11 Day Clearing – Anima Mundi

My apologies for the lateness of this post. It was supposed to be done yesterday.

This post is part of the  initiated by bluebutterfliesandme, a series of posts reclaiming 11 in which we can:

“Take one thing a day, either a physical, actual object that needs to go, or better yet a habit, or psychological bug and exorcise it, throw it out.”

You can find links to all the contributors and their offerings at the link above to the bluebutterfliesand me blog. Clearing away is something that perhaps comes and goes in the same way that the seasons do. Sometimes something must go just as autumns changes clear the trees for next year’s growth.

More than any other time in my life I feel blessed with abundance. Not the richness of having things but the richness of being alive and of being immersed in whatever I am doing and wherever I am. It wasn’t always this way, and that might be why I am now able to appreciate peace and happiness when it does arrive that at one time seemed so elusive.

Droid_01-10-2010 153I’m not sure that I can narrow down what I am clearing to one thing, but these past few years I have felt my attention facing a little more outwards into the world. Maybe that is what aging does to us, or maybe it is something else, but I am far less concerned with why, than with what the change is like.

In the earlier years of my life I was very focused on the seeming mysteriousness of who I am. Having always felt deeply unsettled, a troubled child, I thought my quest in life was about knowing who I am.  But as I get older (I am 55 now), I find my interests shifting outwards to a curiosity about what is going on for others and in the world in general. Life can be hard and suffering comes in many different shapes and colors, but as much as is possible, I don’t want to add to the world’s or to any individual’s suffering. So, the question has become, what does the world need? A very big question…

Although it seems that the world is in a mess, the more general my feelings are for the worlds problems, the less it seems I can do anything about them. So, part of what I am coming to see is the importance of differentiating between what is within my reach to change and what problems are too abstract, and not in reach. Probably not big news for some people, but life is made up of small moments, but they can be powerful sometimes life-changing moments when we look to see how we can help each other, even in small ways.

So, I thought I would offer up a few thoughts about the clarity emerging from this shift in perspective. I hope these thoughts do not come across as criticism of their opposites, or of anything that might be important and helpful in someone else’s situation – they are not meant to be.

1) I am not a project to be worked on. There’s more happiness to be found from engaging others and the world. I am the vehicle, the eye, the mind, moving, seeing, thinking, taking in and hopefully bringing forth something that the world needs. The I that would fix me is just as broken as the me I would fix. Healing is needed of course and does indeed happen and there’s nothing wrong with seeking a path towards that goal.

2) The world needs each and every one of us. Together we make up a whole, and there is no world outside of that whole. We are in the world and the world is in us. We are the world – all of it. We all belong, but it’s good to be aware that not everyone feels this way and it might be your turn to remind someone else that they are needed, even or especially when they can’t see why.

3) We have nothing. We don’t have anything because life is a motion picture. Things, feelings, others, ideas, beliefs are all in motion and organically changing; psyche reflects soma. We are the movie, the play, the song. It’s a drama, a tragedy and a comedy and sometimes it seems all at once.

4) We all make choices, ready or not. We all realize in varying degrees the choices we are making. Some of us need reminding of the power we actually have instead of the power we think we want. This was especially true for me back in the days of my youthful folly.

5) It is easier to misunderstand but more rewarding to take the time to understand. When I find myself immediately resisting an idea or an opinion, it can be tempting to place myself in opposition and increase the tension, but I have been trying to practice listening and imagining the world from the perspective of what it is that is being resisted. It’s not always easy to do, but when done, it helps me to understand how someone can form the ideas and opinions they have.

6) You can always change your mind. This is a wonderfully freeing gift that we are granted. Opinions change, feelings change, love is available if we practice looking for it and passing it on to others, even in the very small kindnesses that we do in our day-to-day.

7) Everyone and everything needs our love. Again, love happens in small ways and to the things that we touch and use as well as the people, the animals, the ground that we walk on. Love for the world can bring care for the world, and care for the world can bring beauty and peace.

At the very least I am trying to be less a part of the problem and more a part of the solution as my life unfolds. Where once upon a time I felt separate, apart and outside of the world we all share, I now see the world as an unfolding tapestry where each of us has a part of the continual weaving that makes up what C.G. Jung and others have called the Anima Mundi, or Soul of the World.

Please enjoy Soul Fields post posted today  tomorrow and tomorrows todays offering from Karen, whose link should be found here.

Here are the links to all of the contributor’s posts in this series:

Sept 11th – 11 Day Clearing~ Self Doubt

Sept 12th – 11 Day Clearing ~ This too shall pass

Sept 13th  – Self-Reflection (Entry #2)

Sept 14th –  Healing through forgiveness

Sept 15th –  Darkest Before the Dawn

Sept 16th –  Am I a Raven or a Dove

Sept 17th – Cellular Healing Meditation

Sept 17th –  Anima Mundl

Sept 18th –  Changing your Perspective on Life

Sept 19th –  Lost in your Thoughts

Sept 20th – Self Reflection (Entry #3)

Sept 21st –  Clearing and Living in the New Energy Consciousness

Sept 22nd – Pluto Station-purge, clear, forgive, release

Religion, re-organized

I hear it said by many today, that spirituality is the important thing, religion not so much. I take this to mean that some people have come to prefer not belonging to a particular church, even though spirituality remains an important part of their life. Sometimes people tell me religion is an obstacle to God. If you ask me, being human is the biggest obstacle to encountering God, as well as to encountering each other and sometimes even oneself.

I don’t know how the cultural history of the of the word “religion” led to its popular meaning today of “blind and boring ritual that has nothing to do with God”, but you often hear the profession “I am spiritual, not religious.” The root, “religere,” meaning to bind, is a fitting way to describe what happens to the heart smitten by God or anything that comes to hold power over us. If my religion binds me to God or anything else, is it the binding itself that is too hard to bear? Even with greater than ever freedom, we moderns often suffer from a decreased capacity to bind, commit to, and especially to stay the course. We move, change jobs and partners more often than any generation in the past.

Perhaps it is so that many people who have had a gripping encounter with transcendence are disappointed when the church experience fails to deliver to them any sort of connection to God, to others, or even to oneself. Having had several transcendent encounters with the invisibles, ancestral and angelic, it never occurred to me to view church and spirituality as mutually exclusive or inclusive locations to meet up with unseen entities.

I have attended church in the hopes of encountering God. More often than not, the only encounter I have is with myself, my thoughts, feelings, hopes and worries wherever they happen to be that day. But there is an encounter in church that seems to require the confines of sensual structure; the building, the people, and our increased reception to what enters into us both physically and mentally because of the particularity of place, time and otherness.

People outside church may also be similarly engaged, but the people in church; those at Mass who are there for the ritual, believe they will encounter the risen Christ. They are there to absorb the essence of God – body, blood and spirit – into themselves in the hopes of transforming their imperfections, weaknesses, and human frailty.

The church then is a container of sorts, in the same way that marriage, family or friendship is. There is something happening in us when we are contained. A relationship is constellated between the members that shapes meaning and purpose for each of us, and a shared identity between us. Parts of others that enter inside us inhabit us like furniture inspiring us with ideas and emotion. Over the course of our lives these relationships are a part of what transforms us.

There’s really no guarantee that those who still choose to go to a particular church with a ritual practice are necessarily doing so for a deeper transcendent relationship with a higher power. They may very well be in a blind stupor, endlessly repeating meaningless ritual because they are comfortable sheep in need of a shepherd.

Scan from Mystery of the Golden Flower by C. G. Jung

For those outside of traditional religious practice it may seem unnecessary, restrictive, blind and unoriginal to organize one’s practice institutionally among a flock or herd. Although I have left as many churches as I have joined, it is bittersweet to me that none of these practices have stuck. The religious urge remains, as Jung noted,

“You can take away a man’s gods, but only to give him others in return.”