Living with the Unknown

Nothing is definitively known, ever. That’s why Native Americans, in their timeless wisdom, have called life the “Great Mystery.” No matter what scientists do to try to break the code—send vehicles to Mars, create life in a test tube, photograph black holes in space—the puzzle of human existence and life and death is never really solved. Any “knowledge” we come to as a species is a shifting illusion that changes with the years and with those who are “knowing.” That’s the realm of science and the mind—and belief systems.

Then there’s religion and spirituality. Many traditional religions have explained life’s mysteries with teachings about God, each of them claiming truth and revelation. Yet those too are based in belief. Spirituality extends the parameters a bit to a wide array of perspectives and possibilities about the nature of life and Spirit. If we remain open, we enter the realm of the heart. Therein, it becomes clearer that we can never fully understand life or God; we can only experience them. Which means letting go of interpretations and searches and just living in the mystery as it unfolds.

I’ve found this to be a guiding truth over the past month on my journey with breast cancer. Each day, new information comes up to be processed, or there is a new test result to be waited for. If I try to figure it all out ahead of time or mentally project myself into all the possibilities, I get lost in the “what ifs.” And fear. Instead, I focus on the experience of each moment. That returns me to my heart. My decisions and direction arise organically from there.

My years of meditation practice have prepared me for this time. It becomes an intensive immersion in present-moment awareness. Breath by breath. And I find I don’t have to remind myself to do it. At this point in my life—and perhaps because of the nature of what I am going through—I seem to automatically remain centered in today’s experience. Tomorrow is a question mark, but today the sky is clear, the birds are singing, and I am alive. That’s all I “know.” Perhaps that’s the gift of facing a disease that is full of unknowns and can be so frightening. In order to remain centered in the calm at my center, the peace of my soul, my entire being brings me back to the present moment.

So how do you and I retain this wisdom, this calming approach, in our day-to-day lives, beyond crisis situations? Here, I think it once again becomes a practice of consciously calling yourself back to the present moment, with each breath you take. The more you do it, the more ingrained it becomes in your consciousness. Gradually, you release your hold on the need to know outcomes and relax into living with the unknown, accepting each experience as it arises and letting go into the next one. This is the natural flow of spirit in life. If you allow it, it will carry you effortlessly through the endless vacillations of life. You feel every emotion as it arises but never lose your connection to the inner peace that lives at your core. In this way, the unknown becomes your faithful companion, instead of your adversary, on life’s journey.

New World, New Lives

The media these days is full of stories of angry disputes between individuals and groups over what each sees as “truth” in the world. Much of it has become centered on making rules/laws about everything from masks to voting restrictions, often from single-minded opinions or self-interest, not mutual caring and cooperation. It seems increasingly hard to believe in the possibility of peace on Earth. Some of us may recall past lives where entire civilizations were destroyed from such conflicts. We had hopeful visions of bringing back a lost world, without the power struggles. But what once was is done. Despite appearances, everything is new this time around.

As compelling as past-life memories are, we did not come back to Earth to recreate Atlantis or return to Eden. Nor to experience an apocalypse. This lifetime is different. Our souls have learned from those ancient experiences, and we carry that wisdom into our lives now. We are here to live into a completely new world, dreamed of for millennia but finally rising into physical form. We thought it might come in 2012, but that was just a breakthrough point. The global crack in unconscious robotic existence that COVID provided was the entry into a more expansive awareness. That open space in which we withdrew into our innermost selves opened the door to living from the heart and not the mind. Hierarchical social and political structures that divide us into warring factions will eventually dissolve. This time we are here to live in peaceful harmony with one another, a balance inherent in diverse circular communities and life-centered relationships.

What we are moving toward is the rebirth of a planet, the emergence of the New Earth. It is not always beautiful or engaging, but among the ruins of constricting lifestyles that emphasized competitive relationships and material possessions is a crystalline dimension of possibility and radiance. It shines brightly here and there and gives each of us hope that the vision we hold deep within us is not an illusion but rather a new beginning we have been evolving into for millennia.

This time we will get it right; we will not self-destruct or annihilate one another and the planet. Our blue Earth is turning golden, slowly but surely. The light of love is rising in the collective consciousness—a sparkling beam that will transform the world from singular self-centered living to connected soul presence. It may sound like a dream or a fairy tale, but more and more of us are seeing these visions of possibility becoming reality. We may not experience the full flowering in our lifetimes, but we are definitely meant to be part of the seeding and awakening.

So when you see news reports of hatred and violence in the world, think of it as the death throes of an old world and a futile attempt to shut out change and transformation instead of embracing it. There is a more compassionate and loving kindness that is gradually gaining momentum and visibility in the collective. Many of the new generations are already living in this dimension, this vibrational field. The old ways have become invisible to them. As consciousness has evolved through millennia, it has increasingly opened our minds and filled our hearts. Each one of us, in every generation, back through the decades to the present day, is playing our part. Imagine a new life and a new world—and live there. Now.

See the Good

Every morning we have a choice: to see the world as full of blessings or full of problems. The polarities of human perception. It is we who apply the labels, the filtering process. And in doing so, we set ourselves up for either contentment or suffering. Often it is a choice between living from the head or the heart. The mind’s function is to look for problems to solve, so it sees them everywhere. The heart’s purpose is to love, so it sees beauty everywhere. It is of course possible for these two to live in balance, but only if the overall perspective is positive. Then the heart can expand its love to include the mind. Within love, the mind relaxes and looks for peace instead of discord. The two work together to bring about human harmony.

But, you may ask, what about injustice and inequality in the world? How can we ignore those? Well, the idea is not to ignore them, but to open to a larger perspective of the times we are living in: to see everything as a process of evolving through extremes to a more compassionate consciousness as a species. This is an extraordinary era. Each of us is playing a role in the evolution of awareness and human relationships on a global scale. It is part of a planetary shift that has been foretold for thousands of years. If we live our lives with love and kindness rather than fear or mistrust, the transition will be experienced more smoothly within us. Inner harmony will be reflected in outer balance. The love and peace that live at our core will rise to the surface and radiate outward. Separation and “otherness” will fall away.

This inner awakening is happening individually and collectively now. It may not be obvious because the mainstream media only reports problems and fear-based drama, not “good news” about people working together for peaceful coexistence with one another and with Nature. Look for these positive stories; listen closely to the voices that speak of unity and oneness. This too exists on our planet, and we are part of it. When you see this evolution clearly, you become one with it. When you see the good, your heart expands, and that energy can be felt by all those around you. And most especially by you.

In living my life with an eye to the positive, my entire experience of daily life has shifted. Recently, I became aware of ways in which I sometimes make offhand negative comments or complaints. For instance, commenting on the paint color of a house as unpleasant or the behavior of someone as inconsiderate. Why choose those things to point out? Why not instead comment on what is beautiful in the house or on kindness in a stranger? It’s there; I just have to see it. Sometimes we think we are being honest in pointing out the “flaws” in things or people or life itself. But honesty is relative: you can be positively honest or negatively honest. Why not choose the former and break the habit of negativity? Your inner vibration reflects that positivity to everyone you encounter; your words, and your feelings and thoughts, have an impact. The world is experienced within first.

As I feel the truth of this dynamic more deeply, I live more from a place of seeing what is good in the world instead of what is lacking. Life becomes a daily blessing because that’s what I hold in my heart. I notice so many others holding that in their hearts now too. Thus is global transformation and unity revealed to us—and lived fully in our lives. With each positive vision shared and each hand extended in love, you and I help to evolve not only ourselves and our planet but the entire vibrational universe as well. See how good you are?!

Becoming a Vessel

“In order for me to become a vessel, to be used, I had to have my attachments broken. You can’t be a true vessel if you’re attached. You have to be emptied out.”
—Julia Butterfly Hill

The idea of becoming a vessel, or conduit, for selfless love to flow through you into the world is part of many spiritual teachings. To be of service in this way can become one of the highest aspirations for those on a deeply committed spiritual path. Julia Butterfly Hill, who spent two years living in the branches of a 1500-year-old redwood tree to prevent it from being cut down, has described her own preparation for this dedicated act of service. She let go of all physical attachments in terms of possessions, but then Mother Nature emptied her of everything else in a fierce wind/rain storm that brought her face to face with the possibility of her own death. She was “emptied out” for the task ahead.

We may not all be called to such courageous actions, but more and more I believe we are called to be fully present in our lives in the most loving way possible. When your heart is open, you can touch the hearts of all those around you. Love is the greatest act of service imaginable. It doesn’t necessarily take physical stamina or facing death, but it may require you to let go of attachments that keep the energy of love from flowing freely. Ones you may not even be conscious of. Like attachments to particular outcomes or to controlling how things occur. This requires letting go at the deepest level. And often the letting go itself is beyond your control. Perfectly designed that way.

I have written previously about my move to Florida and my expectations about how it would unfold in terms of being of spiritual service there. God presented me with a framework, and then proceeded to take it apart piece by piece. Nothing I had planned on came to pass. And as things fell away, I felt at times lost and abandoned by spirit. Yet that same spirit kept me going, showed me light in the midst of my inner darkness—and the beauty of Nature everywhere. At the end of more than a year of being emptied out, I finally saw that this was exactly what was meant to happen. I had asked to be of service, to be a vessel, over and over in my prayers. I couldn’t be that when I was full of expectations and ideas about what that meant. Surrender means completely letting go and just being peacefully present, without attachments, for whatever arises.

Then the “storm” of COVID arrived, within which we each encountered our own possible death (like Julia). At that point, I could see that all I had just been through had prepared me for emptying out and letting go even further into acceptance and peace. There was nothing I could do about stopping this pandemic. I saw that what I could do was remain peaceful and loving every day, through meditation, writing, and connections with individuals around the world online or in my own neighborhood who were holding this same space of peace and love. The “invisible” network that the Internet provides has helped many of us find support when feeling isolated and alone during this time. It has shown us how we are always connected in our hearts.

We all do what we can in our lives—and the greatest gift we can offer is in being who we are deep inside: compassionate, peaceful human beings. COVID has compelled us to look inward, to meet our own souls, maybe for the first time. From the soul’s perspective, there is no necessity for trying to control what happens or doesn’t happen. Within the soul, there is only loving-awareness. When life empties you out of all external activities and aspirations, you come home to that wisdom within you. The wisdom that shows you that in emptiness is peace and space for the love in your heart to flow freely to all those who cross your path. This is what it means to become a vessel, a conduit, in the world. Perhaps yet another of COVID’s hidden blessings.

Love or Fear

Photograph © 2020 Peggy Kornegger
So here we are, a time like no other we have ever experienced. Humanity is living out the key choice point of our lifetimes: love or fear. Do we succumb to escalating apprehension about a global virus and slam the doors to our hearts? Or do we stand firm in the belief that love and trust are the defining energies of life on Earth and that keeping our hearts open is the most important choice we can make in our lives? Seems to me that is why we were born, why we all incarnated at this time in the history of our planet. To make that choice and live it completely. To come into full awareness of ourselves as love at our core.

Living love instead of fear, in terms of the coronavirus, doesn’t mean disregarding self-care and community health or choosing your own well-being over someone else’s. It means following practical precautions (e.g., washing hands; taking herbal supplements that boost immunity; staying home, except for necessities—completely if you have low immunity or any cold/flu symptoms), but also not living in daily terror that the apocalypse has arrived. Filter out fear-based news reports and choose to pay attention only to those that are responsibly informative. Remember that fear can be used as a control mechanism by those in power. Avoid the daily media drama. Whatever happens, this is your life: how do you want to live it? Reach out and help a neighbor, perhaps someone who is elderly or has a compromised immune system and can’t leave their home. Speak words of comfort, peace, and kindness to those in your life, friends and strangers alike.

In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, a good friend of Anne’s and mine passed away in Boston from cancer. We have lost several friends to this disease in the last year. It is heartbreaking. Nothing else seems to matter but the love you feel for them and the friendships you have shared over a lifetime. But the tears that continue to flow keep your heart open and connected to what is really important. Ultimately, you can shut down and try not to feel at all, or you can allow the salty tears of loss and grief to cleanse your being of anything that would keep you closed. You can live in fear of cancer and viruses and heartbreak, or you can live each day fully open to all of life, the pain and the beauty, the loss and the love.

Anne and I are doing our best to consciously choose the latter. It is not a one-time decision; it is a daily opening of the door to our hearts and living love over fear, again and again. You can spend a lifetime mourning the tragedies and “unfairness” of life, or you can fully feel your sadness or fear as it arises but then choose to remember the power of the love in your heart and soul. You were born in that love, and it is the guiding light within you. Don’t allow it to be blown out by circumstance or the waves of fear and unease that are rolling over the planet. At the deepest level, this is a time of tremendous transformation, change, and coming back into balance. You and I are here to make the difference. Reach out with love each day. Smile from your heart. Be kind; be grateful. That is your birthright and your destiny. Each time you do so, love rises and fear falls away. And the blessings of life are remembered and celebrated.