April 26th 2020

As we settle into another 3 weeks of ‘lock down’, we might ask ourselves how are we doing in this changed world? how are we using this time? There will no doubt be many ups and downs in our personal lives, and certainly there is much suffering and pain all around, and that we may pick up in our visits to the shops and through the streets, not to mention the news and TV. Sometimes the best we can do in terms of the wider picture is to access, if we can, our own inner strength and peace and open our hearts with compassion.

Some are using this time to rest, and to gather their resources. Perhaps from this to build and grow, and to express through creative avenues within this emergence of time and space. There are many offerings coming through in the way of free entertainment; things to fill the time with; free trial Disney channels, free or reduced audio books, Netflix, classic and archive TV, radio drama, comedy and documentary; much to tempt and inspire and much of it of high quality. Certainly worth a selected view. I have, through my BBC Sounds AP, listened to a helpful episode of ‘The Reunion’ on Radio 4, featuring Beirut hostages; Terry Waite, Brian Keenan and John McCarthy.

Nevertheless the emphasis is on things to fill the time with, and in tune with life before lock down, to keep busy, filling space. But what of what is within? what of our innate creativity, our unique qualities, our means of expression, a meaningful life, our own personal growth. What of becoming more fully who we are, of reaching into some fullness of this.

We need space to ‘be’ to open to find and bring forth on the inner levels as well as to do, achieve, take in, and to consume in the material world. Centuries ago Confucious is quoted as saying:

‘A child’s mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled’.

This can be extended to include the whole of humanity no matter the stage of development and maturity; that we are all fire’s to be kindled. An extraordinary and unique journey all of your own.

So many are starkly ill prepared when so much falls away and inner resources are required. So many without any, or with very little, in the way of inner resource, of connection to something deeper, more essential and independent of any outer thing. Too often our societal and educational systems have not stimulated and provided opportunity for the unfolding and flowering of this that is within us. A far cry from Rudolf Steiner’s vision when he said:

‘Our highest endeavour must be to develop free human beings who are able to impart purpose and direction to their lives.’

When so many of our young have been given no, or little, means to access what is within, where there has been little or no quality guidance, encouragement, sensitive teaching, no showing of a way to draw forth, no space within which to be oneself and where natural creativity has opportunity to flower, violence and discontent are born. It is essentially a state of ‘without’, a void where there is no meaningful focus or purpose, and the energy has to go somewhere. We all need focus, purpose, a meaningful life, yet so many have been left by the wayside. And right now the news is heavy with concern about domestic violence and child safety.
With structures falling down and being dismantled, with outer possibility shriven away, it is with our inner resources that we are best able to ride this wave. Practices that we can keep coming back to, to anchor ourselves. Inner space that is independent
of anything outer, that is vibrantly alive and without need to go anywhere or get anything. With and from this, an easy creativity can in time arise, and that is in tune with the deep naturalness of who we are beyond stuff. For those of us already on a consciousness path the time is ripe for us to access, grow and deepen our practice, for the taking time and space to keep opening to, and to follow and flow with our own life force.

In the words of Smohalla of the Wanapan tribe of the American Indians:

‘Each one must learn for himself the highest wisdom. It cannot be taught in words….Men who work cannot dream, and wisdom comes to us in dreams.’

In our finding ways to access and cultivate this inner space we are and have been building inner strength; strength to open to whatever presents and to find our way through. We have learned or are learning the art of non resistance. When we are not resisting anything, when we are increasingly able to open to each moment with acceptance however it presents, we are fully alive, abundantly available and ‘free’ to find our way.

This is not a collapsed state, it is far from resignation, it is an utter rising to meet and live each moment in response to what is presenting. It is impeccability; the doing one’s best with conditions that present. It is freedom. It is not fighting with what is, but rather using what is to the utmost, the best of what is possible.

It is the way of nature; the tree that finds it’s way within a thick forest to the light, the shoot of a plant rooted between concrete that pushes through and makes its way to blossom. It is the little stream damned, that in a re-routing finds another way through some crack, some spilling over, some carving of a new path.

It does not object, stand still, complaining, it finds it’s way through a responsiveness. It is the responsiveness of the life force to what is. It is acceptance of the gift of life. It is the yes to life. It is Nelson Mandela in his prison cell, Jesus on the cross when in the midst of deep suffering he finally sees and surrenders. It is life meeting life as it is. It is no resistance. It is surrender that harnessing the life force finds a way. It is not defeated; even in the final surrender it is not defeated. It says yes to life even at the approach of death.

All spiritual teachings recognise and speak of the possibility of another way of being, and in this are eluding to the dysfunction and unhelpful state within which most of mankind operate. That there is another way is the basis of their teaching. Buddha spoke of illusion and of the possibility of enlightenment through direct experience in the right here, right now moment. In his search for truth, following years of asceticism and then years of indulgence, he finally sat under the Bodhi tree and didn’t say no to anything.

Jesus spoke of the capacity within each one of us to reach into the truth of what is within;

‘If you bring forth what is within you it will save you, if you do not bring forth what is within you it will destroy you’ (The gospel of Thomas),

and he said

‘Look to the lilies, they do not strive and push’.

Hindus also refer to illusion; to maya, and teach that there is a higher self within us that we can learn to open to and draw on. The American Indians spoke of how the White man was an enigma to them (with all their forcing and striving) saying ‘we think they are mad’.

All of the above having seen something of the over developed, unproductive, disconnected, greedy, violent, out of control imposter aspect of mind. The mind gone mad, way beyond its intelligent and productive nature.

It is our higher self ‘witness’ that helps us here, that enables us individually to see, and through our own direct application and experience. Just as the Buddha revealed his enlightened state through his taking the time to be with himself, we all have the capacity to sit and be with ourselves and our experience. That it can take quite some time to really establish this, as well as oceans of patience, is how it is, grist for the mill. Through our deeply rooting into this body, this gift of life, we enable the spirit soul connection to begin to show itself and to come through.

We are brought in this way into our own authority. Each one of us who reaches more into our own inner depth, becomes more of who we really are, and more of an authority to ourselves. An authority that is no longer, or less and less, looking outside for direction and truth.

‘When the crowded Vietnamese refugee boats met with storms or pirates, if everyone panicked all would be lost. But if even one person on the boat remained calm and centred it was enough. It showed the way for everyone to survive.’

Thich Nhat Hanh

Each one of us who comes closer to what is within us, to the fullness of who we really are, comes closer to being this person.