What happens when people’s consciousness is focused on the small and the ordinary? What about the stars above? An awareness of far more than physical things, even those stars, is required of the one who is waking up to reality. Those who are bankrupt inside desperately need some external, fake substitutes as a pretense for reality.

It’s disgusting so often, the circus of disrespect, self-focus being so obvious, unconsciousness as prevalent as the wind that is blowing across the landscape, unnoticed by those who are unaware of their own values, the actions and words of unconscious people are impossible to miss, for the conscious ones that is.

Of Dogs, Bikes, and Sports Cars

Dogs tied to table legs, but with leashes so long they are allowed to obstruct     the path of people trying to walk by, as though they obviously have become the more important, at least in the minds of those owners, like roosters strutting around the hen house, their next sip of coffee the only focus worthwhile in this moment. Arrogant dogs, licking dogs, biting dogs, either growling or just curious, they act more like their owners than the owners are willing to see, those actions unknown in the comforts of self-indulgence.

As I watch, another ingredient of the unconscious appears, this time in the form of bicycles, having just been ridden by those dressed up in their favorite clown costume, shirts, pants, clunky shoes that fit the pedals, and of course the helmets that protect their brains but do nothing for the obvious unconsciousness at hand. Then, parking those fancy bikes in the very same aisles where the dogs are lying, congestion worsens, but no one seems to notice anything but what is impinging upon their own space, their guard is up, like a screen door that only catches part of what is coming at it.

The third ingredient in this illusion of self-focus is the fancy sports car just now pulling into a parking space, its owner, as if no other person owned a car as nice as his,  carefully wiping a bit of dust off his door, steps toward the door to the coffee shop, stumbling, almost, over the dogs, the long leashes and the handle bars sticking out too far, he creates a look of disgust on his face. Obviously his concern for himself, his jaded face revealing more of his true self than he is aware, as if no one else was as important as he, and “his space” even more important than those of the dog and bike owners, his obnoxious demeanor, like a storyteller, unknowingly revealing the plot ahead of what he intends.

All this bring up an important question. Who are we? Claiming what is temporary at best, those certain spaces that “belong to me,” creating needless competition between humans and dogs, forgetting in those moments that we do not own those spaces, assuming reasons to feel superior, the degradation of one’s own soul is the result of a self-focus that disregards the integrity of others.

In all this, cooperation and community are conspicuous because of their absence. Another person walks up, reaches out gently to greet a dog before trying to pet it, compliments the bike owner on a really nice bike, while forgetting that they even have a car in the parking lot to worry about, the energy all around this person changes the landscape immensely. An honest regard for others, more noticeable than the perfect icing on the perfect cake that invites others to partake, avoiding the trap of smallness, it opens a door of possibilities, yet unknown by the ones who taste and enjoy.

That second person is not one who is a victim to all that is obvious, but rather is choosing to not allow a self-focus to miss an opportunity to connect with others, as a delightful present awaiting to be opened. This person is one who is alive in the midst of humanity, but has a deeper internal focus that is far more real than all the externals. Amazing, isn’t it, how what is real deep inside us, the cherished gift of a transformed focus, knowing by experience one’s own personal beauty and power, helps us create a different response to all that is external. The present scene will change. I take my real self to higher ground, leave the shadow behind, and, that is sufficient both in this moment and in all of my tomorrows.

 

–Jim Stacey