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Instant Karma

Stories, surrender, and John Lennon.

Every time in human history has been marked by an unspoken undercurrent that churns up conflicts, confusion, and change. With instability arises also possibility, opportunity, and ingenuity. The human story as depicted through what we have retained in mythology, philosophy, and religion is as much struggle as surrender. We love to tell stories that create heroes and villains of ourselves in relation to the unyielding cosmic forces that drive existence. From the Titans of ancient Greece to explorers, colonizers, and prospectors and now to the big players of the global digital marketplace all these characters are distillations of the variety of desires that drive human behavior. These looming figures cast a shadow over the abundance of humanity; we have almost lost the beauty and magic of simplicity and the gift of living.

What we do know, with probabilistic certainty, tells us little of the nature of nature. We know there are certain principles which give us the sense of time, space, and of other qualities - only some of which we can relate to through our senses. Almost all the details are fuzzy. There are galaxies upon galaxies unfolding in an elegant and mysterious dance to a tune and rhythm completely unbeknownst to us. This is the context of every day and every aspect of human life, but we push that all into the background and take it all for granted as we busy ourselves with the business of busy-ness.

We are encouraged to stand out, to make our mark, to conquer new grounds on the personal or professional front; as though life is a battle against some unseen adversary or a competition for worthiness or recognition. None of our thoughts will give care to someone who is ailing. None of our ideas will nourish someone who is hungry. We are socialized to chase, strive, possess, obsess, and claim what is already the only thing that belongs to us: our belonging. We already exist, in mortal form temporarily, and need not prove our worthiness to be here. We all belong here, as we are, and not because of meeting some arbitrary standard. What thought or action would crystallize our being into some tangible and consumable form? And who is this imaginary audience which we are hoping to please?

Every now and again we are faced with chance to take pause and remember that what seems solid and fixed is actually fluid and ultimately openness. Such blessed moments arise not as a product of our achievements, but in relationship with our capacity to surrender. The word surrender evokes mental imagery that appears to be purposeful inaction, submission, abandonment, lethargy, or frailty. However surrender is not passivity at all. It is an active humility that embraces vulnerability, interconnectivity, uncertainty, and boldly faces the present moment as a teacher, friend, or lover. Attention, conviction, patience, adaptability, and clarity must all be embodied in order to experience surrender or the flow of grace. All the world's wisdom traditions tell us that when we are open to the mysteries of life and the cosmos we find enthusiasm and joy in all the mundane ordinary moments of being human.

If we are to appreciate life fully, we must each abandon our clinging to stories that keep us locked into the tunnel vision of antinomy; that we must take sides against one another in order to belong in this world. When we begin to take responsibility and accountability for our own experience of separateness we begin the process of healing and awakening to our nature.

This message is brought to you by the sounds of John Lennon - "Instant Karma"


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