Archive for the ‘freedom’ tag
This photo was taken a few days ago on campus. I enjoy going to work and interacting with my students at the university here in ChangZhou. It is easy to be positive with the energy that the students bring to class. Add the colour of spring, and a bit of spring warmth, it becomes easy to see life through rose-coloured glasses.
As you are likely aware, I have been almost obsessed with the world and the Canadian situations in terms of power and politics. I need to step back and look at this obsession and see what it is trying to tell me. I do trust my inner voices that tell me what is right and wrong for me. There is much to do in terms of sorting through the feelings, the reactions in order to locate triggers and re-approach the political world with more balance. I guess that in this, it is not yet spring.
With the media shouting at fever pitch about all possible topics as if each is heralding the end of the world. it is almost impossible to sort it all out. I know that there isn’t a right side or a wrong side, but there are right and wrong actions for a collective’s security and sanity. I know when respect is intended and received. I also know hubris and disdain and greed and every sin possible for the individual and collective soul. The problem is to sort out my darkness from the collective darkness and move to act more consciously is hopes of allowing others to feel more hope and to feel loved and respected.
There is a considerable amount of work going on near the apartment that has to do with power lines. Tall towers are being taken down and replaced with taller ones that hold even more power grid lines. The actual number of towers is dwindling significantly as many lines are being placed underground. The face of the city is changing in the process. A talk with one of the city’s vice-mayors let me know that the changes I have seen in the past four years are going to pale in comparison with the changes yet to come as Changzhou races to embrace modernity. This man seems happy enough with the changes. Though, looking at his situation, I wonder how he can find such a deep smile for me. I guess it is all about where he came from and what his past story was about.
Perhaps we watch too many movies and expect change to always result in “happily ever after.”
“We need to remember that what one has learned from nature, from our own encounter with the world or the psyche, may not be pleasing to the ego. And yet, such knowledge always expands our purview, and therefore our freedom. Much of what we learn of the world and its deceits will undermine our idealism. Much of what we bring back to the surface will actually make living more painful, but it will be more honest.” (Hollis, Mythologems, p. 77)
Freedom. Yes, freeedom; it’s another word for taking authority and responsibility for self. It doesn’t mean the absence of outside authority, the absence of the collective rules. It is about one’s relationship to the “self” in the context within which one lives. So the big question has to be, “Is it all worth it?” Of course, I can only speak for myself with any authority, “Yes.” As I write these words, the lyrics from a Kris Kristofferson song comes to mind, “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” Stripped of all the tinsel, what is basic and simple, not all shiny and glittery.
One gives up on the projections foisted upon others, on community and on the “others” at distance who have carried our darkness. I guess it could be likened to taking down the Christmas decorations where one sees the bareness, the warts and all, of who lies beneath all of the masks and mirrors with which one has lived with self and others. There is something to smile about, just as this older man has learned, when the falseness has been stripped away and one is left with “self.” The freedom to be oneself rather than to carry the weight of masks and mirrors is worth the journey in my opinion.
Now for the real challenge. Shall I dare to move toward a more authentic life? Do I have a real choice? Do you? To deny the journey will shrivel my soul. And if my soul shrivels, so does the soul of the collective. With that said, I wish each of you, my readers, a Happy New Year. Dare to be you! You deserve it, I deserve it, our planet is desperate for this.
I have to admit, dragonflies always seem to catch my attention as they hover just over the surface of the water or the edges of the shoreline like this magnificent looking guy. He is a graceful insect, one that has a long history before he is allowed to fly free. For all of life before this freedom to fly, the dragonfly lives in the water feeding.
If I take this dragon fly as a symbol, it tells me that most of life is lived unconscious and that the process of making that unconscious, conscious is what is required if I am to have a moment of glory, flying in relative freedom. I use the word “relative” deliberately as in truth, that freedom doesn’t soar too far away from the water, from the larger universal unconscious.
I deliberately choose to name the larger unconscious as a universal or world unconscious. A world soul, anima mundi, is an accepted idea while the unconscious is not typically viewed as a world shadow, but more of a collective shadow. If I extend the shadow to embrace everything that is unconscious, then the totality of that is closest to what I could call a god, similar to the soul/spirit that is universal.
I don’t believe that we can yet say there is a universal consciousness. For us as a people to arrive at that state, we have to do our individual work towards becoming more conscious. And at that time where there exists a universal consciousness that is in a harmonious balance with the universal unconscious, our task as a species is complete. For only at that point can we say we know ourselves, that God has finally discovered the fullness of him/her SELF, a self in which we are a part.
For now, I work hard to hover just above the surface of my personal unconscious which is embedded in the collective unconscious. And for a brief time, add to the slowly evolving universal consciousness.
The view from the “hilltop” sees the Saskatchewan prairie stretch away for distances it is hard to imagine can actually be seen in all directions. As my son-in-law commented when we stopped here, being present in this scene of vastness reduces one’s sense of being to one of microscopic proportions. It forces one to be humble.
Today is Canada Day here in the country I call home. I am not very nationalistic and don’t loudly proclaim the superiority of my country over others. I realise that this is a vast land with few people who are wealthy in terms that most of the world cannot even dream of achieving. Yet, for all of the space, the wealth and the privilege that comes with real freedoms; many are unsatisfied, even depressed. There is a sense of being victims to some power that is not allowing them even more wealth, more freedoms, more, more, more.
Having been to many places where poverty is the norm, I have learned that I am blessed with freedoms, wealth, opportunity and country. One doesn’t have to be rich to have wealth. Wealth is more about a state of mind than a state of one’s bankbook or economic portfolio of investments (I don’t have one). My wealth is family, an education that is still in progress, freedom of movement, a home, adequate food, friends, and a willingness to venture outside of the small pond called home to experience others in other ponds.
This is a view of Elrose, the small town in Saskatchewan where I live, as one comes down the highway going south. The town has just over five hundred people presently living in it and it seems to be getting smaller each year. It’s a quiet place for the most part, a place where one can think without the distractions of sirens, the noise of traffic or the press of crowds. In a small town like this, it is easy to disappear while still being present as a community member. Not much is expected of an import other than to have a smile and a friendly wave as people pass by. In a little place like this, it is easiest if one checks one’s hubris at the entrance to town.
It’s different of course if you are a local, one whose roots go deep into the community. Then the pull to community and the proscriptions are all out in full force. Ask any youth and they will tell you that they can hardly wait until they can escape so that they can have the freedom to be themselves.
Still, it’s a good place to raise a family and a great place to retire. Of course, having Internet makes it easier. The chances of finding someone to talk with who might share your interest are very slim in a small town. Having Internet access expands the possibilities for communication without giving up the peace and quiet and friendliness of a small town on the prairies.