Row, Lend Ballast or Go Gently from the Boat

Or, as it usually goes: “Lead, follow or get out of the way,” said at times of urgency, times that demand clear lines of authority.  lead, follow and get out

Times of urgency create pressure to follow the clear command of strong authority, to escape the panic of fear and confusion. Anyone who seems to have some idea of a clear direction will be able to command forces.

In other times, in the lulls between storms,  the need for resolute action is no longer felt so urgently–the pressure is gone. The absence of any sense of urgency about hot spots and pressure zones is evidence of some kind of numbing effect as the environmental pressures continue to accelerate throughout the world, on so many levels–political, environmental, social, economic–of upheaval.

If we understand that the situation in the world is quite critical in some areas, then the need for deliberate action remains, yet it is being ignored, at the peril of many who co-exist in this small boat that is our shared environment, the Earth.

Row, Lend Ballast or Go Gently from the Boat

fishingOur relative comfort, in the developed nations, has led to the pervasive idea we are here on Earth to enjoy its richness. If we could see how precious is the beauty of the world, it would completely flip this idea that it is here for us to plunder. Yet we continue to plunder and continue to feel entitled to receive the benefits of a vast infrastructure of support as if children, or tourists on a cruise.

To see how precious the resources of the planet, to watch the devastation occur to species and environments, is to wake up to the fact that all hands on deck are here to assist a great enterprise, this world and all it contains, including all the achievements of humankind.

“You have come into the world at a great turning point, a turning point only part of which you will see in your lifetime. It is a turning point where your world gains contact with worlds in its vicinity. This is the natural evolution of humanity, as it is the natural evolution of all intelligent life in all worlds.” —Step 190 from Steps to Knowledge

First Get on Board

In most situations, leadership is nothing but following orders from on high, wherever that is deemed to be. A great deal of confusion exists in the world because of the many sources vying for claims of authority and old voices of authority being challenged.

And then there’s the confusion within each individual, the inner crisis of having an inner sense of being on Earth for a purpose while being lulled into thinking that purpose is for their own edification or enjoyment. This would be in the pockets of relative affluence where survival needs are taken for granted. The affluent as well, of course, are subject to ensuring the survival of their customary way of living. The need to get on board as part of the crew–to understand there are no passengers, only crew–is pervasive throughout all levels of relationship, in marriage and family and in organizations.

Freedom for Dedicated and Coordinated Purpose

The inner crisis–wait, was I given this gift of life for a reason? What must I accomplish here in my time on Earth?–burns like a festering wound or other outbreak of simmering unease, a pressure that can be displaced or ignored until it reaches urgency to more pronounced effect.

Navigating through this journey on Earth at this critical time, it becomes ever more clear this ship is not designed as a pleasure boat for the few. Hence the upgrade to the old bark of an order to get in line fast (“lead, follow or get out of the way”) to the analogy of the crew on a ship, a crew that unfortunately will face casualties in the storms to come–some will get washed overboard who are not paying attention:

“Row, lend ballast or go gently from the boat.”

Religious freedom is a rare thing in the universe, when you realize the stakes in allowing individuals to have a feeling of righteous ownership over their personal sovereignty, haphazardly following a higher power seen only to themselves.


There is only one boat

Often, there is no other boat! No “Planet B” where we can go work out our differences. Situational ethics boils the question down to the bare essence–if you had to choose, what would you choose. Not all situations fit that lifeboat situation, the challenge there to be prepared when the situation does call for nothing but pure self-protective, self-directed LEADing!!! when so often following or getting out of the way will suffice the needs of the day.

Are you really taking that with you?

So check your baggage–everything you carry will ultimately result in Option #1, to syncretize (or not, of course), which is compromise, of course, but it must be understood as an evolutionary skill that has value. Because it works.

The burdens we carry are as mysterious as the great treasures of the Kingdom within, so no shame in maintaining the mysterious.

Only to understand there are few options that boil down to

  • Lead, follow, get out of the way.
  • Syncretize, argue or run. [True leadership quite rare?]
  • Join or do not join:

. Many, many choose to “leave the boat” on a momentary basis or long stretches, so checked out, swept so far downstream, mercy is all that can be offered as they race by, dragged by heavy weights they must release before able even to cope with sounds of rescue.

Lead, follow or get out of the way?

Many, many find safety in drifting away from the tide of the new, the wave of power building that first responders will grasp and be ready to move with. Many now are reading the signs of current events as if to reinforce a hidden belief that God looks out for God’s favorites.

Option #3 has serious trade-offs but will affect the majority of all who live:

  1. To abdicate is suicide.
  2. To compartmentalize is compromise.
  3. Denial is consequential.