The sure, steady footprints of the coming winter
appear among the leaves still burning
with the fire of the summer sun.
And within the apparitional form
of the turning of the year
is more than the cold of the season
or the ice that is showing at the edges of the lake;
there is the shimmering visage
of He who creates all seasons,
the Master of all Creation, Himself,
His quiet presence felt more than seen,
walking among the maples dripping with sap,
to enjoy the change coming
as Autumn does her perfect work.
I feel His footsteps even now,
strolling across my own woodlands and meadows,
not content with the well-beaten paths I have walked,
but preferring the places where human feet
have yet to tread,
His great heart reveling
in the coming of winter’s peace. ~ David Karchere
Here in this part of the world it’s not hard to feel winter’s peace coming. It’s a foggy and rainy day, a cold day here in Colorado on this first Sunday of October. Shortly I’ll be traveling to join Phil Richardson and Ruth Buckingham in Cape Town, South Africa, traveling with Keahi Ewa to put on a Becoming a Sun workshop there, which I understand is already fully subscribed, as well as a “Healing Chant” workshop that is fully subscribed as well. So I look forward to being with all of you in Cape Town, where summer is coming, on the other side of the planet.
We can feel, with people online and people everywhere, oneness. We can feel the great spirit of Love that connects us all. We can feel the one Reality of which we are all an expression. And therefore we can feel our commonality and our connection. We can know that we are all part of a larger Reality and celebrate our oneness. And yet, at the same time, within that oneness there is differentiation and there is twoness. There is the distinction between you and me.
A friend of mine says if all there is is oneness, there is nothing happening. All creativity starts with peace and oneness, but of course if there’s just oneness nothing is happening. Creation takes dynamism and dynamism takes two.
Dynamism that is worthwhile occurs within oneness. We can know our oneness and yet have something dynamic and creative and generative happening between you and me. There’s something dynamic and creative to happen between the creative power that’s within us and our human experience. We are here to be moved by that creative power and changed. That is our part in this great transformation that we are experiencing as humanity in these days. It does require that we allow ourselves to be moved and changed. We live in a world where there’s a great resistance to actually being changed and great resistance to actually doing the spiritual work that will change us.
That work requires a radical surrender in the living of our life, so that we come out of the limited, repetitive, daily round that the people around us may have accepted for themselves but which is ultimately deadly. For many, that predictable daily round is motivated by the attempt to live a happier life, a more successful life, a life full of accumulation and a life full of entertainment. But if our life is lacking that one quality that makes a life worthwhile, it goes noplace. That one quality is the uplifting and animating influence of the spirit that’s within us, that’s calling us to greatness, calling us to change, calling us to crack open so that the beauty and power that’s inside can be embraced and known by us. So that the spirit within us can animate us and get us walking around doing strange and wonderful things that we wouldn’t do if we weren’t so moved.
The ultimate dynamism in our life is the experience of grace, which is a great confrontation between the wholeness and holiness of the spirit within us and all that is in process in our life. For most people, if they think of it at all, they don’t think of grace as a confrontation. They think of grace as tiptoeing through the tulips, or some other kind of lovely, magical event without much stress or worry. I’ve never experienced grace like that. Grace is powerful. It’s awe-inspiring. It drops me to my knees when I see the majesty of Being and the awesome opportunity that we have in our lives to share something great together. I see that grandness in the face of all the smallness I’ve accepted in my life and all the stupid things I’ve done, and in all the ways that we settle for something less than that majesty and that nobility, and all the ways in which we’re so ungodly predictable as human beings. When I see the majesty that’s possible—the beauty and the wonder that’s the reality of Being—and then I see what we all too often settle for, it cracks me open. I experience the grace that we have the opportunity to experience wholeness and holiness still, no matter what has happened in our lives.
Grace is a confrontation. It is the experience of the coalface where the holiness of life itself and our humanity, which is so much in process, meet. There is nothing wrong with being in process if we’re truly open to move and to change. But incompleteness becomes unholy when a person is resistant to change and insists on the repetitive round of doing destructive things over and over again, which are not bringing happiness to the person and not bringing happiness to anybody else. That’s unholy. It’s unholy for them; it’s unholy for the world around them.
We sometimes confront that in another person. Maybe we call it evil. I think what we call evil is simply extreme stubbornness—stubbornness that refuses to open up to what is whole and wholesome and holy in oneself. When we do open up, what is in process is transmuted from being unholy to simply being in process, to simply coming around right. It’s transformed into growth and development and our emergence as a being in the most wondrous of ways. It’s transformed into something beautiful; and our stumbling, our not knowing, becomes beautiful in its own way. We’re not supposed to be all complete already as a human being on the outside. We are made to be in the process of accepting what’s whole and wholesome and holy on the inside, and choosing to embrace that and become that.
It’s so vital to find that line of confrontation in ourselves between what is whole and holy within us and what is in process in our humanity. What is in process? What are we learning? What are we being called to? What’s challenging us? How are we being asked to be bigger than what we’ve been?
Wherever we look, we so often see people who are refusing to do their spiritual work. They’re refusing to find those ways in which they are being called upon to change and to be more than who they have been. Most often, a person who is refusing to do their spiritual work is resorting to the age-old tactic of projection. Projection is blaming people around you for what you yourself will not do. In that blame, you paint other people and circumstances—and maybe even the Creator Himself—with the responsibility for all the bad things that are happening for you.
Doing your spiritual work is taking responsibility for your own experience. It is taking responsibility for the confrontation that is the work of grace in our lives. It is taking responsibility for the terminator, which is the line upon our revolving Earth that is the end of night and the beginning of day. If you were in space you would see that line, that place where the light meets dark. But how about in ourselves? Do we have enough perspective that we can see that line in ourselves? Can we identify the parts in us that are hurting, that are holding back, that are stuck in something old? Or do we not see it because we are too busy looking outside ourselves, blaming other people and circumstances for the experience that we are having because we are not doing our spiritual work? And are we willing to expose that part of us that is in process to the light of God?
It is a cliché that when you point your finger at other people, there are three fingers that are pointing back at you. But the cliché points to a truth. The Book of Revelation talks about projection as an act of the accuser who accuses both day and night. It takes tremendous work to defend. It is defending yourself against the God of Gods and from the completeness and holiness of Being that’s within you. It is defending one’s own incompleteness and that takes a lot of effort.
It’s ultimately an unsuccessful effort, thankfully. Ultimately, we are overwhelmed by the holiness of Being. Sometimes that is death—the human experience totally overwhelmed by the holiness of Being. But it could happen in life too. We could just crack open and surrender and be totally taken over by the holiness of who we are. But meanwhile, if we’re not letting that happen it takes all kinds of effort, night and day, to project out onto other people and circumstances the work that a person won’t do themselves when they are not cracking open.
We know grace when we are willing to crack open and do our work. It is the work of coming into our own magic. It’s the work of healing and becoming whole. It’s the work of becoming wise and seeing what’s truly going on in our life. It’s the work of becoming enlightened. And it’s the horribly burdensome work of loving other people. It’s the work of surrendering to the power that’s in you so that actually life ceases to be a burden, so that that power lifts you up and moves you in your life, so that no matter how hard you’re working it doesn’t seem like work.
This is grace. It’s not just oneness. It’s a grand confrontation in ourselves at the coalface. By the way, I have found that we Americans often don’t know what that word coalface means. It comes from coal mining, as you might suspect, and it’s where the miner meets the face of the coal. It’s where things are really coming to issue, where the real work is being done. That’s grace.
From March 22-26, 2016, we will be holding an Education Summit at Sunrise Ranch. Perhaps the pivotal component for any true spiritual teaching and any true spiritual teacher is the presentation of grace. This is what helps a person find what’s holy within them. It is the beautiful affirmation that you are holy, you are whole, you are already complete. You were complete before you were born. You brought completeness into this world. Holiness is your primal spirituality. And your spiritual path is simply the acceptance of that holiness and that completeness from within yourself. It is embodying it, living it, and letting it be real in the living of your life as a human being. Because on the inside you are wonderful, you are precious, you are divine, and you are expressing that reality on the outside.
That is the true spiritual teaching. It helps a person identify where that holiness in themselves is coming to issue in their humanity. I do believe that this should be the acid test for any spiritual teaching. A spiritual teaching that blurs the line is of little value. In fact, such a teaching disempowers people, often in devastating ways.
It is a blurring of this line when religion teaches original sin:
You’re a sinner. You came into the world with sin. You’re flawed way down deep inside. You’re not whole, you’re not holy—you’re sinful.
Or when it teaches this version of reincarnation:
You have a past life where you did terrible things. Terrible things happened to you. And now you’re bringing all that incompleteness, all of what’s wrong with you, into this life. And maybe you can evolve into something else. But you are so flawed—you need to improve and improve and improve. And maybe, some lifetimes down the road, you could even become holy.
No, you are already holy.
If you look around in the world, there are so many spiritual teachings that blur the line and that don’t lead a person to grace, that either say you’re flawed on the inside, or all of the flaws on the outside are permanent and there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s all blurring the line.
A true spiritual teaching assists a person to find grace, and a true spiritual teacher assists a person to find grace so they see the wonder of how the completeness and the beauty of who they are is being embodied and wants to be embodied in their life. I want to be that kind of teacher. How about you? That’s someone who’s being of real assistance to another person, someone who is really helping—not perpetuating the old but assisting a person to come out of identification with what is incomplete. A true spiritual teacher is assisting a person to take responsibility for the coalface in themselves and for becoming on the outside what they already are on the inside.
I see us as a network of spiritual teachers who have found the coalface. And because we have found it in ourselves, we are in position to help someone else find it too. We bring to them the reality of the holy and the complete, and assist them to embrace that within themselves.
In the next five months, as we move toward the Education Summit, let us all find the place of grace within ourselves more clearly and more fully so that we can teach it and share it with other people.
From the International Teleconference Service of the Creative Field (October 4, 2015)
As I hold the space for my brother who is in intensive care on various life support measures, I open myself more deeply to perceive the grace that’s present in this situation. And it’s there. The clearly loving care he’s receiving, which includes what I’d describe as radical honesty and transparency with all family members who visit. The deepening expression of love between my sister and I. The heartfelt love soaked tears issuing from our son as he described his visit to his uncle. The amazing, extensive network of love in which he and we are held. Here is a situation that’s incomplete by any standard. And yet the completeness of Love in Action holds it all and infuses this, and all, situations. And so it is.