Unless we know something to be 100% true or 100% untrue, it is better to be open-minded, neither believing nor non-believing, but always curious and asking questions. It makes for a much more interesting life, allowing an engagement with the magic of mystery to manifest.
Let me also add, that I have no interest or business trying to convert anyone to my way of thinking about anything. I certainly am not arrogant enough to think that my thoughts are any more right than someone else’s. We are all on our individual journeys, trying to get through life, as well as understand it. The conclusions we reach are ours alone.
In the process of change comes uncertainty. For some, this is a positive opportunity for development, progress, creativity and fresh ideas. For others, it produces anxiety, disturbance and fear of the unknown and unfamiliar. Those who fear change will try to do whatever they can to retain the status-quo they feel most comfortable in. The reality is that this is pointless and in contrast to a universe that is in constant flux. Nothing remains the same.
It is far better to accept the inevitability of change, whether it be in society or the leaves on a tree, or even the eventuality of death. The processes of birth, decomposition and renewal are all about us daily to observe and learn.
Likewise, holding onto myths of nationalism, ethnicity and so on, to the point where violence is even applied to protect them, is folly behaviour in extreme. It is like trying to retain the petals of a flower in a typhoon: The inevitable will happen, whether we like it or not. Change will come, and we had best learn to adapt and flow with it, rather than to resist.
Granite is a strong natural material, but over time, it will be reduced to nothing. As an ancient proverb says, it is better to be bamboo that bends in the wind, rather than bamboo that does not.
Great wisdom tells us repeatedly that concepts of “I”, “you”, “we”, “they” are irrelevant. They are illusory and divide us, creating frictions where there should be none. We need to get past labels of differentiation and move towards what unifies us and what cultivates our awareness of our shared humanity. Only together can we overcome the very serious threats that we share, such as global warming, poverty, war and famine.
To be truly compassionate is to see ourselves in others.
Struggle comes from not having the requisites to live well. Human rights are a barrier to hopefully protect people from the need to struggle.
As we all know, there are many expressions of struggle, some of which include extreme violence. If we can remove the struggle of ALL communities, perhaps we can remove the need for violence. This is why a universal application and acceptance of human rights is vital.
Human rights are not a convenience or a luxury for a few, they should be applied universally to all. Unfortunately, there are very big hurdles to be overcome for this ideal to be achieved.
In every country, every community and every ethnic group around the world, there are good and bad people. We have to accept this reality, but try our best to be one of the good people in whatever community we belong. We should be bridge-builders encouraging communication, banishing misunderstandings and encouraging a shared, mutual understanding of what human rights mean for everyone.
For their Halloween party, the Lighthouse Bar in Tokyo decided that this year’s theme should be the Addams Family. I think they achieved their goal very effectively. For the evening, I was the official photographer of the event.