As we move forward in Epiphanytide, a season of the Christic light revealing and making itself known in our embodied lives, I would like to draw our attention towards two important reminders. Amidst the growing intensity of conditions all around us — Covid, climate crisis, systemic racism and othering, an increase in people experiencing homelessness, mental health crisis to name a few — there is light and we have help.
There is light. During Epiphanytide we can remember that the light has already come within us and in the world around us. The light is here and in relationship to the darkness or as I prefer to call it, the unlit territories. Without relating to unlit territories from our typical binary mental structure of consciousness which further contributes to polarization, we know that we don’t have to eliminate these unlit territories. We can see that both light and unlit territories are necessary and in a dynamic relationship where one does not override the other or collapse the tension but connects them in a beautiful whole. It is not easy for humans to remain in unlit territories for long periods of time but as Cynthia Bourgeault has said whatever the long-term outcome of all that we are facing may be, the instructions remain the same: “to hold the post, stand with courage and equanimity, and be able to maintain a resilient space for third force, staying close to that ‘light within’ that is already shining brightly in the midst of this tunnel, not just waiting at the end of it.”
We have help. We are aided, not only from the Divine but through what Gurdjieff calls “the conscious circle of humanity” and whom Cynthia Bourgeault reminds us is “that broader bandwidth of guiding presence always encircling our globe in its compassionate embrace and helping keep the course steady even in the midst of these periodic cavitations. The invitation - in fact, the ‘imperative’- to connect with this source of assistance is strongly underscored in Wisdom teaching.” We can open ourselves individually and collectively to this stream of input in our present anguished dark night of the spirit. Just in the past two years there have been many great spiritual teachers and those contributing to bring a different way of being in our world who have transitioned from this horizontal realm to the conscious circle of humanity existing in the Imaginal Realm. Teachers like Thomas Keating, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and most recently Bell Hooks, Desmond Tutu, and Thich Nhat Hanh just to name a few. We can lean on them and ask them for wisdom to see, to be and to act in our circumstances with what is needed for the whole.
In Goodness, Truth, Beauty, and Love,
Here most of the Readings from this week's pauses:
'When Death Comes' When death comes like the hungry bear in autumn; when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse to buy me, and snaps the purse shut; when death comes like the measle-pox when death comes like an iceberg between the shoulder blades, I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering: what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness? And therefore I look upon everything as a brotherhood and a sisterhood, and I look upon time as no more than an idea, and I consider eternity as another possibility, and I think of each life as a flower, as common as a field daisy, and as singular, and each name a comfortable music in the mouth, tending, as all music does, toward silence, and each body a lion of courage, and something precious to the earth. When it's over, I want to say all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. When it's over, I don't want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real. I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument. I don't want to end up simply having visited this world — Mary Oliver “It’s not as if falling in love with the Divine rescues us from the travails of the human condition. Our partners betray us sometimes and our dead remain dead. It’s that keeping the heart open, even in hell, makes space for the Beloved. It is in the darkest nights of our souls, when all we know is that we know nothing, that the presence of the sacred may quietly well up, mingling with our pain and connecting us to a love that will never die.” — Mirabai Starr 'Now Is the Time' Now is the time to know That all that you do is sacred. Now, why not consider A lasting truce with yourself and God. Now is the time to understand That all your ideas of right and wrong Were just a child's training wheels To be laid aside When you finally live With veracity And love. Hafiz is a divine envoy Whom the Beloved Has written a holy message upon. My dear, please tell me, Why do you still Throw sticks at your heart And God? What is it in that sweet voice inside That incites you to fear? Now is the time for the world to know That every thought and action is sacred. This is the time For you to compute the impossibility That there is anything But Grace. Now is the season to know That everything you do Is sacred. — Hafiz “. . .in any situation in life, confronted by an outer threat or opportunity, you can notice yourself responding inwardly in one of two ways. Either you will brace, harden and resist, or you will soften, open, and yield. If you go with the former gesture, you will be catapulted immediately into your smaller self, with its animal instincts and survival responses. If you stay with the latter regardless of the outer conditions, you will remain in alignment with your innermost being, and through it, divine being can reach you. Spiritual practice at its no-frills simplest is a moment-by-moment learning not to do anything in a state of internal brace” — Cynthia Bourgeault, 'Wisdom Way of Knowing' 'THE ART OF DEVELOPING A BEAUTIFUL MIND' The world is not simply there. Everything and everyone we see, we view through the lenses of our thoughts. Your mind is where your thoughts arise and form. It is not simply with your eyes but with your mind that you see the world. So much depends on your mind: How you see yourself, who you think you are, how you see others, what you think the meaning of life is, how you see death, belief, God, darkness. Beauty is all determined by the style of mind you have. Your mind is your greatest treasure. We become so taken up with the world, with having and doing more and more, we come to ignore who we are and forget what we see the world with. The most powerful way to change your life is to change your mind. When you beautify your mind, you beautify your world. You learn to see differently. In what seemed like dead situations, secret possibilities and invitations begin to open before you. In old suffering that held you long paralyzed, you find new keys. When your mind awakens, your life comes alive and the creative adventure of your soul takes off. Passion and compassion become your new companions. — John O’Donohue “Any hope for a new consciousness and a self-forfeiture drawn by love stands opposed by a harsh reality. We humans serve our own interests, we hoard resources, we ravage the earth and other species, we scapegoat, we make war, we kill, we torture, we turn a blind eye to the desperation and needs of others, and we allow others to die. Our ability to embody our communion with every human person on the earth and our unassailable connectedness with everything living is limited because we have not yet become these symbiotic “selves”. We continue to privilege our personal autonomy and are unable to make the transition from radical individualism to a genuine synergistic community even though we know intellectually we are inseparably and physically connected to every living being in the universe. Yet the future of the entire earth community is riding on whether we can find a way beyond the limits of our present evolutionary trajectory.” — Connie Fitzgerald, ‘Impasse to Prophetic Hope’