Friday, December 18, 2009

Journey's End

It came to me of leaving the track of thought that runs in circles - continuous fears about the future, anguish about the past.

Another way was shown that did not go back and forth. It was more like an open window.

And the message above the window was this:

"We let you take that path to its hardest ending so you would know what death was. So you would know how deeply the grave was dug from which you are called to arise.

For those who are comfortable in their graves do not seek resurrection - the slumber of seeming is enough for them. Only those who taste the bitterness of dying yearn for rebirth into life."

The former track fades, along with its forays into dreamy, nightmarish elsewhere.

Whereas the way that was shown extends not into what was and what might be.

This way has no destination, no movement, no goal, no expectation.

It's journey has ended.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Debt Free

In his book The Authentic Tarot: Discovering Your Inner Self Thomas Saunders describes a person’s life as a “play” in which growth toward self-knowledge should unfold through three great “acts” of experience. Act Two, in which one’s inner conflict and conditioning is reflected out into external circumstance to be resolved, is where some get stuck.

Saunders writes:

“The only way we get off this eternal, spinning and not so merry-go-round of Act II is to begin the process of forgiveness. This means forgiveness of mother, father, sister, brother and everyone else in our life, which ultimately means self-forgiveness. Only when we are released from the burden of blame, playing ‘victim’ and this meretricious obligation that we must make a gift, will we be able to complete the play. Otherwise Act II will still be unfinished when we come to the end of this life.”

Pretty scary thought: to come to “the end of this life” without having accomplished what this life is for. And surely it is not “for” making money, achieving success or accomplishing grand things, although these may occur incidentally.

It is for being whole, for becoming who we truly are and always have ultimately been. And forgiveness is the key.

Such forgiveness is of a different order than what one normally imagines by that word. It is not merely voicing sentiments, however genuinely felt, but rather releasing others of their obligations to us. It is freeing them from the unilateral commitment we made on their behalf that they would become “better,” which is to say, able to meet our conditions.

Of course this unspoken commitment is mostly unconscious. We don’t speak of it; we only feel vaguely unsettled and upset. Perhaps we have deeply held residual anger, a smoldering grudge whose flame never dies because of wounds received at someone’s hands.

We are convinced that this supposed assailant needs to apologize, needs to try to “make things right” with us. But maybe they won’t or can’t, or even if they did it would not be enough. Their words of apology would be as ineffectual in soothing our souls as our words of forgiveness in soothing theirs.

At the same time we know that others expect the same of us – the apologies, the groveling humility, the fruitless attempts to make things right by somehow becoming BETTER.

Thus, we all endure an ongoing and perpetual sense of both owing and being owed. For how can any of us pay off our “creditors,” and how can they pay us off? How can anyone prove that they merit unconditional love?

Maybe leaving Act II of life's play begins when a person suddenly “gets” that such proving is impossible. What is owed simply CANNOT be paid back - by anybody, to anybody.

Like the parable Jesus told of a king frankly forgiving a subject who had no means of repaying his vast debt, the only real option is to write the whole thing off.

But this kind forgiveness is not a “word” thing. Nothing needs to be said at all. It happens silently when we decide that no one owes us what we thought they did.

In a serene glimpse of how things really are, we understand that no one needs to pay us back at any time, in any form. We no longer expect an apology, acknowledgement, appreciation . . . or even love.

This experience of forgiveness changes everything. Those we had held under obligation are allowed to go, to totally leave in every way. Contracts are negated, Commitments absolved, agreements released, ties cut, karma unwound.

They can walk away and never look back . . . debt free.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Saint Nicholas

December 6 is when St. Nicholas is commemorated within Christianity, as this is the day on which he died in the year 346. St. Nicholas has become associated with many noble activities over the centuries, the most familiar of which is gift-giving. He is the model for the contemporary Santa Claus that children love.

But it is St. Nicholas’ reputation as a rescuer of travelers that can speak to all, not merely the young at heart. There are numerous stories and legends of him saving seafarers from calamity and death.

It is no great stretch of the imagination to conceive of one’s earthly life as a voyage in a fragile ship upon a tumultuous sea. Often the compass seems to have stopped working, guiding stars are not visible, fog and mist obscure the horizon and monsters from the deep have raised slithering tentacles over the bulwark in search of someone to devour.

Or so it seems.

Where are we going and how are we to get there? These are life’s fundamental questions, and only the very wise or the very ignorant think they know the answers. Yet when the deck of our boat pitches at the mercy of a raging storm, even issues of direction and navigation lose importance. Staying afloat becomes everything.

So the image of St. Nicholas helping weary sailors is comforting, even for the seemingly landlocked.

For we are all somewhere “at sea,” trying to steer our small craft through great difficulties to a safe harbor.

And if we believe someone cares enough to reach out and help us, our journey becomes more hopeful.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Great Dance

The body spoke calmly to the mind and heart as one whose foundation is the very earth. It spoke kindly, gently - yet in words firm and immutable as a mountain’s root.

“Do not hide your sorrows in me,” said the body. “Do not seclude here the grieving which neither your thoughts nor affections can bear.”

“Why not?” asked the mind, somewhat indignant, while the heart carefully pondered.

“Because if you do,” said the body, “I must accept such stiffening intrusions obediently. Yet I yearn to dance instead. I would move to the joyous rhythms of life, allowing the music of divine madness to ripple and rumble through every cell of this temple which I am. I would set chakras shimmering and auras radiating. I would quiver with the everlasting energies of eternity. Deliver me from your sadness and you shall witness the Great Dance of Being!”

“I am nearly persuaded,” the mind allowed, “yet a smallish matter occupies my attention. I would set you free even now, but cannot spare the moment necessary to secure your release.”

“A smallish matter consumes my senses as well,” admitted the heart. “No bigger than a pea is it in the grand scheme of things, yet a true princess would feel it beneath a hundred mattresses.

“And what is this ‘smallish matter’ which is nevertheless so large that that it overmasters you both?” inquired the body.

The heart glazed and glanced, then both muttered askance:

“Why, it is but a memory.
A remembrance like a Rose
With thorns for its foes.
It snags our attention
And pricks our intention
leaving nothing to spare
For the joy that you mention.”

The body considered the poetics of the wounded heart and troubled mind, and spoke to them thus: “Look upon me whom you so often have disdained and disregarded. Do you know what lurks just beneath the surface of those sufferings? It cannot be well seen by such eyes as yours, but reach forth and touch. Feel the raw essence which emanates from the core of me.”

So heart and mind reached into the body, beneath its pack-load of perturbing, problematic protuberances. And in the quiet, contented, profound depths within, a wonder occurred.

. . . the Great Dance began.