Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our Progressive Growth

Recently I watched a CNN segment about the “recycled” Long Performing Arts Center in Austin, Texas. Clips showed comments from the architects, and pictures, before and after. I was inspired by the quick dose of reality where imagination and creativity produce something new which builds upon the old in a way that enhances the “eternal memory image” of both. The archives of Austin and of performing arts, including the performers and all appreciators, will be influenced by this creation, and from what I’ve seen and heard, the influence is beautifully positive and inspiring. Builders recycled 95 percent of the material from the Palmer Auditorium and reused it in creating the Long Center.

I’ve learned through living, and from what Spiritual Philosophy has defined for me, that growth and change are two of the most difficult maneuvers that our minds have to deal with. And that we can wrestle with the confusion and perhaps short-lived thrills of “producing” for years on end, as we labor to enhance our life, our survival skills, and our lifestyle.  I understand better than ever why our “fear of survival” becomes our most negative influence until we know ourselves well enough to trust the progressive pattern of growth and change that is our inherent design and begin to consciously support that momentum as change and growth. Good parents are role models for all of us. They are the ultimate Producers!

I’ve been reading Jonah Lehrer’s book, How We Decide. Here’s two bits from the chapter on The Predictions of Dopamine:  “Even when we think we know nothing, our brains know something. That’s what our feelings are trying to tell us.” Yet, as he writes, we can’t coast on these cellular emotions. Neurons need to be continually trained and retrained for their predictive accuracy to stay consistent.  Our emotions and feelings teach us, as thinking minds, as we are open to learning, to listening.

Another news story was about a hospital in Iowa that is saving money by going back to traditional methods. The reporter interviewed the hospital administrator as they strolled the halls, talked with a young woman whose baby’s delivery was imminent, and they spoke about the exact cost savings that were showing up as they followed this plan of “progressive growth.” They cut back on machines when they determined how to maximize the use of fewer and use the funds for other things. Guttenberg Municipal Hospital's CEO, Kim Gau reported that she experienced a revelation when she noticed a shift in mind-set at the hospital when managers no longer viewed quality as a to-do list item, but instead they began to regard continuous quality as part of the hospital's everyday culture.  

This is what I am experiencing as I study Spiritual Philosophy in the world as I know it, and as I remember and live. I can get overwhelmed by "to-do lists" and feel very behind in what I want to produce in a day. When do I feel happiest and most at peace? When I'm experiencing the joy of satisfaction: thinking, when thinking of my family, in communicating with someone with joy, sharing life stories (whether a moment or more), in laughing at life's little curves, in watching the ballet of butterflies. Listening to the music of life. Flavors, sleep, scent. Joy. Compassion, communication, commitment, truth, love, equality, humility. To feel good about all I create because I know myself truly, which means I keep learning, puts a to-do list in its place. And it does have a place!

By progressive growth, I now mean following a plan to create externally what supports us and our positive-life-support internally.  The recycling project in Austin – the eureka moment, the architects said, was when they realized they could re-use so much of what was the old landmark.  Tons and tons of steel melted down and re-used, the cost of materials cut by 70-80%? Not just a few dollars, this price tag, but a crowd-pleaser all around. Crowd-pleasers all around support the Ethical Values which make up our internal design.

I have been thinking about what it means to learn all of my life. I’ve learned a lot about learning!  What have I truly learned, beyond tons of information that can be gleaned from sources galore, present and past, always with new physical tools that we call technology? That unless we appreciate (use, understand) what we learn, then our knowledge never becomes wisdom. It never enhances our personality. When we truly learn something, we become excited, and we share some aspect of what we learn, if not at the information-specific level, then just because we are energy beings and our energy constatnly emanates from us in constant motion. Every thought becomes its own “reality show,” and the number of those engaged in that thought energy depend upon the collective strength of minds supporting and sharing that energy stream.  We can keep changing channels and see what the trends are. We choose! This is true about every aspect of our life, because we are energy beings!

The trends show us how the weather is – the emotional weather report, as Bob Dylan and Tom Waits and so many more have said. Then, what makes that emotional weather report? Spiritual Philosophy, like the ocean waves, reveals us to ourselves, if we look long enough – we begin to not only know what we’re looking for, but to understand what we see. The rhythms, the sounds, the smells, the smiles, the absolute power begin to coalesce into a conscious appreciation and understanding of “synesthesia” as the natural human design of experiencing our world and our reality- being Creative beings.

The floods in Pakistan, the mudslides in China and elsewhere, the earthquakes, the fires, all “natural disasters” are tragic in their many ways, particularly the human ways. They teach us to pay attention.  Earth takes care of business. How do we define “sensitivity”? An awareness of? I watch the news reports and the statistics give me new images of the human scope and scale of these changes as they accumulate. The Earth changes we will see as we are open to seeing the changes that have become part of our once familiar landscape. The CNN special on New Orleans Rising, what’s happening in New Orleans post-Katrina, is one great example.  Each example can show us the vitality in those who harness their energy and actively create changes, no matter how small the beginning. The dreams are big, the energy effects huge, even though at times the actual physical results may take time and more attention to notice.

These are profound lessons. Some bodies act as weather vanes. Arthritis can play a difficult tune in joints that intimately know the nature of air pressure, wind changes, barometric shifts.  These are not exceptions, simply examples to remind us that we are energy beings. When I wade into the water to swim, I feel the absorption within my cells instantly, and the way the water envelops me, then caresses my skin as I move. As I climb out I feel the differences in the air, in my breathing, in every step, until I adapt, dry, to the air as I remember it. My cells breathe as the bellows of the clouds that envelop me as I move. Kindness is never random. True kindness is persistent, consistent, truthful, firm in its energy presence. Healing. Like the Long Center for the Performing Arts, if I really think about it, I can re-fashion all my brain already knows and use it productively to create what I need now, enjoy the arts of life all the more. Creative minds show this every day. Quick lists are everywhere. What do they tell us about hwo we are and how far we've come? Revelations continue!

"If we think about any part of our life in fear, we are not living as an integrated thinking mind and loving emotions, which gives us the tools to plan and execute our physical lives with excitement and joy." (Spirit Consciousness, 288)

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