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UNITY AND THE POWER OF LOVE

November 10, 2018

UNITY AND THE POWER OF LOVE

~by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

(syndicated from kosmosjournal.org, Nov 07, 2018)

Unity holds the essential vision that we are one living, interconnected ecosystem—a living Earth that supports and nourishes all of its inhabitants. If we acknowledge and honor this simple reality, we can begin to participate in the vital work of healing our fractured and divisive world and embrace a consciousness of oneness that is our human heritage. This is the opportunity that is being offered to us, even as its dark twin is constellating the dynamics of nationalism, tribalism, isolationism, and all the other regressive forces that express ‘me’ rather than ‘we.’

Oneness is not a metaphysical idea but something essential and ordinary. It is in every breath, in the wing-beat of every butterfly, in every piece of garbage left on city streets. This oneness is life—life no longer experienced solely through the fragmented vision of the ego, through the distortions of our culture, but known within the heart, felt in the soul. This oneness is the heartbeat of life. It is for each of us to live and celebrate this oneness, to participate in its beauty and wonder. And through our awareness, and actions born of this awareness, we can help to reconnect our world with its original nature.

There are many ways to experience and participate in this living oneness. But if I have learned anything after half a century of spiritual practice, it is the power of love. Love comes in so many forms and expressions. There are the simple acts of loving kindness towards friends and family, members of our community, or strangers. Love reaches across boundaries, expressing what is most essential and human: what unites rather than divides. “Small things with great love,” are more potent and powerful than we realize, because they reconnect us with the spiritual roots of life and its transformative and healing energies. Because life is an expression of love, each act of love is a participation and gift to the whole.

Cooking a meal with love and care, listening to another’s troubles with an open heart, touching your lover’s body with tenderness, or going deep in prayer until you merge in love’s infinite ocean—in all these acts, we live the love that unites us. And through our loving, we nourish life in unseen ways.

And at this time of ecological crisis, as we are tearing apart the fragile web of life, there is a vital need for us to love the Earth, to bring her into our hearts and prayers. We have a spiritual as well as a physical responsibility for ‘our common home,’ and she is calling out to us, crying for our help and healing. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh:

Real change will only happen when we fall in love with our planet. Only love can show us how to live in harmony with nature and with each other and save us from the devastating effects of environmental destruction and climate change.

We need to reawaken to the power of love in the world. It is our love for the Earth that will heal what we have desecrated, that will guide us through this wasteland and help us to bring light back into our darkening world. Love links us all together in the most mysterious ways, and love can guide our hearts and hands. The central note of love is oneness. Love speaks the language of oneness, of unity rather than separation.

Love can open us to our deep participation in the life of the whole; it can teach us once again how to listen to life, feel life’s heartbeat, sense its soul. It can open us to the sacred within all of creation and can reconnect us with our primal knowing that the Divine is present in everything—in every breath, every stone, every animate and inanimate thing. In the oneness of love, everything is included, and everything is sacred.

And from there, we can begin to respond. We cannot return to the simplicity of an indigenous lifestyle, but when we let love guide us we can become more aware of the oneness of life and recognize that how we are and what we do at an individual level affects the global environment, both outer and inner. We can learn how to live in a more sustainable way, according to a deeper understanding of sustainability that rests on an acknowledgment of the sacred within creation. We can live more simply, saying no to unnecessary material things in our outer lives. We can also work inwardly to heal the spiritual imbalance in the world. Our individual conscious awareness of the sacred within creation reconnects the split between spirit and matter within our own soul, and also—because we are so much more a part of the spiritual body of the Earth than we realize—within the soul of the world.

Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Love draws us back to love, love uncovers love, love makes us whole, and love takes us Home. In the depths of the soul we are loved by God. This is the deepest secret of being human, the bond of love that is at the core of our being and belongs to all that exists. And the more we live this love, the more we give our self to this mystery that is both human and divine, the more fully we participate in life as it really is, in its wonder and moment by moment revelation.

Love and care—care for each other, care for the Earth—are the simplest and most valuable human qualities. And love belongs to oneness. We know this in our human relationships, how love draws us closer, and in its most intimate moments we can experience physical union with another. It can also awaken us to the awareness that we are one human family, even as our rulers become more authoritarian, our politics more divisive. And on the deepest level, love can reconnect us with our essential unity with all of life, with the Earth herself.

The Earth is a living oneness born from love, being remade by love each instant. And we can be part of its spiritual transformation, its awakening. The Earth is waiting and needing our participation. It has been wounded by our greed and exploitation, and by our forgetfulness of its sacred nature. It needs us to remember and reconnect, to live the oneness that is our true nature. And love is the simplest key to this oneness, this remembrance. Love is the most ordinary, simplest, and most direct way to uncover what is real—the innermost secrets of life. It is at the root of all that exists, as well as in every bud breaking open at springtime, every fruit ripening in fall.

Love will remind us that we are a part of life—that we belong to each other and to this living, suffering planet. Love will reconnect us to the sacred ways known to our ancestors, as well as awaken us to new ways to be with each other and the Earth. We just need to say, “Yes,” to this mystery within our own hearts, to open to the link of love that unites us all, that is woven into the web of life. And then we will uncover the love affair that is life itself and hear the song of unity as it comes alive in our hearts and the heart of the world.

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee is a Sufi teacher, author and founder of The Golden Sufi Center

 

 

 

 

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Basic Goodness

November 10, 2018

Do not doubt

your own basic goodness.

In spite of all confusion and fear,

you are born with a heart

that knows what is just,

loving, and beautiful.

~Jack Kornfield

(1945 to pres., Clinical Psychologist

and Buddhist Teacher)

THE SONG OF THE WOOD THRUSH

November 9, 2018

THE SONG OF THE WOOD THRUSH

by Sam Keen, Nov 08, 2018

“Every second there’s a door to eternity. The door opens by perception.”  ~Rumi

The thrush’s song belongs to a family of experiences that usher us into a threshold where sound trails off into silence, time disappears into timelessness, and the known world is engulfed by the great mystery.  The family includes the reverberating echo of a temple bell that dwindles off into the void; the polyphonic chanting of Tibetan monks that merges into an endless communal chorus; the electric interval between the crash of thunder and the flash of lightening; the awful emptiness when the exhalation of a dying person is not followed by an inspiration; the deep sigh and profound calm that comes in meditation when the mind finally stops chattering; the timeless moment, before sleep or after awakening, when we enter a dream world in which it seems perfectly reasonable that we should fly, change gender, or simultaneously be ourselves and our parents.

In these threshold moments, the spirit slips between the synapses of the mind. The normal illusion that there is nothing beyond the tyrannical march of profane time (chronos) is dispelled, and we have a brief intimation of eternity, an awareness of sacred time (kairos). In these pregnant voids we come to understand the limit of our comprehension. We gain a tacit knowledge that our modes of experiencing time and the world are nothing more than the mechanisms, categories, and paradigms created by our limited minds. Like monarch butterflies confined on their migrations to low altitudes, our wings will not carry us into the vast regions of outer space.

The proper name for the experience of unknowing is not mysticism but wisdom. When Socrates was told that the Oracle of Delphi said he was the wisest man in Greece, he replied that it could only mean he knew what he did not know. Wisdom comes from the certain knowledge of our ignorance, and it teaches us that we dwell within a small circle of light surrounded by an immense mystery. According to tradition, the owl— the symbol of Athena, the goddess of wisdom— spreads its wings only with the arrival of dusk. Wisdom is the paradoxical art of seeing.

There are no Wood Thrushes in the sparsely wooded area of California where I live now. But there are Great Horned Owls aplenty, and when they begin their low, uncanny hooting just after dusk, I am transported back to an earlier time when I stood quietly at the threshold, listening to the thrush’s invitation to evensong, and heard a faint echo of the silent music of the spheres. Over the years, the thrush’s shaman song has gradually transformed me into an agnostic.  Unknowing.  Amazed.

Sam Keen (1931 to pres., American author, professor, and philosopher)

 

Becoming

November 9, 2018

Let me fall if I must.

The one I will become

will catch me.

~Baal Shem Tov

(1698–1760, Jewish mystical rabbi

considered the founder of Hasidic Judaism)

 

 

Forgiveness

November 8, 2018

Any time we want life

to be different than it is

we are caught in impatience.

We lose our sense of humor

and self-pity, despair, and blame

seep into the heart.

Gentle forbearance includes

the spirit of forgiveness.

When we feel conflict with others,

understanding their suffering is the first step

in being able to communicate,

forgive, and begin again.

The practice of forgiveness happens

when we are able to realize the underlying cause

of our anger and impatience,

and this allows us to distinguish

between someone’s unskillful behavior

and essential goodness.

Serenity and calm develop

as we learn to accept imperfection

in others and ourselves.

~ Michele McDonald

(Buddhist meditation teacher)

Restore a Culture

November 7, 2018

To restore the land

one must live and work in a place.

To work in a place

is to work with others.

People who work together in a place

become a community,

and a community, in time,

grows a culture.

To work on behalf of the wild

is to restore culture.

~Gary Snyder

(1930 to pres., American Poet, Essayist,

Environmental Activist and Buddhist Teacher)

Full of Love

November 6, 2018

Putting down all barriers,

let your mind be full of love.

Let it pervade all the quarters

of the world so that the whole wide world,

above, below, and around,

is pervaded with love.

Let it be sublime and beyond measure

so that it abounds everywhere.

~ Digha Nikaya

(Trad. 40-20 BCE, Digha – “Long”,  Nikaya – “Discourse”,

a collection of scriptures in the Theravada Buddhist tradition

preserved in the Pali language as part of the Pali Canon

mostly ascribed to the Buddha, but some to disciples)