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Painting by Peter Stewart

“When we wake up to this simple and amazing fact that stillness underpins all reality and gently and with kindness go about our daily business, we calmly take stock and begin to understand what needs to be done. We begin to see that that which we think is us, is in fact only a minuscule part of the whole. Instead of seeing the world only in relation and separation to ourselves, we begin to experience the world around us as a whole and as our home. Once this realization manifests in our daily life, we begin to act in a way which benefits the whole. By asking “how can I serve?” we benefit ourselves because we are part of the vast reservoir we are serving.

In one such moment, on the inner level, I found myself in the presence of a 4th century saint. Ever since I met her for the first time she has become a silent presence in my life. One grey day I yearned to go home inside, into the luminous space. So I called on my friend and asked her, “please take me to your home”. I expected her to take me into some super celestial realm. Instead we found ourselves in a dark slum of absolute squalor and pain. As I sent a questioning look towards her she responded with the most gentle demeanor by saying ‘My home is where I am needed most’.”

Jurgen Ziewe

How many of us can serve something greater than ourselves? What does it take to be of service to the spirit and soul of life? We know humanity is suffering and in turn everything it touches suffers. Going through a whole earthly lifetime without causing any pain requires a saintliness that few of us possess. Being an agent of healing and transformation to higher states is granted to a precious few humans. Most of us are unevenly developed, kind one moment and cruel the next.

We live in the vale of soulmaking, as Shelly said. We start where we are. We see through a glass darkly, mistaking figments of our imagination for truths, reacting without thinking, knocking things over and creating a chain of unfortunate events. We haven’t the awareness to see how or why we cause trouble in our lives or in our world.

It’s the human condition. We can only be what we are, but is there a way out, a way forward, considering all this? I think there is. I think we are given the ability to observe ourselves, to question ourselves, to meditate, to feel compassion. All that medicine is found in our own depths.

We have a habit of living on the surface of ourselves. We hide there on the surface and live out our lives focused on a personal agenda. By the time we reach an advanced age, if we get there, we have a solid identity and accumulated life experiences that we haven’t digested or made sense of. Those things point to who we are, who we have been.

Accepting the evidence of what kind of actor we have been in the world is not easy or pleasant, we will have some grieving to do, but we need the whole truth of who we are if we are to love or help the world. Imagining “beings of light” while sidestepping our darkness will fix us in denial. If we are going to be an actor for good we will need to see our own atavism. We will need to become acquainted with our rejected and unknown self.

Yes, the world needs love, but it will never arrive at that state by hiding its hate. The transformation we need will come by way of truth, as unwelcome as that is.

If you would serve the world, it will only be as a resolved and whole human being.

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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