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In and Out

So much of our thought patterns and experience are programmed in patterns of “either-or”.

Either we are happy or we are sad. Our partner is either with us or against us. We are generous or mean, clever or stupid, relaxed or uptight. The “either-or” mind-set holds us in a strict state of limitation in which experience – often dictated by the mind – becomes two-dimensional.

“Either-or” is an immature position of mental consciousness in which we have lost the ability to really attend to our senses and to expand into experience.

It is the attitude of Satan when he found himself separated from the light (yet made of the same light) and thus declared: “it’s either God or Me”.

Within “either-or” attitudes is embedded the toxic belief that in order for me to exist, I must exclude the existence of others.

“Either-or” generates the suffering of competition, jealousy and hatred.

It can begin with a nation, narrow down to a particular political party or cultural sub-group, narrow still further into families, and still further to the competing lonely individuals within an individual family. As with the World Wars, the outcome of an existential fight of “either-or” is always lose-lose.

And in the inner world, we cause great shrinkage to ourselves with the “either-or” activity of the ego.  We build our identity on narrow margins that exclude whole aspects of creation. “I am never angry”. (Never?). “I am a generous person” (but sometimes I need to be say “no”?)

The personality is only really free when it is of service to the soul.

Then we can be all things, according to the need that presents: angry, generous, mean, virgin, whore, criminal, perfect citizen.

As with the mind, so with feeling. Anyone who has lost a loved one will recognize the many colors of grief. We are angry and peaceful, sad but also deeply moved in a way which is almost pleasurable. We can be in fear and in trust, in supreme strength, at the same time as utterly helpless. We can love the person beyond limits, and yet hate them for leaving us. We can feel blessed with how things went, and yet a profound guilt and shame in bereavement.

Spiritual maturity that lives with a perpetual loyalty to the here-and-now will develop thought patterns and expression that allow the “and-and”. You are absolutely right. And also she, who totally opposes you, is right. It allows multiple perspectives and the coexistence of incompatible feelings.

As such, life becomes a much wider playing field – a kind of poetry in which the mind follows experience and tries to explain what is going on moment by moment, even developing an ability to contemplate on its own activity.  Even developing an aptitude for just being quiet – stillness.

Sanity is not when the mind decides what experience should be artificially created, and where, when and how. Sanity is when the mind is a tool to describe direct perception.

And so with Eden.

In opening the doors to the inner Eden, you will not be moving into a state of aloof enlightenment or liberation, where the sorrows of the world are left behind. Eden will absorb you and then send you rocketing back into the very place you started. Only then, to doors to Eden remain open, and you will be observing life with a sharper, clearer and much more inclusive light.

In blending with the walls of Eden you are moving out of the “either-or”, heaven-or-hell polarity and into the “and-and”. You will be in this world and you will be of it. Change then begins to occur as old ways of thinking fall away, from the inside-out.

Where once there was the curse of original sin – the shame, the suffering, labor and death – there is opened also the truth that we are people of Eden, nurtured by the tree of life. In our inner world, we are always home at the heart of Eden, and we are also always outcasts in the wilderness, playing our role in the great learning ground which is creation.

The great tragedy is that as people we have learned to remember only the curse of the banishment from Eden, and not the blessing of Eden itself. We chose to build our culture on the basis of suffering, and to exclude ourselves from the bliss.

But it is not “either-or”. It is “and-and”.

Read more.

However confused, misguided or unacceptable their behavior – even when they seem most destructive – human beings are seeking ways to make things better.

This universal instinct unites murderous dictator and saint.

Whether the wish is selfish or altruistic, we share this attitude, and through this attitude we may seek unity, at least at the level of the soul.

God said “Let there be light”.

This was not an order. It was not an assertive act.

It was a movement of acceptance, allowing light to expand.

May this be your attitude toward your inner and outer light in daily life.

To find stillness, reject nothing.

Lovingly accept all that exists within, even when you know it’s not true, and even if you would like to erase it.

When you meet resistance, then accept that. Blend with its feeling, as if it were a new kind of animal that entered your door.

Be curious. Even blend with the experience of curiosity.

Only through attending to the moving landscape of the sky, will we be present when the storm passes – when between one cloud and the next,  the blue infinity is revealed.

Try to see enemies as teachers.

When another is able to close your heart, it’s because you reject a part of yourself.

So close the outer doors, and open the inner spaces.

Welcome the internal enemy in, and risk becoming one with it.

As it nears the love of your heart, it will tell its story.

There will be a process and a transformation.

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People of Eden

At the start of the great monotheistic religions – in the opening chapter of Genesis, at the culmination of the creation of the earth, galaxy, solar-system, we share the story of the Garden of Eden.

While parallel creation stories can be found across the world – in short, telling how we fell from grace – the story of Eden – its bliss and innocence, ruptured by original sin and our banishment into suffering – is an archetype that unites students of inner growth at the cultural basis from across the spectrum of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Eden offers us a powerful system of metaphors that tell us in a living way of our human condition – moment by moment – and the doors we can open in processes of inner growth and self development.

We are not advocates of a historic Eden. History is nothing but a pattern presenting in some way in the present moment. We do firmly believe that Eden exists, right now, at the heart of creation and at the heart of every one of us.

Shamelessly, we use the Eden parable as a metaphor to describe processes of inner growth. We hope that in reading this book, the doors to Eden will be opened for every one of you.

Eden is not a remote land of perfect souls. Eden is not far away. Eden is an inherent presence of bliss, joy and peace. It is a perspective of inner peace and optimism, an attitude of happiness that when unlocked can be a backdrop and support to our difficulties and hard lessons in living. Eden is also the powerhouse of physical creativity. It is the liquid gold at the core of inner being that can create the alchemy of outer transformation.

It is all around you and within you, right now.

Next

And the people were in great despair, such that they did not know who they were.

The chronicles of pain handed down from generation to generation seemed to be a curse of forever not knowing.

Love there was, but they could not hold it.

The earth itself seemed to shake beneath their feet.

And being unable to trust that there could be anything eternal, they conjured a great sleep, making stories as to what should be seen, and deciding for themselves on that which must not need to exist.

These stories would numb the pain of love, but they also blinded love itself as the people become more divided between the earth and the Creator.

It seemed there was no source of life, and yet no god built with ladders of  belief could set them free from being. 

And they lived asleep, propelled by the fear of life, and confused by their own mortality.

A great, senseless fog of hung among the people of the earth.

And so it was, that some of them gathered together, for alone they knew not where to stand.

Together, they journeyed to search for the forgotten land, the place they said could be theirs after death, the place their forefathers described before the great shame and the great fear, the place of sacred safety.

Together, they searched for Eden.

And from the Holy Land to the depths of Africa, to the heights of the Himalaya, to the southernmost pole, they scoured the earth in search of Eden.

And they found her not.

And they grew tired and sought distraction; and many left to claim land and to cling to things for comfort, pretending their safety was eternal.

Then, one among them, who had been silent for a generation, turned to the wanderers and spoke. His name was Michael.

Next.

 

Ring the Bell

Sound

pure blows

in space

unforgotten

ungraspable

let it fly

through palaces

and chambers,

wisdom’s

eternal halls,

collapse into it,

aware in

sublimity

only of dust

of lesser self

releasing as

even humility’s

inner gowns

touch sacred

earth.

Subsumed in awe

and glorious remaking,

called by essence to boundless

disintegration- transforming yearning cells

of human being to being and being human bliss.

Yes, this deeper resonance awakens cherishing notes

and choirs now in harmony; unplayable and powerful beyond

vain hopes and forsaken thoughts to enslave love itself – let it fly –

faster, deeper, unrelenting, repenting itself and violent, true, rapid, still.

Listen, lover, universal stirring here- pulsating infinite choice from scores

behind creation expanding outward, as undeniable forms emerge as point

meets point and wider line stretches to prism, and this perfect splendour

meets itself descending, as in every heart and soul exquisite orchestras

conducted by tender gardeners most silent – cascade endlessly through

new worlds enveloped by love and closest holding- and the universe

wept in joy

we did it.

 We.

Sweet face, find heart that stains in trace

of other leaves earth-kissed, orange heaps,

uncovering still space beneath untired seasons-

firey forms burning veils of conscious night.

Unkeep it soon. Undertake to love

with that same unprofound Order

of yours unwinded

as we were bespoken

for centuries

in agony behind selves

lost like unkept clothes

as ancient ways

shape us into

a begodded parade

to a blood-blessed alter.

Oh yes, communion makes us jealous-

as believing in ultra-alter selves, wearing hoods

of lovers we blend and bend delusion, skirts lifting now

bewedded on knees all lost and losing

as in death, grasping at holding and hope,

all tears and flesh and candles burning as

our souls state rank beyond beholding,

becoming betrothed, betrayed or both

as wild nuns are none and light

reveals insane internment,

reprieve, release, relapse

and malice of despair.

How we must drink,

oh Alice, the vision

of this upturned

unbecoming

chalice?