Back when I was working in the old folks home in Florida, there was this lady with Parkinson's who was the nicest and most optimistic resident there. Many of the residents were bitter or just plain angry, for perfectly reasonable reasons, and the rest were mostly just spacey or sad. This particular woman, Ruth, was always real refreshing to see and talk to; she'd help push other residents in wheelchairs to their seats, for instance, even though her condition was such that when she'd first arrived she had been in a wheelchair herself. She was always smiling, friendly and concerned. I felt that she deserved to know the positive impact she had on the people around her just by being who she was, so on my final day of working there I decided to tell her.

Now, I'm very glad I did it; everybody should be able and willing to do things like that every day, in my opinion. But, to this day, if I find myself thinking about it for one reason or another, even just silently to myself, I get embarrassed. I was embarrassed by the prospect of it, trying to decide to do it, I was very nervous when I was walking up behind her in the hall... When I finally tapped her shoulder and said "excuse me," the embarrassment was gone and it was a very amazing and spiritual moment. Though my spiel lasted probably no more than 15 seconds, in that short span of time it was very obvious that this was a beautiful and just thing to do and I was immensely glad to be doing it. But as soon as she hugged me and I'd begun to walk back the other direction, one of the receptionists at the front desk must have overheard and said "awwww!" in a very genuine tone. I immediately became embarrassed again, and had an intense rush as if I'd just done something CRAAAZZYYYY and, like I said, even recalling it today causes me a strange internal embarrassment.

Why do I feel this way? There is no conceivable reason why that act should be considered wrong in any way, and I definitely don't regret it in the slightest and will always be glad I did it. But WHERE do these unwarranted feelings come from? It seems clear that cultural conditioning has embedded these instinctive responses deep within my consciousness. Now, I have never felt even the most remote conscious desire to subscribe or conform myself to society in any way that I didn't agree with, and have usually prided myself on essentially "marching to the beat of my own drum." Though my ideals have changed drastically throughout the years, I can guarantee myself there is never a time when I would have thought that an act like this should be considered shameful in any way. Even society itself would never openly admit to feeling this way, but it's also very obvious that VAST numbers of people--especially males--are subject to feeling this way.

I feel like this is a relatively important consideration... The way you think, feel, speak and act... Hell, the way you look, the way you ARE, are all crafted by your environment with direction from your internal processing system known as individual consciousness. Please, NEVER underestimate the impact that your surroundings can have on you, never take for granted the information and material input into your mind and body. Our global society is shaped by the primary force in nature so far: Dominance. Dominance is its own entity, bigger than you, I, or the president of the World Bank. It has crafted nature into what we see today: Gravitational cores, beautiful landscaping of ebb-and-flow climates, and countless diverse species of life that have worked well enough to dominate some real estate here on this planet, Earth, and quite possibly any number of other places. And it has crafted our cultures and societies into machines that seek to perpetuate this motion by any means necessary; the means, in our ever evolving world, becoming things like distracting spectacles and futile outlets for energy such as fear-based loyalties and commodified images.

We as the human species clearly still enact this natural mode of dominance, but the catch is that this dominance doesn't seek to destroy the other for the sake of destruction but SURVIVAL. In other words, the constant re-expression of energy and subsequent life has been a struggle to try and find a beautiful, sustainable balance so that it can exist in the most beautiful way eternally (and of course, the universe as a whole always has been and always will be doing this.) Our unique position as humans, however, allows us to internalize such concepts, and therefore gives us the VERY REAL possibility of enacting a beautiful, sustainable way of life here on this planet beyond what the natural mode of violent dominance can give us. Famous spiritual thinkers have proved this possibility for millennia, and most of the human race has subscribed to these ideas because it’s obvious to our true selves that this is the right way of thinking.

Our biological instincts and resulting cultural concepts, of course, tell us to dominate, control, and beat out the competition... But clearly that is not the issue for us humans anymore. If we want to strike the desired balance, we need to do it through what has brought us to this ugly present in the first place: Consciousness. We need to make conscious decisions to live beautifully and treat the rest of the world as if it were the beautiful gift that it is. We need to recognize ourselves as an integral part of this and never think that, just because we are one or few, we have no impact on this world. Please, when you feel it anywhere deep within you, reach out and spread your boundless love to ALL of the deserving creatures and non-creatures of this unified world. Don't let anything hold you back from that.

Well, that's it I suppose. Hope you can take something from it. I love you. :)