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Posted: November 12th, 2005, 4:49 pm
by Bhakti
I'll be heading down to New Orleans soon to help family, friends, and others get settled into their old or new homes, whichever the case. I think that seeing the devastation there will be as close as I'll come to a war zone or to poverty stricken areas like Pakistan or Somalia. In this country, despite what we think of the present state of political and governmental assistance, we are blessed to have the wealth and resources to foster care for everyone. Although we see the suffering and destitute poor over TV, very few humans fall between the cracks in this country. When it hits close to home and in public view, we are ashamed and aghast that we aren't doing our part to help the poor.

Maybe we've said everything we can in this forum. I agree with that. Life, nonetheless, goes on---suffering, joy, saddness goes on as long as humans exist. How to we live with all the feelings? As Anna has said, we can live with unconditional love each day no matter what we face. Easier said than done, but to recognize this through our frustration, upset, anger, and saddness brings some relief and hope for humankind on earth. Here is an entry that Anna made in May:

Perhaps the actual living of that truth, that you must try to help, both yourself and others out of their suffering, knowing full well that there is nothing you can do to change the situation, is actually a subtle expression of universal love. In other words, to do this knowing all of this, is love without attachment nor expectation - it is an expression of unconditional love, Perhaps, then, when one finds oneself with nothing to say, that one is at the point where true love begins to find its way into one's heart. Surely, the impetus to assist knowing there is nothing that can be done is a sacrificial act of a sort, and surely, is therefore an expression of unconditional love.

The heart break that occurs when one makes the effort, knowing there is nothing that can be done, nor indeed, needs to be done, or said --saying is just another expression of doing after all -- is, in my own experience, a bittersweet sadness that is felt directly within the heart. I might venture to identify that as the feeling of unconditional love. Nothing is gained, nothing is changed, nothing needs to be gained, nothing needs to be changed,and yet, one is moved to do all of that out of genuine feeling toward another's struggle, ignorance, suffering, or fear.

Sigh -----life becomes MORE heart felt, and thus more painful, the more you realize how impotent you truly are, and how much you yearn to share and help.

I can physically help some people who have lost homes, businesses, and family in New Orleans. But the real help and gift that these people, and people everywhere, need are our hope and unconditional love no matter where we live and breathe. Blessings, Bhakti

Posted: November 12th, 2005, 4:56 pm
by Bhakti
In addition to universal love, I'd also add acceptance of disasters, suffering, and death as a part of all life on earth. For me, it's difficult to pull a carrot or beet from the soil. It gives its life so that Bhakti may live on until her death, but it's hard to accept that this is the physical life cycle. Bhakti

Posted: November 13th, 2005, 12:46 pm
by Speculum
Bhakti, nice to read you here again! Two thoughts raised by your excellent observations.

1) Consider the possibility that if your “outer” (what you call “my life” and “my world”) is in Truth a manifestation of the “inner”, then the need for assistance and compassion and so on which you or any of us perceive on the outer (the poor, the disaster victims, etc.) are somehow an expression or manifestation of our own need. And if that is in any way so, then your helping them actually helps you, and by healing them, you heal yourself. Does not A Course in Miracles say somewhere that we teach what we need to learn? Just so, perhaps we might say that we help what we need helped.

If that makes sense, then we should feel gratitude toward those in need, for their suffering is a gift to us, the gift of our own healing! All the more reason to act on the opportunity they present to us, just as you are so wisely and generously doing!

2) Similarly, when working in our garden or dropping a tree for firewood, I experience the same conflicted feelings you expressed when pulling a living carrot from the ground, but then I remind myself that if the entirety of what each of us calls “me” and “my life” is God being This (God bhakti-ing, God Stefan-ing, God carrot-ing, God garden-ing, God eating-ing, and, yes, God hurricane-ing) then our own sense that “I am me, and the carrot isn’t” is an aspect of the illusion that I and my life are separate and distinct, and as such is the source of some of the discomfort, frustration, fear, etc. I feel. That is, the anguish I experience at killing a carrot to feed me is no more real than the separate “me” I think I am feeding or the separate carrot I think I am eating. There is only One, in this context expressed perhaps as carrot-growing-stefan-eating. Of course, to that we must add sun-shining-rain-falling-soil-nourishing-worms-wiggling and so on and on and on … in a word, God Being This, or simply, God Being.

Here, too, then, every head of lettuce in the garden and every tree dropped for firewood offer me an opportunity to remind myself that they and what I call “me” are One and the Same One, the One than which there is no other, and that therefore nothing is dying to provide life or warmth for me, but rather the One is somehow expressing its own Self as the dance being played out by the presence and shared relationship of me, the lettuce, the tree, and the hurricane ... and every "thing" else. Once again, the carrot and the tree are an opportunity to remind myself that it is not about “me”, not about “my life” or “my doing”, but about God Being God.

In the terms suggested at paragraph (1) above, is it that the lettuce and the tree are outer manifestations as "my life" of the erroneous inner conviction that "I" need to eat stuff in order to nourish "my self" and to burn other stuff in order to warm "myself", and that if/when I release the sense of "me", the sense of "my" needs will dissolve?

Lettuce, carrots, beets, hurricanes ... Isn't it Nisargadatta (among others) who says that our everyday life is Guru enough, if only we will look, listen, and learn?

All that said, please have a safe and happy journey to New Orleans, and a sure return home!

Posted: November 14th, 2005, 12:48 pm
by Bhakti
The suffering are a gift to me and a healing for me, you're right about that, Stefan. It's a wondrous miracle the many facets, sides, hues, colors, and emotions of the Universe, a.k.a. God. Thank you, Stefan. Ave atque blessings, Bhakti