I was suddenly able, via some unknown quantifier, to look beyond the fact that they were using my sacred alphabet as profane placeholders in formulas that had no relevance to my life. And I got it. Never before in my young life had I experienced the metaphorical lightbulb going on in my brain. Not like this, anyway. What’s more, it hadn’t been forced on me. It had lit upon me. This was something entirely new to my young self.
I was raised in a Church where you were taught to “know” it was true at a very young age. Furthermore, the knowledge itself held a type of spiritual cache. If you could express that knowledge in front of the congregation, all the better. There’s nothing wrong with this per se, as long as it’s sincere. And to the best of my knowledge, mine was. But looking back, there was certainly the desire to please parents, siblings and co-worshipers mixed up in that equation. It took a long, long time – well into adulthood – to admit that the question I was afraid to ask at the time was, “what if I didn’t know the Church was true? Was I still ok?”
One day, regarding the Church in which I had been raised, I had the same type of epiphany as I’d received in math. I suddenly got it. Only this time, it wasn’t a confirmation of the ideas I had been taught. Nor was it a complete rebuttal. Rather, it was an expansion.
“Yes,” the Sacred Concept said to me, “you are ok. In fact, you were never anything but wholly loved, and can never be anything else. You are perfect the way you are.”
It took me a minute…or a decade… to begin to comprehend that last part. It didn’t mean I didn’t make unfathomable mistakes at times, wasn’t selfish, wasn’t addicted to ego. It didn’t mean—at all—that I had somehow graduated into a holy state. It meant that, in spite of my mistakes, poor habits, and choices, I was loved and that I was accepted.
In that moment, I was free. The lightbulb had never shown brighter. It’s continued to brighten ever since.
We humans are pretty predictable, so you can probably guess what I felt to do next. My first impulse was to tell everyone they were ok, because my own “revelation” didn’t just apply to me. I knew somehow in the calculus of Soul that it applied to everyone. So, I wanted everyone, especially my family, to know that there was nothing they could do to make Creator angry enough to expel them from anything. I didn’t fully understand it, but I’d felt enough to want to share it.
That was my first mistake.
It didn’t take long at all for me to realize that, in spite of the strength of my epiphany, I couldn’t translate the knowledge into words. At least not words that had any purchase on my beloved family and friends. Strangest of all, every time I wanted to share it, I had a feeling that this was not the time to do so. It’s been a long, long journey to more fully come to the understanding that my newfound knowledge applies to them as well in every moment, including this one. They are ok, exactly how and where they are.
Do I hope they “come around”, get a clue, a grip or an awakening?
Well, yes and no.
Yes, because I want everyone to grow. No, because it’s not my place to say what that looks like for them. For me to think I know enough about the arc and journey of their souls to advise them – unbidden, especially – would be the height of pride and self-importance. It would be no less than “The Religion of Aspen, come to save thy soul”.
Rather, it’s become clear that my job is to wait until I am approached. To walk my walk as best I can, and wait. And then to exhibit compassion. And then to wait some more.
Sometimes we’re so zealous about what we’re experiencing around awakening that we want nothing more than to share it. When it comes to things like the environment, since we all inhabit the earth, need clean water to drink, bees to pollinate, clean air to breathe, we definitely have an interest in this type of human awakening. So, our zeal is understandable. However, we can get very self-righteous, impatient, condescending or even violent about it.
But our job is not to awaken others. Our job is to exhibit compassion for the stubbed toes that we all experience as we do so. That’s it.
I’m not advocating hand-sitting. Please, get involved. Protest developments that threaten everything from our water to our free speech to our freedom to pray. Whatever it is that seems unjust, please, make your voice heard. But keep in mind that you are not changing anything on a permanent level. That sacred Change is the property of the One. I think that, with a few sacred exceptions, your job is like mine.
Walk your walk the best you can, and wait. And then exhibit compassion. And then wait some more.
Those of us who consider ourselves awakening, let alone the patience-testing folks that consider themselves awakened, are not the teachers. Again, in the Great Cosmology of All That Is, there’s but one Teacher. The rest of us can assist in awakening if we’re approached, but mostly we’re called to assist those that are hurt by their own choices, without judgement or malice, with the greatest compassion and patience that we can muster from the well of our own experience. To do anything less is to turn that bedroom light on when our friends are still trying to get some sleep. It’s to help the chick to hatch by removing the shell – which kills the chick. It’s to use the force of conditional acceptance to manipulate the subject into compliance.
Are you awakening? Good for you. Now, wait. Serve. Protest. Love. Heal. And wait some more.
One day, a fellow student will nudge you from the desk over and whisper, just loud enough for you to hear, “how’d you get the answer to number three?”
Photo: Getty Images