Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bearing Witness

This post has been germinating for a while now.  Time and time again I get riled up and then the feelings will dissipate.  Usually it's late at night when things eat at me, but then in the light of day I can let them go again.

It's the state of the world these days that gets me down, sometimes depressingly so.  I realized not long ago that I've been carrying this huge expectation that the world should be more adult, more conscious, more politically correct, ad infinitum.  This is the 21st century, after all, not the Dark Ages...or at least that's what I thought.

And yet in truth, the world is a barbaric place, and 2000 years of so-called socialization hasn't yet civilized us. 

Nearly everything on the planet is vastly out of kilter.  The dawning of the Age of Aquarius was supposed to happen 40 years ago and it still hasn't.  Everything that we fought for in the 1960s politically, culturally and socially has been ravaged again by the egregious powers that be in this country now.

Sometimes it is so unbearably hard to keep my heart open and witness the devastation of everything -- the planet, the animals, the food supply, the land, the air, the oceans, the social safety net, the economy, the middle class, education -- it never ends.  And it's not just in this country, of course.  There is nothing that isn't being negatively affected by the greed and lust for power that run the world.  I just cannot get my mind around how those people think.

What I feel so often must be what it is to be a conscious world citizen in the early 21st century ~ simply aghast at what's going on, overwhelmed by nearly everything I see/hear/read about (which is the tiniest tip of the iceberg), morally assaulted by our sociocultural reality, and rendered speechless much of the time. 

I know the lesson here, the practice if you will, is to simply bear witness to the madness and not be attached to it...because there's truly nothing I can do to change things (besides signing petitions ad nauseum).  It's just so difficult sometimes to stay focused on making art and bringing joy to myself and to the world, because my heart aches so much of the time.


  1. I hear ya. I find myself blocking so much of it out because not to would be to become overwhelmed into despair. I keep a bit of the bigger picture in my peripheral vision while trying to keep my focus very close in. I have a few people that I also focus on, people who need me in some small way or love me and that becomes my anchor and purpose in being. The art takes my mind off it all...when I can bring myself to get to work on it. It's been a different and difficult year all told, and I am trying to get through it with the wisdom of my yoga teacher - a yielding to (but not trampling by) whatever life sends my way, a welcoming of that which I would normally resist, and nurturing compassion for myself so that I can then reach beyond myself with compassion. It is working out better for me than what I was doing a few years ago, so full of anger and resentment and fear that I was a toxic presence even to those I wanted near me, and eaten up inside. My idealism is long gone but I suppose my hope has not entirely left me. I find good still in the world around me, enough to keep me going.

  2. I'm not sure how I ended up here, but I definitely resonate with what you're saying. I lament the dumbing down of our young people and culture in general. I worry about the surveillance capabilities of those with the most wealth, and how they could potentially be able to quash any meaningful protest or uprising. I worry about the whole porn culture, where human beings are for sale, debased because of economics and greed. I worry about mega-corporations stealing healthy food from our farms and families, etc etc. Yet I still believe in compassion, in miraculous loving-kindness, in art and transcendence. I don't follow the news because I feel that I am of more service by staying focused on these things. But yeah, I sign all the petitions too. :-)

  3. Yup yup yup. And, oh gee, in my childishness I thought Viet Nam was to be the last war in this world. Can they blame us for being so despondent about politics, for starters, and dwell further and longer inside our heads?