The entire continuum of experience, from the agony to the ecstasy, is within you.The work is to not grab the ecstasy and try to own it, or repel the agony and try to reject it, but to be the ceaseless and untouched witness of the experience within yourself.
Every time you try to grab or deny, you join/merge/identify with the constriction of the grabbing and the denying of the very experience you are having.
Recognize that not only denial, but also pursuing, means you lose yourSelf in the experience. But if you remember to not constrict with experience (bliss or pain), then you remain in the flow of what is the wave of existence, the peaceful and uninterrupted flow of your being – you remain the heartbeat and the breath of the universe.
So the practice is to notice the ways in which you interrupt the flow of experience with resistance or greed, with wanting and not wanting, with judgments either way. When you are no longer identified with the experience, you will know yourself as the eternal, the infinite, the witness, the Love and the Truth, instead of losing yourSelf in the fleeting, finite, temporal and ever changing experience of life in form.
Both sides are equally tempting in terms of constriction. We want to chase the joys and we want to run from the pains. Both are a constriction. But what if you remained the fully present witness with an uninterrupted breath and heartbeat? What do you think the experience of joy might be if you did not constrict in your grabbing. Would it not then be aligned with the very love and truth of your being? What do you think the experience of pain might be if you did not constrict in your rejection? Would your love and truth then not warmly dispel the suffering over time?
At this time of the year we talk about the Great Mother, as symbolized by Mary, birthing Christ consciousness. However, if you yourself do not become the living, incarnate symbol of the Great Mother, then of what good is the myth? We are challenged in this myth as in no other.
Can we all live in the eternal and ceaseless flow of the wave of existence and hold within the vastness of our own hearts and truth, the wounded, the broken, the pain, the suffering of ourselves, then humanity, and then the world. We cannot put the cart before the horse and live a life of integrity and growth. Your life will go nowhere if the cart is before the horse.
The encyclicals from on high that talk of lofty ideals about doing good in the world, for others and nature, are of little consequence if they do not insist on the message being – you are nature, the world, and the suffering of all beings, and you must heal the splits and barriers, the resistances and greed within your own being. YOU are the Madonna and if you accept this immense challenge, then in this way you will give birth to Christ consciousness with yourselves – by being witness as the breath and as the heartbeat of the universe. You will conceive of and then tend the baby Christ that is you.
And so we start in the stable, in the dark, in the smelly, dirty places of our own suffering and our animal instinctual natures. We start here, practicing being the non anxious, all seeing, ever attentive, present and loving mother. We practice being a mature parent to our own wounds, our own fixations, addictions, and judgments. We do not punish and we do not reward. We attend, and set limits where necessary through teaching Truth. We are there for every need that has not been met, with Love. It is not loving to keep farming out our needs to other mothers – that is selfish and self entitled and a shirking of our God given responsibility.
We remember that this is a long and arduous commitment and we welcome it with all the love of a mother’s heart, who does not even know how it will all turn out in the end.
There are no guarantees, but we love, because that is what we are as the Great Mother. We tell truth and set limits with our wounded little selves, because that is what we are as the Great Mother…. And if we accept this mandate, and practice diligently, we will be bringing the light of the world and the salvation of the world into fullest fruition – and it IS ourselves.
Christ’s birth is happening every minute of the day on this planet – and yet the baby is denied, lost, forgotten, starved, neglected, hated, abused, rejected, shamed, spurned, used for labor, exploited, raped and tortured for the pleasures of demented adults, criticized, and judged. And this baby was and is you. Where are the mothers? If you have not learned to raise your own inner child in love and truth, then of what help can you be to the 7 billion souls on our suffering planet? Don’t you all know the irritation of listening to people give advice in child rearing, or any other activity, when they themselves have not done it and struggled with the complexities and difficulties of the task?
I hope the great myth of the Christmas season will speak to you, no matter the religious tradition, in which you were raised. The myths of all religions tell us great truths that we must hear and apply to our own inner lives. This is a myth about ultimate hope that has not been fulfilled by the world as yet. This is the great story of the light that can be found in the darkness of our lives, through the love and wisdom of the great Mother within each of us.
Nothing could have prepared your heart to open like this.
From beyond the skies and the stars
This echo arrived inside of you and started to pulse with life
Each beat a tiny act of growth,
Traversing all our ancient shapes,
On its way home to itself.
Once it began, you were no longer your own.
A new, more courageous you, offering itself
In a new way to a presence you can sense
But you have not seen or known.
It has made you feel alone
In a way you never knew before;
Everyone else sees only from the outside
What you feel and feed with every fiber of your being.
Never have you traveled farther inward
Where words and thoughts become half-light
unable to reach the fund of brightness
Strengthening inside the night of your womb.
Like some primeval moon,
Your soul brightens
The tides of essense
That flow to your child.
You know your life has changed forever,
For in all the days and years to come,
Distance will never be able to cut you off
From the one you now carry
For nine months under your heart.
May you be blessed with quiet confidence
That destiny will guide you and mind you.
May the emerging spirit of your child
Imbibe encouragement and joy
From the continuous music of your heart,
So that it can grow with ease,
Respectant of wonder and welcome when its form is fully filled
And it makes it journey out
To see you and settle at last
Relieved and glad in your arms.
~John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us
Contemplate the image above of the beautiful carving at the Metropolitan Museum of Art above of Madonna and Child and journal about your own relationship to the child in your belly. Have you brought this baby into your awareness, and brought it close to your heart and started the work of mothering the child to grow into the fullness of it’s life? Can you be the serene and loving embrace to all that the child experienced that has never been acknowledged and accepted?
Can you reconcile, connect and heal the splits within and bring peace, love and joy to the inner landscape of your life before you worry about the outer landscape of your environment?
Contemplate the poem above and consider the qualities of the Good Mother that are required in relationship to your own suffering and wounded child.