February 7, 2015
Last week I gave a talk at a local university to the “Peace Week” conference attendees. Afterwards, a few came up to compliment me, “Great talk, brilliant!” For a millisecond my human ego was puffed up … then I remembered the truth.
The Tao Te Ching says it: “before and after follow each other …” (2:1-3) …which means that nothing happens in isolation; nothing occurs independent of the context of continuous Life, the Source of which is continuously, without fail, supporting us. Everything is always, at the deepest level, touching everything else, affecting everything else, arising or subsiding within the shared web of all other events and states of consciousness. The seemingly independent events of our lives continue to unfold even as we remain always held in the loving arms of Source, The Great Mother.
When I speak in Sunday Services on behalf of our Temple, it appears that I am the one initiating the concepts about which I speak, that I alone am responsible for the speaking, and that I alone should either take credit or blame for what is said, but the truth is actually much more interesting. Of course, we are each individually responsible for what we speak, however this is also true: when a leader speaks, she is actually simply expressing some aspect of group mind. “Before and after” are “following” each other.
When speaking on behalf of a group, it appears that the leader is “leading” with her thoughts, and “convincing” the group which is listening, but the hidden truth is that it is often exactly the other way ‘round: the leader is simply the convenient channel the group has agreed upon--not consciously, but at a much deeper level—to express its current state of mind, or … and this is important: where the group knows it now wants to go. The “leader” is the one who is connected to the spirit of the group mind which has already decided upon, at a very profound, unspoken level, the particular state of consciousness to which it now chooses to evolve —or devolve, as sometimes happens. The group is simply allowing that individual called “leader” to serve the group by bringing to light whatever its choices are. This proves it: individuals will not remain part of a group if the “leader” does not more or less consistently and accurately continue to express their beliefs. We have all left groups because we decided we didn’t like what was being promoted. So who is leading who? A “leader” with no group is just a lone nutjob on a street corner yelling at the air.
On the one hand, this is bad news for our egos because as an individual we can never really take “full credit” for anything. On the other hand, this is good news because we realize we can relax. When we remember that “before and after follow each other,” that nothing can happen outside the context of the Web of Life, the tremendous burden of responsibility many of us feel for “getting it all done” suddenly is considerably lightened. We remember that we alone are never responsible for making it all happen. From rushing around frantically trying to accomplish it all, we can stop, lift our heads up, take a moment to breathe and look around and see that …omigoddess, how wonderful! … All is already unfolding within the supportive arms of The Loving Mother.
“What!?” some may say …. “There have been plenty of times in my life when terrible stuff happened and I was not supported by any ‘loving arms’!” Yes, of course, the wisdom that “all is happening in a context of supportive Life” does not mean that we never temporarily “fail.” A good mother watching her baby try to walk doesn’t rush to prevent the stumbling and falling. The falls happen, but Mother is attending, supporting, always there, always right behind baby. She will permit baby to fall so the kid can learn to walk, but Mom won’t ever let anything really bad happen.
In the same way, for our own learning, Source lets us fall in various ways in various lifetimes, but in the end, nothing really bad can happen to us. Our Being is eternal; “… fire cannot burn it, water cannot wet it, wind cannot dry it… ” In that eternal sense, nothing can ever really hurt us.
If you belong to a group, the leader of which is promoting principles with which you disagree, it may be your responsibility to speak up. It may very well be that the group mind secretly wishes to evolve and needs a new speaker –maybe you!--to bring that to light. I know my own mind and speaking has evolved, and continues to do grow and become more refined because of what individual members take time to share with me, quietly in personal meetings or e-mails. Thank you, everyone.
“Before and after follow each other …” Nothing we think, feel, speak or do occurs in isolation. Everything takes place within the context of continuous Life, the Source of which is continuously, without fail, supporting us all. We can relax. We are all always held safe in the loving arms of The Great Mother. Thank you, Mom.