I happened upon Barbara’s site a few weeks ago when she was mulling over the idea of a second round of Awakening Experiences, and told her I would like to participate. Then I promptly disappeared into the marrow of my life for a few weeks. She pinged me with a reminder last week sometime and asked if I was still willing, and wondered if I would take February 2nd. I chuckled at her unsolicited selection, because it seemed the perfect day for a bit of contemplation—it being the last day of my fortieth year. And Barbara of course, wouldn’t have had any previous knowledge of this timing.
There’s a quote from A Course of Love that at least partly summarizes my feelings at the present time. “The challenge now is in creation rather than accomplishment. With peace, accomplishment is achieved in the only place where it makes any sense to desire it. With your accomplishment comes the freedom and the challenge of creation. Creation becomes the new frontier, the occupation of those too young to rest, too interested in living still to welcome the peace of dying. Those who could not change the world one iota through their constant effort, in peace create the world anew.” (C:6.17)
The processes at work in my inner life have often been fueled by the question of how best to invest my time in this world. This question stretches back to my days in elementary school, when teachers singled me out for special studies. It appeared I had some potential. I was sent to the library when I finished my coursework to delve into things, but I had no idea what I was to delve into exactly. I just wanted to read spy novels. The Cardinal in the Kremlin, to my fourteen year old mind, was astounding. I had no idea what the potential was that I supposedly possessed, or what I was to do with it, and this unknowing was difficult to bear.
Uncertainty is a strange and tugging satellite in our lives—a little uncomfortable in its waning, quite painful in its waxing, but always a generator of transformative tides. When I graduated from high school I sat on a stage next to the principal, and the Bishop, and when it was my turn I gave a speech. I wrote it alone at my bedroom desk the week before, surrounded by posters of triumphant soccer players. It was all about looking past the pursuits of the world, to the richness of living with meaning and depth, even if it meant looking past the treasures the world wished us to crave. Our hearts are always rampant when we give them a chance to speak uninhibited, at any age, but I was not entirely prepared for the follow-through.
I changed majors once in college, and nearly dropped out to work on a ranch in Montana. Instead, I met my future wife, finished school, and moved a few thousand miles across the country. I took a writing class my senior year in college as an elective—a bit of an odd choice for an engineer—and loved it. I wrote half a novel that year but my confidence and my enthusiasm fizzled. I felt inadequate about the whole thing. I still didn’t know who I was or what I was doing. I eventually got a job and some days it hurt like a sonuvabitch! Not the work, but the echoes of my uncertain state. The way I failed to find it meaningful. The way so many interactions were permeated with disconnection and dissembling.
Realizing there was really no need for me to feel so uncertain or forlorn, I used the immediate present of my life as the vehicle for learning to be at peace. These decisions to turn around and face our difficulties are moments of grace. I could have run for the hills again. Over the decade that followed I slowly grew into myself, and set my fears down one by one. Eventually, I looked up and realized I could be at peace with myself, and with the world. I think that is really what awakening is. It’s the moment you realize you can be at peace with what is. Then you find yourself in the position of the quote above. You don’t need to cultivate anymore modalities, practices or insights to be at peace. Peace has been established. Peace is rising to the point of over-flowing. This is the moment when we activate our true potential I think. We discover we’re in love with the whole thing.
Sometime—I can’t say exactly when—I began to move with greater certainty. I began to write again, and I started this blog. I made wonderful connections here with others who were walking in this direction. My creative acts began to feel like endeavors of authenticity, and little by little they seemed to find their way closer to the mark. Meaning began to flow back and forth through more and more channels. This mark I speak of is the certainty that moments taken to collaborate with the river of meaning present in our own hearts give rise to vehicles of expression that ripple through the world. Whether small or large in their external recognition, it matters not. Our authenticity pumps the bellows of the world nonetheless, and fuels its creative fire. One day we look up from engaging freely in what love, and we discover we are in dialogue with the world itself.
This is the new frontier. The frontier of creation.
This is the movement that takes place in eternity, but twinkles still in time. Awakening isn’t a state, but the giving of our answer to the cosmic role call. Yes, I am here. Yes, I love. Yes, I desire to share even more deeply in the discovery of what that means. Yes… Yes, I would lose myself over and over into this creative flux, knowing that what we gain is everything, is meaning, is one another. So this is where I find myself these days– drifting along, one step at a time, slowly expanding the conversation that my life has become.
Kimberly is up tomorrow.