06/08/2010

MAY YOUR CHILDREN TURN THEIR FACES FROM YOU

Being real in this world
of fantasy film, video games, mass media marketing, and 24-hour everything isn’t easy is it?
Real means whole.
Whole means complete.
To me, ‘being real’ means spirituality. Grounded Spirituality.

Our society wants us to be less than all we can be. It wants us to turn from our intuition and from our heart, and to live from our head space:
want more, think less, be good consumers.

So I swim against the tide of the conditioning and ‘mis-education’ that I experienced as a child and as a young adult, at home and at school.

There is a battle going on: between the side of me that wants things to remain the same, to control, and thus to ease into a lazy life of comfortable mediocrity; and the side of me that wants to embrace change; go with the flow; and surrender fully to the wonder and magic of this present moment.

They say that ‘all is fair in love and war’. Well, I use all the weapons I can get my hands on. I employ every strategy available.

The purpose of this article is to share one of those strategies with you.
It is: constantly remembering my motivation...




I try to keep in mind why I walk this spiritual path. So much of the world around me is geared towards making me forget, keeping me down, putting me to sleep—I find that if I start to fall, it’s good to have a reminder of why I’m fighting this battle.



So I want to share one of my reminders here with you now…
Primo Levi was a Jewish-Italian chemist, who in 1943 became a partisan to fight against the Fascist regime. He was later captured, and finally ended up in Auschwitz concentration camp. Of the 650 Italian Jews in his shipment, Levi was one of only twenty who left the camps alive. The average life expectancy of a new entrant was three months. He survived just under a year there, and wrote with great courage and honesty about his experience in the book ‘If This is a Man’. This is the poem he wrote at the start of that book:
You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes or a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter.
Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,
Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.
‘Meditate that this came about.’ This is the line that gets me.
Meditation is not navel gazing. It’s not a self-indulgent temporary escape from reality. It’s not about ‘feeling better.’
It is about being whole again. It’s for putting things right, and remembering our divine nature: our perfect essence.
When enough people do that—practice spirituality rather than just talk about it as an idea—then we will have created a world in which Auschwitz can finally be forgotten. There will be no more Holocausts, Srebrenica’s, and Rwanda’s.
Terrorism will be a thing of the past.
The real war is inside.
I keep this poem close by, so that from time to time I can remind myself of why it’s important to keep fighting. It’s hard for me to read that poem and then go back to sleep. 
I carve the words in my heart, and I will repeat them to my children, and I do commend them to you, because it helps me to be all I can be. It’s a strategy I use in the ongoing ‘war against ego-ism.’

6 comments:

Ladygoodwood said...

Hi Ben.

Following a spiritual pathway is often difficult, using prayer and meditation is an unpopular source of power. Yet some of the great inspirational figures uesed just these tools. Ghandi, The Dhali Lama, Mother Theresa et al.

I lecture in management and just yesterday delivered a lecture of change management. I use the work Of Charles Handy to illustrate the sources of power required for change. One of the sources is the 'Power of Example'.
I feel this is relevant to the post you have written. the more people who live a spiritual life, who speak openly about prayer and meditation, the more others may be attracted. I can't promote my way of life, however by behaving and acting in a certain way, others can be attracted to a spiritual life by my example. And just perhaps, one day, as you say, enough people will live in harmony with the world around them, that there will be no more Rwandas, Killing Fields and Auschwitz.
Smiles and blessings.

TJ Lubrano said...

Ciaoo Ben!

First of all thanks so much for your lovely comment on my blog! I truly appreciate it.

Your blog is amazing! I really mean this! What caught my eyes was this:

"Our society wants us to be less than all we can be. It wants us to turn from our intuition and from our heart, and to live from our head space: want more, think less, be good consumers."

This brought me back to the study I decided to end. I studied Sociology and all the developments and trends over the past and which formed society as it is now come to mind. rationalism is the key element and society tells you, that you need to think before you act, make decisions in order to benefit society in the end. Something like that. I'm the eldest in my family, so automatically I have the burden to set a good example, follow this standard path that's laid out for most people, grow up, study, work, family etc. I always had the urge to fight against it, but also the urge not to be a failure. So my true passions were set aside and I did what I was told to do. Well, to use your phrase, this war inside of me just got bigger and bigger and it needed to stop. making decisions is hard, but if you stand behind them 100%, it becomes pretty easy. I love the poem.

I do hope that harmony will take a part of more people's live. This spiral of wanting and needing more is getting bigger and bigger, while sometimes the most complex things are hidden in simple things, like harmony and happiness.

I am rambling!!! Hope I didn't bore you tho ^_^.

Have a great weekend ahead! I shall keep an eye out on your blog! I can definitely learn from you.

Ciao!

Ben Ralston said...

Hello Lady G,
Good to see you back here again :)
Yep. You can't change people, and that was a hard lesson for me to learn!
But when we realise that and simply offer a wonderful example, the more change we effect. Funny old world! Sure would be nice if they taught us this simple wisdom in school wouldn't it?!
Love
Ben

Ben Ralston said...

Hi Tj! Welcome, and thanks for your beautiful comment (blush).
Nope, you didn't bore me!
Actually, i really like what you said, especially
"sometimes the most complex things are hidden in simple things, like harmony and happiness."
Truth! ...also often hidden in simple things, (and occasionally long rambles :)
Love,
Ben

Rich said...

I'm convinced we are living in the golden age of mediocrity. Most peoples' lives are motivated by the quest for entertainment and money. How did we get here?

Any kind of self change is hard when you want to wake up from these things. My whole sense of self-identity has been crumbling. I have such a hard time with the notion of submission or surrender. I understand (I think) what is meant by "surrendered to God" (giving in to each moment in total balance), but that can mean giving up elements of yourself and your past ego-created (society created?) identity. It's hard to "just be" when you haven't been present at all for over 30 years.

Ben Ralston said...

Rich,
We're living not only in an age of mediocrity, but also in an age of great intensity and opportunity.
Change happens naturally, and usually in nature, change happens very slowly. Look at the growth of a child, or a tree. Slow.
When you begin to wake up, it's painful - just as children experience 'growing pains'.
May I make a suggestion: don't be hard on yourself. The first surrendering is not to God, but to yourself. Go easy on yourself! These are difficult times we live in, and it's not OUR fault that we weren't taught how to live, how to be.
Let go of expectations. Accept yourself as you are. Take each moment, and each day, one at a time. That is real surrender.
To go from not being present at all, to 'just being' - impossible. The consciousness cannot make such a jump. It takes time. Allow a little space for mistakes, and NEVER lose your sense of humour :)
With love, Ben

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