As I anticipate and prepare for consulting with two wedding couples this afternoon, I am contemplating wholeness. The original meaning of the word sin meant to “miss the mark.” It came from archery and simply meant that the archer missed the target. The deep meaning of sin is “we made a mistake.” I like this definition. It holds me accountable and responsible, but does not shame me. When we sin, it means that we are fractured. We are not in touch with our deepest selves, and so we are much more likely to make decisions which do not serve us and take actions which tend to get us in trouble. When we are fractured we are suspicious, negative, fearful, pessimistic. When we are whole we are open-minded, positive, faith or love filled and optimistic. Wholeness essentially means we are in touch with that deepest part of ourselves, our bigger Selves, that place where our own Divinity exists within each and every one of us. When we are feeling whole, we do not sin. We make decisions and take actions which serve us.
I am reminded of that ancient Hindu legend:
“There was once a time when all human beings were gods, but they so abused their divinity that Brahma, the chief god, decided to take it away from them and hide it where it could never be found.
Where to hide their divinity was the question. So Brahma called a council of the gods to help him decide. "Let's bury it deep in the earth," said the gods. But Brahma answered, "No, that will not do because humans will dig into the earth and find it." Then the gods said, "Let's sink it in the deepest ocean." But Brahma said, "No, not there, for they will learn to dive into the ocean and will find it." Then the gods said, "Let's take it to the top of the highest mountain and hide it there." But once again Brahma replied, "No, that will not do either, because they will eventually climb every mountain and once again take up their divinity." Then the gods gave up and said, "We do not know where to hide it, because it seems that there is no place on earth or in the sea that human beings will not eventually reach."
Brahma thought for a long time and then said, "Here is what we will do. We will hide their divinity deep in the center of their own being, for humans will never think to look for it there."
All the gods agreed that this was the perfect hiding place, and the deed was done. And since that time humans have been going up and down the earth, digging, diving, climbing, and exploring--searching for something already within themselves.”
The lesson for us is not to search for wholeness, or god, outside of ourselves, but to instead go within and connect with that divinity within each and every one of us. Wholeness is the result of that connection, and it feels good.
“We find a way to choose life...”. I’m reading a book by Terry Patten called A New Republic of the Heart: An Ethos for Revolutionaries-A Guide to Inner Work for Holistic Change. Whew! That’s a mouthful of a title isn’t it?
I love the way books come to me. They get recommended by friends and peers. In this case, this is a book of the month for something called The Global Vision, which is a sort of grass roots conglomeration of many Centers for Spiritual Living across the land, who all address the same topic in their Sunday services. The idea stems from the fact that we are all part of the One, and from this reality we realize that there is a common consciousness amongst us all. We are all connected, like a grove of aspen trees. Did you know that when you see a grove of aspen, the root system is just one root system? Yep. The trees are separate and each looks different, might even change colors in the fall at different rates, but they are all part of one root system. Damage one tree and eventually the entire grove is damaged. We are like that. Some of us are damaged. And for the rest of us, it is up to us to address that damage and not become damaged ourselves or we risk destroying the entire human race.
Yes, I said that. I really did. I had to stop and take a breath after that. You might want to as well.
Here’s the deal: it is time to step up and look within to see how we can assess our own damage, and repair it, not buy into the group damage and add to the overall affliction. It is time to stop directing our attention outward. That will not repair the damage, it will make it worse. What do I mean by directing attention outward? Blaming others for the mess we are in is one critical aspect of this. Did you know that when we blame others we are, essentially, victimizing ourselves? Another aspect of outward thinking is judgement. This is primarily a Christian world we live in. If you claim yourself as Christian, what part of “judge not lest ye be judged” do you not get? Every time we judge another, we harm ourselves. And we deny that part of us which is crying out for attention. Think about it. When you are judging another, you are doing one of two things: either refusing to look at something going on in your own life, or deflecting attention away from yourself because they are doing the same things you are doing that you dislike about yourself. Is there something other people do that you intensely hate? Guess what. If you spot it you got it.
Harsh words maybe. So be it. Folks I work with tell me that they can count on me to be honest with them. And so can you.
And when we are grieving life’s shit: the losses, the changes, the stuff that we simply do not like nor care for, the stuff we really wish would not have happened, it is ever so much easier to deflect our attention outward and blame and judge than to move through the grieving process.
And yet, when we refuse to do so, when we refuse to allow ourselves to feel the anger, the denial, the bargaining, the depression and finally, the acceptance, we deny ourselves life. We say no. We limit ourselves. And we do more damage, to ourselves and to the group consciousness. We contribute to the damage of our root system.
And in so doing this, we refuse to take responsibility for our lives. And in doing that, we are disempowering ourselves.
It is time to say yes. It is time to choose life instead of death. It is time to figure out how we as individuals can praise instead of blame, honor instead of judge, and empower ourselves instead of disempowering ourselves.
This is not about them. Period.
How can we stop doing this? Well, for starters, stop posting how they are doing it wrong on social media! Stop posting diatribes and memes about them, whoever them might be. Whenever you feel a need to do so, just stop. Pause. Go within and see what is going on with you that you would want to attack your fellow humans and instead address what needs addressing within you. Perhaps your mom told you that if you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything. That’s really good advice. And while you are squirming and feeling uncomfortable because you aren’t saying anything, take a good look at that feeling of uncomfortability, because within that feeling are answers and solutions for your angst. There is relief in there, you just have to find it. And you won’t be able to find it unless you sit with it, allow it and say yes to it.
Choose life. Please. Choose life for yourself, and for the entire human race.
It would help if I meditated. Yes it would. But writing helps too, and so I write.
What is it I need help with on this fine Saturday morning? Nothing really. I’m just a bit scattered. Trying to land on something so I can concentrate enough to do what needs doing. I’m working on a few things. A new workshop. A talk. Two books. Trying to figure out technically how to create an online self guided class (if anyone is moved to help me with this one I sure would appreciate it).
I discovered a few daffodil plants in my yard last week, and today they are blooming! I love the spring bulbs and will plant more of those in the fall, so that next spring I will have even more. I could create a new version of Daffodil Hill, since weather eliminated my annual spring trip this year.
I believe I will make a batch of chili today. Monthly pot luck is tonight and it is good chili weather.
My photo today is a screen shot of my Kindle. Yes, I read a lot. Most books I read all the way through, then return to them again and again for research. Some are for pure entertainment purposes. Those are the ones with the semi naked men on the covers.
Today I turned to Joseph Campbell for a bit of inspiration. He always seems to just dial it in for me.
“The world is perfect. It’s a mess. It has always been a mess. We are not going to change it. Our job is to straighten out our own lives.” I often tell my clients that they cannot do anything about what anyone else is doing. They usually do not want to hear that. I don’t want to hear it. But it is true.
“The Hoarder, the one in us that wants to keep, to hold on, must be killed. If we are hanging onto the form now, we’re not going to have the form next. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. Destruction before creation.” Yes, we must let go of what is in order to move into our next greatest level of expression. I’ve been using that phrase for quite some time, and just recently discovered that Joseph Campbell said something similar. Unfortunately, it is my experience that most people would rather live with the devil they know about than move into something new. The unknown is much scarier than the known, even if the known is shitty and the new is likely to be better. So they stay stuck, they hoard, and fight any destruction that may be happening. I’ve seen people do this to their death. Literally. Sigh.
“Out of perfection nothing can be made. Every process involves breaking something up. The earth must be broken to bring forth life. If the seed does not die, there is no plant. Bread results from the death of wheat.” People come to me when they are in pain, and without exception, I discover that the pain is just a symptom of a lifelong pattern. The solution to the pain is in recognizing the pattern and then changing the pattern, from the inside out. But most folks don’t want to do this. They want instant gratification, a quick fix. The idea of taking a look at the pain and the messages it has for them is not something they are even willing to consider.
“When seeking your partner, if your intuition is a virtuous one, you will find him or her. If not, you’ll keep finding the wrong person.” I’ve often put it like this: water seeks it’s own level, and we humans are made primarily of water. Another thing people do not want to hear. They would rather blame the other.
I’m reading a new book, it’s called A New Republic of the Heart. I’m only 7% into it, and still reading about the problem. They haven’t gotten into the solution yet. Perhaps that is part of the reason why I’m feeling a bit pessimistic this morning and why my writing seems a bit cynical. But I will persevere in reading this one, because I trust the folks who recommended this particular book.
And isn’t that what ultimately provides the willingness to hang out in the pain for a while, to examine it and discover the lessons it has for us? Trust. Or faith. Call it what you will. We need to trust that it will be better, or else why would we subject ourselves to this shit? Trust or faith is one of those things I find difficult to describe. I have ultimate faith in a Power that I like to call The Force. It is within me, a part of me. This means I also trust my instincts, inclinations, and ideas. It took a while to get to that point, and today, when I work with folks who simply cannot believe in a religious God, that male entity that is so separate from them as to be unreachable, and I present the idea that perhaps God is hiding in a place they would never think to look, within them, well, let’s just say the rebellion reminds me of a teenager, plotting to run away in the middle of the night because no one can tell them what to do! They refuse to consider anything different, and they refuse to consider anything known. They create their own stuckness. And yet, when I speak with people about this, they remain stuck. They refuse to consider that their stuckness is not a barrier but a cleverly concealed path to joy and freedom. They go away, and call themselves seekers, and never find anything. The truth is there is nothing to seek, and nothing to find, there is only our own incredible power to create. But sometimes we misuse that power.
So it seems as if today I am inspired to be cynical. To be pessimistic. To be real here, I know the reason for this and it has nothing to do with the latest book I am reading. But I can’t reveal the reason because to do so would violate the privacy of another human being. But I have clarity now, and that helps. On days like today, sometimes it is all we can do to acknowledge the feelings and be gentle with oneself and move on as best we can. And when the sadness and grief give way to anger, I will do my best to not react and do something that will get me into trouble. And when the anger gives way to acceptance and I breathe a bit easier, I will then be able to explore what lessons are in this experience, for me.
So that is what I will do today: notice my feelings, notice the new life in the form of the daffodils in my yard, create something new in the form of the chili, share my creation with others tonight at the potluck. And revel in the joy that is humanity, even in the midst of strife. And that, my friends, is what faith looks like.