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Painting by Marley Ward

“I have encountered in my inner work Beings in comparison to whom my consciousness is not much more evolved than the sentiency I find in my sofa. Their response to me is always loving, caring, considerate, and appropriate. They are like shepherds of consciousness, tending its evolution across vast expanses of life and energy. The light of my sentiency is like a shadow compared to theirs, yet they tend to it, as they do to millions and billions of other lives and consciousnesses within the field of their beings, as if it were the brightest, most valuable flame in creation.” — David Spangler

“Happiness is impermanent, but it can be renewed. You are also impermanent and also renewable, like your breath, like your steps. You are not something permanent experiencing something impermanent. You are something impermanent experiencing something impermanent. If happiness can be renewed, so can you, because you in the next moment are a renewal of you in this moment. It’s wonderful to know that happiness lasts only as long as one in-breath or one step, because we know we can renew our happiness in another breath or another step, provided we know the art of generating mindfulness, concentration, and insight.” — Thich Nhat Hanh, in “The Art of Power.”

Everything is alive at some level. Most everything in our world is alive but dreaming, including humans. I’m aware that I sleepwalked through childhood and a good part of my adult life. Waking up is not a process of adopting correct beliefs. It’s a coming to a state of attention to the present moment. That waking up is an arduous process of questioning and paying attention.

Conditioning installed in childhood gives us a false identity. It’s not easy to find the essential self, but only that self has the energy to live our inborn mission in this world. We carry that energy into the world if we’re lucky. The pattern of that energy is our unique contribution. It’s up to us to affirm the code we were born with, to respect and nurture our true gift, which we are meant to confer to life on this planet. Every small but true contribution makes up the richness of our world.

In our society, compromises start early. We are directed away from ourselves and have to find our way back. If David Spangler is right we have invisible help to wake up to who we are and what the world is. Our life story unfolds on a theme, with stumbles and challenges that pull us into an arena of increased awareness. We take our incremental steps in the direction of love and connection, sometimes by trying to live without such things.

Our culture seems determined to test cruelty and indifference as a way of life right now. Our “leaders” are strangely certain that that is the best path to a good life. Electoral shenanigans notwithstanding, we put them in a position to make our life harder. They wouldn’t be in that position if we were more conscious and caring.

We get the governance we ask for.

This emergency is a travail of consciousness. It will not change until we awaken to our relation to everything. Recognizing our consanguinity to all life is basic for justice for others and even for ourselves. Our unkindness to others comes back to bite us. Not seeing that consigns us to the laws of bad karma.

I believe the current bad patch is a lesson we need just to be able to change our ways. The present moment looks like a turning point in so many ways that I take hope from what’s happening. The results of our criminal smallness are so obvious, I can’t imagine how we could miss the lesson.

It’s not easy to wake up.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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