Taking Dictation

If we live our lives taking direction from whatever voices and impulses are dictating how we should think and behave, then aren’t we setting up a ‘dictator” in whose regime we are sentenced to live our lives?

When we have installed such a dictatorial authority in our own inner sanctum is it surprising that our lives are ruled by uncaring forces?

When we encounter a vision that enables us to appreciate a nobler way of living than we have stumbled upon by ourselves, and we can see directly that our lives have benefited from this wise and kind guidance, then we are in no doubt of its value. But we all know the feeling of following an unworthy Pied Piper into the sea—if not in our own lives then in the lives of people we know.

We need to honor those times when someone has reached out to us with caring. We need to lodge in our hearts reminders of what it feels like to be recognized as a worthwhile human being and use that feeling as a guide for who we can trust—not just on our own behalf but to keep such caring alive in our world.

There are political figures on the world stage who don’t know what it means to live a life of service on behalf of others. How can they serve anyone else when they don’t even know what would make their own lives meaningful? They are like casualties listening to a broken record on which the wholeness of an original message has been lost. They are like lost souls looking at their own reflection in a shattered mirror which used to reflect the whole world; not just their own pinched face of indifference.

We may not be able to alter the minds of those who see in such public figures someone who they think will work towards their interests. Since the facts are so clear to anyone who actually listens to their self-centered and opportunistic ramblings, what could we possibly add to illuminate the danger they represent for our world? But we can contribute our own caring.

We can recognize that every time we support the dictatorial voices operating inside us—activating our ingrained reactions and prejudices—we are building a throne from which some political dictator will proclaim himself as the answer to all our frustrations.

When we see operating in ourselves a perspective that has become endemic in our world—the belief that others are to blame for our problems—we can work on these tendencies in ourselves.

But working on our own attitudes hardly seems like a solution to the uncaring indifference growing in our world. So what else can we do than to exemplify caring (for ourselves and others) and to promote trust that we live in a caring universe?

We can allow ourselves to imagine why some people listen with appreciation to leaders who have never grown up, never learned to consider the needs of others alongside their own, and who have never experienced the joy of connecting with others as fellow beings from whom they can learn and whose needs are as important as their own.

We can let our hearts glimpse how unrewarding their lives must feel in order for them to place their faith in leaders who are care nothing for them. The sadness of people who rely on such empty promises can be no less than our own. We will all have to watch as so much of value goes up in raging conflagrations and washes away in unnecessary floods.

Feeling sadness for the bankrupt dreams of those who have bet their paychecks and family’s health on the promises of mean-spirited buffoons in power, perhaps we will also glimpse how we might one day ask them what they long for; and in our hearts hope that they will realize those dreams in this or some other world.

One comment to “Taking Dictation”
  1. Interesting post. I’ll have to read this 2 or 3 times and share it with a few friends. A certain politician came to mind as I read this along with a certain teacher who I try to listen to.

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