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April 17, 2021

Why we’re Distracted from What’s Really Important.

Stimulus payments, vaccinations, world events, North Korea, water on Mars, the crackdown in Myanmar, children at the border.

Everything we read in the newspaper, that’s what’s going on. Of course, the newspaper has to tell us what’s important so it can be important. Otherwise, it’s not really that important.

What’s really important? Your heartbeat: 60 times a minute or so, sending oxygen-rich blood to every part of your body, even through tiny capillaries in the lungs far smaller than a human hair.

Breathing. Breathing is really important. Why you never see it in the news, I don’t know. Approximately 15 times a minute we inhale and exhale, replenishing our body with life-giving oxygen and getting rid of the waste products of cellular metabolism.

If either of these two were not happening, then that would be really really really important, because you would be dead. There would be no more important things to do or read about in the newspaper. Any sense of self or of being somebody would be gone, obliterated, disintegrated. Somebody who can make decisions and go through changes? Gone.

It’s such a scam; all the things we are told are important.

Important to who? Important to the people who publish the newspapers and the companies that buy space to advertise in them, maybe; the news of the day—what the important people are saying.

Think of the rhythm of your breathing. How sweetly and gently and almost unnoticed, it comes. It happens. The breath of life as it’s described in the Bible. The creative energy of God. And who is God? Okay, let’s not go there.

But certainly, it’s a beautiful and graceful accompaniment to the day. To notice your breath and say thank you. It’s the breath of life.

And our heart, that little fist-sized pump, that keeps pumping and pumping for our entire lifetime. It doesn’t stop once. Well, it does stop once, but that’s not what this is about. This is about being alive and noticing what’s going on.

We are here as a guest. Nobody came prepared for this. We were just a naked little baby, helpless and ignorant. We were received by life and welcomed—we didn’t build this place.

We’re a guest and we’re gifted, as in having been given gifts; breath and heartbeat and body and brain and fingers and toes. Ask any one-year-old what’s going on. Toes.

AstraZeneca, China’s climate, Russia bugged the election, domestic abuse in Turkey, and lightning may have sparked life on earth is on the menu today. That’s what’s going on in the world according to my news feeds. I’ve got them all lined up on the tabs bar. Seven of them, with the weather right next to that.

My heart is beating and sweet breath is coming into me. I am alive. The breeze from the Gulf Coast, 150 miles away, is wafting in my window, cool and refreshing. I have chores in the backyard, a fence to rebuild, a tree to chop up. I have my body and my two good feet.

“A lifetime is what is given to man,” says the old wise man in the Epic of Gilgamesh, “Immortality is reserved for the gods. Enjoy your life. Love your wife and your kids. Eat good food. Dress up once in a while. Don’t worry about it too much.” 

That’s what’s really going on. A lifetime. It makes me so mad. Like, hey people, we’re all looking at the wrong thing. Love each other. Spend time with each other. Love yourself because you are alive. You have been received; you have been welcomed.

And another thing. That is how the ancient people lived in their little tribes. Everybody knew everybody else. Every person was important because the survival of the tribe depended on everyone doing their part.

They took time to be with each other. I mean who else could you be with if there were only 20 people in your tribe? But nowadays we don’t need tribes to survive. We can survive completely on our own, living in a hermitage up in the mountains or in a sixth-floor apartment downtown. But we’re still social animals and we’re actually very good at making friends. We have great skill at loving each other. This must be an ancient trait that came down from our ancestors or something.

Somewhere at the very center of what’s going on in the world, there is love and the power of love and the need for love. It’s more important than money.

You wouldn’t know it from looking at the news feeds, but that’s cause we’re all distracted by what’s not important. We’re distracted by what’s going on in the world and we don’t even see what’s going on in us.

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