Stand On Any Street Corner [on Merely A Thought Monday]

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For reasons that are beyond my pay-grade to comprehend, human beings are obsessed with seeing conflict and division. The news of the day is generally antagonistic and despair-inducing – and that is not unique to our day. Ancient temples and modern televisions alike are overrun with images of war and hostility.

One of the greatest powers a human being can achieve is the power of focus placement. ‘Seeing’ is, after all, a matter of choice.  It is not passive. In any given moment there are multiple points of focus, there are multiple stories, there are many interpretations to choose from.

Stand on any street corner and watch the world happen. Watch the overwhelming number of acts of kindness and generosity. The small moments of simple kindness and consideration. They are everywhere. People giving way, making way, helping. You will be surprised to find that the kindnesses by far outnumber the rudeness, the antagonism.

Stand on any street corner and watch where your focus goes. In the midst of a tsunami of kindness, if you are human and like all other humans, your focus will be captured by the angry guy honking his horn, the commuter shouting at the bus driver. “Such an angry world,” you think and close your eyes, despairing. Anger is so much louder than kindness.

Tell a story of discord, see a story of discord. Practice a story of discord, live a story of discord. Discord is easily leveraged. Division is easily sold. It is like selling candy to a kid. It is readily chiseled into pillars and hungrily read into teleprompters.  It is so easy to see.

Tell a story of kindness, see a story of kindness. Practice a story of kindness, live a story of kindness. Although it is more readily available it is, somehow, more difficult to see. It is less sell-able and, so, is discarded as trite. It requires choice and discernment rather than default. It requires opening your eyes and your story to what is actual, what lives beyond the thundering chorus of conflict-peddlers.

The angry shooters and tweet-happy presidents live on the far margins yet they garner the majority of the attention. Stand on any street corner and open your eyes. There is a sweeping quiet kindness that permeates the vast majority, that defines the middle ground. You can see it if you so choose.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about KINDNESS

 

 

 

 

 

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Walk Up The Hill

616. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Saul-the-Chi-Lantern stopped in mid form; we were “grasping the swallow’s tail” when he turned and said, “There’s this thing about anger that is worth mentioning.” We relaxed from our practice knowing that Saul’s no-segue comments are always rich with meaning even if they often seem as perplexing as a Zen koan.

“Anger requires a certain amount of dedicated focus,” he said. “I used to work with troubled teenagers in San Bernardino and there were lots of kids dedicated to their anger.” He paused and seemed to be moving back into the tai chi practice but realized he had yet to complete his thought, so he turned again to us. “There was a really steep hill at the place where I worked and I learned early on that, if a kid was angry, I’d ask them to tell me what was making them angry. We’d walk up the steep hill as they talked and within ten paces they could no longer be angry. It was impossible to walk up that hill and keep a focus on the anger.” Saul smiled and continued, “It only took ten paces for them to put their focus on something else. And, after ten paces up the hill, their anger dropped away and then we could talk about what was really going on.”

He wrinkled his brow and continued, “Anger is good for knocking you off balance but not much else. And, you have to be really dedicated to sustain anger – which means your dedication in life is to sustaining anger and what good is that!” He laughed and stepped back into the form, muttering, “Who in their right mind wants to live off balance? It doesn’t make any sense to me.”