Thursday, May 19, 2011


To say "all things are interconnected" or, more simply and with less freight, "all things are connected" comes as a surprise to some people. Those saying it can make money saying it to people who are surprised. The surprise may lead to an investigation, which, in turn, may lead to a belief. Joy becomes sorrow, night becomes day, yesterday becomes today and the line between self and other cannot be found. Each thing leads to or is interwoven in the next. I believe all things are interconnected. Ahhhh!

Repeated often enough, "all things are interconnected" becomes a part of the self-song anyone might sing. This is who I am, who I believe myself to be. And it's a pleasant notion -- consoling and confounding by turns.

Repetition, repetition, repetition ... and stuff starts to sink in. Spiritual endeavor is like this, I think. It's a kind of benevolent version of the malevolent Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister for the Nazis: Repetition, repetition, repetition -- and pretty soon a lot of people believe it.

The problem is that belief, by its nature, survives only based on the past and only with the assistance of a baseline doubt. Without the past, belief would be sunk. And yet there is a conundrum: We believe things as a means of allaying doubt and yet belief itself is founded in doubt. No matter how we may wail or praise or quote scripture, doubt follows belief the way a tail follows a cat... inseparable.

The past gives rise to our repetitions, our beliefs, and yet where the past may be informative, we, ourselves, cannot live in the past. We can only live in the present -- a present that becomes the past before the word "present" has passed our lips.

Our repetitions may urge us forward toward a newly-revised and hopefully better way of seeing things. With luck, good habits replace bad ones. But in order to set aside the doubt that attends our beliefs and judgments and attitudes and prognostications there is one imperative and unavoidable test.

You or I might believe that "all things are interconnected," but life is not concerned with our beliefs, our willingness to rely on one thing or another. Life stands before us like a bully in the school yard and says, quietly, "prove it." Believing never proved anything. Living in the past never proved anything. Relying on others never proved anything or truly eased our doubts.

So how do we go about proving it?  My guess is that the first step is not to run away from life's challenge. "Prove it." When intellect won't do and emotion won't do and grand philosophies fall flat on their faces, "prove it!"

And by acknowledging, I think that a little at a time, the dime drops. Repeat and repeat and repeat as long as it is necessary and then .... "All things are interconnected" -- d'oh! Compassion works better -- d'oh. Emptiness is the nature of all things -- d'oh! Get over yourself! Do something useful ... brush your utterly present teeth.

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