We in the U.S. live during an age of skewed priorities. The recent and current financial mess caused by money men with no ethical compass is a constant reminder. Money, fame and luxury have replaced ethics, social responsibility and moderation.
Media indoctrination which is nearly unavoidable touts all the wrong values. Patriotism overshadows peace-making. Religion overshadows compassion. Political power overshadows citizenship.
|Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs|
Establishing and remembering personal priorities is part of my daily practice. This is not a do-it-once proposition. Life is not a controlled experiment. Life is more coincidence than it is control. With the energy of youth, I did not really notice this. I felt invincible, equal to anything life brought to me. My challenges were tough, but so was I. With aging comes understanding that the stream of coincidence and challenges is endless. It is part of the human condition.
Knowing my own priorities helps me sift through the day's events more easily to get to the kernel of what is happening and what can or cannot be done about it. Creativity in handling problems and knowing when to let go are skills linked to priorities.
Self-preservation is the most immediate priority in most situations. This is pure animal response. However, when this animal response is paired with materialistic priorities, greed overshadows self-preservation in decision-making. The untamed mind addicted to luxury and privilege demands luxury and privilege, despite any cognitive understanding of the injustice which may provide the luxury and privilege.
Mining the wells of my own consciousness has made me aware of how dominating wish and fear can be. Chasing the unconscious wishes born of fear or perceived deprivation can prevent mindful rationality about my true life condition. I open my eyes and the eyes of my mind. I see that I am neither endangered nor deprived. In fact, I see that I am lucky, well fed and housed. This opens my mind to being more outgoing and generous. The act of compassion brings with it healing and more security in the world.