the hub of the wheel
Greetings and a hearty welcome to new and recent blog subscribers.
Here is a collage of pics from San Francisco. The tower of the ferry building (lower right) survived the earthquake of 1906.
You are at the center of your world, your life. All sorts of stimuli come at you from outside. As well, thoughts and feelings bubble up from inside you, inside your mind. Your physical body is a membrane of flesh or protoplasm that keeps your soul earthbound and serves as the border between your consciousness and what is out there around you. But, the stimuli do not travel only in one direction. You project actions outward into the social and physical environment around you. You are a part of this natural environment. You are impacted and affected by this surrounding environment, and you, in turn, impact and alter the environment around you.
The hub of the wheel at the center is connected to the rim of the wheel by the spokes. One can view the spokes as the pathways the stimuli travel on – both inbound and outbound.
Look deep inside yourself for stillness, calm, peace. Take inspiration from the environment around you when you can.
But, what about all the negativity in that external environment that assails each and every day of our lives?
When you are stuck in traffic on your commute home in the evening, or are dealing with a cranky co-worker or boss or spouse, or your public transit is delayed interminably or breaks down, or the wait in the doctor’s office is very long and you are worried, it is frustrating, it is stressful. But, recall a couple of the quotes from our last essay. A person is still free to choose how he/she wants to react to difficult circumstances. We are free to choose how we react to and meet the many daily challenges that come our way uninvited.
Personally, I really wish that I had been better at this, would not have allowed external events and circumstances to stress, frustrate, anger me so. It would have profited me greatly to have put some serious effort into learning the art of patience (and temperance) when I was younger. It is true that I worked with a number of very miserable, even bitter individuals. (Many co-workers were really decent, good people, but they were a joy to work with.) The old adage that misery loves company is proved daily in the office environment. One must consciously make the mental effort not to let miserable, unhappy people get under one’s skin (when they cannot be avoided). This, of course, is easier said than done.
What about right now? Today.
The young women, in this hot northern hemisphere summer, are revealing their shapely, feminine figures in their swimsuits poolside, at the lake, or the beach. (They are a part of the environment. These women are an example of natural beauty.) Their immediate concern may only be to get a suntan or to attract the interest of one or more males that they fancy.
I have much compassion and sympathy for the young women and young men. I am concerned for them. Not wanting to be depressing, but the world is more messed up, more troubled now for them than it was a few short decades ago when I was at their youthful age.
Here is what I currently think about trying external circumstances and conditions. (I wrote “currently” as one’s thinking can and does evolve over time with more experience gained and upon more mental reflection.) If they place me in a re-education camp, if I can still hear a bird’s song or even the crickets on a warm summer night, if I can see or glimpse a sunset through the barbed wire, or feel the breeze on my skin, I will still be free in my mind. They can only imprison my body, but not my mind.
They can break your body in ugly ways, but others cannot touch your soul, your spirit, unless you let them.
Cultivate love and appreciation in your heart. Spread love. Live a constructive, giving life. Work on improving yourself. As Ramana Maharshi (died 1950) said (paraphrasing from memory), if you want to do something for the world (humanity), work on becoming a better person yourself.
What do you want to take with you when you leave this earth?