EXCERPT: The Higher Good Beyond Good and Bad

I wanted to share this.  As many of you know, I’m seriously working to overcome cancer right now (Imagine three hours of Qigong a day and a complete and total diet shift, and you’ll get an idea).  It has turned my life upside down, but also blessed it on so many levels by opening my eyes to things that needed to change.  So when I read this again today, it really hit home.  I feel more real and filled with Love than I ever have in my life.

 

 

Excerpted from The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Copyright © 2001 by New World Library

Is there a difference between happiness and inner peace?
Yes. Happiness depends on conditions being perceived as positive; inner peace does not.

 
Is it not possible to attract only positive conditions into our life? If our attitude and our thinking are always positive, we would manifest only positive events and situations, wouldn’t we?
Do you truly know what is positive and what is negative? Do you have the total picture? There have been many people for whom limitation, failure, loss, illness, or pain in whatever form turned out to be their greatest teacher. It taught them to let go of false self-images and superficial ego-dictated goals and desires. It gave them depth, humility, and compassion. It made them more real.
Whenever anything negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it, although you may not see it at the time. Even a brief illness or an accident can show you what is real and unreal in your life, what ultimately matters and what doesn’t.
Seen from a higher perspective, conditions are always positive. To be more precise: they are neither positive nor negative. They are as they are. And when you live in complete acceptance of what is — which is the only sane way to live — there is no "good" or "bad" in your life anymore. There is only a higher good — which includes the "bad." Seen from the perspective of the mind, however, there is good-bad, like-dislike, love-hate. Hence, in the Book of Genesis, it is said that Adam and Eve were no longer allowed to dwell in "paradise" when they "ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil."

I am an Intentional Lifestyles Advocate…

(Originally published for The Liberty Project)

Stand behind any protest you make with some action that helps solve it.

Otherwise you are only giving yourself the power to complain.”

It increasingly seems that civilization is facing too many woes.  We are surrounded by cumbersome and outworn systems that have been broken by greed and a consumer mentality.  But blame at this point is futile.  And unless you take action on behalf of change, protesting to the same mindset that has either created or turned their eyes from woe in the name of material gain only feeds the world’s problems more of your energy.  As Einstein suggested, problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.  Thus it amounts to insanity for us to keep waiting for the profit-driven Hearts to have an epiphany and aim for a trajectory other than their own gain.

So, what action can we take?  What functional solutions are there in the face of such complex, world-wide challenges?  How do we heal the rifts that alienate us from one another, from the natural world and from our greater hopes and dreams?

We begin with the understanding that the answers are subjective.  Meaning, we all want and need different things so the concerns of each person, each household, each community, and each region are going to be different.  This also means that because we want people to be able to know the freedom of expressing themselves authentically, the answers won’t require us to establish a critical mass or convince a large group to change their ways.  But because the answers are subjective, they must start from within our own lives.  And within our own life, they must be born from inside of us, out from our Heart.

This means that you have the power right now, today, to start changing your experience of the world.  Think about the choices you can make to bring your life and your Inner Truth into a greater sense of accord.  Withdraw your support from all those things you would protest and see changed.  Release from your life what isn’t working or doesn’t fulfill you.  Stand-up for the sort of world you envision in your Heart and thoughts.

But don’t stop there.  For what is certain is that the world doesn’t really change one person at a time, unless that person is networking with others.  This is because the Human organism is a living system, which like any living system requires a certain amount of unity and exchange to not only stay organized but to change and evolve.  Thus the Human is truly a social organism with very real social needs.  This tells us that in whatever problem we’re looking to solve, community (or common unity) is part of the solution.

Once we have figured out what it is we need to make our own life authentic we must network.  We must find others who share our common cause and vision of what’s possible and foster critical relationships with them.  We must collaborate and experiment.  We must become pioneers and pathfinders together, forging a way to put our shared ideals and mindset into practice.

Of course we must also consider that the social organism is likewise a living system, requiring a condition of interdependence, accord and interaction with the surrounding substrate.  That is to say, we all live on and from the Earth.  As much as we need to cooperate with one another, we need to cooperate with the world around us just as much.  For we can’t live an authentic life if we fail to consider that which is natural and intrinsic to the composition of the Whole.

There are no blanket answers or tried recipes.  But in every change we are able to make, the possibility of success is greatly pronounced by assuring that you account for three factors – how you will express your Inner Truth, how you will join in that expression with others who desire the same experience or outcome and how you will account for the interwoven world-at-large in any desire you express.

It all boils down to living with conscious, well-focused intentions.  This is why we say that intentional lifestyles are the solution and call ourselves intentional lifestyle advocates.  Living with intention isn’t just a nice idea or a philosophy for the future.  It is a necessity.  Now.  If there is to be any sort of far-reaching solution, it is this.

Spiritual Sustainability: Save the Earth Without Killing Yourself

I found this thought-provoking article posted to a sustainable communities forum under the title Something to Think About: A Death-Blow to My Sustainable Living Ideal.  Having my own sustainable living ideals, it grabbed my attention; I wondered what a death-blow might represent.

It turns out that in this case the death-blow is a loss of two-thirds the author’s income.  As Amanda Rooker contemplates the discrepancy between her good intentions and the reality she’s faced with, a powerful transformation unfolds – her belief of being too poor and too busy to live sustainably is replaced by the realization that it was, in actuality, her “product-based, practice-based ideal of sustainable living that was not sustainable.”  This leads her to some intriguing revelations about what sustainability truly implies.  In the end, Amanda comes to see sustainability as a spiritual practice and process in parallel to the natural world –

Even if the body is deficient in many areas, it will only take in what will address the primary deficiency.  Pouring supplements into your body (or in this case adding sustainable practices) to address visible symptoms, is a waste of time, money  and energy.  Only when the core deficiency is met will the body be capable of absorbing what it needs to address the next core need.”

Very refreshing!

Prevent Food Waste, Save Money, Help the Planet

The results of an intensive 10 year study of food loss recently published through the University of Arizona reveals just how wasteful our nation is with its bounty.  The study, which also made use of decades of earlier research by the same UA Bureau, is the first to quantify the nation’s edible wastes with accurate percentages that track the entire production/consumption equation.  For example, at a commercial level the study finds that nearly half of all perfectly edible produce, nuts and grains are discarded without ever reaching intended markets, often plowed under due to failed bets on the high stakes commodities market.  This constitutes a major impact to the environment as mature crops are discarded in favor of a new bet on a new potential crop.

At a consumer level, the study finds that the average household ultimately discards 14 percent of all food purchases.  Nationwide this is the equivalent of 43 billion dollars each year!

So the question becomes, what can be done about it?  I believe we can turn this knowledge into a positive by letting it spur us to action.  In fact, the study noted three consumer actions that will have a big impact on the future direction these percentages take (given in all caps; the expounding is my own):

  1. PURCHASE PLANNING.  Keep a well-stocked pantry, free of lots of store bought cans and processed junk.  Repurpose glass jars and fill them with organic, whole foods bought locally in bulk and representative of everything your family eats the most of (i.e. don’t buy things just because they happen to be on sale).  When something is used from the pantry or you notice the bulk-jar needs a fill-up, immediately add the item to your next shopping list.  This will help you avoid impulsive trips to the store (the most likely time for you to buy a bunch of stuff you don’t need; 15 percent of such purchases statistically go to waste).  Plan your shopping trips wisely.  Examine the pantry, look in the freezer, examine the sale-ads for the store(s) you’ll be visiting, and then make a meal list for at least a week, if not two or more.  Buy on sale, but not just because it’s on sale.  For example, don’t let cheap prices lure your family into stocking-up on processed foods.  Instead look for good prices on fresh foods that can be paired with items on hand in your pantry, or turned into pantry items (i.e. a cheap price on strawberries becomes a year’s worth of homemade strawberry jam).  Also look for good sales on your common pantry items.  Try not to buy anything at the store that isn’t on your  list, unless you find a good deal on a healthy item that will expand your running list of meals.
  2. RESPONSIBLE USE.  If you appreciate flexibility like we do, avoid planning your meal list by the day of the week and instead just keep a numbered list of the complete meals you have on hand.  Remove meals as they are consumed and add them as they are acquired.  Put the meals that utilize the most perishable ingredients at the top of the list and make choices that don’t allow those items to go to waste (i.e. take-out can truly wait a night if you have fresh ingredients on hand you are letting spoil).  Save any leftovers from your prepared meals for lunches, save the unused portion of any ingredient for use in other meals (in fact, count on this when planning your list), and save the best scraps of meal preparation in freezer bags (for making great stocks, broths, gravies, casseroles, etc.).  If you see produce moving toward over-ripe, preserve it through freezing, dehydration, or canning; or let it motivate you to make something from it in impromptu fashion.
  3. EDUCATION.  Learn about the ingredients you buy and consume and how they are best stored and preserved.  Always take the extra moment to store things properly.  Label and date anything you freeze or otherwise preserve.

And if you really want to see our nation start to break its ties with the specter of mindless insatiability, I recommend a fourth.  Support one of the many programs nationwide that collects surplus foodstuffs from restaurants, grocery chains, produce warehouses, and distributes what would otherwise be thrown away to those who need it most.

The Impossible Hamster

The New Economics FoundationOne Hundred Months,  and  Wake Up, Freak Out have joined forces to produce this poignant video called The Impossible Hamster.  I really felt this and think it is probably the most adept illustration of the senselessness of unbridled economic growth anyone could hope to make in 1 minute 10 seconds:


Move a Little…

Recently I came across a book being promoted as a new release at the local library called “Move a Little, Lose a Lot:  New N.E.A.T. Science Reveals How to be Thinner, Happier, and Smarter” by James A Levine.  A few days later, I was pacing as I read, per his suggestion.

Levine is the doctor who developed and heads the NEAT Lab at the Mayo Clinic, where the most detailed and data-rich study of obesity and the metabolism was ever undertaken.  The results of the study, published in 2005, did not reinforce traditional ideas about obesity and weight-loss but rather suggested that it is well more effective to put more daily motion into your life than it is to seek out bursts of organized exercise.  This daily motion is specifically called NEAT – Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.  And in essence the importance of NEAT boils down to the idea that we have removed many of the simply daily tasks our bodies, like sophisticated machines, are designed to do; tasks that are slowly being removed from our daily repertoire with the mere push of a button.  Those little motions, actually add up to a lot, and serve to rev-up the metabolism.

I haven’t finished reading the book yet, but it coincides with a new theme going on at my house, where we’re consciously taking time each day after the little one’s nap to remake something in our environment closer to our ideal, as a family effort!  It’s been…well, transformative…

As I was typing good friend Amy shared another video I have to pass along, especially as it fits so nicely with our theme.  It is Jaime Oliver’s acceptance speech for the TED Prize.  Oliver’s goal is “to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again, and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”  How Awesome is he??

The video is long… but this is such a perfect speech, it’s worth watching…

Be Aware: Keep Evil out of the Fridge!

If you have watched Food, Inc. then you likely remember Monsanto by way of their Nazi-esque lawyers, fighting tirelessly against the American Farmer and People on behalf of Genetically Modified Organisms everywhere.  Monsanto is scary stuff.  And if I were to start including the word ‘evil’ in my vernacular, I’d apply it to them first.  In fact, did I mention that their name means ‘Sacred Mountain’ and that Satan is often referred to as the Lord of the Mountain?  No joke.  I’ve also read that they bring their people straight into the present day from a time-machine developed in their lab to seek out the soul-less, extract them from their wicked past, and fashion them as corporate heads… not good.

Not only is Monsanto disproportionately rich and powerful, they presently own – that is, hold patent on – over 90% of the seeds used to sustain America’s food supply.  Putting all our eggs into one basket isn’t the best idea to begin with, even the basket of the best Samaritan as any number of things may happen…but what about putting all of our precious eggs into one really greedy basket that wants nothing more than to hold all the eggs?

Nearly every non-organic food product can be linked to Monsanto directly (i.e. without any degrees of separation) through one or more of its ingredients.  So guess who’s regularly one of organic food’s biggest adversaries?  Guess who makes no bones about wanting full control?

Inspired by this blog I’m jumping on the bandwagon to expose the evil that might be disguising itself beneath a variety of false but appealing appearances in your pantry and fridge.  As Bob Cesca (of aforementioned blog) says, “Let’s make Monsanto a household name!”  In the spirit of avoidance, that it.   In the same way word quickly spreads about any other plague.

The best way to counter their presence is to buy organic and obtain what you can from local Farmer’s Markets and cottage industries.  If that isn’t possible, limit your exposure to processed foods; stick with labels that your grandmother would understand! Or, better yet, start growing whatever you can!

P.S. ~ Don’t be fooled by the rather shining statements released by Monsanto’s PR rep in favor of organic, sustainable, non-GMO agriculture.  In fact, let it illuminate that such only makes them slick tongued as their actions clearly and loudly speak the complete opposite.  This is a rather obvious attempt to put some distance between themselves and evil incarnate in the eyes of the press, who drives their public, who lines their pockets.  If you let it soften you, kudos to Monsanto’s PR department.  Score for them.  Personally, I’m hoping that when they got that extra dose of greed in their construct, it was at the cost of sufficient intelligence.  Case in point –  as part of their image-altering campaign Monsanto’s representative claims that he himself only consumes locally grown, organic produce and meats!  Excuse me?  Is anyone else hearing a really shrill alarm??  This is certainly no proof of the big heart they claim to possess (unless we are talking about the one they have locked in a box somewhere and held in awe by their leaders as the one treasure they cannot patent).  That their own representative avoids feeding their genetically engineered products to his family, couldn’t be a more glaring testament to the true nature of this corporate beast.

Conscious Consumerism

Conscious consumerism first requires local action, which is largely facilitated through the concept of bioregionalism.  That is, we are called on to think about the impact of our choices on the local region and consider purchases from the standpoint of sustaining the local biodiversity.  For many that means changing the way we acquire things.  It means shopping local vendors, supporting local agriculture through the regional Farmer’s Market and CSA projects, and discovering your area’s talents and intelligences.  It means stewarding the local community and its unique culture.  Imagine what people united in this effort can accomplish!

Where to Find Organic Products and Services in your area.

Where to Find CSA Farms in your area.

Where to Find a Farmer’s Market in your area.

Where to Buy Fair Trade Certified Products in your area.

How to support Local Farmers.

How to implement your own Sustainable Action Plan.

How to start your own Buy Local Campaign. (PDF Document)

I am from a rather radical school of thought that thinks in a Golden Civilization – a Civilization truly illuminated by the Light of Consciousness – a community that wasn’t sustainable wouldn’t exist.  This is the “solution” for providing sustainable abundance to All (if that is what you desire for the Future).  In keeping with this radical idea I also think that things are best priced based on their true resource and energy consumption (that includes Human energy), and should become more expensive the further they have to travel to arrive at your door…but that’s just my freaky dream of a good future economy!

Back in today’s world, however, if you can’t find what you’re looking for where you live, here are a few good places to turn:

The Conscious Consumer Marketplace

EarthLover

Global Girlfriend

Frontier Natural Products Co-op

The Back to the Land Store