Arriving at work one morning with a habitual, somatic feeling of indiscriminate stress, I stepped out of the car and took a last glance at the horizon before entering the building. I was suddenly shocked by the pure presence and serenity of the mountains of the Galilee on the horizon – seeing the view, as if for the first time. A living calmness, a sweetness too pure for human taste, a profoundly reassuring, benevolent indifference to the great human drama pierced through the cloud of depression and negativity that was hovering heavily around the heart.
So it is, So it isn’t.
So it is right now: turn the glance away from the great miasma of the human state, and the soul is instantly nurtured by a greater whole – a wholeness from which we collectively banish ourselves, and each other, in the name of some strange strategy of survival from illusory threats. It’s in the soft touch of the wind, in the trees and animals, in the gentle kiss of the earth on the feet.
The nature of awakening is that when we open our eyes to the miracle of our existence – and to the miracle of each other – old traumatic states can get activated. These are the demons of the emptiness – those forbidden parts of ourselves that cannot be left out. It’s in the agony of violation, the hunger to possess, the inevitability of death, the shame of the body, the belief we should be pain-free here, and in the incredible disappointment in the ‘other’.
As we awaken, we could experience an outbreak of the horrors in our perception that have been repressed. This ugliness can be compelling, and we can find ourselves circling the emerging (and somehow familiar) traumatic thoughts and feelings with a degree of obsession. We can spend so long gazing into the pits of hell, that the pits of hell begin to gaze back into us – filling the length and breadth of our horizon. Thought, feeling and emotion becomes trapped in a limited state of suffering.
It doesn’t have to be like this. We just need to have the courage to pull our glance away and to show ourselves that we’re also able to look elsewhere: at the miracle of a flower, at the old lady that smiles in the street, at the infinite blue skies above, into the miracle of the ‘other’.
Each symptom of disease is actually a sign of healing, and an opportunity for growth. The problem is that rather than finding heart to welcome these healing symptoms, we’re wired to get rid discomfort as soon as possible – repressing the disease back undercover. All the resources of the universe are available to us when we are ready to heal – which is our shared, inevitable purpose.
The golden chalice is precisely in the ‘here and now’: in whatever is surfacing according to need. To drink from the chalice is to drink from the river of life. The willingness to meet the challenges of awakening with a return to awakening is the elixir of sacred responsibility that will transform our experience and our world.
We might feel isolated, but we are never alone. We might feel condemned, yet our eternal innocence is inviolable. We might need help and help is here – all we need to do is open the grip on personal survival and reach out to the whole. In this way, we will walk each other home to the space of sacred freedom that could never be lost.
Nature is everywhere, unconditional and abundant in its healing power. We are part of nature. Even in the space between the table and the wall, a resonance of light is emanating pure presence and a genius that we can hardly fathom. Each night we surrender into the arms of the greatest healer of all – sleep – where beyond all our efforts at control and being on the “right side” the bottomless home of the unconscious seeks to set us free.
For every cruel word spoken, there is the great peace of silence between the sounds. For every illusion, there is the ever-present, untortured resource of unconfined light. We don’t need to wait. We don’t need to be ‘good enough’. We don’t need permission. All we need is to allow that whatever else seems to be going on in perception, we are the sole source of all we experience and as such we are unconditionally free, alive and part of the whole.
Don’t wait for kind words before giving them. Don’t wait for the smile before smiling. Don’t long for intimacy without taking the risk of opening the windows of the soul to others. Because the more we awaken from the illusion of humanity’s self-condemnation, the more we become responsible to show the freedom that was actually never lost. And it is in the fulfillment of this responsibility, that the greatest fulfillment and peace can be found.