When it is no longer all about us. When someone else matters. When we care to care about another person or what that person stands for. When we set aside the small stuff to support another. When we want to lighten their day, share the burdens they carry, give something of ourselves when they are in need. When we risk what we have to save another, even our lives.
There are bad relationships. When we sacrifice who we are, when we surrender our power to another, when our dependence causes us to accept what is unacceptable. When we violate our own values to appease another. When emotional or physical abuse is present and we do nothing about it, even to just leave.
Our spiritual connections are relationships. When we acknowledge a greater wisdom, or power, or love. When it is no longer about the material world but about the essence of creation itself. When we no longer hold the truth of man but the truth of our creator in our hearts. When we acknowledge the mystery and carry the awe of that mystery within. When we respect creation and honor our creator.
We are at our best when our self interest or self preservation does not dominate our lives or our relationships that we share our lives with. We are at our worst when it more important to be right, to be safe, to be protected than it is to be open to the truth of the world and ourselves.
The ten commandments are our bridge to all of our relationships. They instruct us in our behavior but more than that they provide a way of letting go. Letting go of our injuries and hurts, our angers, our self interest at the expense of others. To live with the awe of creation in our hearts and to continuously sit at the seat of consciousness gives us the ability to respect what is, deal with it as it is and to do no harm as we make this journey from birth to death.
BUMPS IN THE ROAD (a test of character)
Things that happen. Lost my job, had a heart attack, a lump in my breast, my best friend died, My spouse wants a divorce, My child died in a car wreck, my spouse had an affair, my son or daughter is on drugs, my investments collapsed, I can't retire, My health is failing, I am out of shape, I drink too much, I hate my job, my spouse is constantly critical, I hate my life.
Lots of pain in there, some very big things to deal with, some I can do something about, some I cannot. Every one of these and a thousand others is a big loss, causes us to grieve, causes us pain. What did I do wrong, why me, it is hard to continue, to get up in the morning, to function at all.
There are no easy answers. The grieving process must occur. To submerge it, to set it aside, does not help in the long run. But these things we feel do not have to consume us. We can choose to believe we can come through anything. We can allow the pain to come in and go out. Maybe we do this often. To feel the letting go as we experience the pain and then release it. Sometimes it is just putting one step in front of another, though we really don't care at that moment. One more step, this too will pass. We are not a victim, we will over time accept our loss. Other people need us though we may not realize it at the moment. To become lost in what we feel is not good for us. We can choose life over and over again. No matter what, life is a great gift. The seat of awareness, the aware one, knows this and will bring the mystery and awe back into your life. We must let go over and over again for loss is the way of things. But so is the gift and it is worth the price we sometimes pay for it.
CRASH AND BURN (failure, for the moment)
Failure for the moment means we are still stuck or lost in our pain. This can be many different behaviors. From addiction, to loss of interest, to not caring about anything. We can lose our focus on this life so much that we become destructive to ourselves and destructive to those around us. This is serious and yet the will to live is strong in most of us. So, sooner or later, we climb out of the sometimes deep hole we have dug for ourselves and begin to live again. If we have understood and practiced what it means to sit at the seat of consciousness we most likely never dig that hole. But life has many twists and turns and we cannot know for sure how we will respond when our limit has been reached. I do know this, life is a gift and to live it as it is, is better. To live a healthy life where you understand the importance of choosing and the importance of letting go of the power of the wound, is to become fully human. What is it to be fully human? To experience life with your body, mind, emotions and spiritual awareness without the anchor of your past or fears for the future, without the protection of your self image, without yesterdays pain. This must be practiced until it is second nature, to feel and let go, to be aware and accepting, to honor life in deed and in spirit.
Words like compassion, responsibility, ownership (we choose every moment of every day) are not idle concepts. We can feel the thirst for revenge, and let it go, we can feel everything and not get lost in that feeling. To suppress feeling takes away the passion of life, to get lost in feeling narrows our behavior to the negative side. On the positive side is awe, gratitude, joy. Behavior on the positive side is creative and constructive, behavior on the negative side is destructive and depressive.
SUCCESS (explain please)
Some people just get it. They are aware of others, they approve when appropriate, disapprove when appropriate and acknowledge the person behind the mask. Some things are none of our business and rightly so are left alone. To be this kind of companion, friend or even acquaintance requires an intact self awareness where everything is dealt with as it is and not as we wished it were or were not. Wounds, even direct hits, are not held on to but let go. Relationships are not a competition and good ones are not built on a foundation of power or control. We never give ourselves over to someone else to manipulate and neither do we do so to another person. Of course all sides of a good relationship, a successful relationship, maintain a harmony, an equilibrium. We each have our Eco-Sphere, our space. It is incumbent always to respect that space and wait for the invitation to enter.
The list of attributes of successful relationships are not that difficult to recognize and acknowledge. Respect personal space, others and your own. Deal with what is, nothing else. Accept what is, fixing or needing to change others is the path of manipulation, dominance, and power over. Enjoy what is good or great about another person. If you do not like what is going on and you must speak out, do so directly. And, let it go. Relationships sometimes sting, we are complicated. Give way, give time, give space. Not everyone processes from the seat of consciousness and even if they do, time to let go is always a welcome gift.
Old Paradigms and new Paradigms - How we View our Relationships - to each other, to creation, to Life!
Brian Swimme introduced me to a different view of Cosmology and Relationships. Allurement draws me strongly to a new and exciting relationship to the Cosmos and everything in it. The processes from the beginning that allows our existence, our awareness of everything not us, our awareness of us. All of the micro relationships in our bodies, the cells, the bacteria, the molecules that permit our upright existence. All of these relationships are incredibly complex, and weave a story so amazing that we are only beginning to understand. How Gravity works, how carbon was created, the life of a star our sun, the relationships between our existence and all other life, the importance of our moon, how food replenishes us, how important water is. The list is beyond measure. Although we cannot and need not focus on all of this at one time there is a frame of reference, an attitude, a level of awareness that allows us to stand with the mystery, to stand in awe, and reflect on how we fit in, what our role is, and what level our gratitude can reach.
Our vision of our relationship to all of creation including each other determines how we behave. The bible says that we have Dominion over all of the plants and animals. How we interpret Dominion says so much about us and our sense of who and what we are. Mass extinction of life have occurred before in the history of this planet, but in this time, this is the first time that a life form (us) has been and is responsible for those extinctions (at a rate of over 25 species per year, more than at any other time in the last 65 million years). Is the Earth and everything on it a Resource? And what does that mean? Can we consume that resource without understanding the intricate relationships it is a part of? Is our vision of our existence a long term one or a short term one? What is our moral compass derived from, a set of rules or a relationship paradigm that understands how and where everything fits into a bigger picture? Swimme said " We have to escape industrial consciousness and change the image of Earth as a hardware store for our shopping pleasure, ... we need to moved from resource to reverence."
What prevents us from already having that feeling of reverence deeply imbedded in our everyday lives, in our communities, in our nations leaders and the leaders of the world? Good question. An important one and one that needs our full attention.
To fight the good fight sounds good. It would be easy to get mad and lash out at the culprits or who we believe the culprits are. Big corporations, big government, our leadership and their annoying rhetoric that wants to substitute for sound policy, legal decisions that patent life forms and give individual rights to corporations, government leadership that knows very well what needs doing but refuses to do it. Government agencies that won't or can't do their job, protecting our food chain, from herbicides to pesticides, to seeds, to fertilizer, to antibiotics and hormones, to fresh water and everything along the way until it reaches our dining table and enters our bodies. We have an industrial mentality throughout our culture. Those priorities affect decision making and what does or does not cause harm is always open for extensive debate (sometimes years). This behavior that hides behind time (time to assess, time to evaluate, time to understand) is the very behavior that ignores the science and allows all manner of damage to continue. Bees die, developmental problems in children, environmental destruction of Eco systems and habitat, concentrations of toxic chemicals in our bodies, food chain disruption, ignoring climate change, the reduction of vital nutrients in our food, school food programs that sponsor obesity and do not provide balanced nutrition, water purity. Of course this is not even the tip of the iceberg and the responsibility lies with the electorate as well as the elected and appointed.
For now we need the industrial mentality. We have no substitute for our Capitalistic system, for our consumption behavior, for our Democracy. But make no mistake, the corruption of power is on the rise, consumption (the engine of Capitalism) is draining our basic resources, pollution gains on us every day, and the possibility of huge increases in population are at our door step. Our ability to adapt, to adjust, to change, will be severely tested. Change is necessary, change is needed for our quality of life and our very survival. Industrial agriculture says it is the only agricultural solution that can feed the world. But bigger, more centralized is not the best solution. More so when some fundamentals are ignored: the soil, the water, the plants nutrient quality, the runoff, the herbicides and pesticides, and the unchecked genetic modification of our food chain. What is needed is a shift, in our awareness of our relationship to this Earth and all of its resources and Eco systems, to each other, this shift is the catalyst that will move our creativity away from treating the earth as a hardware store and with reverence to treating the earth as our nest, our mother, our home. To wait until we are desperate to move off of this planet to save our species would not only be the crime of the century but is entirely unnecessary. Reverence brings our focus back to where it belongs, back to where we belong, this Earth, Each Other, All Life and all Life Systems.
Faith and Religious Relationships
Religious Institutions provide structure, rituals, stories and myths, a sense of community, and a path for belief and faith to follow as each believer seeks comfort and a relationship with their Creator. Each religion has fundamental beliefs about that path that cannot be altered. Which one is right? All of them. We did not create ourselves, we did not create this cosmos, this solar system, this world. We have no idea why we are here, why we die, or where we are going. For some this Earth is tainted. Salvation or redemption diminishes death and the apparent sinfulness of our nature and gives us eternal life. If and only if we follow a specific path to our Creator. For others their vision of our Creator has less to do with us and more to do with Creation. In this view miracles are everywhere but so is the creative and destructive forces present throughout the Universe. To balance in our minds both of these forces creates no end of confusion and questioning. Why evil, why does the Eagle destroy the Rabbit, why does the Cosmos rain death from solar wind, asteroids and even exploding stars. Why do humans kill humans. Why do we let children die. These and other contradictions are not ours to fix and in most cases even to understand. For most escape is possible. Surrender, to God.
But this surrender has a price. While the individual can find comfort and peace the world we live in continues to be damaged. We have been given gifts, not just of reason but of love and compassion. We always have a choice. We have the ability to see the world as it really is and respond appropriately. We can live in the mystery of life and the cosmos and face our day to day life experiences without the illusions that we created for ourselves as we grew up. Letting go is a life long experience but so is embracing the beauty of the life gift. Gratitude, awe and reverence replace pure self interest.
Can we not practice seating at the seat of awareness and learn the relationships of creation while we begin the long road to salvation in this life and on this planet. I do not know what happens after I die, no matter what I believe. But I do know that change at this moment and in this time would be in our best interest, as individuals and as a species. God, no matter what you believe God to be, would look with favor on our efforts as we honored in spirit and deed all that creation has brought forth.