The Front Lines

“Why do you do these things?” Aldonza vehemently exclaimed. Several days earlier this man had entered their little town doing the most peculiar things.
Puzzled, Don Quixote replied, “What things?”
“These ridiculous … the things you do!”
“I hope to add some measure of grace to the world,” he said softly but with a strength she had never encountered before.
“The world’s a dung heap and we are maggots that crawl on it!”
Don Quixote answered with compassion, “My lady knows better in her heart.”

 

An apathetic comfortable conformity to the society in which one lives is the most subtle form of  unconscious slavery. It’s nothing short of a suppression of the truth and of the abundant life.

When people (westerners) think of “the front lines” of battle or hardship, they often picture places that lack physical comfort and development, where wars, crime and terrorism reign and poverty dominates. Places like Syria, Afghanistan, Venezuela, South Sudan and Northern Uganda come to mind. Maybe one pictures the impoverished people living in the slums of Nairobi in Kenya or Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Truly this is where the wars are being fought, right? But what if the real “front lines” happened to be where a westerner would least expect? Surely the suburbs of Philadelphia, the small towns in Kansas and the billion dollar flats in Lower Manhattan would never be counted among this mental and physical war, right? But what if that is indeed where it’s at, and this “third world” westerners talk of is actually the freedom they consciously or unconsciously seek?

As I wrote before, American culture lives completely under the burden of self. An enslaving tyranny of selfishness that the multitude blindly accept as normal, having never known otherwise. It’s continuing to fill oneself but still being left empty. It’s only when we’re no longer under the burden of ourselves that we experience rich freedom and can become our fullest potential.

Although other parts of the world are plagued with disease, starvation, malnutrition and poverty, a different kind of plague reigns over western civilization, having crept its way into the culture, embedding itself deep within the society. This enslaving close-minded apathy has taken root, unconsciously robbing people of abundant life with a lie that shifts all focus and attention inward. It’s a plague that has seeped into families, businesses and governments, honing a self-centered, dumbed-down, pleasure-gratifying environment. Of course, the plague exists all over the world, but when you have the honor of catching a glimpse of how some of these people, the “have-nots” and “the underprivileged” in these countries live in rich community, it’s quite clear that western civilization is the most infected.

Are the “privileged” the ones who are truly sick and in need of healing? Maybe they could learn a thing or two and be helped from the people they seek (or don’t seek) to help in places like Ghana and Kenya and Uganda…

Ever since I was a child I’ve always seen the world through a lens of an overactive imagination. I see and fall in love with the ideal. Some say it’s naive and a curse but I think it’s a blessing. I’m an optimist, a hopeful romantic. Because the difference between an ordeal and an adventure is sometimes just attitude and a matter of perspective.

Not for one moment do I believe any of this thing called life to be an accident or simply having occurred by chance. We ourselves are a reflection of a brilliant Master Artist. I think once a person is awakened to the realm that’s outside themselves they realize that the ‘front lines’ of an unseen war is here within their own unconsciously enslaved society. The true battle is breaking free of the self-centered plague into the grand limitless fountains of genuine freedom. Just like the front lines of war, you might find that liberation in a place you would least expect. 

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