Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Believe

I believe in coyotes and time as an abstract

Explain the change, the difference between
What you want and what you need, there's the key,
Your adventure for today, what do you do

Between the horns of the day?


I believe my shirt is wearing thin
And change is what I believe in

When I was young
and give and take
And foolish said my fool awake
When I was young a
nd fever fell
My spirit, I will not tell
You're on your honor, on y
our honor
Trust in
your calling, make sure your calling's true
Think of others, t
he others think of you
Silly rule golden words make, practice, practice
makes perfect,
Perfect is
a fault, and fault lines change

REM – I Believe

Sorry, couldn’t help that. From the moment I knew I had to write an “I believe” statement, this song has been dancing through my incredibly distractible brain. It does, in a melodious manner, describe many things I do believe. I believe in “Silly golden words”, in change, in “time as an abstract” and in the difference between “what you want and what you need”. Committing my many fragmented thoughts into a coherent statement has been challenging – akin to writing the dreams of clouds. Clouds transform themselves constantly, and my beliefs adjust, swirl and modify themselves weekly, daily, and moment to moment. I firmly believe in change, growth and transformation of myself, and the world around me. Change, evolution and wonder are constants for me, and are the sifting bedrock that I am anchored to.

I love quotes. On my ipod I engraved one of my favourites, “I am not young enough to know everything” – by Oscar Wilde. I knew so much more when I was younger. I was certain about many, many things, things that now I consider fleeting.

I believe in questioning, and this is one thing I would like to do till I die. I always want to be open to new ways of thinking. I want always to accept that my thinking will change. In the Buddhist sense, I don’t plan on reaching ‘enlightenment’ any time soon, and I am very happy with that. Descartes said “Except for our own thoughts, there is absolutely nothing in our power”. I believe I determine my own boundaries, my sky, and my limitations. I believe in the transformative power of thought, prayer and meditation. I work on “letting go” of attachments to things and patterns of thought. Sometimes I am successful, sometimes not so much, but it is the process that I think is important, the journey so to speak. Attachment to the outcome is limiting. To continue to grow, I need to remain open.

I believe things happen for a reason. What the reason is, usually is beyond my cognitive development, but I find comfort in the thought of a benevolent universe. I believe the universe to be inherently good. People, as well, are inherently good. I do not believe in evil, at least not in the traditional sense, whether I believe in it at all is something I like to ponder.

I believe I have a responsibility to better myself spiritually, and in all other levels that I am able. This responsibility continues past me and to the world and its inhabitants. I believe I am a caretaker, no more important than the trees, or less important than the sky, not better or worse than any other person. The Dalai Lama said “Kindness is my Religion”, I keep coming back to this when I examine my motivations and actions. Always, I am responsible for my own thoughts and actions, and believe everything I do should be a reflection of my internal values. From not spraying my lawn to only purchasing humanely raised meat, from actively seeking to improve other people’s lives to respecting the divinity of all living creatures. I think my thoughts and actions can be powerful, I believe in karma on an immediate and on a cosmic level. I believe we are born with a karmic footprint that is ours to work from. My thoughts and actions will affect me ultimately, and I have the power to choose what they will be. I believe to live my life without examination would be hypocritical. I try not to apply the values and standards I set for myself to others, and am sporadically successful. Gandhi said, “Be the change the wish to see in the world”, I aspire to be this.

I believe the human race is not as important as we have been lead to believe. I think evolution may eventually empty the planet of my species. Change is constant, adapt, or be left behind. In many ways I am embarrassed about the actions of humanity to life on this planet. I believe the planet is stronger than any of us and will carry on with or without us, and that choice is ours to make. I do not believe nature is something to be dominated and mastered, or managed even.

I believe in learning. That everything is a learning opportunity and everyone a potential teacher. There have been many historically significant teachers like Jesus and Gandhi I can learn from, but ultimately I learn more if I regard everyone as a source of enlightenment. I think there has been enough spiritual commonality between faith traditions to point to some universal truths. Versions of the Golden Rule are found in many faiths. Kindness to one another seems to be basic. Celebration of, and the holiness of life seems universal, although not always universally practiced. Music and poetry are, to me, incredibly spiritual and touch me on a level that nothing else can. Not necessarily spiritual work, but many varied types and genres, from Beethoven to Nirvana, Pablo Neruda to David Whyte to Frantz Wright and on and on and on…. I find words and music give me tremendous insight and inspiration into myself, others, and the world.

I believe suffering has been my best teacher. I am stubborn, and historically it has taken a remarkable amount of pain to motivate me to change. I work to make this less so. If my life had been with out struggles I think I would be a very different person, the type of person I would have been is an interesting speculation to be sure.

I believe heaven and hell are both within us, and it is our thinking that determines where we land. I believe in god. Not as a paternalistic judgmental figure, but as universal energy that exists in everything, as something outside of and greater than me and also something inherent to me. I believe our separateness is an illusion and that all living things are connected on one level. I pray and mediate daily, without petition. I ask my higher self for guidance, acceptance and courage in prayer, and I mediate to listen and to still my chaotic mind, if only for a moment. My self discipline is not the best, and I continue to work on this. Whether we created the gods or they us, is an interesting speculation, one that I have no definitive answer for.

I believe in tolerance. My beliefs are my own, as other’s beliefs are their own. I struggle with my own intolerance, arrogance and bigotry. I believe outer world harmony can be achieved through inner, personal harmony, and not without. If there is not internal harmony, then any outward appearance of it is farcical. I believe harmony is obtainable, and that tolerance of others is key to it.

I do not know what happens to us after we die, and consider it a rather moot point. I try to define my life by the way I live it, and to live only in the moment I am in. I may learn from the past, and occasionally do, and set goals for the future, but I can only live in each moment. I am intermittently successful at this. I am comfortable with not knowing what will happen to me when I die, I think leading a purposeful life is more important and is its own reward.

Finally, I believe life is for living, preferably with a good dose of humour and love.