Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.
~ Henri J.M. Nouwen ~
“It takes so much to be a full human being that there are very few who have the enlightenment or the courage to pay the price… One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to embrace the world like a lover. One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying.”
“I have been surprised by how much we are loved. I would never have believed when I began this journey half a century ago, that one could be loved so completely, totally in ways that are bewildering in their intimacy and intensity. I never believed that love could infuse every cell of the body as well as becoming a living presence within the heart. Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
We are made out of love and we are made for love. Somehow we have forgotten that. Only remembering that will save us, I think. Only that can create the world we deserve to live in.
There is an implicit doubt of our value and destiny that is built into our culture. We have succumbed to the idea of personal profit and personal impunity. We fail to see the unity of everything. We don’t notice how we downgrade ourselves in how we imagine things.
We are living a miracle, though, if we stop and look around. How did we get here? What are we? Is this real?
Courage is required to be a human being on this planet right now. The forces of entropy, of small vision, of exclusive self-interest are on the rise. It requires fortitude to keep the optic of interconnectedness. Oppositional forces are arrayed against each other as if there is only one true way. In fact we are at war within ourselves in many ways. We are not at peace with the world or ourselves. Somehow we have to integrate rationality, which is talented at breaking things down into small pieces, with a sense of universal connectedness.
I think we are being supported through this fraught period by what Vaughan-Lee calls Divine Love, which is not to be confused with any Christian concept. His perception, based on Sufi practices, views our bodies and minds as composed of Love, inseparable from Love, destined for Love, regardless what we think or do.
Maybe we are fretting and toiling in a piecemeal world for an illusion. If that’s true, we are like children in a world we don’t understand. We act on a false picture of things. We create a theater set based on our fantasy of separateness and conflict and isolation, even though those things cannot exist.
It’s a comedy of errors. It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic. We live in a time of unnecessary suffering, all caused by our myopia. Our leaders should be mystics and artists, not financial and governmental mechanics. We require vision, kindness and connection now more than ever.
But people who are interested in power and advantage are a lot more interested in positions of influence than people focused on beauty and meaning. The levers of power are boring to artists. Advantage is less attractive than beauty.
The power we do have as artists is to speak truth and show beauty. That’s our job. The world needs us to do our job.
- Anima Fire is my publication