Archive for November, 2011

Giving Up Hope and Prayer

Monday, November 28th, 2011

So, I happen to like the shock value of the title. We love, honor and cherish hope. We pray for more hope. The worst thing most of us can imagine is giving up hope. And whether or not we are religious, we like to pray to whatever God we believe in to get what we want. We may pray to the internet Gods that we find the right answer to our dilemma. We might pray to the medical Gods that our IVF be successful. We might look up the sky with our hope on display that the power that lights the stars grants us our wishes. Or we may pray the traditional way, hands folded or on our knees, head bowed, Dear God, please grant me my heart’s desire.

I suggest giving up the beggarly quality that is associated with hope for something in the future. I suggest giving up the groveling quality that we often bring to prayer. Asking or hoping that some future thing out there be granted is about as effective as Sit and Be Fit exercises for cardiovascular health.

Oh, did I pray and hope and grovel and beg. And search and research and beg some more. And I could feel the almost palpable recognition that I didn’t have any faith in what I was doing. A mere shred of weak hope, which kept me begging for more. Only to be disappointed again, and back on the neverending ycle of hope and despair.

So, if we give up these weak ideas of hope and prayer, what is left? True hope. True prayer. It doesn’t come out of the brain, but directly out of the heart. It does not project itself in the future, but emerges right now, in all its power and glory.

Finding True Hope and True Prayer

The heart holds a wisdom that the Chinese call Xin. It surpasses the intellect many-fold. The way it manifests best is like this:

Trust with all your being the highest power imaginable, and give yourself totally to it. Your life becomes the prayer. Hold in your heart the feeling of your greatest desire, and prepare to do anything and everything to allow its unfolding. Hold this feeling between whatever thoughts cross your awareness, in the moment, all day long, and you transcend the limited paradigm that makes you feel you have to beg for your birthright.

Hold this intention with gratitude, confidence, and indifference, and you open the door to creation itself.

Friction of Opposites

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Life is created by the friction of opposites. Egg, sperm; proton, electron; sunlight, water. Most of us are aware of these opposing forces, but aren’t that comfortable with the idea of friction. We prefer love over fear; joy over sorrow, peace over violence.

Have you ever witnessed a woman giving birth? She is usually not in a state of peace and joy. There is often screaming pain, agony, and a violence inherent in the process of new beginnings.

Yet, how often do we try to find a way to live that only includes peace, happiness, and joy? We don’t have the luxury of living only on the light side of the spectrum. Life emerges from the dark. There is no escape from this fact. In order to live life fully, we must face the darkness. Our darkness. The place inside that scares us.

The S-curve in the center of the yin-yang symbol represents the ever-changing dynamic flow between the positive and negative forces. This represents harmony. I don’t see harmony as a static, stoic state where these forces are balanced as if one is tip-toeing on a tight rope trying to maintain control, but where the life forces are ever calling us to expand to encompass them all. Equanimity might be a better word. I like to think of balance or equanimity as being able to wear the entire spectrum of life’s experiences loosely. If I’m happy I can be fully happy until the happy mood passes. As well, if I am sad, I can fully grieve and cry until the mood passes. There is nothing static about it. It is dynamic and full.

I met with someone earlier this week who told me, “We’ve done everything right. We’re good people. We live good lives. We help others. Why can’t we be blessed with a child?” I immediately felt the heartache of this common misunderstanding: that if we live according to the rules of our church and society, we should be rewarded.

Yet life does not endow itself only to the good. Life comes through the courageous spirit. It does not sit around waiting to come through the faint of heart do-gooders. The earth is more fertile and brings forth bounty even more fiercely after a forest fire or flood.

I watch women step out of the conditioned rules of their upbringing in order to transform their lives into their highest expression possible. Believe me, this is not a sweet little process of positive affirmations. It often involves heart wrenching realizations and snot slinging cry sessions. But in the end there is stillness. There is the dynamic interplay of the positive, ready to take over when the negative has been faced. Life embraces the full spectrum of the living.