The Earth Is A Paradise

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Painting by Sidney Herbert Sime

Have compassion for everyone you meet
even if they don’t want it. What seems conceit,
bad manners or cynicism is always a sign
of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going on
down there where the spirit meets the bone.

~ Miller Williams

*

“The earth is not a lair, neither is it a prison. The earth is a Paradise, the only one we’ll ever know. We will realise it the moment we open our eyes. We don’t have to make it a Paradise — it is one. We have only to make ourselves fit to inhabit it.”

Henry Miller

Here we are at the end of one little cycle of our planet’s passage around our sun. We take the opportunity to reflect on events of the past year as if they happened to us, as if we didn’t create them. We are sure we know who has been making trouble and it’s not us. We’re the good guys. The problem is those other people, those stupid criminals.

I think it’s a matter of degrees. None of us knows the role we individually play in this drama. Very few among us are able to refrain from making things worse. We don’t see very deeply into ourselves. Hell is other people, to quote a dead philosopher.

Our task, if we’re going to make a better world is to look into the mirror and to ask what we are and what we can do about it.

“I have to tell you — 2021 IS AWESOME!! Just two and a half hours into it and it’s the BEST YEAR EVER! Literally nothing bad has happened. No war has started. No black kid has yet been shot in the back by a cop. The TV screen has removed the Covid death stats! Is the virus gone? Even Trump hasn’t tweeted! Oh. He has? Ok well, Happy New Year West Coasters — in just 20 minutes! Get through the rest of 2020 and we’ll see you on the other side!” — Michael Moore

We start with a fresh slate which will not stay fresh very long. We create out of our blindness and we’ll continue to do that until the cows come home unless we take the blinders off. Our group mind, which we call society, is built from our very own personal blindnesses writ large. We live in a universe fashioned out of love but we imagine a cruel cruel world we have to struggle against ‘till our dying day.

The mote in our collective eye turns our Paradise into a hellscape. Will we stop doing that soon? Probably not in 2021, although I’ll be happy to be proved wrong on that score.

Somehow we have lost touch with the wellspring of love and kindness in ourselves. If we manage to see and correct that we may yet save ourselves and the planet we live on.

We’re all in this together. We each have a portion of responsibility to the matrix of living beings of which we are a part. We humans are trying to grow up, making every childish and adolescent error in judgement possible before we finally gaze into our hearts and locate the real source of misery that plagues us.

We imagine that we’re starting this new year with a chance to do better. May we actually do better. The gods of creation are holding their breath. It seems like they think we can do it.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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