The Illusion of Separateness & Ethical Responsibility

In the wake of WWII, a German pastor, Martin Niemoller (1892-1984), penned this poem:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–because I was not a Socialist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out–because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak out for me.

This wonderfully articulate quote speaks volumes concerning the paramount ethical importance of speaking out for minority views.

We may not directly see the immediate ramifications of minority views being suppressed, but from a globalized and society viewpoint, we will all experience those effects.

We may not fully understand how our current selfishness affects the coming generations, but without question, it will affect them. That responsibility is placed upon our shoulders to create a world in which our children and grandchildren can freely express themselves and lead meaningful lives, without the fear of subjugation based on personal preferences.

The spirit behind this quote is my reason for being an Ally for the LGBTQ community. It is the reason why I believe in providing a living wage for those who work hourly-wage jobs.  It is the reason I believe in conservation, and reducing manufacturing processes that are crippling the sensitive ecosystem of the earth, which we are leaving to future generations.

Regardless of philosophy or theology, it is inarguable that we share our very molecular make up with everything else in the Universe (even in the same proportions). In a very real and non-metaphysical sense, “We are the Universe aware of itself.”  There is responsibility in that truth. Responsibility to others, to ourselves, and to the Earth that bore us.

Watch at least the first minute of this video, and stand in awe with me, of our fascinating origins.

Day #31

Tonight, as I walked in place of Mrs. Meander I decided to try to walk without instigating any thoughts, but merely observe the thoughts that my brain produced and let seep into conscious awareness.

I was astounded at the sheer bulk of random thought processes that continually stream forth from the recesses of the sub-conscious. On a dark and relatively stimuli-free walk, my brain produced thought processes including, but not limited to: relationships, travel, marriage, pain, loss, camping, building, racism, Michael Brown, excess, lack, childhood memories, decisions, money, exercise, and politics. And so it went, and so it goes.

As soon as I became aware of a thought process and dismissed it, resolving to walk with nothing but my sensory experience… well, the next thing I knew I had just spent several moments “thinking” about something else completely irrelevant to this present moment.

It caused me to pause and ponder, “How much of what we react to, what we think we really “think” about is actually just us noticing our subconscious processing a mire of previous thoughts and inputs? Are we really thinking original thoughts when we say things like, “Well I think…”? OR are we simply allowing our brains to regurgitate a conglomeration of past outside voices that we mistake for our own?

I have a challenge for myself and for you, wonderful reader: As you go about your day, notice yourself “thinking,” and perhaps ponder the content of those thoughts. Were they relevant to your immediate situation? Did they bring happiness? Did the instigate anxiety?

Could it be that the journey to mindful living is paved with an awareness that our passing “thoughts” are actually making us, and not the other way around? Perhaps catching brains in the act of thinking could be the ticket to a more peaceful existence.

Happy thinking, my fellow travelers…

Venison with a Side of Exhaustion

The Mrs. wrote a short post today about relief. You can read it here, if you didn’t get here through those means.

Relief can come in different ways at times. Sometimes, it’s a relief to have fears confirmed, because at least there is closure. Other times, it’s a relief to find out there is nothing to worry about. I took a walk today, for the Mrs, and as I walked I considered the leaves under my feet, the scents in the air, and I observed the random thoughts that flooded my mind when I let down my guard.

I walked to the Mrs.’s mother’s house to fetch an armload of venison that was to be prepared for when she got home from her very long day of counseling, teaching, and foster-care interviewing. I considered the warm welcome I got when walking into “Mimi’s” home. Two smiling faces, welcoming me with cheer. Two happy dogs eager to receive my affection. Oh, and an arm-full of assorted venison.

As I departed, my heart was full with this thought: Home is a beautiful thing. It knows no geographical location, nor is it limited by any physical constraints. Home is where they love you.

The walk home was filled with thoughts of all that needed to be done. Anxieties were fully felt, and I allowed them to pass by. Again I focused on yellow tree leaves under my feet, the smell of burning wood in fireplaces, and the bite of the cold on my lips.

I acknowledged the perfection in nature.

I appreciated the work those trees did in producing that leaf that now lies dead up the blacktop. I appreciated the scent of smoke from the trees that now serve a different purpose. In those few moments, I chose also to appreciate myself and those around me.

Why? Because I’m actually alive. And in choosing to appreciate, I’m choosing to acknowledge the incredible work that goes into even one element of order in this world. One successful relationship, one completed project, one well-deserved evening of exhaustion.

And as the Mrs. and I ate our venison and veggies, we appreciated the light cast from our Christmas tree. We appreciated the savory flavors and aromas from our meal. And most of all, we appreciated the presence of a fellow world-worn sojourner.

We found life in our shared experience… of exhaustion.