by Robert Wilkinson
A Spiritual Brother in Japan wrote me recently that he's facing some life-changing decisions. I reminded him many of us are in the same situation, just facing different decisions for different seasons of life in different parts of the world. Welcome to "the edge of Now."
What I'm offering today includes bits and pieces of what I wrote him, since I realized that much of what he is going through is also what I've heard others speak of in their own lives. I told him that truly none of us can "go back" in any way, even as we remember things we didn't even know we forgot!
The uncertainty is global, the striving is global, the yearning is global, and radical changes are imminent! We can never go back, but we must go forward since time is a one way street, the opinions of physicists notwithstanding. Time is the means by which we measure experience, and we would do well to remember the immortal words of the great Omar Khayyam,
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on:
nor all thy Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
(That's why sometimes it's better not to act than to act rashly, since once the die is cast we cannot undo what is done, and shifting the flow is often more difficult than not entering it to begin with.)
For those of us preparing for a transition, move, or life change, it's somewhat of a waiting, planning, and preparing period as we enjoy our loved ones and stabilize for a bit. That seems to be a fairly common situation, as well as remembering things from our past that slipped away many years ago and have unexpectedly intruded into our current reality, regardless of what age we are.
It's a time for all of us to build our energy, "gather our medicine," and continue diligently to find flexible clarity around our short term and long term intentions. We must be willing to learn to adapt, since nothing is as it was even a year ago and probably won't be again. This applies to the whole world, not just Japan.
I have found that though there is often uncertainty as we move from (relatively) safe spot to safe spot in this ever-changing field of perceptions, usually the worst never happens, even if occasionally it does in specific places for specific people. That's teaching all of us that we're in this together, and we must truly learn our interdependence.
We are moving from a hierarchical model of getting things done to a council model, where consensus, cooperation, and team work are more important than top down authoritarianism. Are the various parts of your life cooperating with each other, or competing with each other? Are your emotional and mental tendencies cooperating to integrate your life and personality, or are they pulling apart? Sometimes the best we can do is get all of "us" working together toward our highest, best interests before we actually put it in gear and move into the unknown.
Life energies not working together usually result in a form of suffering. I feel very badly for our world, with all the people, creatures, and plants suffering as a result of the powers-that-be having a totally wrong approach to life. We are a non-integrated species learning what we've never had to learn before now. This has come as a result of our evolutionary imperative to cooperate with our Earth or take a fall.
So take a look around, and see what parts of your life support the well being of the whole. This is a great time to practice appreciation and gratitude for our loved ones, as well as the life that's all around us. We are given this time to learn to stay centered in the NOW, and become great-hearted in being ourselves.
We're all confronting our need to claim our power to be the best Self we are able to be as we do what we must in our rapidly changing world. We all have our "best function," but it requires us finding "right view," as well as "right application" of whatever is needed in each specific moment. No one but us can ever know exactly what's appropriate to our Higher Self's Dharma in the moment.
And of course, when we are perplexed or frustrated all we need to do is "take refuge" in The Buddha, The Dharma, and/or the Sangha, or in more familiar terms, The Wisdom, The Way, and The Community. There are both lesser and greater forms of these that call us away from the impermanent to the permanent. In these we find some degree of Truth, as well as the walk we must walk, never alone but often in solitude.
Since we are in fact Spirits in the material world, it is safe to say our job is to practice the tools to antidote suffering, whether ours or another's. So please take every moment to learn about Divine Discrimination, Dispassion that leads to radical Compassion, and Detachment from getting hooked by the objects of desire that get us trapped in the pleasure/pain cycle.
On a final note, given the ancient aphorism that "the best way to fight evil is to make progress in the good," cultivate your power to generate Bodhichitta, also known as positivity or Good Will based in an unobstructed view of the world and the passing parade of perception. Our ability to turn away from things we don't need to suffer, and generate movement toward our own best interests, is one of the true powers we have to make our world a better place regardless of outer conditions. Plan the course, set the course, and get ready to launch your boats not too far down the line!
Copyright © 2011 Robert Wilkinson