Simple Things/ Lang Kenneth Haynes
“You are not doing anyone a favor by being less than you are. In fact, it pisses God off when we engage in such folly. It is a bad
idea to anger God. I don't care what you call her or him. It's a lousy idea to bring about that wrath. This I know for sure.”
We’ve become so adept at tripping ourselves up that I bet that we have created an obstacle or two within the last hour. I know
that I have. To make matters worse, we have gotten in the habit of making all kinds of deals with the Universe. Boring and
repetitive tit for tat, quid-pro-quo, you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours arrangements. For example — if you ease the pain of
my present condition (no matter what that condition happens to be) I'll stop eating cookies or if you pay this month's rent I promise
to never, ever pray or otherwise ask you for money again. One problem with this approach is that the Universe doesn't make
deals. At times it might appear to but the Universe isn't really interested in our puny, little human deals. In fact, the Universe isn't
likely to hear anything we say until we begin to realize that the Universe is in us and we are the Universe.
One of the stories that I love to tell and re-tell is about two women who have a big disagreement that they are unable to resolve.
The country that the tale unfolds in is insignificant. With minor substitutions it could be anywhere. The two women consult the
wise person of the village they live in. The problem they are trying to resolve is too big to handle locally so the village wise
person sends the two combatants to an even bigger and well-respected wise person who lives many miles away from the village
that the two women live in. They undertake the journey because the local wise person said to and because the matter they
needed to have settled was too big to just let it slide.
After two weeks of traveling through thick and dangerous forests, the women finally arrived at the home of the wise person. They
were told to return to the wise person's home in one week. In the intervening time they were to talk to and meet with the people
they came across along the way. They were further told to report back with any stories about people they met who did not have
problems — and big, complicated ones at that. The two women complained to themselves and to each other, but something
miraculous was happening to them as they listened to the woes of others. They discovered that they had become friends. They did
not know the precise moment that this had occurred. There was no lightning flash or blaring of celestial trumpets. The sky did not
part to reveal a bearded person with pale skin and Charlton Heston wasn't born yet, but somewhere along the path of life they had
become friends. And something even more astounding happened: They realized that the matter they had traveled so far to resolve
was not much different than the stories that plagued the people they visited at the direction of the (for lack of a better term)
regional wise person.
One daunting thing about this process was that it became clear that what was received was tied to what was expected and seen.
If constant conflict was anticipated, that is what manifested. If peace was expected, that is what unfolded. Another confusing part
of the equation apparently pitted personal responsibility against some sort of collective consciousness. Here's an attempted
example: While driving you are cut off by an inconsiderate driver. He is obviously in a hurry. The question of whether he needs to
be in a hurry or not is a totally different question. He could have received an urgent telephone call from home, or he could be
driving crazily and inconsiderately out of habit. He entered your lane without leaving enough room. That's all you know. That's all
you need to know. This is not the time to delve into motivations. You feel angry and demonstrate your anger by shaking your fist
and cursing the driver of the car that is by now long gone. He is gone and you are still furious.
What is the prospect for a broader peace when you walk or drive around with the bitter taste of bile in your mouth? Where does
personal responsibility end and collective consciousness begin? There is a saying that "charity begins at home." There is a good
chance that responsibility begins with the individual. Other forces factor in, to be sure, but it is incumbent upon the individual to
know where they are and as much as possible about how they got there. Then and only then can we proceed intelligently with this
thing we call life. The ways that we chose to step forward are varied but we will eventually end up in the same place.
A common misconception is that moving forward with our lives and aspirations always requires doing something that is
observable. Please keep in mind that what may appear to be stagnation to you could very well represent considerable forward
movement to the person being observed. Things are often not as they appear. What does matter is that we know where we stand
and that using the eyes is just one way of seeing. It is critical that we see ourselves as we truly are. Mirrors are everywhere.
Drugstores. Bathrooms. Supermarkets. You could very well have access to one right now. The mirror you seek might not be in the
form of reflective glass. It could reside in the presence of your neighbor or the person who cut you off on the highway.