During the month of July, Views from the Lorian Community writers explored a variety of topics:
the power of standing and inner connections;
When I’ve been confused or in distress Incarnational Spirituality has, many times, offered me a helpful and steadying stance. Not a creed, dogma, or set of rules, but, quite literally, a stance...It is definitely, for me, a way of standing or being placed, not only on this earth but within the specific incarnation I’m in now. This earth, the natural world, the invisible world I can sense within this world, family, friends, and various communities I’m connected to, the time in history I’ve incarnated into: stance implies relationship with all of these things. When I feel I’m standing in relationship with one, the other, or all of them—rather than ignoring, condemning, retreating or hiding from them– I know I’m not alone. (This is not to say there aren’t times when I need to retreat, rest, and lie low, in order to gather strength to stand again.) I can also sense there are deep meanings behind all these connections, meanings I may not yet be fully aware of, meanings that wait to be discovered, explored, and worked with.
a heartful meditation in response to racial discord;
My guiding principle in response to all social and political challenges is this: it doesn’t matter what we profess to believe if our actions, even our anger at injustice, exclude us from those around us. Our neighbors. Our friends. Our enemies. Them, whoever them happens to be. In some ways, it doesn’t matter how we wound up together in this place, because together we are. All of our fates intertwine. So we either all get home together, or no one does. In the end, beliefs should serve people, rather than the other way around. But more and more I’ve come to see belief, even beliefs about race, as less a static basis of identity and more of a spectrum, a range diverse and multifaceted as our own distinct hues, features and cultural differences.
I’ve also witnessed the existence of something opposite–vectors of unintegrated subtle energy that David Spangler refers to as “Hungry Ghosts.“ I call them colorless holes. These energetic voids feed from our disconnection. They feed on the words that people don’t feel comfortable sharing for fear of censure and trial by public opinion. They feed on the fears that people suppress. And they expand and engulf entire sections of our world when people react and become filled with even justifiable wrath and rage in response to discrimination. Truly, it’s hatred, rather than love, that knows no color. It’s counter-force Love, by its very nature, embraces all, including and especially that which challenges it. That makes love itself a multifaceted, multicolored experience.
attuning to the presence and vitality of neighborhood trees;
There is a wonderful mature maple tree in my new front yard. I spent some time under it today as I started to prepare the soil around it for a new shade garden. I was touched by a quiet rustle. I paused in my work and accepted the invitation, resting for a moment in the confluence of land, water, sky and spirit that the tree holds within its vital presence. There was a nurturing feel under its branches, different than out in the rest of the yard...Under my maple that morning I saw my yard from a new tree perspective. The continuity of their work and the history of their relationship with land and water and sunshine stood out in vivid clarity.
friendship with a family of crows:
Like many people, I have always enjoyed sharing my backyard with the natural critters who co-inhabit this small piece of land with me. We have the usual squirrels which raise their families in our yard, babies delighting us with their game of tag chasing each other as they practice their skills in the trees. There is a mother raccoon who often will bring her babies to nap in the tree by our porch. I love watching the Hummingbirds hover over the feeder, and the Finches,Nut Hatches, Blackeyed Junkos and Chickadees on theirs. Various shyer woodpeckers make an appearance every so often. But most notably there are a couple of crows who frequent our territory and for whom we leave a tidbit.
Most people I know don’t like crows. They are loud and raucous and aggressive toward other birds. I am fond of crows in their sleek black beauty, though I do not love crow voices. But I have discovered firsthand how smart and neighborly they can be.
the importance of being present to the moment;
Recently, events in my life have heightened my awareness of the preciousness of Now—this moment. How many ordinary moments do we string together to make a life? I awoke this morning thinking about the quote, “It’s the journey that matters, not the destination.” Though I understand the intended meaning, I’m aware that it still frames each moment in terms of a destination. In this metaphor of life as a journey, we are admonished to stop and smell the roses. Yet the overriding message is that we are on our way somewhere else.
During the sixties cultural revolution, the renowned American spiritual leader, Ram Dass, wrote a pivotal book titled Be Here Now. “Early in the journey,” he noted, “you wonder how long the journey will take and whether you will make it in this lifetime. Later you will see that where you are going is HERE and you will arrive NOW…so you stop asking.
attuning to a spirit of healing and love in response to fear and unrest;
These are heart-heavy days. Nearly every day, the media bring us news of more suffering, more deaths, more anguish in the world. One day it may be images of unprecedented and devastating floods or wildfires, destroying property and displacing thousands of lives. Another day it may be the horror of terrorism as airports are bombed and innocent revelers are killed by the dozens by a deranged truck driver.
Last January, one of my non-physical colleagues said, “A spirit of conflict is being loosed in the world this year. Prepare yourself for a wild ride.” His comment has proven unfortunately prophetic, particularly as unresolved currents of fear and distrust, hatred and anger have been erupting in tragedies along the racial fault lines in our country. The killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile; the ambush and slaying of police officers in Dallas; the murder of three police officers in Baton Rouge…all of these wound the heart and make one wonder how many more may die in senseless ways before our nation finds healing. And in spite of what my inner colleague said, how does one prepare one’s heart for convulsions of violence arising from centuries of division and conflict between members of the human family, between blacks and whites, Christians and Moslems, the haves and the have nots?
and, lastly, the power of heaven and earth in music.
It’s easy to understand why harps are associated with angels and heaven. The harp is unique in the number of open strings it has—more than any other instrument but the piano—that vibrate sympathetically whenever any strings are played. It creates layers of harmonic frequencies that evoke the higher worlds and the harmony of the spheres. Research shows that such frequencies have powerfully healing effects, but we don’t need science to tell us what our bodies already know. Music is healing.
Celtic legends are filled with stories of harps being used to invoke magic and summon magical beings, or to open portals to the faery realms. Ancient harpers believed that harps themselves were alive, and people treated them as more than mere instruments. They were beings in their own right.
Lorian's Annual Summer Gathering will take place August 6-7. Also the fall semester of classes begins on August 28 with a free Journey into Fire teleclass led by instructors Julie Spangler and Susan Sherman. Susan has written a guest post for Views from the Lorian Community, which will lead our August lineup.
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Views from the Lorian Community publishes essays from a team of volunteer writers expressing individual experiences of a long term, committed practice of Incarnational Spirituality (and the general principles shaping such a practice.) If you wish to share how your life has benefited from your relationship with Lorian and IS, please email the editor at email@example.com. We prefer submissions between 700-900 words. We rarely accept previously published material (including blog posts.) We also reserve the right to decline or to edit your submission. Any accepted submissions will be published in the order that best fits our topic schedule.