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Thursday, February 26, 2015

THE SPECTRUM BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE


bert stern

The windows after sunset are black. It is an odd feeling to look up from the monitor to the window and see black after seeing white all day. I look at the window and return to the monitor snow-blinded for awhile. The windows are white or black these days of snow on the ground. This is the only way I can see dividing the whole spectrum of life into white or black. Day with snow on the ground and night. Another reason I must withdraw my mind from politicians is the way they divide everything into black and white, not only racially, going with the polar opposites, ignoring the spectrum of life in between. It is between the poles we live, not at one end or the other. It is in good writing I see the spectrum between, which turns my attention to everyday life where I never see anyone who is completely good or completely bad. The good are probably dead. It's said the good die young. I don't believe it, but it's fun to use for the humor. I know one man who is 103 and would be at the top of my list of people I could say I've known who can be called good. Also knew a woman who lived up into her nineties, was bad unto making it easy to think her evil. I think we all know a few people we'd call bad unto evil who are not in prison, except the prison of their own minds. And we all know some people we'd call good according to our individual ideas of what it means to be good. I don't think of good a chalk line to walk without sin. I think of it more as an attitude toward life. 

bert stern

Somebody whose attitude toward life has compassion in it tends to be somebody we call a good person. Somebody whose attitude toward life has compassion absent turns out to be somebody we might call bad. We all know somebody we believe has no conscience. People without conscience tend to end up behind bars, get killed, or just fade from the picture, while people without compassion thrive in this phenomenal world, or seem to. The old hymn, Farther Along, plays in my head. Farther along, we'll know all about it, farther along, we'll understand why, cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine, we'll understand it all by and by. One of the things I love in this life is sitting in a hillbilly old-time religion church with everybody singing this song in their slow, one word at a time way. I think way down deep it's the lack of compassion in the world of making money that I have a hard time living with. In the early 1970s I read a book, Small is Beautiful, that rang my bells. If I were to go back and read it now, I have an idea I'd find I have lived its principles. I want to maintain my spot on the earth's surface I have dominion over with integrity unto the ground itself. I want my ground to be rich in trees and topsoil. I don't want to use it to make money, like lease it to pumpkin growers, or Christmas tree growers or any of the other possibilities that poison the land and the ground water. I can't help it that the ground water has been poisoned at the source, but I don't have to add to it. 

bert stern

My little spot that Spring Lizard Creek runs through, I've allowed my land to be itself. I've only made more money than I needed to get by on, living frugally, a few times. They didn't last long, just enough to catch up from falling behind. Some years ago I came to see the importance of living the way I want the world to be. I can't change the whole world. But it is my world that I live in, the community, the people I know, neighbors, my spot I pay taxes on. I don't live in LA, NY or DC. Those places are somebody else's concerns, not mine. I'm all the time hearing somebody start a sentence, "The world would be a better place if everybody would (fill in the blank)." The only thing everybody is going to do is ingest, evacuate and expire. So the whole world is not going to do any one thing. I can't change or benefit anything beyond my own small world I interact inside. In my own world, at home, here in the house, inside my head I have a degree of control. If I live the principles I believe the rest of the world would benefit from, then my world benefits. If I believe compassion would benefit the world, then I can regard the people and wildlife of my world with compassion and see if it does or does not. I've tried it. It does benefit. It benefits all concerned. My world turns into a better place. Out there in the flatland and across the sea is other people's worlds. Mine is here where I live. If I lived in NYC, there, too, my world would be the people I know, the people I interact with. If I treat the people in my world right, they treat me right. It comes down to how I want to be treated by the people around me. I regard them with respect and respect comes my way too. 

bert stern

Live the changes I want to see in the world, and my world becomes the way I want the world to be. I've found a good place where my world is the way I want it to be. My interactions with the people I know are friendly without suspicion, open to who the other is, and my world has become a world I enjoy living in every day. I've committed to the path of love, which is not a matter of pink teddy bears. Regarding the people around me with basic human respect is an act of love. Taking hay to the donkeys in the morning is an act of love. Lending a hand to somebody who needs an assist is an act of love. It doesn't need to be noticeable as such. It's the motivation in the heart, where it comes from that matters. Like in old-time hillbilly singing and music making, it must be from the heart or it's not music. If what I say in conversation comes from the heart and what I do comes from the heart, I've made my world a better place as I speak and as I do. Inside myself it's a very big deal. Outside self it may be a ripple, and that's ok. It doesn't even need to be a ripple. It doesn't need to be anything outside myself. When my attitude toward life says everybody around me is good people, then they are. If my attitude toward life were to say everybody around me sucks, then they do. And they get the blame. In my world is no television, except in the houses of everybody I know. I avoid everything on tv as corporate misinformation, deception its purpose. One of my rules of thumb is don't eat anything advertised on tv (except pizza). I don't want a new car and don't want the latest shaving equipment. I don't like being told with pants on fire urgency I need to buy something I don't want. Absence of television is automatic quiet and peace in my world.   

bert stern himself


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