Surviving Times of Deep Despair

From extreme hurricanes to out of control fires to tragic evacuations to terrorist attacks to a persistent pandemic to neo-fascists among us to rising homelessness to political corruption to teenagers at risk to cruel evictions to various other signs of a system discombobulating, anyone not feeling a bit off today is either meditating regularly or artificially calmed.

Other horrors could be added to the list of course, but the point of this post is not handwringing; it’s information.

It’s amusing to me how the pseudo-intellectual crowd so often projects onto spiritual seekers a lack of sophistication. In fact, it’s the spiritual seekers among us who have been very, very clear that the shit was going to hit the fan this way. And why? Because the Law of Cause and Effect is inviolable. A civilization cannot treat life the way we have treated life for decades - so irreverently, so irresponsibly, so without love - and not at some point or another have to face the consequences. But spiritual understanding does more than point out, as it says in A Course in Miracles, that “there is a limit beyond which the Son of God cannot mis-create.” It also tells us what to do to make things right again, once the karmic shadows have fallen and the weight upon us feels unbearable.

There are universal spiritual themes that all tell the same story: humanity was born in a garden of bliss, in which all was love and harmony and peace. But then we began to deviate, to pull away from love and start to build our own garden. We planted seeds not of love but of self-will, and from that grew all manner of hideous formations.

That’s pretty much it.

You and I are living at a time when those hideous formations - seemingly endless war, environmental degradation, extreme poverty, mental anguish and more - are now upon us. They are attacking us. They are screaming very loudly, “Enough is enough, you predatory bastards!” Or something like that. Nature in all its forms is standing up for itself now, making it very clear that in the final analysis we can only go so far with our dysfunctional behavior before it stops working for us, and in fact starts working against us.

So here we are.

For the strict materialist, the gig is up so let’s just get stoned and let’s not have kids and the basic message becomes “Fuck everybody.”

That’s not the way to handle this.

For the spiritual seeker, this actually all makes sense. Humanity is being forced to see that love and love only is the guide to a peaceful life and a sustainable world. As it says in A Course in Miracles, “It is not up to you what you learn, but only whether you learn through joy or through pain.” Obviously we have chosen to learn through pain. But we are learning. And - okay, here it’s going to really make some materialists uncomfortable, so prepare yourself - God in His mercy wills that we can begin again.

The universe is the Mind of God. It is Love and contains all the attribute of love. Whenever through free will we deviate from love, Love being all-powerful provides us an opportunity to return. Remember the story of the Prodigal Son: the father was more excited to see the son who left and returned than to see the son who had never left. Another way of saying it is, the universe is self-organizing and also self-correcting.

Humanity deviated from love. Now it is time for us to return to love. That is all that’s going on here, and in a way that should help you relax. We can choose a more loving way to be with each other, with animals, and with the earth - or we can die at the hands of our own malfeasance. Evolution is evolution, and we need to mutate now - and fast.

“Okay, I’m in,” some of you might be saying. Some of you might be balking, of course, but then others of you might have been on board with all this for years or even decades. The point is, right now we need a critical mass of people who truly understand that nothing less than a radical departure from the lovelessness of our current personal, political and economic ways of functioning represents for any of us a survivable future.

But remember, the world will transform only from the inside out. The work has to begin on the inside. It doesn’t end there, but it begins there. If we’re really serious about transforming the world, the spiritual seeker doesn’t get a pass on doing what we can to address the suffering of other sentient beings and the political activist doesn’t get a pass on cleaning up our own heart. It’s an inside and an outside job. To move things along fast enough, we have to forgive those who hurt us and we have to vote in the midterms. Saving the world is not a part-time or only part-of-me job. It’s all of us, and it’s everything.

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Whatever you do, don’t worry about the “majority”. The majority has never been the spark that changed the world. The majority didn’t wake up one morning and go, “Hey, let’s end slavery!” The majority didn’t wake up one morning and go, “Hey, I have a great idea. Let’s give women the right to vote!” Hardly. The status quo never disrupts itself. Change begins with a small group of outliers usually considered outrageous radicals by the status quo of their time, who simply have a better idea. An idea more aligned with nature. An idea more aligned with love. Over time, the arc bends in their direction.

So take heart that the change is happening. We’re living through a difficult death of one world and a difficult birth of another. One world is falling apart; we have a job to do helping to make that transition as gentle as possible. Another world is being born; we have a job to do performing as midwives to its emergence in whatever way we can.

Do not expect theses times to be happy. They are not. They are very sad. But the cheap yellow smiley face had a dark side anyway, so out of alignment is it with the realities of life. Even the happiest life has sad days, and the most enlightened among us register the suffering of humanity more, not less. The veil has been pulled from in front of our eyes, and we’re having to look at what collectively we created.

Yes, we did collectively create this. Whether through what we did or what we didn’t do, pretty much everyone has something to look at here. For some of us it’s, “I haven’t been politically engaged and I let other people do all the heavy lifting,” and for others it’s, “I really should be kinder to my husband.” For some of us it’s many things. But this is the moment when indeed we must look. Meditate, pray, take care of your body, take care of your soul, forgive no matter what, be more generous and kind than you were yesterday, be magnanimous towards others who after all are as anxious as you are right now, atone for your mistakes and the mistakes of your country, forget your past, release the future, be fully present to what is happening now, do your best, give what you can - and know how many others are doing that too. You are not alone. We are all a part of a collective rebirth, and what’s dying now is what needs to die.

Take heart. Be brave. Be peaceful in knowing that all this is leading somewhere. The Israelites made it to the Promised Land and so will we. Or at least our kids or grandkids will. Let it never be said that we didn’t show up to do our part to help bend the arc. We are bending it now, and we are bending it together.

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Today’s inspiration: This video based on the teachings of Chief Warren Lyons is wonderful.

Today’s prayer:

Dear God,

At this hour of chaos

and pain for so many,

please pour Your spirit upon us.

To those who suffer, please bring Your comfort.

To those who fear, please bring Your love.

To those who feel they cannot go on, please bring Your miracles.

Show us the way,

guide our feet,

help us to forgive each other and ourselves,

and show us how to rebuild the world.

Amen