Cultural Poison to the West – Panacea to the East
By Vaishâli, author of “You Are What You Love®” and “Wisdom Rising”
When the Eastern systems of self-healing examine health and balance, they offer a very different paradigm than our more familiar Western point of view. The differences are most noticeable and significant when it comes to understanding the nature of the individual life and the life of the collective. For example, from the Eastern perspective, there will never be one single pill, diet, exercise or lifestyle that will cure what ails all people. Every person is a microcosmic Universe unto his or her self. Each person is unique and must be understood, examined and healed separately from the rest of humanity.
Apply eastern philosophy to your life as a whole
This philosophy is not just limited to the comprehensive understanding of an individual’s physical wellbeing. It applies to every aspect of a person’s life. What is experientially, emotionally and perceptually toxic to one person could be liberating to another. There is not one accepted standard that will equally measure every nuance of every person’s life. The “average person” does not exist in Eastern philosophy. Each person, each case, is unique. . . a completely separate reality unto her or his self. So it is when it comes to career development and the turmoil in our present job market. The media has dominated the intellectual landscape with reports of dire changes, catastrophic employment shifts and unsustainable economic losses.
“How will I ever find a job when millions of people are out of work? My world situation is dire, catastrophic and unsustainable. Hey, where have I heard that before?” Just because CNN is selling economic fear across the board doesn’t mean you have to buy it. You have free will. And, that may not be your universe.
One man’s troubles can be another’s transformation
While the need to live within one’s means is not disputed, what is debilitating in one person’s reality may actually be liberating and powerfully transformative in another’s.
Shaking up the status quo is an opportunity to make different choices, to take another career path. Just because Fox News tells you everyone is losing their jobs does not mean you have the whole story. Human evolution allows old, tired and outdated methods of expansion to die out. If life has offered you a new set of circumstances, it is nature’s way of saying, “You are ready to grow in a new direction; there is nothing left for you in the old way; move on.”
Focus on breakthrough by taking and making the most of this fortuitous event rather than being paralyzed by breakdown from lamenting the loss of what you have grown beyond.
Your neighbors lost their jobs and are in crisis. Does that mean there is a career crisis in your world? You are a universe unto yourself. That employment setback may be your neighbors’ next biggest opportunity to re-evaluate their lives and what is important to them. It does not mean you need to bookmark Monster.com or other online headhunters, or spend sleepless nights worrying about your job security. There is not one developmental-driving reality that visits all people simultaneously.
The names of fear
Crisis, dire, catastrophic, impossible are all different names for fear. From a bigger picture perspective, what is presently occurring is a global fear epidemic spreading locally. Not by germ or bacteria but rather by worldview. The outer world conditions again reflect the inner world conditions.What that means is just because some people get the flu, doesn’t mean everyone on the planet is sick or even going to get sick. When you refuse to accept change when it appears in your microcosmic universe, you have not only opened the door to suffering, but also personally invited it in, offered it drinks and comfortable place to stay.
Embrace change, because it will never just go away
The details of life on Earth will always be changing; that is the nature of this impermanent world. Nothing here stays for long. Everything on the planet has a shelf life. What were the only consistent career choices a hundred years ago versus today’s world, aside from undertaking, tax collecting and prostitution? There are none. The job you thought was a safe and secure employment two years ago may not even exist today. Even the pace of change has gained speed and momentum. The more we as a global community advance, the faster these changes will take place.
Deal with the details, but don’t sweat them
Eastern spiritual philosophies point out the shortcomings to an inherent basic human desire: control. We attempt to control every detail of the outer world and hold it in a fixed place, until we have everything right where we want it to be.
We all desire to create a comfortable external reality and then maintain that position forever. We want to solve a problem once in our lives and then never have to revisit it again. We want to find a job once then never have to deal with job or career transitions again. We invest in a position of some kind and expect it to pay us dividends the rest of our lives. What this leads to is an escalated experience of personal suffering due to the inescapable reality that life is constantly in a state of flux, change and motion, forever vulnerable and subject to the permeable forces of life on Earth.
You are no different than your 401K! Just as the macrocosmic universe is ever-growing, expanding and changing, so it is with your microcosmic universe. Things will orbit, eclipse and even from time to time collide with your world. That is what it means to be human and a universe unto yourself.At our finest, we are designed to be flexible, resilient, open to change and sensitive to growth potential. The paradox of the human experience is that we are built for rapid and sudden adaptation, but we want everything perfectly organized and in its place, and we want it to all stay that way, or else!Just because we are created to go with the mutable flow does not make us immune to primitive responses such as rigidity, fearfulness, inflexibility and unreasonable stubbornness. Just because we have achieved a specific quality of livelihood doesn’t mean there will not be an opportunity to upgrade and evolve to the next level. Just because some people are screaming the sky is falling doesn’t mean your name is Chicken Little. The Western concept that there is only one reality, and that it is a ubiquitous truth that is merely an illusion. Technology and how we relate to reality is changing so rapidly, how could we possibly imagine that job descriptions and positions would not change at the same rate to accommodate these new, more effective variations?
Build a new you
When job loss is at an all time high, it is an invitation to reinvent ourselves, our skills and talents, and to dare to explore the dreams and potentials that have lived outside of our previous comfort zone, our occupationally-challenged box.
Imagine what the world would be like if computers were suppressed because they were going to displace millions of people’s jobs. Steve Jobs of Apple wouldn’t have a job or a company. I guess that would make him just Steve, or Steve Jobless. For every loss, we, as unlimited Spiritual beings, have both the power and potential to invent a new wheel, create another source of fire, mine previously unexplored inner forms of gold. After all, this planet was constructed so that we could realize and unfold the evolution of our souls.
While living in an environment that was manifested solely for the purpose of our awakening to the reality of our unlimited true nature, words like loss, failure, useless and unwanted really need to be redefined.
What also requires redefining are ideas like success, valuable and a willingness to experience the present moment as an opportunity to move forward. Here are some alternative definitions:
Success is not a place at which one arrives but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey. – Author Unknown
Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill
We have come here to learn and grow. Should we discover along the way that what we have been doing is no longer working for us, that we must find a more life enhancing way to relate to our problems and life challenges, then we have not failed. We have matured. We have found ourselves in a position where we must require more from ourselves and demand greater accountability from those who have applied for the jobs of public servants.
If you do not like the direction things are taking, do not behave like a child or let people get away with irresponsible, greedy behavior. You are not powerless or a victim . . . unless you want that in your Universe.Nations and global communities have always benefited from a population that was open to learning a better way to respond to outdated ways of relating to the infrastructure of life. If this were not true there would be no civil rights movement, the wall in Berlin would still be standing and there would be no United Nations.
The only thing we have to fear . . .
Don’t let fear control and dictate the limits of your life. When life presents an opportunity disguised as a setback, reach around the illusion and seize the day. And if you are one of the people sitting back waiting on the government for assistance, I offer you what Groucho Marx would tell you: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”
Vaishali is the author of Wisdom Rising (Purple Haze Press 2008) and You Are What You Love (Purple Haze Press 2006). She is also national health & wellness speaker, radio host on KTLK 1150am 11-noon Sundays (greater LA) & KEST (SF). Vaishali is a certified practitioner of Chinese Medicine and East Indian Ayurveda medicine. Vaishali is a faculty member of The Omega institute and The Kripalu Center.