Saying For Today: Are we listening? Can we hear the cry of Creation? This cry is our cry, for we are Creation, a seamless whole with all else, a holiness that is true Wholiness.
*Brian Wilcox. 'natural elegance'. Flickr
A continuance of dialogues with a sage who did not see himself as a sage, but others did; from Brian K. Wilcox. "Meetings with an Anonymous Sage."
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This morning, I took Eddie ~ whom I nicknamed Sir Edward ~, the big, childlike Great Dane doggie that lives with us in the community home, on a drive to town and back. This was his first time going out with a 'nonfamily' member. He got in the front of my truck. He was almost too big to ride with me. He enjoyed sticking his head out the window, exploring the sights. We dropped by a drive-through for coffee for me and a small donut for him. We came home, we both survived, and we both enjoyed it. He was happy to get home to his mom, and happy for the trip, we could tell by his behavior and facial expressions. Why this delightful sharing? I think partly for we have fun together, but we are not frivolous about it. We take each other seriously, but not too seriously. We share a light touch. This means respect, even more, reverence. I am called a human, Eddie is called a dog, but we are so much more. We know that, so we treat each other like we know that.
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The dialogues with the sage are not merely for personal growth or a personal spiritual trip. Deep respect, reverence, for that beyond the personal, beyond the human, is essential for us to take care of this planet, this Earth, and one another. If we do not cultivate this compassionate reverence, possibly we will discover humanity on this one planet, in infinity, proved finally a failed experiment. Could that be possible? Or do we think, in a collective arrogance and stupidity, that the Universe must somehow save us from ourselves, from our own frivolousness? Waking up spiritually is much needed, but this cannot be playing religion or spirituality. We no longer need any movement that is not all-inclusive. From now, this time on Earth must be about us, all of us, Earth and all that inhabits it. We must move to a consciousness beyond the present, pervasive human myopia that pulls all to self, rather than opens self to all. Are we listening? Can we hear the cry of Creation? This cry is our cry, for we are Creation, a seamless whole with all else, a holiness that is true Wholiness.
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We said we would share today about humor and frivolousness, and fierce tenderness. You said we need both humor and frivolousness. What is this humor? Usually we mean something funny, but you seem to mean something else.
Yes, Chogyam Trungpa, in his The Myth of Freedom, spoke of this humor as a "light touch." He said it contains appreciation, and that here we are not trying to beat reality into the ground. So, we appreciate the blessing of this precious human life and the Earth we share with other beings. I would say, regardless of what happens, we never forfeit our gratitude to life, even if it were to kill us. Too many persons are against life, they treat it like a problem either to be vanquished or to tolerate, or something to be manipulated for selfish ends, even collective ends, like corporations or political groups. In my culture there is little respect for life, and almost no reverence. We have much, we are impoverished people. Some religion teaches this being against life, saying something to get to, a heaven or nirvana or something else, is waiting to free us from this life. So, here we are in this body, and it is dying, for example, yet we remain intimate with, appreciate this wonderful, dying body. This is not like thanking a god or other being outside us, we can say directly, "Body, I thank you. I appreciate how good you have been and are to me. I honor you." We can bow to the body, we can bow to life. There is no distance there, a really close sharing occurs, timeless. Anything can be an altar we bow before, even suffering, even hilarity. If we bowed more, rather than fussed so much, we would know a deep, untouchable joy.
What do you mean by frivolousness, then? Is it the opposite of humor.
Frivolousness is how we distract ourselves from being honest about, direct with what is present. This is a self-indulgent emotionalism, even if it is hidden by the distraction. With wisdom, one can see the distraction as the frivolousness, but most persons cannot see that trick of ego.
This is what you mean when you say spiritual practice can be a distraction?
Yes, one can be as frivolousness by being in a weekend meditation retreat as with indulging that weekend watching games on television from Friday night to Sunday night. Meditation essentially is being awake, is it not?
To me, yes. So, could one watch a weekend of television shows and be awake spiritually doing it?
Here, let me just say we are not dealing with right and wrong. Frivolousness is an attitude, a posture toward reality, not essentially where you are or what you are doing. Some activities, taken to extreme, may be a symptom of frivolousness. And some activities engaged in are contrary to living a wakeful life. Usually, however, moderation is the key. I appreciate the concept of Mahayana in Buddhism, the path of the Middle Way. It is one thing to enjoy one or a few shots of whiskey, another to drink until you are unable to walk a straight line, as an example.
I enjoy football. How can I watch it in a way conducive to the path?
That is for you to work out, by experience. Yet, I recommend seeing such a game as the playfulness of life, of God. I find it amazing at the gifts physically athletes have as being born with and through training, as well as the bravery. I have seen plays made on a football field that leave me stunned with the art of it. I can appreciate that as the energy of life, as a way God shows up on Earth. There is a beauty about athleticism. There is something I appreciate when a player plays with all his or her skill and effort in loyalty to teammates, coaching staff, and fans. In that way, magic happens on that field, the same magic that, say, can happen through the playing of an opus by a highly-skilled, highly-trained orchestra.
What is this magic you refer to?
The beauty of life manifesting in purity of expression. If we were fully awakened to the miracle life is and is happening, we would live more in total amazement. Yet, frivolousness is the foe of this being amazed by the miracle life is.
What about this fierce tenderness? You even mentioned how holiness can kill and spit one out.
Holiness, to most persons, is a moral quality, like being a virtuous person. Yet, holiness is an energy, and a powerful energy. How you relate with this life force is what rebounds to you. The same fire that warms one can burn one to ashes. And by "kill" or "burn to ashes," I principally mean in an existential way. The powerful energy of holiness is why some persons do not need to engage a spiritual path, they just need conventional morality or institutional religion. They need protecting from the energy, for they are not prepared for it. Religion often serves to provide some spiritual nurture as well as healthy community, while guarding persons from a direct taste of this Grace. Religion may be instrumental in preparing one for holiness, but this is rare in religion.
Because many, likely most, religious leaders are themselves fascinated with the institution, even though they may grumble about its foibles, like a child attached to mommy and daddy, refusing to grow up, or does not even know how to, for mommy and daddy guard the child from growing up. Institutions do not want you to grow up. What happens if the congregants of a church, for example, begin manifesting a compassion and insight that the church leadership cannot demonstrate? The church might be heading in a direction not to need the leadership. Systems support a status quo that provides the income of those leading it, as well as validation for the ego. If everyone realizes he or she is a Christ, then, what happens to the altars and holy sites for worshiping Jesus as the Christ? I mean, if you are the Christ, to see the Christ, you can simply look in the mirror ~ you know it, without even looking. When you realize you are Buddha, you see the Buddha everywhere, as much at the grocery store as the sangha. Christs and Buddhas are walking around everywhere. This can be uninviting news for institutions, not only religious.
How does this play out politically?
I am not very politically astute. But this is how it seems to play out, and the same way, which I am well-acquainted with, in groups generally. What happens when persons realize they are not dependent on politicians, so that politicians have to be humble, honest, and for-the-people to remain in their roles? Corporations and other interest groups can no longer captivate them? In this country, one votes for the people, as he or she decides, regardless of what others in his party vote for? A free person or people, politicians or otherwise, is a threat to the status quo. Living and voting consistently for-the-people means a politician has to lay aside inordinate attachment to a political party, even to his or her identity as a politician, for it is about the people first.
But it seems, to me, the citizens are principally to blame, not politicians. After all, we vote them into office. Would you see it this way?
First, I am not interested in placing blame. Blaming is one way we lose humor and act frivolously, rather than directly seeing and acting with regard to what is before us. I am not sure, anyway, in our political situation, anyone would be to blame.
The only one to blame, if we chose to blame, is we. We collude together. Part of the cultural frivolousness politically is how we elect persons and, then, complain about them. Yet, we keep electing them and, then, complaining. We even choose what lies suit us. Then, when a politician cannot deliver the goods, we complain, we blame, but, of course, not ourselves. We do this rather than looking directly at what is happening and being intimate with it, we entertain ourselves and distance by habitual moaning about a status quo we keep creating. Interesting. Yet, even this frivolousness may be serving a positive role, as in religion. Are we ready to be free as a collective people? Can we handle it? Freedom is powerful. So, possibly, leadership reflects our unpreparedness to handle freedom. If so, we maybe need this frivolousness to survive as a people, even if it irritates us and the leadership. We may still want a mommy and daddy. We may not want to grow up. This sets the stage for complaining about mommy and daddy. Yet, we are surviving together as a people, and seem miserably pleased with the accomplishment. There is a safe-feeling homeostasis with that, we can snuggle up together and enjoy casting our barbs of blame at others, when the consciousness we need is beyond blaming. Likewise, no one outside national politics can know how many politicians are sincerely trying to do what is best for everyone, or not. The same in religion. It is easy to stand off and talk big, and group everyone together and drop the bomb of blame on them. This is for small-minded people, not a person on a wisdom path. That is ignorance and arrogance.
But you seem to be justifying frivolousness, as when saying religion can help by providing a community to be frivolous?
Recall, we are not speaking good or bad here. Frivolousness has a role to play, an important role. The means by which one is protected from the fire of holiness can be wisely instrumental. Varied means, like religion or spirituality, can be a holding container to both nurture and protect. The present political status, with its leadership, may be what is needed until a people is prepared for the responsibility for the change they presently claim they want, but are not prepared for. Politically and religiously, leadership will be different when a people are prepared for the different; otherwise, the frivolousness will continue. Collective frivolousness is a powerful collusion between the apparently powerful and the apparently dis-empowered. Changing something too soon, collectively, can meet with disaster, when the consciousness of a people has not evolved to meet the challenge of the change. Consciousness is the foundation that supports the change.
But you said frivolousness can rebound negatively?
It always does. And in collective frivolousness everyone gets hurt, everyone.
Then, again, I'm totally confused. How can you speak amorally of frivolousness and know it will rebound in a hurtful way?
Hurt can be beneficial. Holiness, also, is neither moral nor amoral. You keep thinking in terms of duality, in the neat categories of right and wrong, bad and good. This will not work. Even amid frivolousness, we need that humor, that light touch. We can still enjoy life and appreciate life, right inside a collective fog of frivolousness. We can love everyone we meet, without even saying a word. We can, even while knowing we can provide little positive change, stand up with dignity and purpose, and on our own two-feet. We can tend our little plot with gladsome fidelity. This is celebration, everyday, each moment. If we lose that light touch, the frivolousness will take us over, consume us. For now, let us agree to take up this matter again soon, if the need arises. Thank you.
Peace be with you, and everyone!
*Brian Wilcox. 'gentle presence'. Flickr
(C)Brian K. Wilcox, 2019
The theme of "Lotus of the Heart" is 'Living in Love beyond Beliefs.' This work is presented by Brian K. Wilcox, of Maine, USA. You can order Brian's book An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, through major online booksellers.