Friday, June 2, 2023

Reminders to Keep Evolving

    A couple of reminders:
    I write these blogs partially as reminders for myself - I aspire towards these things I write about. Like you, I'm in the process of "awakening". The quotes I select seem to me to be wise "fingers pointing toward the moon" - they point towards the Mystery from which, in my (& many others') humble opinion, we arise and to which we return.
    And it's normal for us to initially resist evolution / transformative growth:
    All truth goes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Then it is violently opposed. Finally it is accepted as self-evident.” Arthur Schopenhauer, 19th-century German philosopher
    Anyone with the slightest connection to the power of love (Mystery, Divine, Tao, Source, God, etc) understands that all motivation is based on at least loving & nurturing oneself, one's family & tribe towards long-term happiness. Gradually, this primitive instinctual self-serving love, naturally evolves (from egocentric to allocentric & ecocentric) to include progressively wider circles of compassion eventually including all of life, all of matter.
    Not knowing we are loved & lovable makes the heart grow cold. And all the tragedy of human life follows from there." John Welwood. "Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships. Healing the Wound of the Heart." Trumpeter, 2006. 

    It's very difficult to understand behavior where love seems to be completely missing. Examples: 
    those who continue starting wildfires in our forests & cities while many others lose everything, despite the valiant tireless efforts of firefighters who risk their health & lives,
    •  bullying in schools & workplace
    • "presidents-for-life," populist politicians & other large scale bullies who incite their followers to work against humanity's common good & start wars for personal gain.
    Anger & disgust at such behavior is entirely reasonable & even potentially helpful, BUT it can easily degenerate into dehumanizing individual perpetrators. Though it's not easy to remember, they are human beings, and we need to remember to become curious about the many hidden causes & conditions behind their harmful behavior instead of harshly writing them off as "inhuman." Imagine if one of these "horrible perps" was your only child - wouldn't you want them to get the best, most compassionate mental-health care (rather than the harshest punishment)?
    IF we survive our current reckless disregard for the common good, those reading history books 50 years from now will find it very hard to believe the ridiculous things we said, did & most of all failed to do over the past decade or so. 
    My hope is that there will be enough wise, energetic young leaders - like New Zealand's recent Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern - to inspire & energize our comatose "silent majority" into life-affirming action

    Such, it seems to me, are the mysterious interior conduits of grace in which transmissions of holiness & destiny flow from one awakening heart to another.” James Finley. “The Healing Path. A Memoir and an Invitation.” Orbis, 2023.

    “The easy path of aging is to become a thick-skinned, unbudging curmudgeon, a battle-axe. To grow soft and sweet is the harder way.” James Hillman
     As the quote above suggests, after experiencing hardships, it's natural & easy to shut down, get armored up, yet remain hypersensitive & become easily triggered by reminders of trauma we've suffered.
    But I'm inspired by those who've endured, learned from, healed and have grown wiser as a result of very challenging lives. Two EXCELLENT examples of such exemplars:    
      Isira. "Buddha on the Dance Floor." ‎ Living Awareness, 2014.
      James Finley. “The Healing Path. A Memoir and an Invitation.” Orbis, 2023. 
    And a classic book on the general topic of "post-traumatic growth" - though this term had not yet been used at the time: 
     Elizabeth Lesser. “Broken Open. How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow.” Villard, 2005.

    The body is only an effect, of which Love is the cause. As I realised this I could release myself from the need to validate my being through any body or personality identity. Who or what I had been or am in body is truly an insignificant mirage next to the knowing of myself as Love. Knowing this, and what that love was to do, was the only thing that mattered.
    And that pointed me to one place alone. The past, memories of identity, or the searching of future attainments, are all the ego’s clinging to that which is not real. The place of love was and remains the being I AM, eternally NOW.”
Isira “Buddha on the Dance Floor.” Living Awareness, 2015.


    ... my discovery was that life is the guru. Life is constantly calling you, like the beloved, into its arms, inviting you, not just to have a blissful experience, but through the darkness, through the difficulties, through the challenges, through the darkest places (it doesn’t have to be terrible on the external), but through the places that we hide from ourselves within ourselves, to surrender to that because everything is lovein the darkest places is light. And somehow that was the wisdom I gained from my own direct experience. ... And that’s what changed everything – it was unexpected.” Amoda Maa Talks About Her Life Before Awakening :


     We are human beings, endowed with an incredible dignity; but there’s nothing more undignified than forgetting our greatness & clutching at straws.” Peter Kingsley



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