As I watch myself and others go through the throes of evolutionary growing pains, meeting the darkest, stuckest impasses and false identities lodged in our body-minds, I recognize that while there is an unique warriorship required of each individual that no one can cultivate for him, there is more need than ever to be mirrors for one another: to catalyze and witness each other’s process; to love it, to love us, when we can’t.
I was not yet fully awake, and quite tender and uncomfortable in my own skin this morning, when I was lured to the computer to received a brief thank- you note from a friend. Yesterday had been his birthday, and, since I knew it had fallen while he was in a funk, a spasm of the bio-chemical and existential malaise that rhythmically visits him, I had sent an evening email hoping “it was a good one.” (He had, after all, been part of my last birthday, helping to make it an unexpectedly nourishing respite from my own very dark passage.) His reply acknowledged the friendships that supported him (including my own) and which had made for a lovely birthday, despite his “frame of mind.”
I intended only a brief reply, yet the moment the gates opened, what flowed out was not just for him, but for myself, and probably for any other “me” laboring in the illusion of aloneness.
Many tangents clamored to be explored as I wrote. So I revisited the message later and have expanded the original (italicized) musings a little.
… I’m glad you could apprehend the beauty, even if you couldn’t feel it, or the whole of you become it. The untouchable, indomitable spirit of wisdom, wholeness and innocence within each of us–who we truly are– is connected, entrained, I think, with that in every other one of us and with the pervasive, non-local mother beacon of that, an essential matrix of intelligence some people call God. This spark within is ever trying to find its way through and out of the maze of maya and fragmented mind to merge with itself–in others, in all. That imperative fuels the longing that propels us forward, inward, outward, wherever we inuit it might be accessible. The pressure we experience, the pain and conflicting emotions, are just a symptom of the stress this magnetism puts on any false solidities (identities, limitations, etc) in its way. Sweet Excruciation.
It is so much bigger than we think.
Even intuition or apprehension of this does not spare us the labor pains. As in the transition stage of labor, when you can neither stop the process nor push, the only recourse is surrender. The natural process of labor involves alternating relaxation/dilation and contraction. The contraction may feel worse, but is active, essential, and productive, even when it feels interminable and utterly impossible, stuck. We are finding our way through. And we are every player in the labor room, to others and to ourselves. We are the breathing coach, the baby, the mother, and the midwife, who catches the babe in arms of sacred welcome. That sweet welcome may not have featured in our most recent human birth, nor in our daily experience. But as we evolve-with intention, discipline and courage– we can choose to offer that to ourselves and others in any moment.
Isn’t that what we all want, really, to be met in every moment as if by a midwife catching us in arms of sacred welcome? What if we made our mission to meet everyone and everything we encounter with that quietly-absolving welcome? Everyone, and our world, is then redeemed.
I’m in the thick of a blinding contraction, myself, at this writing, at once praying for a midwife and the strength and clarity to be my own.
In the words to my friend, I was surely channeling what I needed to hear more deeply myself, but, I venture, also what I needed to say. “When two or more of us are gathered…” in the name of Truth, it is amplified, validated. Remembrance makes space for revelation and healing. The feedback loop of mirroring is perpetually two ways. Another may mirror for me what, in that moment, I have forgotten, but in witnessing another I also see myself (and the Self) more clearly. Sometimes our own energies and wisdom are bound up so that it requires another to draw it out of us, so that we can hear it more clearly as Truth and not just another red herring ricocheting around our confused, conflicted human heart/minds. In the meeting, we drink of unity and commonality rather than separation and aloneness.
A midwife’s welcome would be muddied if she thought it her task to fix the natural pain of the mother, or if she, for a moment, presumed she is making this birth happen or she alone knows or determines the babe’s destiny. Foremost, she must be willing to encounter what is presented to her with an open, humble heart and an unconditional welcome, a witness to the I AM, a good-humored doorman who receives, with a wink and a smile, a Being venturing across the threshold into the Funhouse of Doing.
I heard in the gallery, as I wrote to my friend, an objection that the cosmology I espoused at the beginning, explaining away angst as existential growing pains, does not take into account entrenched bio-chemical depression. And I wanted to address that, but I don’t feel completely up for it in these musings. What I will say is that I do not believe that chemical depression is unrelated to, independent of, the evolutionary process. We know too much now about neuro-biology and elasticity to make such excuses. I suspect it’s a sign of deep sanskara; and I do acknowledge that the soup of chemicals to which we are habituated has everything to do with how we meet life, how we perceive ourselves, our world and our options. I deal with this daily myself. And I do not for a moment believe that very many of us could just, with a snap, overcome the undertow of these cocktails of self, which wash our tissues like the tide. Such events involve the mystery of Grace. But I do believe that awareness and intention to evolve, grow, see things differently, to dis-identify from our woe, to be free, do call in unseen resources to the evolutionary imperative, and change will occur, sometimes miraculously …Even if not entire liberation in this life. What is required is the willingness to let go of the illusion of control, to meet discomfort unconditionally, changing the habits of assigning present sensations and conditions past meaning. That is a skill to be cultivated. It is the practice of compassion. It is forgiveness, wherein lies our own salvation and that of our world.