Entering the Dialogue, Part 2

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Course Ideas

A quality of wholeheartedness is peace. There is a knowing of Creation’s completeness.

We sense the unchanging center on which all things depend, and know it as our own center, too, as beings. We know it as the center of the bluebird on the branch, the center of a field covered with snow, the center of the Himalayan mountains, the center of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the center of the sun.

When we are wholehearted, a certainty within is reflected in the world. We see and know with clarity: we are all related.

We are related not because we share a common time, or because our skins are composed of the same types of molecules as rocks and stars, or because we are of the same tribe, or genealogy. Those are merely echoes of what is so. We are related because our existence is the fruit of the same completeness. We are related because what it is within us that actually lives, is the presence of all life.

Wholeheartedness is founded upon this awareness. What is profound to me this morning is that this awareness is not a hypothetical. Unity is not a conjecture. Wholeheartedness is the alignment of the heart and mind with the fundamental integrity of being.

I don’t think I’ve quite understood this before in the way that I understand it now. I’ve wanted other people to understand this with me. I’ve looked through the door and said, “See…? Wouldn’t it be amazing to visit this place together? How could we get more people to see this?” Outside of wholeheartedness we dissemble into this type of thinking. We need to get enough votes. We need to be perceived as reasonable. We need to be in the company of those who second us. What matters is what is effective: we need to pull the right levers to turn the ship around.

Wholeheartedness doesn’t see the world this way at all. It’s a very subtle distinction, but as soon as the idea arises that what is good and true is actually blocked from coming into being by another—as soon, in other words, as any problem we sense is projected onto another being—the possibility for genuine transformation is lost. And it is lost because Creation’s completeness is no longer being witnessed. What is witnessed instead is our collective truck stuck in the mud, and the notion that we’d actually be better off with some beings and not others. What is witnessed is right and wrong, the efficacy of gamesmanship and the validity of distrust. What is witnessed… is nothing at all.

Wholeheartedness is replaced in this exchange by fractured perception, and the power of what is so can no longer be summoned, or felt, or known. I’ve done this many times myself. I’ve done this as recently as yesterday. The problem of the world is addictive. But also, I’ve begun to appreciate how powerless I feel in my discontent. And I’ve begun to accept that the conventional wisdom of listening empathetically and giving another’s perspective its due, while powerful in helping us to understand another’s condition and motivation, can be taken too far. The fundamental false equivalency that exists is that of separation and unity.

To return to a point from last week, the only obstacle to genuine transformation is the loss of wholeheartedness, which can come from meeting the world on its terms. I’m paraphrasing the quote from ACOL I gave, which suggested what will prevent us from following old patterns is our inability to go out into the world and remain who we are. The trap here I think is otherness. The allure of otherness is profound in our consciousness. It’s instinctual even.

We like to speak of the illusion of self. It is a prominent theme in some veins of modern neuroscience, as well as in various non-dual practices. It seems a potential point of agreement across many points of view, but we seldom hear about the illusion of other, and I don’t think we can sustain wholeheartedness while the illusion of other remains. I don’t think we can enter the world and remain true to who we are, if the power of otherness persists in our thought.

23 Comments

  1. This was very nourishing, Michael. I liked “our existence is the fruit of the same completeness.[…] The trap here I think is otherness. The allure of otherness is profound in our consciousness. It’s instinctual even.” The otherness trap ebbs and flows in waves throughout our lives, I think, and even changes as the moon waxes and wanes. And that is ok too. But once you drop into the wholeheartedness you describe, you hear angels sing, regardless if anyone is standing at that door with you or not. 🙂
    Have a Wholeheartedly Warm Weekend!!
    Kristina

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve noticed that too, Kristina. The waxing and waning of distance and presence. The rising and falling of a feeling, and then, the moon. But yes, there is something deeper than transitory connection. They are both real in a sense, though one for me, belies the other. I loved your word nourishing, and am grateful you found it so…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve tasted moments of this when I know and feel all is right with the world. This state is built on unity. The moment I think or feel from self or other, it’s lost in the illusions of separation. Time to practice or maybe not because all is well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • All is well, Brad. Even when it’s not and our inner workings get clunky and uncomfortable. It’s hard to comprehend how swiftly and complete our perceptions flash across the world. It’s like a default mode of consciousness almost, a way of organizing inputs and outputs that we’ve relied upon for so long… It’s why we’ve got to accept our own nature in order to modify this habit I think… Most everything can witness for unity or separation. The world, in essence, is neutral. It is what we bring to it that we see…

      Blessings
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  3. wholeheartedness sounds
    so compassionate towards
    our selves & our
    non-selves, Michael!
    when i direct my mind
    away from the bias
    of being human (as best i can wrestle it away from mind)
    i see from the smallest
    to the largest systems of the universe,
    harmony & cooperation, as a whole.
    a dance of life, death & rebirth.
    this gives me solace & hope
    that our energies will go on
    for lots longer 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • I love that vantage, David. It helps to zoom out sometimes and see it from a fresh perspective. I was listening to a podcast the other day when Robert Wright said if you really zoomed out you might think and took an unbiased perspective you might think the Planet Earth was furiously constructing a global brain… It’s an interesting thought. A global brain without a global heart could be a challenge for us, though. Ha!

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

  4. You had me at “A quality of wholeheartedness is peace”.
    Michael, your writing is brilliant, illuminating, kind and gentle.
    Please, don’t ever stop.
    More peace to you 🙂 Harlon

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Harlon. I’ll do my best to keep it going… 🙂 I’m grateful for your words of appreciation. Their heartfelt quality comes through, and is appreciated. Have a great Sunday, Harlon.

      Wholeheartedly,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey Michael, I have had enough of Canadian winters, so I am in Mexico for a month. I rented an apartment, and I sorely needed a getaway, so every day of the week feels good to me right now, Big sigh of relief, Harlon

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Outside my window, the world is draped in a heavy blanket of snow and the silence is immense. A feisty river flows by, and a deer herd forages on the far bank. Your gentle words fill my waking mind with peace, as always. May your Sunday be delightful, Michael.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Julie. Sounds a lovely morning, though I may be projecting the morning part of it from here. We saw the deer pass through the trees last night after dinner. It’s a lovely scene, to catch wisps of movement, and a glimpse of beings immersed in the purity of being only what they are.

      Wishing you a blessed Sunday,
      Michael

      Like

  6. A beautiful expression of wholehearted writing Michael. Where we can see the separate but have a deeper sense of knowing beyond the words that are written. 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Val! It’s that deeper sense of knowing, between the words, that is the space we share I think. Always a pleasure to meet you there…

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • These words from Rumi come to mind 💛
        “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
        When the soul lies down in that grass,
        the world is too full to talk about.
        Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other”doesn’t make any sense.
        The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
        Don’t go back to sleep.
        You must ask for what you really want.
        Don’t go back to sleep.
        People are going back and forth across the doorsill
        where the two worlds touch.
        The door is round and open.
        Don’t go back to sleep.”

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    “Wholeheartedness is the alignment of the heart and mind with the fundamental integrity of being.””… as any problem we sense is projected onto another being—the possibility for genuine transformation is lost. And it is lost because Creation’s completeness is no longer being witnessed. What is witnessed instead is our collective truck stuck in the mud, and the notion that we’d actually be better off with some beings and not others.” “I don’t think we can sustain wholeheartedness while the illusion of other remains. I don’t think we can enter the world and remain true to who we are, if the power of otherness persists in our thought.” These are the sentences that stood out for me most in this piece, Michael. I get glimpses too. Of Unity. No separateness. My Higher Self can be there, especially with the help of my Hawk sister. But the illusion is so strong and held so tightly. It sometimes feels impossible to get past the otherness, but as some point, I think we will get the collective truck unstuck from the mud. Thanks Michael. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • HI Mary! I know… it does feel impossible at times. I think the peace that attends wholeheartedness is predicated upon a deep choice about how we see ourselves and the world, and there is this nagging voice always pulling us back–collapsing us to our separated points. That nagging voice is that things are simply not okay as we perceive them. To choose unity is to abandon those we leave behind in a sense. There are other reasons in there, too, I think. It hinges on our difficulty to reconcile the wholeness that is at the heart of the world, with the suffering and difficulty that we see playing out. That conflict pulls us in opposing directions. The idea that we are most effective when we accept wholeness is an interesting one. We can’t prove why this is a good choice to those who do not wish to see it, which is why it must be a wholehearted choice. The markers for us are peace, gratitude, and wisdom I think. We’re becoming the gifts we’d like the world to be given… 🙂

      With Love
      Michael

      Like

  8. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    Hey Michael,
    “…our difficulty to reconcile the wholeness that is at the heart of the world, with the suffering and difficulty that we see playing out. That conflict pulls us in opposing directions. ” Yup, that’s it in a nutshell. I agree that we are most effective when we accept wholeness. And the markers are peace, gratitude and wisdom. I love that phrase, “We’re becoming the gifts we’d like the world to be given… 🙂”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have saved these readings for when I can truly concentrate on them and glean the depths to carry something away (like a small foraging animal collecting nuts perhaps) and I apologize for falling off into the stratosphere on you. I began my reading in silence and am just now aware that all around me these birds outside my window are carrying on a conversation that is extremely loud and whimsical in nature. Perhaps it’s Hafiz playing a joke on me, saying not to get too deep and take things too seriously, but like everything the yin and yang show themselves and I am enjoying my reading of your marvelous material my friend. Kudos! ❤ peace and blessings,
    the wandering poet who returned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No need to apologize, Kim! We are all coming and going and being whisked away and whenever we connect for a moment, it is a joy. I would agree with not taking things too seriously, and that is a good reminder for me this week. Hafiz will be back at some point… I’m sure of it!

      Thank you for reading and sharing!
      Hope all is well on your end.
      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

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