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Re: SC56

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December 30, 2007 09:48AM
http://carolynbaker.net/site/content/view/262/

NEW YEAR'S DISSOLUTION: SURRENDER VS. GIVING UP, By Carolyn Baker

It's almost 2008, and in the final hours of 2007, I'm reflecting on the past twelve months and what may lie ahead of us in the coming year. It's been a dreary year for planet earth-scientists telling us that climate change has passed the point of no return; the almost-daily blasting away of civil liberties in the U.S. with nary a peep from its citizens; endless war that produces little but nauseating carnage in the Middle East and a steady stream of suiciding or physically and emotionally devastated veterans, and of course, a housing bubble burst that has left thousands of families suffocating in debt, bankruptcy, and foreclosure.

Some readers would like me to stop talking about collapse and re-frame the notion into "spiritually correct" terminology that isn't as scary, daunting, and dismal. Many more of you are telling me that you do want to talk about collapse because even with all the opportunities for rebirth and transformation that it holds, the world we have known, demanded, and relied on to be there for us is crumbling. I too would love to focus only on opportunity, but opportunity offers no free lunch; it travels alongside this thing called collapse, and if you're going to embrace one, you must be prepared to invite the other.

As you know, I'm traveling, and in the interest of conserving petroleum and not subjecting myself to Homeland Security "fraternity hazings", as well as mind and body-numbing flight delays, I took the train. I dare you to do it and not talk about collapse. There it is-the rail industry, which once ruled this nation's economy, now limited to a laughable loop of routes that never run on time and needed to be radically expanded yesterday in order to ameliorate the catastrophic consequences of energy depletion. So why would I prefer the train when it runs like a Spanish post office and experiences unpredictable delays? Because I'm a sucker for being able to stretch out and sleep, read, work on the computer, or even better, get up and walk around. All of this, of course, in the context of a system that shuffles around poor people, seniors on fixed incomes, and a few of us that just simply prefer to ride the rails as the empire circles the drain. Perhaps Amtrak is the consummate metaphor for collapse: You never know exactly when or how it will arrive, only that it will.............

..............In researching the etymology of the word surrender, I notice that it is not about resignation or giving up, but rather "giving up oneself." The "self" that must be "given up" in my opinion is the human ego that insists on the heroic invincibility of civilization-that the current state of the planet and its inhabitants is preferable to its collapse.

We are surrounded with a culture that is either totally oblivious to collapse or is working overtime to hold its crumbling pieces together. Neither perspective is useful in the face of the inevitable, and I am reluctant to return to the analogy of the Titanic yet again, but it begs to be called forth-repeatedly. Rose and Jack jumped; only one of them survived, but they jumped nevertheless. What is most needed in our own psyches as 2007 becomes 2008, is a willingness to "jump ship" and surrender to collapse and all of its opportunities, which we cannot discover apart from surrendering our ego investment in the world as we have known it.

Paradoxically, when the ego surrenders, the result is almost always clarity regarding our choices, and frequently choices appear where previously none were.

I realize that what I'm suggesting is not easily assimilated by parents and grandparents-or anyone for that matter. Who can bear to contemplate the suffering of one's progeny? Yet the human race has created a world in which suffering is inescapable whether we attempt to avoid it or remain unconscious. Jung wrote that all mental illness is the result of the avoidance of legitimate suffering.

What we might learn from cultures more mature than our own is the long-term value of discomfort, pain, uncertainty, and of course, feeling our feelings about those. These are not easy tasks, but then as you may have noticed, we do not live in easy times. In summary, these words from Scott Peck succinctly capture my point: Once suffering is accepted, it ceases in a sense to be suffering.

For all readers of Truth To Power, I wish an enriching and empowering 2008. May it be for you a year of stepping into a new paradigm, preparing, and becoming open to the dissolution of life as we have known it.
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