Monday, January 17, 2011


hands heart

“Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one.”-John Lennon

"I look forward confidently to the day when all … will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions."- Martin Luther King Jr.


I caught a few minutes of “Driving Miss Daisy” recently; there’s a scene where two Southern cops call Hoke “boy” several times, in that superior, swaggering, dripping-with-honeyed-hatred manner some Southern whites of that time held. That accent toward anyone has always turned my stomach. I also just finished reading “Island Beneath the Sea” (Isabel Allende), a story of slavery in Sainte-Domingue (before it was Haiti) and then later in New Orleans. Brutality toward any other being is so difficult to read about or watch.


When Fear rules and guides a person—instead of Love—anyone who is the “other” (not like “us”) is to be viewed with suspicion, instead of welcomed and embraced with kindness. Witness the separateness and segregation of early immigrants: Jews, Italians, Irish with their foreign languages and customs; the separateness of women, requiring new laws to break that separateness; the separateness of Cuban refugees; the separateness and segregation of blacks, of the hatred and brutality they endured; the separateness of gays; the separateness of Latinos, those with legal status and without.


The elimination of separateness seems to move through four stages:

  • Tolerance 
    No one really likes “them” in our schools and society, but the “other” is tolerated, allowed limited contact
  • Acceptance 
    At some point, it’s accepted that the “other” is here, like it or not, so just make the best of it.
  • Integration
    Beyond acceptance, there comes a measure of equality and the “other” becomes more integrated into society, less noticed as different.
  • Ignorance 
    The most complete acceptance is when the “other” is so fully integrated into all facets of life (work, schools, business, politics) that one makes no distinction at all. There is no longer any difference that fosters fear as before.

Ignorance of any difference is the goal, of course, where there is no fear or suspicion, no separateness. It’s the place where we truly become One. We see a person as tall, short, black, white, one-armed, male, female, gay, straight, etc., of course, but we make no judgment or criticism. We make no assumptions based upon the physical make-up of a person.


“… your essential nature is pure consciousness. Beyond the disguises of ego-mind and the physical body, you are pure awareness, pure joy and pure potentiality.” – Deepak Chopra

When we drop away the ego and the physical, we realize that our essence—all of us—is a Divine nature, and the Divine doesn’t have a physical body. We inhabit our physical vessel for such a brief period of time and yet, some people spend far too much time noting the differences between our bodies instead of the sameness of our souls. We are not our bodies. We are not our bodies. We are not our bodies. When our mortal vessels can no longer live and we are released from our body, we will no longer have gender. We will no longer have skin color. We will no longer have sexual differences. We will no longer have handicaps or illnesses.

All these require a physical body and without a body, we then fully and completely realize Truth: we are the same.



Sunday, January 9, 2011

Being with what is …

leaves in water

I have a wonderful, grace-filled friend who has a debilitating chronic illness; each day, her symptoms can change, and they’re usually not very pleasant changes. And yet, she remains a whole, wonderful, amazing gift to those who know her and are inspired by her and her wisdom and grace.

Recently she posted:

“Time, patience, sitting, being with what is, watching it unfold, turn, expand, shrink, stay, move forward and onto another awareness altogether …”

I told her that I should write “being with what is” on my blackboard as a reminder. Her response:

“We so often think we can avoid "what is" particularly when "what is" is still "is". ..well until it becomes "was"...or we run towards "will be"...but come on, lets face it ..."IS," is where we are actually living and breathing.”

How often do we resist “what is?” A chronic illness, loss of a job, divorce, death … some things cannot be changed, others can be changed over time, but in the meantime, we have to be with what is at that moment. I’ve shared many times that one of my favorite mantras is “Receive what you have been given.” When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1995, I did not receive or accept the diagnosis; I resisted. I continued to search for other answers, something that could be fixed. I finally had to receive what I’d been given and once I did that, I could learn and grow and find what modalities would work for me in managing the pain and avoiding situations that triggered it. It took several years, but I do OK now. I spent too much time, though, not receiving, not being with what is. Resistance was futile. As my friend reminds me: All is welcome. ALL is welcome. all IS welcome. all is WELCOME.

The Buddhists believe that resistance causes needless suffering. When we resist what is, we can’t move forward. We uselessly fight what is un-fightable. Through the usual gamut of life challenges, I feel I’ve learned the lesson pretty well now, not perfectly, but pretty well. When I was laid off last year, I didn’t spent time fretting over it.  I worked at finding a new job, but I didn’t worry. I accepted my situation and worked to change it over time. I now trust that I will land where I’m supposed to land and that things will work out the way they’re supposed to (even if it’s not what I would choose).

Bruce Lee expressed this lack of resistance as being fluid, like water:

Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.

May we learn to Be with what is. Be like water.


Thank you, Laura!