Oftentimes the enemy of fresh experience is memory. We don’t have to be on Planet Earth for very long to have memories. For some of us, we’ve had the privilege of being on a spiritual journey long enough that we have memories of that, too. We have the privilege of being on our spiritual path long enough to be disillusioned and jaded. Congratulations—it’s an accomplishment. It means you’ve been on your path long enough to have that experience.
I think disillusionment is all about the issue of spiritual freshness—and the enemy of spiritual freshness is memory. It’s easy to remember a wonderful experience that you had once, and then try to re-create it. It’s easy to remember a teaching that you heard of how it’s supposed to be, and then try to make your life measure up to that teaching. Those experiences may have been helpful at the time, but in the present they can be enemies of the fresh and the new, because spiritual things only come one way: as Cliffe Connor put it recently, as neos, recently born.
So the question becomes: How do I give the things from out of my past a good swift boot in the rear to get them out of center stage in my experience? All the ideas about how people are supposed to be or how I’m supposed to be, all those fond memories of things that no doubt were in some way wonderful at the time, but really can’t be reexperienced. If they were wonderful at the time, it must have been that I was open then to the recently born. And if I could do that then, was there some extraordinary set of circumstances that set me free? Or if I could do it then, could it not happen right now, and always?
In everyone, I believe, there is the compulsion to do what is important in their life, no matter what the age. I know people in their teens and twenties who feel that urge and who are finding out how to let it guide their life choices. Personally, I remember the craving, the passion that filled every part of me, even to desperation. It was the desire to do what I was uniquely called to.
For people of my generation it may register differently. I believe it’s the same compulsion, but it registers differently at 59 than it does at 27. It may register as this thought: Well, I guess I won’t be here forever, and I do not want to leave without having done all of what I’m here to do. And if I’ve been distracted in any way, if I’ve been off course in some way, now is a good time to get back on course, to make sure that what it is I’m here for is totally fulfilled, totally done.
However it registers for us, it is that same compulsion that is within all people. It is the compulsion of life wanting to express itself, to fulfill itself, to create and reveal itself.
It is springtime here in Eden Valley, where Sunrise Ranch is located, and we walk around looking at the blossoms and the grasses growing in the fields. The spirit of life within all things is revealing its glory and calling that to our attention, as if it were saying, “Look how beautiful I am. Look how glorious I am. Can you see me?” We are uniquely made as human beings to see that beauty and that glory. It is not that other creatures do not have sight, but I don’t think it registers for them in quite the same way it does for us. We have this amazing capacity to see the glory and the wonder of life; to appreciate it and to drink it in.
At the same time, we have a part to play in the revelation of that glory and wonder. That is the satisfaction, I believe, of planting a garden. We don’t exactly make the lettuce grow—it is the water and the sun and the earth that do that. But without the gardener, that lettuce probably wouldn’t grow. There is something unique for us to do to assist the world to reveal its wonder and its glory. And clearly there’s something that human beings can do that makes it difficult, which creates a desert of one kind or another.
And then there is the revelation of the glory and the wonder through a person. Is there anything more glorious, truly, than the revelation of the glory and the wonder of what life is when revealed through the human form? By the time we get to my age, our bodies may not be quite as glorious as they looked at one point, but they are still glorious and wondrous. And it’s not just the wonder of life that is revealed through the physical body that is glorious about humanity. Through human expression, something of the origin of life can be glimpsed. Our purpose in life is to continually open so that we may participate in the revelation of what is truly beautiful, that we may reveal that to one another and be a mirror for that to one another; and though it may not need to be spoken in words, to say, “I see you” to the miracle of life all around us.
Having been to South Africa recently, I was reminded of a Zulu expression, Sawubona. It means “I see you.” And even more accurately, it means “We see you.” And the “we” is me and my tribe and my ancestors. We see you. When that is the spirit of our greeting of other people, something is liberated through us, certainly, in that seeing, and there is the opportunity for liberation in the other person.
It certainly beats “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know you. You’re a stranger.” In so many ways, that ends up being the message that human beings give to one another. Perhaps you catch yourself in the middle of that. And if you do, you have the opportunity to change the way you are seeing and greeting other people. You can allow a change of heart so that the coldness and the fear that’s conveyed through the expression “I don’t know you,” however conveyed, is overcome with the radiance of life from within.
I do believe that the core compulsion in us is good. It means good. It contains within it a desire for the well-being of the people in the world around us. And when we act on that goodness, when we act with compassion, we are acting on the truest and most powerful compulsion in our life. It is the compulsion that says you’ve got something to do here, and you don’t want to leave this life without having done it.
Anytime we allow for some kind of interference to get in the way, that’s the evil. As human beings, we are not evil or bad at our core—I don’t believe anyone is evil or bad at their core. Evil is “a disturbance in the Force,” as they put it in Star Wars, a disturbance in what’s being received by that person from life, and therefore a disturbance in what’s being transmitted by them to their world. An interference pattern has developed for humanity as a whole and for individuals, so that they’re not accurately receiving what’s been newly born: the emanation of power and intelligence from within us; and ultimately all power is the power of love. So a person has to clear through that interference pattern to receive deeply into them what is their first and primal compulsion in life. And then they are in position to convey that primal compulsion to their world and the people in it.
When the reception from within has really cleared, I don’t think we have to walk around saying “Sawubona” to each other. It just emanates from a person in everything they think and say and do, and in the words that they speak. That vibration from within comes all the way through and out. I believe we each have the opportunity to let that happen fully for ourselves, and that we have the opportunity to do that together with other people.
Sawubona. We see you. I say that to all the people reading this message, on behalf of all the people reading this message, and on behalf of all of us to all those in our world who are looking to answer the call they feel from within and do what is theirs to do in their life. Sawubona. We see you.
Thank you for participating in this work. Thank you for being part of this network of people that cares so passionately about these things—passionately enough that any kind of interference, disillusionment or jadedness is set aside, so that it does not get in the way of what we are here to do.