Think about all the political anger and outrage that we direct at a politician. What if we focused all that energy on electing someone better.
Imagine if all the @replies, retweets, shares and Facebook comments about the faux outrage of the day were redirected to amplifying good works and inspiring leaders.
Trolls feed off outrage. Their battery packs are recharged with anger and vitriol. Imagine these monsters standing on the top of a mountain in the middle of raging storm and holding a lightning conductor. The more lightning strikes they get hit with, the more powerful they become.
Starve these the trolls, and they curl up and shrink. They can stand on top of the mountain all day on a beautiful sunny day and won’t get one lightning strike. Next time you feel anger boiling up inside of you. Don’t engage. Redirect that energy into something constructive. You’ll starve the nasty beasts and build something great.
Is there something or someone on your mind, something in the past or a problem you are working through that’s making you anxious? The following exercise won’t answer any specific questions you have or offer up a solution, but it will help you.
Take ten deep breaths through your nose and imagine a field. See it bathed in the late afternoon sun, or maybe it’s early morning, and you can feel the dew under your feet as the sun starts to warm up the ground. Feel the breeze on your face and take note of the different smells.
Now take the problem or memory that’s on your mind and release it into the field. It’s now standing in front of you. Sometimes it’s a person, an event or both. Let the sun shine on it and release it from your mind. Don’t try to solve the problem and don’t intellectualize it. It’s free to go. Give it up to the sun and the warmth of the field. If the person you’ve released wants to come back to you, then gently tell them they are free to go with your blessing and love.
That’s it. It’s an exercise in release and surrendering whatever you are holding onto the field and leaving it there.
When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there – Rumi
Side note: It’s incredible how many people imagine a green field. It’s a little uncanny and cool.
Attaining enlightenment should not end your spiritual quest. The Buddhist saying goes that when you reach enlightenment then go to the marketplace and serve the people. What you shouldn’t do is preach to people how enlightened you are or sit on a hilltop and meditate. How is isolating yourself going to spread the light?
Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco embodies compassion in action. In their own words, it’s “a radically inclusive, just and loving community mobilized to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty and marginalization.” Everyone is welcome, and they don’t judge anybody. They feed the homeless, rehabilitate people who have been discarded by society and create a loving and welcoming refuge. They preach through their actions and lead by example. That is compassion in action.
The whole point of enlightenment is to spread the light to others. The joy of service is in the dirt of everyday living. It’ll test you and push you even further, but isn’t that the point?
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
When making a decision start with compassion and love. When carrying out the decision do it with compassion and love.
Healthy communities hold their citizens accountable. When someone is dishonest or unscrupulous then it’s up to the community to act, remedy and rehabilitate.
Accountability to neighbors, friends, colleagues and family is a powerful force. I think as a community we’ve got into the habit of leaving accountability up to someone or something else like local government, enforcement agencies and paper laws.
It’s up to all of us to insist on integrity and honesty. Stuff like greediness in companies, sleaziness in politics and inequity creeps in when everyone turns a blind eye thinking that someone else will take care of it. To be silent is to be complicit.
Set a high standard, hold yourself and others accountable, and do it with compassion.
These lines in the NYT Michael Bloomberg interview resonated with me. It covers what I think is important. Persistence, compassion and hard work.
Who Gets the Job
What disturbs me is you talk to kids applying today and they invariably say, “I cured cancer, I brought peace to the Mideast.” Spare me. How about, “My father never existed, my mother is a convicted drug dealer. I worked three shifts at McDonald’s.” That’s the kind of kid I want — with an ethic of taking care of his family — because then he’ll take care of others. Some of us don’t have much prenatal intelligence, but nevertheless go out and try and have a decent chance of surviving. I’m not the smartest guy in the room, but nobody’s going to outwork me.
And he doesn’t look in the rear view mirror.
What I Would Have Done Differently
Given the way things turned out, nothing.
It’s a great interview. Read the rest here.