It’s that time again here in the US.
I’m increasingly confronted by discussions of politics. They’re coming into the home, the office, the car. Through the heating system, the mail slot, and the grocery bags. And why not? We’re saturated by it right now. The incredible hype of the hero and the villain, the opportunity and the impasse, the failures and the victories. The righteous, the confused, the willing, and the maligned. The pasts, the futures, the confessions and the exposures. It’s a difficult conversation for me because it so often comes with a certain scorn, or contempt perhaps, for the other tribe. I don’t like watching anyone speak of others in derisive or dismissive tones, even the anonymous, though I am not totally naive to the impact human beings are making on the planet and one another. Often the most difficult part of my day is dealing with other humans.
What we know is a trifle as compared to what sustains us, and yet we act as though our opinions are perfectly obvious. It’s a brilliant strategy, because who can argue with the obvious? We act as though we don’t have fallible perceptions at all, but knowledge, as if the little baskets of magazine clippings we carry around on our shoulders are definitive. We are opinionated, wounded, vindictive, entitled, outspoken, and profoundly ignorant creatures. What other type of being would think it obvious that Love was actually ours to give or withhold as we pleased? This is the bottom line of our madness. The worst part of it. We don’t even know we believe this, it’s so deeply engrained. But we wield this would-be super-power before we even know we took offense.
I have a tendency to view politics as a reflection of our collectively held fears and judgments, and to feel that a great deal of what is happening is a fairly accurate reenactment of our inner perceptions. We’re swimming in them. I especially feel this way when I see people snicker in disgust about other people. We get emotional about it. We turn colors. We swear. How could people ever, ever, ever in a million years think that way? And our problems are always “out there” somewhere. I recognize this sensation is almost impossible to avoid or escape, because the mathematics are ineluctable. Get the other ones out of the way, and perhaps we could get on with living the good life. It’s insanity of course. When have they ever gone away, for starters? Never mind that, the strategy is sheer and intoxicating.
I encountered a line from A Course of Love this morning that I felt mattered to all of this. It said, “All time is included in the spacious Self. Acceptance is necessary because escape is not possible. Everything that is, is with us, which is why we are the accomplished as well as the void, the healed as well as the sick, the chaos and the peace. Thus we heal now by calling on wholeness, accepting the healed self’s ability to be chosen while not encountering resistance or any attempts at rejection of the sick or wounded self.” (Dialogues, 14.1)
This recognition is a game changer for me. There is no escape. There is no ability to set particular persons or ideas aside. All of this is who we are, and yet even as this is true, it does not mean that suffering is necessary. Escape is impossible, but transformation is not. The fact that sickness is within us does not mean that it must be expressed and given form, but the fact that we try to push all that we dislike away from us, and make it “over there” does engender its expression. It divides us. It inhibits the flow of what is natural. It distorts and manipulates. The fact that we think a distance can be sustained between here and there creates the type of experience we are having– with sides, with winners and losers, with insufficient means.
It is strange to consider that sickness can be “included”, but not expressed. It doesn’t really make sense that it can be joined with, and Loved, and dissolved. Isn’t there like a Conservation of Mass or Energy or something??? Doesn’t what seems so real have to go somewhere? It’s hard to imagine even walking down such a road. Think what we’ll have to contact. Think what we’ll have to encounter, and touch, and become. This is the way we think when we don’t understand wholeness, when we think it’s an either-or game we’re playing. We think accepting sickness and chaos means eating rotten scraps out of dumpsters for breakfast, going swan diving into toxic waste, or becoming a full-time lobbyist for the rights of inside traders. We think it means losing, in short, the things we love, to become the things we don’t.
Of course it’s not like that at all. What we hunger for in our insulated worlds, is the feeling that comes from truly accepting what is. The majesty of it. There’s a real depth to forgiveness, a holiness that rushes in when the inside traders are taken in to our hearts, when the greedy are taken into our hearts, when the addicts are taken into our hearts, when the lazy are taken into our hearts, when the fanatics are taken into our hearts. When we have become a refuge for them all, then we are complete, and invulnerable, and transformed. We yield to the expression of what is whole and healed.
This is my vote. This is the policy I would recommend, that I would encourage myself to move more deeply into. Until I disappear altogether perhaps, and rediscover myself sitting next to you, playing Go Fish in the Void.
Do you have any lepers?
What about kings, spice merchants, gurus or lawyers?
What turns? There’s no turns here…!