The Wisdom of Who We Are

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Course Ideas

There are things we say sometimes to make a point– sweeping recapitulations of history, or statements of what is so in this world– and when we invoke them we do so as if they are self-evident.  Obvious to those who would see.  It is easy to forget how deeply we occupy our own lives and perspectives, and we can lose sight of the fact that what seems unmistakable to us is but the flowering of our own perceptions.  When we open our mouths, we sometimes forget the voice that emerges is a particular voice– the voice of our own desire, our history, and our interpretation.  The words that come out are sculpted by our own dreams, our own wisdom, our training, and our inner topographies.  This is the voice we offer, and it is beautiful and good, but if we lose sight of the fact that our voice is populated by our past, by the limits of our experience and of our own knowledge, we may lost sight of the fact that what is true for us as individuals, is not necessarily true in the absolute sense.

In this regard, I learn a great deal about what I carry around inside of myself by listening to the sound of my own voice.  What emerges is not always true, not always kind, and not always truly helpful.  If I listen, I can see this, and then I can dig around in there to see who is hurting, who has been forgotten, and who still anticipates a skyfall.  When our mouths open, and squawking birds such as these fly out, we know it.  Our hearts shudder, and we wish we could take them back– fetch them down from the sky and give them the love and support they need.  On the other hand, if we are attentive, we’ve been given the gift of insight.  This is the grace we give to one another when we see the one behind the words, and judge them not by the voices that speak through them.  In this way, we can create a safe place for one another to discover what is alive within us.

Our world today is full of these birds– our skies darkened in fact by so much we have thought and said.  We live in fields of criss-crossing shadows, beneath their searching presence, roving eyes, outstretched wings and heady glances.  Our task is to absolve these creatures, to welcome them home and give them a safe place to roost within us, whether they were ours to begin with or not.  This is why sweeping statements of what is so scare me off.  The simple truth is that I have no idea what is happening in our world, or what exactly has gotten us into the experience we are having today.  I haven’t a clue about trends and patterns.  Though they are perfectly valid ways of extracting order from a vast dataset, I’m perpetually at a loss to explain them in terms of the person next to me– the one wrestling with his or her own gestalt of compulsion, desire, and love.

I suspect the only wisdom needed to heal our world is the recognition that we are complete, and the attending insight that our experiences are the living, tangible feedback of whether we have accepted this or not.  We simply don’t understand that our own experience– regardless of our philosophy, religion or viewpoint– is leading us back inevitably to the discovery of our inherent completeness.  We think our experience is something else altogether.  We think it provides us with meaningful data about the world at large, not realizing how deeply our personal perspective is enfolded into our every sensation.  Then we succumb to the temptation to think our way of seeing is the solution the world needs.  We fail to recognize that we keep our own deep-seated sense of incompleteness hidden behind the desire to correct the world, and alleviate it from suffering.

We make the mistake of thinking the world out there– the one we make real by giving it a form we can grapple with through all our trending and pattern-identification– could be tweaked with a little dose of our own hard-won perspective.  We’ll find completeness later.  That’s not a luxury we have while the world around us is so screwed up, and so many are hurting.  What we know, right now– what is brutally obvious– is that if more people knew what we knew, thought like we did, believed as we do, then things would be different.  We are so confident in this we race into the madness thinking we can come back to our incompleteness later.  We think if we can put things right out there, this little bit of discomfort within us will take care of itself.

And it’s astoundingly incorrect.

We can, in truth, help the being next to us find peace with the gift of relationship, dialogue and presence, but we will never budge the world “out there” with our philosophies and our theoretical arguments.  We can only influence what we touch, and what we allow to touch us.  This means we have to encounter and seek to understand one another deeply, first and foremost.  This means further that we have to come to understand ourselves.  We debate too much what should be done, what should be believed, what should be taught and legislated, when in fact the relationship at the center of our existence is the only vehicle possible for reshaping our experience, both within and without.

We are here to heal through the very activity of discovering who we are.  This requires relationship, honesty and vulnerability, but no understanding whatsoever of who is doing it right, and who isn’t…  Such distinctions simply do not exist.

29 Comments

  1. This is a profound and thoughtful post Michael. Mostly I agree, and maybe because I haven’t really embraced my wholeness, so many actions in the world baffle and stir me. For example, the demonizing of the “other” in politics, religion, etc. It sure seems the world could benefit from more kindness in word and deed. Do we ignore the world’s problems while we discover our completeness?

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hi Brad,

      Thanks for your reply and you have asked the ten thousand dollar question I think. Far be it from me to have an answer as to what anyone should or shouldn’t do. This is an inner decision and the answers will vary greatly. I think the thing is that none of them are better, or right, or ones that need be universally applied. One chooses silence, another to travel around the world. I think it remains the case that no matter how we answer the question, if the inner revolution is not nurtured, then we remain largely powerless in the expression of our desires. We can work hard at things, and undoubtedly lessen difficulty in some areas, but this is not the same as participating in the creation of a world that works better for everyone. I think this is so because of how deeply are notions of what is and isn’t so, and what is and isn’t possible, create boundaries on experience. We are talking about allowing ourselves to be the changing rules of the game, rather than harder working players in the structure of the old rules…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  2. footloosedon says

    A brilliant exposition of the truth of being: that the world we experience is a projection based upon our beliefs. As you so wisely comment ‘the relationship at the center of our existence is the only vehicle possible for reshaping our experience, both within and without.’. Thank you for putting it so clearly.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Thank you, Don.

      It is funny, I started off to write about something a little different, but this is where it took me. It can be one thing to say and another to wholly grok at the heart of your being. The changes within and without are seldom what I’ve expected– they’re often subtle movements that we only realize when we look up from what is in front of us and realize how differently we’re positioned within it than we were at some previous moment. At least that is how it often is for me. And then you look back, and look a little closer, and connect with the underlying thread within yourself that has been the silent witness to all of it, and realize that paradoxically nothing has changed at all! Nothing has changed, but there’s more awareness of it or something. It’s crazy! Ha!

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We come out of the world and come out of the “I” and into pure Awareness in the only Reality of Now, where the Presence of God is in us as we find our being in Christ and Christ in us; not of the world, but of the spiritual dimension of the new heaven on a new earth: Christ in us! “In that day you will KNOW that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” John 14:20
    The self in the world and OF the world is in and of an endless wheel of suffering and ups and downs and trials and tribulations…until we wake up, receive the Light of Christ allowing us to see the Light and realize we ARE the Light! Then we just arise and shine!!!!!!!! We are in the world, but no longer OF it; we are OF the kingdom of God, the spiritual dimension beyond time and space, the eternal NOW of the Presence of God….but words do it no justice so believe Jesus’ nondual teachings, taught NOW by his Spirit within so we can know the Truth and the Truth will set us free… seek until you find it within…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, New Heaven…

      I agree with you that there are perceptions we embody that lock us into the suffering and the ups and downs of life, and that with deeper insight– and what we’re calling the vision of Christ, or the Light of Christ– we see things truly as they are and are able to live and express love freely. And we can only find this experience of unity within. It is not something conceptual that our intellects can fabricate or a particular physical condition that we could try and foster. It is the delicious fullness of the experience of loving presence…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  4. An excellent analysis Michael, and of a subject that I have grappled with myself on my own blog, there referring to the whole under the title ‘The Illusion of Certainty’. We live in a culture where Relativism is frowned upon, where to doubt and to waiver is considered a sign of intellectual frailty, and in which the media demands of our leaders and figureheads instant definitives on any and all subjects. I feel that this neurotic obsession with thought-identification is a psychological disease, and is fed by a fetishisation of Individualism, in which to define ourselves we feel impelled to a rigidity of mind which ultimately is deadening and of necessity is uncommunicative. We take these apparent sounds in our heads and cling to them as if there were some internal agency issuing them – the homunculus that is ‘the self of me’ which then wants to verbalise and project into the world – and we expect others to do likewise. It is a kind of mass delusion that perpetuates itself.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hello Hariod,

      Thank you very much for pointing me to your article, which I have just read and responded to on your site. To anyone reading here who has not read this piece by Hariod it is well worth the read, and rounds this topic out quite nicely…

      I agree with your points here entirely, and one of the things that happens I think is that this tendency leads to the strengthening of arbitrary categorizations in our world and our collective dialogue. For instance, we have an experience with a person of another something– another religion, race, street address, gender, age, political leaning, driving speed, etc.– and in the frustration of this moment we decide the problem with the world is slow drivers. Because we were just behind one. And it was damn near debilitating. And it’s frightful how the mind can race to concoct all sorts of supporting arguments and visions of how much nicer life would be without slow drivers on the road, and it’s all bollox. (I tried, Hariod!) But this illusion of certainty– this willy-nilly use of statements that we don’t take the time to understand, create divisions when divisions need not be…

      This is a very interesting subject for me, because it gets right to the idea of being mindful of one’s own thoughts, and examining where they are not perhaps resting on anything very solid…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thank you for adding further grist to the mill on this one Michael; I think in many ways the subject strikes at the heart of the spiritual search (for want of a better expression), and so is well worth any serious aspirant contemplating deeply. And thank you for looking at my own take, which was just some thought-doodling I did back in May, and far from comprehensive – hey, I can bore people rigid in a mere 800 words, so why use more?

        Peace and love,

        Hariod.

        P.S. Profanities Michael? You need to be careful who you associate with, we Englanders can be terrible in that respect. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

        • I agree, Hariod. Understanding that the “reasons” for how or why we think the ways we do are not nearly as obvious as we thought, is exceedingly important and eye-opening. I’ve often discovered there aren’t any reasons at all! Which leads to outbursts such as you’ve seen here… I fear the company of friends may produce a joy not always properly channeled… 🙂

          Discerningly Joyous,
          Michael

          Liked by 2 people

  5. Well put Michael. Thank you..
    These days whenever I feel the urge to fix something out there or someone, I pause and hunt around inside to see what similar thing I am doing to myself. What thing am I doing in here that hurts myself? that I’d prefer not to see, and so propels me to fix this thing out there instead … this injustice that ‘seems ‘to be out there.
    It’s a fulltime job watching myself!
    “In stillness the world is restored” — Lao Tzu

    Liked by 8 people

    • It is a fulltime job, Christina! Well put!

      This is for me one of the most challenging tenets of A Course of Love to allow to become experience– because ostensibly it means relaxing our grip on the things we thought we had to control in order to safeguard ourselves, those we love, or particular elements of the world around us that we treasure. To take our hands off the controls, and undergo an inner revolution is truly an act of sedition against the occupying mind… It takes a great deal of courage and willingness both, I think, to push off from shore into that Mystery…

      Much Love, my friend–
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Linda. Yes, let it begin within. Let us be vigilant enough to know when our thoughts are leading us to untenable conclusions, and let us be courageous enough to look at the difficulties within and transform them with our very presence…

      Peace,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderfully written Michael..we do see the world as we are inside. Most of those squawking birds are flying backwards out of my mouth… A long way off from calming the birds inside much less changing the immediate world around me…thank you,

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi Rajani,

      Thank you for your appreciatory note here. Isn’t it amazing how easily we are duped by our own perspectives? Maybe duped isn’t the right word. Some of it is quite important I think in providing experiences from which we learn. It is only when we misapply particulars to the whole that we create an arbitrary division. You have some very talented birds in there, then! Ha! I’m guessing you mean flying out and looking back at you with their eyes? Which means you recognize that when we let them go we sense it may have been more appropriate to hold them within and nurture them a bit longer before turning them loose into the sky!

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

  7. ” to push off from the shore into mystery ” …dear Michael , I first read this provoking post early 2 mornings ago and knew I would come back …I sit here now with you , a friend from a gentler race of which peace and completeness holds love , moving my thoughts towards the divine in all and everything …thank you does not express it all ….love , megxxx

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hello Meg,

      Thank you for coming to visit and sit with me for a moment, that our thoughts might work together in this intersection of peace and completeness… We are a gentler race than we knew. One day we’ll realize this fully, probably in a moment much like this one, with hearts connecting along the wire… 🙂

      Love and Gratitude,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ah! Michael. You have nailed this one…right to the wall for me!! I felt the rhythm of your words gather momentum and then hit me right in the sweet spot of my soul! Brilliantly written…amazing thoughts. Thank you my friend ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Beautifully written, Michael. I love this: “our own experience– regardless of our philosophy, religion or viewpoint– is leading us back inevitably to the discovery of our inherent completeness”. It reminds me of the very famous Marianne Williamson quote – that as humans we are more afraid of own light than anything else. And discovering that light has nothing to do with ‘fixing’ what’s on the outside. Namaste, Aleya

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello Aleya,

      Yes I can see how it would remind of that. One could almost see how every path we walk is our own way of coming to terms with the truth inside of ourselves. I really love the idea that no matter what we choose to do, the result is in a sense an outcome that brings us closer to this presence within us. We can do it the hard way, or the eas(ier) way… But all roads lead home…

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

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