October 26, 2011

The urgency of awakening (or: the paradox of the Occupy Movement on video)


I want to write a book about what I call warriorship. I want to find inspiring men who keep their backs straight and their hearts open despite of the challenges that life makes us endure, listen to their stories and hopefully add some sort of value to their lives. My questions are: can one man make a difference? Can I be that man? Who are the men in the world that make a difference? What do they have in common or what is the key?

A week ago I was talking to a friend about my plans to go on a quest. He owns an ad agency and can’t help but looking at my project with a commercial eye. Is this project interesting for a big audience? Does it have added value for brands? He told me that what was missing was a sense of urgency.

He proceeded to explain how serious the problems in the world are today. That all his wealthy friends are working on a plan B, in case the systems crash. They are anticipating the crash of the euro and a hyperinflation in Europe that will make all the money worthless. Your savings won’t take you far into your retired life if a cup of coffee costs 4000 euro in 2012. People with enough assets make sure that they swap euros for something that keeps it’s value and/or they make sure they can leave Europe in time and/or create a cash flow that comes from else where on the planet. This is not hypothetical. Rich and sensible people have already taken counter-measurements. Our economical problems are that serious.

For me it is hard to imagine. I am not rich enough to swap my savings for gold. But I do realize that many people remain ignorant regardless of the gravity of the problems. Our own greed and fear is often in our blind spot. We don’t like Wall Street bankers to be greedy sons of bitches but we like it that Thailand is cheap. How does that work? Our ego is built around masking our inferiority. So we judge and reject those and that what makes us feel inferior (banker’s greed) and we justify similar behavior of our own. This is how we protect ourself from the truth. It makes that we don’t feel responsible and therefore there is no reason to take action. We only care about our own safety. We take action when we start feeling threatened. Then we act against the threat, seeing that as something ‘wrong’ that exists outside ourselves. We rather not see that we are the problem. We rather stay in denial. You can apply the litmus test to yourself: if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

Our planet needs your awakening and mine. I can’t wait for you to awake and we can’t wait for ‘them’ to awaken. The tricky thing is: to awaken means to die first. If you are not prepared to die and are obsessed with your own survival don’t expect others to let go of their ideas about security and freedom.

My friend told me: “When the systems crash we need people like you. Because we will not fall back into the middle ages. We will have a developed society without guidance. We know what mechanisms brought us down. New forms of leadership will emerge. We need the warriors you are talking about. They have to show us a new paradigm for living. They have to show us how to live from the heart. That’s why we need you to go on your journey and that’s why we need your book.”

Everybody wants to be free but nobody wants to change. Change means sacrifice, the willingness to let go of what you are most attached to. Yet another paradox: deep down we know all this. We know that letting go of our greed and fear will set us free. We know that being unconditionally abundant with love, care and generosity will add tremendous quality to our lives if not solve all our problems.

To live in peace we need our ego’s to die and our hearts to open. We can only truly live when we are not busy with survival by feeding our illusions of safety. We will die anyway, no need to worry about that.

My first step needs to be to put my money where my mouth is, to buy a plane ticket and go out there looking for my fellow warriors. To connect and learn from them and spread the word. I realized it is not just about me testing myself. Thanks to my friend I am now aware of the urgency.

You are not convinced? Let me illustrate it once again. Michael Franti performed on Occupy Amsterdam. He gave a free performance to the protesters. In the video below you see an interview with him where he voices to problems beautifully and eloquently. A true warrior he is, a man who unites and not divides. Listen to him when he sings. And then pay special attention to the cheering of the protestors when the song is over. They are no different than the bankers that they react against. Let’s appreciate the complexity of the issues at hand. We must be willing to look at ourselves first before we judge the other. The sooner the better. Now.

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