Fresh Thinking, Inspiration, and Vision on the Process of Spiritual Transformation
I’m reminded of a sight from my youth in New York City. Now and then I’d come across a straggly haired, bearded man dressed in robes and carrying a sign saying, “Repent—the end is near!” I found that both ridiculous and scary—ridiculous because in my judgment he couldn’t possibly be right, and scary because maybe he was.
I feel a tinge of that energy in me now. I hope not to come across as ridiculous and scary. But to say what I need to, I’m willing to be one or the other, or even both.
I spent a few minutes in the natural world this morning, feeling a soft, warm flow of honey-like sunlight. The birds were acting like they always do, full of life. Yes, life is changing for the beings on this planet, but it’s really most impactful to us human beings. That’s because we play an important part in how well, how quickly and how completely this transformation goes.
These days, I experience something reminiscent of what Stephen Covey calls permanent whitewater. The term comes from rafting, canoeing or kayaking. There are times when you bob along happily, and then there are the rapids, the whitewater. Bounding through those rapids is a white-knuckle experience. You really have to pay attention and be so in-the-moment because there’s real danger. You come out the other end, and you can relax and reflect on how exciting it was in the whitewater. Permanent whitewater means there aren’t any more calm periods where things aren’t whistling by or at us, through us and in us. Now it’s all about transformation, 24/7.
It is true for me. It seems that way in the world I observe; how about for you? If it is true, it’s important to acknowledge it and not run from it because it seems ridiculous or scary. Better to face it. The sunshine on my shoulders and the birds can’t do much with this. Human beings have the capability and the responsibility of doing something.
Simply put, the need is to keep our heads above water, to stay on top of the transformation. Be aligned with the cause of the transformation, rather than be engulfed by the effects of transformation. Obviously it means being aligned with spirit. What does that mean in our daily living? What does that mean in our approach to life if life is, for the foreseeable future, permanent whitewater? It requires being willing, able and active in surrendering to the moment, surrendering in the moment. This is not a mere shrugging of shoulders, being a victim of circumstance. Not at all! Surrendering means to accept what is, without struggle or trying to change what’s unchangeable. You release what would resist the movement, to be able to flow through the permanent whitewater gracefully, safely and well.
Two aspects of release are important. One is clarification of consciousness. This relates to the mind—letting go of beliefs and thoughts that no longer serve and that limit us and prevent us from handling permanent whitewater well. The other is purification of heart—release of feelings, whether deep-seated and old, or springing fresh in the moment, which prevent us from being on top of things and aligned with Cause.
I had an experience recently, both surprising and delightful. I saw the film Frost/Nixon. Near the end of the film, the director does a very good job of humanizing Richard Nixon and I suddenly realized I was still harboring resentment toward this man. Ridiculous, but there it was. Ultimately I am happy to have seen it so I can release it. He’s been dead for a long time, and yet he was controlling my experience because I’ve clung to resentment about what a horrible guy he was.
We all have old things that need to pass away. I don’t recommend going looking for them. The whitewater brings them to the surface for us. We remain alert to do the purification of heart. Just let it go.
These twins—clarification of consciousness and purification of heart—leave us present, here and now, with whatever is here and now, and ready to accept what is. Clarification and purification of consciousness and heart are so important now because of what is now. What is here now is the apocalypse. This is it. It’s been predicted for millennia, and now here.
There was a time when I thought that the apocalypse might come in a rain of nuclear fire, or earth changes on a devastating scale to wipe out humanity. Now I get it. The apocalypse is an inside job for me, and for us together.
From the original Greek, the word apocalypse simply means “uncovering.” Uncovering is synonymous with the name for the last book in the Bible: Revelation. It implies something important and already existing, pushing to come forth, something that has been covered. These are the days of the uncovering. No one decided this. The pressure of life in this cosmic cycle we’re in insists upon it. Human beings can resist it and have whatever experience resistance gives one in the permanent whitewater. Better to simply say yes, this is mine to do to allow clarification of consciousness and purification of heart to continue. What is uncovered of me is me, the truth of me, the one that says, “I Am,” and it means something.
Tomorrow is Groundhog Day in the United States. In the film by the same name, Bill Murray plays a character that keeps going through the same circumstance, trying everything to get his way in that circumstance. It doesn’t resolve for him until he surrenders to being the best person he can possibly be in that circumstance. That’s just like my life! I keep having the same things come to me until I handle them to the best of my ability, which is in the identity of the One I Am. Not trying to get something for myself, not trying to get away with anything, but being present and giving. The One I Am is a giving being, not a getting being. The covering up is about forgetting, and now it’s time to remember and uncover.
It’s apocalypse time. It’s time to remember the truth of being, no matter what. In this experience I call “permanent whitewater,” there are myriad excuses to put it off. “It is a little intense now. It’s not convenient.” Guess what? It’s not going to get any easier. We only have here and now, and we have the job at hand—clarification of consciousness, purification of heart. It’s not that complicated. If we remember what the job is under the pressures of whatever life brings us in the moment, we simply do what we’re here to do—emerge in the holiness of being.
In cosmic cycles, time is different than human beings normally experience it, and it can seem challenging to hold steady through all that is happening. It could seem difficult to persist over time. We only have to persist in this moment. Once we project our concept of time from the present moment into the future, we slip out of the present moment, projecting: “How long into the future do I need to persist?” Viewed in the cosmic cycle, it’s a rather quick thing, a quick change for Planet Earth.
In the present moment, time is meaningless. We can be present and persist through this cycle. It’s coming anyway. Now is not the time to run and hide. Now is the time to stand and face whatever comes, in the identity of the One I Am.
March 3rd, 2009
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