“When we tell God what we want God to do, or we tell the universe what we want it to do, we’re not really opening ourselves up yet – we’re still speaking from an egoic place. But when we confess our deepest heart’s yearning and tell the divine that we’re inviting it to give us anything we need to awaken, we very well might get it. To open ourselves to this grace, to this flow of truth, means that we have to step out of ourselves. We have to let go of the illusion that we are in control of our life. When we hand it over, we’ll find ourselves falling into grace, falling into this clarity and openness and love, falling right into the grace of awakening from separation, where we realize our true spiritual essence: this beautiful, unknown, unborn presence which manifests as everything we see.”
Falling into Grace
The attainment of wholeness requires one to stake one’s whole being. Nothing less will do; there can be no easier conditions, no substitutes, no compromises.
“The world without spirit is a wasteland. People have the notion of saving the world by shifting things around, changing the rules, and who’s on top and so on. No, no! Any world is a valid world if it’s alive. The thing to do is to bring life to it, and the only way to do that is to find where in your own case, the life is and to become alive yourself.”
“Normal consciousness is a state of stupor, in which the sensibility to the wholly real and responsiveness to the stimuli of the spirit are reduced. The mystics, knowing that man is involved in a hidden history of the cosmos, endeavor to awake from the drowsiness and apathy and to regain the state of wakefulness for their enchanted souls.”
Truth is a pathless land. Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest, or ritual, nor through any philosophical knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation, and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection. Man has built in himself images as a sense of security- religious, political, personal. These manifest as symbols, ideas, beliefs. The burden of these dominates man’s thinking, relationships, and daily life. These are the causes of our problems, for they divide man from man in every relationship…The uniqueness of the individual does not lie in the superficial but in the total freedom from the content of consciousness.”
Life does not accommodate you; it shatters you. Every seed destroys its container, or else there would be no fruition.
“Stark honesty, however painful, is needed on this journey to the Self; the unconscious will not tolerate anything less. One must be willing to face many cruel truths, those we keep hidden from the light of day; and those we keep hidden from ourselves. Not only do we have to die to a false image of ourselves, but we have to change our outer life accordingly. Change means change. We may have all the insights, but if we do not incarnate them, they are all in vain. We may have to die to our job, to a particular relationship, to our faith. Death is agonizing, lonely, risky. We have to be willing to suffer the loss of those things that stand in our way to freedom. It is the Horned Devil who says, “No, there is an easier way, a pain-free way. Come fly with me.” From the pain of an actual transformation, the Horned Devil would substitute the delusion of an addiction. Instead of flying, one has first to crawl.”
Ultimately (we) should not ask what the meaning of Life is, but rather must recognize that it is (we) who are asked. In a word, each is questioned by Life, and we can only answer to Life by answering for our own life: to Life we can only respond by being responsible.
–Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
On every fourth step,
you are meant to fall down.
Not occasionally, not once, not twice,
but on every fourth step.
The ground opens up, the wind blows,
a branch hits you on the head,
you trip on stones,
your heart breaks,
you’ve got to fold the laundry,
and they’ve closed the two left lanes.
Here on the fourth step,
all the forces gather together to stop you.
And some people, when they fall down,
they lie there for the rest of their lives.
And some people learn
how to fall-down-get-up.
That is one move. Fall-down-get-up.
Snake Talk: Urgent Messages From the Mother
Men are not the enemy, but the fellow victims. The real enemy is women’s denigration of themselves.
– Betty Friedan
Are you willing to be sponged out, erased, cancelled,
Are you willing to be made nothing?
Dipped into oblivion?
If not, you will never really change.
The phoenix renews her youth
only when she is burnt, burnt alive, burnt down
to hot and flocculent ash.
Then the small stirring of a new small bub in the nest
with strands of down like floating ash
shows that she is renewing her youth like the eagle,
– D.H. Lawrence, Phoenix
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone.
And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
— Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.– Naomi Shihab Nye
The ethics of immanence are based on the recognition that all is interconnected. When the earth lives in us, as we in her, our sense of self expands until we can no longer believe in our isolation. When we practice magic – the art of seeing the connections that run deeper than the visible surface – we know that no act is out of context. If we participate in a native American sweat lodge, we are obligated to aid their struggles for land and treaty rights and their battles against forced relocation. We have sunk a spirit root into the living soil of their community. They have fed us. But to be fed without feeding, to take without contributing, is not a road to power-from-within. We cannot grow in strength through being parasites. If we adopt ritual trappings without concern for the daily realities of those we learn from, we become spiritual fungi. But power-from-within derives from integrity, from our recognition of the context of every act, from a consistency between what we say, believe, and do.
Truth or Dare
from the Sufi master Hafiz :
Light Will someday split you open Even if your life is now a cage.
Little by little, You will turn into stars. Little by little, You will turn into The whole sweet, amorous Universe.
Love will surely burst you wide open Into an unfettered, booming new galaxy.
You will become so free In a wonderful, secret And pure Love That flows From a conscious, One-pointed, Infinite Light.
Even then, my dear, The Beloved will have fulfilled Just a fraction, Just a fraction! Of a promise He wrote upon your heart.
For a divine seed, the crown of destiny, Is hidden and sown on an ancient, fertile plain You hold the title to.
O look again within yourself, For I know you were once the elegant host To all the marvels in creation.
When your soul begins To ever bloom and laugh And spin in Eternal Ecstasy-
O little by little, You will turn into God.
Translated by Dan Ladinsky