"Abandoned to the whims of others, we must wander daily through the wish to be loved and the fear of rejection before we can be productive. Categorized "good" or "bad" from birth (a "good" baby does not cry too much), we become so enmeshed with the tenuous threads of approval that we are creatively paralyzed. We see with others' eyes and smell with others' noses.
--- Viola Spolin, Improvisation for the Theater
“Is wisdom available at a low vibration? Of course. But it is unlikely you will hear it, or know it, because you are being precluded by the lower thought-forms that you are engaged with. And that is always the temptation of the one who goes upward, you know, that you will be caught in a struggle of lower vibration that you have attended to for so long that you believe it must still be there.”
What is the key to enlightenment the student asked? Master replied, “Awareness.” The student said, “But master, I don't understand.” The master spoke louder, “Awareness!” “Yes, master, we've heard you say that before but what does that mean?” Finally, as passionately he could express, “AWARENESS!!!!!!!!”
Last week one of our members spoke to the powerful lesson that is also contained in the Hippocratic Oath that doctors take, “First do no harm.” Now in a worldly sense or to the physical world, that is a directive about our relationship to others. However, in order for this maxim to be in anyway productive, we need to apply the same message to ourselves.
When I am in a place where I can observe without judgement, I become aware of the pervasive anger that seems to be dwelling on both sides of political ailes, nationalities, races and religions. I become aware of the anger and I recognized some of it is mine as well, and I know that is calling me to healing. At the same time I am often overwhelmed with a sense of sadness, and then I am tempted to move into action, but I forget or forgo the necessary preparations for what the Buddhists call “right action.”--Prayer, Surrender, Holding all of this, no matter what my emotions might, as an act of love and devotion. I realize that no matter what my good intentions might be, if my attempted actions towards transformation are fueled by the energy of anger, fear, separation or self-righteousness, not only are they doomed to failure, but they will actually feed that energy, that low vibration which I am desiring to transform.
Last week we ended with the exploration of the false idea that somehow or another gaining wisdom or compassion or truth or self-esteem or a higher vibration in any way somehow or another involved a price or a struggle.
Think of the simple and yet profound words of Jesus when He said “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” No struggle, No requirements to do anything, no price that has to be paid. It is all here.
The question then remains how come we are not aware of our Truth? And so here is where the “work” is required, if we want to use those terms, and it might be the best way we can describe it in human terminology.(more the “work” of letting go or re-membering) There is a parable that Jesus spoke called “The Pearl of Great Price” which is also a reflection of the Kingdom of Heaven. The gist of the parable is that a man discovered the pearl of great price that he greatly desired and so he sold everything he had in order to be able to gain that treasure. In other words, the awareness of the Kingdom of Heaven became so great that he decided he would let nothing else get in the way of that-- no other forms; no other attachments.
And so here we are faced with the same dilemma of the rich young man who asked Jesus “What must I do to be saved?” Jesus told him to “obey the Commandments.” the young man said “I do all that,” and then Jesus said, “If you would be perfect (in other words, if you really want to be on the path of Enlightenment; if you really want to embrace the Kingdom within) go sell what you have and give it to the poor and come follow me.” The gospel then states, “the man went away sadly because he had many possessions.”
Here we are with our many possessions or addictions or attachments or however you would like to look at them-- sometimes willing, sometimes not to let them go, in order to be able to experience the kingdom.
To align these ideas more closely with the language of the book,
we can be in conscious awareness of our hearts open in love and compassion;
Our hearts can also be open in love and compassion without us realizing it very much;
There are also going to be times when I realize how tightly or how protectively I am holding onto my idea of self and I have a choice when I come to this realization of continuing to hold on or to let go.
There are other times when I am so lost in my clinging to this lower vibration and limited perception of myself that it takes some time and energy to realize that it's a choice is available to me. It would almost be like contracting a muscle in your physical body and holding it and holding it and holding it until you finally realize how tight it is, how tight it has become, and in that pain in that discomfort becomes the willingness and the intention to open, release, transform.
Fortunately there are sometimes with each one of us, and I know this is true for me, when these kind of unexpected moments of joy, of openness, of freedom, of spaciousness, of peace, of play come running through me, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and there's a breath, an opening. There it is- this breeze running through me that reminds me what it is like to live in the Kingdom. Then, like most of us, of course, I fall back into my daily routine of thinking. I become enmeshed back into my identification with my humanness and begin to think all over again that I need to struggle to be able to get this gift that is already here.
“If you can imagine rising up through a thunderstorm on the way to the sun that is above the clouds, you may not know the sun is there while you are struggling within the rain and the wind that is pummeling you. You do see what is above you, and you become so invested in fighting the storm that you believe that no sun can shine upon you again. That is what has happened to Paul some days, and it happens to all students as they elevate their vibration. There are times when you are challenged by what you have known, what you have been expressed through, what you have believed to be true, and there are times when you are not. There is growth in all stages, you know. But much of it means you must pay attention to your consciousness, and your consciousness, we say, is who you are in conscious thought and vibration.”
When I am aware enough I choose not to feed my negative emotions or my depression or my darkness or my whatever other Illusions I might be caught in, but I was remarkably reminded on Sunday morning that there is a huge difference between feeding my anger with more anger and feeding it with love.
Old illusions pieces, of distorted thinking,harmful behaviors or thoughts at whatever level, physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual can all lower our vibration and our ability to act with love and compassion. In our awareness, however, we can begin to choose to think differently, to gently nurture other thoughts or life-giving behaviors. If we continually do that-- pay less attention to the old stuff that we might have been attached to, it might still hang around but it has less and less energy to influence us. In other words, the negativity begins to die of attrition, We are not denying it, we are simply acknowledging it no longer serves us.
Going even deeper int the realm of transformation, I was reminded by one of you of something that I had forgotten. How easily that happens! Here is one of my more recent Ram Dass stories.
He was sitting in his home in Hawaii doing a telecast workshop with a couple of other Buddhist teachers. Even though it has been years since his stroke, he still is slow in articulation and sometimes the verbal expression of ideas takes some time, even though his message is quite clear. He asked the question with a slight grin on his face, “What do you do with these seemingly horrible thoughts that you have?” Hinting that we are all capable of the best and the worst thoughts that come flying through our mind, eg. we can be in a place of loving, thoughtful compassion and unity consciousness and then, even a second later, we can be in a place of death and horror and destruction.
He asked the question and it almost seemed that the Buddhist teachers on his right and his left looked a little bit befuddled about how to answer. So he answered it for them, “You need to love them to death!” You love them to death. You do not have to be controlled by those thoughts or images; you do not have to make them any more real than they seem, and yet you can open your heart and compassion to them just as you would open your heart to someone else who is in pain. Because where else does our negativity come from but our fear and pain. “You love them to death.”
We just began exploring what I might refer to as levels of consciousness because Consciousness or awareness is the theme we were following today. There are times when I am very aware, when I am very conscious, when I am in my truth. Then what usually happens is I begin to take that awareness for granted and without realizing it I just fall into my ordinary everyday thinking and action. It's not bad or evil, it might even be good in some ways, but my consciousness is only working through my personality self and the physical world that I am a part of.
And then there are times when I am really asleep or unaware, when I am caught up in the illusion of depression or separation or fear or anxiety and without realizing and I am making that those sensations of lower vibration more and more real. When it is dark and cloudy and stormy it is much more it is much easier to think of the storm as being real rather than the sunshine.
We ended up with a model of consciousness offered a number of years ago, of stages or places of awareness and since I did not get the opportunity to really finish that Sunday we will begin with that next week.
I have a favor to ask of you since we are in a sense beginning a new year kind of “a new school year.” Please let people know, especially those people who are coming to Unity, already that this is an Open Class that people are welcome to it anytime that we will have books they can borrow if they would like and even that is not a necessity. We love having you here to add to the higher vibration of love and peace and awareness that we are all creating. You can let them know, if you feel this is true, that during the 45 minutes we are together, even if we are not terribly conscious of it, that we are creating a Sacred Space that is not only healing for each one of us but also heals the world as well. And if it is true for you as well, I know that I walk out of this room on Sunday morning experiencing myself as being lighter, freer, more open, more healed, more aware of the possibilities of life and for that and for all of you I am extremely grateful.
I am also touched and honored by those of who who make our Sunday morning gathering your Church. Please know that you can invite anyone who might be interested. They do not need to be connected to Unity to participate in this loving adventure.
My Hope for you and for anyone else who joins us is that this is a form of spirituality I can be practiced by anyone, anytime.