Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Path to the Path

Well. Two thousand down and three to go. Sundays, that is. But it doesn’t mean that because we are down to the final three they are going to be special, like I’ve been saving the best for last. I haven’t been holding out on you. I’ve given you what I’ve had all along. Those of you who have been here all along could say it as well as I can. Here it comes again!

There is you and there is the beam, the path with your name on it, the way that is The Way for you. Everything depends upon you getting on the beam and staying there. We are all here to help you find the beam, the path, The Way and stay on it. We help connect you with the life that is uniquely, individually, your life to live, and then get out of your way. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. So, what’s the problem?

The problem is that you don’t help us help you. You have ideas about the life you want to live, about the life you wish were yours. It’s the Garden of Eden all over again, where there is our life and the life we wish were our life. The solution to the Garden of Eden is the Garden of Gethsemane: “Thy will, not mine, be done,” where the “Thy” is the life that is our life to live, the work that is our work to do. Moving from the Garden of Eden to the Garden of Gethsemane is the spiritual journey. It’s also growing up. Squaring ourselves up to how things are, reconciling ourselves with what is true and what is also true, and taking up the work that is ours to do in living the life that is ours to live, never mind how we wish things were. And we are here to help one another do that work, live that life.

We do that by being a community of innocence. The work of being us, of being who we are, is solitary work. No one can do it for us. The kind of community we need is composed of individuals being themselves. We are here to remind one another that we find the way by getting out of our own way, by opening ourselves to possibilities we would never consider, and following the white rabbit to places we would never go on our own.

The crucial realization is that our life as we are living it isn't working. This could result in suicide, addiction or depression. Or in our waking up to the work that is ours to do. We go one way or the other bases upon our recognition that we aren’t here to have what we want, but to serve what wants us. That is not clear to all of us or to any of us at all times. It is all quite iffy and hangs by a thread. There are no guarantees that we will take up the work that is ours to do and serve the soul that is waiting to come forth into the world.

It is all up to us, but. We are upheld, encouraged and sustained for our work by the communities of innocence which nurture us, knowingly, along the way. Communities of innocence help us with the work of seeing and saying how things are, bearing the impact and imagining fitting responses. The life we live is always a compromise with the facts of life. How alive can we be within the context and circumstances of our lives? It is up to us to work it out, to be as alive as we can be within the context and circumstances of our lives. This is the work of being human. There is nothing more to being human than living aligned with ourselves in light of all that is true in responding appropriately to the time and place of our living.

Helping us to engage reality and respond appropriately in light of all that is true about us is the work of communities of innocence. Communities of innocence help us take into account all that can be taken into account in deciding what to do about how things are. Being conscious of everything pulls the contradictions, the conflicts, the discrepancies, the discordances, into view for us to integrate. On one hand, this. On the other hand, that. Ambivalence and contraries are the matrix of life, the sea in which we all swim.

Consciousness, awareness, is the healing balm that takes all opposites into account and undertakes the work of reconciliation, integration, oneness. To be conscious is to do, to be engaged in, the work of reconciliation, integration. The work of squaring ourselves up to how things are and how they also are.

Consciousness is awareness of all that is true in any moment, and of what needs to be done about it, with it, for the good of all concerned. Consciousness is not a spiritual trick for getting what we want. What we want is the first thing that has to go in the work of consciousness. Nothing blocks awareness like having an agenda. Wanting something keeps us from seeing everything. Being afraid of something keeps us from seeing everything. Nothing blocks awareness like being afraid of what might happen. To be afraid is to have an agenda. Something at stake. Something to gain, something to lose. We have to live as those with nothing at stake, nothing to gain, nothing to lose, in serving the true good of the whole with the life that is ours to live. Ah, but what’s in it for us? We get to be fully alive in the service of our life!

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