Unity Centerin western North Carolina
"Holy is Hard"
by Rev. Chad O'Shea - December, 2004
It took me a long time to finally get around to seeing, with some degree of clarity, that, like many of my fellow travelers on the "journey of awakening," I had bought pretty heavily into the notion that "waking up" brings with it a responsibility to always be "high;" to always be a totally cooked, spiritually evolved chunk of "divine humanity." You know, just like the mythic ones who lay down a wave field of "positive vibes" so profound that anyone coming into contact with the compelling energy of their presence will instantly experience a cosmic state of "God intoxication." That kind of "high."
Of course, being consistently "divine" turns out to be a truly massive assignment. You may have noticed. I dedicated significant chunks of time and energy to a wide variety of spiritual strategies designed to sanctify my humanity and render me "holy." I meditated many hours a day for many years. I chanted sacred mantras for hours on end. I exposed my ego to the relentless analysis of a long line of pundits all claiming to have the "keys to the kingdom." I even joined the enunciate camp for awhile to check out the purifying possibilities of fasting and celibacy. Alas! I wound up a hungry, horny celibate.
Refining my humanity into an impeccably consistent expression of holiness was proving to be an elusive goal. But, I had my moments. There were times when the connections all came together and I would walk the land a flawless expression of infinite compassion, agape love, and irrepressible joy. I was holy. I was divine. I was, what my beloved Ram Dass would call, "essence of good boy."
But typically, about the time I was beginning to pat myself on the back for transcending my humanity and embracing holiness as my basic nature, Iíd see someone who spoke to my libidinous nature and find myself wondering if sheíd like to come up and see my holy pictures. Holy is hard!
But, then, along came the grace of a holy remembrance in the form of a conversation Ram Dass wrote about having with a disembodied entity named Emmanuel through the channeling gift of Pat Rodegast. In that sharing Emmanuel had advised Ram Dass, "You are enrolled in a school. Why donít you take the curriculum.?" And he meant the whole flow of form and circumstance we call our "lives." All of it! Not just the fun stuff, the pleasant stuff, the high stuff, the holy stuff, but the hard stuff as well. All the stuff we encounter from day to day including the stuff thatís tough to embrace without a lot of resistance and craving that it not be there to deal with.
And that brings up an option for us that is truly a blessing to recognize and remember whenever we find ourselves stuck in the game of getting high and staying holy. Emmanuelís insight encourages us to consider the possibility that rather than dedicating our spiritual energies to becoming "divine," to attempt to transcend our humanity for some kind of other-worldly state of eternal bliss, it seems more likely that we are here to refine the quality of our humanity, to go beyond focusing on getting and staying "high," and dedicate our spiritual inquiry to the liberating practice of getting "free!"
And thatís a major distinction. From that point of view, Emmanuelís observation on the purpose of our earth experience comes crystal clear. If our purpose for being here is to master the spiritual art of liberating ourselves from all the self-imposed suffering we create with our resistance to certain categories of earth experience, then itís clearly evident that our curriculum for awakening must include dealing with "everything that happens to us" not just the fun stuff, but the painful as well!
At some point in this journey of awakening it began to dawn on me that the fact that we took a human birth, you and I, is not some kind of mistake. Has it ever dawned on you that, regarding our spiritual evolution, we are in the exact right place at the exact right moment. This is just how itís supposed to be. This unfolding scenario of form and circumstance we call our lives is, indeed, a curriculum. We are in Life 101.
"Well who designed this damn thing?" you might be inclined to ask. Ahhhh, interesting question, I thought youíd never ask. As far as who designed this is concerned you have a choice. You can identify with the creation and be its victim, or you can identify with the Creator. "You mean . . .?" you might ask. "Yes!" When you ask who designed your curriculum, the answer is, "you did!"
But donít hear the "you" as "you" the three dimensional earth-being with a fractional line of existence that begins with a human birth and ends with a human death. Itís not you, Clyde, or you, Sally.
No, this life script came right out of Cosmic you, Soul nature you, while you were hanging out with the Oversoul of All Souls in another plane of reality and crafting a curriculum which would be the optimum curriculum to provide you with a set of experiences, through which you could, if you were ripe to, awaken out of the illusion that you are only a psycho/somatic chunk of thinking and feeling humanity out for a brief ride through time and space. Can you handle the proposition that your entire set of life experiences is designed to give you a shot at awakening to your Oneness with it all, Your Ultimate Reality, your Sacred Nature, Christ in you your promise of Glory!
So, if we are going to find freedom through our life experiences, not in spite of them, It seems wise for us to make a commitment to hear what it is we are doing here... what is our curriculum. What is my unique function here in this space/time reality play. Each of us has our own curriculum which flows out of our psychically individual DNA, our personal karmic stuff. We create it all, every last nickelís worth of form and function that weaves itself together into our lives. There are absolutely no errors in the system.
Thatís hard to acknowledge, especially in those moments of extreme duress when the Universe seems totally committed to raining on your parade with a deluge of situation and circumstance that appears totally indifferent to every preference you have for what you want your human experience to include. But, take heart. Contained within those episodes of absolute despair, you will encounter a cosmic force compelling you to turn your spiritual inquiry up a notch to reveal how you are managing to turn the Garden of Eden into a rock and a hard place.
If you are truly committed to knowing and growing, your pain will always push you into a revelation zone of deeper seeing, a contemplation of life from the very highest point of view.
And when you stand up there behind form, right there at the edge of form and the formless, if you just look there for a heartbeat, what you see immediately is an impeccable relationship of creative mutuality. You see that all forms are lawfully related. If thatís a tough proposition to get your mind around, try it from Plato who said, "To know God is to know the laws, and to feel the goodness of the laws is to praise God." Thatís where the rub comes. Itís a real stretch to feel the goodness of the law, the creative principle, when it has coalesced into one of the human experiences that we typically convert into tremendous suffering. Hereís the drill. Most folks are simply incapable of seeing the goodness of the law because their minds are drugged by the love of pleasure and the fear of pain. "Such a mind," Plato taught, "invents Gods or denies them, but never sees the laws at all."
And thereís the bottom line. Freedom waits for eyes unclouded by longing. The third Zen Patriarch said it this way in his Verses on the Faith Mind: "The great way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent the Truth lies clear and undisguised, but make the slightest distinction and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart."
There it is. Ground Zero. One way of expressing the law that determines whether your earth drama will be "mellow" or "melo." And thereís no mystery regarding the way out of our self-imposed suffering. Jesus said it real simple . . . "Judge not!"
Itís your life. Itís your curriculum. Embrace it all to the best of your ability. Learn its lessons as deep as you can take them. Celebrate when the Prize Patrol knocks on your door, without forgetting to give thanks when Life invites you to the dance and then steps on your toes. Hang in there. Master the new steps that preserve your peace and serenity and then rest easy in the sure and steady knowledge that the song hasnít been written that you canít learn to dance to.
Godís Rules For Being Wholly Human...
Enjoy the Grace!
© 2004 Rev. Chad O'Shea
2041 Old Fanning Bridge Road
Fletcher, NC 28732
(828) 684-3798 or 891-8700
Donate Online at:
Network for Good.org
We appreciate every donation!
Thanks for your support!