This is the work of Incarnation. When we align ourselves with our life, with the life we are called to live, the transcendent source of life shines through our living. We are “transparent to transcendence,” and God is known. This is how we are called to live. This is how Jesus lived: “The Father and I are one. When you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” Or, as Paul says it, “It is no longer I who live, but (the) Christ who lives in me.” That’s it. And what prevents it? What gets in the way of that? Oh, everything. Our wishes, wants, desires, fears, ambitions… Our ideas of how our life should be lived. WE get in the way of that. And so, the work—the spiritual task, quest, journey, path—is to get out of the way!
Our life is not a long list of things to get done—to accomplish, achieve, acquire, amass—before we die, and it isn't a place to hang out until we die, it's where we bring forth who we are born, who we are called, to be. Joseph Campbell says, “Each of us has a track to find and follow.” Our life is our canvass and we are the masterpiece we produce by living it. But that is not something we think up and force into being. We don’t produce ourselves so much as align ourselves with ourselves. We acquiesce to the Self within—the Self we are called to be. WE become transparent to the Self within which transcends our idea of who we want to be. We surprise ourselves with who we are.
It isn't easy, being who we are, living the life that is ours to live. Better to be invisible, to go along to get along, to make no waves. The world blends us into its way of doing things. It's easier when we don't think, resist, react, but just go along like unconscious cows. Yet, to make no waves is to disappear beneath the water, to drown in the great corporate sea of unconsciousness that does what is supposed to be done without knowing what it is doing.
But, it's hard enough finding a parking place, remembering what we need at the grocery store. We have too much already on our minds. The life that is ours to live is on its own. We don't want to have to think about who we are and what is ours to do. Inner work is more than we can manage. And it is essential that we do it!
Inner work begins with paying attention to our body. Joseph Campbell says, “Your body is a vehicle of consciousness.” We are consciousness becoming conscious! We become conscious by becoming conscious of our body and its reaction to our experience. Our body’s reaction to external experience is a bridge to the inner world. When we become conscious of our body’s reaction to external experience, we can follow that reaction to its source in the inner world and become aware of what meets us there. Our experience of our experience transforms our lives. Inner world meets outer world. Who we are is incarnated in how we live.
This is much different from memorizing creeds and believing what we are told to believe out of a book of doctrine. What is within that needs to be brought forth, birthed, expressed, made known? How do we place ourselves in its service? Find who we are? Make ourselves transparent to transcendence? These are the questions which ground us in spiritual reality and save the world.
Our work is to find and live our own lives, to be who we are, who we are called to be, within the time and place of our living. Human beings in primal societies have always understood our true work as being that of maintaining alignment with soul, with the unconscious, invisible, spiritual world. As civilization developed, we set that understanding aside in order to serve our own ambitions, desires, and ideas of what was important. That hasn’t turned out so well, and our lives are empty, devoid of meaning, and our life is a wasteland. Now, we are at the point of finding our way back to listening to what the inner, spiritual, world has to say, and collaborating with it along the way.
How do we consciously make ourselves a partner with the unconscious, with the unknown, with what we don’t know? How do we attend, commune with, the inner voices? How do we honor the inner world and recognize it as a full partner in the work of finding our way along the way? The answers to these questions constitute the work of soul. It is the work of aligning ourselves with our lives, and waits for us to take it up and become who we are.