Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > Inclusiveness in Spirituality and Life

 
 

A Playful Life ~ Appreciating the Variety

Reflections on Inclusion

Jul 22, 2018


i see you more amazing
seeing you so different than i
i see myself more amazing
seeing i so different than you
seeing more clearly you and i
seeing in love
without your being you i would not be i
so together are we

* * *

A vivid memory from about age 12 is of a first visit to a big city. My family and I went to Jacksonville, Florida, to visit with my mother’s sister, husband, and son. My uncle took us out to a famous ice cream parlor. I stood inside, stunned and pleased by over 60 flavor choices of dipped ice cream. Where I came from, we did not have an ice cream parlor, only two restaurants that sold vanilla ice cream alone or with flavored syrup poured over it. We had no place to purchase dipped ice cream. That day in Jacksonville, I had my first dip of rocky road ice cream, and, to this day, it remains my favorite.

* * *

I am still learning how life is like that ice cream parlor. I see spirituality and spiritual practice was mirrored in that array of choices. I appreciate how confusing this can become and how we can try to feel safe in such variety, and knowing the ice parlor cannot last forever. This seeking security and clarity is in itself simply part of our journey. We may never grow beyond it, but grow to relate with it differently, not so seriously, more humorously.

* * *

In seeking security from the relativism that seems to stare at us everywhere we look, we may become rocky road or vanilla or peanut butter-chocolate swirl or strawberry or blueberry fanatics. “Jesus the only way” or “but the Bible says” or “Zen is it” or “radical nonduality is the answer” or … We, likewise, may seemingly and self-deceptively rebel against such narrowness and not see we simply moved from a prejudice we saw outside ourselves and still hold tightly ourselves. We can change teams, from apparently less evolved to more evolved, but the way we play can remain the same. Now, I am Protestant, glad to get out of that Catholicism. Now, I am Buddhist, so thankful not to believe in that Christian stuff about God anymore. The ego has apparently innumerable varieties of the subtle or not-so-subtle game of preferential-play-of-delusion. If I am seeing through prejudice another person, way, or group, I am seeing prejudice, my prejudice, not the other. I am looking into the mirror of my own self-delusion.

* * *

Is the option present to stop such mental evaluations, to release felt need to form an opinion, to love without I agree with you or I disagree with you?

* * *

Exploring why one feels he or she must decide about others decisions is an opening for inquiry in silence. We may see behind such need is fear. If so, what fear? In this exploration, we can grow in compassion for others and self.

* * *

We may change our place, our beliefs, the group we say be belong to, and wish others would change, yet do we ourselves change? Or are prejudices moved about like shifting furniture around in a home, when we need new furniture, even more, a new home? That is, we may need to see our narrowness in self-compassion, not being judgmental, and see how that shows up in our mental landscape, how we spiritualize myopic preferentialism. We can learn not to trust our assumptions about others easily, rather look into them. Where does this come from? Is this loving? How do I feel when these thoughts arise? Am I content to keep seeing this in this way? Am I possibly projecting my own narrowness onto this other? Is this estimation consistent with the values I claim to adhere to? Do I hold to an elitist attitude about spiritual practice and the wisdom path I choose?

* * *

There is no one-size-fits-all spiritual practice or pointer. One person will gravitate to a highly structured approach, another to an approach that is more open and spontaneous. For some, meditating daily on a schedule or practicing with a group may be essential. For others, these activities just get in the way. What we need in one moment may be different from what we need in another moment. There is no one right way. This universe is magnificently diverse and playful.
*Joan Tollifson. Nothing to Grasp.

So, through our spiritual path, we learn that for many reasons, possibly some known and others unknown, this one particular path is what we choose. We do not know all why. Possibly, we have changed our choice before, maybe many times. We may change this choice and make another one later. Others choose differently. Our spiritual path can show us life is making many choices manifesting in a wide array of potentially wholesome, even if at times apparently contradictory, ways. We see our preferences do not have to become prejudices. Through honoring and appreciating our way, we can value the way of others, we can appreciate what we share in common and what seems to differ. We do not have to agree that all choices are equal in value or depth (I will write later on this matter of depth), to appreciate the other's choice and his or her freedom to choose.

* * *

Again, words of Tollifson are apt, providing an image of playfulness. Her mention is within the context of nonduality, yet the same applies to other spiritual orientations, including duality, and to life generally.

Waking up is the end of spirituality in the usual sense of that word. With that in mind, we can approach various nondual explorations (or practices, if you want to call them that) in a playful way, as natural and spontaneous activities of life. Like art, music or dancing, they are ways in which life is exploring, enjoying, revealing, loving and entertaining itself.

* * *

Walking into that ice cream parlor, in the early 1970s, was a playful and inviting moment. Arrayed before me an amazing variety. I made a choice. I still often choose rocky road. I may have made other choices that day, with the option of more than one dip, I cannot recall. I have explored many different flavors of ice cream since that day. Other persons that day, days before, and after, made choices other than mine. Possibly, over time, some persons changed their favorite or his or her particular assortment of preferences. Is the store still there? I do not know. Life is here. I am here. You are here. We are invited to approach life, we are blessed with opportunity to see our spirituality too, as an ice cream palor, one we share with everyone, with everything. At the ice cream parlor, we learn joy, we learn to value the amazing diversity we call life. In the ice cream parlor, we were born, will die. What next, possibly another ice cream parlor to continue to learn to live together?

AUSTRALIAN WATTLE

*All material, unless another source is cited, is authored by the presenter of Lotus of Heart, Brian Kenneth Wilcox, Florida USA. Use of the material is permitted; Brian only requests that credit be given and to be notified at 77ahavah77@gmail.com .

*Brian's book, An Ache for Union, is available through major booksellers.

*Move cursor over pictures for photographer and title.

The Sacred in Me bows
to the Sacred in You

 

Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > Inclusiveness in Spirituality and Life

©Brian Wilcox 2018