Archive for the Big Questions Category

A Current Conundrum

Posted in Big Questions, Desires, Dilemma's and Solutions, Feelings with tags , , , on November 26, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

Yesterday, I drove my Subaru 15 miles to listen to a wonderful talk by a climate researcher and author. Indeed a profound dissertation.

Early on in the presentation he inquired of the audience, “How many of you think that humans are responsible for climate change?” Startling to him, everyone in this group on the coast of Maine raised their hand for “Yes, we are”. Usually he said it’s 50/50.

The roadways leading to the library where the talk was to be held were completely filled with auto’s clothed in the greatest colorful array of progressive bumper stickers imaginable, mine too……….and not a parking space for blocks.

At the talks conclusion, he stated that from his perspective it will take a new discovery of an alternative energy source to stem the tide of runaway carbon dioxide increases.

I am beyond perplexed, saddened and disheartened.

Here we were in this room, all in agreement to our role in harming the current stability of Earth, and what behaviors are any of us actually changing? In the face of overwhelming research, I feel powerless. And yet as he stated, we are more powerful that can be understood, we’ve been putting these forces at work for a while now, us, probably you and me, and everyone that we know. And yet, we’re not going to change, but just wait for some new source of energy??

Why is it that our current way of life, with all of its entitled comforts is not negotiable? These alleged comforts have only been around for a relatively short while. Why does it seem that we aren’t willing to modify our behavior all that much? And what would this look like if indeed we did modify ourselves? Why are automobiles, which from the perspective of a pedestrian are violent contraptions for inducing a lazy apathetic consumer culture, deemed to be a prerequisite for life within this nation?

I am dumbfounded. We in this room all drove, something that we know is inherently wasteful, harmful, on so many distinct levels, dangerous. Are we not capable of imagining a society without these things, and the multitudes of other dastardly conveniences? Can we get beyond the “I want it now syndrome?”

If we know that we a part of the problem, what will have to evolve in us in order to change course? What will we be willing to let go of? Isn’t this the greatest conundrum?—What will have to evolve in “us“?

While I live here now in this society, I do envision a vastly different one, and that one does not have automobiles at the center of our neighborhoods. It has us, working together for the things that matter dearly to us. This “working together” seems like the crucial point and something that many have lost the ability to accomplish. Some of our individual actions will not change the big picture, but we can choose which influence we’ll exert.

May we answer these questions, and even more importantly, share with each other what we discover. I know deep within me, and you probably do too, that our lives can be so much richer than we’ve been currently accustomed too. Even though I have not yet physically experienced this new way, I do feel its presence getting closer. And for that I am extremely grateful.

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Road Kill………….Squirrels Teaching

Posted in Big Questions, Feelings, Not your normal letter to the editor with tags , , , , , , on September 30, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

I am deeply saddened when encountering road kill. I think thoughts that are not pleasant. I get angry. I have conversations in my head. I scream out. This does not generally help. And then I forget and go numb. What other word can I use?

And then, there is another one, right there where the children walk to school.

 

Just yesterday a news program broadcast a story about skunks. The interviewee was stating that skunks have no natural predators, and that road kills are the predominant way that skunk populations are held in somewhat of a check. No mention of the barbarity of these acts. We, with our motor vehicles do this. Very sad indeed.

 

I’m mentioning this because it is early autumn and road kills are increasing. As a walker and bicyclist I am generally closer to the carnage, and I can’t look away. Or choose not too. There are multitudes of reasons why our standard consensus reality modes of moving our bodies to other locales is cause for alarm. But right now road kill is on my mind.

And this has reminded me of a letter from a few years back. I feel that it is still very relevant. Peace.

——————————————-

S q u i r r e l s    T e a c h i n g

What a glorious autumnal season is upon us! Refreshing crisp air in the early mornings and our trees leaves changing right before our eyes, as the suns lowering angle in the sky allows us to take in this utter breathtaking luminosity, a light which is magical. Don’t we live in a wondrous paradise? Where do we humans fit into this picture?

As this transformative season emerges, with it comes the exuberance of creatures that have so much to teach us, if we’d pay attention. Squirrels.

 

These animals are amazing and right now is their time in the spotlight. Please consider that these fellow sentient beings deserve our respect. They are being themselves fully, scurrying around with wild abandon, zipping from here to there with frenetic wonder, sometimes all the while carrying round green nuts, larger than their heads, in their mouths. Gathering and burying.

And sometimes running onto our neighborhood thoroughfares.

Here on Bradley, and in other neighborhoods the carnage has been astounding. In the past two weeks, along this small stretch of pavement, over a dozen fellow creatures have been destroyed by us with our metal vehicles. On one day alone, three of them, within two hundred yards. I know, sometimes we don’t even see them and might not even know that we did it. Can this really be our excuse? While being unintended, it doesn’t condone our ruthless carelessness.

This isn’t just about “those environmentalists”. It’s about our underlying wellbeing. When our neighborhoods are littered with carcasses, life-force for all, diminishes.

What would it mean for us if we paid attention and by this I mean being in tune with our surroundings? We’d know that when we turn the corner onto Bradley, that it’s a haven for squirrels. Thank God we’re not the only mammals left! We’re coexisting here and if we wanted to care, we’d know to expect the unexpected and then slow down. Can “our” scurrying really be that important?

But not only this. We’d be deeply touched by something outside of ourselves. Isn’t this what it’s all about? Finding the divine in any moment? At this time of year, these funny little creatures, who’re sometimes a nuisance for our home maintenance chores, can be our teachers. They can draw us into wonder and delight.

Why aren’t WE singing and dancing and delighting in each other? And in all that is?

Recreating…….evolving to: Re-Create

Posted in Big Questions, Desires, Dilemma's and Solutions with tags , , , , on May 29, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

In these parts, the high mountains, one predominant form of recreating has given way to the next—the bikers. Whether it’s the mountain bikers, the road bikers, the dirt bikers or the motor type bikers, they have emerged in all of their funny colorful garb for one reason, to recreate. Pure and simple, athletic prowess and pleasure—many people’s lives revolve around this stuff.

Me too, I’ve done it, been a recreational rider. And the great feelings that recreation fosters are truly wonderful. But now the vehicles arrive covered in bikes. Imagine this, driving all over here and there to then get on the bicycle to “go for a ride“. How decadent and wasteful. All in the name of fun and fitness. Why not use our bicycles for actual transportation?

My psyche sure is funny though. While living in many different regions of the country, I’d usually be lamenting and wishing that I’d encounter a fellow walker or anyone gaining any small amount of exercise. Oh, and in many parts, walkers are few and far between, usually non-existent. And yet here, nearly everyone is pristinely fit, decked out in the garb of the season, and I feel supremely odd. This recreating just seems way over the top and so shallow. Meet Mr. Judgmental, will I ever be satisfied?

But other questions appear on the surface as well. Summer is coming. This weeks paper had a quotation, “I hope summer falls on a weekend this year”. Comically and tragically true, the mountains have mind and body boggling temperatures.

These other questions span the depths of: What is all of the incessant recreating really about? We’ve got “uber-” this and that. We’ve got relatively young folks having their hips and knees replaced. Really. All in the name of a hyper-masculinized version of power. Go big or go home as they say. Men used to work, I mean really work. These fields weren’t cleared by magic beings, these crops weren’t grown by machine. What are we doing and producing for our sustenance right now? What are we avoiding? What are we trying to conquer?

What would our society be like if instead of rv’ing, rafting, and riding nonstop we gathered with one another and inquired, “how do you feel?”, “what‘s important to you?”, “what ails you?”

How will we learn to work together to provide the things that really matter? How will we create community rituals and gatherings that honor our inner beings, and not just our external persona‘s? How will we bring more awareness to our relationships and loved ones? Who are we really?

What would our lives look like if we began to re-create everything?—Where our food comes from and how nutritious and healthy it is. How we organize as a species. How we provide, use and conserve energy. How we use very little to provide for our necessities. How we honor life’s passages and each other. How we raise our children. How we spend our time. How we cherish each and every breath. How we take care of and steward this amazing planet.

Can we as a culture begin to ask these types of questions—more so than, ya wanna go ride that trail?

We are the ones that have the power to re-create everything! Not only that, I humbly believe that we must. And it is imperative that we take care of our own bodies while doing so.

Re-Create Culture…..got a nice ring to it!

One…..More…..Breath,……(part 2 follows)

Posted in Big Questions, Desires with tags , , , , on March 25, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

What an amazing thing. For almost fifty years now I’ve been getting one….more….breath. And you have too. And they just keep coming and coming.

Though for almost 100% of this time, I, like most of us have taken this miraculous gift completely for granted. Not even for a second realizing that without this next breath, this body ceases to exist. And without it all that I love about life will no longer be part of my physical experience. Except for one physical calamity a couple of years ago I have not paid a darn bit of attention to any of this.

But yesterday, while sitting in meditation with my small group early in the morning, something profound transpired. Was it a moment of grace? I was sitting as I usually am following my breath and at times using a short mantra to guide me, all the while a dog barked and barked somewhere off in the early morning tranquility.

It was at this moment that I heard something inside me saying, “Matthew, you could keel over in any given moment”.

Isn’t this the absolute truth? A Deeper Truth. We don’t know when our moment to take our last breath will be. People are keeling over all the time. We’ve all heard the query, “If you knew you only had so much time left, how would you live it?” I’ve heard this zillions of times and never taken it to heart.

Yesterday morning was different—I heard my inner voice—and, immediately shifted. My posture in meditation became even sweeter, a smile came to my face that if I could’ve seen it, I imagine it would’ve been angelic. My entire being became even more vibrant, while also becoming even more still. The energy pulsing through me became more enlivening, while also becoming more contented. Essentially I experienced how much more life-force is available to me, and how much more peace. And how my “normal” way of being is but a pale shadow of what is truly possible in this body.

And the dogs barking ceased.

I took this awareness with me on the walk home, gazing with wonder at trees full of birds, who were deafeningly boisterous in their delight. And all throughout the day.

Oh to become more fully alive— from the simple recognition of the next breath’s gift— mmmm, sweetness.

(Part 2 added 31 March 11)

It’s been a week since my inner voice beckoned to me— “Matthew, you could keel over any moment.” That was it, nothing else was necessary. And the unheard of thing? I’ve actually remembered this calling and have continued to act with the utmost intention.

Wow, change does happen. So often before, if I’d heard these calls, I’d promptly forget. Moments of vast illumination that were relegated back to the unconscious. Well—not this time. Maybe this opening the heart business is actually happening.

I find myself during the day remembering this voice, and rehearing this call, this beckoning…..and lifting up out of my habitual ways of being, my complacency. Opening my mouth with those in my sphere, sharing deeper feelings, ideas, desires, visions. If I don’t know when the last breath will be exhaled, I’d better use ‘em for bringing more beauty, truth, love, and sweetness into my world.

This simple little sentence is transforming my life. Can it do the same for you? What would our world be like if more people felt the urgency in their lives—the gift, the blessing and the miracle of being alive, in this very moment? ………Now this is a question that I’d like to answer!

A Story of Men….a sad intro.

Posted in Big Questions, Men with tags , , , , on March 24, 2011 by matthewstruth

  

The story of “men” has shown its head quite unexpectedly in some recent posts. I have caught myself off guard by some of the ruminations. So with a few recent experiences fresh in mind, the quandaries continue.

Men. I am one. And I can unequivocally say, that even with decades of inner work that the “workings of us” elude me at times.

Just this week I’ve gotten a couple of glimpses of us at our inanest. Being caught on a job in an enormous pickup truck that gets 9mpg with 3 other men, all somewhat physically fit and in their mid 60’s, left me speechless. On this day my “brothers” were incapable of anything close to resembling intelligence moving through their lips. The badmouthing, ridiculing and griping about trivialities, and the utter childishness spewing forth gave me the opportunity to feel such sadness for the state of our society. These men, all successful in that old paradigm way of having made oodles of loot, left much to be desired. As did my impotence in being unable to steer them toward something deeper and potentially more meaningful.

There was then the local event last weekend on the streets of this beautiful resort town. Approaching at 9:30 in the evening I was stunned by gaggles of drunken men everywhere bellowing out utter nonsense at the top of their lungs while the streets smelled of bad beer. Yuk.

Then too, I can’t forget the numbers of men over the years discovered dead from either passing out drunk on the sides of roadways in blizzards or dying in their beds asphyxiated in their own upheavals. True.

And unfortunately I’m not immune to this either. During a period of time living in NYC in my early 20’s I was awakening in my own filth in stairways too many times after parties. Being found once by friends passed out on the sidewalk at Second and Eighth became the last straw, thankfully. I was so lost.

What has gone on? What has led some of us to such despairing calamities? I know books can and have been written about all of this and perhaps I’ll begin my own soon, but now, in these few words? Once again I am struck by the workings of my psyche. Just having written the word “impotence” has got me wondering—could this be a big part of it? Are many of us men essentially impotent? If not literally within the sexual context, though with all of these marketed drugs who knows—then perhaps within the framework of our rapidly changing world? Do we feel like we can’t make a difference? That we don’t know what to do? That all of the old rules have changed and we find ourselves ill-equipped? Is this why we’ve drunk ourselves to death or maybe just not wanted to grow up?

Or maybe we aren’t privy to a higher reason for why we exist as a human being in the first place and so we go about our living our lives from a lower octave of being predominantly? More and more questions emerge constantly. And I get the feeling that many more posts will be forthcoming about “mine” and “our“ story. Hmmmm?

Until then, one of my favorite books about men and the issue’s we and the women in our lives face is “I Don’t Want to Talk About It“ by Terry Real. Enjoy.

Hearts of Japan

Posted in Big Questions, Feelings, Men with tags , , , , , on March 15, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are our hearts for?

In the recent posts “Shootings Heart Opening” and “A Mans Peace of Mind” I’ve been pondering this very question. As a man with one that was shattered very early I’ve been genuinely and tragically clueless regarding this question. Even after many therapies and attending various workshops over the years, including events boldly titled Opening the Heart, it’s still been a tough go for me, and therefore for those that I’d come in contact with as well.

But something is happening now on our planet. Do you feel and experience it? There are energies available, circumstances happening , old orders and paradigms are crumbling. A phenomenal network of teachers and teachings are coming forward at precisely this time, when they are so needed to assist in the creation of a new Earth.

More and more people are awakening from the dream of materialism. Certainly we need materials of various sorts to live, but do we need to run our lives, constantly striving for success and more stuff? What happens when we trust in the inherent sense that there is enough, that we are enough? Slowing down and removing ourselves, in whatever fashion that we can from faulty dreams, allows us to witness a larger perspective. And allows us space to feel into our hearts.

Events happening rapidly on our glorious globe provide us with the opportunity to truly recognize what is important. Most of us at any given time are not directly effected, but how about indirectly? Do you feel when others are suffering?—A sick neighbor? A homeless person? People struggling to put food on the table? People with no table? With the rise in different technologies, we can see and bear witness to the struggles of our fellow humans. Extreme difficulties could be happening for us at any time. None of us are immune—each moment, each breath is a sacred gift. How wisely do we use them?

Recently, at the end of a post I wrote—

“When will we awaken to our inherent birthright as glorious human beings, inhabiting an awe inspiring planet with other sentient beings, all of these animals, plants and minerals that share this place with us. When will we awaken to love?……..On this day I was one man deeply touched and less numbed. I am not going back.”

This “not going back“— is a difficult feat. As my heart has begun to thaw and open, I now feel and understand so much more. And these days—Feeling into Japan and crying. Why Japan? I certainly have a connection to Japan. My studies of architecture, ceramics and gardening have always brought me toward Japan. My body resonates with these ancient arts from their perspective. So is this why I feel into this tragedy more deeply now? Perhaps.

But really, it’s about the functioning of my heart. It is not only being battered open, but gently too with equal parts of—my direct intentionality—and grace. Grace, that force that can just appear before us if we can recognize and accept its presence. And then open to it.

I can see why keeping our heart closed serves some functions, not very noble ones granted, but ones that keep the day to day minutia going. These days I am tired, napping and feeling the extent of what it must be like for our fellow human beings coping with tragic calamity. This napping has nothing to do with “being asleep” and numb, but it’s about recharging and releasing stressors from everywhere.

And at times I’m now wondering how and why I didn’t feel Oklahoma City, Columbine, Indonesia, New Orleans, Haiti, Chile and countless others. Not feeling these didn’t bring me happiness or connection. Being numb to the events that effect our brethren didn’t make my life any more fulfilled, didn’t bring me any closer to those right next to me.

Today—sharing my anguish actually does open doors that can possibly lead to deeper connection, resonance and compassion with others. Isn’t this what we all need and deep down long for?

May we seize this moment, feel our feelings, and send whatever psychic energy we are capable of to all those in need. This collective planetary awakening is transforming our hearts and our species. We are one, whether the waves of tsunami, revolution, or other calamities are on our doorstop or not.

 

Are We Miners?

Posted in Big Questions, Not your normal letter to the editor with tags , , , , on February 23, 2011 by matthewstruth

This small resort town in paradise has been working to keep a molybdenum mine from desecrating our closest beloved mountain and water for nearly 40 years. Right now market forces, and personal and corporate greed are colluding, thereby threatening everything here. There are certain specifics, but these ideas and feelings are relevant everywhere. This is a letter to my newspaper and community.

 

Is it conceivable that within the travesty of this current mine debacle, that there lies a hidden opportunity—a possibility for massive transformation? What might it take for us to feel into and recognize this?

Many here are rightly appalled, aghast, terrified and angry about the prospect of this never-ending mine quagmire becoming a reality. Many have written eloquently about what this could mean and the potential impacts from such a disastrous possibility.

While no doubt a majority will vehemently oppose this prospect, I see the opportunity within this opposition for an even deeper engagement with ourselves, one another and the way that we live our lives. If this opposition is based primarily upon an “us vs. them” mentality, no matter the righteousness of our opposition, it will have limited effect. However, can we delve into the ways in which we might be complicit and unconsciously aligned with a mining mentality? What are the ways in which we live, the behaviors that we might unquestioningly engage in that are virtually the same as the ones that we are opposed too? Do our lifestyles show that we are in fact mini-miners? If so, will we change?

Before going into what I see as being some of the ways that we are complicit, I’d like to first emphatically state that if we do the Herculean and radical work to go against the tide of our societal dictates, that we can clean up our own behaviors and entitled lifestyles and get ourselves well positioned to be a voice of absolute power. We will be ardently,  more morally equipped to keep this tragedy from occurring. This is a monumental opportunity to unveil our unity. So while what I’m about to speak about could be inconvenient to read, I feel that it is imperative to get past our resistance.

Greed, rape, squander, waste, polluting, pillage, desecrate—these are some of the terms that come to mind when mining happens. Despicable behaviors without a doubt. But is it only large, heartless, far away corporations that engage in these? What about us? How do we engage in polluting, wasting and all of the others?

Absolutely every single time we spark up the automobile, for whatever use, we are doing just that. Every single time we start ‘er up and leave it there unnecessarily warming up, idling somewhere, or cruising around, we are wasting fuel, polluting our towns air, spewing carbon and mindlessly creating noise pollution.  We are wasting a precious resource that we’ve had no part in creating, a resource that will be needed for far greater uses than hauling our physiques about at our whim. Its been said that the amount of available energy encapsulated within a barrel of oil, which today can be bought for 94 bucks is the equivalent of one persons physical hand labor of nine years. Astounding! And we just waste it. A question—if we know this and don’t modify our actions, what does this state about our morality? If we’re unaware of the implications and think that this fuel just magically appears for our misguided use, what does that say? And if we knowingly and boldly don’t give a hoot, isn’t this the most insidious form of dastardly behavior? Like that of a mining corporation?

What about water? What are the multitudes of ways that we waste this resource? Unconsciously flushing, showering every single day, water running non-stop while washing dishes, on and on this listing could go. Home heating, gigantic dwellings, lights on in businesses all night, driving the little ones to school when there are buses. How about desecrating the land with more and more resource wasting buildings? Insulation and light bulbs will not combat the larger questions of why these buildings even need to exist in the first place. The commonly stated mantra of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” neglected a couple—“Reconsider, Refuse”. And dust? Who speeds down unpaved roads, kicking up enormous dust clouds? How is this dust different than what a mine’s vehicle will kick up?

Every single time that we opt for convenience, or an “I want it now” attitude, regardless of the consequences, we are engaging in behaviors that pillage.

How about our personal energies—in what ways does our manic driven euphoria inhibit deep personal connection? In what ways does the “go, go, go” mentality dominate and crush personal inner alone time, time necessary for recognizing “what is“? What about the substances that we ingest, or how we treat our bodies—what does this say about our level of self-care? How can we powerfully care about our landbase when so many don’t care about their own bodies?

And what about the prevalence of gossiping and bad mouthing another? Telling other peoples stories, and the lack of clear personal boundaries? How does this desecrate someone else’s esteem or privacy? If we can’t keep personal boundaries clear, why do expect corporations to do so?

Sure the scale is far different, but aren‘t all of these behaviors reminiscent of what mines do, aren’t the underlying energies similar? While these examples barely scratch the surface, we can take solace knowing that we are ALL complicit in wasting, polluting, squandering, some of us consciously, others unconsciously. And sure, again, we are indignant about the proposal of the mine, can we become equally indignant about the ways in which we live our lives, and do the great work of changing. Can we bring a massive amount of conscious awareness to our predicament? This is a huge opportunity to transform, re-work, and re-write our destiny. We can create a much more functional relationship to everything. This mine proposal is equivalent to what humans everywhere are being asked to consider. Namely, that how we live our lives matters and has drastic consequences for what comes next in our earthly journey.

As we work diligently to see that our lands are not raped, spoiled, sacrificed, polluted, desecrated—lets also see that the same does not continue for ourselves. Then our power will be undeniable and unstoppable.