But first I must notice when I am in the process of competing, which is when I get defensive and resistant. I need to stop and breathe, and remind myself that competition arises from fear.
Where there is fear there is no openness to the joy that is possible by uniting in common issues and concerns. There is no generosity of spirit.
Of course there must be a feeling of safety before we can truly be open and vulnerable with others.
How safe are we when we divide ourselves from each other, build walls and refuse to listen?
It truly begins within. Where do we not feel safe, and what practice can we do to find safety and warmth in these places?
It has been said that the mind is a dangerous place to walk at night, in the dark, alone. Yes, there are some dangerous streets inside us. These include any condescending or abusive words that we speak to ourselves and others.
I do my best to notice when I go in this direction, and practice words of lovingkindness. I veer away from those dark streets and begin to walk where the light is.
The Buddha has said that the practice of lovingkindness uproots ill will. This is a great place to start. And it doesn’t take agreement from anyone but ourselves.
We begin by filling our heart with phrases such as the following:
“May I feel safe. May I be happy. May I be well. May I be at ease.”
These suggestive ideas send waves of love throughout our being—and beyond. They work in small, seemingly insignificant ways, but they work—if we practice them.
Gandhi has said what we do may seem insignificant, but it is vital that we do it.
Our survival depends on it.
Evolution does not proceed by “survival of the fittest,” but rather “survival of the most cooperative” as many scientists and educators have discovered.
Survival of the fittest was a misunderstanding of Darwin’s evolutionary theory.
We are discovering that competing for power and resources will only lead us into a dead end.
The New games theory that John Nash was given the Nobel Prize for shows us that we will only win by helping each other suceed.
The truth is that we all have enough. Though the culture and society we live may tell us otherwise, there is truly enough for all—when we share.
As Gandhi has said, “There is enough for each person’s need, but not their greed.”
We do not need abundance; we need enough.
A most important question to ask ourselves is “Do I have enough this moment?”
This very moment do I have enough air, water, food, clothing and shelter? If not, what is missing?
If it is joy that is missing, can we find one thing, just one, to be joyful about? If so, joy is here.
If it is contentment that is missing, can we find one thing to be contented with? Just one. Right now. Do we have enough breath? If we are breathing, this is already a fact. Can we give this breath our undivided attention for just this minute? Is it enough? Do we want more?
Obviously one breath at a time is all we can handle, and amazingly it is enough.
So, will we allow ourselves to feel contented?
It is a fact that what we give our attention to grows.
Are we envious of others? If so, we are comparing ourself to another. That is a poor choice, since each of us is unique and absolutely non-comparable. We are trying to do what is impossible by comparing two unique beings with another.
Each of us has our own journey and the freedom to make our own choices.
There are three commons truths. The universe is made of Truth, Beauty and Goodness. That is the energy out of which we have been created.
Our life purpose can only be lived by participating with the flow of energy within ourselves and remember that this is enough to take us through whatever we are encountering at every moment.
One step at a time. One thought, one choice at a time.
Participate in the flow of life—be in concert with the great mystery taking place.
Notice when there is a feeling of competition and seek out its roots. Remember lovingkindness, and begin sharing these universal waves of love.
May we participate in new discoveries each day as we remember that we really enjoy life best when we are helping each other discover our innate and unique beauty.