Life is Benevolent
During my years as a registered nurse and wife of a family doctor, I had the opportunity to observe relationships between mental/emotional states and health problems. An example stands out: A woman who had been diagnosed with cancer would occasionally show signs of ‘loss of boundary’ or the inability to tell herself apart from her environment, thus appearing to have what we call a schizophrenic episode. At those times, the cancer went into remission and it stayed gone – until the episode termed ‘schizophrenic’ settled, at which time the cancer recurred. This, and other such observations, caused me to read as much as I could about the relationship between the psychic process and the physical. How do our bodies respond to our emotional or psychic state?
Through my reading I discovered there were physicians who had similar observations so we decided to travel to California to participate in a workshop offered by one of those doctors.
Following a nine-day retreat in the California desert, what had been theories became reality. Where I had read about ‘interconnectedness’, I now felt and observed that we are not just ‘interconnected’ (interconnected implies two or more separate things connecting) but that we are at essential levels not separate. There is no need to ‘connect’ with that from which we are not separate. At sub-atomic levels we are One Indivisible Whole. A person exhibiting signs of ‘schizophrenia’ feels not separate from their environment. What can we learn from this?
Through that initial group experience I saw that we affect one another all the time at levels of awareness at which most of us are not conscious. It was this realization that brought about the beginnings, in my experience, of what is termed ‘transformation’. I began to move from a life founded upon the idea that ‘I’ am a separate, finite object/personality attempting to be ‘a good person’, expected to show up in ‘positive’ ways, toward a life with no other objective than to be an ever-more-clear expression of the essential Truth of reality – that we truly are One and that it would be wise to remember this. I realized that we all – every one of us with no exceptions – need have no objective other than to evolve honestly and appreciate life, each in our own infinitely creative way.
When I returned from the retreat in California I spoke with friends about my experience, but one day a friend said, ‘Instead of trying to tell us about it, show us!’ And so, the next Monday evening I invited a group of about ten people to explore with me. That was the beginning of the work I have been involved in over more than thirty years and the beginning of vital change – transformation – in my life.
What have we learned through our exploring?
What seems most important is the realization that life, in its essence, is benevolent. The life process does not intend harm; it simply evolves through us, nourishing us. We come forth from an Intelligence infinitely beyond the comprehension of the human brain, an Intelligence out of Which arises all existence as we know it – Intelligence that grows the trees, the grasses, the insects, and our very bodies – and from This we are not separate.
We can live in alignment with this Intelligence, this Mystery.
What prevents us from living in alignment with the state of harmony and love that Life intends? It is, of course, our egos, (the patterning of our personality structure). We cling to the idea that we are separate and must therefore protect ourselves from potential harm, thus from anything that appears different, unfamiliar, new to the ego’s habits. Egos are stubborn and, as the awakening begins to happen, as the Light of pure consciousness breaks through into our awareness, We begin to notice how we protect ourselves even from those people with whom we share deep love. The patterns of the ego resist anything not of itself, not already familiar, so, when someone seems to disagree with our stance in life, ego perceives ‘enemy’, not Truth.
I saw that the illusion of separation affects everything we humans are involved in – health care, ecology, politics and social structure, education, personal relationships – everything! I began to wonder, knowing this, what to do with my life.
The only path that seemed then to make any sense to me was to continue to invite groups of people to explore reality in the way I had begun. Now, more than thirty years after that initial Monday evening, we hold regular meetings twice a week and retreats seven times a year. Together, we realize that the fears and sorrows of our world arise from a misconception – the idea that life is meant to be difficult, even harsh, punishing, whereas the Truth is that life intends only goodness for us, just as it intends that the trees and grasses flourish, that the flowers bloom and provide nourishment for the bees. Only the idea of separation, thus the need to protect and defend, fostered by the human ego, sets up disruption of otherwise harmonious existence. Thus, through our group exploration, it has become clear that it is of benefit to ourselves and to all around us to:
1. Practice regular meditation. By meditation I mean to consciously practice remembering that the Source of all existence is benevolent, ie. intends all that is healthy and harmonious. In meditation we sit still and do nothing but be in relationship with that Benevolence, whether we speak of It as God, as Creator, as Great Spirit or Mystery, or in whatever words we may use. We allow ourselves to let go of all concerns and rest in deep Stillness. Daily, and more than just once a day, we spend time remembering, and feeling, the Love that is offered to us by Intelligence that is beyond the comprehension of the human brain or mind.
2. Practice honesty. By honesty I don’t mean just not telling lies, but sincerely and often asking ourselves if we are staying safe relative to our relationships and our interaction in the world. Are we subtly hiding out of fear of revealing vulnerable, but more authentic, levels of ourselves? Or are we willing to let ourselves be seen? There is, in most people, fear that if we show up as we actually are, speak as we know we could speak, that we will not be liked, that we could be criticized or looked down upon. When we get involved, truthfully, in life, we get feedback, some of which is not comfortable or hurts. But that is how we grow in understanding. That is how we evolve character. That is how we serve one another and the evolution of the human experience.
Once I realized this simplicity, I knew where my attention needed to be placed – with the continuation of these meetings with people ready to be honest about their ego activity and to remember that Life is benevolent.
I am reminded of a story you may already have heard if you have seen the movie ‘Mesmer’. Anton Mesmer tells of how he was one day sitting at the top of a hill overlooking the village in the valley. He said that he had looked around him and saw that all nature was in harmony – the insects, the small animals, the flowers and meadows all was in harmony – except, down in the valley, the people. And he said: ‘And I could not bear to do nothing about it.’ That realization guided his life, as it does mine.