December 28, 2014, Phoenix- When I was in seventh grade, my home room/math teacher, a burly, gruff Chicagoan named Mr. Anzalone, regularly disparaged those of us who were zoning out during class as “Unconscious”. He’s gone now, but the sobriquet still seems to fit a good many people. The theme of today’s final sessions of the Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference is that many, if not most people, over the past seventy years, or longer, have been going about their lives with a sort of tunnel vision.
I don’t exempt myself from this state of being, though the percentage of time when I am totally in tune with my surroundings has increased markedly, since I have started using essential-oils based supplements. The doltish behaviours still rear their awkward visages, from time to time, but less so than before.
Part of the whole mass somnambulance seems to stem from the notion that we, as individuals, don’t matter much, that the mechanism which supposedly controls it all, and its minions, will just roll over us, anyway. People on the Left scream when police or military die in the line of duty, and are covered by the press. People on the Right scream when the President appears on television,on the golf course, or anywhere near where they live. The common thread is “WHAT. ABOUT. ME?” Then, it’s back to the Cocoon of Square One.
Everyone’s life matters. Giving a slain police officer, firefighter or member of the Armed Forces his/her due tribute does not take away from your uncle who had a fatal heart attack, three months ago, or the homeless guy on the corner, who froze to death because the local shelter decided that minimum temperature had not been reached that night, or your friend’s cousin’s next-door-neighbour’s grandmother, who passed quietly in her sleep, at age 98. Pain is pain; mourning deserves respect. Where this connects with a sleepwalking state is the point at which we can no longer see the social value of honouring our troops or our First Responders, because they are not in our immediate circle.
Everyone’s life deserves dignity. I am not a financially wealthy man. I cannot give to any more than a few of the three dozen organizations which solicit my money on a daily basis, online, by mail, or, until I activated the “No Soliciting” tab on my landline, by phone. I do not give cash to people on the street, because that may well just be a green light for self-destructive habits. I will buy food, water or a hot beverage for a needy person. I may give a ride to someone in need. I do not mock, hassle or bully people, because no one deserves it, and besides, I am only one lost job away from the streets, myself.
The bottom line is, in this day and age of warp-speed change, we each need, more than ever, to awaken from a semi-conscious state, and prepare ourselves, in every way possible, to be of service and of a full awareness.