, before any negative information is analyzed or repeated ad nauseam, fear does not exist. It can’t.

The call of this article is to awaken to what is actually occurring before the mind intrudes and shouts:  Wake up Johnny and Jane, it’s time to be afraid again! That doesn’t imply that we should not act in responsible ways that are sensible and a benefit to ourselves and our neighbours. We wash our hands; we respectfully keep our distance; we wait in line; and we consciously direct our attention to even one aspect of our life for which we can be grateful.

This article is not intended as Pollyanna mumbo-jumbo. It’s purpose is to help guide persons out of their mind-induced fear, and into the beauty that is here and now, despite all that is happening in the world. There’s an even greater realization that can occur by practicing present-moment living: We can discover What–not who–we truly are. When the mind is stilled, we can realize that fear is no longer generated. We will also notice that the little self who was so fearful (the one made from personality and form) has faded into the background, or gone missing all together. When this dawns upon our awareness, we realize that we don’t have to think to exist! What is it that knows this to be the case? Our true identity, which is beyond the mind: Consciousness itself.

Many of you will be familiar with Earth Hour; a period of sixty minutes when we collectively turn off our lights to decrease the demand for electricity in the world. As human beings committed to caring for one another, please consider this: Let’s all power down our mind for at least one hour each day, especially if our mind isn’t generating anything positive or worthwhile. In doing so, we will save ourselves and the collective consciousness a whole lot of grief. (If you feel that “Soul Hour” is an idea worth sharing, please pass this article along to our brothers and sisters.) Namaste.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

Divine Swamp Creatures

adventure backlit dawn dusk

From the murky bottom of the swamp of man’s mind, there once rose a primordial “self” that began to consider itself real. There was nothing real about it; but to the mind it was very real, indeed. We could–and still do–feel its presence; for we know its thoughts even when such thoughts remain unspoken. They whisper to us, in tempting tones that would have us blindly believe in its reality. In times such as these, we can easily hear those thoughts as we go about our day; for they attempt to dominate our minds in times of anxiety or social upheaval. The thoughts of the little self speak in ways similar to this: To hell with my neighbours; they can fend for themselves, just as I’m being forced to do. I know that I can sneak out of the store with the extra package of eggs or toilet paper or whatever other item is currently in apparent short supply.” And when we exit the store, the little self smiles smugly to itself; and if it could, it would claw its way out of our cranium and pat us on the back. “Great job,” it would exclaim, ‘i’ did it–‘i’ survived!”

The problem is that we have listened to the voice of the ego for far too long. We have heeded its urges to protect our own little world, and to seek pleasure over pain at all cost. As a consequence, we have experienced–actually created–the have and have-not world that surrounds us. In the battle for survival of a fictitious self (recall that the swamp creature does not actually exist) we have individually and collectively sacrificed the intangible non-things that have true meaning: Love, Peace, Compassion, Joy, Empathy, and Generosity; all of which spring unbounded and limitless from our true identity, which is Love itself.

Consider the following: What is absolutely required for a dispute to occur within a household? Two persons, who are actually fabricated conceptual “selves” (consisting of name and form) that are irritated because each do no agree with, or clearly understand, the other’s way of being in the world. And on a larger–grotesque–scale, what is required for war to occur in the world? Two or more countries (represented by their names and collective mentalities and, thus, behaviours) that–due to their inherently greedy or intolerant natures–attempt to dominate the supposed other through violence. Logically, is not the swamp creature–individually or collectively–responsible for the respective minor or major grief that occurs in both situations? And could not both situations be entirely avoided by understanding our shared Oneness, at a level beyond the conceptual identities that arise via the mind?

For many of the us, the swamp creature may not intrude very often; but we are wise to know that it often lurks in our own mud, beneath the surface of our lives. Only the most enlightened beings have truly transcended the creature that temptingly calls to us from the primal swamp within us. We can eradicate it more easily when we understand how it behaves. The swamp creature can function overtly, and be easily witnessed in displays of anger, greed, and selfishness; or it can function more subtly, and be felt as the slimy ooze present in gossip, holier-than-though activity, and pious tales of false greatness to family and friends. No one likes a good story more than a bored swamp creature.

With practice, we can become more aware of the presence of the creature. One sure indication is a malodorous smell in the air; the unmistakable scent associated with the presence of a body-mind, or person. It is often easier to identify the traits of the swamp creature in others; but such is often a sign that our own creature is hiding nearby. The good news is that as we put our Awareness to work (not the mind!), we can more easily spot the telltale signs of our swamp creature on the prowl. Is it hinting that greed or deception is the way to operate, especially under the current conditions of our world? Is it trying to justify the purchase of a second freezer in which to stockpile frozen goods until the end of time? Is it lying, right in front of our face, when a neighbour asks if we could spare some flour or eggs? And are its claws clutching that last package of toilet paper as though it was chocolate cake…with sprinkles on top?

We are most vulnerable to attacks from the swamp creature when we are tired, stressed, hungry, and fearful. Kind of reminds us of the behaviour of little babies, doesn’t it? Our swamp creature is little different. Motivated by fear, it will rant and it will rave; it will preemptively lash out to ensure it isn’t lashed; it will coax or even threaten to get what it wants. We can, however, triumph over the creature; and every time we do, our own lives and the lives of those beautiful souls who surround us, improve dramatically. Awareness is our invincible sword, against which the creature has absolutely no defense.

The true “I” of us is so much grander than the creature. It is Divine, glorious, and eternal. It is the ever-present light within each and every one of us; the transcendent dimension that is beyond name and form, and creatures big and small. Just a thought: Perhaps today would be a good day to banish the creature forever. We can. All of us–and I most definitely include myself in these ranks–might begin by taking a whiff of the air around us. Is there a body-mind lurking?

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell