attention

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Radiance

How do we find our own light? We stop. It isn’t until we really stop everything—let go of the busy-ness that buffers us from pain, stop trying, stop working so hard, stop running . . . The more we dare to enter that emptiness and stay, the more our shadow is revealed—the holy telling of the hard truth about ourselves. About reality. Rilke shows us how to live that larger life:

Take your practiced powers and stretch them out
until they span the chasm between two
contradictions . . . For the god
wants to know himself in you.

If we accept his invitation to live the paradox and not just think it, we can no longer take refuge in a single point of view; we’re meant to open our hearts to all the contradictions—the good and the bad—in ourselves, in everyone. The great gift of this shadow walk lies in the very emptiness we’ve sought, and also hoped to avoid: a quality of compassion that brings together the many opposites—the loneliness, the grief, the shame and the beauty—and holds them. Compassion then becomes a companion to the mind of thought. It’s like a marriage: We marry our human selves— for better or worse—until death do us part; we companion ourselves, keep our youngest selves in our hearts, held and comforted. Only then, can we truly marry another . . . marry all that life is . . . all that it brings . . . This is the kind of love we’re called to embody: to be with ourselves so that we can offer genuine compassion to others; so the light within the dark is made manifest; so the Radiance deep in the heart of life continues to spread throughout the world.*

 

*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
 
Madison WI, 3 or 5-day options: April 23-25 Taking Root ~ A Depth of Intimacy with Life or with additional days, April 25-27, Depth Perception ~ The Sensation of Light
 

Artist, Marci Graham,“Radiance” from The Cosmological Powers of the Universe Series

Filed under Alignment, attention, awareness, compassion, Consciousness, Creativity by Anne Hillman #

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SUMMER 2012 – ONE WITH EXISTENCE

Love is not a feeling. It is an energy that unites. Love joins us to existence by that which is deepest in us. This is the intimate relationship that matters.

At this instant, a baby bird flies onto my windowsill, his silver down blowing in the wind like a gossamer shawl. Perched there, alert and posturing like he owns the place, he stares me straight in the eye, turning his head left and right in abrupt bursts of energy. I stop to watch the tiny creature, then, realize what I’d just written, and shift gears. The bird’s appearance is an example of what I’ve come to call ‘punctuation,’ a cue to reorient myself to Presence, to Unity, to the One—whatever you call the mysterious field in which we’re deeply rooted.

Punctuation is how Unity shows itself to us, comes sailing into our everyday world and surprises us. It intersects our ordinary perspective and puts an exclamation point at the precise moment an important theme has emerged: in writing, in conversation, or in a fleeting thought. Slightly different from synchronicity which may occur at longer intervals, punctuation is instantaneous—a lived experience of being One with life.

We sail into the arms of Unity when we turn away from the digital connections that anesthetize us and find ourselves enlivened by our vibrant connection to the earth and its inhabitants, and to the larger life—to Love. Or when we make meaning of such a moment that points to patterns transcending our own concerns, yet may be vital to the collective. Noting punctuation isn’t ‘primitive thinking.’ It is awe, and combined with thought lends wisdom, depth of meaning, and multiple views of reality that honor a much larger Self.*

*These themes are further developed in the forthcoming fall issue of Kosmos Journal

Filed under Love, Uncategorized by Anne Hillman #

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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.

Coyote cub allured (AH)

 

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The ground is saturated here in California. The small lake over the hill is brimming, and there’s an unmistakable scent of warm mud in the air. I know that smell in my bones: After every March thaw in New England, we’d put our lawn chairs on some bare ground between patches of snow and sunbathe. We knew it wouldn’t last: it would snow again in April. But the smell of mud held a promise of new life and we reveled in it. We lived our little bit of spring in the midst of winter.

Once in a while, we get a glimpse of something new half-seen in another person or an event, a promise of something that wants to be born. It signals a different take on things and a manner of living it fully. Even in the midst of discouragement and fear, all of us can develop skills that will lend energy and impetus to that kind of creative possibility.

It is very difficult to see the many kinds of suffering around us and to live with the infinite slowness of change. We want to solve these problems and get results. Much as we long for solutions, they don’t always happen on our watch. Then it’s easy to become disappointed, discouraged, and afraid. Fear is a powerful god. For some of us, the more natural response to fear is to recoil, give up, or get cynical. Others may be more likely to take sides and try to trounce the opposition. These old kinds of reactions, the winter we live in, are taking a huge toll on all of us. But there is a more creative way. The alternative, when things go very wrong, is learning to give our attention to two things at once: To focus directly on the pain (rather than denying, ignoring or repressing it), and at the same time, hold it in a much larger awareness than thought. This capacity to embody and live from a mind that is not divisive, but instead heals, is available to all of us. You can find several examples in Awakening the Energies of Love and The Dancing Animal Woman. Even as things fall apart, we need to hold the larger vision, together. We can hope to live spring in the midst of winter!


Filed under attention, Change, Creativity, Love, Nature of Change, overcoming fear, Vision by Anne Hillman #

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 In these early days of December, as a soft rain falls in California, I remember the first snowfall in New England; how it blanketed the earth and muffled sound—and silence became a spacious and holy presence. As the winters progressed, however, and we shoveled snow and pulled soggy socks from our children’s feet, that dark stillness often brought depression. We forgot that it held promise, hid something deeper: new life gathering itself to be born. We live in a dark time. Many of us have sought to help solve some of the immense difficulties confronting us, to learn the truth of each situation, and to grow in understanding. We’ve taken stands on countless issues and made the best decisions we knew how. But we are beginning to see that the kinds of solutions our cultures have to offer are blunt instruments—and we begin to realize we need more refined means of resolving our dilemmas.

Even as conflicts escalate the world over, we can lend the weight of our presence to a different kind of action. We are learning that it is possible to integrate a more subtle form of activism with social action, and that one can flow quite naturally out of the other. We’re discovering in groups of all kinds around the world that our lives are deeply joined; that we can participate at a level of sensibility that is complementary to problem solving and does not seek to make one side right and the other wrong. Entire groups are awakening to this truth as they dare to take the position that they do not know the answer. Instead, they choose to embrace opposing views, give focused attention to the silence, and trust. Then a common voice may arise.

This week, the Indigenous Peoples of the World are gathering in Fort Collins and Carbondale, CO at the same time the UN Climate Change Conference takes place in Copenhagen, the Parliament of World Religions in Melbourne, and the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded President Obama in Oslo. In any group in which you have more than a casual membership, I invite you to set aside conversation for a short time, postpone closure in your own mind, and listen in the silence for something new. After all, it is that time of year, and as nature has always shown us, it is out of darkness that light is born again.

With blessing at this holy season, and with Love,
Anne

Filed under Awakening, Balance, Change, Creativity, Nature of Change, overcoming fear by Anne Hillman #