The past few months have been a challenge for me. I don’t easily go through any of my days, but something in the last while has been creating friction between me and everything else. Something is unsettled more now than in better times, and it’s a sticky one.
We see so much these days. The internet has evolved from a trickling stream of excitement into a torrent of data. I don’t refer to what comes across as information, because only a small percentage could be considered as such. Information has a truthful purpose. What we see most of through the internet is coffee shop chatter. It has provided a means for even the faintest voice to market something – anything – to a global consumer base. A scattergun approach. In this sense the term consumer isn’t defined by paying for something with money, it’s more of a violent free-for-all, Black Friday type of entity. One with a single purpose, to Get.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there is a lot of good intention going on these days as well. A great momentum toward mindfulness and purposeful living has descended. More people now are giving mention to a thing in existence that is greater than all of us; the need to preserve, the need to return to fundamentals in sustenance and being, the desperate need to stop devouring. The imperative to stop living without conscience.
Sadly, I currently struggle with this movement. I do try to practice mindfulness, and I will try again and again, but what proves itself over and over is that the worst parts of humanity, the things that peck away at what make us whole and true, seem to always bully over what Lincoln termed “the better angels of our nature.” The Trumps of the world aren’t the enemy, they are the embodiment of what even the best intentioned of the masses lean toward.
Mindfulness is a great and necessary thing. Without living consciously we’re screwed. But there are so few doing this, and those of us that try tend to pat ourselves on the back so prematurely, that there is no real impact on bettering the world. We’ve become self-preserving in our spiritualism, and as long as we feel good about ourselves we are being told that that’s enough of an effort. We’re told that our goodness and improvement will trickle out to the rest of the world, and that’s all you need to do. In the meantime, some gangbanger is carjacking your neighbor.
We need to be mindful, and thoughtful, and spiritual, but that isn’t enough. It is not an end unto itself, unless by some affliction (read: mental/physical illness, poverty, etc) you’re fighting just to keep your head above water. We also need to be morally principled, and to stand by those principles through Hell and high water. When you come out of the yoga studio, before you get into your Audi, maybe toss that ‘bum’ on the curb a loonie. Oh, you can’t do that because he’ll just go buy booze? Well then, buy him a goddamned sandwich.