I haven’t picked up A Course of Love for a while, but picked it up again the other day and flipped to a “random” section. I ended up opening to a page that was late in the Treatise on the Personal Self, which is a section of the Course describing the way in which the personal self becomes a living representation of the True Self—the latter being the identity we all share in unity. Through the dialogue and exchanges I’ve enjoyed here with you, as well as with those in other areas of my life, this notion that we share an identity but differ in our representations of it has slowly taken root as genuine experience. It is truly delightful, a warm resonance that resounds across the planes of our differentiation.
But I’m also still a locomotive tumbling across the sky on a daily basis. So what gives?
Since comparison of my life and experiences against an ideal version thereof, or against the experiences of others, has diminished nearly entirely in its ability to provide navigational assistance, all I really know is that my life is my life. I can only feel it. I can’t really describe what it means. I simply feel its tugs and pulls, its mandates and pressures, its joys and profundities. While I know there are assignments of meaning and value I have made that somehow give rise to the constellation of forces that collectively induce the tidal rhythms of my experience, generally speaking the specifics of how my stance as a being resolves into the geometry of my path remain unknown to me.
In moments of comfort with this confusion– this mystery– this sensation of flapping in a gale force breeze feels as though it is a vantage point closer to the heart of what’s happening than any other I’ve held. Not perhaps, as an accurate representation of the heart of what is, rather as a threshold experience of emerging from the grip of the illusory. I am most comfortable right now when I’m not trying to make sense of what it is. Simultaneously, the demand for wood-chopping and water-carrying are at an all-time high. The village needs six cords a day cut and stacked, hot baths in the morning, and water for cooking. Who can deny the validity of these needs? In the professional arena of my life, I’m in the midst of a challenge of a larger scale than I’ve shouldered before, and it asks a lot. There are many moving parts, none of which are in any one person’s control, and penalties for failure to deliver. There are people who could be disappointed, people who could be marginalized, and people who may need to be confronted.
I see the situation as simply being the outcome of human thought patterns. It’s the great set-up, this bit of circumstance. It’s our deepest opinion of what is, enacted in microcosm. The thoughts we’ve carried collectively and traded back and forth for so long regarding scarcity and consequence, authority and power, and fitness and survival resolve into these taut webs of inter-relationship. What better place to practice surrender? This surrender, though, isn’t a self-serving absolution of responsibility. It isn’t a walking away from the village. I think it’s more a holy restatement of what is happening. The trick, I’m seeing, is that this isn’t a moment to say, “Ah, well, none of this matters, anyway. It’s all a dream. I will go over there and create a more peaceful one.” It’s the opportunity to stand at the center of the maelstrom, and allow all of its elements to be renamed, with Love guiding my view.
A couple of passages in A Course of Love jumped out at me.
“Miracles are not the end, but merely the means, of living by the truth. Miracles are not meant to be called upon to create specific outcomes in specific circumstances. They are meant to be lived by as the truth is meant to be lived by. Not because you desire an outcome, but because it is who you are and because you realize you can no longer be, live or think as other than who you are in truth. This is how thorough your learning must be. It is a learning that must not change to fit the circumstances of illusion but be unchanging to fit the circumstances of the truth. [emphasis added]”
“You must no longer see illusion for it is no longer there! This is how you must live with it. You must live with it as you once lived with the truth. You must find it unobservable! [emphasis added]”
I see in the passages above the request that we live with the courage to deny the perception of threat or loss, regardless of circumstance. That we embody this so fully we do not even see them arising! In part, I think this requires that we do not place boundaries on our giving or our receiving– that we let the imminent needs of our lives touch us, not as signs of portents of difficulty, but as the poor and the hungry within our own hearts who need to be fed.
I think what our lives ask of us is complete commitment to what is. It can be a deeply discomforting request, because we want to hold certain parts of our lives in reserve. We want to keep them safe for ourselves. Our special times. Our special places. Our special practices. But if we divide our lives into the domain of the unholy and the holy, we will forever be broken under the strain. Out there in the maelstrom are the needs we haven’t met, the parts of ourselves we haven’t welcomed back and embraced. Maybe flapping in the winds, I remain available to them.
I have undoubtedly tried to be too much for too many at times, and likewise very often have been too little in others. I have argued with circumstance. I have been ground down against the possibility of failure, confrontation and rejection. There is more grinding to be done. But I am beginning to sense that what remains will be gleaming and restful, even in its continuing movement. I think I am in the moment of my eventual undoing, and it is good.