Blinded by the glare of the things

“The five colors blind the eye; The five tones deafen the ear; The five flavors dull the taste. Racing and hunting madden the mind; Precious things lead one astray.” – Lao Tzu

We are living in an age where technological progress has generated prosperity for a vast number of people and created a lifestyle for the average person that the most powerful kings and queens in the Middle Ages could not ever have imagined. Life expectancy, health care, mobility, and hygiene are at unprecedented levels in human history.

Individual self-realization, self-interest, and ambition have been powerful motivators for societal progress. But it appears we are at a tipping point where technological leaps are far greater than the mental capacity to deal with these changes. The unchecked pursuit of wealth and extraction of natural resources are threatening the survival of our species.

We have become blinded by the glare of the 10,000 things. We are drowning in information and misinformation and starving in wisdom that promotes a culture of spiritual awareness, empathy, fairness, and social responsibility.

The biblical story of the dance around the golden calf is timeless in its relevance. The Israelites had become impatient living in the desert, losing their trust in God. They then fashioned a golden calf with jewelry collected from the people, worshipping and dancing around the calf in revelry while their leader Moses was away in the mountains receiving the ten commandments from God.

Photo by Pixabay on

The story serves as a warning against losing the moral compass and placing worldly desires above a genuine relationship with the divine, the true self. and purpose in life. Underlying the insatiable desire for new things is the misconception that power and wealth are equal to happiness. The predominant messaging of our culture is consumerism, social status, and material wealth.

There is nothing wrong in enjoying material abundance and prosperity. But making it the primary objective in your life, and becoming overly attached to “things” will inevitably lead to suffering and pain. The perspective changes completely for people suddenly confronting a life-threatening disease or facing the fear of losing a loved one.

The antidote to greed is the reconnection to our interconnectedness with all things living.

Reconnecting with interconnectedness involves recognizing and embracing the understanding that all beings and elements in the world are interconnected and interdependent. Building wisdom is like building a muscle. It’s an ongoing process. Key points to consider:

  • Awareness and Mindfulness: Practice being fully attentive to the present moment, observing the connections between yourself and your surroundings. You can do this by focusing consciously on your inhaling and exhaling breaths. Meditation practices, journaling, gratitude rituals and other self-care habits will help cultivate care for others. ,
  • Deep Walking: Deep walking is more than a hike. It is a spiritual experience where you develop a deeper connection to the natural world, observing the intricate interdependence between yourself, plants, animals, and the environment. By spending more time in the green and blue spaces of nature you extract yourself from the rat race of external distractions. Finding these moments of stillness will make you aware that life is finite. You cannot take your material possessions with you into the afterlife.
  • Compassion and kindness: Cultivate compassion and empathy towards others. Recognize that every person you encounter is connected to you in some way, sharing the same basic human experiences and emotions.
  • Relationships: Recognize that your actions, thoughts, and emotions have an impact on those around you, just as their actions, thoughts, and emotions affect you. Nurture and foster positive connections with others. The five people you spend most of your time with have a major impact on your value system, mannerisms, and state of mind.
  • Service and community: By helping others, you are contributing to the greater interconnected whole. Engaging in acts of altruism and service can deepen your understanding of interconnectedness by experiencing the positive ripple effects of your actions.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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