The Other Side of Reality Bites

One of my favorite bumper stickers reads: Don’t Believe Everything You Think.  It’s one of my rules for living…most of the time. Stop, look, and reconsider: what interpretations am I taking for granted?

And then there are the times when I am sliding down the scree slope into despair over the inaction of People (read: me) in response to the state of the world. The numbing-out habits of Our Culture (read: me). The indecision, time-frittering, distractedness, deflection,  inessential activities, etc., etc., of Others (read: me).

There are the times when I face up to the fact that I am witnessing the reflection of my own inaction, numbing-out, indecision, time-frittering, etc. in the crazy-making patterns of Our Society – and then the interpretations, reinterpretations,  and  options for action spread out as numerous as the crossing of threads in a spiderweb….

And I spin into a state of pure despairing paralysis:  no matter how much I do, no matter how hard I struggle toward Right Livelihood, it will never be enough.

The hell of it is – it’s true. It doesn’t matter how hard an egotistical lone-wolf “I” works. It will never be enough. All the ordinary mundane work of one person could never suffice.

So reframe, reframe.

I remember witnessing a lecture by a spiritual teacher who is fiercely engaged in attempting to wake up the sleeping Divine awareness of the People. He had just gotten off the plane, having traveled from Australia to Pittsburgh, probably hadn’t slept in 24 hours, was haunted by the knowledge of devastating news on the fronts of global eco-social justice.  With all the controlled ferocity of a Zen master whacking sleeping students awake, he descended on his audience of churchgoing devotees, gradually leading up to a peroration exposing the raw truths no one wanted to see:

“But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty and you are that poverty.” This is what will happen if you don’t go on the journey to uncover your divinity, and uncover the responsibility for sacred activism that belongs to that divinity.   We must start doing something at this point, when everything is at stake and the potential of the new birth of a radical embodied humanity is possible. If you don’t do that, you’re not just not doing something, you are actually serving the machine of death!
You are actually conspiring with the darkness that is destroying this world. You are the children of poverty and you are spreading that poverty like marsh gas. You are walking cholera.

I remember being shocked and repelled by these words…until I remembered as a child realizing that none of our human constructs – churches, companies, governments– have anything to do with the essential, conscious, sacred, interconnected reality of creation surrounding us. That, unless we’re dancing in conscious interaction with that reality, we’re drowning in disconnection, the delusion of our imposed control.

The truth is – outside of that essential reality,  each of us may genuinely be choosing darkness in our most ordinary decisions: the mountaintops leveled, wells drilled or birds turbine-killed to power our homes; the sweatshops financed through our choice of clothes; the aquifers emptied for our bottles of water; possibly the planet-destroying lobbying funded by the businesses that pay our salaries; the soul-destroying belief in our own limitations keeping us from a world-changing vocation; every decision that does not proceed from awareness of our Divine connectedness. And how can we have the heart to resist this daily collusion with Death unless we have a daily-renewed vision and experience of Life to offset it?

I can drown in interpretations, reinterpretations, and tangled options…point fingers at Others, at myself, and despair…unless I reach beyond it all to sit down,  compassionately witness the underlying fear and denial,  and consciously connect with the Divine embodied in others and in creation.  The Essential truth that All is connected, conscious, aware, sacred, Divine, and that the solution must come from that point of connection. 

And the awareness that this is all words, and the solution lies in the practice and doing.

2 thoughts on “The Other Side of Reality Bites

  1. I hear your frustration Phila. These are trying times for everyone and especially the sensitives. We have created a “system” and as I see it the system can only be undone by the power of Love…which I know may seem trite and the slow road. But as we each learn Agape Love things can move along more quickly until the tipping point is reached. I take consolation in the great number of projects (that can only be coming from great Love) I see out there that can turn around our modern ways of doing things so we are not causing harm to the earth. I walk this planet conscious and know that I am one person and do what I can do (the 3 Rs, and not using chemicals inside or outside my home, wearing clothes until they can no longer be worn and buying from thrift stores when necessary, making many of my own products so I don’t have to buy them in plastic containers) and there are many like me. I first worked intensely on myself, healing my old patterns and learning to love myself, This gave me courage to become a storyteller/speaker and I do my best to teach all ages about care of the earth and each other. I also throw in how prayer and connection to the unseen has impacted my life and is a very effective form of “social justice” that very few believe in any more. I just started doing readings for people that have proved wonderfully healing for clients as I add my Loving touch to the messages I receive. Lastly I have worked toward a deep understanding of what Love really is. Where a friend of mine expects everyone to conform to her whims or they are out of her life, I have heard the stories of others and been witness to the power of higher Love that accepts people the way they are, remains calm when disagreements arise, listens deeply, and does not give up when times get tough. I have waffled in faith and hope too. Now, today, when many around me are losing it, here I am able to offer just a smattering of thoughts to resurrect hope for you and others. Much Love and Blessings, Robin

    1. Robin, thank you for this sharing, and for your generous heart! Yes, yes, and YES – it’s one step at a time, one decision at a time, one moment at a time, and each leads to the next. And YES, prayer and connection to the unseen is a powerful and forgotten force…I am learning this every day also. And the (re)discovery of Love after trauma…it’s a journey of learning, often challenging, sometimes painful. Thank you for sharing your experience of the journey; much love to you!

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