This clip is from the Hobbit, part 1, and in the clip Gandalf talks about how one keeps the "darkness at bay". He says that it is not a great power that is needed, but an attention to small things: the small acts of kindness, the small steps towards a more humane world. This blog post says more on this theme.
The most powerful tool we have at our disposal - in some sense one could say: the only tool we have at our disposal - is our awareness. To what do we give our awareness, and what is the perspective from which we view it?
When wanting to bring about change in a society it is therefore important to have a look at what we are giving our joint awareness to. That is to some extent reflected in our public debate, and in our news organisations. Just a quick look at this, shows that we could develop miles from where we are today - and that we should do that! Take for instance the headlines saying what is the main news of today, and why you should buy the news paper today. These headlines are usually speaking to our most primitive and un-evolved sides, to our fears, and to our prejudices. The most famous headline in Sweden is probably the following one
which is from 1970, and which says that a count has murdered a nigger with a hunting rifle. Apart from being factually inacurate, this was also for 1970 a very offensive way of saying this, which only is meant to tickle our most base instincts: those centered around fear, sensationalism, intrigue, and gossip.
This issue raises the natural follow-up question of what kind of news we instead could focus upon, that would be more sound, helpful, and which instead would help us to evolve, either as individuals or as a society. Here I want to point to a new magazine that started a few years ago: good news magazine. Therein they are only publishing good news. I am following their facebook profile, and I must say that they now have managed to find a steady stream of news that are not only good, but also of a bigger and more structural nature: e.g. when a big law has been passed that helps protect nature, or that goes against prejudices and prosecutions. With this said, I, however, also want to point out that some of the most important developments - as I see it - are small, and of a completely different character compared to the fear-inducing sensationalism ("ordinary headache might be a symptom of cancer"; or "somewhere somebody was raped - be afraid, it could happen to you!"). I find examples of such news every time I go to Konsum Lägerhyddan, the local environmental-friendly supermarket that lies just outside my window. For instance today, I saw the following new bread, which is both ecological and super-tasty
and their new section which is devoted to vegan and often also raw-food groceries is constantly growing
and today in that section I at last saw a thing that I have been looking for for years: a custard sauce that is done without any preservatives or artificial substances.
These are examples of things that to me are so much more important indicators of what is happening in our society right now. However, if such things should make the headlines, we collectively need to decide that we are looking for a completely new kind of news: small, but undeniable and important, steps of progress.
much more to say on this topic, and I will for sure come back to it. One thing
I would like to dig out in a future post is some facts that say that if you
want to talk about things like war, and rapes, and violence, etc - you should
do so in a more zoomed-out fashion, where you are looking at the true overall
trends; and that these very often show that the amount of violance and wars are
going down steadily, world-wide, and have been doing so for a very long time.
That would instead then show that we have less to fear, not more.
However, I for now instead want to end by a little yoga-generalization to our everyday lives, and to the processes in our minds that guide them. In my view and experience, it is so much more important to pay attention to the incremental changes, than to the dramatic events. If you want to get from A to B, where B is a seemingly far-off place, the only way to get there is by taking all the small small steps that lie in between. If you go in the right direction more often than wrong, there is no chance that you can fail to get to B. And if you find yourself at B, the only way you could have gotten there is by taking all of those steps. Therefore, the only question one really needs to contemplate is the following: "this current thought that I just started thinking, does it feel slightly worse or slightly better than the one I was thinking a few seconds ago?". Then you will get wherever it is that you want to come, without worrying about it one second. Or, in the words of Neale Donald Walsh:
"It is to the small incremental changes that you should pay attention. Then the big 'miracles' will take care of themselves. "