Tag Archives: vision

The Forest for the Trees: Doing What We Do Best

16 Jun
silhouette of a man during sunset

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

The Forest for the Trees: Doing What We Do Best

By Kathy Custren

 

The Forest for the Trees

Part of what intrigues me so about The Conundrum these days is that there are people, very good people, who have such a difficult time with discernment. Oh, vision clarity is not the issue. Unlike yours truly, many can see perfectly well without the aid of corrective lenses. But somewhere along the way, one’s visual acuity or ability to process what we see is called into question. We can describe it as not being able to see the forest for the trees.

Take the issue of life—a large topic, to be sure; but there are those of us who are unable to see the fullness of life. We may have many salient points about the sanctity of life and how important it is to live a good and virtuous life. In our zeal, we hit all the important points about how miraculous and precious it all is, but at some point after that, we fall off from truly committing to the full picture. We see the tree just fine, but not the forest in which it sits. In fact, there is probably a logging project going on not that far away. Forest for the trees, forest for the trees…we struggle with borders and boundaries on a regular basis, and while we tussle over these ill-defined lines, the sand shifts under our collective feet. We are at a point in time where we cannot avoid dealing with our collective consciousness in the forest that surrounds us. –And make no mistake, the other animals in the forest are watching our every move.

Why is it that we are unlikely to equate the taking of, by way of example, a potential human life, with as much gravity as we could the life of an existing tree? Do our rose-colored glasses need that much correction? Try as many do to argue the point, “but it’s only a tree,” a life is still a life, right? We feel pressed to provide rights to one type of life over another. Perhaps this is our problem—the stigma or prejudice we assign to life itself. We hold one type of existence differently than we do another, and this is what permits any number of atrocities to take place. Welcome to our world today.

 

Playing God, and Other Sundry Pastimes

You see, the issue is not in condemning or annihilating the forest, but in playing god…in thinking we have the right to pave the way—whether it be for profit or some other ‘way of being.’ Ultimately, we are taking one life for another, which is the condensed version of selectivity. As imperfect as we human beings are, where do we get off (a) taking life, (b) telling others they cannot take away life, or (c) enjoying the ability to create life in the first place?

The gods of yore (read your mythology) were keen on the entertainment aspects we puny humans once provided them, and probably still do. They are just a lot quieter now with their storytelling, seeing what their folly has wrought. And while on the supernatural topic of dimension and timelessness, we must remember the concept of reincarnation/karma, which speaks to the transformation of energy and the ability we will undoubtedly get to perfect ourselves if we so choose. We are so wrapped up in the physical that we tend to forget the spiritual aspects associated with being here…the forest for the trees, yet again.

So quick are we to point, ridicule, and stigmatize others, that we cannot see the forest ourselves. The interconnectedness we share whoosh! goes over our heads. The one planetary home on which we exist has cycles and timelines much greater than our own, and rather than paying attention to that story, we would much rather inflict our own narrow view. Bottom line, when we disrespect life it has a way of coming back around to haunt us, ultimately.

 

Into the Mix We Go—Now What?

Our forebears tried to warn us; they have left clues if we care to take notice. But, our collective visual problems come into focus yet again. We have trouble seeing correspondences within our own age, in active and real time, let alone thinking about ‘the past.’ We tend to leave such analysis to the history books that end up being rewritten to mask the atrocity of our impact on the planet. So, we should worry about ‘the future;’ and rightfully so. There is a shifting role of ‘the bad guy’ in the story—the antagonist—that should keep all of us on our toes. No matter what name we call that character, be it the devil, monster, disease, death, or any number of labels, we fear its presence and fight to overcome it, whatever “it” may be.

This fearsome, fighting mentality leads us to assign ‘war’ to just about everything, and look at us today. We have wars against drugs, crime, terror, “the other” or “the stranger,” and the labels go on. Forest for the trees again; as we are busy fighting wars, there is much collateral damage; so much for the sanctity of life. We tell ourselves that we are fighting a war to at least provide an excuse, as we drill down even further into the personal lives of people who, for a variety of ‘personal’ reasons, would choose to not let another life be born into this existence. Data drives the human machine as much as profits when it comes to caring: health care, life care, what is the real cost of the medicine that keeps us alive or that keeps the lights on at night? Suicide numbers are actively on the rise, so the choice point becomes crystal clear to many—and can we really blame them? Can we? When it is their choice between ‘this life’ and whatever takes place on the other side?

Hypocrisy aside, can we just let these people sit with the pain and reach that conclusion for themselves? Might we at least make the idea of simple existence a little less painful; perhaps cause a little less suffering? We are talking much more than just feeling an occasional pang of anxiousness here. Our collective pain reaches the level of our collective soul and cries out for attention. When we are unable to sleep at night, all of that suffering must go somewhere. If we really wanted to make a difference on a larger scale, why not target the bomb and weapons makers that annihilate entire swathes of living things off the face of the planet? Why choose instead to make life even more miserable for one who is carrying an unborn without the means to provide for it; or who come to our shore seeking asylum from even greater terror and death? We say we want to change lives, but am I and so many others missing the forest here? What support are we giving people who are here up to the point where pregnancy and one new life becomes a larger problem for “everybody?” Where is our humanity when one more hungry mouth to feed becomes unbearable? Nature has its own way of finding balance on a variety of levels, and let’s just contemplate that one a moment, shall we?

 

Social Media: Processing the Horrible

There is an overarching reason why social media is so consumer-driven. When we consider that we digest more than just nourishment, we cannot ignore the use of virtual reality to process some horrible things. For all those who avoid the internet like the plague, there may be some comfort in that; if not denial. For those of us who are online throughout the day, every day, we worry about the effects of over-consumption and how it might play on us psychologically. Plato’s cave? What is real and what is an illusion?

  • Fake news (from those ‘in charge’) to distract us from horrible changes; many of us would knowingly be in the streets…911…’false flags’…missiles on the way to Hawaii – an oops with deadly results.
  • We ‘elect’ people into positions of governance but fail to direct (provide feedback to) them; instead we get on social media and share memes and thoughts, thoughts and prayers, while few of us attempt to advocate for change or—heaven forbid—actively do something.

Social media goes beyond advertisement…we are not just sharing ideas on the newest restaurant in town or our favorite recipes or sports teams…we use it to process news on all levels, local, state, national, and international. Recent storm damages, wartime skirmishes, human trafficking, and animal poaching and abuse, all find space between the photos we share of our latest meal, Suzie’s school concert, or Uncle Joe’s traveling dart team. I am grateful for the ability of social media to bring us together and share ideas, so let us use this technology wisely. We must bring about great change if we really, really want to make this world a better place.

The way we all process the most horrible parts of our existence means that, in the midst of “all” the things that assail our senses, greater numbers, greater attention, greater energies are spent in managing our time and attention. Can we spend time better by being off the virtual reality and back in the real world and work? We must deal with both the offline and online versions of ourselves—the real and the spiritual combined—and what we bring into this world. So, time and change must apply to both.

 

What Price, Love? The Real Cost of Our Humanity

Is it me? I grew up under the now liberal(?) Christian notion of people loving one another, being a helper, and doing what we can to make the world a better place. So, seeing overwhelming inequality and suffering mixed in a culture of war and death does not sit very well with my psyche—how about yours? We know we can do better. I come from a time, not that far from this present moment, when people were taught to be kind to each other—where bullying, graft, and greed were seen as evils and faults to eschew rather than inspirational parts of our personality. It is not an ‘ego thing’ to care about others; in fact, we might say this lack of empathy is another human failing that we must address.

It goes beyond ‘to each his own,’ and if it means taking a hard look at what we call our borders and boundaries then let’s do that—maybe it is the right time? Here in the United States, I still like to think the founding fathers had it right—we either unite as one or we die alone. We are stronger together. The natural order does have us looking at the real cost of what it means to be a human alive today, and the price is as incalculable as the unspeakable name of God. Both were once revered and sacrosanct; today, both God and life are trivialized—both subjugated to the realm of control, and quite uncomfortable to wear.

When we lose sight of the forest, we also lose sight of its value. When we lose the knowledge that unites us, we separate like a rogue cancer cell might, enveloping and annihilating the health of the surrounding area and all within it. ‘As above, so below’ comes to mind. We have a collective body of pain and trauma to address and heal, and now is as good a time as any, timeless beings that we are.

Join with me in my fervent and daily prayer: Heaven help us, until we can help ourselves and each other.

 

Mother, Sister, Writer, Editor, Advocate, Optimizer, Cosmic Interpreter, and Devotee of Positivity, Kathy Custren writes about The Conundrum since 2007. Connect with “Consciousness Live” on WordPress and Facebook. With united hearts, let us move humanity forward.

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Seeking New Energies with Clarity and Alignment

29 Oct

Seeking New Energies with Clarity and Alignment

by Kathy Custren

 

A Longtime Problem with Poor Vision

As a person who wears glasses, it is evident to me constantly that my ability to see is not clear without, as it happens, a great deal of external assistance. Once upon a time, I masked my faulty eyesight with contact lenses. These days, I rely on one pair of glasses and it is more than time for new ones. I am forever grateful for the ability to see, and those who help folks like me with vision problems to see clearly.

Glasses are everywhere these days, in a wide variety of designer frames and lenses that can handle multiple focal points and prescriptions. Even those who do not meet with an optometrist can go to the nearest dollar store and find a pair of glasses or sunglasses that will help boost reading or protect eyes from sun glare. So, we might consider glasses an easy fix to a difficult problem many of us face.

I find it is like this in many other areas of life as well. We are fortunate to be able to correct inadequate or fuzzy eyesight with some lenses that take the blurriness away and bring clarity and the world into better focus and safety. One may say that I ‘take advantage’ of lens technology to fit in with everyone else, or that I borrow the energies of all the people who toil in the vision industry to restore my own sight. This can be a sobering contemplation.

Illness and the Misalignment of Energy

When thinking about the ways energy works in our lives, so many of us fail to consider some of the most basic or intrinsic ways energy is exchanged in our vast plane of existence. Many of us choose to operate in our own little bubble of “I-ness,” or “illness,” when we come right down to it. And the poor alignment of energies takes its toll on us in many ways.

Over time, we learn how to correct some of the problems we have in life. Much like the way my pair of glasses fixes my sight, each of us may use, or abuse, some form of energy. Discovering what those changes or energy discrepancies are can take some investigation. Once we know, we can do better, make better choices, get help or an aid, or choose to draw a new boundary of where “no” might be.

Attunement is a great word to describe the alignment or balance of energies that work well together, or that help a struggling energetic aspect gain some added strength. On both a physical and spiritual level, the need for finding attunement can become critical at times. When our “illness” turns extreme, our perception changes and we find ourselves in greater alignment with the negative aspects. Things happen “to” us instead of “with” us, for example.

Corrective Lenses for the Spirit and Other Energies

Seeing or envisioning our way out of illness and back toward balanced or a positive outlook can be daunting, especially without help. Many of us deny there is even a problem, unable to see just how fuzzy or out-of-balance our lives are. We operate in a realm of misperception, and this mode may be how many of our family and friends know us best, unfortunately—always complaining, always in pain, always down or playing catch up.

Or, we might use one type of energy to mask or deal with the illness. Many people turn to negative habits to hide just how much pain they have, or how ‘impossible’ their situation is, and because we get used to the notion that life does not always make sense. We can all use a new pair of glasses when our eyesight changes, as it does over time, but not everyone is able to get to the eye doctor or even the dollar store to get that ‘one little thing’ adjusted. The more valiant among us persevere with the problem until we get to the edge of breaking down completely.

Whether we are dealing with bullying in school, a co-worker who is on an ego trip, raising children who have difficulties, in-laws who are judgmental, not being able to afford groceries, the basement floods, our vehicle is on the recall list, our own physical pain or other disease, or well-meaning friends we haven’t seen in a while, we can feel pulled in multiple ways. Which problem takes priority when one lives such a full life? How are our triage skills? Honesty says we can use a bit of help in dealing with the daily energetic pressures.

Doing Without? There is Always More

When we see our life is “too full” for our own good, we tend to scale back. This can be helpful if we find our world is chock-full of ‘stuff,’ but if we find we need more people to help and they are not around, then what? There is a stigma attached to reaching out, because many of us do not want to give off the perception of being a burden to others. So, doing without becomes the skill we do best—seeing less of our family and friends, not participating in ‘energy draining’ activities, doing more of the denial or masking to keep some semblance of balance in our lives becomes the priority.

We become very good at saying no, which also happens to include many of the opportunities to turn things around. When we become insulated or isolated, whatever problem we have becomes that much larger. If I did not have my glasses, I would be lucky to be able to maneuver in my house, let alone make my way down the street. If I did not have the right amount of assistance, even knowing where things are can become a daily hazard. Keeping track of multiple problems would soon build into an even greater danger.

We may fail to contemplate this snowball effect and how it relates to problems in our life. We could have multiple snowballs growing and rolling on a continual basis. Understanding that there is always more, and that like tends to attract like, is a good indication that we might need to make a change or find a different kind of attunement.

Healing Illness and Discovering Wellness

I wrote in other instances describing that finding balance is much like a juggling act. Too often, the best and most entertaining jugglers manage to incorporate additional partners. Sure, it is a wonderful skill to know how to juggle alone, but it helps to be able to toss something over and relieve the pressure of “handling” for even a brief time.

Energetic pressure, such as gravity, can take its toll, as I was reminded recently in a class this week. Even the smallest weight can become unbearable if we never get the opportunity to put it down from time to time. So, the first step we can do to help find additional energies that lend themselves to our strength and wellness is to share the load a bit. We have the power to choose who and when, provided we can overcome the stumbling block of stigma.

As with my eyeglasses, I am fortunate to be part of some energetically supportive groups. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is a grassroots organization that educates and supports individuals and families who are living with a variety of illnesses. Another is the National Council on Behavioral Health—through its Mental Health First Aid program. Any of us can turn to family, friend, faith, business, and other social groups for support.

In difficult times, sharing energies in support is the way so many of us find balance and ways to cope with the weights we juggle along our road of life. Let’s make a pact to stomp out stigma and do what we can to support each other. When it comes to healing illness, and finding balance and wellness, we are all in this together. ~ Blessings!