I received a beautiful little card yesterday in the mail, in which the image of a dove floats on an imperfect globe, watercolor greens and blues suspended in a violet, star-sprinkled, tie-dye heaven. "Peace" is written in a lovely, curlicue script across the top.
I posted it on the bulletin board next to my desk so that I can look at it every day...or, at least, until I don't have a wall to hang it on (tough year for many).
A most excellent friend reminded me recently that it's easy to write a best-seller--all that's required is to give people something that makes them feel good, in spite of the state of the world or themselves. I thought, "Yeah, hope and distraction in a pretty package." (Tough not to feel outright cynicism, in general.)
I can't offer hope for peace, sanity or any other evidence of connection in the way it is typically held out, as a carrot-on-a-stick reward for patient, long-suffering endurance of living. Neither can I offer you any sexy new technology designed to mainline a fountain of youth, cultural appeal and oblivion into your veins. Hope, in the accepted sense, is about "better things in the future". I'm sorry, but in reality, the future is right now. Postponement and denial of this is...exactly so.
There is only one place to be or to see, whether you sail on calm and enchanted waters, or hungry, stormy seas (especially then!). There is only one location on any map that points to the shining beacon, where packaged hope can be seen for the retail product that it is, complete with planned obsolescence (just nine-ninety-five!). That place, of course and on course, is You. Here. Now.
I am not speaking of the "you" presented to the world, or any role you play. I'm speaking of the eye and heart opened wide, perhaps scared, in pain or seasick, but nevertheless noting the peaks and troughs and how one begets the other. There is no victim or perpetrator of storms, you see--not in the Reality that you actually are! The legendary Safe Harbor is the simple act of dropping all ideas and descriptions about everything, just for a moment, long enough to clear the "education", self-medication, mass-hypnosis from your mind.
I know, easier said than done. We all find ourselves in "coping" mode. We exist in a vast energy network, from the smallest fractal cell to the largest, and everything we do individually both affects and is affected by everything and everyone, whether we are consciously aware or not. With billions of people on this planet and a media-driven, virtual hell in our faces everywhere we turn, it's very easy to succumb to a nightmare. Nothing seems good, easy or right anymore. Nothing seems worthy of faith, too many things hurt, and confusion is the dominant paradigm.
But that world and its belief system, heavy as it may seem, is fleeting and shallow as a shadow.
I am not saying this in denial of poverty, war, and sickness, or to sell an idea. I am saying that the "solutions", the answers we seek on both a personal and global scale, are only found right here, right now, in this moment. Too often, we hide below with our arms covering our heads, waiting for some leader or sign--a savior, a knight, a goddess or a white stag--to tell us that it's alright to come out...food and shelter are over there, love is over here, esteem and direction are down the hall...never mind, it will just be brought to you, so you don't have to get off the couch!
There is some effort involved, alas. The instructions may be in a kind of language unfamiliar to you. If that is the case, then you are hearing a voice not pandering to your ego, for once. You are hearing something calling to your native intelligence, your innate creativity, your responsive beauty. I urge you not to dismiss it or ask some authority figure for a translation. Only you can unwrap this particular gift. In the end, you will wonder how you could have carried it within you all this time in such complete ignorance. You will be astonished at the worthiness of this bit of work, as the world unfolds itself to you in a priceless way that you could literally never imagine.
I ask you to consider your favorite symbol of hope, peace or beauty, and its actual location. Is it really somewhere "out there"? Is it really apart from you, in some other time and place when the world ends, or you lose twenty pounds, find a job, get through the holidays, stop smoking or talking or whatever else you compulsively do? Is it possible to look very clearly at Peace apart from its symbols and face value, to get all the way down to what it means to you, and then just live in it, even part-time? Living in peace and love means simply expressing a natural aspect of yourself. It is already there, before the symbols and the conditions you think must be met. To continue to believe in the "right" conditions for its emergence is to conveniently keep it out of your own range, and to make someone else responsible for its growth or death. In other words, your own growth or death. Now that requires a good deal of energy!
Honestly, the hardest part of this is admitting a fear of "failure" (and fears in general), and standing still in an apparent maelstrom of conflicting feeling. It is difficult to turn the light upon oneself and see, in such crystalline clarity, exactly where and why we withhold our love and vision. And for some reason, it is difficult to admit that we are the source of that light, which thankfully glows like the sweetest candle through even the muddiest glass of self-image.
But the stilling results in a sort of dis-stilling, a purification and unveiling of resources. Oddly enough, those means aren't arrived at with a five-year plan, and the reward isn't at the end of some timeline or packaged in a resolution. We don't have to wait to make peace with our fat, the credit-card company or so-called addictions; neither do we have to wait for various "world powers" to settle their endless differences. There is no condition attached to the availability of unconditional love. There is no shame in expressing it. There is no stigma in falling in love with the fearsome gorgeousness that Earth is always revealing to us--thus falling in love with oneself, without protective coverings and virtual distractions--and even more to the point, falling in love with Love to the extent that we become it.
I think most of us know by now that we don't need one more thing to buy into or to sell ourselves out of; we don't need to be told what is important and valuable. We know exactly what it is that we can't stick a price tag on. It lives even while "coping", and can't be turned into a commodity or a currency. It is writing and reading these words. It is restless with creativity and utterly still in its timelessness. You can hear it, see it and feel it right now because it is asking, right now, your attention.
All peace, all love to you, and the courage to let it live in what you say and do! This is what I wish for you, and what unwraps Itself through all seasons.