One of my favorite writers, Anais Nin, said, “We see the world not as it is, but as we are.”
I have long believed our own perception creates our personal reality, so if we don’t like what we see out there, it’s our own problem—truly.
There’s no external solution to our internal problems—individual and collective.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the political jousting constantly playing out on social media, and of course the dim and grim view painted by our news stations. If I were to believe any network news channel’s take on the state of the world, I’d say we’re all beyond redemption.
But I refuse to make that my truth. The world is many things, and whatever we decide to believe, in so choosing, makes it real to us.
I have long believed the world would be a radically different place if our news channels reported only good news. Once in awhile we get a taste of this, but it’s always brief and never close to balancing out the horrors broadcast in self-repeating loops. But we know there are multitudes of philanthropic deeds, random acts of kindness, heroic feats and quiet miracles taking place every day all across the globe.
How different would your outlook on life and humanity be if you could see examples of that every evening on the news as you sat down to supper with your family?
How differently might we behave toward one another? What effect would this have on our conversations? In businesses? With our leaders?
How much air-time would crooked politicians, wanna-be terrorists and corporate money mongers maintain when competing with such comparatively splendid competition? What would such a diversion of attention do to their “power”?
A good parent knows not to reward bad behavior in a child with undue attention, but shouldn’t that logic transfer into adult situations where what’s at stake is far more serious than a temper tantrum in aisle five?
People argue that it’s immoral to ignore the (so-called) facts, or that it’s irresponsible to bury one’s head in the sand; the problems of the world need to be addressed, and examined and brought to awareness.
But if what we focus on increases—as has been proven, time and again—then we are certainly part of the problem every time we give any of that the least bit of attention. For our focus only amplifies the momentum those negative issues already have going, plus our attention to them draws them more intimately into our own reality.
What about all the goodness and kindness and glorious examples of greatness we aren’t addressing or examining or bringing into awareness?
How is it irresponsible to acknowledge and embrace a more loving reality over a fearful one?
The only value in giving any attention to the atrocities of the world lies in our experience of contrast, and the subsequent choices we make.
In beholding what we loath, what we fear, what we scorn, we know more fully what it is we desire. It brings things into sharper focus for us.
You know, You can’t appreciate the sunshine until you’ve tasted the rain-sort of thing.
I don’t mean to make light the serious issues and tragic events that exist. Challenges abound—some bigger than others—that try our patience, test our faith and break our hearts. This is life. And in these moments, as in all others, our perception and reaction is always a choice, though there’s really only two ways to go: toward fear and all its forms (hate, anger, envy, doubt, revenge, sorrow, apathy)…or toward love.
Love, when exercised as a conscious choice, is so much sweeter, can be felt so much more deeply, and moves one to a much greater place of insight than we might ever encounter if we’d never faced the alternative.
In this regard, and this regard only, negative occurrences are worth acknowledging. Then, as quickly as one is able to move on from them, they must become as the dry dust of bones, lest the rotting stench of their presence forever infect the one who fights to keep them disinterred through “ethically correct” concern.