We have to work the program. The program consists of listening, looking, watching, waiting, trusting, trying, asking, seeking, knocking—of learning the language of soul, being conscious, of waking up, of taking ourselves under our own wing and growing ourselves up over the course of our lives. We work each day to be more aware and alive than we were the previous day. To see what needs to be done and do it. To notice what winks at us and know the difference between an invitation and a test. Working the program will ask hard things of us and make us true human beings—and, of course, you know what that will do for us. Nothing. And everything. But no one can sell us on the idea. We have to decide for ourselves how important being alive is and if we are going to do what it takes to bring ourselves forth into the world. It’s our call all the way.
It is not easy. There is nothing I can tell you to make it easy. There is nothing I can say to make you want to do it. We are not here to make it easy for you. We are here to make it possible for you. We begin by telling you it isn’t easy, but it can be done.
Life is not easy. There is nothing easy about it. Dying is easy. Living is hard. If you want to be alive, you’ll have to pay the price, which is not doing or having what you want! The price is doing what has to be done, never mind what you want to do. The price is dealing with how things are, never mind how you wish they were. Doing what you want means not doing what you want!
If you want to be alive, you have to do the work. The work is done on two levels. We work to bring two worlds together. You have to learn to think of yourself as having a dual citizenship in two different worlds. One world is the physical world of outer, tangible, concrete reality. The other world is the spiritual world of inner, abstract, metaphorical, intuitive, instinctive, numinous reality. The inner world is the world of heart and soul. The outer world is the world of the body and the physical universe. We live in both worlds and our work is merging the two, bringing the spiritual into the physical, so that the two become, in us and through us, one.
We do this work by becoming conscious of our place in both worlds and working things out between worlds. What does the inner world require? What does the outer world permit? The work is negotiating the ways between the worlds. The work is being awake and aware. The work is seeing, hearing and understanding. Making connections. Bringing heart and soul to life through the body in the physical world. The work is constant, continual, eternal and unending. You never graduate or retire. You don’t get a plaque to hang on a wall declaring that you are awake. If you think you are, you aren’t. If you think you aren’t, you’re right.
We cannot take up the spiritual journey without deepening our relationship with the inner world. We have to learn the language of soul and intuit the leanings of soul, the intentions of soul, and serve them in the outer world. We also have to understand how our desire for safety and security and comfort creates barriers between ourselves and soul, and inhibits our bringing forth what soul intends.
We carry with us a collection of impressions, and memories, and assumptions, and ideas about our experience with life. We see the outer world through the filters of these memories. We interpret and react to the outer world based on the impact of our experience that is stored away within. We have to become conscious of how our memories restrict our living, our bringing to life the intentions of soul in our lives.
The more unconscious we are, the more difficulty we have separating what is happening to us from what has happened to us. We lose the line between inner and outer, and live here and now as though it were then and there. As we wake up, we wake up to our origins, to our history, to what happened to us and how we responded to it, and how that has impacted, determined, the way we live our lives. We wake up to the inner source of our being the way we are in the outer world.
Seeing things changes things. We don’t have to react to present experience as though we are eight years old, or twelve, or fifteen. We can become increasingly able to recognize what is needed and respond to it out of what we have to offer without being compelled to react out of the impact of past experience and its influence upon us. We can work to bring soul to life in our lives without having to always please, or refuse to please, our father, or our mother, or whomever it is that we think must be, or not be, pleased.
Knowing what we have to offer is a function of deepening our relationship with the inner world. Our life in the outer world is where we incarnate, bring forth, birth, the deep gifts of self that are latent and waiting in the inner world. Our mission, our calling, is to read, serve, and express the creative intention of our soul by bringing forth the beauty and truth of our nature, our “dynamic core of being,” and exhibiting it in the world of external reality.
We stand between the outer world and our soul. We decide what is called for in the world of external real-ity and what is being asked for by our soul, and choose what to do. We have to protect our soul from the outer world and we have to express, incarnate, reveal, exhibit our soul in the outer world. How well we do that determines how well we live, how alive we are in the time and place of our living.
Our ability to live well between the worlds hinges on our skill in making choices. We learn to make choices by choosing and being conscious of the outcomes of our choice. We teach ourselves all we need to know. At least, that’s the idea. We don’t have to do it that way. We can wall ourselves in, seal ourselves up, entomb ourselves until we die. We can avoid life, or we can live. Our choice.
How would you do it? How would you live your life, if it were your life to live? It is your life to live, you know. Who knows better than you what you have to offer and how you might make that available to your life? No one can tell you how to do it. You decide for yourself. What are you going to do? Whatever is pleasing. Who knows what that is better than you?
Ah, but, here’s where it gets tricky. We have to do what is pleasing, but we cannot live any way we please! There is only doing what is ours to do the way we would do it, but we can’t do anything we want. We do not do what is needed only if, and on the condition that, it provides us with what we want. We do what is needed and let the outcome be the outcome. And there, in the outcome, we do what is needed again. See? Get it? What does wanting have to do with it?
We are both guardians and servants of soul. We keep soul safe and live soul out in the world. That is our work. Soul is dependent upon us for its protection and expression. We are dependent upon soul for consolation and direction, and the wherewithal to do what is ours to do. It is a perfectly functioning system as long as we don’t wreck it by imposing our ideas about how things ought to be on it and wander stupefied and agog among the lights and action of Gay Paree.
It is all practice. We are practicing being who we are at the level of soul, bringing ourselves forth into the world. We are aren’t here to get anything, have anything. We are here to be who we are and bring ourselves forth into the world. To live the way we would live. To do it the way we would do it. To keep faith with ourselves. And to enjoy everything about the experience. Everything. And to want, when it is over, to do it all again.
We have to find what works for us, what assists us in doing the work that is ours to do, in doing what is asked of us, what needs to be done, what needs us to do it. We have to find what enables us to do that, what helps us engage our lives. This is where this gathering comes into the picture.
This gathering is here to equip us to be who we are, to be ourselves, to be who we are doing what is ours to do, to bring us forth, to birth us, individually, personally, to introduce us to ourselves, and invite us to come alive, not by stepping in the black footprints, but by intuiting the next step and the time to take it all the way to the Land of Promise.
We have everything we need, but we have to access it. We have to be open to it. When life calls for it, we have to be able to stand aside and bring it forth. We have to trust it and allow it to show us who we are, what we are capable of. In order to do that, we have to work the program, engage in the practice. We can’t play shortstop without having played shortstop. If you know what I mean.
What is helpful? What is useful? What do those questions mean in a world where nothing is wasted, where every experience has the capacity to open us to the truth, to connect us to ends worthy of us, to wake us up and re-store us to ourselves? Hitler and Gandhi were both agents of revelation, realization, enlightenment, so in that sense both were equally helpful, useful. One was the servant of suffering and death, the other the servant of grace and peace. What is truly helpful and useful wakes us up graciously, kindly with compassion and peace, smiles and says, “It’s about time you were waking up.”