I woke up this morning in a classic rock daydream. The tune echoing in my mind was ‘Your Move,’ from the 1971 release of The YES Album by the British prog-rock band, YES. I couldn’t justify a reason why this particular song should be forefront in my mind — so I took a moment to revisit it to see if, perhaps, there was something else there.
Take a straight and stronger course to the corner of your life.
Make the white Queen run so fast
she hasn’t got time to make you wife.
’Cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time and it’s news is captured for the Queen to use.
Move me on to any black square
Use me anytime you want.
Just remember that the gold
Is for us all to capture all we want, anywhere.
Don’t surround yourself with yourself
Move on back two squares.
Send an instant karma to me
Initial it with loving care.
Don’t surround yourself with yourself
’Cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time and it’s news is captured for the Queen to use.(All we are saying is give peace a chance).
I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day
So satisfied I’m on my way.
– Jon Anderson, 1971 © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
‘Your Move’ is an anti-war and spiritual call to action. The time and context of this song are framed by the turbulent era surrounding the Vietnam conflict. By 1971, the Vietnam war was approaching its 10th anniversary. The expenses of the war were becoming overwhelming both in the cost of human life and currency. The United States actively discussed removing the Gold Standard from the US dollar at this time, enabling needed financial flexibility for the military-industrial complex and some high-level banking opportunities through printing additional currency. The Federally imposed military draft had many questioning where their liberties and inalienable rights had gone. Protests and riots had become commonplace in Western cultures, illustrating the citizen outrage over topics ranging from the war, competing religious and political ideologies, government spending, racial inequality, and social class discrepancies. The media was right in the center of all of it, profiting from inflammatory messaging and manipulating the population’s hearts and minds to their benefit.
“All good people” are those that hope for peace and well-being. The intent of the heart defines the boundary for this categorization as opposed to a nation or government. Songwriter Jon Anderson likens our lives to a chess game: the liberty-loving individual and symbolic collective of individuality, competing with the present and the unseen governing hand. The Queen is the most versatile of all of the pieces and correspondingly is the most powerful. It is wise to watch out for the Queen [and her manipulations]. The song is being sung from the perspective of the Black Bishop as suggested by the “straight and stronger course to the corner,” “making the White Queen run so fast,” and “move me onto any black square.” It would also seem that the Black Bishop is counseling the Black Queen to avoid surrounding “yourself with yourself,” the second yourself likely being the army of pawns [or body of politic] — as doing this would severely inhibit her ability to move. Surrounding “yourself with yourself” is an allusion to self-righteousness, a trap that will effectively eliminate forward progress and remove you from the game. Should you become a victim of your self-righteousness, is all lost? “Move on back two squares” is a chess term for ‘retreat and rethink.’ If you can muster it, share a little kindness (with a tip of the hat to John Lennon) and chart that “straight and stronger course to the corner of your life.” Your “instant karma” for kindness offered engages a return of gratitude and happiness — ‘Your Move.’
But all of this happened over 50 years ago and is ancient history, right?
In the ranks of “All Good People” is a Vietnamese Thien Buddhist monk named Thích Nhãt Hanh. He is considered the main inspirator for Engaged Buddhism — or the search to find modern application to traditional Buddhist teachings and beliefs. He was also a peace activist on ‘the other side’ of the Vietnam conflict. I was recently impressed by one of his teachings:
When another person makes you suffer, it is because they suffer deeply within themselves, and their suffering is spilling over. They do not need punishment; they need help. That’s the message they are sending.
– Thích NhÃt HAnh
Like many of you, I have observed a tremendous amount of suffering in our Nation over the past year. The Heber Valley has not been immune as a greater pandemic is sweeping the country. The disruption created by COVID-19 has created a condition where we are all mourning at some level. I see this condition intensified in the Heber Valley as we navigate the most intense growth period of our community’s history. I see anger, locally, that I have never seen before. It is spread all across our social media pages, our roads, our neighborhoods; it is manifest towards small business owners, workforces, and the few leaders who have been willing to step up and guide this ship through the storm. Anger is a disease as real as the virus, causing havoc in our quaint mountain valley. Anger is not in our heritage, and it does not belong here.
Can we find a “straight and stronger course?” Is it possible to “move on back two squares?” I believe it is, and the solution is simple. When someone tries to hurt or offend, a true mark of maturity occurs when you choose to understand their situation instead of retaliating with an equal and opposite force. Observing that the offending individual is wounded at some level, openly apparent or otherwise, you may decide to impart a portion of kindness instead of retaliation — thus discouraging the cycle of anger and suffering.
The solution is simple but not simplistic. Transitions from existing habits and patterns are uncomfortable. I happen to know, with personal experience, that the Heber Valley is packed full of “All Good People.” This fact is our strength and the reason others want to join our community. I challenge the people of the Heber Valley, new and old, to be worthy of that title by showing an increased unconditional kindness to our fellow citizens. When that habit starts to stick, let’s take it to the rest of the world. We are that kind of ‘tribe’.
Kindness is the vaccine for anger.
I hope this edition of Heber Valley Life finds you well and helps to lift your spirits. Thank you all for your continued support of Heber Valley’s Positive Community Voice.