The other night I got that inkling. A tickle of spaciousness. One minute I was trying to decipher an ambiguity in the building code, and the next I was alone in the room at dusk, standing beside the window, trying to decipher the ambiguity of a meadow. I relaxed, settled—something moved within me.
Unity, like freedom, is the utter magnitude of being.
Later that evening I witnessed the great truth of our moment: the real pandemic is expertise. Do you notice how delectable it is to seek contradiction? How gratifying it can be to tell some other group of people they’re doing it wrong? To watch someone else tell people they’re doing it wrong, and to do so magnificently?
It even struck me as funny for a time, this endless parade of serious people explaining serious things. Zoom out just a bit and the words dissolve into a luscious cacophony, a pudding of emphasis and evidence and reasons, and then you see it: we’re a plague of trouble-shooters. We just can’t help ourselves. We could be plopped into the center of an alien culture and in three seconds flat describe everything wrong with it, and how to make it right.
There’s another way, of course, but it’s a quiet way—a way that partakes of not knowing as a way of coming to know. It’s not a way of being right, but a way of being true. And this is delectable also, but not cheaply so. The mockery we’ve made of reason is the inevitable result of our belief that appearances are reality, and that thereby we may profit from deceit. So we drown in a world of images and talismans. We compete to be seen and heard, and forget that the true nature of our lives is invisible.
In this way of being true, we quite literally come to life. The reality at the heart of our being takes form and finds authentic expression through us, and as us, in the world. We become conduits for the utter magnitude of being, and it’s enough to simply allow this expansiveness to flow through us into the world. It’s enough. This way doesn’t require white boards or Ted Talks. There are no concepts to learn that will help us do better, no intellectual achievements required, no self-improvement programs to complete; it requires only the acknowledgment and holding of what is truly real within us, a movement from the unnatural condition of fragmentation within ourselves to the cohesiveness of genuine being.
The sense that something is wrong, seriously wrong, haunts us, but this is simply how the world feels when we are fractured inside. The world echoes our pain. The mind is like a landscape and the heart is like the water. Disconnection between the two makes deserts out of us. It makes our culture barren, our thoughts dry, our concepts inflexible. We’re forced to find water and we project this onto the world. And then we go to work, wounded and dis-integrated as we are, to fix the world. We put on the badge of trouble-shooter and enter the fray. This sense that something is wrong drives us, compels us to keep going. It blinds us to the simplicity of the only solution we ever needed.
In this way of being true, we come home to ourselves first and somehow… somehow… with reparation of the once-fragmented elements of ourselves, we reconnect with the Whole, and we sense the grace that permeates and sustains this world. This ethereal nourishment flows through us. The waters return and we sense the potentiality of being, the depths to which movements within time are rooted in timelessness. The chronic sensation that something is wrong is eased, the channels in us open, and new life enters us. There’s nothing we need do but allow this to occur.
There’s a great documentary film entitled Fools and Dreamers about the regeneration of a forest in New Zealand, which contains a beautiful discovery I think is applicable to what I’m trying to say here: the quickest way to regrow a forest is to do nothing. That’s not a direct quote—or it might be—but that’s the idea. Nature will be nature. Life will be life. We can find ways to augment and assist and participate in the natural flow of life, but we don’t need to take charge of it. And I think, perhaps, this is a great fallacy of the present age: that we need experts to show us the way. We need top-shelf trouble-shooters to keep us on track. We need to know exactly what we’re doing at all times, and do it.
But we don’t. We simply need the wisdom of our own hearts, and the rest will follow. I think the regeneration will be swift when we finally let it come. It will not be planned or mapped, but it will come to Life.