Joseph Anderson

Paying attention – especially now

The election: I have something to say about that, but first, a little story.

While on a walk last weekend Victoria and I came across one of those Little Free Libraries that are sprouting up everywhere. This particular library has a pretty nice selection of titles, and there was one that really grabbed me: Kissing the Limitless. I told Victoria, “that sounds like a book you would like” – but when I picked it off the shelf something in it immediately spoke to me. It is a course in the practice of “deep magic and the Great Work of transforming yourself and the world”, which, as the author makes clear, means spiritual practice that is focused on clarifying intentions for what one wants to create in the world. I’m taking an initial read through it and finding it very helpful. One of her key ideas is “self-possession”, a neat phrase that refers to a state of being infused with divine spirit, where that divine is one’s own highest inner self. It’s a way of living fully into one’s reality without any limit, and doing so in a very conscious and grounded way. It’s wise and sane and cosmic all at the same time (my favorite combination).

And it was especially good medicine last night as the political news unfolded. The author, T. Thorn Coyle, wrote these words, that seem meant for me, and us: 

The first steps toward self-possession require getting in touch with life power. This begins by looking at the ways in which we live in illusion, and points us toward ways to look at what is actually in front of us. Solace, strength, and a realization of the life power available are derived from a trip through the primal elements of life: air, fire, water, earth, and the spirit that connects us to all.

The difficult circumstance we find ourselves in gives those of us who are on the spiritual path a new opportunity to reaffirm our commitment. As always, but especially now, we are called to dig more deeply into the authenticity of who we are and find the strength to continue on the road toward true service. As always, but especially now, we are called to pay attention to what is in front of us, to draw strength from the ample gifts that the universe presents us with, and put them in the service of the true and beautiful unfolding of our purpose.

None of that is any different today than it was yesterday, except that a new focus and intensity is now possible. Without a doubt there is grieving to be done: that will come, and like all grieving it will take some time. But I want to encourage you to stay true to your wonderful path, and continue your work to strengthen and clarify your intentions and your connection with your purpose. Pay attention to what is in front of you. Stay in possession of yourself – or if you have temporarily lost that possession, take the steps you need to take to reclaim it. There’s nothing more important to do right now.

Like a lot of people I know, I had trouble sleeping last night. What finally brought me to calm and rest was Joan Borysenko’s wonderful version of the Buddhist Metta prayer:

May you be at peace
May your heart remain open
May you awaken to the light of your own true nature
May you be healed
May you be a source of healing for all beings

I hope these good words bring you the comfort and clarity they have brought me, and that they remind you, as they reminded me, that in all moments – in this moment – your heart-opening work goes on, your awakening goes on, your healing goes on.