Heart to heart

“I don’t get it,” said my son. “We’re an island… how can we be short of water?” I had been telling him about the shocking state of the Derwent Valley reservoirs. I have seen them very low before, but never this low. The water is no more than a trickle in the lake bed and the villages drowned at their creation are once more feeling the sun on their stones. We discussed desalination, technology and our acceptance of water-on-tap in developed countries. From there, we went on to other countries, where the populace is not so lucky and water may have to be drawn from a dirty well several hours walk from home. My son continued, “I mean, if seventy per cent of the earth’s surface is covered with water, and, if it all comes from the sea to begin with and goes back into the water cycle, how come anyone is short of water?”

“Money.” I thought back to a job I once had, selling water coolers to offices. The company supported a water charity that dug clean wells and brought water to arid villages. I loved being on the road as a salesperson, but I could never reconcile the difference between the luxury of cooled, filtered spring water and children carrying water jars for miles.

It always tickled me too, that the elegant secretaries who convinced their bosses to buy the spring water would, for the most part, have been horrified if I had asked them to drink from a stream… the same streams that supply the now-industrialised springs. But they would happily drink chlorine-laden tap water, because that is clean and safe… even though it may also contain other things they wouldn’t even like to think about.

It is not that I think we should deny ourselves, or feel guilty about, enjoying the benefits of progress or earned luxuries… but we should not forget that we are privileged to be able to do so.

At least the company was putting money into the pot with every sale… but it is a poor set-up when charity is dependant upon profit. I agreed with my son, no one should be without access to clean water in this day and age. Globally, we have the money, the technology and the resources… if we chose to use them.

I was on my soap box. From water, it moved to access to adequate food, housing, education and healthcare… all basic human needs that should also be rights. I have worked in the charity sector and acknowledge both the incredible effort of the staff and volunteers, as well as the impact of the work they do. But why should we need to rely on charity for such basic human needs in a world where corporations and individuals have billions in the bank? It makes no sense to me.

Leaving aside ideas about the distribution of wealth, even the defence budget of a small nation would probably be enough to supply water to a continent… and don’t get me started on the misnomer of ‘defence’…

“But,” interjected my son, attempting to stop me in full flow, “why bother talking about it? What good will it do?” The question was obviously rhetorical, but, with the bit between my teeth, I was going to answer anyway…

Actions spring from ideas, and ideas are born when people talk about things… not when they sweep them under the carpet and can comfortably and conveniently forget that they are there.

Money may have the reputation as being the root of all evil, but I wonder if that is true. Is it not what choices people make that is at the heart of the problem? And how can we make informed choices unless we communicate?

I thought a lot about that on the way home. In this day and age when the internet connects us worldwide, it should be easier to talk… and we do, often about things that may seem quite unimportant… just the small doings of everyday…but by doing so, we keep the lines of communication open, and every so often, something really important filters through. The weight of public opinion can work miracles, changing the face of society…or making one life worth living.

Misunderstandings thrive when people do not talk. Relationships deteriorate when resentments cannot be aired and are allowed to fester. Loneliness and depression deepen when there is no-one to talk with. And whole worlds of possibility open up when we do.

 

It is the same on a personal level too, as we are talking to ourselves internally all the time. For most of us, there is a commentary on the surface of the mind and yet, we are conscious of other levels of thought running beside it, observing it, sometimes in agreement with our thoughts and actions, at other time raising metaphorical eyebrows.

But, although we are aware of these other levels of thought, observation and information, we seldom take the time to engage them in conversation. Meditation and contemplation are ways of doing so, and those who give some time to these methods reap rich rewards. Both conscience and consciousness reside within, and unless the surface mind is prepared to converse with them, we may be missing out on a large percentage of who we are and who we might become.

I wonder if ‘the root of all evil’, rather than simply blaming inanimate money, stems from the barriers we, and the way we live, erect around the core of our being? Barriers that seek to protect us by preventing us from really hearing what those around us and those inner voices may have to say?

When we let the barriers down and talk to someone openly and without subterfuge, we call it a ‘heart to heart’. Perhaps that is what we are missing… and maybe what we are afraid of in this modern world? The ability and the openness to speak and to listen, allowing our true selves to flow from the heart.

26 thoughts on “Heart to heart

  1. The actual biblical quote is ‘The love of money is the root of all evil’. As you say, money is inanimate. But your post is very true. Don’t get me started on ‘defence’ spending, though, or we’ll be here all day. It’s so wrong that there is enough money in the world in order to make everyone’s life better. Greed is what we suffer from in the developed world. We aren’t prepared to give up any of our luxuries to help others–those things we think of as necessities, but to the poor of the world are beyond their wildest dreams.

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  2. Today I got to see the two sides of one of my “personas” if you will – this one side who loves to care for others and to make their lives better, but I got to also see that this “persona” as I have chosen to designate it, is also a controller, and is more than happy to “control” or attempt to do so, to someone I have tried to care for and help.

    I see this with wealth too in this world since that topic came up. There are all these people who have wealth they could share and which would, in the end result, benefit them too, but it is definitely an issue of control as well. So much of what we have and know has come to us from others and in such subtle ways, we often don’t realize it until we are able to look at ourselves differently and see that everything in this life has a dual nature to it.

    We just had elections yesterday in the U.S., mostly for local governing and propositions, all of which are couched in emotional issues so that people go into another part of their minds and “react” emotionally, and so some of the most evil of issues are passed. Having just read your article about the water, I can see what you wrote in what we were voting on. One of the most humorous of propositions was to end Daylight Savings Time. Now supposedly we are “free” to do that any time a state wants it, so people voted I think to end it (the voting reports are so confusing I can’t tell in some of them whether they passed or not). Anyway, now we have to “vote” through some kind of court system or something, but if we supposedly can change it if we want to anytime, what is all this about??? So it is kind of how minds seem to work. We have the ability to choose what we react to at any time, and yet we don’t choose to not react, because we don’t seem to know how to do it because we are not aware of it. Hmmm . . . Are we going in circles in this lifetime? Or every lifetime?

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    1. The thing about reactions is that we do not choose them… we do not give ourselves time to consider but simply react instinctively. Our reactions are learned behaviours… shields we have acquired in reaction to previous events and circumstances. They serve a purpose, but they do not allow space for growth. Breaking the cycle of reactions begins with awareness and continues with choice.

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  3. The last paragraph hit the mark, Sue! As for the water issue, it’s feast or famine here in the US. We are sodden on the east coast and sere on the West (with fires). I think access to water is going to become a huge issue in the future.

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  4. Profound. Thats also reason it get less likes and very many of us can’t reach till the end… just bcos it’s ‘heart to heart’

    All your thoughts, and your child’s wonder questions are mine also!

    I was on my way to unfollow lot many of ‘not my type stuff’ and reached your page…!

    would like to be on touch and many such talks and walks… ‘heart -to-heart’

    Thats most powerful and transformational, I believe.

    Cheers!

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