World in Chaos or World Awake?

We are, once again, living in chaotic times. Each generation seems to endure it’s own brand of chaos, with new issues arising but old patterns of violence and despair recurring over and over in our so-called “civilized” societies. Those who have spiritual inclinations, and those who simply wish to love, visualize a world without this strife and suffering, and imagine that if all would wake up we would be a kinder world, with all people thriving. Perhaps this was the way Jesus hoped things would go when he advised us to love our neighbor as our self, or Moses when he offered ten commandments that would greatly improve human conduct on the planet. (I have often wondeIMG_1375red how we can ignore the simple dictum ‘thou shalt not kill!’.)

Despite the efforts of many teachers, guides and compassionate leaders to suggest models for human compassion and cooperation, our patterns of human interaction continue to generate violence, hatred and insanity. For others they produce anxiety, depression, and despair. In some they are met with courage, caring and a renewal of the desire to contribute something hopeful and positive to our societies. In many others there is escape from these patterns through economic, sexual or family preoccupation or many other social distractions. As far as I can tell, these have always been human patterns on this planet and most minds are entangled in the energies they produce.

There is a growing sub-culture of people seeking answers through  what is clearly an inward journey – an exploration of their own conditioning and a seeking for a calm center or a sense of connection with “god” or “Truth,” or the primal source deep within. When within this depth of self-exploration the primary and universal consciousness awakens itself, and it is clearly revealed and experienced how you are entangled in thoughts, emotions and beliefs not true but only generationally conditioned, then “awakening” occurs, and there is the possibility of becoming “free” of yourself, and ending  suffering. We each have a potential to “awaken” beyond the boundaries of the personal self and into a new perception of our universal connectedness, but very few access this realization consciously in their lifetime.

The search to awaken may emerge in the psyche as a way to end suffering, or the divisive thoughts of the mind that cannot understand the terrible things humans do to one another. It can be triggered by a trauma or by simply wondering why there is so much struggle in many lives. It feels very personal at first. For myself, it came when I recognized that I felt a hole inside related not only to my mother’s sudden death when I was a kid, but also because my faith in God had died along with her. I wanted to know what was True about life. Did something called god even exist?

Usually it is personal pain that propels us to ask these questions. But I have met people who simply fell into the vastness of pure consciousness for a short time due to a shock, injury or deep despair, and when they emerged they felt driven to understand more. Many who are drawn to the peace offered through meditation and self-inquiry go deeper, and find consciousness stirring itself into revelations that surprise them. There are many doorways into the transformation of perspective about who we are.

This searching for Truth is not the personal escape you may imagine it to be. When successful it cracks open the destructive collective patterns that trouble our world. There is a collective consciousness that allows the darkness on our planet to flourish – or we might say a collective un-consciousness. Each of us that can awaken ourselves to the universal collective field hold a potential for healing a small facet of it, bringing light in some degree into the whole. It makes clear the possibility of love and compassion to overrule hate, first within ourself and then in the greater collective. No authentic spiritual guide or teacher is in this work to further their own lives – they are driven to bring more light into the collective. They may not know how to do this effectively – they are ordinary beings after all – only awake – so they give pointers from their own experience to encourage awakening in those who are available to it. They may teach from heart or intuition or a process they have found transformative in their own lives.

It is unfortunate that in some systems the way to encourage Self realization is to discount the attractions of human relations with the world. This approach has a place in helping you to recognize the inner world may have something more fulfilling, lasting and joyful to offer. It helps you to release the addiction to form so that you can directly know the ecstatic essence prior to forms. But once that is felt then awakening will optimally be brought back through the heart and into the lived experience. Great poets. musicians and artists sometimes radiate this. Brilliant inventions may be birthed from this insight. Mental confusion, violence and suffering can be transformed into understanding and compassion, along with a profound appreciation of the beauty and the miracles of the ordinary life.

We may never have a world without some chaos and a percentage of wounded or misguided people striking out at others. But the hope for me is that awakening generates greater wisdom and an evolution of  a new perspective within humanity, so that we understand that we are One interdependent species, and it is to our benefit to accept and support our common human needs. Awakening is not for you alone – it is for all of us.

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Beyond Indifference

There is a certain violence in nature.  There is an underlying indifference to life that is paradoxically a movement that keeps life changing and evolving. It is the nature of all physical form to rise and fall, shift and die.  We see this in large movements like earthquakes and floods and fires caused by lightning and in smaller circumstances such as lifeforms that feed on other lifeforms or battle one another for the right to procreate.  Our planet and species were created through eruption and wild intense forces of nature.  As humans the roots of this indifference and fierceness to survive also lies in our shadow,underlies many of our darker patterns and is evident in the decline of our bodies as we age. As pure awareness  it is seen that all of these movements toward upheaval and destruction are just part of who we are.  When consciousness awakens itself and the stillness of our true nature is known we can see with equanimity the naturalness and inclusiveness of the world as it is. This part of what we are has limitless acceptance of what is. As Adyashanti often says, “It has no argument with reality.”

But this does not mean we then turn our back on the human condition and have no response to it.  We are source playing humans at the moment and when this source is awakened in us it moves through an open heart and generates compassion and love, creativity and responsiveness.  In knowing we are all of this world we may be moved to respond in ways the limited mind would not.  When our identification with personal suffering in our  past, and our emotional resistance and rage and grief is over, we are more free to bring something authentic, healing and useful into the world. We don’t need to be indifferent and are free to move spontaneously.  From a non-dual perspective we can rationalize we are not our body/mind , and think “Why do anything?”  But if you look closely you can sense this must be a mental rationalization,  because the fully awakened being is not personal, and is moved by a recognition of being one with others.  Instead there is a movement that is impersonal, but inclined toward the healing of suffering, the feeding of the human, the nurturing of the planet, bringing harmony into the whole. Many call this movement love, but it is not the love that is looking for something in return. It is simply the complement to the destructive and painful forces. It moves through us and not from us.

Genuine acceptance of the fact that destruction and death are an aspect of living and being in form, frees one to bring more harmony and love into the mix rather than rage and resistance.  I can’t speak for other life forms, but while we exist as humans we have a capacity for the wisdom to end our psychological self-destruction and the pain in our species that perpetuates it. It is our dream we are living and as we become more harmonious and awake as a species the dream can evolve more harmoniously.