Musings on Bicycling and Buddhism

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This space is not yours

When you're pedaling down the road you are constantly pelted with the feeling, or the sneaking suspicion, that - this space is not yours.  I pay the same taxes to maintain these roads as the car people, I am as bound by the rules of the road as the car people;  I have as much legal right to this street as they do, but the point is made amply clear by many people on the roads, this space is not yours.

When you use cloud computing or external services for your personal situation and use (things like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, even this Blogspot), you're borrowing it from another, on their terms.  So still, this space is not yours.

At work, everything belongs to the company (so unless you own the company), this space is not yours.

Renting a dwelling place or for your place of business?  This place is borrowed too.

Ever take out a loan for anything (car, house, education)?  Then what you make is not yours either.

Why did and do people Occupy?  Because increasingly, for more people, in more walks of life since anyone alive can remember, it has come to pass that this space (digital, real estate, financial, etc) is not yours.  The decisions are not yours.  Why Occupy versus some other methodology?  Solidarity.  Community.  Trying to find hope.  Trying to make a point with limited resources.  Trying not to get brushed off as an inconvenient truth.

We were promised a space, a place, to pursue life, liberty and happiness in the Declaration of Independence (which of course is not a legally binding document) by the people who fought against not having the space or decision-making power of their own.  And what have we done with it?  We have created those same iron shackles (because, let's face it, debt these days- personal and national- is just that) ourselves.

Whatever Occupy means or meant or will come to mean in the history of this nation, the world or humankind, that I do not know.  What I do know is that at this time of the year, where regardless of one's faith inclinations or lack thereof, you can't escape the unified call of "peace on earth and good will toward men", to be found anywhere and everywhere it seems.  

Peace on earth and good will toward humankind (not using older gender biased language) doesn't start from anywhere but our own behavior. When we place the highest value on human life and make decisions accordingly, when we strive to empower the individuals in our lives things grow and change.  When we are honest about and make the effort to effect our own inner transformation (call it human revolution!), we begin to move in the direction of this call.

It shouldn't be just one time of year.  It should be every day in every way.  On New Year's Day the year feels fresh and new, ripe with possibility, our hearts cry: Anything can happen!  Anything is possible!  Let's make every day New Year's Day.  Nothing will change unless we start thinking outside the box!  Instead of pushing the intent of this space is not yours what if we understood we all depend on each other for our very existence and acted with the honor and kindness appropriately accorded to these profound bonds?

Happy Holidays from Jessie and Charlie the Buddhist bicycle!

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Tour de What You Will by Jessie Calkins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License