Flashlights in the Dark
Every life I’ve looked into has some aspect, a relationship, a responsibility, a material item, a habit, an assumption, a preference, a problem, sadness, fear, and cynicism, which doesn’t belong anymore. Grabbing onto the new before we let go of the old slows down the transition. However, holding onto what’s dying and dwelling on it is equally troubling territory. We must practice these two within the larger systems that shape the context of our lives.
The world is broken. You’ve heard this enough already so I won’t belabor the point. We have an ecological, economical, and spiritual divide that’s trending based on these data points. The data that supports this is important to notice. Three people on Earth are killing themselves to one dying at the hands of another. Two billion human beings will be without clean drinking water by 2020. 2.5 billion will be living on less than $2 per day by 2020. Today, we are consuming 1.5 Earths. That means we’re using one and a half Earths up.
Something is on the way out, dying, fossilizing, no long working, while something else still indistinct is on the way in; being born. We find ourselves in the dark night of our lives, where eyes see our way back to the light. We forget we are actually all flashlights in the darkness.
To me, the dark state of the world, now aside from interpretation, provokes important and meaningful alternatives to whatever I’m doing now and have been doing. No one is removed from contributing to these figures. We’re on a race to the bottom, collectively creating results that nobody wants. If we’re to change the course of these trends, we must look deep within us to generate new patterns of energy, flow, and order.
As a whole, we are indeed the strongest contributors to these conditions. These conditions shape our lives in some way by the way we collectively, indivisibly shape these conditions. Together we must collectively, despite the best intentions, come to terms with unstable impact. We must learn to learn from different sources within us that care, and care a lot we must. We must balance all levels of intelligence within us, head, heart, and hand, to bring the consciousness up to a notch that the world can move out of the dark back to the light.
Finding our way has corrupted the collective course that we all need to find ourselves through. Individualism and the pursuit of one’s happiness has created a world that nobody collectively wants. We must take a mutual ownership stand, move from this ego-awareness (self-interest) to eco-awareness (mutual interest). This is already across all sectors that shape our lives, health, education, agriculture, economics, etc. It is our job to collaborate with each other to capture the timing window to churn vital change right now. As Margaret Mead said, “It only takes a few good people who’re really committed to something madly, to change the world.”
Yet, what is so close we don’t often see. “Honey, pass me the salt. Oh there it is, right under my nose!” We move through our lives inside the membrane of our daily lives. We move unaware of the prevailing and trending conditions that affect us and yet remain silent killers. We walk with blinding certainty on avalanche-like life conditions.
I suppose this complacency and deadness of awareness keeps us safe and sound as things are falling apart. I picture having tea as the house is burning down or remember the violin players in the film Titanic playing to stay safe while calamity and destruction is playing out in gravity around them. The entertained, consumer-centric life we hide in deafens the sound of our fears and dangers. Yet, if we awaken to the reality that’s here, we become resourceful in new ways, and evolve.
Three fundamental (restructuring) bridges play a role in this departure from the old to grabbing onto the new; crossing this bridge.
- The Bridge between self and others. We find ourselves stuck in the old ways of thinking and feeling which short circuits the flow of energy and information shared between ourselves and others. We disconnect from our connection with others when our vulnerability turns into cynicism. We can use silence and empathic listening from the stillness to connect with the higher energy flow patterns that are emerging and quelling in the fabrication of our intimate connections with others. If you’re a doctor what would it mean to be in the presence of health while you’re in the room? What could be possible? We see ourselves as healers opening our hearts and letting the patient change us; bringing us into the depth of who we are. We become aware of the gift in us that belongs to others.
- The Bridge between self and whole. We have a formative community around us. But despite this, we short circuit the inner flame that can be lit like a torch by the tonal and swelling energy drawn from the world around us. We must cultivate a listening presence of what stands in need of us by taking in the actualities and conditions that define and guide what matters to us. In this sense, data becomes a rich source of reflection to deepen our calling into what the greater good has seeded us to carry out, a sacred charge and a carriage of some divine work that we’re inwardly activated and informed toward.
- The Bridge between self and self. We occupy two selves that compose our being. The past self or puny self is the one composed of the past. We bring mental constructs from the past and lay them down as organizing frameworks over the present. From these, we move from what we found and discovered through the course of life. Conditioning has brought habitual forms of thought into our operating system that we conduct our reactions and responses from. Contrast to this self is another one. The future self is the one from the future that is calling us into reality. This self is not yet embodied.
Each one of these is an activation button calling forth the highest quality of action we can bring forth. Leadership is the continuous expression of the highest quality of being that one can access. Leadership in its highest form is learning to listen. Listen from the other’s position, listen from what the whole is asking, and listening from what the future self is tickling us to move toward. A fervent, vigorous wind moves through you like a warm inner balm around your being. It quells, rises, summons, and beckons your call to action like an intentional grounding area. Stillness speaks, welling up like a rising radiant and pure sunlight on its way up with no resistance.
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, while the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that appoints the faithful servant rather than calling on the sacred gift. As you hear me describe this information what strikes you? What moves you or touches you? Where did this land in you?
This all sounds neat, but what keeps this inner and collective shift from happening? Three inner enemies prevent us from letting go and letting come.
The VOJ. The voice of judgment is that which is composed of three concepts that we hold over reality. One is our concept of who we are. Second is our concept of what others think. Third is our concept of the way the world is supposed to be. When we obscure current reality with these edits of it, we move from our mental models instead a direct relationship with the immediate experience. We’re not really present. We all have moments when we neglected to look beyond our generalizations and things got complex. We assumed the intentions of another person or group and operated from there within the prison of a limited notion.
Our view is coming out of a lens of personal versions of things embedded in us. You might call it “superimposed” or “virtual reality.” Then, we net others into this fictitious version of reality that we impose on it. The word theory means theatre. Our reactions are at best shadow-boxing. When we have a problem with something, we’re the problem.
It’s hard to imagine changing without heightening the quality of awareness we can raise to regulate our certainties. We come to terms with being wrong. Nothing is absolute. You don’t know how you know what you know. Inversely, we don’t know what we don’t know. And it’s this blind spot that we turned towards when our judgment is suspended. You become comfortable with your own ignorance. This is what is called “open mind.”
The VOC. The voice of cynicism is the disconnection from the open heart. We withdraw from pain and suffering into ourselves and put our walls off. We shut off the valve to deepening our connections with others as vulnerability gets covered up by overtures to protect ourselves and stay in control.
The VOF. The voice of fear is one when we’re operating from what we think is coming around the corner. We attempt to avert it by staying safe, lowering our goals and standards, and avoiding failure and humiliation.
If we’re to go to the places of potential in ourselves and our life story as it unfolds through us, we must attend to these inner enemies with friendliness and acknowledgment. They are irrevocable roommates, and yet they do not have to preempt our responses to life. We can learn to learn again by suspending our judgment, we can reconnect and restore our defended hearts by choosing to understand others and see with empathy to help them change us to where we once were. And we can seat fear in the bleachers, and step with courage into the unknown taking meaningful leaps into uncertainty and holding steady to creating our deepest intentions and creations.
Flashlights in the Dark
We are flashlights in the dark. Light is coming from us illuminating what we can see like the headlamps of a car in the night on an unlit mountain road. As we move into the dark, we find what was unseen before. We see the pathway as we walk on it. We ready, fire, aim into the mystery, living forward. We staccato run over sharp rocks. We create the future like this without predicting it, the future as it is desired of us, to bring it into being.
Faith leaves room in us for the mystery. Faith is openness. It is the flashlight. The dark is space, the formless, the emptiness from which form comes into reality. It is the space from which creations come. It is the passage in our hearts through which God sees. If we’re still, it speaks through us. If we’re unhurried, the flow of our maker’s instinct rises in us. We are captured and carried by what matters to us as we live deeply and listen generously into our experience living forward.
Copyright 2013 John Davidson