A short stack of books sit on my bedside table that I can read bits and pieces of before I let the rack monsters have their way with me. A book of Rumi’s poetry and the latest addition of Oxford American keep company with The Bible, a book of short stories and A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. I bought A Return to Love years ago without knowing anything about it other than title appealed to me. It sat on a shelf for months until the shelf crashed to the floor. I spent a very nice rainy afternoon sorting through the books and finding them new homes and added A Return to Love to the stack in my bedroom. I’ve picked it up several times since and am always encouraged by what I find.
In the first chapter she says that her negativity was as toxic to her as alcohol is to an alcoholic. We’ve become addicted to pain fueled by negativity and are experts at finding our jugular, the special place where we can do the most damage, create the most pain and call it living. And we have a lot of help.
We are bombarded with messages and images that encourage a negative mind set. Complaining has been elevated to an art form called reality television. Shock jocks bombard the airwaves with vitriolic diatribes disguised as wisdom and we suck it all in and wonder what’s gone wrong. We spew out our complaints as artful insights and shout our grievances so loudly that we do not hear the voice of God. It’s not insight, it’s not realistic and it’s not necessary. Complaining in all its many forms does nothing. "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain." --Maya Angelou.
Inner peace and with it peace in our world doesn’t happen by some airy fairy magic. It takes vigilance and discipline to cultivate a mind that is calm in the midst of the inherent troubles that are part and parcel of being human. If there’s a secret it’s this, stop complaining once in a while and start listening. Listen to the waves crash against the shore, listen the breathing of someone you love. Listen to the wind and the rain and the laughter of children. Listen to the river singing with the rocks. Listen with your heart. Listen to God. It’s either fear of love, baby. What are you listening to?