Today I found myself crying twice. It is strange; it is as if I have delved into some deep sadness that bubbles up every time something touches my emotions. The first was an e-mail in the morning from a cousin with whom I have been corresponding over the last year or so. The e-mail was a response to an AVAAZ notice I re-sent asking for signatures in support of the Wall-Street occupation. Why did I send it? Good question. Sometimes I just follow my heart and do things. I supported the “Indignados” in the Puerta del Sol in Madrid too, just as I cheered for the Egyptians, the Tunisians, the Libyans and the Syrians that are apparently fighting for freedom and better living conditions. It’s not that I have anything against the people who work on Wall Street, nor against those who invest their money in the market. No. There is, however, something inside me that seems attracted to movements against a system that seems to be backfiring. There’s also a fascination in watching the events unfold that would seem to correspond to the “end of the world as we know it” that is announced for 2012.
It seems that our Western economic structure must change if we are to continue living on this planet; something new must burst forth and I doubt that it will come peaceably. I signed my name giving support to the people occupying Wall Street because I am for this change. I did not do it against the people who earn their living, believe in their thoughts and try to do their best every day working on Wall Street. We are all, in the long run, doing our best. And this said, I must admit that the letter from my cousin made me feel badly and cry. At the time I felt the tears well up, I had no idea why I was crying so here I am going to look at this precisely. Here is what she said in answer to my forwarded invitation to sign the AVAAZ petition:
Place tongue in cheek before reading: And how can these people know the wall street elite are corrupt? Is it true? They have not made any mistakes, they have only done what they thought was real. How do these rabble rousers know the “wall street elite” are not taking the best path for them? that they have not made the best choice according to their thoughts? Who determines that these financiers are corrupt and selfish? anti -democratic? unjust? Does not the universe have room for so called swindlers who are only doing their best?
There is no moral issue here. Who says their paths should be different than what they are????? They have brought us to the place where we are and shouldn’t we be grateful?
It’s obvious she is writing in a playful tone, yet the words are definitely taken from my own application of the Byron Katie work in my life. My thought was: “She delights in mocking me,” and I immediately felt very sad and tears came to my eyes. There was a sneaking suspicion that what I actually was feeling was the disappointment in myself of not living up to what I share with so many others and, in many ways, aspire to teach. In signing the petition, had I betrayed my deep seated belief that things are exactly as they should be in each moment? When I put my signature in support of the Wall Street Occupation was I believing that the Wall Street “elite” (whoever they are) are corrupt? Was I saying that they made mistakes, or have not followed the path that believing their thoughts mapped out? Was I determining that the financiers are corrupt and selfish? Strangely enough I see everything my cousin has said as true or not, they were just things that didn’t cross my mind to be questioned when I signed the petition. So allow me to do it now:
The Wall Street elite are corrupt. I wouldn’t even talk about the “Wall Street elite”, and if I say “they are corrupt” and ask “Is that true” my answer would have to be “no”, I can’t know that. It is not a thought that would cause any stress in my mind because I don’t believe it. “I am corrupt” is something I can identify with more. Yes, that is true. Many times I have looked for and found ways to avoid paying the taxes I should pay; I have smiled and pleaded my way out of traffic fines; I have a certain amount of money invested in a tax haven (true I am working on getting it legal but haven’t finished with that yet)… So yes, I am corrupt. And I would still sign the AVAAZ petition. Next.
They have only done what they thought was real. Ok, I agree with that and as I sit in that thought I observe that I still would have signed the petition. The fact that they have acted in innocence (haven’t we all when we believe what we think, including Hitler) does not mean that change should not happen when it is happening. The very presence of the protesters is change. I am still in agreement with myself having signed the petition. So “I have only done what I thought was real” is true too, and I am applying change to my own decisions of the past that now do not seem to be coherent with what I feel in my heart today.
The people on the street are “rabble rousers” … hmmm, not my thought, perhaps it is my cousin’s belief and perhaps she would like to question it and find out how she is or has been in her life a “rabble rouser”. Yes, perhaps there are better ways of changing things that are not so judgmental and bothersome, but it seems that this is what is happening in the world today. What is is. And what is on Wall Street is an occupation by close to or over half a million human beings who are not happy with what is. I believe they are making a statement with their presence there, and this statement for change touches my heart. I will still sign the petition. I am a rabble rouser. Yeah, man!
How do the protesters know that the “wall street elite” are not taking the best path for them? Yes, oh I would so agree: the “wall street elite” (whoever that might be) are taking the best path for everyone. Somebody or bodies somewhere has to push things to an extreme for the others to react. Is that extreme the bank bailout? Is it the fact that corporate structures have grown more powerful and rich than most countries in the world? Probably no one can know for sure, but someone has taken the best path to finally get the man-on-the-street to react. I still would sign the petition.
Who determines that these financiers are corrupt and selfish? anti -democratic? unjust? Somebody, obviously; probably the same person who a while ago believed these very same financiers were the backbone of America and would handle one’s money adequately. I admit not thinking anything of the sort when I signed the petition. Maybe it was just the excitement of watching history in the making; maybe it was a desire to be part of the change… I don’t really know. It was not something I did from the mind, but from the heart. Believe me, it couldn’t come from my mind which would immediately tell me that the last thing I need is for the economic structures where I have my life savings deposited to crumble taking along with them what I thought I would have for my “older” age (old age is apparently here already).
Does not the universe have room for so called swindlers who are only doing their best? Oh, but of course it does. That is why they are here and I am here, swindlers united. And it also has room, apparently, for cousins who see fit to remind one that it is so easy to be incoherent and out of sync with what one is espousing. I should be thankful. The universe has room for swindlers like myself, who speak of peace and then sign petitions of protesters “peacefully occupying” Wall Street. That must be what was behind the tears. I really felt like a swindler: I had been caught in the act of absolute incoherence. There we go. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa. And I still sign the petition. Fuck coherence. What is happening is exciting; I am glad to still be around to witness it and even be part with an occasional incoherent signature, swindler that I am.
There is no moral issue here. Of course not! I do not adhere to morality of any kind other than that that comes from the heart. Morality is nothing more than a list of “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” that would contradict Reality. The issue is not moral, it just is what is. It is happening or perhaps not, yet it is the story we are apparently living in this moment and I chose to be part of it. I signed.
Who says their paths should be different than what they are? Not me. Not for the people inside Wall Street and not for the people occupying the park outside Wall Street. Their paths should be exactly what they are, no mistakes. It makes for a fascinating movie/life. And no one said that I should choose sides either, and I found myself signing the petition. If the people that work on Wall Street gather together to protest the protester’s unjust accusations, I might sign that petition too. I don’t think this whole thing is really about people: I think it is about confusion, mental confusion about what is important and what is not. Money is not God, money is not anything. We are confused if we think that that piece of paper will make us happy and act according to that belief. And this is one case where I am definitely putting my money where my mouth is because if the shift happens… well I’ve already told you what will become of my children’s inheritance.
They have brought us to the place where we are and shouldn’t we be grateful? Absolutely! No mistakes. They have brought us to the place where we are, some of us signing petitions, others occupying parks, others giving their lives in rebellion against dictatorship, and others, and others and others… Ah, yes, and I still would have signed the petition. How do I know? Because I did.
So there it is: I cried because I felt I had been caught with my incoherence showing and that that shouldn’t be. But it should, because I was.
And, oh yes, I began this piece saying I had cried twice. The second time was looking at photographs of koalas dying of thirst and coming out on to roads (timid animals that they are) to beg water from passing cyclists, or going into houses searching for water while fires and unsurpassed temperatures in Australia burned or dried their habitat beyond its ability to support life. Their innocence hurts me, or my thoughts about their innocence hurt me (I should say) and I fully understand that if koalas have to die to wake us up, then so be it. No mistakes in the Universe. I don’t have to like it, and it doesn’t seem to be in my plans at this moment to rush out to Australia and help save the koalas.
This said I have to confess a further incoherence: while I was sobbing for the koalas –that I find adorable- I was swatting gnats that seem to have invaded my house. I do not consider gnats in my house “adorable” and I noticed that I was going after them with a murderous desire that they all disappear from my “ecosystem”.
So, I should be coherent, is that true? Apparently not, because I am not. I sign petitions, I kill gnats, and I write this blog with the sweet taste of vengeance on my tongue knowing my cousin will read it: no coherence whatsoever.