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United, free, and independent.


  

Good day good people,

 

In the United States we are nearing the celebration of Independence Day on the fourth of July. I often feel drawn to pause and reflect on some of the themes this day is meant to honor and how they might apply to us beyond their typical meaning. In spite of its complicated history, Independence Day marks the transition of a group of people from being under the rule of another to being considered united, free, and independent. From a human perspective and value system, these themes are definitely important, but they also carry deep spiritual significance. 

 

In our ordinary human awareness we often find ourselves divided, captive, and enmeshed. At times this can look like living almost exclusively under the rule of this world’s constructs and authority figures outside of ourselves. We can be polarized against those whom we disagree with, fragmented within because of the competing desires of the many parts of our own selves that cannot agree, almost exclusively under the sway of our survival agendas and egoic needs, and caught in a very narrow perspective.

 

When we consider the ordinary definitions of these terms, according to Webster’s Dictionary, we see that united means “joined together for a common purpose;” free means “not under the control or power of another, able to act or be as one wishes;” and independent means “free from outside control, not depending on another’s authority, having the ability to make one's own decisions.” When we consider these terms in the context of our spiritual life, the way of wisdom in which we are committed to being, we see that we wish to be united within ourselves and others on a similar path around a common purpose. . . to live within the mixed realm we exist in, one foot in this world and one in the imaginal world, as generators and conduits of the subtle spiritual nutrients that are needed here. Freedom in this sense is about not being under the control or power of one world alone so that we are free to act and be in alignment with our deeper wish. . . to operate in multiple worlds at once, to be of service to the imaginal realm in the conditions of life. Independence then is not so much about freely doing whatever our human self wants, but rather from our whole self which finds agency and conscience from inside our hearts, where the worlds meet within us, and from which we are able to make conscious decisions and live accordingly.

 

May we be united in purpose, free to be our whole selves, and independent to choose and act in alignment with both.

 

Peace and every good,

Heather

 

Readings from last week's Daily Contemplative Pauses

Monday, June 24th with Heather

 

Reading: Fragrance of the Rose by White Eagle on Festivals and Celebrations

Center your thoughts and your feelings upon the symbol of the Christ love, the sweet rose. Contemplate its fragrance and the beauty of its form and imagine that your heart is a rose and that its fragrance permeates your being. This is the emblem of the life of a brother or a sister: fragrant and pure, still and patient, permeating the surroundings of the life with the light and beauty and fragrance of Christ.

 

Chant: slowly blooms the rose within (by Thomas Hand)

 

Tuesday, June 25th with Heather

 

Reading: "Progress comes through the voluntary acceptance of constriction and diminishment. And that's the unpleasant bottom line. Because all of us think that evolution comes through expansion. And we automatically equate our larger personhood with expanded space, expanded agency, endless opportunity, a whole canvas to paint on.

But it's actually, spiritually speaking, in the opposite direction. It's in the leaning into the conditions that you at first experience as intolerable, that you gradually realize that they are exactly the conditions that bring forth something new, something that can't be born forth in any other way." — Cynthia Bourgeault, 2023 Wisdom School at Claymont

 

Chant: slowly blooms the rose within (by Thomas Hand)

 

Wednesday, June 26th with Heather

 

Reading: “Awakening is messy. You don't transcend into some paradisiacal, elitist inner garden— It doesn't perfect you. You first come into all the reasons you've so wanted to stay asleep. And there are many good reasons. To awaken, really, is to begin to feel.

 

Awakening is bit by bit coming out of denial around all the reasons you've needed to wield that terrible tool of othering because so much is unbearable inside of our own self.

 

Awakening doesn't come from spiritual mastery defined as overcoming enough of our shortcomings. It is found in doing our fumbling best to grow into arms strong and loving enough to hold and hug our aching humpity. The myth that awakening looks anything like spiritual perfectionism is perhaps the best sleeping pill. Awakening is the at times compass-less and often inglorious inner odyssey toward the rough ruby of all that is bruised and true in our hearts. A wakening isn't only for special people. We're all on our way toward coming out of the sleep cycle.” — Chelan Harkin, Wild Grace

 

Chant: help me open my heart, so I can love, all that I need to love

 

Thursday, June 27th with Chris

 

Reading: I have a small grain of hope–

one small crystal that gleams

clear colors out of transparency.

I need more.

I break off a fragment

to send to you.

Please take

this grain of a grain of hope

so that mine won’t shrink.

Please share your fragment

so that yours will grow.

Only so, by division,

will hope increase,

like a clump of irises, which will cease to flower

unless you distribute

the clustered roots, unlikely source–

clumsy and earth-covered–

of grace.

— Denise Levertov

 

 

Friday, June 28th with Heather

 

Reading: The Patience of Ordinary Things by Pat Schneider

It is a kind of love, is it not?

How the cup holds the tea,

How the chair stands sturdily and foursquare, 

How the floor received the bottoms of shoes 

Or toes. How soles of feet know

Where they're supposed to be.

I've been thinking about the patience 

Of ordinary things, how clothes 

Wait respectfully in closets 

And soap dries quietly in the dish, 

And towels drink the wet 

From the skin of the back.

And the lovely repetition of stairs.

And what is more generous than a window?

 


Saturday, June 29th with Heather

 

Reading: "We have entered a time of descent that takes us down into a different geography. In this shadowed terrain, we encounter a landscape familiar to soul-loss, grief, death, vulnerability, and fear. We have, in the old language of Alchemy, crossed into the Nigredo...This is a season of decay, of shedding and endings, of falling apart and undoing. This is not a time of rising and growth. It is not a time of confidence and ease. No.

We are hunkered down. Down being the operative word. From the perspective of soul, down is holy ground." — Francis Weller, In the Absence of the Ordinary

 

Chant: down is holy ground (by Heather Ruce)

 

Sunday, June 30th with Heather

 

Readings: "The greater our attachment to that which is outside of ourselves, the greater is our overall level of fear and vulnerability to loss.

... Where am I looking to get love rather than to give it?

The more loving we are, the less vulnerable we are to grief and loss, and the less we need to seek attachments." — David Hawkins, Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender

 

And love

Says,

‘I will, I will

take care of you,’

To Everything that is

Near.”

—Hafiz

 

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