“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” -Carl Jung
“The modern hero, the modern individual who dares to heed the call and seek the mansion of that presence with whom it is our whole destiny to be atoned, cannot, indeed must not, wait for his [sic] community to cast off its slough of pride, fear, rationalized avarice, and sanctified misunderstanding. ‘Live,’ Nietzsche says, “as though the day were here.’ It is not society that is to guide and save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse. And so every one of us shares the supreme ordeal- carries the cross of the redeemer- not in the bright moments of his [sic] tribe’s great victories, but in the silences of his personal despair.”
The concluding paragraph of Joseph Campbell’s, “The Hero With A Thousand Faces”
She spoke with me about her experience reading Earth Offerings. She told me that when she first read the blog, it was so poetic, that she immediately and rather automatically recoiled into an unexpected cynicism, denying, for a moment, the validity and depth of her own experience.
Recovering from this state, she realized how human her response was and spent the night pondering this phenomena which she called, “a deeply cynical denial and invalidation of what is most beautiful to us.”
What emerged from our dialogue was an awareness of the difficulty we human beings have loving ourselves and how that stops us from loving life, and one another, completely. If we think and believe, “Oh, I could not possibly be that beautiful, my life could not possibly be that beautiful, the mind will create a trap to stop the flow of beauty through the heart.
I asked her why she thought people do this. Her answer: “I think people reject what is most beautiful to them because they are afraid of the pain of losing it… because it will hurt more to lose this, it will hurt more to lose so much beauty.”
So, yes, much truth here. Impermanence is inescapable.
Truly masterful non-attachment is the ability to feel everything, completely, to be completely alive, and to allow all that which moves through us to just keep on moving through us. It is to neither cling nor reject while at the same time feeling everything.
The Path we are walking is through experience, through life and the body, with awareness. To stand in ourselves fully and burn from the inside out with passionate love or ache with grief or shimmer or tremble as fear travels by, to feel the spirit gradually lift and lighten as guilt is removed from the crevasses of the heart, all of this is… life.
When we fear feeling, we begin to construct limitations with our minds that inhibit the full spectrum of our experience and we get ‘stuck’ in clogged corners of ourselves, while the rest of us is left screaming, “Hey, wait, I’m in here, see me, feel me– wait!!!”
But the Voices of Reason, guarding the door, just calmly shush us, rationalizing our outcries.
The Cynic waves her hand and says, “None of this is even real,” relegating huge parts of the soul to the realms of Shadow where the pressure continues to build and build, toward inevitable breakdown or explosion.
Often, in this condition, we begin to feel persistently trapped as if we must escape from our lives to save our own lives, and so we run from one commitment to another, or one place to another, but in escaping we only bring the clogged stuck mess inside us along wherever we go, wondering why nothing ever really seems to change.
My beautiful young friend caught herself in the stuck place and wiggled free. Now she is feeling all of life, including the trajedy of our own humanity resisting it.
This came today from Shahabuddin, the man who has been my teacher, my guide in a human body, who trained me, and who is now my strong ally and enduring friend.
The resonance in his letter today is so deep, with the work of our community and especially with the theme of protection which has recently arisen through this blog and in our lives here, that I felt powerfully called to share his words with all of you.
We are all doing this work and it is working. And it is crucial to courageously and lovingly confront the limitation, the fear, the anything-within-ourselves-or-one-another-which-would-degrade-the-exquisite-beauty-of-the-human-spirit or attempt to prevent the heart rising to it’s most ascended condition of freedom. It is crucial to stand up for the best in ourselves and in one another.
Only the old habits of the mind can prevent us from claiming the glorious reality of our birth right, of who and what we truly are and were born to be.
One of my students called me the Destroyer a few days ago– she said I destroyed fear. But she let me in. She let me be that.
It is true: I can often see where we need to go, but there is no power I have that you do not give me. For those of you who are willing to live with courage, I thank you, with all my heart.
In Loving Kindness,
Here is the Message from Shahabuddin:
It is my belief that the 21st century will be a time of a great shift of consciousness in our planetary soul.
This era can be a moment for humanity and our planet to take a great step forward.
It appears to me as if the omnipotent intelligence of planet Earth is recognizing the advancement in the level of evolution in human beings. Prior to this point, because of the lack of respect for human beings by human beings, the planet was less of a player, in a sense, in changes that occurred in human history.
As we read history, although it is spiced with natural disasters, it is a story of human cruelty and greed, with brief moments of hope and illumination.
In this century, hope and illumination will predominate, and the forces of human cruelty and limitation will begin to diminish. There are many who refuse to let the old model go and are firmly entrenched in the idea that egocentricity and limitation are part of the human being and cannot be expunged.
This habit of thinking is the product of eons of souls leaving the earth with this impression and passing it on to the next generation or generations. But at the beginning of the 20th century there was a wave of positive thought, albeit small, that began to produce seeds in the heavens of a different and more positive perspective of what life could be like on Planet Earth.
Those seeds have grown into plants, and those plants are beginning to flower.
We saw pockets of this in the 60’s, and see it appearing once again now, 50 years later. From my perspective, this is an evolutionary pinnacle, but instead of descending from this point, we will jump to a whole other level of compassionate energy.
The work of Rising Tide and other spiritual communities and groups of awakened people is to act as protection for these flowers, and also to fertilize the future, by teaching people how to live and die with awareness so that the lessons will not be lost, the beauty will not be wasted, and the future will be assured.
There is a cooperative consciousness that is emerging as a reality, but it is still in a delicate condition. Our dharma is to make sure that this consciousness is protected and shared.
It’s quite a challenge, and it requires all of our experience and courage. It is critical to remember that we are not alone, but are held lovingly in the arms of each other.
A beautiful young man, after Zikr last night, shared his struggles and challenges in finding compassion for a family member caught in the throws of addiction. He felt it was so difficult to comprehend why any person would be caught in such a trajectory of self-annihilation. But an addict is an amazing being– someone who is willing to annihilate themselves, even for the momentary illusion of being more alive, someone seeking life more passionately than many of the successful, careful and properly behaved among us may ever know.
Perhaps that is why, in 1968, God told Murshid Samuel Lewis, “Teach the Hippies.” Perhaps God looked with great appreciation upon those reckless young people who were throwing themselves over and over at the jaws of death in hopes of a glimpse of Truth, a sweet taste of the Infinite.
It is so easy to turn away from suffering. Addicts walk the edge, but how insane are those of us who feel that if we do not look at the suffering in the world, it will pass us by? Do we honestly believe that by dissociating ourselves from that which is too painful to see, we will insure our safety from pain as if God were an insurance salesman and our willful blindness was a signature on His contract?
Oh, and then there are the Fixers. Not the healers, healers are of another ilk, but the Fixers– those of us who believe we have all the solutions, and by following the appropriate rules, all problems will be solved. What a comforting offer! It’s so seductive, so seductive. Here is the attraction and beauty of religious Fundamentalism at it’s core: follow the rule book and we will be spared all pain… or at least whatever inexplicable pain we are subject to endure in this life will be explained or rewarded the next.
What addiction is the obsessive attachment to the belief that if we just find the right rule book and follow it exactly, that we will finally be saved, blessed, free of pain? What a dark road it leads us down, over and over again, into Holy Wars and hell on Earth and yet we persist. What ‘loss of control in limiting intake” is that?
And Fundamentalism isn’t limited to the spiritual realms. There are Material Fundamentalists, even Atheist Fundamentalists. For when we cry “Give me rational proof or give me death!” we are no different than those who cry, “Give me my God my way or give me death!”. In these cries, we are still courting death to preserve our precious attachment to the righteousness of our points of view. How precious is it to simply question? To possibly not know? To be willing to consider? To be willing to examine the possibilities?
What if Heaven and Hell as places of reward and punishment don’t exist? What if they are here, right now, here with us, in our minds, our points of view, our beliefs and concepts? What if we truly have the power to bring Heaven to the Earth, or Earth toward Heaven, just by altering the condition of the human heart? What if the addict’s painful and often horrible descent into personal hell is just the result of throwing herself into God without any flying lessons ? What if the horrible face that stares back at the addict from his mirror each day is a face humanity needs to recognize as part of itself every bit as much as humanity needs to recognize the Saints and the Prophets? What if “There but for the Grace of God go I” is a lie because all of us are everyone and none of us is truly free until we can accept fully and completely both the beauty and the capacity for utter devastation within us?
After all, we would not expect a child to excel at any academic discipline without recognizing and training his or her capacities, so why would we think we can fully attain our potential as a humanity or realize, as a humanity, any real self- responsibility at all by persisting in denying the darkness within us.
Perhaps the addicts among us are actually Saints, sacrificing themselves so that we can finally see who and what we truly are. Ask any addict in recovery and he will tell you– no matter what horrible things he did and how many people he hurt, the person who was hurt most by his addiction was the addict himself.
There is an amazing muck storm which arises when the Mother comes out from behind Her veil.
Every place we feel tender, broken, inadequate, phony, false or small… it all seems magnified. The less mature of us lose control of our emotions, fly into rage or curl up around fear. The more mature pause to reflect on the morass within, knowing that whatever we witness in the outer world, it is only a mirror of ourselves.
And then, of course, there is the political (or trans-personal) aspect of the Shadow: six thousand years of oppression, torture, rape, mutilation, imprisonment, stoning, burning, crucifixion. Those terrors can also arise suddenly. And one can be on either side of the equation, or both sides at once, and still be completely overwhelmed by the force of the inner darkness of humanity.
All of this arises when the Mother takes off Her veil.
And although it may seem a great rock has moved away to expose an unimaginable host of creepy crawlies to the sun, Kali’s darkness is the birthplace of wisdom, the seed bed of belonging and the key to who and what we really are.
For it is simply true: we cannot know ourselves, as individuals or as a humanity, until we face, with utter fearlessness and relentless compassion, all of the darkness within us. From pathetic neurosis and petty selfishness to obession and paranoia to sadistic violence and consciously perpetuated evil, the entire spectrum of darkness is us. It is us.
Just as the magnificence and the and beauty is us. It is all us.
This is what it means to love ourselves completely. This is the path to wholeness.
What She represents for humanity, as a archetype, what She holds, is the opening through which we come into being and the accomodation through which we are empowered to shine the light of awareness upon ourselves, knowing all of what we are as utterly and completely loved, accepted and forgiven.
And perhaps, one day, when we have embodied Her teaching, there will be no more need for the outcasts, no more need for the outliers in either direction, no more need for criminals or Saints, for we will finally know, into the marrow of our bones, that the entire spectrum of experience is simply… human.