Peter Block is an author that I have not had the opportunity to read yet, but whom I profoundly admire for his approach to community building. He has a book called "The answer to how is Yes". What this title speaks to me is that, when we are facing a situation that we want to change, generally improve, we ask the question "how do I do it?", but hidden underneath this question, what we are really asking is 'can I do it?'. And the answer is YES. The 'can I do it' and 'how do I do it' questions somehow imply that I want to do something but lack the information and even the inspiration to do it, it seems to me that when I ask 'how do I', meaning 'can I', I am actually feeling powerless, hopeless, maybe incapable, and potentially not wise enough to address the issue that is of my concern. In these questions I read and hear fear. Fear of failure, fear of ridicule, fear of being idealistic, unreal, and fear of those who may have the answer to 'how to do it'.
One of the main conclusions I came up with from the weekend, is that most of humanity wants to change the world in one way or another. We don't want poverty, we don't want injustice, we don't want wars, corruption, polluted rivers, air, oceans, we don't want mass extinction. But I often ask myself where are we acting from when we are making the decision to change something, anything?? and, why do we want to change it?? what is so wrong about it that I want to change it?? and really...what is it that I want to change??
Well, it seems that often I want to create change out of actions that come only from the rational mind, as in; "the problem is this, and I think that's is wrong because X,Y and Z, therefore what we have to do is A,B and C". This position has to start from the assumption that I am not part of the problem, which implies that I don't take any responsibility for the state the world is in, rather, I am part of the 'right' people with the 'right' solution. And when I realized that, I understood that those who I blame for the state of the world, are simultaneously blaming me. I see this as a day-in-day-out situation everywhere around the world: Politics, economics, environment...debates like climate change are stuck in a battle to defend personal perspectives because of this I'm-right-you're-wrong discussion, instead of uncovering the deeper layers of the problem...and yes, I'm probably stating by that, that that is wrong...you see?? The right-and-wrong fight, takes me to act out of fear too: fear of me being wrong, and fear of the potential risk to die if, for instance, I don't 'act against climate change and those who don't think there is a problem'. Thus...what am I doing different really?? am I changing the world as I supposedly and desperately want??
From a perspective of mind and heart balance, focusing on defending my point of view seems rather fundamentalist. And here is where I see the immense importance of my believe system, whatever that may be, my theory is that, regardless of the system, you are following those ideas in an attempt to be a better person. Even when the ideas are not religious/spiritual. I tend to have a bit of a giggle when I heard talks about being atheist, secularism, or science and religion discrepancies, because, for those who don't follow any religion, whatever they use to attack the notion, being this science or something else, has the same effect on them as religion teachings have in their followers. Whether it is objective or subjective believes, we use them for the same purpose: Create a better world. The question is then: what is a better world?? and how can we create it without having to kill anybody?? Is it possible to have 'the best world'?? and are we ever going to be satisfied with the world we get?? Acting from the heart, may make a difference on the world we create and by acting from the heart, I probably mean, taking the risk to jump in the water without fear...because fear and love cannot act together although they need each other.
Thus, I ended up thinking that changing the world, saving the planet, eliminating poverty and so on, is not really what I want. What I deeply want and need is to have a happy world and happy surroundings. I think I've been confused all my life because I always thought that to be happy, I had to change others, I had to convince people that they're wrong so that they can change and create a space in the way I wanted it to be so that I can be happy. My recent reflection from the event says different: I don't want to change the world, I want to change what I experience from the world. I want to experience love, and happiness, and compassion...if I see happy children everywhere, I'll experience good emotions, I don't want to experience sadness. Changing this perspective has made a huge difference in the way I'm trying to do things now. I went from a state of anxiety, sense of not enough time and acting as if death was chasing and catching up on me, to what it feels to be like a temporary stage of calmed reflection about what the next step might be.
The problem with this conclusion is that love, compassion and forgiveness are difficult to sell in a world of actions and practice. The first question that comes to mind is 'how can we translate love, compassion and forgiveness into practice in this world??' and again, what that question really means is 'can that really happen in this crazy world??'...again, the answer is yes. If I can love, forgive and feel the pain of the world as my own pain, then I definitely can put that into actions that express it. In fact, the world I have today, is an attempt to do that!! I just need to try something different...I need to stop asking "how" and start asking maybe, where or when, or who is doing something similar when...I need to step back from the cloud of fear and endless discussions about righteousness and wrongness. I've tried those discussions all my life and the world still is what it is, I think it is about time to try something different. Good news are, this 'something different' is emerging and it is not just a nice dream. There are now tools and projects that I see as the direct result of acts of fearless love, compassion and forgiveness and I'm sure the people who are creating these things are immensely happy.
And 'what to do with the people that have created so much suffering in this world??', 'are they not going to pay for all what they have done??' asks my brain consumed in fear, and my heart answers: If you leave them behind, you're not doing anything different to what you have already done, and the result will be a world equally unjust to them, as the unjust world you have today for others. You don't have to change them, you just have to change yourself and leave the door open to when they want to knock.
And what has this to do with money/finance/economics?? Well...I've many times wanted to inflict some sort of punishment to bankers to be honest, and to consumerists, and maybe capitalists and socialists, and corporate men...the list goes on and on probably...am I gonna leave them behind?? then I'll have to live with the idea that I'll have a world with only about 5% of the current population, actually, I'll have to live with the idea that I wouldn't be part of that world. What am I going to do with the 95% then, including myself....???...I guess I better review that idea.
Seriously thinking about writing 'The Economic Dream' by Tatiana Maya...in Spanish. Where can I start from??