Saturday, June 30, 2018

Hopeful Thinking - Saturday, June 30, 2018 - Use Your Freedom

     My favorite piece of Star Trek scripture is “resistance is futile.” It’s one of the many concepts in that series which align with spiritual teaching. Of course, in spiritual teaching the line isn’t accompanied with the destruction of a civilization as it is in Star Trek. Unless of course, you’re doing it wrong.
     There’s a nuance to resistance which actually gives power to the very thing, idea or person you’re resisting. In sports, all good offense starts with knowing your opponent. We have to get inside their head. That’s where the single trail ends. Now it depends upon what you intend to be the goal of your offensive action. We presume it is to score, to win. So depending on your definition of the word ‘win’ in this instance you are looking for information that will destroy your opponent. You’re spending time contemplating their weakness. You pump yourself up with rivalry and statistics and cross your fingers they injure themselves. But this is poison to spiritual life practice.
If this was a metaphor, and it is, what offensive action are you taking relative to your goal? What are you doing to get what you want? Is your action giving power to your opponent or taking it away? Remember, resistance is futile. We can’t win at life by hoping someone else loses.
    How much time are you spending in their head trying to figure them out? Trying to best them at their own game? If they don’t make sense to you, try asking. Change the game. Find your common ground and be hospitable and welcoming. Be nonresistant.
This is where our freedom comes in; our inherent free will. We are free to change the way we achieve our goals. If psychologist Carl Jung was correct in thinking that “what you resist not only persists, but will grow in size,” what is our best response to the political and religious atmosphere we find ourselves in?
     Of course I’m coming from a liberal, progressive stance, but the same is true for literally every side of every issue. Conservative, liberal, libertarian, even extremist. How much resistance—how much literal energy—are you giving to what you’re hoping will go away? Because, paradoxically, it only makes it stronger. Any old science fiction movie will tell you that. Some monsters grow bigger when you fire at them.
    I don’t go to rallies which are against something. I don’t go to protests. It’s difficult to admit that, actually. Especially in this age where protest seems to be a regular occurrence, even a societal need. We are trained to resist what we don’t like. But I take my cues from Mother Teresa of Calcutta on that issue. She famously said, “I will never attend an anti-war rally; if you have a peace rally, invite me.” She got it.
     I am for community. I am pro-living. I pray for better healthcare, better education and better government. I am just like my neighbor.
    When something is wrong, we need to fix it. But how we go about fixing it is what determines the new experience. This is where the sports metaphor ends. Because in sports we are not there to share our victory with our opponent. But in society, we should be. Yet we insist on applying the metaphor anyway. And it’s destroying our civilization because resistance is futile.
     I understand we feel angry, scared and lost when we look at the state of our world. No matter what side of the issues you’re on, chances are, you’re not thrilled. How much of your daily time do you spend trying to prevent something? Sure, you may be trying to get rid of ants in your home, and that’s understandable. But I’m talking about being resistant to ants existing on the planet.
Don’t poison yourself with resistance. Turn the other cheek. Look in a different direction. Look toward the reality you want, not the thing which is preventing it. Take the wind out of their sails by not blowing into them anymore.
Our natural freedom is virtually limitless. Our individual power is vast. Celebrate independence. Celebrate democracy. Celebrate freedom. Make the dark places light. The light knows how to create balance, how to validate experience, how to soften hearts, how to make wrongdoing accountable. Give it the space and freedom to operate by letting go of resistance as a platform for achievement. Dismantle systems of resistance that infuse our political system and prevent collaboration.
Life isn’t a sports game, though some will be disappointed to find that out. It is a harbor. If we want any of the boats to go up, we must use our collective freedom to increase the level of the water and raise them all.