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The World We See

posted Jul 9, 2014, 8:34 AM by Suzette Vearnon   [ updated Mar 13, 2015, 9:02 AM ]
"The world we see reflects the people we've become, and if we do not like what we see in the world, we must face what we don't like within ourselves." (excerpted from Marianne Williamson's The Gift of Change).

Par usual, I awakened from my night's sleep and immediately went into meditation.  I am finding that sadness is giving way to feeling refreshed and energetic.  I am statements are what I meditate on.  I am safe.  I am loved.  I am whole.  This morning, these three statements led the way.  Afterward, I reach for Marrianne Williamson's book, The Gift of Change. I've been reading it each morning.  I read until the words hit a bedrock within me.  

What have we become?

I'm certain my world is only a teeny tiny slice of the bigger world.  For the most part, it is the common area upstairs where I work.  Sometimes it is my only portal to the larger world; as on the days I don't go to my client site, I don't go outside at all.  There are days I don't even cut on the television.  I am absorbed with numbers, words, social media.  It is common to see two laptops running with my passion and sense of calling on one and my bookkeeping business and accounting software running on the other.  It's a "tale of two cities."  What can I say?   

When I do cut on the television or go on the internet, the newsfeed reel show the same thing:  trouble after trouble, crisis after crisis on a global scale.  All over the world, children murdering children is front page news.  And if perchance there is news about one child caught showing affection to another, it is considered sexual harassment.  Sad, so sad.  We live out our fantasies about love through our favorite celebrity couples.  Though we know that most celebrity marriages don't last, we are lulled into hopefulness when we hear them gush about how it happened and why this is the right one, the soul mate, the person of their dreams.  Less than 1-2 years in or for some 72 days, there are irreconcilable differences.  Rumors of splitting up go from a little drip to a full downpour.  "That's Hollywood," we say to cover our disappointment while further validating our own fear of intimacy. 

In my post-meditative sadness, I wondered what my world had become.  Why what looked like outward success was not bringing inward satisfaction.  Is there real joy behind the selfies we take?  Are we truly satisfied with our lives or are we like Dr. Robin Smith, lost when everything that defines our success is suddenly and unapologetically taken away.  What truly defines us?  

If the world we see reflects the people we've become, then we need to change.  I remember a revelatory moment when a business deal that seemed like a go had a jerk.  It was torture.  If you've ever gotten so close to your dream that you feel the heat of it on your extended hand, yet can't quite touch it, you know what I mean.  I began to doubt.  Then a revelation came.  "If the glass was half full yesterday, it is half full today."  This changed what I saw.  I was staring at the same glass.  Nothing had changed.  A jerk didn't change it.  The glass was not half empty because of a challenge.  It was still half full.  

My eyes opened to the bigger reality.  No matter what happens or doesn't happen around it, the state of a thing is unchanged.  There could be utter chaos around the glass.  No matter.  It doesn't change the glass or its contents.  Likewise, no matter the challenge, the viability of the deal was unchanged.  

More than alcohol, I think the biggest addiction in my family was workaholism.   Where my dad was the only parent that struggled with alcohol, both parents worked all the time.  If they weren't working, they were talking about it, thinking about it, anticipating it.  Sure, they allowed us endless hours of drawing and singing when we were little; but as we got older, housework, schoolwork, church work were the priorities.  Fun was viewed as folly.  We didn't have time for folly.  There were no family vacations.  Our social life was very small.  If people weren't being helped, we were only to hang out with people at church while at church functions.  Seldom did we visit friends or go out with them just for fun.  "If you don't work, you don't eat," my dad often said.  "A man who won't take care of his family is worst than an infidel," he said, further justifying why he put work before everything.  Even his faith was about work.  We had to go to Prayer Meeting and other church observances.  It was considered sacrilege to put anything else before that.    

Perhaps meditation has been so difficult because it forces me to stop.  It forces my mind to stay in the present moment.  It forces my active body to be at peace.  I am not comfortable with that.  Perhaps that has been the source of my anxiety.  My sadness.  My feeling out of sorts without a laptop in my lap or a project to do.  Yes, I have created a world that supports my freedom, but I haven't taken up occupancy.   

Freedom is what we all seek.  Love is what we all want.  Both are our birthright.  There are dragons that occupy what is ours that must be slayed.  Dragons of stinking thinking and erroneous beliefs that keep us from taking occupancy in what we have inherited.  I moved all the physical blocks - ran my dragons off my territory - but I am still not comfortable.  To live in peace is not comfortable when you are use to fighting wars.  There is anxiety if you don't do something, don't anticipate, don't plan, don't hustle, don't stay on your grind.  For me, meditation has been the doorway to habitation.  It requires that everything cease but the present moment.  Total unplug.  At first, it feels like an alcoholic being forced into periods of not drinking at all.  No drink in the morning to lessen the withdrawal.  I think the sadness, the anxiety, the fidgetiness are all symptoms.  

Working with substance abusers taught me this.  The more one's awareness goes up, the less one needs to resort to drugs or alcohol.  In other words, when you see yourself as bigger than your addiction, it can't hold onto you.  What this says to me is it means nothing to have worked to create this authentic space in my life and not live in it.  It's like building a house yet continuing to live on the streets.  It's like owning a company but continuing to act as an employee.  I think I'll call it Failure to Occupy.  Part of occupying my world is enjoying its freedoms.  Work is no longer driving a nail into a piece of wood.  Work is living in what you've built.    

Work is who I am extended to the world.  I must first occupy my space.  Grow comfortable with it.  Then I must extend it to the world.  I must invite others to find comfort in what I have built.  Think about it.  A property owner makes no money until his property is occupied.  It is my offering.  It brings mutual benefit.  That is my work now.  And with that awareness, I change the world I see.