The Water, the Rock, and the Maginot Line

After World War I, France built a massive line of fixed fortified concrete bunkers and walls. It was called the Maginot Line and it’s gone down as one of history’s great blunders. The goal was to prevent future invasions by Germany like the one in 1914.

The problem was the French were fighting the previous war and the Germans were preparing themselves to fight the next one. In a World War I framework, an adversary would have been crazy to conduct a frontal assault against the Maginot Line.

By 1940, when the Germans quickly overran France, the Germans simply flew their planes over it and drove their tanks around it. The massive fortification did nothing to defend France and their reliance upon it caused them not to otherwise prepare.

The stark imagery of this example has gone down in history as a metaphor of stolid, dogmatic thinking in the face of change.

Wisdom is adaptation to the moment. Fixed thinking, like the Maginot Line, is not up to facing new challenges.

A similar metaphor is that of the a rock and water. A rock is solid, strong, immovable. Water is soft and pliant. It goes over and around the rock. Watched for a day or a week, the rock appears to be winning the battle. It’s holding its ground and standing firm. However, come back in a year or five or fifty. Over time, the water will wear the rock into nothing.

New challenges require us to be agile and adaptive. We live in a world, especially now, that is not only experiencing massive change in this moment, but is nearing the birth of a very different world where many old paradigms are going to be tested.

If we don’t adapt, we can look forward to the fate of the rock and the Maginot Line.

If we work to understand the difference between immutable principles and merely habitual thinking, a very important distinction, we will find ways to navigate and thrive in this new world.

Better days are ahead for humanity, if we’re smart, flexible, and principled.

My grandmother lived from 1904 to 1988. When she was five, her family got into a horse-drawn wagon and rode outside of town to observe the 1910 passing of Halley’s Comet. When she was 64, she witnessed a man walking on the moon.

Wagon thinking would never have gotten us to the moon in six decades. New thinking was required.

It’s very likely that in two or three decades our world will be more advanced and changed relative to today than 1969 was to 1910.

That kind of change holds both peril and opportunity. Who will we be? Will our technology run us or will we use our technology to benefit humanity in ways never before imagined? Will power and wealth be held in fewer a fewer hands or will we finally create an egalitarian society where our genius meets our basic needs and we have the freedom to explore our highest aspirations?

I don’t and I won’t let this moment get me down. We’re going through the growing pains of massive transformation. Whether it is to the benefit or detriment of most human beings is being decided, as tomorrow always is, by our thoughts, words, and actions today.

Stay safe. Stay well. Amazing things are on the way! Oh, and by the way, just in case no one else has reminded you today, you are awesome!


Ray

Meanderings on Enlightenment 1990

I wrote straight out of a very powerful visualization meditation on a warm spring afternoon in 1990. I came across it this morning and thought I’d share.

Just in case no one else reminds you today, YOU are awesome!

Stay safe. Stay well. Stay inspired!

Ray

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Lao Tzu’s Four Cardinal Virtues – Day 241 of 365 Days to a Better You

We’ve mentioned Lao Tzu previously in our journey together. He said to have authored the Tao Te Ching and founded Taoism. He’s considered among the great spiritual masters of ancient China.

He wrote:

“To realize the constancy and steadiness in your life is to realize the deep nature of the universe. This realization is not dependent on any transitory internal or external condition, rather it is an expression of one’s own immutable spiritual nature. The only way to attain the Universal Way is to maintain the integral virtues of the constancy, steadiness and simplicity in one’s daily life.”

What are the virtues he’s speaking of and how do you and I apply them to our lives? There are four main virtues or spiritual rules he lays out in the Tao Te Ching.

  1. Reverence for all life – this first virtue drives the others. It lays the foundation for harmony within and from there spreads to all living beings. It recognizes that all living things rely on each other for their very survival. As such, we should approach all other beings with kindness, respect, and gratitude. The Buddhist metta meditation is a very effective way to make this virtue a practical part of your day.
  2. Natural Sincerity – our ability to spread harmony into the world begins with our ability to find it within. According to Lao Tzu, we find harmony within through sincerely and authentically being ourselves. He’s essentially encouraging us to live our truth. Stress and unhappiness come when we are living in insincerity. Peace and happiness come when our thoughts, feelings, and actions align.
  3. Gentleness – this virtue is practiced by relinquishing our egoic thinking and action in the world. We cease needing to be right or to control others. We become sensitive to the needs of others and choose to live in harmony with them.
  4. Supportiveness – Because we revere all life, we live with sincerity, and we practice gentleness, we’re able to be supportive of ourselves and all other beings. This virtue promotes love and service. It’s focused on what you can give rather than simply what you can get. It’s the energetic glue that holds us all together through our care for and commitment to each other.

Four simple virtues that are simple and profound. They took minutes to read and a lifetime to master. However, even imperfect application begins to yield results. You operating by these principles will change your life. Many people living this way would shift the world.

May we achieve change in both!

Just in case no one else tells you today, you’re AWESOME!

Ray

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Conscious Becoming – Day 239 of 365 Days to a Better You

The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.

~John Ruskin

It’s happening every moment of every day. There, it just happened again. With every sensory impression, thought, word, action, experience, you’re becoming something different than you were the moment before. So is everyone and everything else around you.

This is a natural process of our universe. As far as we know everything is subject to it. To say that you are this or you are that is not a static definition. It’s a snapshot captured in an instant of constantly unfolding process; one that never ends.

However, this is more than a philosophical banter on a Monday morning. This universal process can be harnessed toward your objectives.

If you’re constantly changing, why not change into what you choose? Why not make the process conscious?

You certainly have control of your thoughts, words, and actions. You can modify them before and as they occur. You may not have complete control of your sensory impressions or your experiences, but you do have some control over how you respond to them and who you become as a result of them.

Things aren’t just out there randomly happening, though it can seem that way. What you’re becoming, consciously or unconsciously, is the result of your active participation in the process. Your expectations attract like experiences. Your pattern of thought generate more similar thoughts. How you precess your experiences becomes your reality.

You are becoming. Don’t become accidentally. Be conscious become who you choose.

Thank you all for stopping by and for your comments, likes, and support!

Ray

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Are You Choosing Your Paradigms – Day 230 of 365 Days to a Better You

Do you create your own paradigms or are you a tenant farmer for someone eles’s paradigms? What do I mean?

I’ve noted that there are three kinds of people when it comes to paradigms.

  1. Buyers – There are people who buy completely into their inherited cultural paradigms. Their country is the best. Their inherited religion is the best. Their inherited political party is the best, etc. They’ve never considered another point of view for a second or questioned their own assumptions.
  2. Rejectors – There are people who have thought a little more about it. Their solution is to completely reject every inherited paradigm and believe something as totally opposite as they can find.
  3. Seekers – There is a third group that has thought more deeply than either of the other two. It doesn’t mean they’re more correct than the other two. It simply means they’ve put their inherited paradigms to the test rather merely accepting them at face value. They’ve avoided or transcended the impulse to simply reject them. They’ve taken what works through testing and applied that to their life. They’ve staked out their own ground, their own paradigm.

I’m not judging any of the groups. Each can find their way in this world. Experience tells me these groups break down about 75 percent, 20 percent, five percent respectively.

The easiest road is to be the buyer. You get plenty of emotional support and reinforcement in your circle for making that choice and staying true to it. You are, though, what I called above a tenant farmer living on ideas decided upon by others for you.

It’s harder to break free from the gravity of the buyer impulse and become a rejector. You set yourself up for social ostracism and lack of understanding from family and friends in the buyer category. You feel like a rebel, but you still haven’t chosen anything. You’ve only wholesale rejected the buyers in your culture. Thus, your paradigm is still decided by theirs because you’re going to reject it whatever it is.

Seekers are people who saw through the provincialism of the buyer mindset. No one group has all the good ideas. They probably passed through a rejector stage where they used rejection to break free. Eventually, though, they evolved to a thought-space of their own choosing. It was born from experience, trial and error, and insight.

Seekers may not be enlightened beings yet, but they have taken the two critical steps on that road.

So, I ask you again. Do you create your own paradigms or are you a tenant farmer for someone eles’s paradigms?

I deeply appreciate you stopping by and spending part of your day on this blog. You’re awesome!

Find your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.

Ray

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