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Shining and Walking - Embracing Hopefulness and Complexity

October 24, 2023



On the train to my fourth and final seminar/retreat here in Europe. I am surprised to find my heart hopeful for our collective future, despite some compelling evidence to the contrary. I feel so lucky to be with other journeyers who sense the goodness that lives in our core and commitment to overcoming their faulty learning. There is light in the darkness and that light will not be overcome. We can walk through an open door, co-creating a world in which our love overcomes our fear.

I am hopeful that the ultimate direction of our shared consciousness is to remember our essential desire for life to prosper, all children to be fed, and unnecessary suffering eliminated. Deeper than our selfishness, anger and confusion, our alpha and omega, is warm hearted, loving awareness.

We live surrounded by such suffering, much created by human confusion. Sometimes it is hard to tolerate the vast complexity of us human beings. I am frustrated with those who want to reduce any person, group of people or life situation into simple right/wrong, good/bad. Complexity IS.

I see each person struggling to find the same things - safety, meaning, respect, freedom and ways to express their unique gifts to the world. The challenge is that we are all wounded, every one of us. That pain can take us over and control our feelings/thoughts/actions. Unless we are lucky enough to find ways to uncover who we truly are, who we are before and under the confusion caused by those wounds, we can be controlled by that confusion. We all can get lost, and we all can be found. Most of us need guidance to transcend our narrow, fear-based, self-identities and uncover our authentic goodness, a truer, deeper quality of Being.


A few reflections on this moment in time


I have heard it said that Jerusalem is the "heart-chakra of the earth" - that until there is peace in this region there will not be peace on earth. The corollary - once peace is truly uncovered here, the whole planet will find peace! I don't know if this is true, at this moment the image resonates deeply.

There is always, dark and light, sorrow and joy in this life. Right now, for those of us in touch with world events, all is amplified. We seem to be in a moment of collective mourning, concern, perhaps outrage and confusion about "right action" and best steps forward.


While right action is complex and unclear, in my opinion, there is no confusion about "right view". It is simple, we need to hold ALL beings in our hearts. We need to see each life of equal value. This attitude called Universal Caring or Unconditional Love seems obvious. Still, this does not solve the questions about right action.


My life is too safe and far from immediate dangers for me to offer answers. Most challenging situations are unfathomably complex, the multi-causality stretching though time and space. When is dramatic, perhaps lethal, action needed to take care of life? My heart breaks for those making these impossible calculations. My prayer is that the decision makers in these situations truly hold ALL life of equal value, as they make these heart-wrenching choices. I do not envy their positions.

A story Aikido master Terry Dobson once told: "If your grandmother goes crazy and forgets who she is AND who you are, then attacks you with a knife, of course, you protect yourself, but you do not intentionally harm her. Even if you are frightened and angry, you care for her, in all her confusion, and create as little suffering as possible as you also take care of Life".

Hurt people, HURT people and on and on, until? Those in harmony with life do not seek to hurt others. When our wounds control us there is no limit to our violence - our worst selves, the most primitive brain functions - take over. I have seen my own capacity for negative reactivity when I am disconnected and controlled by my fear and pain. Haven't we all?

We ALL - everyone of us - are doing our best to get our human needs met, based on our life history, which includes our confusion and faulty learning. While some strategies for getting these needs met are 100% unacceptable, we must also see that each human being is just like us - seeking safety, meaningfulness, respect, and freedom. Complexity IS!

Adding hate into our shared, collective field is not helpful. Anger has a life-giving, temporary function as a motivator, yet it is a destructive, life-defeating place to live.

We need to hold all adults 100% responsible for their actions yet also see that if we were born in a different place, under differing influences, we might make currently unimaginable choices. Not easy to have this view, but if we can't do that, who will?

Important questions for me and perhaps for you:

- Can we - you and me - find the courage to hold multiple views simultaneously without becoming paralyzed?
- Can we see every life as valuable and sacred?
- Can we hold the decision makers, who have more influence than most of us, in our hearts - praying for their wisdom and compassion?
- Can we ask, what our "higher angels" want from us now?
- Can we not demonize the "other", even when we radically disagree?

Together, let's do our inner work to bring light, warmth and clarity into the world, transforming pain and fear into universal caring. Our daily life, just as it is, is our classroom, our training ground, for this transformation.

Let our light shine in the darkness...
Together, let's walk through the door
Between the worlds
Across the threshold
From Fear to Love...

In it together....Russell

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