It’s Not an Issue of Gender Inequality…

It’s Not an Issue of Gender Inequality…

…It is an issue of society’s disconnect from that which is sacred.

Since the coming of Christendom, and possibly even further back in history, western civilizations, in particular, have been in a state of spiritual decline. This has, in effect, cut us off from our higher awareness and left us desensitized to the spiritual undercurrent of life.

For centuries, humanity has been taught that certain segments of society are lesser than others, be it women who are blamed for the fall of man in the Christian creed, or by whatever social norms dictated the day. But it was not always this way, at least not for all cultures at all times in their history.

In ages past, despite the hardships of a more primitive way of life, peoples all over the world, including the indigenous populations of Europe, have held a deep reverence for that which we call Spirit. They knew that all life was sacred, from the rocks and the earth, the plants and the trees, the sea and sky, to the animals and even humankind itself. Everything had its place in the grand scheme of things, both in life and in death. Male, female, the young and the old, the warrior and the sage, the worker in the fields and the chiefly class. All were valued that had something to offer to the whole. Elders were revered for their wisdom, gained by long years of experience; Children for their innocence and potential for the future; women for their life bearing abilities and nurturing nature, men for the part they play in the continuation of life and for their role as a protector and provider in those hunter-gatherer days. These traditional roles carried on even into the agricultural era. But the thing that stands out as a prevailing theme is the awareness that all was viewed as sacred, and that is what we are missing in our world now.

Social movements, such as feminism, are merely symptoms of a greater imbalance — that of soul. In our secular world, we have lost our connection to that spiritual undercurrent and to the very earth itself. We no longer acknowledge the sacredness of life and the world in which we live. We no longer see the divine in each other, and as a result, disease of the body, mind and soul set in, leading us down paths of decadence, where self-destructive impulses reign. As a society, we rot from the inside out.

The cure to our ailments isn’t more “us against them”, men vs. women, black vs. white, etc, etc. The cure to what ails us is a reconnect to our higher selves and to that spiritual flow of life. Reconnect to nature by spending time in quiet contemplation in settings like forests, by lakes or rivers, mountains, or anywhere that speaks to you. Discover your true self and your higher purpose in this realm, and acknowledge the divinity in others, even if they still haven’t figured it out for themselves. We are all struggling to find our way in life, so don’t allow judgement and hatred to settle into your heart for those who stumble and fall or lose their way. Instead, develop a sense of compassion and understanding for others, as well as for yourself. If we want to, we can change this world for the better, but that change must start from within, and for that to happen, we must put aside our anger and our judgement, and learn to listen with our hearts, even when it is hard to do. Make friends of your enemies by giving them the space to speak and express their fears and troubles, without judging. Learn to express your own feelings without insulting those you disagree with. Try to see the good in others, and always remember that we each have a purpose in this life, if we would only take that first step.

Well, that’s my WordPress contribution of the day, for what it’s worth. I hope at least one person will find something of value in this post, but by no means do I claim to have all the answers. This was just something that came to me at a time of heightened awareness recently, and I felt it is something I should share.

Now, go enjoy your weekend, everyone!

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Why We Change

Why We Change

My inspiration to write this post comes from a personal matter I’m dealing with, regarding someone I care about who is a smoker. All of my efforts to persuade this person to give up smoking have failed. Something this person said a while back about how it has to come from him got me thinking.

Why do we change? Do we do it for ourselves, or does the will to change come from our love and consideration of the people in our lives?

I have a theory, based on my observations, not only of myself, but others I have known in my life. When we live our lives solely for our own gratification and desire, do we not then fall into reckless, even self-destructive behaviour? Do we not succumb to unhealthy habits, such as drinking, smoking, drug use, or even promiscuity in our sexual activities? Perhaps the self-indulgent behaviours are less obviously destructive or unhealthy, such as overeating, inadequate physical activity, etc.

But what happens when we have something or someone to live for? How does that impact the choices we make in our lives? Do we not then stop to think about how our choices and actions may affect those we love? I know this has been true for me. It was true for my grandfather, who only gave up drinking after my older sister and I were born. And I have seen it in others, how their priorities change, often drastically when they find a sense of purpose, be it becoming a parent or close loved ones.

This notion that making positive changes in our lives has to be something we want for ourselves, while all good and well, can’t be all there is. Often it seems to me that it is a cop-out, a cheap excuse to avoid difficult challenges, such as breaking addictions or bad habits. When taken in this context, as being only about ourselves, it seems to me narcissistic.

Human beings are social creatures. Nature did not create us to be loners. We thrive in healthy groups, where our efforts empower and strengthen those around us. When we devote ourselves to our families, friends, and our communities, we find renewed energy and motivation to be the best we can be, to live in a more positive and conscientious way. My belief is we can strengthen our own will power in this way, by cultivating a certain amount of selflessness. Not in the sense that we do not make any effort for self care, because that, too, is self-destructive. No, I mean that we find that perfect, harmonious balance of self-care and devotion to others, and in our modern, self-indulgent times, we need these renewed, strengthened bonds with the people who should matter in our lives.

Buddhism_On_Suffering

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” – Gandhi