My son graduated from college this year, and due to the cancellation, delays or virtual graduations occurring around the country, I thought it would be fun to do a commencement address. If you would like to see, here it is. (Note: This was a practice run 5/10/20 - Due to time constraints, just going with it)
To the class of 2020 –
Graduation is a special time. It is the transition to your next station in life which for many will be at home in a room like the one you’re in now. Graduation is a time when you think of what you want to do with your life. Over the years, I’ve heard many graduates address this by stating “I want to make a difference, change the world or help make the world a better place.”
These are nice sentiments, but what does it mean to make a difference or make the world a better place? Usually when these statements are said the reference is to something out there or down the road. One of the traps with the “I want to make a difference or change the world” statements is the thinking that it has to be something grandiose instead of realizing it’s in every moment. And another trap is this idea that if we just fix those things out there, in the external, physical world, the world will change. We throw niceties toward the idea of dealing with our internal world but in general we avoid it or address it only on a surface level.
But class of 2020 I will take you up on this desire so many of you have expressed to make a difference and change the world.
Because the world is a hot mess and we need you to make a difference and make the world a better place. So you've been recruited and since so many of you are facing uncertainty in your career choice there is no better time to jump into this career called making a difference (if you want a fancy title, you can call yourself a difference maker or change agent). Send me your business card and let me know your chosen title. Your school is excited because they can now say they have 100% career placement.
Now that we have that settled, are you ready to start? Ok, based on the expressions I see I got ahead of myself, let me address some of your questions –
What does it require, you ask? Nothing, congratulations on the degree you’re about to receive-and it is helpful- but not necessary for this career.
We’re at graduation right now can’t we start in a week or two? No.
What does it pay? Nothing, but you can gain financial freedom.
There, now you are intrigued.
Oh, you have one more question - what do I have to do? You have to see.
You knew it was coming class of 2020, a speech on vision.
As we approached this year, I thought 2020 would be filled with posts, articles, commencement addresses about vision or this being the year of vision. The pandemic has interrupted this with the news and focus of many being on the virus. Although talk of this year of vision may have been pushed aside, the reality is the virus has actually spread this year of vision and awakening faster by causing the great pause we’re in - forcing many to slow down and see the world differently. If you want to make a greater difference or transform the world you have to see with an inner vision, we’ll call it the class of 2020 vision.
So, let’s take a look at seeing
What is vision? What does it mean to see? See what?
When an eye doctor says you have 2020 vision – it means you can see letters or objects clearly – but do we really see the object or just its physical nature?
When we talk about vision in business, it’s not about what we see with our physical eyes, but about what we see the business being down the road, what it can become. But how do we see this and where does this vision come from? And how can we become without being that already?
Inner vision or spiritual vision is seeing the being, the person, the object beyond the physical properties, as it really is. In the now, not in the becoming.
As Jesus asked “do you have the eyes to see?”. To see beyond the material, beyond what your physical eyes see. That is vision. And as it states in the nothing scroll: see nothing and allow a world of peace to shine before you, which means to see beyond the physical or external or the nothingness of our perceptions.
Can we see the harmony, the light, the security that exists no matter what the storm?
Can we see beyond opposites? Good, bad, dead, alive and beyond a world of changes, young to old, sick to healthy, happy to unhappy and see that which doesn’t change, the eternal nature of life?
Here is the neat part: when you see clearly even if it is only moments, you will make a difference and you will change the world without taking a step out of your house.
What better way to pay tribute to those we have lost, not just in this period but any period, than to be able to see clearly. See clearly first and the world will change naturally.
Many people before you have gone off after graduation in the quest of the grandiose version to make a difference and change the world- and here we are. We got lost in the quest by tackling the external issues without the deep internal work necessary to see, and we live in this world of temporary solutions. The difference you can make is right here, right now without taking another step. You can make that difference and transform the world from where you’re at in every little action and interaction. You can’t bypass the little stuff to tackle the big. I think that is one of the reasons we’re in the mess the world is in.
No one else can solve this seeing for you, as Gandhi said, “you must be the change you want to see in the world.”
Don’t just want world peace, you be peace and peace will come.
Don’t just want love, you be love and love will come.
Don’t want to make a difference, you be the difference-
and be it in every little moment
Unless it is written on our hearts, we are just pretending.
This isn’t for the weak minded
There is no getting around it, if you want real lasting change it must be written on your heart.
Policies, rules and regulations won’t bring about true peace or true change in the world. Temporary solutions are better than being in pain and we appreciate the work of many organizations throughout the world, it’s just in this year of 2020, are we willing to take a giant leap forward and see things differently?
I see some of you are still stuck on this idea of doing something big – how about setting the world free? Is that big enough for you? You set the world free by seeing a world beyond your beliefs & fear, beyond your pain and beyond your tears. Jesus said “my kingdom is not of this world,” yet it was not over there or up there it was within. There is a saying you change the world by changing your mind – it has been around for a while but I think we got lost in the tangible, changing from bad to good, it is letting go of these concepts and going deeper.
Blaise Pascal, a 1600s french scientist and philosopher, slapped the world in the face when he said “all of humanity’s problems stem from our inability to sit quietly in a room alone”. And we just took that slap without a response, and we have yet to show him differently on a global scale. I think that time has come.
We now have the best chance to build up that ability to sit quietly in a room alone. And it starts with vision. Can we sit in this great pause and embrace the silence and stillness and look within and see the harmony of the world?
Can we see one another as we are? Not our physical properties or external actions? Only then will we love our neighbor as ourselves.
Can we see the oneness and interconnectedness of life? Only then can we solve humanity’s biggest problem: separation. As long as we see ourselves as separate from one another then we will continue to be in conflict, and as long as we’re in conflict, we will live in the world of temporary solutions.
We can’t see if we’re distracted and running around all the time, are we ready to slow down and find the silence and stillness to see?
When we see clearly with this inner vision, we will be free and when we live in freedom, free from inner conflict and free to be who we are, the world is transformed in peace and oneness.
This transformation can only come from an inner peace and knowing that comes from going deep within and seeking truth. And what better time to do this then during this great pause.
So go start this new career from your home. It doesn't matter if you’re isolated or alone, you will see that you are not alone and can make a difference.
Don’t try to change the external world, but go within and seek truth and you will naturally change the world. You must be the change you want to see in the world.
This is your time class of 2020 - seize this great opportunity in front of you – right there in your room, nothing from the outside is needed, all the help you need is with you right now. Are you going to let this virus stop you? No – we need strong people with vision to see beyond our physical senses where truth, freedom and love resides.
In the darkness of this material world, let your light shine. As Jesus said, “you’re the light of the world” (No pressure, but he also said you can do greater work than he).
Your light gets brighter as you see the light in another. So go forth and see for yourself, class of 2020: it’s time to shine like you’ve never shined before and light up this world!
#vision #graduation #2020 #seeing #spirituality
© 2020 Ben Phipps
What's wrong with me worrying? “Everything!” But Yoda it gives me energy, it helps me stay up at night.
In Star Wars I - The Phantom Menace, a young Anakin Skywalker is discovered by a Jedi and brought to the Jedi Council to request that he be trained to be a Jedi. After Anakin is tested the following dialogue happens:
Yoda - “How feel you?”
Anakin - “Cold sir.”
Yoda - “Afraid are you?”
Anakin - “No sir.”
Yoda - “See through you we can.”
Jedi Council member - “Be mindful of your feelings.”
2nd Jedi council member - “Your thoughts dwell on your mother.”
Anakin - “I miss her.”
Yoda - “Afraid to lose her I think.”
Anakin - “What does that got to do with anything?”
Yoda - “Everything!
Fear is the path to the darkside,
Fear leads to anger,
Anger leads to hate,
Hate leads to suffering.”
Yoda - “I sense much fear in you.”
Man, Yoda is tough. The kid is like 8 years old and asking what’s wrong with being afraid he will lose his Mom and Yoda tells him “Everything!”. Of course Yoda was correct in his concern as Anakin did turn to the Darkside and became Darth Vader. This got me thinking of a couple of other thoughts or feelings that lead to suffering which would elicit an “Everything!” from Yoda:
Everyone worries at some point, so what is wrong with me worrying? “Everything!” C’mon Yoda, let me have this. Worrying stems from fear and can make the fear worse, and as Yoda shows we all know what fear leads to… If we can catch ourselves and understand that If I worry, in that moment I’m not trusting in God, Spirit, the Force, etc. and I’m on the path to suffering.
Who doesn’t like to be liked? Once a new person came to a small group meeting I regularly attended, and I noticed one of the other regulars trying too hard to be liked by the new person. Many of us have done this at some point. What is wrong with me wanting to be liked? “Everything!” Darn Yoda! Wanting to be liked is a desire, an attachment to a desired outcome. Buddha said, “all suffering comes from attachment.” Attachment leads to conflict which leads to fear. And we know where fear leads to...
When I was younger I read a boat load of self-help books. Who wouldn’t want some self-improvement (be careful, in the end you can feel like you need more help than when you started)? So, what is wrong with me wanting to improve myself? “Everything!” Say it ain’t so Yoda. I can hear the spiritual teacher,Tara Singh, from his old talks, exclaim “you don’t need to improve, you just need to know yourself”. You wanting to improve yourself stems from the belief that you lack something and are imperfect which leads to desire because you feel incomplete. And desire leads to fear and we know where fear leads to…
We often look to some external action to fix something, when the answer is inside of us all the time. Jesus tells us to “Seek ye first the kingdom of God” and he tells us where it is….. “the kingdom of God is within”.
It does no good to tell people to stop worrying, but if they go within and seek Truth, the worry and the fear becomes less.
The question we can then ask is this:
If true peace, happiness, freedom and safety come from going deep within and seeking Truth, why am I not doing it or not doing it consistently?
The easy answer for me is the lack of strong commitment to seek Truth. After all, I do have a lot of other things to do in the material world, you know. But I think Yoda would say “I sense fear (I think this is his go to response) in you, fear of the unknown.” Studies have shown that people prefer to stay in the comfort of the known even if it is hurting us, and Yoda has already told us where this fear leads to….. suffering.
The good news - we can end suffering and avoid the Darkside. But this transformation must originate from an inner peace and knowing that only comes from going deep within and seeking Truth. Your path may be different than mine, but I know if we are committed to seek Truth, we’ll end up in a similar place. See you there my friend.
May the Force be is with you. Scratch that - The Force is with you.
#starwars #truth #happiness #dark #light #spirituality
© 2020 Ben Phipps
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 NKJV
In reading this passage, I started questioning whether I have accepted God’s gifts. There are many gifts, but the core to me is the gift of knowledge and experience. To know and experience God, to know I need nothing else.
Sounds great, so why haven’t I accepted the gifts? I haven’t been able to completely break down the wall of conditioning, and my attachments to the material world. I still seek outside for solutions, when “the kingdom of God is within”. I still feel like I need to take care of things instead of trusting in God. I still see myself as separate from another and judge, instead of experiencing the oneness of God.
So here I sit knowing that an unaccepted gift remains with the giver. God sits in harmony with all these gifts and all I have to do to accept them is to come home like the prodigal son. There is nothing I need do, but go home in full surrender to love.
These lyrics, heard just once many years ago, have stuck with me… “Come home ‘cause you know I love you, come home ‘cause you know I’m here”.
May I break down the walls and go home, and bring the gift of a “humble, thankful heart”.
#God #gifts #spirituality #kingdom #love
© 2020 Ben Phipps
From the scroll in the bottle of nothing:
Treasure of Nothing
The key to happiness, peace, and success is to want nothing.
There is a great freedom, joy and strength in wanting nothing.
As a poet once said, “The heart of a king trembles in front of a man who wants nothing.”
Our wanting, needing and seeking of things, material and emotional, keeps us in chains and prevents us from knowing true happiness. This message for you is:
Want nothing and recognize you have been given the gift of everything.
Do nothing and allow your actions to happen naturally without the energy of wanting, needing and seeking.
See nothing and allow a world of peace and light to shine before you.
Believe nothing and allow yourself to discover Truth.
Speak nothing and experience a journey beyond words.
Judge nothing and set yourself free.
Possess nothing and you allow the world to be free.
But how to move from being “something-oriented” to being “nothing-oriented?” Throughout the day, sit quietly and repeat to yourself:
I want nothing for I have everything.
I need do nothing for Life moves me.
All the help I need is with me now.
Be patient. Be still. Be receptive. From nothing comes all, and as you discover the treasure of nothing, you become more grateful and your light shines.
Most importantly, don’t make nothing into something. Be light. Be fun. Just be. Remember you are a human being not a human doing.
As it says, don’t make nothing into something, or if it helps please don’t make something out of nothing. Let it be. One of the first events I was at selling “nothing” I actually had 3 different people ask me 3 different questions about the nothing scroll, although each started with some comment in the form of “Interesting or I like it”. First person, “is this a zen thing? Second person, “is this an atheist thing?” Third person, “is this a christian thing?” I felt like I needed to come up with a good response, but then I decided to let the scroll stand on its own and let people decide what it is for them.
#nothing #seeing #life #spirituality #accepting
© 2020 Ben Phipps
How Do I Be the Change I Want to See in the World?
To be the change only requires a commitment to seek Truth. The reality is that if we just do the work of going deep within and seek Truth, then right or good action will happen naturally. It’s that simple, but of course, not easy. We don’t need another 5,6,7,8… steps to solve our issues, make us better, get ahead, etc. We just need to go deep within. Make this commitment and you will be the change you want to see in the world.
How do I go deep within and seek Truth? A consistent practice of prayer, meditation, stillness, and studying is needed. But you must decide what works for you and what you connect with. I can share what has worked for me, but it doesn’t mean it will work for you. What I do know is that no matter what religion or non religion one belongs to, or what book or method one studies, if we are committed to going deep within and seeking Truth, we will end up in a similar place.
#Gandhi #nothing #change #spirituality #truth
© 2020 Ben Phipps
“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Ghandi
Before we go too far…. Are you ready for nothing?
Are you really ready to go deep or do you want to stay in the zone of comfort, the distraction of ideas and possibilities?
“You must be the change you want to see in the world” -Ghandi
Ghandi brought peace and transformation, but it did not last. For lasting peace and transformation to occur, it must come from many people in order to develop the consciousness that Ghandi achieved. And we can start with “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”.
I keep repeating this quote because the world is filled with people and organizations who have ideas on how to solve our many problems without “being the change” or doing the deep work necessary to be the change. There are those with the attitude of “If everyone else was “fill in blank” (i.e. peaceful), then it would be much easier for me to be peaceful.” Or there are people who don’t see their own issues; for example, I don’t know anyone who would say they are not peaceful, but it is in observing their actions and thoughts that they would notice many non-peaceful thoughts or actions, no matter how small they think they may be. If I notice the clothes someone is wearing and I make a judgement, as simple as, “I can’t believe they would wear that” This, although small, is not peaceful.
What I like about Ghandi’s quote is it teaches us to stop worrying about what other people are doing or stop waiting for other people to change, “you must be the change, you want to see in the world.”.
So, before we go too far on this journey, or for any person or organization that wants to change the world, let’s keep this quote in front of us at all time to remind us. But use it with the personal subject “I” to help take personal responsibility.
“I must be the change I want to see in the world”
Once I realize, “I must be the change…” I am now ready to address the questions, how do I become the change I want to see in the world?
#Gandhi #truth #nothing #spirituality #seeing #judging
© 2020 Ben Phipps
Welcome to my blog about nothing and other thoughts.
I believe when we live in freedom, free from inner conflict and free to be who we are, the world is transformed in peace and oneness. For this freedom to take place, it must originate from an inner peace and knowing that only comes from going deep within and seeking Truth (God/Source, etc.).
As long as we see ourselves as separate from one another, we will live in conflict. And, as long as we live in inner conflict, the world’s problems will not be solved - other than temporarily.
So let us go deep, not to serve some agenda of solutions or ideas or other distractions, but for the sake of Truth only…..and we will be set free. From this, the right action will happen naturally.
And it all starts with understanding the power of nothing. The journey begins...
#nothing #God #truth #source #life
© 2020 Ben Phipps