Saving realizations enable us to get up and do what needs to be done. Saving realizations keep anything from being too much trouble, and enable us to give ourselves unceasingly to the service of the good. Saving realizations restore us to the right order of things: Right Thinking, Right Living, Right Doing, Right Being; Harmony of being within and without; in tune with our lives, at one with the universe; God, neighbor, self—one thing; Thou art that; This is now.
The saving realization is that we cannot hurry the time of our own unfolding, our own emerging, as who we are in the world. “When the flower opens, the bees gather.” “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” In the heart of darkness, the way unfolds. When our eyes adjust to the “dark night of the soul,” we see the faint glimmer of the light of life. The stream can be trusted to find its own path down the hillside.
The saving realization is that it is never too late to begin living what remains of the life that is ours to live. It is never too late to begin living in ways that are integral to, and aligned with, that which is deepest, best, and truest about us. It is never too late to begin being true to ourselves within the context and circumstances of our lives. It is never too late to do right by ourselves, and right by one another. It is never too late to begin right now, being who we are in right relationship with one another and all others.
The saving realization is that we have something to give; that there is more to us than meets the eye; that we have more of the gift with each giving. The saving realization is that keeping things carefully as they are is death, and allowing, assisting, enabling things to become what they need to be is life; that exploration and accommodation are more important for life than indoctrination and preservation; that nothing will be what it is; that everything is becoming what it is.
The saving realization is that God waits with us, unfolds with us, emerges with us. The saving realization is that God becomes God through us in the world when we become ourselves in right relationship with other selves. Right Living, Right Thinking, Right Doing, Right Being brings God to life in our lives and in the world.
The saving realization is that it is never any more difficult than realizing what we have always known; than remembering what we have forgotten; than returning to what we have abandoned. It was all there, and it is still all there. It is only a matter of being restored to the self we have always been. At the end of our rope, we only have to change our minds about what is important in order to be healed, and whole, and saved, and well.
The saving realization is that we are never more than a short little perspective shift away from being in the center of our lives, from Right Living; Right Thinking; Right Doing; Right Being. When we are off center, out of synch, out of alignment, disconnected, out of the flow, unfocused, lost, disoriented, anxiety ridden, and at the end of our rope, we are only a short little perspective shift away from the heart of all that is good, and right, beautiful and true. What do we need to hear to find the center? What do we need to see? Listen! Look!
We are the man wearing his hat, looking for his hat! We are the woman holding her keys, looking for her keys! We are the fish swimming in the water wondering what water is! We only have to wake up to know that it is so. Let the panic go. Listen! Look! Listen for what? Look for what? Just listen! Just look! Just know how it is with you, and how it also is. Just wait. Just see. Just wait and see. It is only a matter of waking up to know that it is so.
How to wake up is the question. Pay attention to what is happening now, and to what is also happening, is the answer. We wake up when we see what is happening, and what is also happening. We wake up when we say how it is with us, and how it also is with us. We wake up when we say how it is, and how it also is, and how that impacts us, and how we respond to it. It is the process of articulating our present experience that is the awakening force in our lives. As we say how it is, we see how it is, and our perspective cannot shift until we see.
The saving realization is that “this” is not all there is. The saving realization is that whatever we say about “this” is not all that can be said. Whatever we say can be said differently. And, in saying it differently, we see it differently, and our perspective shifts, and things change. The perspective shift is the heart of salvation. We are never more than a slight perspective shift away from hope, and encouragement, and life, and light, and peace. It’s all in how we see things. It’s all in what we say about what we see. It’s all in what we tell ourselves about how it is with us. It’s all in being aware of what we are telling ourselves and in being aware of what else there is to say.
Victor Frankl observed the resilience of hope in a death camp setting in Hitler Germany. Some people despaired and gave up. Some people embraced what could be embraced of the good, and lived lives of hope and meaning in the heart of hopelessness and meaninglessness, exhibiting grace and extending compassion to their fellow prisoners, and bringing life to life in the camp. Whether you belonged to one group or the other depended upon what you told yourself about your experience; depended upon how you saw it; depended upon what you said about what you saw; depended upon what else you saw; upon what else you said.
Our lives are replete with “existential pain,” with the pain of existence. It hurts just to be alive. And, what hurts so much about being alive is that things don’t go our way. And, when they do go our way, we aren’t as happy about that as you’d think we would be. When we get our way it isn’t enough, which is enough to make us really crazy and depressed. We don’t know what we want. Nothing we think we want seems to be it. We don’t know what it would take, and we hate it all. How’s that for a situation? Is there any wonder that we are the most medicated nation on earth in the history of the earth? We hate our lives, and have to have drugs, legal and illegal, just to keep going.
It is as though we are prisoners in a death camp without guards and fences, without depravation and ovens. With all of those things removed, and with the freedom to go where we want to go and do what we want to do, we are still separated from rich, full and satisfying lives. And, we don’t know how to get there, and we are running out of time. Of course, overstatement is what I do best. However, I do catch a sense of uneasiness about us, as a culture, that borders occasionally on panic, stemming from what seems to me to be a quasi-conscious realization that this isn’t it and we don’t know where to find it. And, we attempt to calm ourselves with some variety of addiction, or despair of ever grabbing the golden ring and living happily ever after.
The saving realization is that “it” isn’t “out there” to be “grabbed,” or “achieved,” or “acquired,” or “amassed” and stored away. The “philosopher’s stone” is “in here.” The magical source of transformation is within. We, WE, have the power to turn base metal into precious stone. To turn our old, sorry, boring, hum-drum, going nowhere, doing nothing lives into marvelous, magnificent sources of life, and light, and beauty, and goodness, and peace. We are never more than one slight perspective shift from having it made.
And having it made is being in possession of a point of view that knows the importance of doing what you love; of being who you are; of being true to yourself within the context and circumstances of your life; of being true to yourself in loving relationship with other selves; of being true to yourself while being the right kind of person in the service of the good; of being alert to the needs of the moment and to the particular gifts you bring to the moment; of being true to yourself while offering what the moment needs out of your store of gifts, and interests, and aptitudes, and abilities; of being YOU in loving relationship with other people and all of life.
Having it made is living so as to exhibit the qualities and characteristics of God in the tiniest details of our lives. Having it made is knowing there are no throw-away moments; no moments in which we are excused from the tasks of kindness, and gentleness, and compassion, and generosity, and hospitality, and awareness, and patience, and mercy, and all the other wonderful old necessary and essential ways of being with one another in the world. Having it made is waking up to the saving realization that “it” isn’t about what we find, or get, or gather to ourselves, but about who we show ourselves to be through the process of living our lives.
The prisoners who saw the camps as places to exhibit compassion, grace, mercy and peace—as opportunities to experience and express as much good as could be experienced and expressed—had quite different lives than the prisoners who saw the camps as closing them off from any possibility of the good. It makes a difference whether we see the world as an oyster and our lives as the search for the pearl, or whether we see ourselves as the pearl and our lives as the opportunity to enrich the world.