In what do you trust?
“In God we trust.”
That phrase was drawn from the Star Spangled banner – this lyric specifically: ‘And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”’
The phrase first turned up on the 2 cent piece in 1864 under the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln. At the heart of Indian culture is the word dharma. It means duty or the action of rightness. The Ramayana is a great epic story and it focuses on how dharma is inflected through the actions of a great villain (Ravana) and a man-god (Rama) who seeks to do his duty/the right thing.Rama trusts in an inner compass to guide his actions. What Lincoln came to call rightness.
William Blake said that violence only exists in the world because human beings listen to their egos rather than the spirit within that knows nothing is impossible. He said imagination in that sense always triumphs over rational reductionistic thinking. And he was right. If only we are man enough to face this! The ego creates all kind of limitations. And they lead to white-knuckling control models and frustration as they are born out of the soils of a diseased imagination.
Then you have Lincoln, who, though he was a war president, frequently centers on the theme of right vs might. “Let us have faith that right makes might and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”“Rightness is provided with the instruments of safety by the heavens.” So there is this kind of global mind that is universally interested in rightness. And there are these two approaches to life.
One is based on ego and it is fundamentally insecure and so attacks and because it attacks defenses are needed. It is all about might. And it never leads anywhere sane. And the other is based on alignment with self-knowledge and rightness, what the physicist David Bohm referred to as the “implicate order.”
We spend billions of those dollars engraved each year with the phrase “In God we trust” on the military. Is that an action of rightness? Or might? Right makes (real) might. Might does not make right.
Now is the god we trust the ego or is it the deeper wisdom of rightness? We know how to reverse the Sahara desert. We possess that knowhow. We know the management models that are holistic that when leveraged wisely end waste and discord at every level. When the holistic context is honored we can make a living Eden of the Earth. So why don’t we?
President John F Kennedy famously said in a speech to the Irish parliament:“George Bernard Shaw, speaking as an Irishman, summed up an approach to life: Other people, he said “see things and . . . say ‘Why?’ . . . But I dream things that never were — and I say: ‘Why not?’“That’s where you must start to change the question from: Why don’t we?…to thank god we dreamt of things that never were…What if we deployed the military to reverse the Sahara or to change the way cattle and pigs are farmed?
What if we used those resources for humanistic ends? There’s a start-up in San Francisco that is getting the same food production using between 1 and 5% of water and light resources that we usually associate from farming. And they are doing it in urban indoor farms. If we put our minds to the matter, what matters yields the realization that war is an option, not an inevitability, and that there is more than enough to go around. But to see in such a way we need to render old perspectives obsolete.
Another word that Lincoln was fond of was: “disenthrall.”If we can disenthrall ourselves from the erroneous belief that might makes right we can find the renewed faith that right makes might. And come to know ourselves beyond the self-deception that lack is real. And it comes down to where we place our trust. When we place it in rightness…we come to learn through a deeper knowing that it is provided with the instruments of safety by the heavens. And those heavens are within. Within us.
Each and everyone of us. The recognition of these truths leads to the inspiration for sutranovum.
God isn’t some patriarch in a chair in the sky. He or she or it is definitely an inner awareness. God isn’t about wars. It’s the fear in man that makes war and enmity. As Joseph Campbell said:
“Wars and temper tantrums are the makeshifts of ignorance; regrets are illuminations come too late.”
Campbell was also aware that the God we trust in reflects our own moral evolution:
Our life evokes our character. You find out more about yourself as you go on. That’s why it’s good to be able to put yourself in situations that will evoke your higher nature rather than your lower.
For instance: One of the many distinctions between the celebrity and the hero, he said, is that one lives for self while the other acts to redeem society.
So you have to constantly ask what is informing one’s decisions? If the ego is in charge it may be a very small circle of possibilities and faith – but if life is given to rightness – a different order comes to play.
And when faced with challenges, it is wise to remember that stillness is the fertile ground where the imagination is given to ripe harvests.
“Remember, those of you who are struggling along, ﬁnding problems, this is because you do not become still enough. When you can become still enough, your problems will vanish, there will be no problems. There will be nobody to feel a problem. There will be nothing. There will be peace and happiness.”~ Robert Adams (20th century American Advaita mystic)