Symptoms of the Perfection That Is

comments 21
Christ / Course Ideas

The question in my heart today is this: what is possible?

That is actually a poor translation of what is in my heart, because this simple question is so abstract it permits responses like, what is possible… ever?  And the answer then is… well… anything, I suppose…

This is not the question.  I am not filled with a question about what might happen in places and times so remote from where we stand today as to be seemingly unrelated to who we are and what we are able to grasp right now.  If one posits the passage of sufficient time, all bets are off.  If you are a glass-half-full person, the prognosis is infinitely good.  If you are a glass-half-empty, maybe not so good.  Thinking really long term boils all the trends down to just two seemingly plausible alternatives: either everything gets worked out or it doesn’t.  Endless grace, or endless suffering.

(There is a third class of outcome I’m not all that interested in, I admit, which is that we won’t exist or in any way be a living part of such a distant future reality, so it doesn’t really matter and whatever happens happens.)

But we live, today, in this place we might call the meanwhile.  It could be better– in some ways far better– but at the same time for some, perhaps many, there are niches in which life is not all that bad either.  Very few of us would be hard-pressed to imagine something worse.  Living in the meanwhile allows us to postpone judgment on which way the trend is going until we have more data.  We can say…

…everything still hangs in the balance, so we’ll have to wait and see what comes.

…it is too early to tell which way this world is leaning.

…like our forefathers, we can probably carve out for ourselves a few incremental improvements, but we can hardly imagine what the world will be like one day far in the future…  The implication is that “we” probably won’t be around when the trends have drifted far enough to be clear.  Such glories are far beyond our limited means…

In the Prelude to A Course of Love, Jesus noted that while A Course in Miracles coached infinite patience– a patience that brings with it peace of mind, for it is a patience that rests upon knowing the end game is assured for each and every one of us– that we who dwell in the meanwhile here are getting antsy.  While the Christ within (and I use Christ here as a word referring to our genuine non-egoic, eternal identity), forever knowing our true nature, is already basking in the grace and beauty of what is, Jesus describes us as having been filled with “a spirit of compassion that reels at the senselessness of misery and suffering.”  In other words, he’s aware that there’s a palpable sense of urgency on the surface of this planet.

So my question is: what is possible… for us?  Could we, for instance, actually hatch from the egg of the meanwhile?

* * * * *

Reflecting on this question and how we might answer it, my first impression is that I think we are, in general, far too sophisticated in crafting our answers to really contact the truth.  This is not an attempt to forecast the outcome of the Super Bowl based upon talent, match-ups, or having an edge in coaching.  Nor is this an attempt to prognosticate trends in the stock market, knowing for instance that recent discoveries of hydrocarbon reserves in geographic location X will in 3-5 years’ time begin impacting the cost and availability of goods such as Y and Z.  Answering this question honestly and fully is likely an act of treason against history itself, and much of what it has taught us.  This is a question about what might come to pass if forces present in the world previously only dimly acknowledged or permitted, the creative force of inner authenticity, were given reign.

I, perhaps like you do or once did, have all too often correlated progress in hatching from the egg with outer transformation, with states of the world around me that would surely evidence this change, and thus once or twice, or let us say forty times forty times, have hitched my wagon to particular mechanisms in the world around me whose existence I thought could help usher in transformation.  I think these ventures are worthy of posts all their own, which may be the next step to this vein of exploration, but very briefly, I had a business that didn’t work out that hinged upon endorsement and application of new technology that seemed to do “something for nothing”, (although that wasn’t the case at all), that was in my mind an eye-opener about what might be possible were humanity to work in partnership with Nature.  I also at one time was passionately interested/involved in a project that wasn’t a business, but more like a community venture to host a “technology” that would have been something like a symbiosis of spirit and humanity, of divinity and earthen materials.  We floundered a bit.  Neither venture firmly created a beach head on the New World of what is possible…

I contrast these experiences with the relationship I have with my wife, which is not only a miracle and an obvious answer to prayer, but perhaps more importantly an inner reality of joining first and foremost.  Through this commitment and love, beauty and truth emerge, but we don’t have any agendas for what it is supposed to “look like”.  In these other ventures I described, which to be fair were peppered with thoughts and desires every bit as heartfelt as in any other area of my life, my mindset was related to outcomes.  I thought the world would be a better place if it had these particular “somethings” in it.  I submitted to the awareness that the inner reality was vitally important to these other ventures, as a matter of principle, but you know… the real success would have been the result I could hold in my hand, the one I could have held up to the light and shown other people.  In my relationship with my wife, the real success is the living reality between us.

So, I’m ultimately trying to say that this hatching from the egg of the meanwhile seems like it can only come through submitting to the nebulous, to the placement of unity as our primary desire and mode of being, as an end in itself, and letting all externalities go.  I think there will be a myriad of spin-offs from this point of ignition, and that the outer world will change markedly, but these outer changes will be like side effects, or temporary outpourings of an infinite resource we discover we are.  They will be symptoms of the Perfection that already is within us, of which the Christ within each of us already and always partakes.

Buckminster Fuller called this type of phenomenon precession, where the expression of who we are results in highly desirable but perhaps unintended consequences.  These are not the negative side effects with which we are all too familiar, the treatment that threatens skin rashes, blindness, paranoia, and possibly death.  These are the moments of grace we could never have anticipated, never made on our own if we had tried.  They occur simply as a result of us being us.

I think so much is possible, and I think so much is possible for us, but I think every time we focus on the form this everything will possess when it arrives, and place our focus on being part of that, we somehow step out of the living flow on which every good thing depends.  Can we trust that the outer forms will be perfect when they arrive, even if we don’t manage them every step of the way?  That they will surpass the greatest forecasts of our limited imaginations?  Can we commit this one act of treason against history, and whisper in it’s ear that it is our destiny to step beyond it’s shadow?  Can we accept that all this will come, arising as easily as the next sunset, if we would but remain in our hearts, as living, realtime responses of Love to Love?

21 Comments

  1. Hi Michael,

    I love this post.

    “So, I’m ultimately trying to say that this hatching from the egg of the meanwhile seems like it can only come through submitting to the nebulous, to the placement of unity as our primary desire and mode of being, as an end in itself, and letting all externalities go.”

    At some point in our lives, we all come face to face with the creature who points to the individual frames of our lives and laughs at us, saying, “Nothing matters, you’ll never get anywhere.” The answer to that is of course, exactly, and with that acknowledgement we are freed from the expectation of reaching some definition of the future that we have no business defining.

    Submitting to the nebulous, a mode of being where our hearts open up to the power of love, beauty, joy and sorrow, without making any demands on those experiences to be other than what they are. For they are enough, and we know abundance when we let ourselves be lived and touched by their power.

    This post furthers our discussion of “what is it all for?” You remind me that that question is profoundly answered moment by moment. It’s not only answered by looking at the bigger picture, but by being truly immersed in life, in all that we are and sense right now.

    Perhaps, and this is not necessarily a bad thing, when we are absorbed by a book or a movie, or music, or conversation, or loving another, we more truly experience this immersion. The trick then is to see that when we think we’re not immersed, when we are angry, or cleaning the dishes, or sick, or have been hurt by another, to see that we are still immersed, but we’re trying not to be. Discomfort, more than anything, invites us to skip frames, but unsuccessfully, and in itself is jarring, causing the discomfort. The feedback is painful.

    Am I in left field? As your post inspires me, out comes the words Michael!

    Debra

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    • Debra,

      I think you picked up quite a bit of what I was laying down, but there is a point I was trying to get to eventually about how the world around us could be freed to transform in profound and unexpected ways, when our focus and attention are in the appropriate plane or mode of being. Or to say it another way, when we have accepted and moved into wholeness, the world around us will follow suit.

      Right now we tackle problems or situations caused by a mindset or a perception that is not whole, and we get side effects and unintended consequences. I’m suggesting that as we come to accept and live from wholeness, things will somehow “work”. What is possible, may be very great and wondrous indeed.

      To give you an example, right now most of the ways we harvest or produce energy generate pollution, disturb aesthetics, make noise or heat, add stress to our environment, etc. All the ways we have, however, are ways capable of arising from our fractured view of the world. I suggest it will be possible for whole new classes of technologies to become available as byproducts of wholeness, which are themselves largely free of these downsides. These would be so simple, perhaps, as to not seem like technology at all, or may be indistinguishable from beauty or truth.

      But I’m saying the movement into wholeness is the necessary precedent to the emergence of such expressions. It is the difference between clean nuclear fusion (which is based on joining), let’s say, whose byproducts are primarily energy and water, to nuclear fission (which is based on splitting apart), whose byproducts are energy and toxic or radioactive materials. I’m not saying the answer is fusion, or that we can “make” fusion somehow practical as an end to itself, but I am saying that from a collective movement into wholeness, maybe fusion is a byproduct of that movement.

      Maybe then, it “fits” in our world in a way it simply cannot right now.

      Thanks as ever for the comment and your thoughts, which have helped me to clarify I think my original objective! 🙂

      Michael

      Like

      • Hi Michael,
        I do agree that the potential is there for the idea of a better relationship between ourselves and the world, the parts to the whole, may at some point propel humanity out of our slumber into an unprecedented renaissance that could collectively bring much needed healing and peace to all.

        Understanding the background of wholeness that we participate in is an important piece of the puzzle that can bring about a major shift in how we approach nearly everything.

        For myself, I can’t undo the picture of wholeness and the ongoing realignment of my desires and choices to serve the promotion of this vision. I think the time is ripe, like a Cambrian explosion of the psyche perhaps.

        I carry this notion with me daily, if not in each and every moment. It’s the meaning of life, don’t you think?

        But, it’s not driven by a desire for a particular outcome, meaning, I can’t specify exactly what the world will look like when enough people choose to live for peace, love, and beauty as the meaning of life.

        I think you’re right too, that when our understanding is expanded, there will be better solutions to human, animal and planetary needs that seek first, to do no harm.

        I just don’t want to be the cause of harm to anyone anymore. Or if I am, I pray for understanding, so that I can make better choices. When I suffer or feel hurt by someone, I pray to have compassion for them.

        This has become my choice and I try to live each day in service to love and peace, the deeper meaning and the bigger picture.

        Some days are certainly better than others 🙂

        Debra

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        • Debra,

          I love your metaphor of a Cambrian explosion of the psyche. I am not entirely sure I am reading your statement about not being able to “undo the picture of wholeness… to serve this vision” correctly or not, but I agree with the notion of not setting aside wholeness itself to explore any “disconnected” tangents. In a way this echoes what I was trying to say originally, about the fact that some of the specifics may arise less because we controlled their birthing and evolution and more as the natural offshoots of wholeness in motion.

          I think it is interesting to consider that the world we inhabit is not empty, but jam-packed full of phenomena. Airplanes, appliances, plant species, recipes, architecture, nations, laws, etc. We individually may feel very little connection with how any of these specifically came to be, and yet they are all consistent more or less with our historical, lived, felt, experience of “world.” With a new inner experience shared among us, what would naturally arise instead?

          I think as wholeness takes root in our psyches and hearts, doing harm will simply fall away as an active possibility in our world.

          I resonate with and share wholly with your choice… 🙂

          Michael

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          • “In a way this echoes what I was trying to say originally, about the fact that some of the specifics may arise less because we controlled their birthing and evolution and more as the natural offshoots of wholeness in motion.”

            Yes, I sense the truth in this, but it remains a perspective to wrestle with.

            On the one hand, all of our choices and acts of love matter as they contribute to the state of the whole, on the other hand, we are born into a specific place and time, and so, are affected by the current state of the whole. I think it’s helpful to keep both perspectives in mind, or else we might get too caught up in making something come about, rather than fostering love through attentiveness to our actions and to our relationship with others as well as to the ten thousand things.

            For me, this is why I don’t see political solutions or overt revolution as ways to facilitate change. The heart is the ultimate and only weapon of love.

            I see a progression in evolution, but that does not mean that every change can be relied on to deepen our hearts into a connection with the whole.

            Are you familiar with Brian Swimme?

            Debra

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            • Debra,

              I have heard of Brian Swimme and his work but haven’t read or viewed any of it directly. I think in this reply you have expressed the thought beautifully- which is that transformation may occur, but best not to be too obsessed with the specifics.

              You bring up another excellent point, which is that change alone is not the thing. Change is always occurring. When we speak of the changes that arise as miraculous expressions of hearts touched by Love, we don’t mean surface changes per se. We don’t mean a new style, or re-dealing the cards and thinking that because we happened to get a better hand this round that the game itself has changed… We are speaking of deep change- change that changes the nature of boundaries, constraints, or limitations on what might be expressed through Creation because historically the Created aren’t yet interested in expressing it!

              We are speaking about changes such as the end of suffering, the opening up of vast opportunity, the natural giving and receiving of vulnerability and authenticity in communications, the cessation of manipulation and gaming of systems or ‘taking advantage’ of circumstances and people because the ‘rules’ permit a given behavior on paper.

              I’m just saying… why not view the world as the three wise men once did? As if the world, and we in it, are pregnant with all that we seek, and the movement into our hearts will release more and more of what we are carrying into expressed form.

              Michael

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            • “why not view the world as the three wise men once did? As if the world, and we in it, are pregnant with all that we seek, and the movement into our hearts will release more and more of what we are carrying into expressed form.”

              Yes, so lovely how you put this Michael.

              We live then, or can live more fully if we experience ourselves to be continually in a birthing process, not just once, but in every breath we take, every word we utter.

              Thank you…your words are very inspiring to me Michael.

              Debra

              Like

  2. Real success. ??? For me, it is in how I choose to define this that what is possible appears and disappears.

    LOVE THIS POST. Much meat to ruminate over.

    -x.M

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    • Ok I am not so sure about that sentence…lol. I would love to blame it on the distraction of the phone ringing or the cat meowing, but truthfully, I think my brain had a blip.

      Real success. ??? For me, it is in how I choose to define success that makes what is possible appear and disappear.

      There a bit better.

      Those darn words and those dang rules to use them. Shucks.

      🙂 x.M

      Like

      • Maren, the first one was good, too! 🙂

        I’m trying to understand the depth of your words. I think you are saying something similar to what I was trying to communicate- which is that as our definition of success changes, different suites of possibilities emerge or disappear in alignment with the definition?

        How am I doing?

        I would agree, and am also trying to say that in making our definition of “success” the choice to love, to heal, to move into wholeness, we may be surprised by the suite of possibilities that does emerge for us. These may not be outcomes we could have anticipated at all, outcomes like really, really good birthday presents that drop from the sky.

        🙂

        Michael

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  3. A lot of thoughts came into my mind when I read this post. But I have to admit that I didn’t understand everything you were saying. So I am sorry if my thoughts are not completely in tune with your message here…:-) I am a very sensitive person, and I always connect and grow through emotion, what I mean to say is that for me, this process of enlightenment, or spiritual change, which I think ultimately will grow into union, the realization of the unity of all, has to come from something felt, I am moved into every action, and every choice. For me feeling my soul and my connection to the universe, leads to intellectual understanding. and acceptance. For me, selflessness is not a choice, I just can’t be selfish, even in those circumstances where I probably should be. I can’t be rude or mean, even when I should stand up for myself. I have tried to explain this to those who love me, because of course they hate to see me hurt or put down, but it is hard for them to understand. I feel that everything I say or do to others I say and do to myself. I hardly feel boundaries between myself and others. Oh no, I’m sorry! I’m taking over your post. I didn’t mean to, I just got inspired. Thanks for inspiring me and for letting me share my thoughts!

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    • I don’t think you can go wrong following your heart, Line. Part of what I was trying to say is that there is so much that is possible, but we have to step aside long enough to let it unfold. We have to have that kind of heartfelt movement into wholeheartedness that invites a new response from the world, even as we give a new response to it. Instead of developing strategies and fixes on our own, these eventually arise naturally, as the byproduct of our choice to move into our hearts, and into wholeness, and into a state of union… I would agree this comes as a feeling. It isn’t something we can force mentally I don’t think.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Don’t interrupt yourself next time!

      Michael

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  4. Yes! I think it’s possible and I’m grateful you’ve provided the opportunity to see it in this way – optimism included, hatch from the egg – a subjective emerging that has its effect on the collective whole. It’s like a virus spreading through the living-in-the-meanwhile’ organism, caught in the eternity of having to wait-and-see and maybe intimidated, at times, by the heavy syrup of greed/ hatred/ delusion – it doesn’t have the liveliness but even so is ready to convince me it can’t be done. No, yes I still think it’s possible, and thinking that way is what makes it really possible…

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    • “…and thinking that way is what makes it really possible…” Yes!

      We have drawn so many boxes around the Possible with our perceptions and accepted limitations, that there is little room for something entirely new to emerge. I think this moving into unity and wholeness is when we turn in for the day, and walk in from the fields to join together for a meal. Somehow, things get out of hand, and we celebrate for days. Wholeness is upon us. We are broken open by the recognition of who we really are. We begin to dream… together. A week later we stumble out back towards the field, expecting to see brambles and weeds, but the fields are ripe with a fruit we’ve never seen before… and full of flowers…

      Michael

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  5. I have a little zen master who has barged his way into my life and daily he sprawls on my bed and shows me the beauty of being without much thinking. When he stirs and pretends to chase tricky mice around corners, I am in a delight of the show, the chaser and the chased; who is which, ever? He reminds me that my own unfolding is as natural as this creature who never fights with his beingness.

    Is the precession a natural occurrence? It may seem not possible or impossibly, tediously slow me thinks when viewed with outcome in mind. Longing for change and contentment with what is: these Paradoxes dance around and around me.

    My password at work is supposed to be reset every 6 weeks – but the one I set in August has never asked me to reset: I was wanting to be reminded of your very question daily – and my answer was infinite yet still in the hatching stage of the meanwhile. allpossible8. I remind myself, here now, in February still by some cosmic computer twist of still logging in daily – that all is possible (the 8 standing in for infinity) forever. Just knowing that – remembering that – as I begin my classes, shifts me into the powerful position of submission to All possible. Preset little clues help me shift in my daily flow – notes from myself to myself in my purse, in the mirror, on my computer, as one religion likes to say on the gates and signposts of the door….

    Long way to say – all is possible from my little corner – from the contrast of my own miracle machine experiences to the twin soul who resides tangibly within me – You are always playing a song I love to hear, Mr. Michael!

    Like

    • A Zen Master hunter! Wonderful. Our animal friends can be such amazing companions. I saw on television yesterday a story about a chimpanzee that was saved by Jane Goodall’s foundation, nurtured and restored to health, and then upon the day of its release to the wild it turned around, came back to the group, jumped up on top of the crate, and wrapped Jane in an embrace. So beautiful.

      This issue of precession, of transforming without focusing on specificities, is indeed another of those paradoxes in which we live. When I focus on particulars, I lose touch with the living flow sometimes, and yet the wholeness within desires expression, no? And so the tension of the paradox.

      In every difficulty that arises, however, I am reminded to dive even deeper into the whole, and to keep in mind everything that really needs to get done was completed in the Beginning. 🙂

      Michael

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  6. ~meredith says

    You wrote: Can we commit this one act of treason against history, and whisper in it’s ear that it is our destiny to step beyond it’s shadow?

    This seems like our daily bread, to do so, in agreement with being present.

    Like

  7. Nice post Michael, A little hard for me to focus on the details of your words, but in reading the comments, I find a common theme. The path seems to start with diving into union as our primary goal/ work, living in a heart centered way that doesn’t concern itself with outcomes. I can write and intellectually understand this, and yet I don’t really know how to live it. It sounds like Line lives it, allowing her heart to lead, feeling her way into the next step. I hope we all can learn to live from open minds and hearts that lead to unity, wholeness and thriving for all. Brad

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    • Thanks for your note, Brad. I think if I could invent one thing, it would be a vaccination against this question of “how”, which has at various times plagued me mightily. On the other hand, I am reminded we were all born with this vaccine living inside of us, and that in the beautiful way that healing unifies means and ends, our hearts are somehow the answer to all of this. I think we’re all probably living it already at some level, more than we suspect, in grabs and snatches in between those moments when we are critical of ourselves and others, or preoccupied with what is wrong, or with what we are “supposed” to be.

      Michael

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