Planet Waves

To the Sky. Photo by Sharon Bellenger.

Looking Up
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

THE ECLIPSE brought an astounding light show of planetary maneuvering that had a good many of us looking up into the night sky. That, alone, changed the energy of the collective. We humans are not accustomed to "looking up." We mostly look down -- at our feet, at our hands, at the project we're working on, at the trappings of our lives, at the road in front of us. Seldom up, to contemplate our place in the universe, to celebrate the majesty of the heavens, to appreciate the awesome complexity that gave us the opportunity to DO all these things as mortal souls on planet Terra.

People who are self-reflective, who examine their thoughts and actions, are always seeking a sense of purpose. We spend a good deal of our time pushing toward some kind of accomplishment -- often too much. Marriages break down when one partner is a workaholic; children suffer psychic damage and neglect when both parents are. Some of us compensate for our insecurities by exercising total control over our environment, making those who share it with us unhappy and uncomfortable. Others of us create no personal boundaries that might keep us safe and secure, seemingly unable to stop the assault of other people's demands on us. We do all this in compensation for what we know deep inside is off balance -- finding some sense of our individual purpose would bring us to a more productive path.

Many people on the planet are driven by their circumstance to a lower-chakra survival need, and that defines their purpose -- finding food and shelter for themselves and their family. Sad that the 21st century still finds us dealing with matters so grim; sadder still to think that with all our national resources, our own countrymen suffer similar needs -- for instance, some 47 million of us can't afford health insurance, reflecting a breakdown in the social contract of this country. And I find it even more tragic that those of us blessed with "enough" do not respond to lift up those who are unable to cope alone. If you're brave enough, today, open this link to see what we have left undone as we look down at our feet, disconnect ourselves from one another and follow our narrow little paths.

Ultimately, humankind must feel that it's making some progress, some contribution, even if it only applies to individual households or tribes. We're driven to find some purpose to our lives, though that usually remains a vague notion just outside of our awareness. Parents pass down their ideas about purpose to their young, filling them with family traditions about what that might mean, often ignoring the unique signature of their energies and talents, and perhaps their soul path. Sometimes purpose is imposed on us in a puff of smoke and mirrors -- our president, for instance, thinks our purpose is shopping. Consume, citizen -- it's your patriotic duty! 

I'm sure it's no surprise to you that I question the president's sense of purpose for this country. I just heard him speaking in New Orleans, on this second anniversary of Katrina, asking for " ... the Almighty to bless those that suffer." I would suggest that the Almighty has already done that, does that every day -- now it's OUR turn, and most specifically Mr. Bush's. Can we live with such glaring inequity? Don't we owe ourselves a glimpse of a higher purpose? Can we ever feel better about ourselves unless we get one?

Years ago, I collaborated with a high school counselor and friend to produce a Career Education model that was quickly adopted by the State of California. My own higher purpose in this (the lower being the paycheck) was to help kids find theirs. Too often our children follow family traditions based on fears and prejudices toward educational options that they don't like, don't want and in which they're miserable. Living someone else's dream makes for unhappy people, facing 40-plus years of tedium, killing off our creativity and joy. 

Over the four-year span of a high-school education, we designed age-appropriate tests, surveys and activities allowing the students to discover their talents and abilities, their values and desires, and finally, their options for achieving a career that fit them like a glove. If you think that teenagers aren't able to decide these things for themselves, you'd be wrong. By the time youngsters hit high school, they already know what makes them happy -- I certainly did.

When I was 12, I produced my own newspaper. It was called The Daily Blat, a feverish product of my fertile imagination, which gave me a break from the mundane prerequisites of public education. Looking back, it was clearly a child's version of The Onion, a satirical offering full of puns and penciled illustrations. It was funny and popular with kids who had a whacked sense of humor, like me. I charged two pins for the pleasure of reading it -- a symbolic gesture. Young'uns didn't walk around with money in their jeans in those days, and pins were easy to cop from any of the bulletin boards around the school.  The Blat was my first commercial enterprise, though not my first literary attempt -- I already had two books in progress. I was a writer and I knew it. It put wind beneath my wings. It was the activity that stopped time, lifted me out of myself, engaged me fully in an alternative space and brought me a sense of place in the universe. I didn't know it at the time, but that is the definition of meditation.

Defining our purpose is a high-minded exercise and not something logic dictates -- it's very much the work of the Feminine, which should be good news if you're still looking for yours, considering the influx of Goddess energies shifting us around. If we deadened those childhood dreams through parental controls and practical concerns, we will have a chance to retrieve them now, to immerse ourselves in them...if we choose. Please do. You may be facing the mindless old patriarchy models in your place of business, the frustrating dead-ends that we've designed into our lives at this point in history and thinking you can't do another day like yesterday. I would suggest that you don't have to -- and it would all depend on how you're thinking about this. So pardon my frankness as I cut to the chase.

First, give up your victimhood. If life sucks for you, it's because of your own decisions -- happily, you can make new ones. If you're stuck in survival mode, trapped in a job for a paycheck as so many of us are, you can't throw the baby out with the bathwater without ramifications. If you're considering that, then fully prepare for what might happen next, but soothe yourself with the thought that when you create a vacuum, something always comes in to fill it. If you're not that much of a risk taker, begin to look around for a better fit for your talents -- and pay no attention to the news of the day that tells us that jobs are scarce. That's not your business -- YOU are your only business. Thinking that the world has no place for you will ensure that it won't. Entering into an authentic dialogue with yourself about your desires and talents will prepare you to draw opportunity to you.

Next, understand that finding our purpose in life is a mystical journey, full of stops and starts. I was interested in the recent revelation that Mother Teresa had a crisis in faith early on but continued to pursue the life of a religious for over 40 more years. Seems to me that she had found her purpose, warts and all -- and the benefit to consciousness that she produced has ripples that still spread, today. It wasn't what this slight woman did every day that changed the world -- certainly there are others who spend their lives caring for the dying and poverty-stricken who go unnoticed -- it's what she BECAME on her chosen path that marked her for greatness. The wisdom traditions tell us that life is not about "doing" but about "being." Teresa was BEING Teresa, and for that she is due her sainthood; that we now understand she harbored doubts and vulnerabilities along her way should be encouragement to us all. Saints aren't born -- they're made, decision at a time.

Finally, realize that a truly inspired life is messy, and never ever a straight path toward some kind of Disneyesque "happiness." Our daily achievements are hen scratches on our road toward self-realization. Like the money we can't take with us, the thousands of finished projects that we will produce in our lifetime mean little in the final analysis. Who we've BECOME in their doing -- that means everything. If you're tempted to think -- well, I'm going to work toward being very, very good! -- think again. We have only the slightest notion of what being good means. If you need an illustration, I have absolutely no doubt that on some level George Bush thinks he's doing his very best for the future of this country. See what I mean? 

Here is a link to a short blog piece by Ian Welsh entitled My Friend Peter that gives us insight into this dilemma; it's exceptional in its ability to scramble our perceptions about what "good" means. Please take the time to read it; it will crack loose some of those "absolutes" that must no longer take up space in our consciousness.

I would think that it's a no-brainer for those of us who have a spiritual context to accept that our purpose on this plane(t) has to do with love -- but it's also true that the higher frequencies of love will take our lifetime, and more, to discern.

I had an epiphany a few years ago regarding love. It suddenly became crystal clear to me that everything I did and thought that WASN'T loving was the exact opposite; it was a kind of warring against life. That was a new standard for me to move into, to work toward. Love, of course, IS life -- all that does not support love is a dance toward death. Perhaps our purpose here is simply to reveal that to ourselves -- and perhaps we've come to the point where we can stop exploring what love is not, and begin to externalize what it is. Clearly, we are a work in progress.

Welsh's impressions of his friend also resonate with my own primary signpost on the path -- Do No Harm. That is, of course, not possible here in 3-D, and we must give up the immature notion that such a clean concept exists. We simply do not see all that we'd need to know in order to succeed in that goal. But in this brief description of a man's life, there are hints about how we can proceed with a sense of purpose if our lives are to count for something -- how profound examples of black-and-white thinking can bring us into the gray areas where we can acknowledge all we don't know, but optimize what we do. Like loving unconditionally, doing no harm is a higher goal, a majestic purpose, a worthy effort -- something that gives meaning to our existence, and something to ponder in those brief moments when we take a deep breath...and look up.

CREDITS: Associate Editor: Priya Kale. Webmaster: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Proofreader and Fact Checker: Sara Churchville. Horoscope Editor: Jessica Keet. Business Manager: Chelsea Bottinelli.
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