Another Voice: Contemplation on a sunny day – Ukiah Daily Journal


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I start writing my column every Friday, giving me two days to polish it, before submission on Sunday, when the previous article is published.  Between Sunday and Friday, I spend the days not thinking about what to write, allowing ideas to surface, or not, trusting that “something” will arise on Friday.
This Friday was a beautiful sunny day, and I spent time on the deck, enjoying the lovely green vista to the south, very much at peace with life, and grateful for the moment.  But I didn’t have a “topic” and my mind churned.
Of the almost eight billion people on the planet, three thousand are billionaires, while three billion live on less than three dollars a day.  How much is enough?  Why don’t people share more?  Christ taught love of God, so how did a “good” Christian become defined as God fearing?  Free market capitalism is supposed to enhance competition and produce fairer prices and better service, so why are most industries controlled by 3 or 4 massive corporations?  Why is the company formally known as Facebook, currently valued at over $100 billion, so popular, yet thrives on discord, hatred, and disinformation?  With health care and climate change two of the most popular concerns in the US, why is so little changing?
For my own peace of mind, I sit meditation twice a day.  This practice pulls me out of my endless mind chatter, giving me a break, and allowing inspiration to softly speak to me from time to time.  From that perspective, I can then re-engage with the larger world, with perhaps some insight as to what to do and where to do it.
One of the messages is to “allow,” trusting that there is a larger pattern in play, beyond what I currently understand.  As a chronic “doer,” this is a difficult practice for me.  But I have come to understand that there is really only one person I can have much effect upon, and that is me.  I can change my own awareness and practices.  I know that is true, as I have had some success over time, and I am not driven by all the same patterns and obsessions that once were dominant.  It is a simple truth, but not easy to accomplish.
But that means being at peace with “what is,” for the most part.  That is not to say that there is nothing relevant to do, but I have to accept what is before I can even consider what to do.  Sometimes that requires a hard look at what is, without glossing over embarrassing or difficult parts.  I think that helps explain the right-wing reaction to so called “critical race theory.”  We are God’s chosen people, so we can’t have made such a mess of things getting here.  It must all be a treasonous lie!
But America has always been more of an ideal than the accomplished reality.  Try reading Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States”.  Our ideals are noble and worthy of admiration and effort, but they are radical compared to most of the history of humanity.  We have to admit that we are a long way for equal treatment under our laws, without regard for wealth, race, or gender.  If we can’t honestly see where we are, we have little hope of getting any better.
One of our biggest stumbling blocks is the idea that we are a land of rugged individualists.  While honoring the individual is important, it is a fallacy to think that we are nothing more than individuals.  I have stated many times in this column that our core delusion is the belief in separation within a fundamental unity reality.  We are both self and society, self and planet.  But we have prioritized self to the extent that we are killing each other and the entire planet.
This issue has been around for thousands of years, and leaders have pointed out the problem for all that time.  However, we are slow learners.  While it is hard to kill a good planet, we are too numerous, and too powerful, to be this ignorant much longer.
So, I sit on the deck, and appreciate the lovely sunny day.  We wake up, or we don’t.  If we do, we have a lot of work to do.
Crispin B. Hollinshead lives in Ukiah.  This and previous articles can be found at

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