WINTER 2013 ~ LIVING AS BEINGS
What if the Mayans were predicting, not the end of the world, but an end to the way we live our lives?
I’ve long been awed by the number of people in the last fifty years who’ve been seeking a spiritual path and practice. Surely, this inner migration is amazing. Something has been drawing us beyond the confines of thought toward a new way of being. So when a friend’s New Year’s greeting began, “Happy New Era!” it seemed the Moment to say, “It’s Time.”
If we were to step up to that challenge, to take responsibility for entering the New Era in each moment and in each day, what would that look like? Might it lead toward a new way of being? To a new identity as Being? To speak from Being . . . listen from it . . . live from it? How could we establish ourselves in that new way of life?
What if in each moment, we simply practiced one thing: we came to rest in our own Presence—our own Divinity—and didn’t judge or resist what that moment offered? It would not be easy. But each time we dropped down into our bodies, fully Present to the moment, to ourselves, and to each other—that would be a true letting go. For that moment, the old would pass away. Perhaps, in time, we’d come to realize that we are indeed, Beings—that what had dawned in this New Era is a Living Light—and that Together, we are a Shining. We manifest it, unabashed and unashamed, and pour ourselves out: our lives, our gifts and our passions. Our Light.
Photograph by Anne Hillman
See more in “Taking Root: An Unbroken Intimacy with Life” in the Fall Kosmos Journal
2013 Three Upcoming Retreats:
Toronto area, April 19-21 An Unbroken Intimacy with Life, A Weekend Retreat
Filed under Alignment, Allurement, attention, Awakening, awareness, Balance, Change, compassion, Consciousness, Cosmic Creativity, Creativity, Inner peace, Instinct, Intimacy with Life, Intuition, living with contradictions, Love, Nature of Change, openheartedness, overcoming fear, presence, Surrender, Uncategorized, Whole-bodied attention by Anne Hillman
There is so much more to a human life, possibilities we are normally unaware of, innate gifts we might bring to the world. To learn what they are, some of us have to be broken: confronted by something that compels us to surrender. Until then, we may have been reasonably satisfied with our lives, content with our own point of view. But when we’ve been humbled by storm or earthquake, illness or shame; by loss or just the ordinary process of aging, grace comes, and with it, opportunity after opportunity to deepen our way of perceiving, so we can ‘hear’ with more of ourselves.
Then, we learn to give the larger life our whole-bodied attention. We ask in the moment, What now? and listen with all our faculties. We dare to follow what allures us. This is the relationship that matters now: to move with the deeper movement ‘of the earth, of spirit, of the unknown’ in an unbroken intimacy with life. In this communion, we live in time and eternity intertwined, one day, one moment at a time.
We live in a Time of great upheaval, challenged on all fronts by conflicts in our world, our political systems, our religions and often those most difficult to see, the conflicts within ourselves. When what we know doesn’t seem to be working, life can seem dark, and we may feel lost and even afraid.
Times of darkness are choice points. They press us as individuals and as a species to choose from one of two ways to proceed: we can either change ourselves, meaning change our constant orientation to our thoughts, or render ourselves extinct.
We have in us, have had bestowed on us, everything we need to respond to the Time in which we’ve been born. We just need to know where and how to look,where to put our attention. There is no room for creativity in minds chock full of old ideas and old views. Perhaps, instead, we might let ourselves be lost and not know. When we’re lost, we can do three simple things: Create a quiet moment, a clearing in the forest of our activities. Sit in the stillness without trying to figure anything out. Turn our attention to the simple movement of our breath and let the thoughts drain away. And in the spaciousness of not knowing, allow the New to unfold.
Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. Blaise Pascal
www.annehillman.net Art by Joan Brady
I tend to think that new life emerges from seeds, and forget a far more ancient truth. Today, I find myself celebrating the way it can also arise from the very old–like these tiny seedlings sprouted from the living root of a giant redwood tree. This new life simply claims the giant’s root as its own, surrenders to its impetus, and grows towards the light.
How do we cooperate with life’s gradual shaping of the human mind, its painstaking work of drawing us towards the light of greater awareness? As I see it, the action required is to trust the great root on which we stand, and learn to surrender. Some see surrender as defeat, a capitulation to an outer force, but it is really an inner relaxation, into the root. What does this use of the word ‘root’ mean to you? That matters. For when you know what you rest on and can relax into it, your heart opens to life’s secret, its creative impetus conveyed beneath thought: a feeling, an intuition, an image, or a confirming synchronicity. Subtle clues like these remind us that there is infinitely more to life, a reality we barely notice but that the body knows intimately, a wisdom built into the great root on which we live. When we remain exquisitely attuned to life’s presence in this way, it will often surprise us: nudge us to be more authentic, to improvise, to move in a new direction. Its whispered hints may feel absurd, even impossible. But if you dare to follow them, you will be adding more light to life’s deep need for it at this time.
Photo: ‘Redwood Scion and Sprout’ Anne Hillman
WINTER LETTER 2011 ~ THE QUICKENING
Dear Friends, There is something in the air, a quickening, do you feel it? I find myself looking with amazement at the events we’re experiencing together on this planet, and at the same time, am aware of the fullness of life: not just days filled with activities, but days that are rich in the quality of interactions with others; the sudden political shifts in the Middle East; and the sheer majesty and power of nature’s wildness. A friend wrote: “I’m feeling a huge surge of conscious energy in the world in the last month or two. Do you? I felt it listening to a speech recently: that life was not about how much money, or power [or safety] we have, but how we have loved. More and more, I hear people expressing empathy, feeling greater compassion. . . It’s like an evolving that is almost palpable.”
Another wrote: “It’s like a convergence of time and place, a rhythm playing itself out. Still, people’s expectations can be quite different. Some may be afraid for the planet, for democracy, or for the world’s economy with good reason, but reason is not all. My imagination tells me that perhaps we’re thinking too small: that the confusion,even chaos, we may be inwardly experiencing holds the seeds of something very new and that we need to open ourselves to possibility, what has never happened before.
To sustain an essentially outward focus on the violent swings in politics, or economics, or the weather, is to miss the deeper movement, one that promises great creativity. For if we are aspects of the universe, we reflect its creative unfolding. Each new emergence in its long existence, galaxies and oceans; the evolution of living things; social changes like the black or women’s movements or the colliding forces in our world today, was born of a gathering energy: a current of creativity and destruction. To the degree that we can contain both dimensions of these fierce cosmological energies in ourselves, we will begin to shine like the sun. In any moment, we have a choice: either to fight the Current that is pulling us along or to ride it, to wait and wonder if what we’re experiencing is a creative opportunity awaiting us; to listen within for the leading edge of what most profoundly inspires usâ€”and attempt to reflect it in who we are and what we do.
Every time we honestly embrace both sides of an issue within ourselves instead of making another wrong, we cooperate with life’s painstaking work of testing and integrating new forms, in this case, the gradual shaping of the human mind. Each inner embrace adds more light to life’s deep need for it at this Time.
*Space (detail) from The Cosmological Powers of the Universe Series
Artist, Marci Graham
Yesterday, I went out into a summer field and was stunned once more by the immense creativity that surrounds us. What an amazing variety of trees, grasses, scents, and birdsong! The wildflowers a riot of color! It is easy to forget this glory as we reel from the many disasters in our world. Rather than awe, we may feel helpless, frustrated, or afraid. Surely, we need to make room for these feelings. But the sheer wonder of existence is that each of us also shares in the vast creativity of the universe. It is our inheritance, and the kind of creativity that is most needed in our time. Every one of us has an inborn gift to bring to the world. It may not be ‘fancy.’ But it is uniquely ours. We may be completely unaware of what our gift is; it can be different from anything we’ve ever done. Still, we’re more likely to learn about it when we’re far from the culture’s noisy demands for attention and undistracted by a mind full of thoughts: when we’re in a field, in a forest, or on the beach, simply there: no book, no computer, no iPhone. In moments like these, nothing separates us from ourselves or from the upwelling life around us:
In the wilderness
my mind spreads out like water
reflects green boughs
and blue sky . . .
I listen to the trees whispering
and think no thoughts
(From Awakening the Energies of Love, p. 78)
When we sit quietly and listen, not to our thoughts, but to the silence that surrounds them, we occasionally tap a vein of intelligence that clearly doesn’t belong to us as individuals. Like a hint that bubbles up from energies moving through the cosmos, it comes out of the blue like a whisper or image arising from a deeper place than imagination. The kind of prompt our inner antenna detects rarely seems like anything important. It feels more like an inclination to do something very small. But when I actually take a step in response to that inclination, I find it becomes a way of participating in the world more fully than just by following my own ideas. I call it ‘following my thread.’ I like to think of it as one of the many threads the creative energies of the cosmos are weaving into a tapestry larger than I will ever understand.
Few of us find our creative gift all at once; we come to it by degrees when we listen to the silence, prepared to say ‘Yes!’ to what emerges. Then we follow our thread. The keys to following are these: We need to know we are enough. That what we have to give is welcome. And that the more we immerse ourselves in the natural world and listen, the more we’ll find of our real selves. Then we can give to others what we alone have to give.
In celebration of the wild creativity of the universe, and with Love,
Readers have been sending such wonderful questions. Here’s one that really helped me to get clearer in my own mind about awareness and its relationship to instinct and intuition, the wisdom of the body:
I’ve been reading Chapter 5 in Awakening the Energies of Love, ‘Mind and It’s Evolution, The Foundations of the Soul’. Where in the three levels of the path to your soul, physical, heart and intellect, do you include instinct/intuition in the physical? Thank you, Nancy
This is a wonderful question, Nancy. Here are a few thoughts that have occurred to me. While your question has to do with which area of self houses instinct/intuition, I’ve had to split them apart to make sense, but really they are only a part of the soul process.
A friend said to me long ago that the more time you spend living and walking the Tao, the more likely you are to have synchronous experiences. I think that holds true for intuition, too. First comes discipline and practice. My experiences of intuition over the years, tell me that it is/and is more than instinct. Surely, Aboriginal lore has long hinted at a root connection to other members and to the earth that goes very deep. Sometimes called the Aboriginal telegraph, it is a way of knowing about something that may be occurring on the far side of the continent of Australia. I would call that an instinct, built into the body’s way of knowing. Intuition itself is often so subtle, we don’t notice it, but it offers a nudge, be it a push a pull, or an emphasis that can take us in a different direction.
But to me, the greater Awareness is larger than instinct, larger than intuition. It is a gift, and comes through the entire instrument that we are ‘our bodies, hearts, minds and soul’ yet this Consciousness is more than all of them, and we will never understand it, nor can we find its location or its source. Awareness like this transcends and incorporates them all. It is infinite, eternal, and has no constraints.