In such times as these, when humanity faces so many crises and conflicts – environmental, economic, social, political, religious – and so many human beings are suffering so profoundly, there is a message that may seem radical: In the very deepest sense, we are all so safe.
When the true nature of our deepest being is recognised – the infinite awake light that transcends, embraces and is arising as the entire cosmos – that which is the simple aware presence that is looking out of your eyes right now and is the basis of all experience – it is known that nothing in this entire universe – no smile, no tears, no death, no birth, no storm, no tidal wave, no eclipse or supernova – ever departs from the Buddha-Nature, True Self, Christ-Consciousness, that is its very space of arising, and the unconditioned love out of which it is made.
I know that sounds at best paradoxical, or at worst like spiritual bypassing and an intense case of new age transcendence. Hear me out though…
This doesn’t come from someone who is disconnected from the realities of this world. I have suffered. Not as intensely as many on this planet no doubt, but I’ve had my share. I have known struggle, pain, despair, heartbreak, isolation and hopelessness, as well as the most wondrous joy, grace, fulfilment, love and connection. And in my connection to the journey of humanity, there is not a day that goes by that doesn’t contain a stark awareness of the suffering and pain so many of our brothers and sisters, and the animals and plants and earth are experiencing each day around the world, in so many cases so very needlessly.
And yet, so that I might share a perspective that offers some contrast to the heartbreak, fear and grief that so many bright souls are feeling at the state of our world today, I wanted to post this. The awakening communicated by the deepest spiritual traditions, and realised by path-walkers of the ages is that all the suffering and the joy, the despair and the triumph, the loss and the glory, never depart from the all-enfolding presence in which they are arising. Nothing has ever occurred outside of the great sphere of awakened being – not my pain or happiness, yours or everyone’s. Indeed, perhaps it is the profound security of this ground of being that provides the freedom for it all to be so wild, and so raw.
How does this awakening unfold? The message of the wisdom traditions is always the same: give yourself to the exploration of what you truly are. Explore deeply the true nature of your experience and of life. Allow this process to illuminate the one constant factor of all experience – this very awareness that is present right now – to learn to see the difference between this and the concepts it is normally clothed in, and to mine the riches of your own heart and body so fully that they come to the surface to illuminate all that you are.
That this is happening for more and more people around the world doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll make it. It doesn’t mean everything is all going to be ok on a relative level. It doesn’t mean humanity is necessarily destined to suddenly have some collective shift that allows us to make the needed changes for our species to navigate the current crises with minimal damage. None of that is sure. All of that is up to us.
What is does mean is that if and when this recognition unfolds for someone, the anchor of their truest knowing drops into an infinite space of ecstatic presence and intimacy with everything. Even though this awakening may not be stable – and for most people it doesn’t start that way – such a person then has a foundation of freedom upon which they can truly give themselves to their personal path – emotional, somatic and mental; to their relationships with friends, intimates and others; and to their participation in our shared culture and society.
Without doubt there will still be hard and challenging times that such individuals face. What awakening reveals though, is that whatever happens, the safety of our true nature is unconditioned. It is not up for negotiation or moved by the fluctuation of circumstance. It embraces everything, penetrates everything, and transcends everything. It breathes through everything, saturating it with ecstatic love, self-recognition and an intelligence that is perfectly oriented toward the awakening, heart-opening and empowerment of all creation.
From the recognition of our inherent safety, we can dive ever more deeply into the white waters of life. As our hearts assimilate this safety and ultimate invulnerability, our reactivity and self-centredness ease up and we are more and more able to be in contact with everything.