Today I was faced with this image. ‘The Buddha of Our Times’.
It really got me thinking about our values and influences as human beings, and how we have allowed them to shape our current personas, situations, and everyday lives in general.
The Buddha – a figurhead of mindful awareness that has (somewhat ironically) shaped people’s beliefs for millenia, in which a lot of faith and trust is placed, has been transformed in this picture into a representation of 21st century compartmentalized life and chaos.
Maybe ‘allowed’ is a bit too strong a word. Growing up it is rare that we have any sort of control over our external environment and relationships, and so often we find ourselves answering for the actions of others that have unfortunately become intertwined with our own experiences. Parental influences in particular are things that people find difficult to differentiate themselves from, as exposure from an early age is one of the key issues when it comes to shaking off unhealthy practices – children learn only what they are presented with, and so a negative habit or notion of a parent will ultimately affect them more strongly than it would were it coming from another aspect in their life.
But there are influences coming at us from all angles. The aeroplanes, helicoptors, and various other air vessels prove that it’s not just the obvious and visual aspects of life that can influence us. Things we wouldn’t expect, things that aren’t planned. They all impact on our inner peace and even more interesting is when we consider that they themselves have their own journey and personal goals and destinations they are trying to reach. We all get in each others way at some point.
The important and most difficult part is staying grounded and within your own two feet on the ground when this happens. Though this image is at first somewhat unsettling to observe, and would even evoke a sense of dystopian loss of identity and independence, on the whole I feel that after a time of considering the different elements here (and of our world), the overall form of the Buddha stays true to his original message, and is strong and accepting of the challenges posed by the world around it.