The Way Out (of this mess) is In

Matt Hansen (modified, with permission, from an article published in published in The Razor’s Edge, vol. 26,no. 4)

We look around, with our physical senses, interpreting (judging, really) with our physical mind, and see the world falling apart. Things seem very dark. The Earth appears in crisis. From a physical perspective, climate chaos will unleash increasingly more difficult conditions on our cultural systems. We see, smell, and taste the horrific pollution of our air and water. And reading the news media suggests humanity, itself, is in even worse shape! Many of us live ever more in despair. What and where is the hope in the face of such apparently hopeless circumstances?

Vision Quest ceremonyThe week after 9/11, I drove to California to take Malcolm Ringwalt’s Seven Levels of Quest program. The energy of 9/11 trauma reverberated through my being. I imagined, as I drove across Nevada, I would be challenged with my own darkness during the program much as I had been during a sweatlodge at Tom Brown’s Tracker School as he pointed us towards knowing that hidden part of self. And Malcolm’s words during his introductory meeting only underscored what I imagined might unfold in my experience that week. But . . .

. . . I actually had the opposite experience during the program. I set my intention to open myself as fully as possible, to heal, to learn, to Know. To touch Spirit, to touch G*d. Through the sweatlodges, meditations, and Quests, I grew ever more aware, ever more at peace, ever more Still. For several days, I lived in a moment to moment flow of peace, gratitude, awe, and reverence. The Now moment. By the fourth or fifth day of the program I had a revelation that there is no distance between us and Creator other than the illusion that we, ourselves, put there. And I had an experience that viscerally showed me that every nook and cranny of Creation is a universe unto itself, absolutely filled with a vast Intelligence that my physical mind was unable to hold even a tiny sliver of. Let me write that again: this Creation is filled with, saturated, and made of Intelligence. More than that, borrowing from Malcolm, what did the Creator use to build creation? Did Creator go down to the building supply and order cement and lumber? No! Creator has only One thing to build from! To distill the Great Masters through all time, the Creator is the I Am/I Love. Pure Consciousness and unconditioned Love. How is it that we have grown to perceive the World as something other? This perspective should tell us the problem is not with the world, certainly not the Creator, but with our perception, focus, and beliefs.

If you are reading this, you likely have experiences that prove to you that the Creation is far more vast and mysterious than revealed by our physical senses. We sense it, feel it. We have spontaneous revelations. Knowing without knowing how we know, to use one of Tom’s phrases. In our meditations, we lose sense of time, maybe lose sense of body, emotion, thought. Perhaps we go deeper, ever surrendering to the Silence, the pure Awareness. Deeper still, becoming aware of the Awareness, becoming aware *as* the Awareness. As an aside, this deep meditation is a good place to gently ask “who am I?” Even better, “What am I?” And listen, feel, or sense the subtle answer. Surrendering ever deeper into the Stillness, the pure consciousness.

Think of how full of peace you are in meditation. Perhaps embodying bliss or joy or boundless connection with Everything. Not merely that you feel these things. Indeed, you *are* these things. It’s worth asking “What is the more real and accurate sense of Creation? Our physical senses, judging physical minds, and belief in separation . . . or our Beingness when anchored in Silence?” Which of these is unchanging, permanent? Which is True? I’m not dismissing the very real pain and suffering we see and feel as humans. We’ve all experienced traumas, that’s part and parcel of our humanity. But, which reveals the capital-T Truth? In meditation, perhaps we drop all sense of body, emotion, and thought. Our personality completely falls away. Yet, we still exist! We are profoundly Aware. We are more Alive than ever. If we are not our bodies, emotions, and minds, what are We? 

But the great majority of humanity identifies with their bodies, emotions, and/or minds. Do you see the problem here? We don’t even see ourselves clearly. How can we see the world clearly? When we look out to the world and perceive pollution and violence, what are we really seeing?

As humans, our physical senses are tuned to this amazing physical Earth. It is so captivating, its hardness so demanding of our attention. But Grandfather and Tom have pointed the way to a much vaster world of energy. And beyond that, an even vaster world of Spirit. These worlds require ever subtler levels of Awareness to perceive. And beyond even Spirit is the Eternal, the Void, the “place” beyond time and space. The realm of the Creator. We have to still our physical minds to begin to know the fullness of Creation. We have to cultivate Silence. 

“Remember that that Silence is part of you. It’s the light. It’s the Creator and creation. And part of that Silence is all the other Silence out there, all connected together, in the Silence that moves in and through all Silence.” Tom Brown, Jr.

I have come to see the spiritual path as requiring two simultaneous efforts. The first is to cultivate Silence, to live from Stillness at every moment, to live in the Eternal Now moment, full of Awareness. The second is to heal and purify our ego/personality. This is the place of our woundings, judgements, beliefs, limitations, and memories. This is what restricts us from the Truth of Who and What we really are. We already are that Truth but cannot see beyond the distortions that *we* have made. And even when we purely touch Silence in our meditations, Quests, or other practices, the web of ego/personality prevents us from clearly perceiving the communication. We are unable to bring the communication back to the human world in a pure way that would inform our actions from this selfless place. But as we purify and clear personality, “our” actions increasingly are the Creator’s actions, healing and blessing the World! We are no longer that limited self. I invite you to take a deep dive into the Silence and gently contemplate your True nature.

Grandfather and Tom have given us many tools to heal including Vision Questing and Seven Levels of Quest among many others. In my experience, it’s a Journey. There is not some magic pill that delivers us to some imagined destination. Probably, it’s just as well if we are to become stable, useful vessels for Creator to work miracles through on this Earth. That is, we need a solid foundation upon which to build a Temple. We have to walk this journey – living, healing, learning, teaching. Not that I have not mastered any of this – I’m still walking my Journey.

Regardless of where we think we are on our Journey, there is a great price to be paid living and acting from the physical perspective. We will never “save the Earth” from the place of physical mind. How could we? That mind is the seat of our judgements, neuroses, and fears. The spiritual healing we need simply cannot be found in the physical mind. We must turn to the Silence, allow that which “bubbles up” from the Silence to guide us. 

If we continue to put our attention on the physical – more accurately, the beliefs of our physical minds – this world will continue to swirl into chaos. Our salvation is in the spiritual. When enough of us live in Silence and Faith, this world can and will be changed in an instant. The Silence is inside each and every one of us. We are connected to all of Creation and the Creator. But we have to reach for the transformation. Life will reach back to guide us. We are supported all of the time whether we know it or not. When we see or experience something uncomfortable that is Life guiding us, teaching us.

This Life is an amazing Journey, this Earth is an incredible gift. Let us fill with Gratitude to Creator. Let us fill with the Silence. Let us heal and Know our Truth. Let us take the impulses from Eternity and become Blessings upon this Earth, serving the Creator and all Creation.