New Year’s Greeting

Happy 2005, everyone.

This is the third New Year’s greeting I’ve written. I tossed out the first and second drafts after watching several news stories about the tsunami. This event made an ordinary “Have a happy new year” message seem incredibly out of place (not that I would ever write something ordinary). Global disasters require a much more introspective evaluation — dare I say, a symbolic one, noting that this event occurred the day after Christmas in a year of great turmoil on the earth. So, what are we to make of such a monumental event? How do we interpret this? Is it a random act of nature? Are any acts of nature random? Perhaps – but perhaps not. Is there order in chaos and chaos hidden in order waiting to rise? I would have to say that chaos is as planned a force as are incidents of obvious Divine intervention. We may not understand it as easily, but I cannot imagine that any events take the Universe by surprise. What we declare as chaotic comes from a perspective that requires order to be maintained for the sake of safety, control, and a logical system of justice. We often say that the innocent among us do not deserve pain or suffering, either in massive numbers or as individuals. Yet the word “deserve” is one we could do without in our vocabulary, and the same can be said about the word “blame.”

Without a doubt this tsunami is a tragedy of untold, immeasurable proportions. No one can possibly calculate the grief that comes from losing family members or an entire home and all of one’s belongings, much less one’s means of income. I heard one reporter compare the destruction this tsunami caused to that which would be created by X number of bombs dropped in a country. It occurred to me while listening to this reporter that perhaps the Divine had in mind a plan of greater cosmic design, even within the midst of this natural disaster.

Let me preface what I am about to say by noting that cosmic perspectives, like the one I plan to introduce on this tsunami, are impersonal, meaning that they are transcendent of the immediate “here and now” framework through which we ordinarily view events. Cosmic or transcendent perspectives, however, are NOT without compassion. They are perspectives that maintain a higher order of thinking and perception, such as viewing an event as transcendent of the ordinary rule of what seems fair or unfair. The concepts of innocence and guilt do not compute within the domain of the cosmic, and it takes a stretch of the mind, soul, and heart to comprehend that. One’s instinctual reaction is to assume the position of the personal when looking into the face of mass destruction. But that heartfelt emotional response may not always allow a person to perceive the threads of cosmic wisdom contained within the timing or design of events.

The challenge of grasping the power of the impersonal perspective is that it “appears” to be unfeeling, cold, or even harsh. Therein lies the illusion: that is the last thing a cosmic perspective is. Instead, the impersonal position is a lens rich with cosmic wisdom as opposed to emotional reaction. It took me a while to understand this when I was first exposed to the teachings of Buddhism, which emphasize how the spirit is seduced by the illusions of worldly power and that one’s spiritual path is in part made up of the challenge of breaking the bonds of power that earthly illusions have over our spirits. I recall a comment that the Dalai Lama made, for example, when asked about the Chinese invasion of Tibet and the massive slaughter of the innocent people of his beloved land. One would think that he would be devastated by the brutal murder of well over a million of his people. And perhaps he is devastated, but he transcends the anger and passionate need for vengeance that always emerges from the belief that someone was unfairly victimized. The Dalai Lama said, “Compassion is my response to my people and to the Chinese.” He chooses compassion rather than rage, refusing to hate the Chinese for the invasion of his homeland or the murder of his people. For many, this response of compassion could seem weak and powerless. Who can see the immediate consequences of compassion, especially when measured against the satisfaction of a bullet? A bullet satisfies the ego’s need for immediate physical action, whereas if one’s spirit were enlightened and truly understood the Divine paradox that ours is an intimate Universe governed by impersonal laws and cycles of life, then a reply of compassion is the only answer that holds any power. For to awaken to the nature of consciousness is to awaken to the truth that the only domain of true power is that force which is pure light, and thus invisible, eternal, transcendent, and impersonal — like the invisible power of an act of love or forgiveness.

But oh, the struggle. It is so difficult to transcend the need for an explanation of why things happen as they do or to have logical reasons for why people who don’t “deserve” to be hurt or injured are hurt or injured. We so want life to be fair and just – but it isn’t, and it never has been and never will be. Thus, at some point along the line, the events in our own lives that strike us as unfair or undeserved also hold the potential of drawing us into the wisdom of a higher paradigm of truth, in which we can choose to trust that no one event in our life exists on its own. All of the events and all of our relationships are interconnected, part of a grand weave. Something that happens today that makes no sense may be laying the groundwork for something that will happen five months or five years from now, and not until then will we understand or appreciate why that event had to occur. Whether it’s a death or a birth, a marriage or a divorce, a job loss or a promotion makes no difference. From a cosmic perspective, these are nothing more than opposite sides of the same coin, and are neither good nor bad. They are simply the ingredients of life, which is made up of opportunities and losses, pain and pleasure, happiness and sadness. From a cosmic perspective, this is the Moebius strip of yin and yang, the continual movement of the poles, of night and day.

That loss happens because of natural disasters in greater or lesser numbers does not change the fact that death and birth is the very nature of life. Yet, what is the goal of striving for consciousness if not to achieve an understanding of life at the cosmic-spiritual level of purpose? At this level we shed the illusion that events are chaotic, cruel, unfair, or brutal, and instead blend into a far greater pattern of human evolution where standards of fairness, innocence, and victim consciousness disintegrate through the light of ascension to a higher order of meaning and purpose. These are the cosmic, impersonal truths that a spiritual master embodies.

I am sure that many of you have had experiences in which you have been able to grasp the higher meaning of a tragedy in someone’s life, precisely because it did not occur to you, which gave you the advantage of an impersonal perspective. For example, anyone who has raised a child has encountered exactly such a situation — a crisis that your child thinks is the end of the world, because her boyfriend hasn’t called or because he did poorly on an exam. As a parent who has already been through those experiences, you have the advantage of experience and wisdom. You know for a fact it’s not the end of the world, but trying to get your child to understand that during their crisis is nearly impossible. For that child, in that moment, your perspective can seem heartless. Your wisdom is all but wasted on them until the crisis passes and emotions settle or heal. Then, once the healing force of time and distance is gained, you can reintroduce the same bit of wisdom with a better chance that your child will be able to understand and appreciate it.

The essential ingredient in allowing understanding to take place is that the overwhelming waves of personal emotion have subsided. You have all had the experience of watching a friend become romantically involved with someone whom you could clearly see was wrong for that person. You had the advantage of an impersonal, wise perspective, whereas your friend was under a romantic spell — and nothing you say can break a romantic spell. The clarity you had is a very real example of a cosmic perspective as opposed to a personal one.

Indeed, an impersonal or cosmic perspective can often feel threatening to people, precisely because it appears to lack the warmth of personal emotion. What cosmic understanding actually lacks is not emotional animation as such, however, but the interference of toxic emotion, which can include self-pity, self-righteousness, or the inability to detach from the moment and see the greater purpose hidden within the chaos and pain of an event or relationship. We so often work against gaining a higher understanding, consciously choosing not to see from a higher perspective, because we do not want to have to act in alignment to the dictates of higher understandings. For example, we might deliberately yell all the louder when someone is trying to explain his or her position precisely because we don’t WANT to understand that position. We want instead to be understood on our terms. And because we know that if we give that person a chance to explain things, we can no longer remain righteously angry (as understanding tends to heal anger), we have to scream all the louder.

I hope that I’ve made the point by now that cosmic perspectives offer us a lens of wisdom through which we can view even the most horrible situations, including natural disasters. With that in mind, consider that prior to the tsunami, as a global community we were building up a warehouse of negative energy. The rage created by wars and all the pain that goes with the injustice of innocent deaths brought about through bombs and missile attacks (after all, missiles don’t kill only “insurgents”), along with all the negative energy that has been building in our global community through numerous other political crises may have ultimately created this same nightmare of a disaster through manmade means. The deaths and destruction to the homes of hundreds of thousands of people could have been brought about by human beings and their war games, which would have been a real tragedy. Nature is nature. At least in this case, the situation is a largely blameless one; who can hate nature for an earthquake? That would be preposterous. Although many thousands have lost their lives, and thousands more may lose their lives from the aftermath, at least no nation is to blame, and for that we can all be grateful. The nations most affected are now budgeting money for a tsunami warning system to prevent future tragedies. We can also be grateful that this event has drawn the entire world together, proving that we can work as a global village when we have to. Under blameless conditions of tragedy, we can unite and come to the aid of fellow humans who are suffering, not as the result of political crisis or war, but because of a random act of nature that could have happened anywhere.

A far greater tragedy would befall humanity if we did not respond to those in need. That would in fact be more than a tragedy; it would be a crime against humanity of the worst kind. But in keeping with the deeper content of the human spirit, invisible and visible acts of power abound when tragedy strikes. Although painful memories will remain long after the towns and villages of these people are rebuilt, so will memories of the kindness of those who have come to their aid. Herein lies the human paradox: a creature capable of endless compassion can also sow boundless destruction and hatred. Who can figure us out? Given a tragedy, we jump to the aid of others. Both sides of a bloody, ruthless civil war in Sri Lanka, for instance, have had to suspend hostilities to work together to survive. This is the illuminated side of humanity at its best.

Now, just in case anyone thinks that I am saying it is a good thing that all these innocent people died in some sort of substitution sacrifice to prevent others in a war zone from dying – NO, I am NOT saying that. But I am saying that global events – even natural ones – are created through a complex of energies. And included in that mixture of energies are the psychic forces generated by the collective consciousness of the global soul of humanity. We are a part of the earth and its consciousness. The energy we generate as individuals and as a collective body filters into the earth as surely as the cream you put on your skin filters into the organs of your body. The earth does not exist separate and apart from our psychic energy. How could that be? The energy of nature influences our psychic field as surely as we influence the health of Mother Nature. As a Soul Being with her own rhythm and her own schedule of events that will unfold as they are meant to, although in some cosmic way, Mother Earth is involved in the evolution of the human species. Global warming is occurring and we have been continually tampering with the balance of nature in an ever-increasing momentum. That may well be creating a psychic stress for Mother Earth that we have no way of measuring; but Mother Earth could be feeling the pain of the human condition as much as humanity is – including the pain generated by a build-up of anger and rage in our collective spirit.

On December 26th, a tsunami struck in Indonesia, but an earthquake or a volcano or tornadoes could have struck in any country – and indeed, they all will at some time. Mother Earth doesn’t discriminate. She isn’t a political being. She will bring other storms, floods, fires, and hurricanes to other lands and other people continually, as she always has. And people will die as a result of acts of Mother Nature. Some of these events, like this tsunami, may be enormous in proportion to others. But let’s look at the good that is coming from this crisis. What other event could possibly have drawn the world together and caused humanity to act as a global community, transcending political differences? What other force could possibly cause so much destruction yet leave no traces of hatred in its wake? While grief abounds and will for years to come, so does compassion. The bonds of care, gratitude, friendship, and new beginnings that will be formed as a result of pulling together to overcome disaster may have consequences on behalf of peace that will save who knows how many lives in years to come.

>From another perspective, think about the long-term consequences to the global psyche of this tsunami. The earthquake that caused this wave was so enormous that (and I’m not sure I’m going to phrase this properly) it knocked the earth off its axis slightly and altered time by a fraction of a second. Those two facts of the physical realm have to have an impact on the physical plane, but, considering that we’ve never encountered this before, who knows what it will be? And how will a slight shift in the orbital field and our relationship to time affect us? Because it will – how can it not?

My mind and imagination wander all over the place as I think about this – from the mundane to the unbelievable. I wonder if somehow this shift in calculations at the microcosmic level – like cosmic homeopathy – will have an impact on the collective consciousness in terms of global unity. Maybe this tsunami was a means through which a template of unity was downloaded into our psyches. Or will this shift us in some other way? But that topic – “THE IMPACT OF GLOBAL EVENTS ON YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL” – is the subject of my January SALON. I can’t imagine a better time than now to consider how you may be affected in subtle ways by global events.

Let me end this long, long newsletter by wishing all of you a very happy 2005. Who knows what lies ahead for the world in this new year? I do believe more deeply as each year passes that the pursuit of one’s interior life is an essential anchor of health and personal well being. I cannot imagine how a person can manage a day of life without an inner compass and a perspective rich in mystical and archetypal insights.

God bless all of you and let us as a “Web family” offer our prayers for the healing and care of those who have endured the tsunami and must now rebuild their lives.


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