Remembering Infinity

Spirituality | Metaphysics | Consciousness | Life


3 Comments

Remembering Infinity: Caution…Egos at Work!


Everyone would benefit we practiced more tolerance in our lives.

Everyone would benefit if we practiced even a little  more tolerance in our lives!

I’ve been reading quite a bit lately about “ego”, its effect upon us, and how it influences the way we interact with one another.  Ego, as that part of self that sees us as being separate from everyone and everything else, often manifests itself as the need to be “right”, in charge or control of a situation, or defend our pride against a perceived offense. While the ego may have developed as a primitive way to ensure one’s survival, it’s quite clear that a great many of mankind’s difficulties and conflicts have been sparked or enflamed by the egos of the individuals involved!

Interestingly enough, I had an opportunity to see a perfect demonstration of this played out in front of me recently. In this situation, a confrontation erupted between two people when their paths inadvertently crossed at my workplace. One found himself in the way of the other and both, in their rush to get things done, were apparently less than respectful to one another. One took offense at the other’s brusqueness and, when a similar encounter between the two occurred several minutes later, tempers flared. When the two approached one another rudely and exchanged angry words, the entire scene reminded me of two angry wolves, circling one another and snarling over territory, simply because one wished to pass by the other in the forest!

While the two did manage to calm down, discuss the issue, and resolve things in a mutually acceptable manner, I somehow felt that the entire situation could have been avoided if either one had simply chosen to “take The High Road”.

  • Are we so sensitive that we demand respect before we offer it to others?
  • Once we’ve given respect, do we become angry if we don’t immediately receive it in return?
  • Are we in so much of a hurry that we no longer care about the needs of our fellow human beings?
  • Have we become so stressed by our own lives that we feel the need to push our stress onto others?

If we find ourselves saying “yes” to any of these questions, I think it may be time to lighten up just a bit!

As I make my way through the many challenges of life, I’m finding that it’s much easier to let others’ indiscretions pass than it is to “throw fuel on the fire”, so to speak. There may be a thousand reasons why people behave the way they do and, in all likelihood, they don’t have anything to with me. It doesn’t serve me, them, or anyone else well to react angrily to their confrontation. I’m also finding that, by not taking things personally, I’m able to remain calm and react in a more detached, rational manner.

I’m thinking that all of us might benefit from practicing a bit more tolerance and understanding in our lives. The brief moment it takes to take a deep breath and mentally step back from a tense situation might be all it takes to ensure that our reaction doesn’t become an over-reaction. Just imagine how our world might change if everyone were to try that. And if that doesn’t work, I suppose we could always wrap some bright yellow “CAUTION” tape around us when we’re in an unfriendly mood and just want to be left alone.

Hmmmm. Now that’s a fashion statement for these turbulent times!

With Love,

stargazericon

Please feel free to redistribute, repost, or otherwise share this post, providing it is credited to https://rememberinginfinity.wordpress.com.

 


11 Comments

The Christmas Truce (1914)


angel

Let there be Peace on Earth!

For many, it is difficult to imagine the unspeakable horrors of war.  The bitter stench of cordite, explosive rending of earth, air, and sea; and indiscriminate destruction of all that would stand in the way of victory are just the beginning.  There is the inconsolable and heart-wrenching ache of homesickness.   There are the inescapable miseries of Spartan living and the tempestuous wrath of nature.  There is an arrogant fury, fueled by an illusory sense of righteousness that drives combatants to commit unspeakable acts.  There are the lies, manipulations, and raw determination of the brutal and ruthless powers on both sides of the conflict.  Finally, there is the bare and abject fear that shivers through the veins of all who witness its atrocities.  While the horrors of war are experienced to some extent by all, they are disproportionately reflected in the blank faces of the young–for it is most often they who must bear the burden of orders to fight and kill, suffer, or die.

While the costs of war are many, there is little doubt that its highest wages are paid through the wholesale slaughter of humanity.  Fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors; all, regardless of guilt or innocence, are ground under the wheels of martial advancement.  Many lose their homes and livelihoods.  Many must live the remainder of their lives with debilitating injuries of mind, body, and soul.  And many will die.  But in the end, all suffer horribly.  It is this carnage, the wanton waste of human blood, muscle, organ, and bone–indeed, the callous disregard of Life itself, that is the greatest transgression of war.

In our modern world of instant communication and artificial imagery, it is difficult to imagine how thousands of young men must have felt, just over 100 years ago in 1914.  At that time, what was thought to be “The War to End All Wars” (World War I) was being waged on the front lines between France and Germany.  While most of the world lay warm in their beds on that Christmas Eve, two determined armies huddled miserably in muddy trenches, facing one another across a dark and battered stretch of no-man’s land.  Much as pawns in a violent game of chess, these men were trapped between a wet and bitterly cold winter and the relentless grinding of their countries’ military machines.  But in a moment of silence, just when the hour must have seemed darkest, a Christmas Miracle occurred.  Despite incredible odds and the stubborn efforts of the leaders on both sides to stop it, The Spirit of Peace prevailed.

According to most accounts, the uncertain cease-fire began with a song.  German soldiers, apparently overcome by homesickness, began singing Christmas carols.  Allied soldiers on the other side of the lines, fearing a trick of some kind, listened and watched with surprise and suspicion.  Before too long however, someone on their side joined in.   Others soon followed and it wasn’t long before voices rose on both sides of the trenches.  One can scarcely imagine the surreal nature of that moment, for here were two bitterly opposed armies that had been wounding and killing each other for months.  Now, instead of destroying each other in the cold darkness, each side was singing the same song in its own language.  Somehow, and in some miraculous way, these men were connecting to a sense of something–something that was quickly bridging the gap created by the broken bodies of their fallen comrades, the torn earth, and the rigid doctrines that seemed to separate them.

As the night progressed and Christmas dawned the next day, both sides of the conflict came together in a strange new way.  Enemies looked directly into each others’ faces, shook hands, and respected one another as equals.  Each came to understood that his enemy was a human being, much the same as he was–and that each had his own hopes and dreams, a home, and family.  These men, wearing different uniforms, speaking different languages, and representing violently opposing views, found a way to lay down their arms and share something that transcended their differences.  For at least a few hours it seems, humanity returned to the front lines.  All that day, after burying and honoring the dead on both sides, the men shared stories, food, and photos of home. They played soccer and traded keepsakes.  They laughed.  They sang.  Together, in the midst of a war, they found a way to celebrate the season that reminds us that Love and Peace are among the most cherished of all things to blessed with in this life.

Unfortunately, as Christmas passed and the glowing spirit of this spontaneous armistice faded away, the ugliness of war returned.  The peaceful space that had briefly existed between to armies was torn asunder.  It wasn’t long before the crack of small arms fire, thud of artillery, and screams of the dying drowned out the echoes of songs and joyful laughter–but the fact that, for a time at least, songs and laughter could be heard at all among the trenches on that cold, dark Christmas Eve was clearly a miracle.  And it’s one that should always be remembered.

As we look forward to spending this Holiday Season with our own friends and loved ones, perhaps we may find a moment to reflect on this event and look within.  Perhaps we may find a way to overcome some of our own prejudices, the ones that make us feel so different and separate from other human beings.  Instead of seeing only differences and gaps to be bridged between us, perhaps we may begin to see and embrace our commonalities–that is, the things that we share, and begin to accept all fellow beings as our brothers and sisters.  While we may have been taught to see unfamiliar beliefs, geo-political borders, and cultural traditions as differences to resolve or challenges to be overcome, are they not simply opportunities to learn fresh, new ways of experiencing our beautiful world?  And what if we were to begin learning to accept them as such?

If human beings were always able to seek common ground and respect one another as individuals, perhaps conflicts like those surrounding the Christmas Armistice of 1914 would never again be necessary.  I, for one, know that it can be done.  After all, if the power of a Season and a song stopped a war once, it can certainly do so again!

May all the Joy, Wonder, and Peace of the Holiday Season be yours–not just today, but always. 

With Love,

stargazericon

Please feel free to redistribute, repost, or otherwise share this post, providing it is credited to https://rememberinginfinity.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

 

 


16 Comments

Remembering Infinity: “Let It Begin With Me…”


Let there be Peace on Earth.

        Let there be Peace on Earth.

Ever since I was young, I’ve always felt that I was somehow a little different from others my age. I was shy and withdrawn growing up, never quite fitting in with others—and I still have a tendency to be that way, even some decades later as an adult.

By all outward appearances, I was a typical tow-headed, spindly-legged kid. What made me stand out the most however, were the rather obvious facts that my mom cut my hair herself and that I was dressed quite a bit differently than anyone else. While most kids my age were sporting t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers, I had to wear more conservative button-down shirts, slacks, and leather dress shoes with brass buckles. Unfortunately, these differences and my quiet nature seemed to make me the perfect target for bullies.

Since both my parents needed to work to make ends meet, I grew up  as a “latch-key kid” in a working-class neighborhood in San Francisco.  Often left to manage on my own, I’d walk the several blocks to and from our 1920’s brick apartment building to school.  Most afternoons after school let out, I’d let myself into our empty apartment using a key my parents had hidden near the back kitchen stairs. Unfortunately, my daily travels took me past a smaller stucco duplex where a classmate named “Raymond” lived. Raymond and I had been friends in kindergarten, but somehow the passage of the next grade or two found us bitter enemies. As the result of some undoubtedly childish disagreement—the details of which completely escape me now, Raymond apparently made it his personal mission to taunt and threaten me any time he could. Most days, I would try to avoid crossing paths with him by racing out of school as quickly as I could or by unpredictably changing my route home.

Sometimes however, these efforts didn’t work—and on those days, Raymond and his friends would follow me home from school, shouting insults and even throwing things at me the entire way. Then, when I was almost home, they would quickly surround me like a pack of snarling wolves. Raymond, who was a full head shorter than me, had small scars on his face from previous altercations with others. He’d ball up his fists and glare contemptuously at me. “Come on, pussy!” He’d shout angrily. “Come on…do something! Fight me! You know you want to!”

Rumors around school were that Raymond and his friends carried pocket knives, so I had no desire whatsoever to be involved with any of them. And, truth be told, I was terrified. Most of the time, they would simply knock my textbooks out of my hands and laugh as they walked away. Sometimes they would push me down and jostle each other roughly as I picked myself and my books up and ran home in tears. And, if things weren’t bad enough, it was even more humiliating when there were other kids (especially girls) around.

I couldn’t understand what I had done to deserve the kind of treatment I received and, to make matters even worse, my own household wasn’t immune to discord either. I remember many nights, lying in my closet-like bedroom with my hands over my ears, crying myself to sleep because my parents were screaming at each other on the other side of our thin apartment walls.

In the end, my parents’ temporary “cease-fire” and the city’s new policies on mandatory interschool busing (where troubled kids were sent to different schools in an effort to curb school violence) forced my parents to move. They bought a comfortable home in the suburbs, where things were much better. I still had trouble fitting in as “the new kid”, but at least the kids in my new school were a bit more tolerant of those who were different—that and the fact that I’d finally had enough of being a victim. When I finally began standing up for myself, the few bruises and black eyes I received thereafter were but a small price to pay for the peace I eventually found in knowing I that would be left alone.

In recent years as I’ve looked back on these experiences, I’ve come to understand and see things a bit differently. One of the things I now recall was that Raymond had come from a troubled home himself. With an abusive father and older brother, he had learned to fight—not just for survival, but for his own self-esteem. And, in being bullied himself, he had learned to become a bully. Another personal revelation was the discovery that these episodes were important catalysts for my eventual growth. While I would not want to relive them, nor would I wish these kinds of situations upon anyone else, I’m nonetheless grateful for their bitter lessons.

Through these and other new understandings, I’ve been able to find forgiveness for Raymond—and indeed, for all the others who seemed to find pleasure in my pain. And I take great satisfaction in knowing that I’ve done everything I can to stop the ripples of conflict, hatred, and retribution that such violence often perpetuates. I’m quite thankful that I’ve been able to let these kinds of behavior stop with me.

It struck me as being rather strange, but as I was writing the last few lines of this post I suddenly remembered a song I learned for a holiday performance in the 4th or 5th grade. The song, written by Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller and popular in the early 1970’s, was called, “Let There Be Peace on Earth”. It begins and ends with the words, “Let there be Peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.” These are important words, for if we were all to live them, no more children would have to run home in fear—and no more mothers or fathers would have to bury a child killed in violence or war.

So why don’t we all agree to take a stand for Peace? Right now—and in every new moment, let it begin with us.

With Love,

stargazericon

Note:

I had an unusual dream last night and, while I hadn’t intended to publish this for a week or two, something about the dream prompted me to post it today instead. In my dream, it seemed as if the world had descended into utter chaos. Parts of the city were burning around me and large numbers of people were fighting one another in the streets. Others, terrified, were fleeing the violence and their homes.

In the midst of all this destruction, one person stopped. He stood in the middle of the street and looked about with tears in his eyes. Quietly at first, but with growing strength and compassion for those around him, he began to sing the words of the song mentioned above. Soon, his powerful voice was carried with the wind—and others, touched and inspired by his courage, stopped to join him. The wave of emotion from their heartfelt song drifted through the urban canyons, soared to the heavens, and gently touched the hearts of all could hear.

And then, something wonderful happened.

Those engaged in violent struggle stopped. They dropped their weapons and fists, suddenly overcome by feelings of sadness and shame. Those in headlong flight no longer felt afraid, so they stopped running. In that brief moment, everyone finally understood that what they did to another human being, they ultimately did to themselves. In that brief moment, all their hate, anger and fear faded away. And instead of fighting and hurting one another, they began helping one another. They treated each others’ wounds. They shared food, clothing, and shelter. They helped put out fires and began to rebuild.

In my dream, all it took was one small miracle—in the form of one person and a song, to change the world. And things would never quite be the same again.

For those who don’t know the song, a wonderful version sung by Vince Gill may be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_DxNpW1kHQ

Please feel free to redistribute, repost, or otherwise share this post, providing it is credited to https://rememberinginfinity.wordpress.com.


5 Comments

Remembering Infinity: Finding Peace


findingpeace

Take time every day to sit quietly, experience the present moment, and just “be”.

In the frenzied rush of modern life, it’s become quite easy to lose touch with the things that are truly important—our families, our environment, and even ourselves.  From dawn to dusk and often far beyond, we are trapped on a “hamster wheel” of activity, mindlessly moving from one thankless task to the next—and getting nowhere fast.  While we don’t always realize it, the relentless expectations of contemporary society invade our thoughts and prod us into action nearly every moment of every day.

Before we know it, “busy-ness” becomes habit and we quickly lose the balance in our lives—along with patience, sleep, and sometimes even our own mental health.  With all our responsibilities and ambitions continuously robbing us of time, energy, and resources, it’s no wonder we seem to be losing touch with ourselves.  In this maelstrom of daily life, how is it possible to find peace?

The first step, of course, is that one must be awakened enough to see through the deceptions and delusions of our insatiable, “high-tech” consumer lifestyle.  We need to see the constant stream of information and stimuli we receive for what it is—a system that is intended to distract, manipulate, enslave, and exploit us.  It is only through this understanding that we may begin to exercise greater control over our own lives and well being.  This newfound clarity allows us to turn away, turn off, and walk away—even if it is only for a short time.

Next, we must make the conscious choice to reconnect with and rediscover our true, basic nature.  Anyone should be able to set aside at least 15 minutes a day to start—and there are nearly as many ways to accomplish this as there are people to do them.  To begin, find a quiet spot, away from any distractions or interruptions.  Sit comfortably, relax, and focus on your breathing.  Breathe slowly and naturally, gradually releasing more and more tension as you exhale.  As you inhale, envision yourself being filled with a pure white-golden energy that protects and sustains you.  Imagine yourself in a state of perfect calm, balance, and neutrality—and accept yourself exactly as you are at this very moment.  Allow yourself to experience your existence without judgment or thought.  Or, if you prefer, you might try observing nature.  Appreciate your surroundings and allow yourself to become one with them.  Imagine yourself as a cloud of energy that slowly merges with the world around you.  Meditate.  Pray.  Daydream.  Allow your mind to wander where it will—or just appreciate the stillness and truly feel what it is like to exist in a physical body.  Whatever your practice, the ultimate goal should be to sit quietly, experience the present moment, and just “be”.

At the end of your quiet time, consciously return your attention to your physical body.  Feel the new, calm energy that now flows through it and slowly open your eyes.  Take a moment to appreciate yourself and all that surrounds you, perhaps even offering a brief thought or prayer of thanks as you rise and return to your day.

As you begin to experience the serenity of these few special moments regularly each day, your intention to reconnect with your true self will soon allow more and more of it to come shining through.  Once you discover that true peace is found within, you will likely find yourself receiving a wealth of benefits.  Increased calm, clearer thinking, decreased stress, better health, and a greater sense of appreciation are all things you might experience with an investment of just a few minutes daily.

So if you haven’t already started, why not begin investing in yourself today?  With time being as valuable as it is, I can’t think of a better way to spend it—and without a doubt, you are definitely worth it!

Respectfully,

stargazericon

Please feel free to redistribute, repost, or otherwise share this post, providing it is credited to https://rememberinginfinity.wordpress.com.