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James Baldwin quote

“Most people live in almost total darkness… people, millions of people whom you will never see, who don’t know you, never will know you, people who may try to kill you in the morning, live in a darkness which — if you have that funny terrible thing which every artist can recognize and no artist can define — you are responsible to those people to lighten, and it does not matter what happens to you. You are being used in the way a crab is useful, the way sand certainly has some function. It is impersonal. This force which you didn’t ask for, and this destiny which you must accept, is also your responsibility. And if you survive it, if you don’t cheat, if you don’t lie, it is not only, you know, your glory, your achievement, it is almost our only hope — because only an artist can tell, and only artists have told since we have heard of man, what it is like for anyone who gets to this planet to survive it. What it is like to die, or to have somebody die; what it is like to be glad. Hymns don’t do this, churches really cannot do it. The trouble is that although the artist can do it, the price that he has to pay himself and that you, the audience, must also pay, is a willingness to give up everything, to realize that although you spent twenty-seven years acquiring this house, this furniture, this position, although you spent forty years raising this child, these children, nothing, none of it belongs to you. You can only have it by letting it go. You can only take if you are prepared to give, and giving is not an investment. It is not a day at the bargain counter. It is a total risk of everything, of you and who you think you are, who you think you’d like to be, where you think you’d like to go — everything, and this forever, forever.”

Quote by James Baldwin, from the book The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings

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Real Rest Comes from Being Awake

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“Rest does not come from sleeping but from waking.” –ACIM

Until we wake up individually, we will not have peace. Until we wake up as a people, we will not have peace.

The neglect, the fear of the unknown, and the comfort in the familiar has put us in a compromising place. And what we are compromising is our freedom. I don’t mean our personal rights, I mean our happiness as a birthright. Who we are is love. Who we are is peace. Who we are is awareness. And until we begin to live from that space, we will continue to suffer. Not only that — but we will continue to question ourselves and wonder what life is all about.

I can tell you that life is not about work. It is not about money. It is not about “getting ahead.” It is not about war. It is not about “well I’ll do something when they do something.” It is not about “when the time comes.” It is not about “one day.” It is about right here, right now. It is about YOU. It is about your true nature — Love! You are Love. I’ve heard it said before that the opposite of love is fear, yet most of us base how we live our lives on fear. We choose from a place of fear instead of love. We do this over & over again, without realizing it.

James Baldwin made a comment in a video (in the 1960’s) that was spot on. He said, “The [United States] is for the first time worried about [a movement]. You shouldn’t be worried about [a movement], that’s not the problem. The problem is to eliminate the conditions which breed [a movement].”

Most people think that something will solve a problem; let’s cure the symptoms! I say, No! Let’s look at the cause! Let’s examine the root! Leave the symptoms be and bear the discomfort. Be accountable and do what it takes to radically correct the root cause. And the fastest way to do this is within each and every one of us, individually, by taking personal responsibility. And then collectively, together as a people, by sharing ourselves and our lives with each other, by sharing our challenges & changes, our personal accountability & insights — together we change the world.

If we want to feel well rested, if we want to feel free, if we want to feel secure, if we want to feel peace, if we want to feel love — then it’s time we wake up! It’s time we take off the mask that we have been programmed to wear. It’s time to be ourselves. James Baldwin said it beautifully in this quote: “Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” Love is who we are. Let’s allow Love to show us what being human is all about. Let’s let Love show us how to live.

[This blog post was an except from a post I wrote in 2011.]

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