Dancing in the Tao

Finding Love

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O, how we search, aching and longing, fighting off despair day after day, weary of this world filled with hatred and fear. Even those who have long given up the search, and have made some uncomfortable facsimile of “peace” with the transactional tit-for-tat that passes for love in this world, even these folks have an ancient memory of the redemptive power of Love, and somewhere deep beneath their icy carapaces, a knowing waits.

With hungry eyes, we walk through our days, hoping to see nectar, somewhere, anywhere. The joy of a small child, the tender affection of a pet, a patch of beautiful nature, an unexpected kindness from stranger or friend — all these might lift our hearts for a moment. Yet in the space of a breath, the cares of this place weight us down again, and we come to believe these brief, sparkling moments are our only solace in the unrelenting darkness.

The ancient teachings from all traditions implore us again and again to look within, reminding us that the Source we seek is there, some mysterious how, inside us. But when we turn within, all we hear are the carping voices, berating us and everyone else for all our shortcomings, insisting relentlessly that we are not worthy of love, insinuating that Love doesn’t really exist, that It’s just another child’s fairy tale. And if It does indeed exist, well, we need merely look around to see It must be weak, and powerless to overcome the endless obstacles of this place.

So say the first inner voices we encounter, in despairing or contemptuous tones.

It is through this inner realm that we must pass, quailing and quivering and so very unsure of ourselves. Our only strength? A child’s heart, filled with the soft glow of an ancient knowing: the dimmest memory that Love is. 

As we enter this realm of the first inner voices, as they attack us in anger and fear, we must simply stand and answer, even in a tiny voice: Love is. And though our voices may tremble, and our knees, yet we stand with the adorable stubbornness of a small child and say again: Love IS.

Now, I’d like to tell you that these voices melt away at this tender show of strength, but that’s not how things work around this place. You may succeed in quieting them for a moment, but they see that the Child’s Heart is awakening, and they know, more than you ever could, that an awakened Heart is their doom.

So they will come, and come again, and after each victory you experience, they will rise up stronger. And their source, which is nonlocal — shared in a mysterious quantum way throughout human consciousness — will seem to bring attack from ‘outside’ you. Betrayal, heartbreak, attack. Attack, heartbreak, betrayal. They will bring you to your knees, crushed and weeping, again and again and again. They will do all they can to destroy your hope, your fledgling belief in Love.

Yet, every time you find yourself on your knees — you catch your breath, assess your wounds, and make your way to your feet again.

You recognize this pattern, yes?

And you recognize that each time you stand — my o my — but you are stronger than before. Your child’s heart beats more robustly and steadily, its glow now brighter. And its potent light begins to shine from deep within your eyes. You know you’ve not yet vanquished the forces within you that keep you from Love, but there’s a bit of cockiness in you now.

You look within, and with a level gaze you whisper, “Bring it on.”

That cockiness arises from your growing awareness that with each victory, your belief in Love has grown stronger, because Love has won every time. 

Yep. Quiet, meek, peaceful “do-nothing” Love has seen you through every battle. It has replaced your wounds with healing. It has melted every opposition into ItSelf. Fear vanishes in Its presence. Compassionate understanding for yourself, and for everyone else, flows ever more easily through your awareness.

And, now, you look with fresh eyes on the ancient teachings from all traditions that remind you of your Source: You arise from the Source of All, and that Source is Love.

Love is. You are Love.

With this, you have found the Well of Living Waters within you. You have made conscious connection with your Divine Source. There may be battles ahead, you may yet forget, and forget again, that you’ve found the Well. But each forgetting makes it easier to remember.

And once you are safely Home, even for one sweet holy moment, you simply never wander as far as you once did.

Love flows through you, as you, into this world.

And everything, everything, is redeemed.

 

 

 

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4 June 1999

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Seems like I’ve made no real progress in my 35 years. I’ve toyed around with a few spiritual paths — looking for a way to deepen myself, center myself and I never apply myself to them — so I remain shallow — reacting superficially to all the events of my life.

The voice that I seek within myself is the voice of love, the voice of God. Najagneg, an Eskimo shaman, told the Danish explorer Rasmussen that Sila, “the soul of the universe … has a voice so fine and gentle that even children cannot become afraid. What he says is: ‘Be not afraid of the universe.'” I want to find my way to this voice, to live in the center of its comforting reverberations.

But how to find the path to God through all the inner and outer distractions? A Native American Elder told Harvey Arden, “Everyone got to find the right path. You can’t see it so it’s hard to find. No one can show you. Each person’s got to find the path by himself.” If Native Americans, who I believe have a much closer relationship to soul, speak of how hard it is to find this path, how much harder for a white European American with no tradition, no real sense of roots or community or the sacred?

I am thinking that whites — those who colonized lands inhabited by indigenous peoples — suffered long ago a loss of soul. How else to explain the horrors and decimation they have wreaked throughout the indigenous peoples of the world.

How can God’s heart contain all the pain in this world, all the pain wrought in blood in His names, and still be joyful? It seems to my limited heart and mind that His heart would be broken. Perhaps He (She, Us, whatever, let’s get Over the names, shall we?) is ever hopeful for His children and this hope gives birth to the joy that could make His (our) creation a Heaven on Earth.

I have prayed more lately, asking God to illumine my path and to help me understand how his heart is not broken. Within my prayers of longing and supplication I sometimes experience a knowing presence which makes me smile at my limited self.

In these moments I feel connected to something greater than myself and I am Thankful. These moments help me to believe I am deeper than my everyday superficiality — but how do I translate, transform my everyday reactivity? (Just breathe, and remember … you’re not even doing that).

I’ve wondered recently if I truly care about anyone, or if I am narcissistic. I’ve performed some caring actions — usually only when it’s convenient or obvious. I don’t go out of my narrow way to care for others. I’m spoiled, lazy and weak and yet think I am more refined, deeper, better than others. (Don’t be so humble, you’re not that great.) Maybe this parenthetical statement could be translated: Don’t be so hard on yourself, God knows you’re not perfect.

An iridescent bright green fly landed on my finger as I finished that sentence, lithe and brilliant with translucent opalescent wings. He stood perfectly still on six evenly spaced legs — lifting the front two in a brief applause, then lifted off after a long moment, as soon as I began to write of him. Perhaps he was a Divine visitor, making me smile and wonder at the beauty and diversity of God’s creation. Maybe he’s a Totem bringing me the powers of smallness, beauty, flight.

– journal entry

26 May 2017

It all took so much longer than I thought it would, but that unnamed Elder was exactly right: we all have to find our own way, and we can’t see it, so it’s hard to find.

But it can be found. We can come to rest in the gentle reverberations of the Song of the Universe, we can relax into Love.

-o-0-o-

When we choose love

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We begin to dance toward a world of wondrous potential and possibility, a place that is beautiful beyond imagining. Yes — come with me now to the furthest reach of your imagination, and leap — feel yourself lifted and flying — to a new earth, our earth in the not-too-distant future — our new earth that is here in glorious potential, waiting for us to choose love.

 

Imagine, really — close your eyes for a moment and imagine: all people truly loving themselves and one another (John Lennon was wrong — it is hard to imagine, even if you try. So give it a moment. Settle in.) Now imagine everyone understanding that there is a divine spark within each of us — and every one of us understanding that being human means nurturing and developing our awareness of this divinity, embodying it more and more in our daily lives, in all our comings and goings. Imagine this is everyone’s reality, across the world. Imagine we all live in the constant celebration and joyous discovery of our ever unfolding divinity.

 

Imagine we’ve found that as we nurture this awareness of divinity within ourselves and one another love, pure and true, becomes the unifying flow of our daily existence — no longer an Easter egg that is found once in a while and quickly consumed. And we’ve found that cultivating and nurturing this divine love within and between us has also given us access to the living, divine intelligence that creates and sustains this universe, our world, ourselves. (I know it’s a LOT, all at once like this: you’re doing an imaginal workout – and our imaginations are sorely out of shape. But it does get easier.)

 

This living, divine intelligence, which flows through us, as us, is inconceivably vast orders of magnitude more intelligent than anything we currently consider even brilliant or genius. And when we have access to this intelligence, the access that we were always meant to have, when we live in the love and joy that we were always meant to dwell within, then we, as naturally as breathing, begin to restore our world to the garden planet, the joyful, miraculous amazingness that it was created to be, for and with all living things.

 

It really is quite simple, and very possible, although not at all easy.

 

There are some, hmmm, obstacles that keep us from knowing our birthrights, that keep us spiraling down in increasing hopelessness and despair, and they have had a powerful hold on our individual and collective consciousness for some time. But we begin to release that hold when we turn to love, and trust in love.

 

Here’s the rub: Love hurts. If there’s no pain, it’s not love. And we humans really like to dodge the pain. But when we are willing to suffer the pain that arises when we love and not retaliate, not control, not withdraw, not lock our love away for some idea of ‘safety’ — but instead we stand vulnerable and as strong as we can, and love as best we can, we begin to change our world.

 

Many of us have been working out, strengthening our ability to suffer the pain of love. Because of the pain we’ve been willing to endure, love flows a wee bit more strongly in and from us. Notice in this moment, the source of that love, within you. Mere humans could never sustain that flow of love. We would have collapsed long ago under the weight of the pain, but somehow we refuse to collapse fully. Some part of us trusts love. Even when it breaks our hearts. Even when we don’t get what we want. Still we love. Determined. Flinching outwardly perhaps, yet steadfast in our deepest selves. Love rises in us, again and again.

 

What/where/who is the source of that Love?

 

Don’t answer in words. Go there. Swim upstream to your soul.

 

When you get to love — which may take some time — rest there for a bit, remembering your way.

 

When you’re ready, return, and bring a little bit more of your love to the world: a smile, a kind word, a helpful gesture. These will ripple out, and we begin to change the course of our world.

 

When we choose love.

 

<>-<>-<>

Base Camp at First Light

(reprinting this essay from spring 2015 as it got, ahem, accidentally deleted)

Ready everybody? Momentum’s picking up faster than we thought possible, and we’re in the green room, getting ready for showtime. I know right? Thought we had more time to finish up all that we’ve been working on these past months, years, decades, lifetimes … but word is, we’re ready enough, as long as we focus. It’s not quite time to pop the champagne corks yet. And there’s plenty of work for all, because:

We are establishing base camp in the new reality, with(in) ourselves. 

Yep. Take a long moment to breathe that in. All the work deep within our own consciousness :: standing in our truth :: trusting and developing relationships with our deepest and highest selves :: healing our ancient wounds :: listening :: releasing dogmas in all forms, especially the dogmas of our personal myth-of-self :: allowing love, deep connection, abundance :: our early successes in manifesting :: our journeys to the edges of our consciousness, to the roots of our beings :: facing our fears, and learning they cannot survive in our love :: composting our shame and guilt into the rich soil of true humility and natal innocence :: increasingly valuing ourselves, and establishing good, strong boundaries when necessary :: All this labor has been nothing less than heroic. Take another long moment to breathe that in. And if you’re a bit in awe of yourself, that’s just as it should be: we’re getting the first glimpses of who we truly are, and seeing that we’re much, much, much more than we’ve ever been allowed to know. And you’re not the only one who’s in awe of you: Kabalista at Kaballah Astrology writes, “… and it may go unnoticed by those who are unaware – that doesn’t mean there aren’t audiences upon audiences of higher beings in awe of your every effort, thought and integration of many, many levels of differentiation of source that are becoming reconnected through the complete full-spectrum Illumination.”

For more on the ‘integration’ she mentions, on the incredibly heroic nature of what we’ve done, and on what we were up against to get to this moment, see Darin here.

Within our very beings, in all our inner work to re-member, re-connect and integrate oursElves, we’ve begun in our consciousness, unified with All-Consciousness, the re-connection and integration and rescue of our world. This has been the inner portion of our journey. Soon we’ll be re-membering, reconnecting and integrating with one another as we cooperate in assembling this new reality together, for and with all living beings.

So then, the focus for this next bit is to stabilize and ground these new awarenesses and knowings that we are cultivating; and to stabilize all relationships we’re developing with those higher/deeper Beings, Intelligences, Powers, Knowings … however they are manifesting to us in our consciousness and in our world. Run through daily signal checks to make sure communications with(in) yoursElf are ever more clear, and that you’re exploring, discovering, learning together with(in) yoursElf what this being human is all about.  And there’s one last great, necessary, and terrifying task: We have to conquer that last shadow demon :: you know, the one who keep insinuating himself into the conversation bringing doubt, dejection, fear, isolation, yada yada. Yeah. We gotta own him. We’ve got him on the ropes, but he’s cunning and knows us better than we know ourselves at this point. He knows how to hone in our weak spots, and press. Hard. He knows the little tweaks that can bring us to our knees. There’s no getting rid of him (and we wouldn’t really want to) so he has to be brought firmly and uncompromisingly into the service of our highest Knowing, of Life, of All-That-Is. We’re done playing his games. He never wanted to win anyway; he’s just making sure we’re bringing our best game. When we’re in proper relation to him, we’ll have a powerful ally.

If all of this seems overwhelming, re-member: We’re not alone … were never alone, never abandoned, never separated from All-That-Is-Ever-Becoming. Turn within and ask for help with any of this, and the Universe itself will fly to your aid. Yes. Years ago Joseph Campbell said “Take one step in the direction of the gods, and they take ten steps toward you.” That was then. Now, in this hour of our peril, simply turning earnestly, passionately inward, asking: And help flies to us. Protected in any weakness, wounds compassionately attended, we arise stronger than we’ve ever been, again and again. If you get in a pinch, I pass on to you something my Self whispered to me in a moment of overwhelm: “Just breathe.” I breathed. “And remember,” he said, with a warmly mischievous note in his voice …”you’re not even doing that.”

The paradox of ‘all this work’ we’ve been ‘doing’ is that we’re simply trying to get ourselves to relax into what our hearts have always known to be true. This is where we’re setting up base camp: in what we’ve always known to be true. How cool is that? What could be easier? (Just as soon as we finish getting out of our own way.)

Ease indeed. Growing ease, growing gently, the fulfillment of ancient promises. After a long, long, dark, dark night, we who have been so eagerly attuned to our inner skies … we are the quiet joyful witnesses to the first light of the new sun. Let us sing and dance and celebrate.

For this is the season of new life. This is the season of resurrection.

Growing Peace

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We all believe and act like we have more important things to do.

We tell ourselves that if a peaceful world is even possible, which we doubt, then it’s the responsibility of government and leaders to bring about such peace.  But, as my sons like to say, that’s not how anything works.

Each and every one of us has a contribution to make toward the healing of our world. Everyone. The horror that is playing out on the world stage is a direct consequence of us refusing to step up and play our small part. Each and every one of us is special and unique. Our perspectives, our voices, our efforts, the healing of our individual histories are all required in order to evolve into true human beings, together.

It is easy to nitpick and fault find. Easy to complain about all the ways we’re getting it wrong and despair about the future. Easy to blame the other people. But it’s not so much harder to find the things that we’re doing right, small though they may seem, and build on them.

It doesn’t actually take more effort to share the news we find of positive steps that are being taken in our communities and to step with them.

I’m not advocating for a chorus of Pollyannas. We need our truth tellers crying out about the horrors and injustices and inequalities we need to address. But rather than simply forwarding on their cries, we each need to listen and to hear. We need to imagine even a small gesture that could change our present reality for the better, and then identify steps that can be taken toward that gesture. We need to reach out to one another and to the leaders of our communities and our nations and insist on the small but meaningful step in the right direction. Then we implement, together, what we have imagined. Rinse. Repeat.

Imagine humanity as an arrow arcing through time toward an ever more perfect world. Imagine more and more people focusing their sights on peace, justice, equality and then enacting this aim in their lives. Imagine small changes growing into larger ones, until even the skeptics and cynics could see the impossibilities transform before their eyes.

As our charming Mr. Einstein once said: “Imagination is everything. It’s the preview of life’s coming attractions.” Imagine a better world. Pray, asking for help. Then Act.

We can do this. My heart sings with the knowledge that we can do this.

 

Lowering our masks

 

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Some thoughts on David’s post over at Raptitude:

We are 99% unknown to ourselves beneath that mask.

Who we know as ourselves is made up of the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. Where do we get these stories? We collect them from a very small sample of our experiences, often giving the greatest weight to the ones that were traumatic, the ones that hurt. They left the deepest impressions.

To cover the vulnerability we feel in the wake of these stories, we create masks. We grow up thinking there will come a time when we can take them off, but then we somehow simply merge with everyone else in believing life is some kind of perverse masquerade where everyone’s stuck in ill-fitting costumes, ill fitting masks. Forever.

Beneath our masks we keep hurting, and in our pain we hurt one another. Trauma begets trauma.

And make no mistake, we’re all multiply traumatized now. Conscious of it or not, the every-kind-of-pain humans are inflicting on one another around the world at this moment has its impact on every one us, on our hearts, on our minds, on our hopes, our dreams.

When we’re playing off each other’s masks, we exist in a fictional universe, everyone pretending to be something they’re not. We’re perpetually stuck ‘responding’ from mask to mask. Any claim about reality, about who humans are or what we’re capable of is all based on fictions. We have absolutely no idea who we would be if we all really showed up. We have no earthly idea of what our planet could be like.

We’re not condemned to this, though, it’s just what we’re agreeing to do right now. In actuality, our potentials for true response-ability exceed our wildest imaginings.

What we need to be able to see, together, is exactly what David is pointing at: This is our shared story, and we can help one another. When we begin to lower our masks with each other, revealing our mutual vulnerability, the whole world changes. In an instant. Because the 99% of ourselves that we’re not aware of contains vast potentials for intelligence and responsiveness that we can’t activate by ourselves. We need to play together! Authentically. Truthfully. Intimately.

This is the growth edge for us humans, and there is a growing number of us ready to risk being traumatized again, to trust enough to step out. We can do this.

How we experience ourselves in any moment depends on the uncountable influences and connectivities of that unique moment, only the tiniest sliver of which we have any awareness at all. In a very real and practical sense, we arise in response to each unique moment.

When we drop our masks at last (and this becomes more contagious as it rolls on!) the fictions fall away. We begin in each unique moment to actually respond to real, actual people in our real, actual world with and for each other, and for this incredible living mystery we call the universe.

O, and I’m not suggesting everybody suddenly gets vulnerable with everybody: we just begin by deepening our closest relationships, and then small groups of deeper relation grow naturally.

We’ll wonder what took us so long.

Following Desire

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Yesterday, I felt strong and clear. Last night, another battering: waves of thought and feeling swept away both strength and clarity. Today I’m once again clear, but worn and weak.

I’m out on a storming ocean in a small vessel. One moment, a great wall of water rises up, encircling me, closing in, and that’s reality: My imminent demise. Then, suddenly, lifted on a swell, I see to the horizon in every direction; reality now vast and chartable, if only apparently calm in the distance. My best practice, my only practice at these stormy moments, is to keep myself in the boat, my hand on the tiller. After a lifetime of going wherever the current took me (asking no more of life, or of myself, than whatever showed up), I have a direction at last. It may prove a figment of my imagination, but it’s a destination nonetheless – and it’s about time I tried to get somewhere.

I am following my heart’s desire. For better or for worse, I’m all in. I’m laughing as I write this, because there are no guarantees. In fact, if you’re laying down money the best odds, by far, are against me.  Yet, I persist. Despite a beguiling kaleidoscope of shifting thoughts and emotions about it all, I have a steady desire; and even though the object of my desire may remain forever out of my grasp, my dogged pursuit is calling forth the best of me, and I’m learning mad skills.

One of the most useful new skills: holding my thoughts and feelings more lightly in my mind. After some time of paying attention, I see how changeable and insubstantial they are, arising and subsiding on their own tides, in response to whatever shows up around me, or perhaps what I ate most recently. I can have back-to-back thoughts that completely oppose one another, cancel each other out; yet both are accompanied by supporting, corresponding emotions that lend to each opposing thought an apparent weight and truth. Which of this shifting phantasmagoria should I follow? Oops, too late. They’re both gone … replaced by a third, fourth, hundred-and-fifth, on and on. A kaleidoscope makes a lousy compass.

AstrolabeDesire is a slightly less faulty compass, both because it arises from a deeper place within us and because it endures the buffeting of thoughts and emotions. Whatever you may think or feel about your desire, it keeps coming back. But desire is an intensely problematic compass. First, as noted, there are no guarantees. Co-opting Lord Krishna’s words to Arjuna: You’re entitled to your desires, but not the fruits of your desires. Desire can focus and motivate us, but it makes no promises. We may never get the job, the person, the house, the dream, the nirvana … and, if you’re going to use desire as a compass, you have to accept this going in, or make your peace with it as quickly as you can. Otherwise, you suffer. Well, and this is the second point: you’re going to suffer anyway. As the Buddha said, The root of suffering is desire. And the greater your desire, the greater the suffering. No doubt. Best, probably, to move right along … if you can. Uncurl the fingers of your heart and release whatever it is you wanted back to Life.

But! But! But! you say. I know. Whatever you may think and feel about your desire, it can be a pesky, persistent thing. Let go though you might, there it is again. Like an adorable, aggravating puppy. So my goal, at present, is to keep the focusing, motivating force of my desire alive and leaping in my heart, while accepting that this is all I am entitled to.

Wish me luck.

Illustration credit