I used to live on a park where public events take place. One weekend there was a fund-raising march for an organization that gives money to Third World communities for such things as well irrigation and clean water sources. As I took my regular stroll around the lake, I asked one of the walkers about the organization. After he explained it to me, with a recognizable pride and sense of well-being, I watched as he threw his still half-full plastic bottle of water in the garbage can. We don’t see what we don’t see. He couldn’t see his casual gesture wasted both the precious resource of water and the landfill space of yet another plastic bottle unrecycled. As I walked further, I noticed that every one of the walkers had a similar plastic bottle. Apparently, the walk organizers were concerned about dehydration during the walk and had made available a bottle for each person. Again, an earnest and well-meaning gesture. We just don’t see what we don’t see.
A month before that day, my then-teenaged son attended a day-long event for youth oriented to learning about environmental issues. It was specifically oriented to building ideas for global change. They discussed energy use, voluntary versus mandatory regulations, new home efficiency technologies and other means to reduce the human footprint. At the end of the day, each participant was given a cloth bag with the logo of the sponsoring organization printed on it. Inside were: a plastic covered coloured notebook with a matching pen, a three-pointed highlighter, a sport-type water bottle, and a pad of paper, all printed with the logo of the organization, along with another ubiquitous bottle of drinking water. All this junk migrated into our home from an environmental education day! We just don’t see what we don’t see.
I was sick shortkly after that day with a fluey cold. My brain went on holiday and I lay about in a silly thought place filled with nonsense: remembering T’was the Night Before Christmas, a photo of Angelina Jolie with her lovely pregnant belly and her daughters, words to a Beatles song, and so on and so on. It was a random walk through the storage shelves of my mental body. Just the drivel of an unhinged mind, continuously reformulating, repeating bits in new arrangements. But it was a closed system. There was nothing new appearing from a place of insight, wisdom or clarity. As I gained my good health back, this mind-state I had been in reminded me of a kaleidoscope. It continuously rearranged the particles of input, each of which was a reasonably attractive item in its own right. The rearrangements were each OK too, but ultimately, the system was closed.
To change the world, we need to see what we don’t see. We need to have systems that are open to new inspirations, wisdom and clarity. We need to see that throwing away water in Canada does make a difference to the rest of the world. The man might at least have put the water in the lake and the bottle in recycling. We need to see that reducing our footprint means stopping with all the cute little items our kids treasure. The global change people could at least have given out recycled paper. We need to start seeing what we don’t yet see.
In each person’s kaleidoscope of a mind, we each need to realize our personal mind is a closed system, and the right answer might come be in someone else’s mind. Let us open our eyes, our minds and especially our hearts to growing more open to each other, and to receiving guidance and new ideas from our inner wisdom.