Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better. Ralph Waldo Emerson
I left the office late last night as I had a meeting until 8pm. As I drove west along a main downtown avenue, I thanked the 'powers that be' for the synchronisation of the lights. With each block I traversed, the next set of lights turned green.
"Yippeee!" clear sailing I thought and then out of the corner of my eye saw the car beside me slam on his brakes as he came to an intersection. Without hesitation, I too slammed on my brakes and wondered, "What the?"
A man was crossing against the light. Oblivious, or quite conscious, of the traffic he was tying up, he sauntered across the avenue, eyes straight ahead, head bobbing to a tune on an unseen music machine tucked inside a pocket. The only visible clue to the source of the bobbing head was the thin thread of white wires running from both sides of his head into his jacket.
Ticked to have my traffic flow interrupted, I waited impatiently for him to safely exit the crosswalk -- where he shouldn't have been until the WALK light turned green -- ya know!
The world runs smoothly when everyone obeys the civil conduct rules of society. Red light STOP. Green light GO. Drive in the right lane (left if you're in the UK). Take down escalators to go Down. Up to go Up. Don't park in handicap spots. Don't litter.
Simple rules create simple pleasures and life flows effortlessly in the joy of being in tune with the world around me.
Everyday, there are Red lights to obey and and Green lights to give us the go-ahead. When we ignore them, chaos ensues.
It's the thing about civil society. We don't think about obeying the simple rules. We just do.
Which is what got me thinking about some of the bigger rules we try to disobey under the guise of 'experimenting' -- and the chaos that creates in our lives.
Tell the truth. Sure -- as long as the truth doesn't get me into trouble. Or is that an experiment in creativity?
Be kind to your neighbour. Sure -- as long as they're kind to me and if I happen to have a party and want to play my music loud -- well, don't bug me okay? Or is that an experiment in flexing my muscles and standing up for my rights?
Pay your taxes. Sure -- but if I happen to find a loophole or a place where I can skimp.... who's to know? Or is that an experiment in creative accounting
The challenge is always... We know.
We know where we're experimenting with the 'do wrong' side of the ledger. We know when we've undermined our human worth with unworthy thoughts, actions, words and deeds.
Like the man crossing illegally in the crosswalk. His life is probably a continuing saga of going against the flow of life. Constantly coming up against traffic going in the wrong direction. Now, there are probably 1,001 reasons why he felt entitled to cross at his choosing -- he does get marks for at least doing 'bad' in the crosswalk, not Jay-walking --- but the reality is -- the reasons have no import in the act of 'doing bad'. It is the act that leaves a mark. I can't know what they are -- I can assume he probably does and... on some level, doesn't care. And if his thinking/doing is causing craziness in my life, I have to take action to not work on his thinking, but to work on what I'm doing to create harmony in my own life.
And, sometimes, we really do have to trust in the process of the universe unfolding for everyone in their own time, at their own pace, at their own need and level of creation. And let them go and let our experimenting with our kinesthetic powers to affect their thinking go too!
As I meditated this morning I thought of my own, 'act outs'. Those moments where I willfully choose not to do the right thing, and opt, for whatever reason, to not return a phone call, not turn up when I said I would or simply not do something I promised to do.
It doesn't matter to the recipient why I didn't do, what matters to them is that I am not there, not turning up, not responding. They don't see my disregard as an experiment with a time and motion study. They see it as hurtful. And in my wilful disregard for doing the right thing, I create the wrong kind of feeling and energy in my world.
Internally, I have to spend way more energy justifying my actions, or pushing thoughts of my inner discord aside. In my negative self-talk I struggle to turn positive, I undermine my peace of mind.
Externally, I am creating a ripple I don't want to be part of -- and then have to spend energy justifying to myself why it's okay to not be doing the right thing.
It's never okay to not do the right thing.
It's never okay inside of me, and outside of me, to create discord in my world.
Regardless of my reason for being disrespectful, disorganized, disengaged -- I am creating an effect in the world I don't want to have. It's energy I don't want to experiment with.
I don't need to experiment with the little things, the simple things that create flow in my life. I don't need to experiment with how fast I can drive through an amber about to turn red. What I want to experiment with is how well can I adapt to the changes in the speed of traffic in and through my life. How well can I embrace change -- without disrupting my peace of mind. How well can I respond to Red lights. My challenge is not to follow the arrows blindly, but to make choices that ensure I don't detour into dead end alleys leading me far from the safety of my heart.
Me, I want to live in harmony. I want to move with grace and ease on my journey of life lived in the flow of green lights guiding me safely through my day. I want to live passionately from my heart, knowing, no matter the chaos I encounter, I am safe when I Do the Right Thing to create a world of harmony and beauty all around me.