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We The People

Class & Satsang Sunday, and Allen Toussaint

Greetings friend,

It's been some time since we have connected. Here is where we could do "small talk," but the urge to explore the edges of reality are always to captivating for me to resist. Our lives are unbelievably precious, although it may be difficult to connect with when we find ourselves mired in the "busy-ness" that bustles us through obligations, bills, responsibilities, and survival anxiety. Reverence for life is much like breathing, in that we can often take it's presence for granted. Whether we are aware of it or not, we exist by the slimmest of possibilities. In other words, remembering the incalculably small percentage of chance that allows us to exist in bodies, on a planet, with intellectual faculties is usually in the background of our daily life. But we do exist, and you're reading this (maybe), and it's pretty awesome.

Many people think that spiritual practice is going to turn them into a cloud of holiness that will make the unbothered by the vicissitudes and trivialities of life. I hate to Negative Nelly of the bunch, but while the fantasy of evaporating into spiritual wonderment sounds really great, it's just fantasy. The thing about fantasy is that it cannot change. There is no surprise, curiosity, or wonder in fantasy. It is static, and dead, because it cannot live outside of our imagination; and as much as we want to believe it isn't true, there are some limits to what we can imagine. Fortunately for us, existence is far more interesting and rich than anything we could possibly imagine. If you don't believe me, go search the internet for Pangolins. They're something I would not imagine, but there they are.

In my limited view, spiritual practice allows us to return to our natural capacity to enjoy existing; to be moved and overcome by joy or wonder just by existing. If we were immersed in a world that supported us all to enjoy living, it's unlikely we would wage wars, or make up reasons to harm each other. However, in the modern world as it is, we are often searching for some (external) means to enjoy life because we've made it very difficult simply to exist as a person. There are some people who make a job out of trying to rob the joy from other people. They seem to be under the impression that hindering someone's capacity to enjoy living is something they must do because of some ideas inside their mind. In my opinion, allowing our beliefs and ideas to cause others harm, or make it more difficult to enjoy life is a disgraceful use of life. But, despite my opinion, it's still happening.

The value of cultivating some form of spiritual practice goes far beyond our own personal enjoyment of life, because our presence is relational. The nature of existence is relationships. Atoms, molecules, and all matter and energy function in relationship with the natural principles (quantum and classical physics) that provide for them to operate as they do. Our cells only function in relation to other cells (biology). Our human experience only has context in relationship with all other humans that have or will ever live (history, philosophy, psychology, etc). All life on this planet functions in relationship with the atmosphere and the sun (ecology). The planet functions in relation with the other planets and the sun of this solar system (astrophysics). Expanding further we lose track of our place within this context, but we are part of something so vast and large that we cannot comprehend it fully. The point is, our very existence hinges on, and is constantly interacting with relationships. Just by existing, we are impacting the whole of existence as much as every quark or star. Everything is equally valuable and necessary, and happens independently of our beliefs, ideas, opinions, or stories. But we still have to contend with our beliefs, ideas, opinions, or stories because we have them!

In the spirit of everything thus said, I pose to you this question:

Are you practicing, or are you just going through the motions?

Inspired by Allen Toussaint - We The People


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