Mark Nepo

“…feminine, cooperative and supportive.”

July 17, 2018

The shift to a more sustainable political policy will involve:

. . . a shift of emphasis away from means towards ends; away from economic growth towards human development; away from quantitative towards qualitative values and goals; away from the impersonal and organisational towards the personal and interpersonal; and away from the earning and spending of money towards the meeting of real human needs and aspirations. A culture that has been masculine, aggressive and domineering in its outlook will give place to one which is more feminine, cooperative and supportive. A culture that has exalted the uniformly European will give place to one which values the multi-cultural richness and diversity of human experience. An anthropocentric worldview that has licensed the human species to exploit the rest of nature as if from above and outside it, will give place to an ecological worldview. We shall recognize that survival and self-realisation alike require us to act as what we really are—integral parts of an ecosystem much larger, more complex, and more powerful than ourselves. 

James Robertson, Beyond the Dependency Culture: People, Power and Responsibility, as cited by Richard Rohr and The Center for Action and Contemplation.

We cannot expect to draw a pattern of this right seeing from he objective world of confusion or our inner thoughts of doubt and fear. We are to look and think independently of the confusion in the moment.  I am seeing through confusion to peace, through doubt to certainty, through fear to faith. As I do this everything I look upon shall become transformed and reborn. -Ernest Holmes

Terrible things are hard enough to experience the first time. Beyond their second and third and fourth experience as trauma, ,their impact can easily makes u become terrible if we do not keep our want to love alive. Perhaps the most difficult challenge of being wounded is not turning our deepest loving nature over to the lie and way of the wound. The human heart–no matter how often it is cut–can reassert its impulse to love. -Mark Nepo

Also from Mark:

I see that we’re such fragile, resilient creatures, here for just a long unplanned moment, tumbling and waking in this beautiful, harsh tender existence.

Dialogue is a matter of understanding, of peeling away the mind to stand under (our thoughts) in Oneness.

Community. Local and global.

May 8, 2018

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. —Martin Luther King, Jr. 

President Barack Obama would often recite this quote, adding it “zig-zags”. Today, post 2016, the arc is seemingly particularly long, perhaps longer. And it is ‘zagging.’


I remember the happiness among the Iranian people after the Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iranian Deal, was signed, and the sanctions on their economy lifted. How they praised America and their feelings of future prosperity.

The United States acts as though it exists on this higher moral plane, when in reality, ethically, and compassionately, our behaviors, particularly among our government, are subpar, and so much karma to endure. Contemporaneously we live in ignorance and within a piouty weakening our collective community fiber. However, “we must not get distracted, and we must continue to do our spiritual work to embody the qualities that are seeking to emerge as we manifest the life we are called to live from the inside out. There are not shortcuts” [Sheila Thomas, RScP, Berkeley, California].

And the arc is indeed long.

The Beloved Community

By Richard Rohr

‘As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saw clearly in the last years of his life, we face a real choice between chaos and community—we need a moral revolution. If that was true fifty years ago, then we must be clear today: America needs a moral revival to bring about beloved community. —William J. Barber II 

I believe that “moral revival” is a natural outgrowth of realizing how connected we already are: what we do unto others or to the earth, we really do to ourselves. All created beings are included in this one Body of God. Protestant pastor and political leader Rev. Dr. William Barber writes:

The main obstacle to beloved community continues to be the fear that people in power have used for generations to divide and conquer God’s children who are, whatever our differences, all in the same boat. 

The goal of the spiritual journey is to discover and move toward connectedness and relationship on ever new levels, while also honoring diversity. We may begin by making connections with family and friends, with nature and animals, and then grow into deeper connectedness with those outside our immediate circle, especially people of races, religions, economic classes, gender, and sexual orientation that are different from our own. Finally, we can and will experience this full connectedness as union with God. For some it starts the other way around: they experience union with God—and then find it easy to unite with everything else.

Without connectedness and communion, we don’t exist fully as our truest selves. Becoming who we really are is a matter of learning how to become more and more deeply connected.

Inherent Goodness can always uphold you if you can trust it. It is the trusting that is important. When we fall into Primal Love, we realize that everything is foundationally okay—and we are a part of that ever.”

In a culture that honors celebrity, a reality TV culture where it appears possible to become a president, for doing nothing, this can be difficult to accept [Thomas]. We must be in alignment with Universal Law and stay vigilant to what we think, say and do. We want the law to say “yes” to the highest idea of ourselves” [Thomas].’

We have so much ugly and hurtful Karma to answer for our in this country from our behaviors and injustices that generally preceded us, and specfically live contemporaneously.

“Karma is evolutionary action, its action that has an evolutionary impact in the sense that it affects your embodiment, your life and spirit in the future.  You never stay still, you go up or down in your quality” -Robert Thurman

‘Tuskegee Institute records the lynching of 3,436 blacks between 1882 and 1950. This is probably a small percentage of these murders, which were seldom reported, and led to the creation of the NAACP in 1909, an organization dedicated to passing federal anti-lynching laws. Through all this terror and carnage someone-many times a professional photographer-carried a camera and took pictures of the events. These lynching photographs were often made into postcards and sold as souvenirs to the crowds in attendance. These images are some of photography’s most brutal, surviving to this day so that we may now look back on the terrorism unleashed on America’s African-American community and perhaps know our history and ourselves better. The almost one hundred images reproduced here are a testament to the camera’s ability to make us remember what we often choose to forget [Amazon].’

NPR/Fresh Air

‘As the New Lynching Peach and Justice Memorial opens in Alabama, a look back on America’s history of racial terrorism, listening back to interviews with historian Philip Dray, author of At the Hands of Persons Unknown, and James Allen, who collected postcard “souvenirs” of lynchings for Without Sanctuary.’

https://www.npr.org/2018/05/04/608477810/as-new-lynching-memorial-opens-a-look-back-on-americas-history-of-racial-terrori

‘Although fairness and. Justice are beautiful gravitates by which we as human creatures try to live with one another, the storm and the germ, the termites eating the foundation of your home, the errant stone breaking your windshield, the wave swamping your little boat—these molecules of experience do not understand what is fair. They just bombard us in the endless cosmic dance of life that just keeps happening. […] Life is not fair, but unbending in its capacity to change us; that compassion is fair and feeling is just—that we are not responsible for all that befalls us [or maybe we are] only for how we receive it and for how we hold each other up along the way.’

-Mark Nepo

‘We find each other and pull.’

May 3, 2018

Feminine and masculine energies.

’When we are dominated by our male side (overrational and stoic, never showing our feelings), our feminine side (our deeper creative, receptive energies) becomes strident and stifled, explosive when finally allowed to surface.

Those who are contained and guarded—male or female—are somewhat frightened by those who are intuitive and expressive; just as those who are intuitive and expressive; just as those who are more readily impacted by what they feel find inexpressive quite suffocating. We find each other, and the stocks grow nervous, while the passionate sweat more.

This is part of life: we find each other and pull.

Too often, under the guise of being asked to be prepared and mature, we are seduced into watching over living, into naming over feeling, into understanding over experience. Yet, as two hands cup water to the mouth, we need both male and female energies to drink fully of this life.’

-Mark Nepo, Book of Awakening

Outwaiting the cloud.

April 19, 2018

Science of Mind:

There is a place where we begin and leave off physically, but there is no place where we begin and leave off mentally or spiritually.

If we do not merge with others in cooperation, in unity, and in happiness, we may be certain that there is something in us that feels it has been rebuffed or rejected.

Mark Nepo:

In truth, the heart, like the Earth, is continually blanketed by ever-changing atmospheres that come and go between who we are and how we leave our days.

If we could only suspend our judgement when clouded in the heart. For many skepticisms are born from conclusions draw while unable to see, as if any kind of understanding will prevent the clouds from coming or going, again and again.

But no clouds last forever.

The Earth and all that grows from it knows this well. So does the heart and everything that grows from it, in spite of all our very understandable pains.

Truth & Beauty

February 27, 2018

“Beauty, whoever we find it, is the salve that keeps us vital and fresh. But Truth, in its uncompromised and naked story, no matter how harsh, has a Beauty all its own that is cleansing. […] Like X and Y chromosomes, they make up the fundamental elements of life that no one can do without. They are the yin and yang of existence–one cleanses the wound, while the other heals the wound.”

Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty

That is all you know on earth,

and all you need to know.

-John Keats

“This is why we must remember the Holocaust and other atrocities exactly as they were. This is why it is essential to bear honest witness to our own naked stories.

Still, as wise as the message he came upon is, there is an equal lesson in how young Keats came upon it. For only by voicing our tender pains can we find our way to the deer Beauties and Truths that like ropes and wheels can carry us.”

-Mark Nepo

“Breathe fully and, in the next breath, allow the beauty around you to revitalize the place in you that is raw.”

One.

February 5, 2018

“True expression rises through us. In this expression, all the conversations and honest sharing that passed through our small tribe(s) over those years permeated (our) consciousness, the way the ocean saturates a sponge. A sponge doesn’t create the water it holds. […] We soak up the deepest meaning from each other and the water of wisdom passes through us.”

-Mark Nepo

“Everything exists as a vibration in time and space. Only the frequencies separates sand from water, soul from dust and me from you. In the boundless order beyond the Universe we are ONE. Only briefly ‘separate’ from each other under the stars, moon and the sun.”

-Super Soul Sunday

Righteousness is not just the private practice of doing good; it sums up the global responsibility of the human community to make sure every human being has what they need, that everyone pursues a fair sense of justice for every other human being, and that everyone lives in right relationship with one another, creation, and God.

[…]

  • …this discovery is life’s real and highest goal. Our supreme purpose in life is not to make a fortune, nor to pursue pleasure, nor to write our name on history, but to discover this spark of the divine that is in our hearts.
  • Last, when we realize this goal, we discover simultaneously that the divinity within ourselves is one and the same in all—all individuals, all creatures, all of life.

God’s passion is justice. . . . As the social form of compassion, justice is about politics [the word “politics” comes from the Greek polis for “city”]. . . . Politics is about the shape and shaping, the structure and structuring, of the city and, by extension, of human communities more generally, ranging from the family to society as a whole. . . . Justice is the political form of compassion, the social form of love, a compassionate justice grounded in God as compassionate.

-Richard Rohr

The Slow Arm of All That Matters

I have fallen through and worked into

a deeper way – one step at a time, one pain

at a time, one grief at a time, one amends at a

time-until the long, slow arm of all that matters

has bowed my estimation of heaven. Now, like a 

heron wairting for the waters to clear, I look for

heaven on earth and wait of for the turbulence to settle.

And I confess, for all the ways we stir things 

up, I can see that though we can stop, life never

stops: the lonely bird crashes into the window

just as the sun disperses my favorite doubt, a 

sudden wind closes your willing heart as the

moment of truth passes between us, and the

damn phone rings as my father is dying. All

these intrusions, majestically unfair, and not of our 

timing. So we spin and drop and catch and land.

And sometimes, we fall onto these little islands of stillness,

like now, from which we are renewed by our kinship

with all and that irrepressible feeling resurrects our want to be here,

to push off again into the untamable stream.

Under all the conflicts and dilemmas we face, we can discover over and over that everything, and everyone, in life is connected.

-Mark Nepo

jai

‘For once full of light…’

January 27, 2018

I begin to realize that in inquiring about my own origin and goal, I am inquiring about something other than myself. In this very realization I begin to recognize the origin and goal of the world.

-Martin Buber

“Meditation or contemplation helps us to know how to find the spots of spiritual stasis on which we can rest. There is deep satisfaction and sometimes a safe port in life’s storms to be found, even in the simplest of spiritual practices.

We believe that all things have consciousness: mineral, animal, plant, human and Divine. We believe that that consciousness is everlasting and immortal and that it is constantly expanding and evolving. We believe that the perfection of being is within us and that we can experience it to the degree that we are conscious of it. The ultimate goal and purpose of life is to discover and manifest freedom in everything, and everyone can attain this.

We trust in the unity of all life, and that everything in this Intelligence is unfolding back to where it originated, which is spirit Itself.”

-Science of Mind

“After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, love, and so on — have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear — what remains? Nature remains.”

-Walt Whitman

“In loving ourselves, we love the world. For just as fire, rock, and water are all made up of molecules, everything, including you and me, is connected by a small piece of the beginning.

In this way, I’ve learned that loving yourself requires a courage unlike any other. It requires us to believe in and stay loyal to something no one else can see that keeps us in the world—our own self-worth.

All the great moments of conception—the birth of mountains, of trees, of fish, of prophets, and the truth of relationships that last—all begin where no one can see, and it is our job not to extinguish what is so beautifully begun. For once full of light, everything is safely on its way—not pain-free, but unencumbered.

I realize—make real before me—that this moment, whatever it might be, is a fine moment to live and a fine moment to die.”

-Mark Nepo

Three Times Listen

January 23, 2018

‘If you want to be truly understood, you need to say everything three times, in three different ways. Once for each ear…and once for the heart.’

-Paula Underwood Spencer 

‘I’ve learned that true dialogue requires both speaker and listener to try several times to get at what matters. So much depends on timing, and so, I’ve learned not to repeat myself, but to play what matters like a timeless melody, again and again, if the one before me is honest and sincere.’

-Mark Nepo

This day.

January 16, 2018

‘I affirm that this is the day that God has made, that it is good, and that I find fulfillment in it.’ Psalms/Science of Mind

’The more spacious and larger our fundamental nature, the more bearable the pains in living.’ -Wayne Muller

’The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you ar e in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.’ -Mark Nepo

Even if we don’t get a thunderbolt to the mind, we can know that wisdom walks with us every step of the way. -Rev. Dr. Margaret Stortz

[Photo: South-Central Idaho]

 

Life-In-The-Tank Lens

January 9, 2018

Mark Nepo

“It was a curious thing. Robert had filled the bathtub and put the fish in the tub so he could clean their tank. After he’d scrubbed the film from the small walls of their make-believe deep, he went to retrieve them.

He was astonished to find that, though they had the entire tub to swim in, they were huddled in a small area the size of their tank. There was nothing to contain them, nothing holding them back. Why wouldn’t they dart about freely? What had life in the talk done to their natural ability to swim?

It makes me wonder now, in middle age, if being spontaneous and kind and curious are all parts of our natural ability to swim. Each time I hesitate to do the unplanned or unexpected, or hesitate to reach and help another, or hesitate to inquire into something I know nothing about; each time I ignore the impulse to run in the rain or to call you up just to say I love you–I wonder, am I turning on myself, swimming safely in the middle of the tub?”

 

‘…a language no one hears.’

January 8, 2018

19th & Irving

I wake this morning with a sadness.

Can’t find it. Can’t shake it. But with

my third coffee, I notice the French doors on the balcony across the street,

slightly open.

They seem to speak in a language no one hears

unless sad. Suddenly, the whole world depends

on the thin opening of these doors: on what

they let in, on what they let out. Like my mind,

or your heart. All day I look for opened doors;

left open, blown open, broken open. Doors

whose latches have finally worn down. Is this

what sadness is for: to wear our latches down?

-Mark Nepo

The Way Under the Way; The Place of True Meeing

Happy New Year

December 29, 2017

Ubuntu greeting, friends:

‘I am what I am because of who we all are’.

‘As night and day take turns on this massive Earth spinning nowhere, the song we share within takes turns with the catastrophes of living. When we go silent, the age goes dark.’

-Mark Nepo

“We all have traveled this same pathway of experience – – the journey of the soul to ‘the heights above’ – – and always there has been a deep inquiry in our minds: What is it all about? Does life make sense? What is the meaning of birth, human experience, and the final transition from this plane, which we call death?

With the Koran we must realize that the Divine is closer to us even than our physical being. Nothing can be nearer to us than which is the very essence of our own being.

Our external search after Reality culminates in the greatest of all possible discoveries – – Reality is at the center of our own being. Life is from within out.

We must no longer judge according to appearances, but rather, base our judgments on the assumption that the Gaia-Mind dwells within us proclaimed or reflects Itself through us into every act.

I shall speak this Reality into every experience I have.”

[Science of Mind]

Mind is Brahma; for from mind even are verily born these beings–by mind, when born, they live.

-The Upanishads

The Mind, then, is not separated off from God’s essentiality, but is united to it, as light to sun.

-Hermes

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own mind.

-Emerson

✿´¯`*•.¸¸✿

Grace filled transitions to you, to us all. Ubuntu.

  • Abba
  • Yahweh
  • Baba
  • Spirit of Life
  • Giver of Life
  • Breath of LIfe
  • Muhammad
  • Buddha
  • Jesus
  • Abraham
  • Gaia
  • Wakan Tanka
  • Tara & Lakshmi
  • Whispers

Shirley goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives…

-Psalm 23:6

jai.

Intimately connected.

November 25, 2017

I have just three things to teach:

simplicity

patience

compassion

These are your greatest treasures.

compassionate toward yourself,

you reconcile all beings in the world.

LAO-TZU

︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶

…when we tend our deepest center, we care for all souls. Another powerful way to realize our interconnectedness is to imagine the human family as a stand of Aspens growing by a river. Though each tree appears to be growing independently, not attached to the others, beneath the soil, out of view, the roots of all the trees exist as one enormous root. And so, like these trees, our soul’s growth, while appearing to be independent, is intimately connected to the health of those around us. For our spirits are entwined at center, out of view.

I know these things to be true: in cutting off strangers, we cut off ourselves; in choking roots, we choke our own growth; in loving strangers, we love ourselves.

Mark Nepo

︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶

‘Dad missed the wilderness. He need to be in roaming free in open country and living among untamed animals. He felt i was good for your should to have buzzards and coyotes and snakes around. That was the way man was meant to live, he’d say, in harmony with the wild, like t he Indians, not this lords-of-the-earth crap, trying to rule the entire goddamn planet, cutting down all the forest and killing every creature you couldn’t bring to heel.’

Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle

So God created man in his own image…and God blessed them and God said unto them…replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have domino over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Genesis 1:27-28

The Bible’s literal interpretation continues to damage and destroy life.

I rise above the sense of separation into a consciousness of my union with [all living spirits.]

Science of Mind

The most unexpected places.

November 24, 2017

‘Older now, you find holiness in anything that continues.’

-Naomi Shihab Nye

‘The longer I wake on this Earth, the louder the quiet things speak to me. The more I experience and survive, the more I find truth in the commonalities we all share. The more pain softens me, the deeper my joy and the greater the lessons of those things that live in great stillness.’

-Mark Nepo

‘As outraged as we might be at the sight of injustice, we must remain equally excited by the possibilities for a better world that lie on the other side of it. The enlightened activist is committed because we know that the other world exists and all of us are here to bring it forth.’

-Marianne Williamson

 

 

A sun in every person.

November 16, 2017

‘It is essential to realize and embrace the paradox that while no one can go through your journey for you, you are not alone. Everyone is on the same journey. Everyone shares the same pains, the same confusions, the same fears, which if put out between us, lose their edges and so cut us less.’ -Mark Nepo

‘There’s a sun in every person–the you we call companion.‘ -Rumi

Borders & Walls

November 2, 2017

‘When closing makes us insular, we tighten and miss the depth of everything. We start to become wall-builders. When fearful, we harden and impose our fear on everything we meet. We start to hammer our amor into place. This is the cost of closing without opening.

But when we can open info what feels real and true, especially after great fear or pain, our heart widens like an inlet and we ready ourselves for grace.

For the most part, walls are useless. It’s meeting the sensations of being alive that cleanses us and shapes us, the way fast current scour the bottom of a river, making the river stronger.

-Mark Nepo

‘Souls with dreams behind every window…’

September 30, 2017

Jennifer Rose.

︶⁀⁀︶︶⁀⁀︶

If you try to comprehend air

before breathing it,

you will die.

 

We can only consider things so long. After a while, all the information – – all the options and opinions – – will begin to weight us down. After our deeper eyes have seen the situation, all the well-meaning voices telling us what we should or should not do will start to feel like strings we can’t cut through.

It is natural enough to be cautious and thoughtful, especially when faced with important decisions, but often the only way to know what awaits us is to live it.

This brings to mind the revelation that came upon a Hindu sage centuries ago, One day in the middle of their morning prayers, the sage suddenly rose and ushered his students away from the monastery. He rushed about them and shooed them back into life like little ducks, proclaiming, “the day is to be experienced, not understood.”

[meditation]

° Center ourself while holding a glass of water and an empty cup.

° Consider the choices that away you while during the water from one glass to the other.

° When you tire of the pouring, breathe deeply and drink the water.

° Now enter your life.

 

Mark Nepo/Book of Awakening

 

Musings of the random.

August 10, 2017

Random is the instant a horse at full speed has all four hooves off the ground.

It refers to the mystery of unbridled passion, to the lift that results from total immersion and surrender. In our age, however, random means without design, method, or purpose. It refers to utter chance. It helps us dismiss whatever appears to be beyond the control of our will. If we didn’t author it, it must be accidental.

Yet our lives are full of unexpected surges of kindness that seem to come from nowhere. Just when you’re thirsty, a cup is gathered and passed around. Just when you are lonely to the point of snapping that bone way inside that you show no one, someone offers you a ride or steadies the grocery bag about to drop from your grip.  Just when you feel nothing can raise your sad head from the lonely road, the deer strutter across the road in exact rhythm with Handel.

For us, the moment at random is the moment of holding nothing back, of giving our all to whatever situation is before us. In that charged moment, we come as close to flying as human beings can – – we soar briefly with a passion for life that brings everything within us to meet our daily world.

We flow to each other’s aid, often without knowing where we are headed. Mysteriously, the life force heals itself this way. And what we call ‘chance’ or ‘luck’ or coincidence’ is the circulation of life healing itself through us and in us.

-Mark Nepo/’The Book of Awakening’ pp. 626-263

  • Do one thing at random today.
  • Hold nothing back. Allow what touches you to change your path.

 

Presence of grace.

July 28, 2017

‘Enlightenment is the moment we realize that we are made of love. At that moment, all fear of living disappears. For grace comes to the heart when it realizes what it is made of and what it has risen from. In that moment, grace comforts us, that no matter the joy or pain along the way, we are already a part of where we are going. Enlightenment for a heart on Earth is the moment we accept that it is the loving that makes waves of us all, again and again and again.’

-Mark Nept/Book of Awakening

Love is like a soft, warm light, warming the heart and glowing in every atom of being, radiating out into the farthest corners of our experience.

-Jack Addington

Heaven is within woman. This is why Jesus prayed to this indwelling “I am” and said: “Our Father/Mother which art in Heaven,” and again he said: “The Kingdom of heaven is within you.”

-Science of Mind, p. 365

‘This is the story of our human incarnation on the planet. We continue to die daily and to be reborn again. Surprisingly, yes, there is more to forgive, more to embrace about our own humanity and the humanity of our brothers and sisters who have chosen to walk with us. Our human incarnation is a holy walk when we choose to see it as such. It is a deliverance from the fears and doubts that may plague us in the beginning but which cannot withstand the onslaught of all-encompassing love of Gaia.

How grateful I am that throughout all of it, I have been so loved, so guided and so cared for. This is the promise for those who are courageous enough to stay the course. The expanded love you embrace with each resurrection never dies, and you are in love for the rest of your life.’

-Rev. Karen S. Wylie

‘To practice the Presence of God is to awaken within us the Christ Consciousness. Christ is God in the soul of woman. The resurrection is the death of the belief that we are separated from God. For death is to the illusion alone and not to Reality God did not die. What happened was that woman awoke to life.’

-Science of Mind, p. 413

‘Today I imbibe new ideas from the creativity of Gaia. My whole consciousness is alive and awake and aware. It is impregnated with Divine ideas and shall bear fruit after the image of the impression conceived within it and the Divine imprint made upon it. Today, then, I expect new ways of doing things; I expect to meet new people, form new friendships; I expect everything in my experience to enlarge and deepen and broaden. I expect more good that I have every experienced before, and today I expect to give out more, to increase my love for others. Today I expect from myself a more gently approach to life, a more kindly feeling, a more beneficent impulse. New thoughts, new ideas, new people, new situations, new ways of doing things, and a new influx of the Divine will make this day perfect, glad, and expressive limitless bounty from the storehouse of the Infinite Good.’

-Science of Mind

Mark Nepo/’The One Life We’re Given’

A difficult paradox in the life of feeling is that when we are most sensitive, the heart is at its strongest. In such moments, our experience of deep love and suffering can feel intolerable. But this means the heart is working. Feeling such intense sensitivity is evidence of what a finely tuned instrument the heart is. Being so sensitive, life can feel unbearable even while the heart that guides us is going strong. Our challenge is to learn from both the sensitivity and the strength.

When strong enough to endure life’s irritations, the soul we carry can issue a pearl. If able to endure the pressures that life puts on us, the heart can be compressed into a small diamond. The word ‘diamond’, from the ancient Greek ‘adamas’, means ‘unbreakable.’ When most sensitive, we’re being compressed into what is unbreakable.

What’s unbreakable waits behind what’s unbearable, the way the quenching waters of life wait behind all the dams we build. And all my attempts to love have taught me that resilience waits in the very center for all that’s broken to be swept away in order to reveal what can’t be broken. Though the process of shedding feels unbearable, we have to endure this in order to uncover what is lasting and true.

Inevitably, crossing into life for love is what saves us. At unexpected times, our care leads us to dive into the world to save something we love by holding it close to our heart.

We resist this process of being irritated into a pearl, of being pressurized into a diamond. Yet each of us has to feel our way into the authenticity of a self from which to meet others and the world, only to be opened beyond the defines of a single self, so we can be renewed and vitalized by what we have in common. For what is unbearable is acutely personal, which when endured leads us to the seed of what is universal, which is unbreakable. When we can earn the presence of being completely ourselves we join a lineage of those who were completely themselves. Feeling our way into this kinship lets us feel the presence of souls across time.

What feels unbearable is how life carves us into a work of art that is never finished. When in difficult experiences, we fear they will never end. When in wonderful experiences, we fear they will end. But there’s no arrival, only inhabiting the journey, alone and together. The cycle of life and our engagement in it never stays the same. It rises and falls. It compresses and expands. And staying committed to this roller coaster that spins us upside down is how we experience all of life and all of time through the depth of our own feeling.

When I can inhabit the fullness of my own humanity, I reach the bottom of my personality, and through the thoroughness of living the one life I have, I touch into the well of all humanity. It’s there that resilience lives. And feeling what is mine to feel to the best of my ability enables me to feel the swell of everyone who ever lived. It’s there that I know in my bones that I am not alone. It’s there that I am buoyed and uplifted by the One Eternal Heart we are all a part of.

It’s as if the heart is a wick and the soul is its flame, and the burn of the soul feeding off the air of the world feels unbearable as it shapes us. But as long as it burns, we’re alive and unbreakable.

 

Ubuntu.

July 22, 2017

I am because you are, you are because I am. 

It is something that I have always believed in that in the ignited space of our deepest suffering, in the release of our deepest fears, in the familiar peace of our deepest joys, we are each other. I have been finding it in every path, in every way … in Martin Buber’s sense of I-Thou, where only in keeping what-is-between-us real can God appear … in the gift of Jesus, where two or more of you come together, there I am … in the one compassion of Buddha … in the numinous love that ancient stones manage if we are still enough to bow to them. Ubuntu … I am because you are, even in how we live off the breath of plants, you are because I am, even in how plants live off our exhalations.

We need each other to be complete.

-Mark Nepo’s, The Book of Awakening

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