There’s great potential in focusing our energy in the direction we want to go rather than pushing against some condition we don’t like. Whatever we spend our mental coin on is what we tend to produce. The trick, of course, is in gaining the ability to turn our attention away from that we don’t want and then towards that which we do.
I thought about this the other night as I sat in the Denver City Council chambers for around six hours watching our civic processes in action. I was there in support of my daughter, whose company was entering into a contract with the city which required the council’s approval. They were holding public hearings on the contract which would bring a series of high-tech movie events to two of the city’s parks over the next three years. This type of special outdoor cinema has never been used in the United States before yet has been quite successful in other countries for a number of years. (Update: The company later suspended it’s US operations due to funding issues.)
Now admittedly, I might have a slight bias in favor of this idea based on this being my daughter’s company, yet I really do believe that these events can revitalize some of Denver’s underused parks and showcase their specialness. I really thought this concept was a no-brainer. Hence I was a little bit surprised when I showed up at the council’s hearings and discovered a large contingent of people who were wearing homemade stickers encouraging the council to vote “no”. There were about 75 people who signed up to speak to the council. Of that number, roughly half were in favor of the contract and half were not. About half of each group got to speak before time ran out. I was pleased to be able to address the council.
It’s not my purpose here to explain all of the points for and against bringing these film events to Denver’s parks. As always, reasonable minds can disagree and there were good points made on both sides. However, it was interesting to note a general theme that emerged from each side. My comments, as well as many of the comments for those in favor of the proposal, focused upon a vision of a possible future. They pointed to the potential for this film series to create a vital and vibrant focal point for activating the park’s potential to be a hub for the sharing of community. On the other hand, many of the comments against the proposal were (in my opinion) rooted in fear…fear of change, fear of this being a setting of a precedent that might lead to the loss of parks, fear of the unknown, and more. To be fair, there were some comments by some opponents, who took a non-fear-based approach and attempted to offer what they viewed as an alternative win-win possibility. But in general, most of the opponents appeared to be stuck in the past and to be “pushing against” the idea.
Mystic Ernest Holmes wrote, “Find me one person who is for something and against nothing, who is redeemed enough not to condemn others out of the burden of his soul, and I will find another savior, another Jesus, and an exalted human being. ” Holmes really was speaking to the power of the Law of Attraction when used in the direction of good for all people. When we can focus on what we are for, when we can eliminate the need to make others wrong in the process, we can truly perform miracles.
I was pleased at the end of the evening when the council voted in favor of the contract. Overall this was a great example of our civic processes working out just like they’re designed.
However, there is an issue of concern here, which is indicative of a greater trend in American politics in recent years. There appears to be a greater degree of being less “for” something and more “against” something which unfortunately often deteriorates into name calling, vindictiveness, and divisive behavior in the public forum. We see this in lack of unbiased and measured discourse in many television programs, as well as the highly partisan way in which our political parties vote.
Just in the past day, a lot has been made about the election in Massachusetts of a Republican senator to replace Teddy Kennedy simply because that one vote keeps the Democrats from total control of the Senate. If there was more bipartisan behavior in our Congress, than this one vote would matter less. There is an assumption by both our media and our politicians that our Congress is simply going to vote along party lines no matter what the issue.
A recent issue of the Christian Science Monitor had an article about the rising national debt and the issue of Congressional approval of the debt ceiling. There was a telling quote in the piece from Stanley Collender, a longtime congressional budget analyst, who stated, “Debt ceilings have become political footballs and will continue to be in this highly politicized Congress where making the other side lose is more important than governing.” Unfortunately, his observation frequently seems all too true.
So then the challenge before us is how do we turn from this condition, which is less than what we desire and focus our energy on what we do want? In my opinion, we have to first acknowledge the condition…not to give energy, not to grow it, but rather just to be aware of it. It’s from that awareness that we can now consciously choose a higher direction for our politics and for our country.
And what is that higher direction? In my opinion it includes the following:
- Visualizing and speaking out about a positive future… expressing our desire for what we do want.
- Seeking opportunities to reinforce working together.
- Honoring differences but focusing on commonalities.
- Looking for ways to turn civil discourse away from negativity and towards respect, dignity and our common bonds.
You probably could add to this list. I hope that you do.
Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!