Today’s Independence Day message starts with a quote I copied a few years ago on a piece of note paper. I tucked it away in a journal written during my college years. I did not write down the author’s name. Perhaps the author’s name was not cited. Perhaps you might know the author’s name.
“A young man feels that if he doesn’t move fast enough he will miss something. An old man knows that if he moves too fast he risks missing everything.”
It reads like it could be a quote from Mark Twain, or Voltaire, or perhaps an Oriental sage. It also reads like a quote that has been around since before the pyramids and Stonehenge. Perhaps its origins can be traced back to our ancestral paleolithic forebears, back to a time when there were no scribes of written words, and yet, people still had to hustle to make a living.
Being in between a bit young and a bit older, I find myself becoming more and more disinterested in the velocity of life; especially any semblance of the kind of velocity which I used to experience during my younger years of working as a surgeon while living in the Big City.
My only lingering interest in faster living has to do with my concern for those who think that they have to be caught up in the pursuit of what has become the compressed, super fast, information packed bombardment and deluge of our postmodern era; one which is forevermore promoted by the dubious dictums and ideologies of our present day culture.
One effect of the postmodern velocity of life is that it usually serves to rekindle and stir the latent traumas of the shadow self which are recessed in our inner psychic reservoir.
Is it any wonder that so many of us are wrapped up and consumed by some form of identity crisis?
The current day velocity of living is not often accompanied by balancing exhortations which encourage a slowing down and an unpacking of our accumulated layers of psychic memory and debris. There are some noteworthy exceptions to this last statement, which do exist, however. These antidote remedies to our cluttered hurried lives are gaining a growing audience.
This Journal writing attempts to add a brief color commentary to the voice of a growing query…”Where in the world are we going?” This question has a variety of synonymous iterations. However, the foundational causative basis which drives and begs the question about what we are doing to our lives and our planetary home is not so hard to decipher and understand.
And so, 8 years ago I came to Crestone, a rather remote community of spiritualists and independent types which I have described in several Crestone and Beyond writings, including the now 2 month old Journal writing which immediately precedes this current attempt.
A few weeks ago a nice couple came down from Denver to rent the Haelan LifeStream Center and Retreat. They brought their helicoptered video camera and proceeded to produce a lovely bird’s eye view of the Retreat and the surrounding environs on a typical lovely afternoon.
In the 1.5 minute production which follows you can pause the viewing at any point to have a look at the magnificent mountain range to the east of the HLC&R. This is the Sangre de Cristo (“Blood of Christ”) mountain range which meanders roughly north and south, stretching from Colorado into New Mexico, reaching as far south as Taos and Santa Fe.
The HLC&R is at 8000 feet of elevation. The immediate local mountain range to the east and south includes 2 groupings of 4 peaks which exceed 14,000 feet of elevation. Across the high intermontane desert of the San Luis Valley is the San Juan range of mountains which runs along the western side of the 125 mile length of the valley.
Along the slopes of the Sangre de Cristo mountains our community of roughly 1000 people is stretched out over a north-south linear distance of about 6 miles. These inhabitants are nestled in the honeycomb of 85 miles of community roads, most of which are dirt, and some of which can be seen in the video as they stretch up the mountains’ slopes.
It is also along these slopes, up in the pinon trees, that the majority of Crestone’s more than 20 spiritual centers and retreats are located. Please see the previous Journal writing for more information on Crestone’s diverse plenitude of spiritual centers.
Well known Buddhist monks and lamas, as well as other spiritual personalities from Hindu yogic, Christian, Kabbalist, Sufi, Sikh, Native American, and other persuasions…all come here to teach and dispense the velocity of their more non dualistic philosophies, all of which are intended to slow people down into a natural contemplative repose and posture of living.
The most common feedback which my guests register is some statement about how quiet it is here…the large scale vistas of light and beauty, and the night time views of the stars and the Milky Way not withstanding.
Here is the aerial video produced by Jess Ramsey of Pterodyne Aerial Photography (719-398-1212). Please “Like” it and share it as you wish. Thank you.
Crestone and Beyond
According to the new science of the exposome, in our prenatal and natal life, and in our postnatal preverbal experience, we began to develop the sense of “what it feels like to be me” due to our passive entanglement with all of the influences of our infant lives which we were exposed to. These exposures predate our conception.
The concept of prebirth exposomal influence has been around at least since the writing of the Old Testament book of Exodus…Exodus 34:7…”Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
One can replace the word “sin” with the idea of all behavioral tendencies of the forebears; both favorable and unfavorable.
Our early sense of self was also developed around our exposomally conditioned usage of words in thought and speech. In the self referential world of the toddler we went about our time trying to rearrange every moment of discovery and experience to suit our particular liking. And thus an ego emerges.
This pattern of ego development has occurred in everyone…accompanied as it is by a parallel pattern of emotional development. Emotional intelligence, or lack thereof, also grew out of our exposomal experience, and from our concomitant development and usage of words in thought and speech. As the imperial ego of the toddler begins to hold sway, we became accustomed to allow the emergence and arrangement of our various perceptual filters, lenses, and anchoring biases; all around an acceptance and convenient avoidance of all of the bothersome and awkward belief systems which challenge our sense of ego, and our sense of reality.
As has been said by others, we do not see the world as it is…we see the world as we are.
Since most Western languages trace their roots to Greece and Greek logic, the evolution of the Western psyche and Western thinking has not yet seen the full evolution of a culture which thinks and speaks in a more non linear manner; one which is comfortable with mystery, paradox, uncertainty, vulnerability, and non dual thinking.
Just try to imagine what might happen in our global culture if the current paradigms were to suddenly shift due to more people thinking and speaking in a non linear right brain holistic manner of regarding and pursuing life. Not only would comparison and judgment begin to fall away, but so would most of the painful paradigms which no longer serve us, like war making, as well as all of the other imperialistic misadventures which destroy life, happiness, and the planetary ecosystem.
In practical truth, the emergence of a balanced left and right whole brain perspective will serve humanity’s evolution best. Currently the engines which drive humanity are too left brained, linear, and dualistic.
In many cultures the first half of life is spent building one’s tower of accomplishment and success. Dualistic thinking is helpful here in building the towers of one’s ego. As the velocity of life slows, the latter half of life may be spent in some form of expanded communal service and personal spiritual development. In this phase of life dualistic thinking is less useful.
We pay a high price for spiritual transformation in Western culture. Without being grounded in a non dual spiritual reference point, we are subject to a constant comparison of ourselves to others, their opinion of us, and to the inane fleeting cultural trends of the day.
As we fall sway to the velocity of our current culture and allow the mindless overwhelm of too much information, preponderant government and big industry hoax and misinformation, unnecessary celebrity minutiae, and as we allow endless meaningless news bytes to take over our consciousness…then our individuality and precious life gifts are disregarded, disauthenticated, and often go undeveloped as a larger life offering. A life can languish in such addictive loops of distraction and misinformation which is provided by cultural and media propaganda.
Reaching for a non dual state of consciousness and being is challenging. Such a journey requires a lifetime of self responsibility, willingness, contemplation, and effort. If we consider all of the events as recorded in the current cycle of world history, which goes back only a few thousand years, it seems clear that world events have always offered enough drama to keep people well distracted from more transcendent Identity pursuits.
In the individual’s discovery that all of nature is abundant with Source energy (Divinity), and in discovering our individual entanglement with this energy at a quantum, fractal, and holographic level of consciousness, we begin to arrive at the point in our development where we lose interest in judgment and the inherent strife which dualistic thinking and living produce.
We observe that judgment actually begins to hurt somewhere in the body. If we continue to participate in our dualism, self judgment, and projected judgment, then the darker aspects of unresolved shadow emotions and the trauma on which they are based continues to inform the evolution of our cellular life as a predominant epigenetic force.
In addition, such an energetic also permeates and emanates out from our Heart electromagnetic field to all of life that is around us.
It was Carl Jung who offered an insight into an important aspect of the human shadow when he said the greater the light you have, the greater the shadow you will cast.
Our shadow self is all of those painful undesirable parts of ourselves which we consciously deny and push away. However, the shadow self is a very important part of the whole individual and its energy must be accepted, transformed, and reintegrated back into conscious wholeness. We learned to use the shadow in our earlier years through an adaptation process in our family of origin. The shadow helped us negotiate our way through the first half of life as we built the towers of our ego.
While the shadow may have assisted our adaptation mechanism through earlier phases of our lives, it will likely hinder our progress in the later phases of life if we have not transformed and reintegrated its suppressed power back into our full vitality. It is appropriate to accept that the shadow has its own wisdom. It would be a shame to waste its energy by denying it for a whole lifetime.
It requires an enormous amount of our human energy to suppress the shadow and hold it in check. At some point we may discover that we have spent so much energy suppressing the shadow (and projecting it into our world), that we have little energy left over for anything else. This would have to be a significant contributing cause of depression, generalized anxiety, shadow anger, adrenal burn-out, and just about all diseases that I am familiar with.
Franciscan priest and author Richard Rohr explains the evolution out of dualistic pain in today’s email message from his Center for Action and Contemplation, “Non-dual thinking grows almost unconsciously over many years of conflict, confusion, healing, broadening, loving, and forgiving reality.”
Two true native qualities of pure Heart are non judgment and forgiveness. These qualities form the basis of a life of self love. Other of our innate Heart qualities are openness, joy, kindness, love, and gratitude. These are the qualities of Rigpa, the Tibetan Buddhist term which denotes the innermost qualities of the mind (Heart)…a natural state of an open intrinsic awareness which naturally radiates joyful loving kindness…a state which is quite beyond dualistic thinking.
In prior Journal writings I have referred to an intelligent unseen force which I call the Divine Healing Intelligence (DHI). This force is always at play in our lives, all of the time. It only needs our support, and sometimes our benign neglect, but not our interference.
A cut on our skin heals in a natural gradual silent fashion if we keep it clean and protected. While we may understand many of the various molecular and biochemical dynamics which participate in this example of tissue healing, we really do not understand the deeper Intelligence and unseen forces which allow for this miracle of life.
As the DHI participates in the healing of such fleshly wounds, it also participates in the healing of our deeper and more subtle emotional and psychic wounds. This healing process also goes on all of the time over the course of our lives. If we care for such wounds by not picking at them, like they are scabs, with more self judgment and other such negative mental/emotional interference, then such wounds soften and heal over the course of a life time by the mystery of divine grace.
The useful phrase, “This too shall pass,” is helpful to remember in our search for equanimity and a center of stillness in the velocity of life.
It helps to practice and culture a natural curiosity and an ever more natural gradual acceptance of the next moment of discovery. Such will enhance the innate awareness which lives in you and through you.
Signing off from Crestone and Beyond.
A Gradual Scribe