Don’t you love that word? Independence! It has a nice ring to it and such a strong energy and essence that you nearly expect a flag at the end of it instead of some passive punctuation. Normally, when we use this word we are talking about those who have fought in war and we celebrate them with sincere appreciation, firecrackers, noisemakers and flags. However, we live in a new era today and we are fighting a very different kind of war. Today, we are fighting for our very survival and the weapon of this war is consciousness.
Today our planet, and our survival, depends upon you becoming an independent thinker and that is not popular, albeit priceless. People who stay in the pack with what is popular conventional thinking, keep us trapped in the status quo, or take us backward. You don’t have to be a brainiac to be an independent thinker. Kids at two or three eat their shoes and talk to their bananas. They are independent thinkers. Somewhere along the way, after being stirred with a bit of parental, or societal pressure, we loose that creative imagination, and that skill. How do we get back to this desperately needed quality of character?
First, we pull up our big girl and boy pants and rediscover our courage. We need to stop listening to the media, who seldom if ever tell the truth about anything anymore and we begin to listen to the wise voice inside us that really has all the answers. Perhaps, it’s time to give up our adoration for mindless entertainment and go back to perceiving the world and everyone in it from the foundation of acceptance. Let’s kick separation and animosity to the curb. It doesn’t seem to be working for us.
Secondly, let’s deliberately seek out information and experiences that debunk our old ways of thinking and challenge us to move to the fertile ground of curiosity. You can find that rich soil in a new neighborhood, a volunteer position with persons who are homeless, or who have AIDS, a foreign country, a good book or a kick-ass master teacher that asks you to think. Tom O’Leary, an Australian Alien living in Japan says, we should begin to “practice disbelief.” I believe he mans instead of will-less acceptance. After all, the right use of will is to push the edges of our current limited awareness with compassion.