Currents and Futures
| Greetings; Some thoughts on the end of the year, the end of the Mayan calendar, and perhaps the end of an Era – and some Resolutions for ushering in a New Era.
Ancient Reasons for Celebrating December 25th.
Although the Solstice, the shortest day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere) was 21 December, the first noticeably longer day is 25 December. After steadily declining days, and a pause, the Light begins to return to the sky.
From prehistoric times, we have known what the “Return of the Light” has meant. The return of warmth. The return of Life. The return of the Earth’s Abundance. The reality and the symbolism overlap into a powerful celebratory moment.
Cause enough to celebrate. Cause enough for successive religions and wisdom traditions to “hijack” the powerful astronomical date as their own. The 25 December date was sacred for thousands of years before Jesus (who was probably born in March or April).
The return of the Light is given added significance this year, coming at the recycling of the Mayan calendar. Entering this new millennial cycle gives us time to pause and reflect on how well we humans made out in the previous one. And perhaps to make some changes to insure that the next few thousand years work well for all beings.
Now that the apocalyptic nonsense around the Mayan calendar has retreated, now that the celebrations are over, it’s time to get down to the serious business of constructing a New Era.
The Return of the Light – Addressing the Shadow
Return of the Light means removing the Shadow. The Return of the Light means releasing anything and everything that blocks the Light.
In each and every one of us lies the Shadow – the place that lives within us that blocks the Light, that hides from the Light, that denies the Light, that fears the Light. Part of this Shadow is put in place by the collective fear, guilt and shame of an entire society. Every rape, every lynching, every enslavement, every denial, every killing, every oppression has seared itself into our collective unconscious, our collective Shadow. We refer to the residual symptoms of this Shadow as racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. We all share this legacy – every one of us.
Part of our Shadow we inherited from our family of origin, straight through our DNA. And some part of our Shadow is created all on our own, from our personal life experiences, starting in childhood.
In this New Era, we have the opportunity to release ALL of it. On the other hand: recent events demonstrate that we also have the opposite opportunity: we may find ourselves consumed by all of it.
Many of you have done some personal Shadow work… looking into aspects of your personal Shadow. Some of you have done personal work without applying it to the society, or done societal work (like anti-violence workshops or “unlearning racism” workshops), without applying it to your personal Shadow.
Our work is not just external or just internal – there has to be a personal commitment from each person who intends to be a catalyst for a new society, an “imaginal cell” in the emerging butterfly.
In the beginning of 2013, I will be announcing a new Course that will help all of us address and eliminate our personal Shadow and America’s collective Shadow. There is a way to stop further mass killings like Sandy Hook. It will not end by advocating gun control (although I think that’s a good idea). It will not end by spending more money on mental health (although I think that is also a good idea). It will end when we SHIFT THE ENERGY. The politicians can’t do that. We can – but only if we have clarity within.
I will have more information on the Course in the next two weeks… stay tuned.
SOME MEANINGFUL “NEW ERA” RESOLUTIONS:
If a New Year is time to take stock and make some determinations about doing things differently, our “New Era” should be an even better time for some deep, meaningful resolutions. I propose five:
1. GO SLOW
Most of us move at the pace of this society – and that means, we’re moving too fast to reflect… we are stuck in reaction mode, not able to pause, reflect and move with authenticity.
I hear people greeting each other with “Take care.” I hope that we can expand that, so that we can greet each other with “Take time”.
2. PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT IS MEANINGFUL
Right now, the airwaves are abuzz with talk of the “fiscal cliff”. I overhear otherwise intelligent people debating the various conditions and terms of the proposals that abound. THIS IS NOT MEANINGFUL. Every few years, the political and media machinery invent various fiscal crises. Lots of newspaper space and TV airtime are devoted to it. And always, at the “last minute”, a “solution” is found. This Kabuki theater is perpetrated for a very specific reason: to keep otherwise intelligent people from asking questions, clarifying values and taking action.
Keeping you focused on what is NOT meaningful prevents you from asking the real questions of our society, like:
Meditation is an excellent practice to help you pay attention to what is real.
3. DEVELOP YOUR INTUITION FOR THE TRUTH
Lies bounce around on the social media (especially Facebook) because we’ve lost our ability to sort truth from falsehood. This is significant: what kind of a society do we live in when we cannot tell truth from lies? (Most important: there is no group that has a corner on the truth. There is no group that tells more lies. It is endemic to our society.)
What kind of society are we creating, where people with a little technical skill try to pass off what could be interesting ARTWORK as the TRUTH? More importantly: what kind of society are we creating when we CAN’T TELL THE DIFFERENCE? Consider the case of the now-infamous Rainbow Owl:
This photoshopped barn owl came complete with text, stating that it was from a remote region of China, nearly extinct, blah blah. The creator could have just as easily said, “This is my visualization of what would happen if an owl and a parrot mated.” Rather than being the creator of a mildly interesting piece of artwork, the creator of the “rainbow owl” is a liar. He (or she) sits at the crossroads of ability, boredom, and a lack of morals.
The thing that was distressing to me is how many people (including some reading this article right now) actually believed that owls came in rainbow colors. If ingesting falsehood made us fat, many of us would weigh 400 pounds or more.
Make a three-part resolution:
4. GIVE LOVE.
How would you act if you believed you were the ONLY VEHICLE for Divine Love on Earth? If the Divine chose you as the primary way that LOVE is dispensed on Earth, how would you behave?
Who would you give it to? Who would you withhold it from? (In which case: is it DIVINE LOVE, or just your ego talking? Or your FEAR talking?)
Give love – the way the sky gives rain. The sky has no investment in whether the water is used by the “good” or the “bad”. Whether it is put to a useful purpose or not. Be like rain… don’t hold back.
5. PRACTICE A REGULAR DIGITAL “SABBATH”
This relates to Resolutions 1, 2 and 3. After some pangs of withdrawal, you will find yourself with LOTS of time!
If you commit to do this, you will find it fairly difficult. My calendar is online – making Sunday appointments means remembering to print them out on Saturday… along with phone numbers, contact information, maps, all the other things we now take for granted.
Readings: On 19 December, I participated in a very well-done Inter-Faith Meditation. It was a real success, and I thank the organizers, the participants, my fellow panelists, and most especially Lynne Taylor for a great event.
A number of people asked me for a copy of the readings I quoted. I put them here: Inter-Faith Meditation.
(Or, copy and paste this link in your browser window: http://sharif.commonway.org/readings-from-inter-faith-meditation/)
Donations: Now is the time that people think about making donations, especially those of you who do tax planning. Please consider a generous, tax-exempt donation to Commonway! Right now, Commonway is kept alive with the generous donations of a handful of people… if even half of the people who read these articles donated, Commonway would be able to provide classes and trainings for an entire year! Please click on the link and follow the instructions: Commonway donation.
(Or, copy and paste this link in your browser window: http://www.commonway.org/support)
This will probably be my last article for 2012. I wish you love, depth and compassion, during the holidays and beyond.
[NOTE: You are always free to re-post these articles. Please let me know that you’ve done so!]
[NOTE: While I welcome your comments, I do not post comments from “Anonymous”, or from bogus email addresses. That is not the kind of society that we should support. The next society will be based on love and community, not snarkiness and anonymity.]
[On the other hand: there may be valid reasons why you don’t want your name used. (For example: job-related issues. It’s happened before.) Send me an email and let’s discuss it.]