Turtle Talk Editorial: Don’t sweat the small stuff!

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – and it’s all small stuff, is the title of a book by Richard Carlson, Ph.D. This is difficult to perceive at best when we are constantly bombarded through the news media with tragedy after tragedy on local, national, and international levels.

It is very difficult to perceive as small stuff, multiple highway accidents and fatalities, repeated mass murders and especially at schools, on job sites, among family members and associates, and especially the ongoing massacres of war crimes and casualties around the world. 

With increased realization of who we are, why we exist, and especially in what incomparable age we are living, even these things begin to pale in significance and become “small stuff” in comparison over which we have more control than we are led to believe.

Depok Chopra puts it most succinctly with the thought-provoking statement: “We see ourselves as physical beings seeking spiritual experiences when in reality we are just the opposite, spiritual beings seeking physical experiences.”

This concept was really brought home to me during a 2-day Ruhi Institute Baha’i conference once held at Hemlock Haven in Hungry Mother Park, Marion, VA. With a simple diagram on a flip chart, the facilitator graphically depicted a tiny dot on a long curved line across the page which originates from and returns to its Creator. That line represented the journey of the soul, from God to God. The tiny dot represented the infinitesimal time span within which that soul connects and associates with the human body–which serves as a launching pad through timelessness and spacelessness on its return home.

As we only understand by comparison, there is little that we can compare with timelessness and spacelessness except perhaps through dreams while asleep. Only then are the mind and spirit free to soar limitlessly until we awake and put them back into the box. This analogy also depicts limitlessness, hard to perceive in this tiny capsule called life which is totally bound by physical limits further reduced by self-imposed limitations and free will, the only world of God, we are told, in which we will possess such freedom.

The embryo in the womb of the mother is totally dependent upon the will of God and the volition of that mother for the development of all of its physical parts, none to be used in that world. All are in preparation for its next realm of existence. Upon dying of that world and being born into this one it is the soul, associated with that infant alone, that is totally dependent on the will of God and the volition of its “mother” to develop it for its next realm of entry–as vast in contrast, we are told, as this world is to the womb of the mother.

The key word is capacity. Each is endowed with a different capacity which none can adequately determine. With this in mind, it is the duty of good parents to teach their children to be independent of them. Likewise, the primary aim of a good teacher is to teach each student, according to capacity, to be strongly independent of them and in like manner the aim of a good spiritual leader is to prepare souls to be independent of all save God.

Such critical training should then receive the highest priority and be taught at the earliest possible stages of childhood as academics can be quickly acquired through today’s multiple high-tech methods while the spiritual and moral die is pretty firmly cast prior to age 5. The big difference is religious education as opposed to religious indoctrination. As the head of the area Hindu community recently stated: “People don’t join religions. They follow them, as indoctrinated by their predecessors.

The sooner we learn to abide by the laws of God (as taught by word and deed) the less need there would be for man-made laws which are less equitable in creation, enforcement of, and punishment for having been broken. With increased recognition of and adherence to the eternal laws of God there would really be no need to sweat the small stuff–and it’s all small stuff if it’s transitory.

 “O ye lovers of God!” state the Baha’i Writings. “Make firm your steps in His cause in such wise that ye shall not be shaken, though the direst of calamities assail the world! By nothing; under no conditions be ye perturbed. . .”