Thursday, August 13, 2009

OPINION: Bless Yourself And Have A Great Life

Magdalena Pot Luck
By Margaret Wiltshire
I live in Magdalena, a village filled with people doing the right thing, whatever it is for them. Some have worked to bring peace about, some work to share the bounty of food and goods, and others are fighting to keep the “rug” of aquifer water beneath New Mexico’s feet. Still more want to see an energy co-op be cooperative and fair. Many are working to keep families well and functional.
These are only some of the issues worked here. There are other issues as well, like literacy, animal care, sports and creative efforts. Fewer than 1,000 of us, but what a group!
We don’t have a lot of money, a lot of jobs or a lot of power. We do have space. Science says we need space for movement, to exercise energy. Space to be and do, that we have.
So what am I doing? Just a little here and there.
Now I have found my own project. Why is all this good work needed? What is it about humankind that creates these situations? Most of all, what CAN a person do?
Wise minds say we can only fix ourselves, not others. If you have been around awhile, you know, like it or not, this is true.
As a species, humankind brings more misery and destruction to the planet than any other. We separate ourselves into groups, always judging, always wanting more then we need.
We are taught the Pharaohs of Egypt thought they were God. Don’t we all act that way?
We lie to have things as we’d like, and we justify the lies. We lie, justify and judge. We always want more. We are the most dangerous critters on the planet.
We are not happy, either. The usual solution is go for more. That means more lies, more justifications, more comparisons and judging. We use the same means to “protect” what we have. It doesn’t work, but that doesn’t stop us.
I want to leave the planet a better, happier person than I have been. I have been looking for, and I have found, for myself, some simple guidelines. Simple, but not easy. If I can leave my grandchildren anything, it would be these guidelines. My youngest child, Rebecca, introduced me to the writings of Don Miguel Ruiz and The Four Agreements. Ruiz has a wonderful mind and straightforward writing style. There are a number of books by that author. He has a great way of making sense of things.
The Four Agreements is offered to find a happier and more satisfying life. His premise is that we are born perfect and honest. Yet right from the beginning, we are taught social lies and how to lie. Our parents went through the same thing.
In fact, Ruiz takes it back to the Western creation story, the Garden of Eden. In his book The Voice of Knowledge, he presents Genesis as a teaching story and perhaps an explanation.
The apple was consuming the first lie. The first lie was that we are separate from the Creator. We started looking for something lost, that oneness. We also were in competition with the Creator and everything else.
It doesn’t matter if you come from a culture descendant from this creation story or not. It doesn’t matter if you believe it or not.
Not all cultures believe they are separate from the Creator, most do. Other people may not believe in God, but they accept the lie. The lie has spread worldwide.
The separateness we believe exists breeds judging, competing, greed and aggression.
Ruiz’s concept is worthy of thought. For me, it makes sense of world history.
The Four Agreements are simple, not easy. Something to develop with effort and practice.
1. Be impeccable with your word. First, do no harm and be as honest as you are able to be right now.
2. Don’t take anything personally. What is said or done by another is said and done by another, not you.
3. Don’t make assumptions. We are smart and lazy. Assumptions are often wrong or incomplete. Assuming others understand your needs also is inviting frustration.
4. Always do your best. Ruiz says our best will vary with our circumstance (tired, sick, inexperienced); accept that.
The Four Agreements, the complete book, is in the Magdalena Public Library.My quest is understanding why humankind creates so much misery. My goal is self-improvement. My wish for you: live well, be well and do well.

Margaret Wiltshire lives in Magdalena and shares this column with her husband, Don. Mrs. Wiltshire’s opinions do not necessarily represent the Mountain Mail.

1 comment:

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