24 October 2008

Alan Greenspan Speaks the Truth

It isn't often that a former Chairman of the Federal Reserve says something really profound, but Alan Greenspan did yesterday, whether he knows it or not.

Here is the exchange between him and Rep. Henry Waxman:

ALAN GREENSPAN: Well, remember that what an ideology is, is a conceptual framework with the way people deal with reality. Everyone has one. You have to -- to exist, you need an ideology. The question is whether it is accurate or not.

And what I'm saying to you is, yes, I found a flaw. I don't know how significant or permanent it is, but I've been very distressed by that fact.

REP. HENRY WAXMAN: You found a flaw in the reality...

ALAN GREENSPAN: Flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works, so to speak.

REP. HENRY WAXMAN: In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working?

ALAN GREENSPAN: That is -- precisely. No, that's precisely the reason I was shocked, because I had been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.


He's right, of course. Everyone has a model, a conceptual framework, an ideology (more or less rigid) that they use to deal with reality. But the question is not whether the framework is accurate. That part Mr. Greenspan got wrong.

The framework is NEVER accurate. And that is the kicker. Because almost everyone believes their framework is accurate, that's why they believe in it. And if they have a hint that their way of interpreting reality is flawed, then they think they just have to tinker with the model, the framework, until it is accurate again. Most of us never realize that our mental model of the world is flawed. Most of us never even realize we have a model! And if we do know we have one, we are absolutely devoted to defending it. And if we realize it is flawed, we are absolutely devoted to improving it.

Alan Greenspan has an incredible opportunity, perhaps once in a lifetime, to recognize the truth: no matter how much energy he pours into fixing up his model of the world, he will fail. Guaranteed. It will never be accurate.

Reality will go on being what it is, regardless of what he, or you, or I think about it. Reality is so wild and free that there is no conceptual framework, no model, no ideology, no belief system that can possibly capture it.

When this is seen (usually it takes a catastrophic collapse of your mental framework for this to be seen -- you have to lose something that you think is essential to your world view) then for a very brief time there is an opportunity not to go shopping for a new, improved model of the world. Before a new model, or an improvement on the old model, asserts itself, one can realize what remains when the conceptual framework is stripped away. It is a deep emptiness that remains.

Do not fear this emptiness. Stay a while in this empty place. Dwell for a time in this lost place. Stay in this place where you do not know how the world works, where you do not know what reality is, where you do not even know who you are. Stay there. Drop right into this place of not knowing. It is a deep well of silence. It is a deep well of creative force. It is a deep well of outpouring Life.

Alan, this is my message to you: drop the framework. Make no attempt yet to patch it up. It is flawed. It is inaccurate. It always will be. Allow yourself to fall into the generous, loving arms of Life being lived. Everything beautiful and giving and loving and creative comes out of this deep well of silence, where the self has no model with which to define the world, and the world lives its own wild and beautiful life. You are that life, indescribable, undefinable, untameable, and totally real.

06 October 2008

The Kingdom of God Is Right At Hand

Where or what is the kingdom of God?

This is it. Right here. Right now.

It is not a future time. It is not some exalted place in the clouds. It is not even dependent on some set of conditions: perfect peace and justice. It does not appear after peace appears or after justice is established.

Peace and justice and balance and harmony and abundant life are not conditions on which the kingdom of God depends. The kingdom of God is not dependent on any condition. It is already here among us. It has only to be recognized. Peace and justice and balance and harmony and abundant life are dependent on the presence of the kingdom of God. It is in recognizing the kingdom of God, already present, that peace and balance are restored. We've been doing this backward for a very, very long time. Trying to create the kingdom of God by establishing peace, by any means necessary, including through war. Totally backward, right?

This is my understanding of why Jesus said, "seek ye first the kingdom of God... and all these things shall be added unto you. Take no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself." (KJV Matt 6:33-34).

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, because all else is dependent on it. Take no thought for tomorrow, because when tomorrow arrives, it is today. It is always today. It is always right now. Right here, right now is the only place we ever are. So if the kingdom of God is to be found anywhere, if it has any reality, it must be found right here, right now. It's presence can not possibly be dependent on any change in conditions.

So, this is it. This crazy mess called Life is it. This is the kingdom of God, right here, right now. This is heaven. It is only in thinking and acting as if this is something other than the kingdom of God that we make it appear to be something other than the kingdom of God. God's kingdom is within us and around us at all times. It is what we are. It is Life living itself through us and through everything. And it is deeper even than Life. It is the source of Life. Not an external source but the intrinsic source, the energy within matter. The stillness within energy. The incredible beauty and intelligence and creativity within stillness, within energy, within matter, within Life.

The kingdom of God is everything, and it is that without which nothing could be. It is therefore immediately at hand, in everything. Pick up a stone and it is there. Take a breath and it is there. Fall into deep sleep and it is there. Awaken to the rising sun and it is there. It is in every encounter, every sight, every sound, every thought, every feeling, every joy, every sorrow, every happening. It is what makes all of that possible, and it is all of that, the interplay of all being. There is nothing you can do to escape the kingdom of God. You have never been anything or anywhere but the kingdom of God.

We think that we are separate from it, that it is far off from us either in space or in time. It is by believing that thought, by repeating it incessantly, that we make it appear to be true. But it was never true. And if we stop repeating these untruths and turn back to the immediacy of life being lived right now through all of life together, then the presence of God's kingdom, its beauty and majesty, its wonder and surprise, its creativity and intelligence, its peace and harmony, become immediately apparent once again.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God in the dance of all things. Right here. Right now.

Look! The kingdom of God is right at hand.