Friday, November 28, 2008

About Your Tower of Babel

by Paul Barrow

I watched a couple of eagles flying over my house the other day, and from the time that I saw them until they disappeared over the distant trees, they never flapped their wings once. If you're an eagle, once you're aloft, flying becomes almost effortless. You just have to learn to use the force and strength of the environment around you to take you where you want to go, and you have to go with the flow.

That's a cliche, obviously. But even a bird will run before it lifts off, if it's on the ground like we are. If we looked at our lives a little more the way a pilot looks at a runway in front of him, we would recognize that, if we want to become airborne, we need a little ground ahead of us to gain the proper speed. And until we reach the proper altitude, there's some power and strength that's required to get to where we want to be.

When it comes to flying, however, we're probably a lot more like the ground under our feet than we are eagles. Rocks don't usually fly, and we invent our modern-day Towers of Babel as a substitute, elevating ourselves and others, particularly our presidents, to imagined places of importance, because we tend to associate flying and high places with the heights of glory and power and memorialize that with our images of eagles.

You can build yourTower of Babel, but you've got to start with the rocks beneath your feet. When you begin to see their value, you may begin to realize that it isn't in fact rocks beneath your feet but something you are within yourself that you share with them that gives you any potential to do that in the first place. You can struggle for a place at the top of the heap, or you can struggle to place someone else there, but it makes neither you nor he any more important than all the other pebbles, or more valuable. It takes all of you to make the tower, and therefore, the significance of towers becomes rather meaningless and obsolete.

As Dr. Wayne Dyer is so fond of saying, if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

The ground is nothing more than the room you need to straighten up when you get up in the morning, and the wife you greet with a kiss instead of a grimace. It's the homeless man on the street who shares a deep spiritual connection with your vision and cannot be excluded from it. It's whatever you are doing right now, in the place you are, with what you have, that matters the most. Dreams count for a great deal, but they cannot exclude your family, your friends, your job, and your community. You can only build your tower when you are lifting other rocks to the highest place they can be positioned. It's a commitment to make the very best of the way things are and what you can contribute to the value of the whole that propels you to the kind of atmosphere you desire.

We believe, in United Progressives, by uniting, that it is going to take all of us, and that we should grasp the thing that we have, that we are, to embrace it, and to dignify it, because, good or bad in the eyes of others, we are justified. We are all of something that has gone on before us. We are all, individually and collectively, the very fruit of divine process. Whatever differences we may have, it is us, working together, that will achieve the kinds of change we really seek.

That is our politics:

To have consideration, respect, and above all, love for one another. By lifting others up, we lift ourselves. To have objectivity in our work, a willingness to debate our views openly, and to apply creativity and innovation to all our objectives, accepting nothing but the very best that we can do.

Never to be in a hurry, because that removes all the other priorities, and timeliness, only if all other conditions can be met. There is a time for all things. And there's a time for you. That time is closest to the moment when you have given the best that you have to others.

Paul Barrow
Co-Director/Policy and Communications

United Progressives
44 Music Square East
Nashville, TN 37203


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