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Can You Really Make a Difference

I often hear people ask, myself included, “Can one person really make a difference in this messed up world?” They say: “There are so many issues and problems… What can I do that will make any difference at all?” And “What can one person do?”

There are the waves and there is the wind, seen and unseen forces.  Everyone has these same elements in their lives, the seen and unseen, karma and free will.  ~Kuan Yin

There are the waves and there is the wind, seen and unseen forces. Everyone has these same elements in their lives, the seen and unseen, karma and free will. ~Kuan Yin

At many points in my life I have pondered these very questions. Most times I felt hopeless against the sea of problems our society faces. Hunger, war, poverty, abuses etc. This hopelessness has has lead me to say many times: “There is nothing I can do.” So I try to enjoy life as best as I can until our society comes to a screeching halt, and just pray it doesn’t happen in my lifetime. This works for a little while, but since I’m not really a quitter, more of a giant procrastinator, I always find myself thinking: “there must be something I can do!!”

I guess I could give up my life and move to a poverty stricken portion of the globe. I could help nurture and feed people in need. I could sell all my worldly possessions and donate the money to the poor. I could go down to Washington DC or NYC and hold up signs. I could put on a mask and march on any number of corporations or conglomerates responsible for human suffering. The issue with any of these choices is obvious. I would have to give up my cushy first world life while leaving all of my friends and family behind. “Ok so what’s the big deal?” you ask. Well maybe these people depend on me for friendship, laughs and company. So I may fill a void somewhere in the world but create another by leaving. (I am not in anyway knocking people who do this by the way. Wish there was more people in the world who did those things!)

After pondering this on and off for years I finally had a breakthrough! An “eureka” moment. I realized that we are all connected, the whole world! I have heard people say it, but dismissed it as hippie talk. Now I finally understand what people meant. By gaining this perspective I realized that for me (everyone is different) running out to different parts of the world to try to help out would be like plugging holes in another part of a sinking ship while water is getting in right next to me. We are all in the same boat, the whole world, so you can actually help by plugging holes all around you.

Back to my realization. It has to do with the concept of Karma. Karma is often misunderstood in our society. People say: “Don’t do bad things because it will come back and something bad will happen to you.” This is partly true but not the whole story. My realization came to me while writing comedy of all things. I was writing about my time in the Marines Corps. I used to keep my hair a little long for a marine, just within regulations, and my superiors really gave me a hard time. The USMC is all about conformity. At the time I wasn’t very empathetic, but now looking back years later I realize the reason they were giving me a hard time. It’s not because they were “Dicks with no lives” as my 20 year old self might suggest, but it’s because they themselves had superiors. I’m sure I made my superiors look bad in the eyes of there bosses. This made me wonder if they had ever pissed off their superiors when they were younger, and now they were experiencing the negative feelings they themselves had caused someone else to feel years earlier. Classic Karma. But then I went deeper. I thought of the vicious cycle continuing throughout the years. I envisioned it as waves in a the ocean. I really do not know the source of the first waves. however I could see the effects of the current waves thrashing about just as a stormy sea effects a ship. And the ships movement in turn creating more waves.

I then applied this analogy to the whole world and the whole of human existence. Imagining we are all in one big ocean. There are waves thrashing about right now that we are all effected by. Not many people really know or care about the true source of these waves. Most only focus on the current wave hitting them or perhaps what caused this wave in the first place. Nothing beyond that is very important to them.

Looking at it in this manner I realized there is something I can do!! I can try my hardest to be non reactive to the negative energy I encounter. I broke down it down like this: think of waves in the ocean as negativity and calm flat ocean as positivity. When you have a negative experience try not to let it effect you to the point where you release more negativity of your own. This would only create more waves. If instead you are non reactive you can absorb these waves and create calm flat ocean. By taking this simple step you can undo years of negative energy in an instant. Here is an example. Think of getting cut off on traffic. You may get angry and yell at the person, speed up and cut them off. Lets rewind here a little bit. Why did this person cut you off in the first place? Maybe they had a fight with their spouse? Why did they fight with their spouse? Maybe their spouse had a rough day at work? Why did they have a rough day at work? Maybe their boss was mean or condescending to them. Who knows how far back you can trace this wave of negativity? Hours? Days? Months? Years even?

When this wave comes across your path in the form of being cut off in traffic. You can actually stop this wave. If you are non reactive and just smile(I’m not saying it’s easy, takes a lot of practice) you can actually take that wave of negativity off this earth for good! This may not seem like a lot, just one wave in a turbulent sea full of them, but there is no telling where that wave was headed. Who knows what bad thing you may have prevented.

This may also help eliminate the other mis-interpretation of karma in our society. Which is people doing good things only because they want good things to happen to them. Yes, I will take it, but it’s selfish. Sometimes bad things will still continue to happen to these people and eventually they may give up. They are in it for the wrong reason, and are only trying to help themselves. When you view at it as helping “all of humanity as a whole” you may relieve some of the pressure of self gratification.

In conclusion, YES, you can make a difference in our world. Try to be conscious of every decision you make. Think: “How will this decision effect people around me?” Be non reactive to negativity and watch it dissipate around you. Try to be more empathetic and understand why people are spewing out negative waves. You can make a game of it: See how many waves you can dissipate before you actually let one effect you. Don’t get discouraged… remember even Jesus (if he existed)lost his temper. Whether you believe in him or not I believe the story of Jesus loosing his temper was Inserted (or included) in the bible to remind us that we are all human and we make mistakes. We must learn to move on and hone our craft of dissipation.

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2013 in Karma, Uncategorized

 

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Turn the Other Cheek.

Today I am inspired to write a blog entry once again by social media. Two different posts in fact, one very negative and one very positive, such is life. The negative post was bashing all Muslims for the actions of a handful of “so-called” Muslims and the other post was speaking of our rights being taken away and talked of revolution. Reading both post within minutes of each other I was prompted to make a post of my own. The thoughts I wished to convey flowed through me and I quickly realized I could not fit the message in the space provided.

I want to preface this by saying that I do not consider myself a Christian or part of any organized religion for that matter. I was raised Christian and always fascinated by religion and the control on people. I spent much of my time researching other religions and belief systems. Most if not all religions and belief systems have very valid points and are a great guide on how one should live. The problem, however, comes with the different interpretations. I am not here to talk about different religions or the flaws of humans so I will move on.

Getting back the the statuses that inspired me. The main theme which popped into my brain as I read these statements was “Turn the other cheek.” Or as Jesus said: ” But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:39

Most people interpret this to mean that you should not seek revenge and if somebody is beating you up you shouldn’t defend yourself. I had an epiphany! What if the message being conveyed was:”Don’t react in a way in which the aggressor is trying to make you react.” This Idea can be applied to many situations but I will use a terrorist attack as an example.

When people plan and carry out a horrific act of terror there is a purpose. Most times they are trying to convey a message or garner a specific response from a group of people. What better way (In their twisted mind) to do it than kill a bunch of innocent people. It certainly grabs media headlines and attention across the the entire globe these days. These “Terrorists” know the normal response to an act of terror in this country is two-fold. One there is a bloody response from our forces(Police, Military or both) and Two freedoms of the American People are usually taken away or threatened. Look at Boston for example after the bombings. The tanks on the street and troops going door to door was, to me, equally if not more frightening then the bombings themselves.

Now back to turn the other cheek. If we agree the terrorists are pulling off these horrific acts to garner a response then what better way to nullify there attack by acting opposite of what they expect. I believe this is a great tactic in any war or confrontation. Why would you ever respond in a way your enemy wants you to. You would play into their hands in effect allowing your enemy to control you. Instead, I suggest, you must gain an understanding of what your enemy wants you to do. Ask yourself why do they want a specific response from you. And if you “turn the other cheek” as Jesus suggests you will destroy their plans.

This is ingenious for a few reasons. It allows us to act from a place of reason and understanding instead of anger. Also it takes away the one true weapon terrorists have which is causing chaos. I am not suggesting we do nothing. I am simply suggesting we do not allow ourselves to act out of fear and anger. For isn’t that what the terrorists want? They want to spread hate, fear and anger. If instead we combat this with patience, love and understanding we can contain the chaos and take away the power the terrorists have to manipulate us.

I know when I talk like this I run the risk of being called a hippie. So before this happens let me explain what I mean. A terrorist is only given power if we let him have it. They want to spread fear, anger and hate. There are several ways we can prevent this from happening. First of all we should not sensationalize the event live on TV. This spreads the most Fear of all. There are ways to report on events without spreading fear.

Second : We should not send drones or planes to bomb other countries in haste. Killing more innocent people to try to kill responsible parties is not the answer.

Third: We shouldn’t turn loose the military on our own soil going door to door trampling citizens rights to catch a suspect. There are certain dangers of living in a free society you must be willing to accept. Not having a military police state to protect you is one of those dangers(insert sarcastic font here).

There are many different ways I can conclude this post. The main theme I want to convey is that the way we handle ourselves as the world’s “Super Power” is not working. All we have to do is open a history book to see what happened to every other great “Super Power” of their time. The way we can “buck” the trend and slow down or stop our decline is with rational acts. Acts from a place of patience and understanding instead of fear and hate. If loosing your freedoms and tanks on our streets is ok with you than that’s fine, if not we must do something.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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My Experience as a Sheep.

bootcamp

This is me right before I graduated Marine Corps Boot Camp in 1994 at Parris Island, SC.

Lately on social media I have noticed a lot of comparisons between people and sheep. Often when I open up my Facebook or Twitter people post articles or videos which state: “Wake Up” in the header. Not to mention you can click on any number of websites, blogs or channels and hear people ranting and raving about conspiracies. Now more than ever people can share massive amounts of information while on the other hand other people are finding it harder to cover up and hide other information. Never the less there are still people who don’t want to see what is right in front of their own eyes. Maybe the truth scares them. Maybe they are afraid of what this information could mean to their everyday comfortable lives.

As I previously stated there are many sources of information that challenge the world view of your average everyday American Citizen.  Most choose to ignore it and follow the pack. This is where the term sheep comes into play. Let’s break it down into two sides: A) the “informed**” and B) the “Sheep.” Much arguing occurs when these two sides debate including fact throwing, name calling and/or  ignoring of the other person all together. The only thing accomplished here is building an even larger divide between the two sides. This often results in throwing around labels such as “crazy” “stupid” or even worse.

This is no way to open a persons eyes. I propose if you really want to open someones eyes you have to challenge yourself. You must do something that the “informed” person normally wouldn’t do or even talk about. Go back to the time in your life when you were part of the flock of sheep. A time when you believed everything you saw in the news. A time that if you traveled back to in a time machine even your former self would think you were crazy. This is the only way to gain true perspective on how the so called “sheep” thinks, feels, perceives events, and reacts to fear.

In my own experience I looked back on a few key events that lead to my awakening. The first event that sticks out in my memory was the first Gulf War. I was in High School. I remember marking down on a dry erase calender all the events which lead up to the war and the war itself. I was only a freshman but i was totally enthralled. As far back as I could remember I had always been fascinated by US History and war. From the Revolutionary to the Civil War, from WWI,WWII to Vietnam. I watched movies, read books and talked to anyone I could about these subjects. I remember thinking back on the Revolutionary War and wishing I could be there to fight. As a matter of fact I imagined myself fighting all the wars in our past on the side of freedom and liberty.

So not surprisingly when my time came I joined the military. I chose the Marine Corps because of the honor, tradition and reputation as being the toughest to become a member. I chose the area of Aircraft Maintenance so I would have something to do when or if I chose to leave. This is where the second event that really sticks out in my head occurred.

It was a normal day just like any other in the Adriatic Sea on the flight deck of the Aircraft Carrier USS America. I was up on deck waiting for the planes to come back. For weeks the routine was: we would send planes up. We would go back to our shop maybe eat lunch. We would get the call hours later, head back up to the flight deck and the planes would land. Well this time was different. I had no idea what I was about to witness and it really seemed insignificant at the time. It took years to really process what had happened. This time when the planes landed i noticed something strange about the F-18s. The bombs on the wings were gone and all i could see was hanging wires.

Now as anyone in the military could attest unless you have a top secret clearance and a “need to know,” they don’t tell you anything. So we all looked at each other and were like:”well i guess we are bombing someone!” There was an excitement aboard the ship. We really felt like we were making a difference in the world, doing the work of the good guys!! Whoever we were bombing surely deserved it or it was necessary to stop some sort of “evil” in the world… right?

The weeks turned into months, and every time the ship went into port our squadron flew to Aviano Air Force Base in northern Italy. What a beautiful place!! We were just happy to see land and even though we had to keep up with our flight schedule we still found time to enjoy the town. The reason our squadron and planes were so different was because our planes jammed enemy radar. So even though the Carrier was in port, missions were still being flown from the Airforce base, and our planes needed to jam the radar for the bombers and fighters.

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EA-6B Prowler Taking off from an Aircraft Carrier

Strangely enough it was another simple event, simple words spoken by a normal person that made it all click. Just like before however, I knew that I was experiencing an understanding, it just didn’t fully comprehend the meaning of the words til years later. So there I was on the ship, down below on the  mess decks(place where we eat). I was sitting with friends. I cannot remember who. One of them was an ordinance man whose job was to load the bombs on the planes. Just then a group of other ordinance guys from the ship were wheeling some bombs past us on crates. The guy I was with was all excited and said:”Those are the new Laser Guided bombs!!” I said:”When do we start using those?” and he said:”We can’t use the new bombs until we use all the old ones.”

butler-medals.jpg

Marine Corps General Smedly Butler. Winner of Two Congressional Medals of Honor and turned down a Third. Reflecting back on his career which spanned from 1898-1931 he said this:”I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”

That conversation always stuck in my head. I thought it was kinda funny. I often repeated it in a joking manner to my friends back home when I was on leave. As the years passed and my eyes opened I realized what a true statement that was. How that statement represents one of the main ingredients for most recent wars and further digging shows that it goes back even further than I thought. That ingredient being the need for war to support our economy. In order to drop the new bombs we had to “get rid of” the old ones. We had to create a demand for a supply that needed to be replenished constantly.

So in conclusion I Look back to those days. Re-live them to feel the emotions I felt when I believed this country actually went to war for just purposes. I try to see what exactly lead me to feel that way. The patriotism I felt when I wore the uniform. When I was younger the fear and hate I felt for the so called enemy. The enemy, people who are just like me and you, but were born on the other side of the planet so I was taught to hate them. Because fear and hate are used for control.

When I regain these old feelings along with that state of mind I have a better understanding of how the “sheep” thinks, feels, reacts. I realize that shouting facts at them and sending them multiple videos thru social media isn’t gonna change that person or how they feel. However talking to them rationally, finding out what they believe and why they believe it. Finding common ground to built a foundation for the truths that they might not want to see today, but may see in the future. We have to make time our ally in this fight against fear, hate and ignorance.

**(Now it is important to state that there is also an abundance of information that is partially true. It starts off with a truth and then is twisted to meet the demands of the twister. This is why it is imperative to educate yourself and do your own research!! I cannot stress this enough because much hate and bigotry can and has arose from these situations.)

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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