Our We have begun the season of Eastertide (Ascensiontide) as it is known in the Christian Tradition. It marks the time after the resurrection when Jesus was back on the earth encouraging and preparing his disciples to move forward living in the world (World 48, 96, etc.) but not of it. . . living from the kingdom of heaven (World 24). During these forty days, we too can receive assistance and be further prepared to live as the disciples were called to live. In that aim, wisdom teacher Cynthia Bourgeault has recently offered up a challenge to all who are interested in engaging it. You can read it here as well as listen to a podcast on the map of the worlds here. This challenge is not only to open ourselves up to personal assistance from Jesus and the conscious circle of humanity, but for collective assistance as we continue to navigate challenging territory here on this planet.
In the Gospel of Thomas, Yeshua says, “But the kingdom is inside you and it is outside you. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are the children of the living Father/[Mother]” (Login 3). And “The Father’s /[Mother’s] kingdom is spread out upon the earth and people do not see it” (Logion 113). We know this and can live this reality now. Cynthia’s charge is in service of deepening this knowing and I am going to paraphrase her six points here, sharing how I see it:
First of all, we must move beyond our narrative self in time. This means letting go of, or fasting from, the story of ourselves as the whole of ourselves. It is not that the story of ourselves is bad, wrong or unnecessary but rather that it is incomplete and often keeps us focused on our own egoic orbit. By letting go of or fasting from it, we can see it, allow it, and even love it but not be in its grip.
Second, we can learn to re-collect and re-member ourselves in an effort to keep within the limits of our atmosphere, that egg shaped energy field or aura that surrounds us on all sides about 3-5 feet. We can learn to recognize when we are scattered and unhelpfully disorganizing our own nervous system or that of others. We can work to steward this atmosphere with the awareness that we are both the kernel of gold that is the unmovable essence at our core, and the weather of changing states that often need to move through without inhibiting or reactively catharting. If you want to experience an exercise on directly experiencing your atmosphere, join me in the pause this Friday at 7:30am Pacific, password wisdomsit.
Third, we can stop thinking about, theorizing, analyzing, and introspecting about our lives and the kingdom of heaven and come back to our own direct experience. Gurdjieff often told people not to take what he said as fact but to verify it in your own lived experience. As Quaker mystic, Isaac Penington said (paraphrased by Joseph Gurney Bevan), “There is a great difference, between comprehending the knowledge of things, and tasting the hidden life in them. I fed on the sweetness of the former, before finding the true manna of the latter.”
Fourth, make three-centered awareness (intellectual, emotional/feeling, movement/body) a priority all throughout your day in all things that you do. See which center is the quietest and turn up its volume. For example, if you are doing the dishes notice what that is like in your body, feel a sense of gratitude, and allow your mind to stay in the moment without going into the future or past. Just be there doing the dishes.
Fifth, make a point to connect to the awareness of your subtle body, what has been called in many traditions your second or Kesdjan body. If you have never heard of this you might think it strange but I encourage you to check it out for yourself and see what you notice. There is a more subtle energy field that radiates out from your cells and has a different quality of aliveness than our usual awareness. This is why the atmosphere exercise is so helpful in developing a connection to it.
Sixth, let go of anything that smells of measuring or counting as this is the typical way that world 48 operates. Measuring and counting are another way of getting caught in the intellectual center/mental constructs alone so often tied to outcome. Instead we can engage whatever is in front of us with as much presence of mind as possible. Cynthia uses the words, “unquantified obedience to the aim you have set” as a guiding principle.
Lastly, we can go about enjoying our lives with the intention in heart to not allow anything to lower our state of being. This cannot be manufactured. We cannot decide “I will not lower my state of being” for this often causes us to contract and constrict to maintain control. Instead, I would suggest when you notice your state of being getting pulled down, relax around it and notice that you are both the lower and the higher or relaxed.
When we do this work together we strengthen one another, nourishing and drawing nourishment from the great cosmic web we are part of. Let’s get to work.
Here most of the Readings from this week's pauses:
‘“O Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted on us; remember the fruits we have bought, thanks to this suffering — our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this, and when they come to judgment, let all the fruits which we have borne be their forgiveness.”