The past couple weeks has seen much turmoil in my country, the USA. I’ve barely been able to crack a newspaper or a news site without shedding a tear, or at least bucking up, getting ready to feel more pain. Everyone I know is reeling from the violence in our nation. People want to blame. Blame Trump, Blame Obama, Blame Bush, Blame Blame Blame.
My response to anyone who says this to me is, “If there’s anything to blame, in my opinion it’s the way Hollywood and TV depict violence, with such randomness and regularity that we’ve all become inured to it. Violence just doesn’t seem real anymore, unless we become its personal victim.”
And now — most of us are feeling as violated as the victims. True, we’re not dead. We can still breathe. Yet our entire nation, and much of the so-called civilized world, is suffering from a soul-sickness in which violence and fear are on everyone’s mind. And people who see this as just an American problem, they are not as aware, or in denial of the prevalence of the growing trend of violence in our entertainment world.
There is no one thing or one person to blame.
If a friend or random person to whom I addressed my “violence in entertainment” opinion (usually following their more political rant) still wants to talk (most just turn away from me, only wanting a head to chop, a name to blame, a face to spit upon! not a rational conversation) I would then offer what I’m ready to state here, in my public forum.
I named my spiritual blog Lord Flea Sings because I always meant for it to be a place where all of us who care to join in, can sing a song of Love. Sing, as in state our case with joy, with strength, with clear notes, with rhythms that MOVE us. Just like the calypso singer, Lord Flea for whom this blog is named in honor of. So … if you want to join in the discussion, please do. I am curious to hear your point of view. Leave comments below and I’ll respond.
My sense is that the world is in the midst of a huge sea change.
We are at the crossroads of our moral evolution. The computer age has accelerated our growth so much, that … old norms just don’t work for us as well as they used to. Coming from a place of extreme materialism (for decades, since the industrial revolution at the turn of the nineteenth into the twentieth century) humankind is quickly stepping into a new era … the spiritualization of our entire race. One person at a time, it’s been happening for ages. Now personal transformations are happening at a much more accelerated pace, in part, due to the outrage of every human heart that is reacting to the calamities that are happening everyday around us, pushing us to change.
Anger and fear and melt downs are catalysts to change. We who experience these things must change inside, or else we suffer horribly. Some even commit suicide, not able to contend with the insanity of the world. Some retreat into drugs, alcohol, denial, numbing themselves with whatever they can get their hands on. Others — like you and me, certainly anyone reading this — realize that pain is a way that Nature (aka God) has of forcing us to change.
Yes, our world has become more violent. Yes, people are not feeling safe. Yes, the African-Americans of America are sick of being treated with disrespect. Yes, the good Muslims must help herd in the bad Muslims. Yes, most everybody realizes that something has to change in order to make our world a better, safer, more viable place to live. It used to be people were scared of an enemy, like some still are of radical fundamentalism of any sort (evil is color blind and non-discriminatory in regards to race, religion, origins or politics). But now … we have a strain of discontent that doesn’t even have a name, although people are pouring out on the streets in scores this week to bring attention to “Black Lives Matter.” The latest of the unspeakable signs of our society’s silent sickness: Intolerance
To me, the real issue is that ALL lives matter, not just a certain group. Of course I feel for my black brothers and sisters. For years I was one of a handful of whites who lived on an all-black island nation. I know first-hand what it feels like to be singled out, treated differently because of the color of my skin. Even accused of crimes I didn’t commit, because of my race. I’ve been thrown in jail because of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and have had to fight for my own survival because I wasn’t like all the rest. I know what it’s like to be unfairly treated. I know how upsetting it is and agree that change is what’s called for.
But to my mind there is more to this issue of intolerance (of any kind) than what meets the eye.
It really is about ALL Lives mattering. Life itself. All in existence, from the smallest snail to the largest lunar spot, everything in this multiVerse is sacred. But yet there are the masses who still believe life on Earth is a silly game of power, prestige, and who rules who, and who gets to sit on the throne and who gets to shine whoever-is-in-power’s lowly shoes. It may be the final chapter of our color-story in the limelight today (although in the USA with our mixed-race President I don’t see how our black people can’t see the vast improvements since the desegregation of our country, in the sixties). But who and what-kind of person(s) is in power today will change tomorrow, for sure. Power people come and go. What really needs to be changed is something much more basic.
The only really worthwhile change I see that can come out of the current tragedies of black men and women being gunned down, forcibly held, dying in police presence or custody, and the ensuing hatred like the (black) sniper who aimed at (white) police people (how could he really tell with their helmets on?) are all indicators of how much more work we have to do, as a nation of people, not divided by race, religion or any other factors — to accept each and every person as what every single one of us is: a sacred being.
Whether a person acts or even thinks they are sacred, depends on how aware each of us is about our true nature. The more people who make it their pleasure, their personal quest, to become as aware and awake as possible, the more our society gets influenced by so-and-so’s positive energy, instead of barraged by the negative energy that causes more mishaps and tragedies, which then sells more papers, clicks, air time, and catches the attention of greedy Hollywood vampires.
People love to be scared. Look at the crowds at roller-coaster parks. Without fear and vomit-producing twists and turns, lots of people think life is pretty dull. So the drama that unfolds in our real life, on real streets, in real gay nightclubs, and real Bible study classes, and real traffic stops by trigger-happy cops are now re-enacting the thrills that are innately a part of our thus-far-evolved human experience. Most of us love thrills! We love drama. We love … to be scared to death!
Personally, as an artist who writes, I don’t think the censor laws will ever go backward from where they are today. We’ve fought too hard to have the freedom of expression that has become the modern way. And I know for a fact that it was artists (in Lithuania) that singlehandedly started the internal revolution that brought down the Soviet bloc. Creative censorship is considered unAmerican. Un-Freedom of Speech. Un-cool. So the guns and bombs and slashings and accompanying rudenesses that go along with all that mind garbage won’t stop. Hollywood loves violence. There will always be a place for trash. But that doesn’t mean we have to fill our own minds with it. Trash, and violent trash especially makes tons of money, pockets are filled from every slaying, and woe to the producer who comes up with a sweet story of spiritual transformation, without a murder or two, ’cause nobody will come to see it in the theaters. Not yet, that is.
True, there are lobbyists who are out in force, trying to get Hollywood to stop making such sex and violence-themed movies, groups like the Dove Foundation and Ted Baehr, who have attempted for years, to great effect, to introduce more family values into the film and entertainment industry. So let’s face it, the cleaning up of America’s entertainment industry, including gyrating, ripped-lace pop and hip hop and gangsta rap singers, ain’t gonna happen. Dirt and shame and taboos are too much a part of our culture to deny.
What we can do is … each and every individual … is to clean up our own act.
Yup, that’s right. The BIG answer to all this hair-wrenching worry over “Where’s our humanity going?” boils down to “What are you doing about your own life?”
The only thing each of us has power over, is our own individual life, and the choices we make. Of course if we have young children, we’re also responsible for instilling Love and Inner Peace in their own life quests, and prepare them, best we can, for the world that’s outside the comfortable nest we all want to make for ourselves, for our family.
Take a look around you. Are you doing enough? Is your inner life as peaceful as you’d like? Are you able to read today’s news without getting freaked out? Can you see as many positive things happening in the world as there are negatives?
If you’ve assessed your own life, and feel you want more inner peace, more happiness, more joy–then take some action, my friend. There are so many things anyone can do, in this day of YouTube’s abundant offerings from mindfulness teachers (Eckhart Tolle, Depak Chopra, Thich Nhat Hanh, Marianne Williamson, to name just a few of my favorites). If you are unhappy with the state of the world, you can join a prayer or protest group, click on an instructional video and learn to calm your fears, or … go take a walk and look up at the clouds and let go of angry thoughts that you’ve let rule your life.
We don’t have to let heinous actions of others ruin our own lives. We can choose what we do with the strong feelings that injustices evoke in each and every human heart.
That’s the remedy I do when I feel powerless over another’s violent and scary actions. I breathe. I do yoga, meditate, take a swim in the sea, go for a bike ride … garden in my yard, talk with other mindful folks. Anything but go deeper in that feeling of powerlessness. Because I DO have power — over my own self! And I can take action to remedy the severe sadness that each and every intolerant act of one human upon another brings to my consciousness. The action might be … to take no action other than to pray, to meditate, to focus anger into tolerance. That’s a very high form of action.
I don’t deny the hurt. I don’t try to brush it off as “not my problem.” It is a human problem we are all facing. To me the answer, the pivot upon which change revolves, lies within each of our own hearts. To be as true as we can to what we really are, this is the spiritual challenge of today’s scary world. We are all pure spirits wearing a human body … for just a little while longer.
Let’s make the most of what time we’ve got here. Let’s make a difference, and let’s celebrate Love. By focusing on love, acceptance, tolerance, we increase the power of Love all around us. It’s like spreading an atomizing of Love cells wherever we go. Love is a consciousness, not just a verb. Love is a way of life, not just a saying. I have made it a pledge to live from love, not fear. With each day, I renew my pledge. I believe in Love.
I wish I could say the same for the political process, or the power of government to help change society, truly, at its core. I don’t believe governments or political parties have that kind of power. The power of true transformation only comes from the human spirit. I believe it comes from our core, from each of our heart (not the brain necessarily, although that comes in handy when it comes to taking action). The heart of each human being is where we feel the connection of Love. I feel it for everything and everyone.
Maybe someday we will have enlightened Hollywood directors and producers who come from their opened hearts and minds, but for now (believe me, I know, I have a close relative who’s in the Hollywood game) money rules. Wherever the money comes from, that’s where Hollywood’s decisions go. Until enlightened artists transform our tastes … violence and sex are still a lot more entertaining (but not forever) so tolerate unscrupulous images and blood-gushing stories will keep coming to our screens. Just don’t watch them and they will … in time … go away.
Just turn off your mind, your screen clicked off to those kinds of choices. Open your screen as you do your heart and mind. Explore the endless possibilities of … an awakened life. It truly is the best show on earth!