From the standpoint of worldly existence, my vocation looks rather difficult to understand and even boring. My job is to guide people Home. My vocation is to be Home. Home is the Heart, where we meet God. In order to go there, we have to leave all our attachments behind. Among other things, we have to go through all our emotions, owning, mastering, and transcending them. We cannot pick and choose; we have to face them all.
As I guide people through this territory, each person has to feel what they have. It is not my fault if you are filled with hate and anger. Those emotions are yours, not mine. I am willing to walk through them with you to go Home. We cannot skip parts of the road because we do not like them.
As long as you are willing to let go of and move on from the emotions that arise, I am with you. Though I am willing to go through these with you, they are not mine. They are your attachments. You are the cause and effect of your experiences, and you are the only one who can let them go.
When you leave my class, you are by yourself with any vibration you may have. I, too am on my own; I do not have “your” karma or feelings. Neither do I have your karma or feelings when I am working with you. In other words, from the standpoint of relative reality, we are each responsible for ourselves.
I understand and empathize with your feelings and situations, but I do not, nor should I, resonate or react. My job is to help you still these vibrations. If I resonate or react, then I am drowning with you. I am not to jump in and drown with you. My job is not to be distracted from being focused on God. My job is to help you not be distracted by your own false idols. To be focused on false idols is to be hollow at the core.
If you have no core, then you “live in the moment” in a destructive way. You have no memory. You believe that everything you do, feel, or say at any moment is equally valid and cancels out all contradictions. You rewrite the narrative at will. And you do injury—to yourself and then others.
Focusing on God will bring you back to the Heart, to your true core. It is crucial to remember, though, that constant devotion to God is not a relationship between equals. We are not colleagues of God. There is no dichotomy with God. If we create a dichotomy, then we are limiting God. God IS everything at ALL times and places. If we are made in God’s image, then in a limited way we have all that God has. We have all God’s aspects in a shrunken form.
In Sankrit, we say we are all made up of the three gunas: tamas (inertia), rajas (activity), and sattva (calm). In sadhana we have to overcome all three to go Home. Tamas causes reckless indifference or dullness. Rajas causes passion and pain. Sattva brings calm, light, and clarity. We are a combination of the three, and we must therefore accept all of them within ourselves. Depending where we are in the spectrum, we cause varied levels of injury to ourselves and others. It is only when sattva predominates that we begin to bring peace to ourselves and others. In a given situation, we may think we are bringing peace, but in fact we may be bringing inertia.
Tamas, inertia, is the source of evil. When we choose to commit to darkness, ignorance, and indifference, we choose evil. We identify with the quality of inertia, and our activity is then colored mostly by tamas. In order to overcome evil, we have to go from inertia through activity to calm. We cannot be a sattvic, truly good person until we accept our own evil. If we are not willing to be honest and traverse that country, we will never arrive at the Love we long for. This is an important part of the journey on which I guide you.
Remember, as soon as we are truly honest, we move forward. Here is a foursquare that will help us accept our own evil:
Self Reliant Done for you/Magic/Easy/Codependent/Lack of Will/Absence of self-effort
If you refuse to accept your own evil, you will project it elsewhere and never get free of it. You will do untold injury and call it being good. You will see anyone who calls attention to your own evil, even in an effort to help you get clear of it, as judgmental.
Thomas Merton understood how this works, and expressed it clearly in New Seeds of Contemplation:
There is no evil in anything created by God, nor can anything of His become an obstacle to our union with Him. The obstacle is in our “self,” that is to say in the tenacious need to maintain our separate, external, egotistic will. It is when we refer all things to this outward and false “self” that we alienate ourselves from reality and from God. It is then the false self that is our god, and we love everything for the sake of this self. We use all things, so to speak, for the worship of this idol which is our imaginary self. In so doing we pervert and corrupt things, or rather we turn our relationship to them into a corrupt and sinful relationship. We do not thereby make them evil, but we use them to increase our attachment to our illusory self.
All sin starts from the assumption that my false self, the self that exists only in my own egocentric desires, is the fundamental reality of life to which everything in the universe is ordered.
There are two things which men can do about the pain of disunion with other men. They can love or they can hate…. Hatred recoils from the sacrifice and the sorrow that are the price of this resetting of bones. It refuses the pain of reunion.
Accepting our own evil is a vital step in this “resetting of bones”.
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