As the numbers kept coming in last night, I began to experience feelings / visions / knowings that I just couldn't put to words. I received an email today from my spiritual teacher that speaks to much of what I was receiving, but was unable to put to words. If interested, please read. If it resonates, please join this retreat on Friday, the 11-11, led by my teacher. I'm sensing that this day brings an extraordinary opportunity to us all, in these most extraordinary of times. Much love......
A time to step back and reconsider where we are, isn’t it?
I thought you might appreciate this attachment below as part of the process.
As a preface, here's something I sent out yesterday morning to some friends in the New York City, New Jersey area. They were part of a group that in the spring of 2014 looked several years into the future - so that's the reference below. We saw a period of crisis that demanded cooperation, and that crisis, a crisis not a disaster, is about 20 months away."
This is what I wrote them.....":
"Remember when we looked into the future and saw a presidential address in 2018 urging cooperation as necessary to cope with the then current economic crisis? The person who was President was not someone we recognized and perhaps that makes our contemporary politics a little more understandable. Below is something that I have already shared with a number of San Diego people. It may help you get through the next day or two - I would so really, really love to be wrong about what we are likely to see tonight; however, we can and will do this together. And in doing so we will discover much more that supports our transformation than this election can account for."
"Disappointed? Dismayed? Turned off? Depressed? Apprehensive? Puzzled? Disgusted? Bored? Relieved that it’s now just waiting but scared about what’s next? Perhaps all of these? If you are reading this you and I probably share some common perspectives. It didn’t seem at all likely that the Republican Party would surrender itself to someone with such questionable credentials; and even more unlikely that he would tap such deep alienation and anger that a good part of the citizenry would place its hopes for real change in someone so untested and impulsive, and whose vision is apparently to go backwards. Yet here we are, a Trump Presidency on the horizon. I would so very much love and be very grateful to to be wrong on this as I was in casually writing off the Donald when he first appeared; but I don’t think so. And whether President Trump or not these politics are here to be dealt with. The dressing is off the wound and the wound needs to be tended to.
What next we ask? I think we can count on Hillary to be genuinely gracious and begin a process where she is seen more accurately and plays a constructive role. And when all the celebrating is over, the task ahead for the new administration will be so daunting there will be less and less of what characterized the campaign. Real compromise and cooperation, I believe, however, waits upon a crisis that like those of our past national emergencies which have called us all to the colors. In the flood of the personalized rhetoric of this campaign much needed conversations about fundamental policies have been pushed aside, and we have forgotten that we are at war. We may have been distracted but ISIL and Al Qaeda have not.
We have been a warrior people and a warrior race. We have been and are always fighting or preparing for war. While we have learned much from our conflicts, we have taken that disposition into our politics, religion, culture, and economy. President Bush began the testing of our supposed super power status by unnecessarily sending the legions to Iraq in the belief that our dominance would extend our influence, begin the democratization of the Middle East and provide for our safety. Despite that exercise that failed on each account, we are reconsidering how we use our power by voting for candidates who seem wedded to it as a means of meeting national needs...
Two years from now I believe we will again be deep into testing the proposition that violence resolves issues as well as reconsidering our fantasy of unlimited economic growth. What better way for that test to proceed than in the midst of an administration, and a public committed to unrestrained growth and military superiority, and whose idea of a return to greatness is to grasp at a world that is dissolving as we speak, never to be seen again? Should the democrats be in power during the coming crisis, I believe the conservative contraction would be much more severe. The public that now seeks a return to greatness will find there is no way back to what we were. Our challenge now is to explore and create alternatives that are inclusive, just. and workable.
In all of this conflict over centuries and millennia, what is it that holds it together? What is it that does not come and go, that always remains when governments, and every other kind of institutions, cultures, civilizations, economies, religions, and ideologies have their time and fade away? What is beyond the content of all of it, that is the context that holds everything? What is the propelling force and the purpose behind our ever-changing circumstances? What is always present, is the foundation of it all, and is ever available? What remains untouched and undiminished amidst all the tumult?
Some would say God, others, Reality, Nature, Life, Mind, Love, Being, Truth, Evolution or some other category we use to characterize what’s transcendent. Every one of us knows that there is something more than what the eyes see and we each have our way, hopefully more conscious than not, of being with it. Wisdom, I suggest, in this time of uncertainty, rests with finding our way to work as directly as we can with what is always reliable, ever present and beyond the reach of manipulation. Below is my latest version of exploring our next step."
UNLIMITED POSSIBILITIES: THE BROKEN TRAIL OF TEARS
Love’s presence within and among us is the absolute essential foundation, the sine qua non of existence. All Life in all its forms partakes of Love to the extent that life exists at all. Without love there is nothing. Love is the existential Ground, the Infinite Space, the Timeless Presence that manifests as all life. And Life expresses in all its plenitude what Love is, who we are, what all creation is. It’s Love that rushes to fill the lungs, beats the heart, sings as Life through the cells, knits the species together in the harmony of Nature and creates a planetary Order benevolent to Itself and to who we are as Life. It is Love that animates our desire to live, initiates our coming together with each other to bond, bring children into the world, and nurture them in family and community; and it is Love that seeks to order our collective life to support and uphold the value of the very best we can see in ourselves. It is Love that allows us to look into the mirror of Creation and choose the better way to be. It is love that sources the endless wonder, curiosity, and reverence that underlies our determined attempts to understand who and what we are as well as what it’s all about through science and philosophy and religion. And it is Love that impels us to create and express as best we can from the depths of our being the beauty, truth and goodness that we claim as ourselves on our ever winding path towards a more humane, just, and peaceful social order.
There are increasingly many questions, fears and doubts and confusion as we face our future as Americans and as humans on this planet. Our prosperity and our way of life hangs upon a thin thread of generations of debt, an out of control, greed driven and uncertain patchwork of financial institutions, an unrelenting competition for resources and dominance by national actors ever schooling themselves for war and all too ready to use force when other means of settling disputes are available, an economic system that progressively damages and diminishes our natural heritage to the extent that we are now threatened by extreme species loss accompanying long term devastating changes to climate and ecology. And our lifestyle and its politics, which instead of sharing the benefits of technology and the creation of wealth, exacerbate inequality placing more and more resources in the hands of a few at the expense of the needs of the many. If this is not a lack of Love, it can only be the failure to live from the heart where wisdom, compassion, and all other virtues have their origin.
In all of this it’s understandable that we might ask, where is God, where is Love, who are we really, and where are we going, what is to become of us, and what should we do? We could also ask, is this who we are, the grasping for power justified in a mean spirited and pejorative conversation separating ourselves out into enemies and friends, the good and the evil, as if in those judgments we might be able to minimize or ignore our own lack of responsibility for our welfare. Do we look with disgust and fear on those who don’t agree with us and so see them not as fellow citizens forging a common destiny or simply as obstacles in the way of getting what we want? Do we imagine that dispensing with honesty and kindness is the necessary price that somehow is being forced on us by the circumstances and beliefs we have all played our part in creating?
Are we so afraid of what may come, so frozen in time, so out of touch with the natural cycles of growth and our own capacity to change and take charge of our lives; and Is our imagination and vision so very impoverished, our sense of our common humanity so stunted, that we take refuge in myths of greatness based excluding and demeaning what and who we don’t agree with, superiority because of race or religion and unsustainable materialism we believe everyone should imitate? Are we so remote from the Nature we are part of, so cut off from our native instincts and our senses, so very unconscious of our inner life that we have no real grasp of how we attempt to escape from our woundedness and human frailty by projecting them on others and then attacking the objects of our projection because we are contemptuous of what of ourselves we disown?
Is true religion, our connection to the Source of Love, enhanced or depreciated by the absurdity that denial of Love and the kindness, kinship and compassion that are Love’s necessary Self expressions is required for Love to triumph? Are we so terrified of being abandoned and left behind that in the name of our inclusion we would expel others from the kingdom, or even condemn them to hell simply because their belief or custom is not like ours? Can we really determine what is true and not true of our political and economic system and its leaders in a culture of spin, secrecy and manipulation? Can our democracy remain intact and can we really be free when money rules?
It’s time to look within and awaken to what’s most true for us, evaluate what we call progress and create a new way of life and culture with institutions that embody the values that arise naturally from within when we take time to pay attention to and honor our inner life and each other. When we do learn to listen, are transparent to our life within and turn that to a discipline of radical acceptance, mutual forgiveness and silence, we will find the grounds for an ever-present sense of unity and good will.
What actually happens when we step into a voting booth? Objectively, nothing more than we indicate a preference for who we want to be at the table where it’s all sorted out into a legal framework that hopefully points in the direction we would like to go. Those policy prescriptions and legal guidelines are only reference points for what is frequently a temporary majority and that is, as often as not, opposed by those who continue to want something else and who, to the extent they can get away with it, ignore as much as possible both the spirit and the letter of the law. Generations after the Civil Rights Movement and fundamental civil rights legislation, we still have not come to terms with the role of racism in our history and in our contemporary life. So too with the dignity and rights of women, and the education, health and protection of children, and so much more that applies to those in need. At the same time that we have remained fascinated by technology, economic growth and our comforts, we have given ourselves to other distractions and ambitions that take us away from what we really want: the fulfillment, joy and freedom that Love brings. Ignoring what we really want and who we are takes us deeper and deeper into conflict and away from the better world we tell ourselves we would like to create.
Our human search for Love has become a broken trail of tears, a journey shattered by conflicts large and small expressed in every sort of human activity. We have made it so by structuring all our institutions around rivalry, adversarial processes, competition and individual advantage in the belief there’s not enough of anything, that it is best to always be ready to fight, and by struggling with each other either as individuals, businesses, or nations, we can achieve the most efficient and beneficial distribution of wealth and power. We have made struggle and conflict the essence of our freedom. In truth there is enough and the adversarial system and the vision of ourselves in a universe of separation is pervasively destructive. To put it simply, we are radically deficient in the compassion and the sharing that arises spontaneously out of an open heart because we live in our private stories of separation rather from the heart which knows the fabric of the universe, body and mind, nature and sprit, human and the earth are a seamless creation. And we are imprisoned by the fear that unless others agree with us about deep and ultimate questions, Truth will be compromised and with it our particular version of reality. And what could be worse for the ego than to imagine that my beliefs are not Truth and my way of life is not the best and even necessary for whatever version of salvation I imagine to be part of that Truth?
It’s time to end this broken trail of tears, to find Love and claim it rather than endlessly seek it, a search that allows the ego to remain in control and continue vainly projecting all the negative and inevitable aspects of an adolescent consciousness that assumes specialness and finds multiple reasons to believe that we really are different from each other, from Nature, and alone in the Universe. There is no hope in an endless growth of technology nor in trillions spent on making a bloated military even more enormous and powerful. No amount of self driving cars, talking laptops, surgical drone strikes, deadly special ops, massive surveillance, stealthy weapons, or organic vegetables will ensure our safety or well-being. To me, in common with many around the globe, within a few years it will be obvious that what we face here at home is more of what we have created abroad. It’s time to make peace; peace between classes, races, and nations, peace in our religions and our politics, peace with Nature, peace between men and women, peace with our human fallibility, and peace within ourselves. It’s time to end this broken trail of tears.
How to do that is no mystery. When we stand where we are and don’t strive to be somewhere else; when we consistently look within and value our inner life knowing that it defines all we experience; when we are willing to see and engage with those in our immediate surroundings about their real concerns; when we choose to listen as intently as we speak; when we just stop all the struggle and just be, when we refuse to indulge our own the mind chatter to be still; when we take whatever steps we can to overcome the fear that underlies our emotional life and really feel what we experience moment by moment; when we cultivate the ability to step into another’s shoes and see from their perspective and so understand rather than judge and condemn; when we turn away from the hi tech screens purveying superficial, addictive and distorted versions of life; when we no longer mix blood with baby food and teach our children harmlessness and practice nonviolence even in our thoughts; and when we understand that Creation is both the mirror to the Soul and the true nature of what we are, then it will not be difficult to take each step that comes to us the natural development of our humanity and so live the consciousness of unity, wholeness and well being that is our heritage, our true nature, and perhaps our purpose on this planet.
So much in the last few years has been completely unanticipated and quite surprising. There will be more: a steady series of openings beyond what’s expected, beyond what we can now imagine, even beyond what we believe to be real. Each opening will be a challenge causing some confusion and controversy as well as stubborn resistance by those who are determined not to change, but in the end we will manage every one of the challenges that come to us by being willing to set aside ideological rigidity and learning to be inclusive and create consensus, working with each other for the common good; by using resources much more equitably and responsibly as we develop the sensitivity and understandings to cooperate with Nature on an more genuine and equal basis; by cultivating an attitude of deep curiosity and nonjudgmental openness rather than indulging ourselves in our opinions and so failing to trust in Life; by taking responsibility for our part in the dynamics of attack and defense that poisons relationships; and by becoming more willing to explore and value the creative and virtually unlimited possibilities of the Soul, Our circumstances will, step by step, be such that we learn to expect and value change as we come to understand that being made in the image of our Creator means we also have the power to create much more than we imagine and that the fate of our world is in our hands because we are ready for it.
Hillary, Donald, Bernie and others have done and continue to do their part in this drama by making our choices more distinct. Now it’s up to us. Fortunately we are not alone. There is a wave of Love gathering itself from within, where Heart and Spirit dwell as One. For some, from the depths, beginning as if a barely noticed feeling that grows insistent and invites questions, for others a pressure for change or a determination to be free or find a better way, and for many a fierce anger at being betrayed or abandoned. This wave is now like an incoming tsunami. Before it floods our reality, it first draws out from the harbors of the mind the flotsam and jetsam of our distortions, delusions and self deceptions, and then exposes our fears and ignorance and all the other wreckage and disowned pain of our broken trail of tears. Once we see and reclaim that as our creation, it’s possible to move beyond our consciousness of separation, our doubts, fears and hopelessness and avail ourselves of the deeper archetypal energies now emerging with the capacity to transform our reality.
This wave is much like the wave that just before the midcentury of the 1800’s inspired women to join together, speak out, and begin their journey to equality. This is the same wave of Life whose energy and purpose arose later in that century with the power of the inner realities of conscience and compassion to abolish slavery and serfdom all over the planet. This incoming wave we are beginning to feel has the same energy and consciousness of liberation that impelled the colonized, including ourselves, to overthrow their colonial masters, oppose, authoritarianism and slowly create, defend and expand the institutions and culture of democracy. Now this current wave, perhaps more potent than any humans have ever known, again encompasses the entire planet and has a larger collective purpose in freeing us from our illusions and returning us to our true nature as one with Life. To be free of our illusions is to meet them. Despite everything some might do to make it so, there won’t be a strong man, either a politician or avatar, who can or will ride in upon a cloud to separate the just from the unjust, and who on his own, restores culture and order, righting all wrongs by decree. This wave now supports what we will do for ourselves and asks us to recreate ourselves and our cultures according to what we say we value; a recreation that includes connection to and even merging with the higher orders of reality we pray to.
As Americans we have had our moments of greatness; and we can be a great people but not by returning to the past, or by remaining enthralled by little versions of who we are so that we ignore or reject participating enthusiastically in our own inevitable growth. Life will not sit still and wait. We can live with detachment, move with the cycles inherent in this season of change, and remain open to new possibilities no matter how we are dismayed when we seem to be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. In this troubled time our defeats and our most significant challenges are the keys to a new reality. I have no doubt we shall take the steps that are, and soon will be, set in front of us and end this tearful, broken journey by charting a new course."
Roger Cavnaugh, PhD, is a psychologist, teacher and healer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
11.11 Retreat Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1109099319139563/