For years I saved a yellowed newspaper clipping of a short poem that began:
"Look small, into the wings of things.
I've either lost or misplaced that little clipping during one of my many moves. I wish I could find it. The huge events taking place in our world today make me want to "look small" and "concentrate time" to only the present moment.
During the past year I have gradually strayed from routines that kept me in positive, optimistic moods. In going over some of my older blog posts, especially from a few years back, I realize I have changed. I no longer see the world events through innocent eyes; no longer am I able to readily summon my alter ego, Pollyanna. My spiritual and/or inspirational books lie gathering dust on my night table, only partially read. I've cut my daily devotional readings from several books down to only two publications. I have become more and more isolated.
I suspect some of the above have to do with growing older, coupled with physical ailments that limit my personal interaction with positive people. I am most thankful for the technology that has brought instant contact with others through our many devices. It doesn't take the place of personal touch and interaction, but it is reassuring to be able to reach loved ones quickly and easily. However, these devices come with drawbacks. The computer and television keep us connected not only to friends and loved ones, but also to the world at large. Therein lies my problem.
I have become a news junkie! Sights and sounds from everywhere in the world are always at my fingertips. Morning, noon, and night I watch the TV broadcast and PBS news.. Thank goodness, I don't have cable. I would probably keep the news channels on all day, and never get anything done. When the TV news is over, I turn to the Internet. Wow! News is always available -- faster there than the broadcast news can present it.
I have tried to limit my news intake. I have wonderful "good news" sites I read to break the hold the often dreadful happenings around the world have on me. In the U.S., the presidential campaigns of the past year seem to monopolize the news, and draw me back in to practice my addiction. The campaigns and the mass shootings that have been taking place here and abroad can traumatize one with the violence and hatred being transmitted on a daily basis. Particularly now in the election campaign being run by the GOP candidate. The world thinks we are crazy to have someone like him running for the highest office in the land of the most powerful country in the world. Personally, the things he says makes me believe the man is a little bit (maybe a lot) crazy himself.
"Whoever relies on the Tao in governing men
doesn't try to force issues
or defeat enemies by force of arms.
For every force there is a counterforce.
Violence, even well intentioned,
always rebounds upon oneself."
...Tao Te Ching
When I recently was sent a political email by an old classmate who is obviously a Trump follower, I found myself going into "attack mode". What is happening to me? I discovered a partial answer in an article by George Lakoff, a cognitive linguist, Understanding Trump.
It seems, according to Mr. Lakoff, it has to do with our brain circuitry. According to his research, we each have "two moral worldviews that in general contradict each other" characterized by the neural circuitry in the brain. In other words, a conservative may have some progressive positions and a progressive might adopt some conservative opinions. According to Lakoff, these two are linked together by a common neural circuit he calls "mutual inhibition." Apparently, the language one hears (or reads?) activates one or the other, strengthening it...and weakening the other.
Here it gets interesting. "..The more Trump's views are discussed in the media, the more they are activated and the stronger they get, both in the minds of hardcore conservatives and in the minds of moderate progressives.".."This is true even if you are attacking Trump's views....It doesn't matter if you are promoting Trump or attacking Trump, you are helping Trump." (He's a Braineater!) In other words:
"What you focus on, increases."
Yikes! No wonder I've been in such a pessimistic mood lately. On the one hand, Trump keeps pounding his message that the country is going to hell in a handbasket, and on the other, his detractors (including me) are incessantly reminding us of the doom we face if Trump is elected. No wonder Trump is everywhere! What we don't need is more Trump. I must begin to mute every mention of Trump's name on the TV news, and skip over articles that give every detail of his every move and tactless blunders. Fat chance, huh? Maybe I won't need to bother if it's true what many pundits are saying -- that Trump is on his way out as the GOP nominee.
Mr. Lakoff's article explains the Trump phenomena in great detail. It gives one pause when we are listening to any candidate. It explains a lot how dictators such as Hitler and Mussolini rose to power. I encourage you to read it, no matter how you view yourself, conservative or progressive.
I added a couple of my devotionals to my reading today. I feel better already. As for "time", the present moment is all we have. To all my dear friends and loved ones, even when I'm not blessed with your physical presence, I spend time with you in my thoughts and prayers. I dedicate this song to you.
Peace and love,