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Truth refers to the whole of existence and beyond. Truth exists as much in your teacup as it does in your temples and churches. Truth is as present in shopping for your groceries as it is in chanting to God. To think of truth only in spiritual or religious terms is to miss the whole of it, for in doing so you create the boundaries and divisions that are the very antithesis of truth.
Truth is an immeasurable reality not at all separate from your own being. For in the revelation of truth, all beings rest within your being. Put more simply, if you cannot find it now underfoot, I’m afraid that you have missed it entirely.
© Adyashanti 2009
Sooner or later, all of us must see that negative feelings
toward another person is like tossing dust at him while the
wind blows against us. It all comes back. This is not merely
a moralistic teaching or Sunday school lesson; it is a basic
and inescapable Law of Life.
-Vernon Howard, Psycho-Pictography, p. 168
(It’s taken me a few days to bring my thoughts together. This post will be a bit longer than usual.)
This weekend in Tucson we were struck by an incredible tragedy, the shooting outside of a grocery store where congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords held a “Congress on your Corner” event. 6 dead and 14 wounded. The past few days in Tucson have been somber, and subdued… the aftermath of mass murder in a small city.
In our shock, we all suddenly remember that we’re hanging here in this life by a thread, that death could strike any of us at any time, in the most violent of ways.
The effect on the community is palpable. Out and about, on campus, in restaurants and coffee shops, even in traffic, I’ve noticed more eye contact, more chit chat, more patience, more meaningful interactions.
This tragedy will fade to eventually become another vaguely remembered headline of extreme violence. For now, it feels like a powerful, collective mediation on mortality. An awareness of what’s really important, expressions of love, support and care.
There is also the inevitable talk in terms of good and evil, the good guys vs. the bad guys. Of course, we all ask, what can be done about this?? For me, I have to look at how I am contributing to the negativity, fear, anger, the evil. My contribution to negativity may be a small, ‘normal’ amount, but I cannot see another way. I have to clean up my part of it, if I hope to experience and inspire true change in others and the community.
Reading the words of my Teachers brings comfort and intensifies my commitment to practice in response to the violence. I’d like to share a passage with you written by my primary Teacher, James Wood.
From The Path of Awakening from the chapter ‘Action’ in the section on violence (2007, p. 108).
Recognition of Truth ends violence because there is no conflict in it. Violence and war are at the root caused by resistance to Reality. The world exists as a conflict between Reality and what the mind thinks Reality should be. If you can see that you are actively fighting Reality, you can stop doing it. That is the beginning of world peace. Begin by noticing how your anger is caused by resistance to what is, creating an unpleasant feeling ranging from mild irritation to full-blown fury.
Violence begins in you as turbulent emotions such as annoyance, irritation, frustration, and anger that are severe forms of resistance. Annoyance, irritation and frustration are low-grade forms of anger, and rage is violent, explosive anger. These feelings often lead to some kind of destructive action, such as physical violence against a person or angry speech. All violent actions, even words or harsh movements, are harmful to others. Notice that any form of discordant feeling in you is a form of violence. Notice if your movements become angular and sudden. If so, violence is brewing in you. Observe that, when you get angry, you are contributing to violent energy on the planet. If you really want to contribute to world peace, find the cause of your own anger and eliminate it. Then you can be a cause of peace.
In his talk “The cure for evil is consciousness” James speaks about the critical importance of acknowledging violence in ourselves:
To really be struck by it, and to say on some level, I can’t live like this. I can’t afford to. The world is a cesspool of violence and I’m tired of being a part of it, contributing to it. Perhaps by small spoonfuls, and yet, still contributing.
Blessing, peace, hope and healing to all whose lives have been affected by the tragic shooting in our beautiful Tucson on Saturday.
I would love to hear from you, dear readers and friends on the path.
Happy 2011 Cliffhanger readers!
Thank you for your visits and comments!
You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.