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YOU ARE THE CHANGE Find Your Own Spirituality Make Your Life Count

Thomas Hutegger


Š Thomas Hutegger 2010 The right of Thomas Hutegger to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1998. Published in 2010 by Findhorn Press, Scotland ISBN 978-1-84409-196-6 All rights reserved. The contents of this book may not be reproduced in any form, except for short extracts for quotation or review, without the written permission of the publisher. A CIP record for this title is available from the British Library. Cover & Interior design by Damian Keenan Printed and bound in the USA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10

Published by Findhorn Press 117-121 High Street, Forres IV36 1AB, Scotland, UK t +44 (0)1309 690582 f +44 (0)131 777 2711 e info@findhornpress.com www.findhornpress.com


Contents

Acknowledgments ......................................................................................... Introduction .........................................................................................................

8 9

A Spiritual Frame-Work — My Key to Happiness Our understanding of the world is like a jigsaw puzzle ..... The two tasks humans can accomplish in this world ............. A belief-system that provides meaning and purpose, happiness and fulfillment .......................................................................... A tool of the universe ................................................................................... About Angels ..................................................................................................... Spiritual revolution ........................................................................................ Final judgment .................................................................................................. We are all one ..................................................................................................

13 19 24 29 33 37 42 48

My Life — My Opportunity for a Masterpiece Talents, passion and life’s purpose .................................................... To have vs. to do ............................................................................................. Healthy competition ...................................................................................... Responsibility .................................................................................................... Motivation from inside ................................................................................ Thank God it’s Friday! ................................................................................ Planning my future .........................................................................................

56 62 67 72 77 81 83


Contents

Traditions, customs and habits .............................................................. 87 A day on the beach… ................................................................................. 94 When bad things happen… ................................................................... 98 About dying… .................................................................................................. 103

Relationships — Our Path to Success Why are relationships so important? ............................................... The four seasons ............................................................................................. Romantic relationships ................................................................................ Having sex or making love ...................................................................... Allowing for change .................................................................................... Relationship myths ......................................................................................... Epilogue ................................................................................................................

110 114 120 126 130 135 141


Introduction

W

hen my wife and I divorced, our children, Becky and Jerry, were eight and three years old. Li Ching remained in Austria and assumed physical custody of the children. I immigrated to the United States, began parenting from a distance, and assumed financial responsibility for my children and their mother. The divorce was the right decision at that time. However, because of the separation, I was not physically there for my children. They had to grow up with only a mother. Their father was missing. It was very important to me to keep in contact with my children, to remain available to them, and to be supportive on an emotional level. I made it top priority to call them every weekend, even though sometimes this was not easy. I always felt that Becky, Jerry, and I had a very special relationship and connection. We discussed many topics frankly and openly. Still, I couldn’t be a role model and example through my daily actions and behaviors. They did not have the benefit of learning from me, through me. They missed out on the important experience of watching both parents live their lives. I was not able to explain many of my insights and thoughts to them given the time constraints of our weekly phone calls. It is of the highest importance that every generation learns from the previous one, so they don’t have to make the same mistakes, it doesn’t take them so long to figure things out that have already been learned, and they can build on the foundation their parents laid. Only in this way can humanity as a whole grow, in the understanding of the world we live in, and in finding a spiritual compass leading toward the light. 9


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Along the way, I have shared my thoughts with many people who came in and out of my life. It made me sad to know, though, that my own kids could not benefit from hearing more in detail about my thoughts and what my life experiences have taught me. Then one day, as I was writing an email to my daughter, I realized that I could use this medium to convey my life’s philosophy to both of my children. And so I did. This book is a collection of these emails. This book now has found its way into your hands. Maybe this indicates that you are searching for a better spiritual understanding of our existence and how to live in a meaningful and positive way. I am sure the Universe thinks you are ready to hear some of the ideas explained in this book, and that you will be able to adjust, clarify, correct, and further develop them. I am happy you are taking the time to read these texts, and I hope they inspire you too. Thomas Hutegger March 2010 Signal Hill, Tobago & Ft Lauderdale FL

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A Spiritual Frame-Work — My Key to Happiness

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Our understanding of the world is like a jigsaw puzzle

Dear Becky and Jerry, When I left, after your mother and I divorced, you were still very young. I have been far away, and although I tried to stay in touch as much as I could, I was not really all that present in your lives. It makes me sad to know that you had to spend your childhoods without your father physically present. Now that you are young adults, I’d like to share some of the lessons I’ve learned, and insights and ideas I’ve received over the years. I hope this information will help you to live more fulfilling and happy lives. The first and foremost insight is: Never take anything anybody says at face value! So often, certain “truths” are taught, told, and explained to me. After a while, they turn out to be only part of the truth, not true in all situations, or totally incorrect. I found it necessary to take control and assume responsibility for what I believe. I have decided to adhere to a system to determine what is true, and to rely strongly on myself to make that determination. In the Dark Ages, the church, as the sole purveyor of truth at the time, insisted (among other things) that the earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the Earth. Many people found discrepancies in the church’s teachings, and as a consequence, a split between science and religion occurred. The scientists declared that only things that are observable by several independent people and that are explainable with previously proven facts are to be accepted as new facts. 13


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If we follow this method, we don’t believe a theory if it cannot be explained with something we already know. And, only if several people can make the same observations and come to the same conclusions can we treat that theory as a new “truth.” I have learned that this is also the best way for me to treat information. It is important to question everything and to double-check what is stated. Only if it makes sense to me, based on all the information I have available, I allow it to enter into my collection of truths. Let me try to explain this idea a little more by using an analogy. Analogies sometimes make it easier for us to see the essence of the original concept, as the various points are clearer and more obvious. You could see this quest to understand the world around and within me as a huge jigsaw puzzle. Every bit of information is a piece of the picture. However, there are a lot of incorrect pieces, or pieces that may fit into another person’s picture but not into mine. So to get a better, clearer picture of the whys and wherefores of my life, the hows and whats of this world, my task is to find, among all the information I am confronted with along the way, those pieces that fit my picture. When somebody offers a new piece, I check to see whether it fits with the other pieces already there. Some pieces fit well, so I accept them and place them where they seem to belong. Others do not fit at all, and I discard them. Sometimes a piece seems to fit, but somehow it feels wrong, or vice versa. Such a piece I do not discard, but place in a separate area for further review. As time goes on and I keep learning more and more, I find that my understanding grows as well, and I am also getting a bit better at determining what to believe and when to be doubtful. Of course, sometimes I find pieces I have already accepted and placed in the picture are wrong. They had appeared right at the time, but after further information becomes available, they turn out to be inaccurate, incomplete, or incorrect. It is difficult to admit to myself that I made a mistake when I accepted those pieces in the first place. And it can be quite difficult to 14


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take such pieces out of the picture again. However, it is very important to do so. Any piece in the picture is used to validate new pieces, so an incorrect piece is not just distorting its own little spot of the picture; it also invites further flawed pieces to be accepted. Imagine a partially finished puzzle that unfortunately includes quite a few incorrect pieces. Obviously some “right” pieces will not fit into this picture. At the same time, further incorrect pieces might fit quite well. Once I begin to notice contradictions, I often realize there are incorrect truths in my understanding of the world. Usually the incorrect pieces of information currently in my picture collide with new pieces that appear right. Let me give you a simple example that illustrates this quite well. When I grew up, I was told that being rich is bad and being poor is good. At that time, I still tended to believe everything grownups told me, especially teachers, clergy, and parents. I accepted that information squarely into my picture. Later, when I started to observe more closely what was going on around me, I noticed some contradictions. I am supposed to help others around me. But how could I help somebody else if I was barely surviving myself? As long as I am struggling with survival, there is not much else I can do. Some of the rich people in this world are supporting good causes and make quite a positive difference. How can a rich person, who is causing a lot of goodness, not be a good person? I never got a reasonable clarification or explanation. And it just didn’t make sense to me. The glorification of being poor and damnation of being rich was obviously a distorted, if not incorrect, idea. And that idea collided with my observations. I learned that it is important to keep in mind that I am fallible in my attempts to understand this world. I have to accept that my current picture might be quite off. The best hope for help in these situations is to keep an open mind and constantly re-evaluate what I have already accepted into my picture. So in the puzzle analogy, I sometimes receive a piece of information, but I cannot immediately determine its validity. It may look 15


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right, but feel a bit off, or it might look incorrect, but feel right. Often in such a situation, I double-check those already accepted pieces that I used when checking the new piece of information. Sometimes this results in my identifying old pieces that need to be removed. Or sometimes it helps me realize that I should put more focus on a particular area and try to collect more pieces so I can get a better picture and come to a clearer understanding. Until a piece looks and feels right, I place it aside, almost as if it’s in quarantine, so I can look at it again later, when I have more information. There have been several times in my life when I realized that most of the picture I had developed over time of a particular topic was distorted beyond repair. I then basically threw out everything and started afresh. Back to my example: When I became aware of my talent for working with computers, I also became aware of the likelihood of my earning a good income if I chose a career in computers. Did that mean I would end up in hell if I became a programmer? Of course not! My inner dilemma encouraged me to look into this topic a little more carefully, to put some focus on this issue, and to get a better understanding of the connection of rich and poor versus good and bad. This pondering led me to a deeper understanding. I concluded that, in my view of the world and life, the whole rich/poor concept—as originally conveyed to me—was distorted beyond repair, so I threw it out. Out of that increased awareness grew a new set of moral ideals, which took the place of the old traditional concept. I realized that it is not important whether I am rich or poor; what matters is what I do with my assets and talents. If I were to focus only on my wealth or on accumulating wealth, I’d be missing the point of living. If I didn’t make use of my talents and abilities, I’d be missing the point of living as well. In the puzzle analogy, one could say I threw out the pieces that collided with new pieces that I determined were real and had to be accepted. After removing the bad ones, I started with a new piece as a base, and added other pieces one by one. I developed a new picture, which appeared to fit better in the whole puzzle. It also seemed more 16


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helpful as a guide for how to live my life, what to strive for, and what to avoid. In the emails to follow, you’ll find quite a few examples of instances when I threw out commonly accepted views and concepts and replaced them with new ideas. I don’t want to claim that these new ideas are truer than the ones I threw out. They are just truer in my life. I hope that you, over time, can weed out contents that don’t fit into your pictures-- based on your lives and experiences--and replace them with ideas that do fit and work better for you. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not recommending that you disregard what other people say. Quite the opposite! It is very important to listen carefully and to try and understand. This is the fastest and easiest way to collect new pieces of information. What I urge you to do, though, is to refrain from immediately accepting new information without reflecting, verifying and evaluating these new ideas for yourselves. It seems a daunting task to re-evaluate your whole philosophy of life. It is a lot of work and takes much effort and diligence. It would be so much easier to just accept anything you’re told. However, I want to be as effective and efficient as possible in fulfilling my mission here in this world. To do so, I need to base the decisions in my life on good pictures of reality. Also, it is a lot of fun and very interesting! Whenever I realize something new, I feel happy and alive. So what if it is a big task! Actually, since there is always more to learn, further to grow, and wiser to get, there will always be opportunities for me to feel good! :) More about that next time… For now, let me just wrap up by telling you how much I love you and how happy I am about the mindful way in which you’re living your lives! If you have questions, and you would like me to help you explore them, please tell me—I’ll do my best to help you find your own answers. With Love, Papa! 17


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“The important thing is never to stop questioning.” — A L B E RT E I N S T E I N

Be careful what you accept as truth, and what you discard. Be open minded toward different ideas— only new ideas can initiate the change necessary for positive development. Admit and accept your fallibility— remove previously accepted information once its incorrectness becomes known. Decisions are better, if they are based on an understanding of this world that is closer to what is really real.

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The two tasks humans can accomplish in this world

Dear Becky and Jerry, Last time I talked about the quest of understanding reality as if it is a puzzle game. We get pieces of information and have to decide if they fit into the picture and where they should go. It is quite a task to work on this puzzle. It never ends, and there is always more that could be added to the picture, always another way the picture can be extended, enhanced, or clarified. The question immediately arises, “Why?” Why spend all that effort on getting a good picture? Before I can give you my answer to this question, I have to make a little detour. Let me ponder some thoughts that will help you understand my reasoning. Imagine that some incident wipes out all humans on Earth, but leaves everything else pretty much untouched. So all plants and animals, the rocks, the sea, the air—all of that stays as is, except no more humans live here. Imagine how this world would look 200 years after that incident. Most likely, our structures would be inhabited by animals and overgrown by vines, trees, and bushes. Life on Earth would have found a balance again, where everything lives and grows according to the laws of nature. The rate at which species of plants and animals become extinct would probably drop back to a more natural level. The level of greenhouse gases might have started to recede. The pollution created by humans would be slowly “worked up” by nature. The seas might have recovered from over-fishing. Forests would have wolves and bears again. Domesticated animals might have reverted to a natural 19


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way of life or would have been replaced by life forms that could fend for themselves without our interference. The cycle of eating and being eaten would have brought balance back to this planet. Now imagine the planet Earth 10,000 years later and compare it to how it might have looked 200 years after the event. I think we would find it essentially the same; not much would have changed. Man-made structures would have deteriorated even more, but the plants would still be there, the animals would still be there, everything would still be in balance. And if something happened that kicked the system out of balance, it would find its balance again after a little while. Each member of this world is contributing to the continuation and balance of the system. My conclusion from this mental exercise is that everything in this world is fulfilling the purpose of perpetuating the system and of keeping it in balance. So far there has been no incident that has wiped out humans. And if we look at the world as it must have been 1,000 years ago, and 100 years ago, even just fifty years ago, and compare it with today, we see the tremendous changes that have occurred. And almost all of these changes were made, or at least caused, by humans. Also, it seems that the speed of change has accelerated as history approaches our current time. My conclusion from this observation is that humans are the “Change Agents” in this system. Interestingly, though, humans are not only Change Agents, but are also tasked with perpetuating the system, just like all other animals. The two basic drives of all life on Earth—ensuring the survival of the species and ensuring the survival of the individual—also apply to humans. We are made of the same materials as everything else around us, and the material of our body is going to be recycled by the system and used to build other elements. We eat and are eaten. We mate; we bear and raise offspring. We try to survive, and strive to ensure the survival of our family, our pack, and our species. And we die, just like every other life form in this world. 20


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There is more that makes us different from other species. Aside from that effect we have on this system—or maybe to ensure we can have this effect—there are two major differences: Our intellectual capabilities are quite a bit stronger than those of even the smartest, most intelligent animals. One interesting aspect is that humans can look at themselves from the outside, that is, we can put ourselves intellectually into the position of an observer “looking down” at what we are doing and how we are acting and behaving in any particular situation. The second difference, and this is a big one, is that we have “free will.” We can choose what we want to do. That second reason makes it possible for us to cause change. Without the free will, our actions would be predetermined, and as such, there wouldn’t be a change, just a continuation! So what’s the big deal about all this? Looking around, I see a lot of destruction that we have caused. So far, we haven’t made this world a better place; rather we’ve made it much worse. Man-made pollution, hunting to extinction, destruction of forests, not to mention wars, genocides, crime.… We are using our additional abilities—those that equip us to be Change Agents—only to further the goals of our “animal” side: striving for our own survival and the survival of our group. Interestingly, even though our brains are more capable than those of other animals, we still don’t really understand that by looking only at the survival of ourselves and our group, we are undermining the survival of our species. All of the above are simply straightforward observations and conclusions about physical reality. At this point, I would like to add a spiritual component to the discussion. I believe that each of our souls (and I’m going to write about the topic “soul” much more another time) chose to incarnate into a human in the hope to effect, facilitate, or prepare for a particular change in this system. It seems logical to me that if my soul wished to contribute to this world by only perpetuating the system, it would be 21


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much easier and more effective to incarnate as an animal. That way, my soul would work totally within the boundaries and guidance of the system. There would be no risk of causing irreparable damage. However, my soul chose to incarnate as a human. The only explanation I can come up with for this is that my soul wanted to contribute by being a Change Agent. If one accepts this concept as valid, the questions each individual must ask and answer for themselves are: Do I want to choose to be a Change Agent, or do I choose to be a system-perpetuator? Do I want to live my life working only to ensure my own and my group’s survival and affect change unintentionally (without being mindful of the change I am causing, and without intending that change), as a quasi side effect, or do I want to live my life attempting to consciously and intentionally effect change? I can neither answer those questions for you, nor prove to you that the concept they are based on is true. You have to do both for yourselves. I lived the first several decades of my life ignorant of these ideas. Today, I feel I might have been more successful in affecting positive change had I been aware of them sooner. So I am explaining these thoughts to you, hoping that being aware of these ideas earlier in your lives may enable you to live more mindfully at a younger age. I hope you will try to understand, then see if it makes sense to you, and if so, come up with your own answers. With Love, Papa!

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Thank God it’s Friday!

Hello Becky and Jerry, I was standing in line at my favorite bagel shop this morning when I overheard somebody sighing, “Thank God it’s Friday!” Hmm! Thank God another week is over? Here’s a little math question: If we assume we’re going to reach the age of about eighty years, how many Fridays will we see in our whole lifetime? I know, that’s easy! There are about fifty weeks in a year. Multiply that by eighty years, and we’ll see that we’ll celebrate about four thousand Fridays in our lifetime! Four thousand! Only four thousand! That’s not many, if you think of it! How easy is it to spend $4,000! How quickly $4,000 can disappear! Imagine that when we are born, we each get a wallet with four thousand coins. And every Friday evening, somebody comes and picks up one of our coins. No matter what we did with that week, the coin is gone. As I am writing this, I have already spent more then half of my four thousand coins! There’s not much left in my wallet! When I made this calculation the first time, it changed my attitude and with that, my exclamation on Fridays to: “Oh my God! It’s already Friday again?” And, not always, but more and more, I add: “Thank God I used my week well! I hope I can also use the next one to progress on the path of my life’s purpose.” With Love, Papa! 81


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We have only about four thousand weeks in our life. With every single one of those weeks, we can choose to make it a week worth living, or a week that was wasted. Every single week is a chance to be happy, to pursue fulfillment, and to make a difference.

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Traditions, customs and habits

Dear Becky and Jerry, I just had a long discussion with Benny about why Tobago is still a developing country. The insights we gained from our conversation are interesting, relevant, and applicable to every person’s life. So I thought I would share these thoughts with you. I think the reason Tobago has not achieved “developed country” status is not a lack of money. There is currently more money available than the government can spend in a sensible fashion. Neither does Tobago suffer from lack of information. With the existence and availability of the Internet, all the information in the world is easily accessible and just a mouse click away. It is also not that Tobagonians are not capable or talented enough to take their society to a higher level of development. In the four years I lived on Tobago, I met many very intelligent and hard-working persons. I have come to the conclusion that the real reasons for the situation are traditions, customs, and habits. Let’s look at how habits, customs and traditions develop. It all starts with a problem. Once people become aware of the problem, they try to find a solution. Often they use all available information and all the current environmental restrictions and parameters to define the most suitable solution. Sometimes part of the information used for developing a “good” solution is not really factual, but also includes assumptions, erroneous beliefs, or misperceptions. Usually, if not always, not all relevant and necessary information is available. Consequently, the solution might be good, or it might be quite flawed. 87


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But for the moment the problem is solved. Whenever it occurs again, the same solution is applied, and all is fine. After a while, people get into the habit of responding to similar situations in the same fashion. Once a habit is formed, little thought goes into the why of the solution anymore. Obviously, things change: additional information becomes available, or some of the environmental parameters change. However, we are in the habit of responding to a certain problem in a certain way. So we don’t look at the new information, and we don’t re-evaluate the solution against the changed parameters. In a way, some of the original reasons that made this solution optimal are no longer relevant or applicable. We still apply the solution in the way we always did, but the reasoning behind that solution becomes weaker and weaker. Soon the habit turns into a custom. People say, “We customarily deal with such a situation in this fashion,” or “This is how we always did it,” or “This is how we do it here!” The packaging of the solution is still the same—we are performing the same tasks and the same steps. However, the content, i.e. the relevance of the reasoning behind the solution, becomes less and less. In time, customs turn into traditions. At this point, the original reason behind what is being done has all but disappeared. All that is left is the empty shell of performing some ritual, without any thought or understanding of the original reasons or rationale. I’m sure you have already heard of the following example. When baking a pork roast, a woman cuts off the ends of the meat when she puts it into the baking pan. One day her daughter asks why she’s doing that. All the woman can come up with is that her mother did it like that. So the daughter asks her granny for the reason. She doesn’t know, either. Her mother did it like that, so she does it too. At the next visit to the nursing home, the daughter asks her great-grandmother for the reason. The great-grandmother laughs and says, “The only reason for cutting off the ends of the roast was that the pan was too small to hold the whole piece of meat!” 88


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Some of our traditions are still relevant. For example, in the United States, we traditionally drive on the right side of the road. Other traditions may be less obviously beneficial and could in some cases be hindering. For example, we tend to work from nine to five, the consequences of which are rush-hours and traffic jams. It might be good to revisit this tradition, think it through, and maybe in certain situations be a bit non-traditional. It seems to me, though, that many, many of our traditions and customs are really quite out of date. As you noticed, the various topics in my emails to you mostly break with traditional views and beliefs and attempt to look at issues afresh, with all the information available to me today and in the context of today’s world. I am not implying that all traditions need to be changed. However, I do want to say that they all should be reevaluated every now and then. Now, when I am asked to do something because it is “the tradition,” I ask the person to explain the tradition’s purpose, how it is relevant and applicable to today’s environment and situation, and if there is perhaps a better way to deal with this situation. More often than not, the person doesn’t even know what the original problem was. If the person seems open-minded enough and ready for it, I might also ask how the custom is negatively affecting the current situation. Very often, once one dares to consider this question, quite severe disadvantages become obvious. One example of a mindset that has caused a lot of pain and unnecessary problems is the whole idea of race, and the traditions and customs around that. Another example is our traditional view of marriage, which has ruined the lives of so many people. What we traditionally consider “successful” has hindered so many people from following their callings, forcing them into careers where they were miserable all of their working lives. Looking at traditions that affect whole communities, regions, or countries, the negative impact is even greater. For example, the way developed countries such as the United States, Canada, and the European nations deal with immigration is not just unfair, unjust, and 89


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plain cruel, it is also totally ineffective and counterproductive, and it creates tremendous negative energy. I think there is a great chance that all this negative energy will explode one day and severely hurt many people living in those countries. Religious traditions are also part of this category. Hatred propagated through religious channels against believers of other teachings has caused so many wars and so much pain and suffering. Another example is our legal system, which is based on revenge and threat, instead of motivation and enlightenment. Among the developed countries, the United States has the greatest number of prisoners per capita, yet it is still the most dangerous “developed” country to be in. The word “heritage” describes yet another example for a whole group of questionable traditions. It sends chills to my bones and gets me all riled up! In the area surrounding Atlanta, Georgia, many Civil War reenactments are held every year. People get all excited and nostalgic, put on old uniforms, and glorify the Civil War. The fact that the Confederated army went to war to secure what today is seen as a cruel, extremely inhuman system—the use of slaves—is totally blanked out and overlooked. People talk about “our heritage”. Well, yes, it is. But is it something to be happy about? Is it something that must be glorified and remembered? Aspects of the whole controversy that took place 140 years ago are well worth remembering, but those are totally overlooked and ignored. In Tobago, every year the Tobago Heritage Festival takes place. Throughout the island, cultural events are organized. Most, if not all, events re-enact things from the past. Here, too, people get all excited and find it wonderful. I ask: Is the time of slavery such a great thing to memorialize in celebration? Is the time when people had to work seven days a week, from before sunrise to after sunset, and hardly survived, really a great time to remember? Are old superstitions something to glorify, or do they help us realize that we often choose to believe something because we don’t know, and therefore we ought to re-evaluate our beliefs frequently? 90


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The Tobago Heritage Festival’s slogan is, “And She Becomes More Beautiful.” Aside from the context of this festival, anybody will tell you, “She becomes much worse!” Crime is on the rise, pollution is taking on gigantic proportions, traffic increases, and so does the gap between the wealthy and the poor. I am hard-pressed to find anything that is getting better on the island, at least during the four years I have lived there. When the feminist movement of the 1960s started, the first followers were totally extreme, over the top, way out there. I think, though, that it was necessary for them to be extremists. The status quo was so cast in cement that it took a big earthquake to crack the concrete, to shake people up to start thinking, and so make change possible. Maybe I am as extreme in my attitude toward heritage and traditions as the early feminists were about the liberation of women. But if change is to happen around this topic, it needs an earthquake just as strong as the feminists’ cause. Let me take a more analytic, abstract view. Heritage events anywhere are focused on the past. Usually most of the unpleasant aspects of that past—of which there are plenty—are ignored, while other aspects are glorified, idealized, or even invented. Festival participants are excited and inspired about something. In the case of heritage events, people usually get nostalgic. They talk about “the good old days.” They start thinking about how we could get back to where we were. The general energy created by such events is directed backward. If the past was so great, why did we change it? Well, it wasn’t that great at all! We all have much better lives today than any earlier generation ever had! But today isn’t all that great, either. War, discontent, ignorance, and injustice are widespread. But, I think that human living conditions are better today than they were just twenty years ago, not to mention 100 or even 1,000 years ago. Since the past was worse than today, and today is in need of improvement, it seems quite obvious that we really should be looking 91


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ahead, not backward. So why not organize “future events”?—events where people get excited about where our society could go. Instead of enacting a war, enact a society where conflict is resolved in a civilized way. Instead of glorifying a time when some people were owned by others, glorify a time when people are free to choose how they can contribute to this creation. So how does this apply to us as individuals? I choose to reject any tradition if the original reason is totally lost, or if there is a better way to deal with the underlying problem. And I try to help people around me understand that traditions can hinder improvement of the situation. Instead of participating in heritage festivals, I use them to start a discussion about change. These talks, I hope, provide the opportunity to see that we are focusing on the past, when a focus on the future would be more beneficial. The feminists of the 60s were necessary to shake up a system and prepare for change. Today the situation has changed. Women are no longer seen as less capable, less worthy, less intelligent. A 60s feminist approach, if applied today, would be fighting a battle that has been over for a long time. Women’s challenges today are different and require different approaches, a different focus for solution. Today’s battle about heritage, tradition, and cultural customs may require extreme rejections, which is how I choose to live my life. Your situations, dear Becky and Jerry, are much different from mine, I hope; and you might need different approaches and focus. I wanted to explain the above so you may understand. I hope your generation will focus more on the future, and less on the past. With Love, Papa!

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MY LIFE — MY OPPORTUNIT Y FOR A MASTERPIECE

“A step ahead when facing back, is really a step back.” — THOMAS HUTEGGER

Traditions, customs, and habits have developed from old-time solutions. Times, situations, knowledge, and understanding have changed and improved. Frequent re-evaluations of any “old” solution are important to allow for growth. Traditions, customs and habits are the biggest hindrances to development. Concreted-in traditions may need an earthquake —to shake up people enough to rethink the topic. Resistance to traditions can become a tradition itself, one that needs to be reevaluated frequently. My personal growth is possible because I question and re-evaluate every tradition, custom, and habit that I have been taught and told. I keep the ones that still make sense, adjust those that need adjustment, and discard outdated ones.

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Epilogue

Dear reader, The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that there is one—so they say. I think that to recognize a problem, one must first open one’s mind. The most important message I wanted to send to my kids with my emails was just this: dare to keep an open mind! An open mind will see the problems and start searching. Who searches shall find—so they say, too. The examples and ideas in this book are what I found. The insights and spiritual views I described work well for me. However, they can only be seeds for thought for you; a starting point, maybe. You have to find your own answers and your own questions. One thing is clear: This world is a mess! Actually, it is not this world that is a mess. This world is beautiful, it is paradise. We humans are the mess! If we continue doing what we’ve done so far, we can’t expect different results—they also say. So if we want the mess to get less and the situation to improve, then we need to change, to do things differently, to find different priorities and new approaches. I hoped to inspire my children to venture beyond the usual, traditional, to encourage them to look at things differently, and to help them find their own spirituality and, through that, to find happiness. My goal for this book is the same. May it encourage you to go beyond your comfort zone and that of society. May it point you in a direction that will eventually lead you to a happier and more fulfilled life. In my emails, I invited my children to send me comments and ask questions. I would like to extend this invitation to you, too. 141


YOU ARE THE CHANGE

Please email me at comments@toolOfTheUniverse.org. While I may not be able to respond to every email, depending on the volume, I intend to read every one of them and reply to many. Feedback, questions, and ideas from people who are communicating with me have helped me come to new realizations, to crystallize ideas and insights, and to understand my own hang-ups and hold-backs. I appreciate your taking the time to write me. So for now, Happy Searching, and may you discover many beautiful insights! May life treat you kindly! And may you treat it kindly in return!

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You Are the Change (Thomas Hutegger) book excerpt