This 2009 has been an extraordinary year in American history. The Fall of last year culminated in a great change action in which a young president of mixed-race was elected. A man who spoke to principle, who spoke to ideas of community, ideals of Unity, ideals of the sense that perhaps the government of a nation could really be more actively serving and supporting the individuals of a nation, not just some of its principles, such as certain versions of capitalism or certain versions of war. There was another young president who said, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.’ And that was a rallying cry to unify. And we feel that what comes now is another aspect of this, ‘Let the country ask what can we do more for all our people.’ People who are simply by grace of life, here in the country. Not by privilege, not by status, not by involvement in the mechanisms of the country, but simply by being Americans. This also set a new note, was a change moment. And in that was also the invitation to unify. Can we again think of ourselves as united first and are differences, oppositions and separations, second? Can the ‘united’ element of United States of America be the leading edge and perhaps refer to not only our states as physical locations, but refer as well to our state of mind, state of heart, state of being. Now these are not exactly Mr. Obama’s words, but to us, this language refers to the energy he carried. His words were felt, understood and embraced with a hope, a felt promise of deep change, which was resonated with and longed for by many.
But the year had other changes with it. Systems coming apart. Individual’s being really impacted by the circles and cycles of culture, where one’s personal actions might not have any impact on their own life. If the housing market is in a slump, you are affected by it no matter how worthy your own property and where you live can affect the whole situation. Individual actions were, in fact, overwhelmed by larger cultural and institutional movements. So change also came in a way which carried dissonance, held fear, upset individuals directly and if not so, still carried the feeling that at any moment, something you’ve never even thought of or knew of, could crash in and alter your own direct personal life.
Step-by-step, some of these changes have been attended to in varying degrees. Some have been mitigated, some resolved to a degree, others are still in progress. And thus we have another element of change. Out of this mixture of possibility and difficulty, hope and fear, has emerged a great resistance, moving to a great antagonism towards change. A resistance and antagonism to Mr. Obama and his symbol of change. The fears speaks: ‘My way will be affected. I don’t want to be part of people I don’t want to be connected with. I don’t trust him. I blame him no matter what people say are the roots of a long-standing problem.’
We watch people wrap themselves round in denial. Denial of actuality, such as the historical elements and roots of some of the problems facing the culture. Wrap themselves in denial that life is changing. Wrap themselves in denial when they think, ‘All we have to do is reject this man and it will all go back to where we were before.’ And most sadly, wrap themselves in holding an idealized state based on denial of facts and reality, in which one idea can take paramount and all others are not examined. So someone can take an issue - health care, anti-gay marriage – and their identity with this opposition point let’s them not see or understand any factuality, any reality, even if in the end, it would impact them negatively or limit their own life. We hear often people wondering, ‘What is this? Why do people say things that on examination doesn’t make sense or is not fact-based? What happens? What happens when we resist levels of change?’
To find our way with the paradox of large-scale resistance to change, we can begin with looking at our own resistance to personal change. First, we simply have to acknowledge that yes, this is what happens – people do resist levels of change, personally and on the larger scale. From that understanding we may be able to recognize when we reach a personal resistance to change. We can begin the inquiry by simply acknowledging, ‘Ah yes, I don’t want that to change, even if part of me does.’ And we can begin to question, ‘What are my assumptions? What is entangled within me with the way something was or had been or my ideas of how it must be, that is so prominent it enshrouds me and holds me in position?’ And when one is in this personal place, if you can get to the asking of the question, what you might find is that it is also a place to wait, allow, listen and pretty much, take no action. To understand, that a movement toward change, very typically, has a counter-movement of the resistance.
Inquiry can expose some of the counter-movement, but not all, and maybe not any. Let’s think of change as movement to a new balance which may pull us back into movement towards the old balance. Remember though, that change has already happened – we actually can’t go back to the old balance. But we can feel as if we can. Learn the feeling of change. Let yourself feel into the change as if it were a physical movement. Feel the to and fro, the side to side and the swirls of movement. Feel how you are not only of finding a new balance but integrating the old balance point you are stepping away form. Feel the changing balance and the emerging/evolving balance. From that feeling place you can then consider, ‘Well maybe this kind of moving realignment is not an anomaly or exception, but is actually typical.’ But we tend to not look at change this way because the world is dominated by idealizations, ideas, and even more so these days, snippets of ideas.
Idealizations can move into archetypes and these energies move through life and people respond to them in so many ways. And for a very long time in the history of humankind, archetypes were very deep flows of energy – integrated through many millennia of imagery and qualities. Prominent today is what we call the ‘sound-bite archetype’, very surface information, captured in catch-phrases, jingoisms, flashed images in a very abrupt way. The sound-bite archetypes set off reactions, but deeper understanding that could be resonated with and contemplated is not occurring.
And this is where, as has happened in other eras, symbols become manipulated,‘I don’t want to be afraid, so I will hold close any version, anything that points to what I have known or what ideal I have held, even if it has never really actualized in my own life.’ Idealizations offer a feeling of opportunity even when people may not actually have the option for that opportunity. symbols become propaganda and propaganda lets people be without questioning, without query – personally and on the grander scale. And what drives this movement away from considered knowledge into reaction? Fear. Fear of future not yet understood. Fear of not being able to place themselves in a future not understood. Fear of difference. Fear, simply, of fear.
Although this may feel negative, we want emphasize the reality that such resistance is a typical movement concurrent with change. As you understand this paradox of movement toward and movement away from change more fully, you may be able to not be captured by the feelings of weightiness that arise. You may be able to not go to despair or depression and instead, to consider, ‘Wow, this is a choppy water. But like the ocean, it can and will change.’ You can then hold your attention to an openness of staying with the movement of change, riding out the resistance, riding out the fear and putting one’s attention – and perhaps at times one’s actions – toward the change that resonates with you. Now the difficulty in there is that the change you feel most aligned with and is resonating with you, may not be what is happening for someone else. So they too may be putting their attention to a change that would have a different effect on the change you want. In the end, though, that is the way of it and even that too, will have it’s own movement of change.
We would love to give you the ease one can find in the idea that by affirming, visualizing or intending you can direct, control and ‘create’ all the elements of your life. But we do not find this is true. As you have heard us say over and over, all those tools work to the degree they do or can. Life is a great unity of interaction. There are so many elements moving in the Wholeness of life that it is simply impossible for you to be the manager and director of life, even the wholeness of your own life. There are elements you are given to chose the path, drive the car, make a u-turn. There are elements where the alignment really does line up that way. And then there are all the other aspects of life where you are dancing in the weather of life. It’s rainy and it’s snowy and it’s windy and it’s warm and it’s cold, etc. etc. There’s a hurricane. There’s a flood. All the weather of life. And your true option, like in every day weather, is in what choice you make once you look out and see what today’s weather is. ‘Do I stay home? Do I put on the raincoat and go out? Do I make sure I have sunscreen. We do not share this view to simply make you feel power-less.
We say this to invite you to see reality more as it is and to consider that it is not your responsibility to be in power or control of all of your life. Some might be happy to find it is not all their fault or all their lack. Others will be very sad to give up the idea that they can make everything be how they want and yet, our observation is there is no individual life that does not have Life coming to it. And very often, this very movement of life unplanned, is the exact thing that takes us somewhere else, somewhere truly new and fresh. It is the very element that brings us to the point where we say, ‘Oh, I never pictured myself doing that. And I never could have seen myself with him or her. And I never thought I’d live there.’ And very often, these events are the most pivotal moments of life and they are not what we thought of, not what we planned, not we wrote affirmations about. The change-agent moments most often stem from the opportunities, the chance meetings, the connections that arose and we were then willing to set aside our ideas and find ourselves, allow ourselves, to respond to what Life has brought us.
Sometimes responding to Life is indeed a challenge. Other times it is such an opportunity that you can’t believe it. It’s so perfect and you never thought of it. And all in-between – it’s not one or the other. We can put ourselves in the way of opportunity. We do the best we can to avoid certain things and maybe that is very successful. But sometimes the very best we’ve done to avoid something doesn’t help in the way we imagined. Yet, as often, an element of our intention does help. So the person who worked so hard to be healthy and followed all the current rules and ideas and then finds, ‘Oh goodness. I have this condition. I have to have surgery.’ Well, maybe what else they find is that although they didn’t prevent the condition, their approach as left them generally very healthy and they are in a good position to now have that which is needed to resolve the issue.
We take this opportunity at this year end/year beginning time of contemplation and considering, to remind you to consider delighting in the complexity of Life. Find delight in not knowing everything. Find delight in the fact that sometimes one has to look, listen, and see what Life is pointing you towards, where it is taking you and from there you can decide to go with it. And through delight you may also find more ease. Consider that you may find yourself the pilot rather than that you must be the air traffic controller of every aspect of your life. We invite you to lay down the unrealistic ideation of yourself as Ultimate Director and to find beauty and wonder in the possibility that as being part of the Whole, All There Is, you are moving with and to rhythms and flows and dances that you will see in bits and pieces, that you may sense but never actually see, that you are really One With Wonder and Wonder is not known in the way of lists, ideas, thoughts alone.
So we ask you to consider being part of the United. And you can also ask, ‘What can I bring to the United. What need I focus on? And what is the United, the Unity bringing to me.’ And all we ask, is that you be willing to consider that there is a dance of accord, a dance of alignment in every aspect of life. We ask this in the hope that this consideration will support you and help you feel more at ease in, in fact, the changing weather, the places that seem to stay unchanged, the stalls, the winds too fast – in the incredible movement that is Life. For underneath all of that movement there is the steadiness of the interconnection of all things. And it waits for you to touch in and feel it and feel support through all the movement. Invite change. Allow change. And when resistance shows up, say, ‘Oh yes, you’re here too’ and acknowledge it. And we keep all of our aspects, all of our selves within and all the individual selves without, honored that even if we do not fully understand it, we are all part of a Wholeness.
It has been said to us that at times, when life overwhelms, that such a view may not really help change or fix the actuality of the situation. And this is true, yet considering the interconnection does matter. Spirituality and spiritual principles are not tools to avoid challenge; they are elements that help us be with challenge. Pointing our attention toward the recognition of connection moves the energy and can, indeed, act as a counter-balance and let one feel the movement in life, open to another feeling-quality and that, in the end, is support.
The deep beauty in life is that you are intrinsically part of this Wholeness. You need not earn it. You need not have conditions that you must meet to be part of it. Everyone else could deny that you are part of the Wholeness, but to us, that is impossible. You are of it. You are in it. We are all it. So go well into the New Year. The old year integrates within and you step into the World of Wonder – that which you see and that you do not. And that is part of the intrinsic Gift of Life.