I think of the children who will never know, intuitively, that a flower is a plant’s way of making love, or what silence sounds like, or that trees breathe out what we breathe in.
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There are some fundamental reorientations Planet Earth as a whole will have to make if it feign would remain a functioning organism. It’s clear now, that individual and corporate actions do indeed take their toll in the global arena. I say “toll,” because largely that’s the effect of human action, as it is now, based mostly on immediate satisfaction of self-centered and short-sighted goals. We can see these tolls as air and water pollution, which mainly stem from an overpowering consumption urge, to the disregard to need or balance. We can view the same situation in political party platforms, or in the domination of the world financial structure by the developed countries to the exclusion of the developing ones, and so on.
Probably one of the strongest currents at work in society today is the will to stop these affronts to a balanced global life. This urge is the source of great inspiration and of equally great frustration. What is one voice against billion dollar power? Or a thousand voices for that matter? These are totally rational questions in a facts and figures era. But such questions fail to take one thing into consideration — the quality of that voice or group voice.
This is where the restructuring of our planet’s life expression intersects individual discipline. Discipline essentially involves the reorientation of lines of force. And certainly it is the redistribution of force as power which is prerequisite for the human race as a whole to achieve a more balanced set of priorities. In other words, attention must be taken off the profit motive ( or advantage for the separate self), and reoriented towards the sharing motive (the group or global good). This process has as its basis and correlate certain individual psychological transformations. Simply put, we can’t expect that life substances and opportunities will be made equally available to the peoples of all countries until individuals can understand mutual responsibility and begin to re-direct the use of their personal thought and emotional energy, since it is thought and feeling which are the bedrock of outer conditions.
During the activist sixties, there were many whose hearts were with those in the protest arena, although their bodies were not. They were not in every case lazy or frightened, but rather dimly aware that the type of change necessary for the radical transformation of human interaction (as symbolized in political and “legal” structures), if to be on an effective scale, had to deal with fundamental attitudes. It was then and is now a certain type of consciousness which is really being aimed at — a state of mind in which the denial of another’s innate dignity does not arise.
If we are to reorient the course of planetary expression along the ideals of a naturally wholesome environment and freedom from want for basics, then we need to isolate the poisons which malign the atmosphere and clutter the land, and determine those fundamentals which are essential to life. Ecology and an interdependent international financial network have taught us these things in a clear physical sense. But have we learned their subtle counterpart lessons?
The activists of the sixties, and of the present, have found that the best way to be effective as a unit symbolic of the demand for change, is to place your whole life on the line. This is certainly of spiritual implication. One of the hallmarks of true spiritual experience is that it leaves no part of your nature unaffected. Radical patriots and saints through the ages have shared an overwhelming quality-commitment, or a statement of whole-heartedness.
This is where we as a generation fall short of our yet-to-be-expressed potential. The generation I speak of is not bounded by age, but is described by certain attitudes, such as a theoretic tolerance and a vague to acute commitment to strike a blow for liberation in some area of human endeavor. We fall short by diluting our expressed aims with contrary directions of force and energy.
Discipline, then, becomes a ncessity in a community sense. What each can contribute toward the good of the whole is definite and needed. So each must ask himself or herself how we qualify or color the lines of force which course through us as human beings.
The poisons of personal vendetta and idle criticism do their share in fouling the psychological climate. Just as industrial smog chokes and smothers, so do emotions of revenge and envy pollute the inner spaces of human relationships. The litter of unnecessary chatter, of words spoken needlessly, obscures the natural beauty of conscious being and awareness. The restless accumulation of appearances, and aimless search for diversion — how do they reinstate the essentials of life in an already psychologically overcrowded world?
Discipline at its finest is a direct transmutation of a manifested energy by subjecting it to a center of concentrated higher vibrational frequency than the manifested energy. It is a continual refinement of the raw stuff of existence, an ongoing renewal and release to fuller expression of the life within form. The right to transmute is won through the art of redirecting force and energy in compliance with the laws of group good. This is the challenge of discipline. Can we meet it?