Modern society rewards a superficial kind of living. It promotes living from the ego: that we are nothing more than what we experience with our five senses and that happiness can be found in the material world. So we dedicate our lives to pursuing more material things…we work more hours at a job to get more money, to buy more things, and then we need a bigger house, we need a fancier car, and so we need more money. Then our debt spirals, and we have to pay a bigger mortgage payment, pay off the larger car loan, and so on, that it becomes a loop that never ends. And so we forgo spending quality time with our families and friends, attending our child’s soccer match or spending time engaging in a creative pursuit. At the end of the day, week, month, year, we’ve spent so much time pursuing that we never took the time to actually be, and attend to our hearts’ desires. Advertisements are everywhere and tell us that if only we had this product we’ll be happy. For example, ads tell us that we need a flat screen TV (when the old model still works fine) or that we have to have this new technology or that one to make our lives easier (easier to cram more ego-based activities into our already over-loaded ego-based lives).
And then people who don’t get ahead in this system (a system that is actually designed to have people at the top and the bottom) feel shame and think that something is wrong with them, and so begin to act out. They take from others because they feel that they will become worthy and happy once they acquire some material things by any means necessary.
We are told in this ego-based version of life that our appearance defines us, and that we’re too fat, too skinny, have love handles, that our nose is too big, etc. So we have entire multi-million dollar industries built on preying upon people’s insecurities about their physical appearance. And we easily fall victim to these lies when we think we are nothing more than our bodies. We are told that we are inferior if we are of a certain race or ethnic background. We are told we are not good enough and that it is our own fault if we are poor. We are told that we are sinful by nature, and that we are going to hell if we don’t act in a way that is proscribed by someone’s interpretation of a translation of a religious text. We are told to be ashamed if we love someone of the same gender. Along those same lines, powers that be (who want to maintain the divided status quo) keep us all distracted by pitting us against each other by focusing on our superficial differences: Democrat vs. Republican, Christian vs. Muslim, young vs. old, black vs. white, and the list goes on and on.
Another distraction is violence. Violence is a sickness that will never solve anything. Violence begets more violence. We arm ourselves to the teeth, so we can protect ourselves from each other. We “win” wars, at the cost of civilian and troop lives. The troops that make it back of the so-called victors are damaged, not just physically but even more perniciously, emotionally and mentally. Struggling from PTSD, and other disorders, our brave men and women come back struggling to fit into society. They suffer from a very real cognitive dissonance and are conflicted and haunted because they know intuitively that it is wrong to take another’s life, but have done just that after being given a justification that it was right because it was in the name of country. How can such suffering be counted as a victory?
So, all of these distractions–negativity, distrust, hatred, violence, and insecurity–attract more of the same and converge to keep us locked in a loop that feeds on itself.
There is a cure, however. We can free ourselves from this loop. Once we fully embrace the idea that, “we are spirits in the material world,” as the musical artist Sting sang, these distractions will start to fade. We then can get locked in a loop of the spirit of love. Once we begin living from the heart, then all sorts of miracles will begin to occur on a daily basis. Our old needs and limitations of the ego–addictions, insecurities, hatred, jealousy, and doubt–will begin to disappear. We will begin to realize that we are what we seek: love. We can start our self-love affair by recognizing that it is fine to enjoy the trappings of the physical world, as long as we don’t define ourselves by them. And once we begin to divorce ourselves from working so hard to keep up with the Joneses, we find that we really don’t have a lot of material needs anyway. We can start to love ourselves just as we are, no matter what we look like. We are good enough. We will start recognizing the spirit of love that exists in all of humanity, not just in people that look or live or worship as we do. And once that realization sets in, it will become obvious that we truly are each other’s keepers. The Golden Rule–do unto others as you would have them do unto you–becomes easy and natural to uphold. When we recognize the goodness and humanity in ourselves and in others, we all will benefit. And as a result, living from the heart will truly become the absolute power that we have to create heaven on earth.