Lately, I cannot help but notice...the "world situation" is making any number of people angry, and in very personal ways. Because world situations are always very personal - they have to do with human life.
It is indiscriminate, the outrage. If you are angry about something, and the more openly you express that anger, I can just about guarantee there is someone across "the divide" who will match it willingly, or even without thinking.
Sure, I have felt it, I have at times expressed it. Openly. And not so openly. But I'm thankful I have gradually learned throughout my life to find a way to deal with it (even if imperfectly). I'm dealing with it now. Right here. Right now. Because something made me angry earlier today, and I consciously chose a different approach.
I claim no particular expertise, except to know what I have observed: When we are angry, we are generally judging more than we are observing, and we are very rarely breathing, or at least not particularly well.
What if we could do our best to put our anger on a shelf and decide to understand instead?
What if we could actually make an attempt to glimpse the other side?
Wouldn't that be astonishing!?!
(OK, fine, that last remark was just a little bit angry, because you see, I'm just a little bit angry about the anger itself and what it's doing to our lives and to our society. I choose to see mine too, when it arises.)
What if you could try on someone else's shoes by trying on their hearts?
You might begin to hear.
And some of "them" might very well begin to hear you too.
I must include a warning. It takes a lot of courage to "try on" someone's heart, to allow yourself to understand. Because the absolutes begin to fade, and that can feel uncomfortable - if you decide to tell your friends, some of them might choose to judge you, and you need to let that go.
The starkly outlined blacks and whites begin to shift.
Some say they blur to shades of gray. And you may see the gray at first, the mind sees gray, you may only see the gray, the mind sees ambiguity. Keep going through the gray, keep going, keep on going (this is a very important step, it's still in process for me too). Because when you keep on going, when you consciously choose to understand, you begin to see the colors, at first they come in softly.
There is a knowing that is impossible, yet real. It embraces every contradiction of the mind. It is a knowing that can only arise from Love, from heart to heart to heart to heart.
And the anger falls away.
You can look into "their" eyes, completely, without flinching...you can look into their eyes and See.
And the tears begin to flow.
The New Earth doesn't exist on one side of the bridge or on the other. The New Earth is the Bridge.
It's a rare morning when the front page of a city's newspaper shares the heartfelt words of Ella Higginson, a poet laureate of Washington state. I'm happy to discover Ella - she and I are clearly kindred spirits on the path in many ways.
Apparently another study (this one by Baylor University) has awarded Portland the distinction of being the most unchurched city in the entire United States - and Oregon the most unchurched state.
This particular study took a rather unique approach:
"Researchers compared the richness of natural amenities in every U.S. county to religious adherents per 1,000 people. They found that areas with higher rates of amenities have lower rates of religious adherence."
I'm not at all surprised. Like Ella, I walk the passages of "Nature's church" most days of the week, and even when I must remain at home, my church sends missionaries to my door.
"Live free, and beauty surrounds you, the world still astounds you, each time you look at a star."
~ Born Free by Don Black
The other day I read a post on Facebook inviting us all to spend 5 minutes per day on a dream, suggesting that if a dream isn't worth spending 5 minutes per day, then it must not be all that important to us. It's one of those posts we might tend to see one moment, forget the next. Yet every once in a while, the simplest of instructions actually takes hold.
You see, like many people, I have all sorts of projects in progress. Some of these projects in progress have been in progress for years. It might be months between visits to some of these projects. And I asked myself: Can I spend 5 minutes?
It wasn't long before I realized 5 minutes isn't necessarily enough, though in some cases, it is. 5+ minutes works even better. I have made a few compromises too - not every project gets my attention every day, but I'm finding the 5+ minute rule invites me to at least visit some of them every few days. It's a very simple thing to do.
There are some things that aren't exactly dreams, but they bring us Joy. Playing the piano is like this to me. I am a highly imperfect piano player and was a reluctant student through most of my childhood, with a very strict, unpleasant teacher at the start. I can save my childhood piano stories for another day. Imperfect or not, even as an adult, playing the piano freely brings me Joy. And it's easy to use the 5+ minute rule with the piano.
And so I just did.
And I discovered a song in a very old stack of music many of us have heard (far too many times in elevators in the 70's) and ignored or forgotten. It gave me astonishing Joy to rather imperfectly play this on the piano just now, while dinner is cooking.
A little while ago, I shared a post on Facebook, from the Findhorn Foundation. For those of you not on Facebook, I'm going to repeat what it is it had to say. It appeared with a photo of a diamond-shaped view through a rustic sort of a door, to the countryside, perhaps looking out upon beautiful Findhorn itself. And in this moment now, I am realizing there were windmills, which is a little "wink" from the Universe (you'll see in a moment below). There were many windmills in Kansas, where the wind always tended to blow, in the many years I spent there.
"Guidance from Eileen Caddy
You Will KNOW The Truth
When something is revealed to you from deep within, you need no
confirmation or proof that it is the Truth. You can stick by it even if
it means you stand completely alone. It is that inner knowing that
counts; it is that inner revelation which you can hold on to. The things
of the Spirit have to be understood by the Spirit; they cannot be dissected
and analysed with a human's mind. This is where you have to be
absolutely steadfast and unshakable and know without a shadow of doubt
that what has been revealed to you from within is of the Truth and not
fantasy. No one can help you over this; it has to be an inner knowing,
an absolute certainty which is unshakable. If you find even the
slightest doubt creeping in about the authenticity of what has been
revealed or given to you, be on your guard. Again I say to you, you need
no confirmation from the outer, you will KNOW the truth, whether it is
from Me, and will find an inner peace in knowing."
At first I posted the photo, and the words. I posted it without questioning. I did feel it is possible to KNOW. And quite honestly, upon reflection, I still do. That's the inner peace. Perhaps I'm still processing this. As I posted earlier on Facebook, it's our minds that tend to analyze, our minds that tend to get in the way of the Knowing, the space of the Heart. It's our minds that tend to take our inner peace away. That inner peace is our Pilot Light. It resides in the space of the Heart.
Here is what I wrote earlier on Facebook, as I reflected upon the Findhorn post:
"This is a far more intricate teaching than it appears. We don't
necessarily "know" on the surface, or that can seem to be the case.
Because the mind tends to get in the way of the space of the Heart. It
might take our entire lives (and beyond) to learn how to listen with the
Heart and not the mind, to hear with100% clarity. Perhaps we never do
completely, in this vulnerable human form, as long as we have minds, as
they tend to question Hearts.
But deep down, yes, there are
some things we tend to Know, if we really choose to listen. When I was
a child, I knew there couldn't possibly be a hell in the afterlife,
even if I heard any number of messages otherwise. The fears injected by
those voices seemed like my own inner doubt, but deep down, at the
deepest Heart-based level, it was simply obvious: No Loving God could
possibly create Hell. It's a "no-brainer" - literally! The Heart knows
what Love actually Is. And what it is not.
When we listen for the path of the Heart, our minds do tend to doubt,
because the path of the Heart asks us to be coeur-ageous, and our minds
tend to get in the way. It is much like "Field of Dreams", and the
signs are there to en-coeur-age us. Signs are utterly essential because
they quiet the mind. They are the tools of Synchronicity. They are
the Magic itself, revealed.
A rather unusual wind came up
yesterday. Around the same time, my hot water heater failed. It failed
just a bit at a time, over several hours, until we noticed all the
water was lukewarm. The pilot light had gone out, but I didn't know it
yet, or even when I did, I thought something might be "broken". My mind
tended to panic. My mind tended to worry I'd need to buy a new hot
water heater for $1000. It was just the pilot light, but it didn't
relight itself. It took a conscious intervention to get the hot water
going again. Deep down, beyond the mind, I had a feeling my hot water
heater was fine, and it was.
So don't worry so much about
doubting. Worrying about doubting is simply the mind worrying about
doubting. And we are human beings. The way of the Heart will come to
you again and again and again. Sometimes it's not "the way" the mind
envisions. In fact, usually it's not. It is generally beyond the
mind's ability to conceive. It is conceived of the Heart. And it is
Magical. The Universe's Pilot Light can never, ever fail. And that
also happens to be why there could never be a Hell...."
Inner Peace. The Knowing. It's not exactly intricate. The mind tends to make it that way. It's really very simple. God is simply Love. And so are We. I heard a piece of that in my childhood too...