Friday, 18 March 2011

a Moment for Wisdom…



“Everything causes everything else.

Everything reflects everything else.

Everything symbolizes everything else.

Sharif Abdullah

a Moment with Sharif…


This is a pretty straightforward rendition of the Buddhist concept of “dependent origination”. (It also shows up in Taoism, Hinduism and many of the Keeper philosophies.)

This concept is very easy to articulate, but difficult for us to get our heads wrapped around. In our determinant, reductionist, “Breaker” thinking, we are used to seeing one thing, and one thing only, as the cause of an event or process.  The billiard ball strikes another ball at precisely the correct angle and proceeds unerringly into the pocket.


Well… sometimes. Other times, in the real life of our cosmic billiard table, the ball goes off in another direction entirely, or disappears, or moves in an opposite direction…

I think about this because the governor of one of Japan’s Prefectures said that the earthquake was “Divine retribution” for the misdeeds of Japan’s leadership. (He later retracted and apologized.) On the one hand, that was a pretty bone-headed thing to say, especially when people are still suffering. Like one of the US tele-evangelists “blaming” the Haitian quake on the misdeeds of the Haitians – but not blaming tornados in the Midwest on the “misdeeds” of his own followers.

On the other hand… everything causes everything else. It is solar activity that “causes” earthquakes. It is changes in the magnetic flux fields that “causes” earthquakes. And, it is our collective thoughts and attitudes, our group-mind, that “causes” earthquakes.

We are not powerless in the face of implacable forces that control our lives. Nor are we arrogantly all-powerful and mighty. Everything causes, reflects and symbolizes everything



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All photos by Sharif Abdullah, unless otherwise noted.

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One Response to Friday, 18 March 2011

  1. Chuck Willis says:

    Personal Wisdom:

    What is my life “causing”?

    Well, there is that which I notice, and that of which I am unaware. My breathing creates “breaths” for plants and helps to maintain a worldwide atmospheric balance. But, I don’t know which specific plants “benefit”. What else am I spewing into the air (unintentionally?) and what effect is it having? My mind is attending to, and attuning with, a higher spiritual plain. That choice brings the Presence and experience of peace to me and to those in my company – usually. This is a healing Presence. What is the “sum effect” of all of my choices?

    What does my life “reflect”?

    Ah! I know that one! My life reflects my choices: what I think and believe, what I feel and embrace, and what I embody.

    What does my life “symbolize”?

    My life symbolizes every other life, the One Life that we all share – just as one wave upon the ocean symbolizes each other wave and the ocean, itself.

    Societal Wisdom:

    What does our collective society cause, reflect, and symbolize?

    My collective spiritual “society”, the Portland society, the Oregon society, our national society, and our international society are all “causing, reflecting, and symbolizing” different things. Elements within each o these are all “causing, reflecting, and symbolizing” different things. What we “cause” depends upon our conscious awareness and our individual and collective choices. We “cause” children to be born. We cause (some of) them to become educated (while others become dependent). We cause governments to be formed and taxes to be levied. These reflect and symbolize (physically) our (metaphysical) consciousness.

    How might our experience of life change if, collectively, we were more aware of what we, as a society, were causing, reflecting, and symbolizing?

    To become truly “aware” is to own; to accept responsibility. If we were to truly accept responsibility for our thoughts, feelings, and behavior, we would choose differently. We would choose to honor and sustain Life, rather than use and abuse It.

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