TrueHeartWork | A Course In Miracles
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A Course In Miracles Tag

8th morning SUNRISE and long road ahead

When You Believe

coffee shopsForever is composed of Nows. Emily Dickinson’s Power of Now is a recurrent theme in metaphysical thought. Yet so often we torment ourselves with worries about things that may never happen. And even the Now we inhabit is made up of the drama of “the news” as  desperate immigrants risk their lives in flimsy boats,  and Europe braces for Brexit.

Our lives are nuanced with shadows, complicated with opinions that may be facile interpretations or moralistic judgments lacking deeper thought or imagination. As we weave threads of  innocence and ignorance, hope and despair, our divided selves are mirrored this month by the polarity in the Heavens. In early June, our challenge may be to keep centred, to stay in the Now. The planets reflect polarising forces, the tension of opposites, in global events and in our personal lives.

people walking Jupiter, Neptune and Saturn with the Sun and Venus complete what is called a Grand Cross.  This Grand Cross is in Mutable signs, so think fluid, think changeable, think the elements of fire, water, and air and what they would look like in nature if whipped up by a strong wind. With this kind of energy there’s a sense of spinning around, bouncing off walls of resistance and spinning around again as our thoughts, or the circumstances we perceive, hit an immovable obstacle – what Yeats describes in the chillingly prophetic poem, the Second Coming:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold…

 On June 5th Neptune and Saturn are both at 12 degrees of their respective signs – Pisces and Sagittarius. This is the second exact hit in the series of three with the third square coming in September – remember that squares hold tension and opportunities for change and growth. So take up the challenge when there are interlocking conflicts or a block that seems immovable or intractable – Jupiter is involved here and Venus too as they separate from the Grand Cross. Jupiter and Venus were known by the old astrologers as The Great Benefics. They bring blessings and good fortune. Allow your heart rather than your mind to guide you deeper in.

wavesNeptune pauses in the sky on June 14th.  We say that Neptune stations. Stations tend to add emphasis to a theme, they highlight a particular planet. So Neptune will be more of a prominent theme for us personally and globally as we find hope in negativity, light in the darkest of days. This beautiful planet  represents the ineffable, the numinous – it is other-worldly, not of this world. Neptune may bring a sense of giving up. That hopeless, helpless feeling when we must sacrifice something or surrender to a force that is bigger than us.  Neptune is about loss and longing and a wave of energy that engulfs us like a tsunami. Neptune seeks redemption.

refugees

Saturn represents the opposite – Saturn is about boundaries, barriers, structures, defenses. Saturn could manifest as our personal resistance or psychological defenses but could also be about patience and perseverance.  Saturn is the inner critic; the wall, the block. Neptune is boundless. Neptune is intangible, mystical, non-ordinary and seeps through the realm of the meta-physical. Those of you who subscribe to the marvelous literary offering Brain Pickings by Maria Popova may have read her recent post about the “Tussle with two polarizing forces ripping the psyche asunder by beckoning to it from opposite directions — critical thinking and hope. Critical thinking without hope is cynicism. Hope without critical thinking is naïveté.”  This describes the walls of Saturn as the waves of Neptunian idealism crash over the political stage and the old order crumbles to make way for the new. Neptune is the ocean that threatens to dissolve the status quo. Saturn represents fear and resistance, the voice of caution,  the protectionist posturing that bulwarks us against the natural impulse of evolution as the political pendulum swings and the walls that were destroyed are built again.

Walls 1

We imagine our lives into existence and if we are mired in facts, rhetoric, slogans, judgement, tick boxes, we imprison ourselves in the walls of Saturn. Perhaps we must face not the polarity of right and wrong but the paradox of this life here on earth. When we take things too seriously, too literally, we label ourselves and others and miss experiencing the moment, feeling “real”, truly being in the Now. A Course in Miracles offers a choice: “The world is full of miracles. They stand in shining silence next to every dream of pain and suffering, of sin and guilt. They are the dream’s alternative, the choice to be the dreamer, rather than deny the active role in making up the dream.”

So, if we attune to the uni-verse, observe the symbolism of the Grand Cross, we can revive our imagination, restore and refresh our hearts and minds. When we believe that the world is full of miracles, we take responsibility for making up the dream. Then in this marvellous miraculous process of change and evolution, we can stay anchored in the Now and know that like the planets in the heavens, here on earth, things are in continual motion. In the words of Rainer Maria Rilke, Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.”

When You BelieveMariah Carey and Whitney HoustonHope 3

 

 

Photograph – Long Karoo Road by Jeanne Thompson

 

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Guardian

twin pencilsWe say we want peace on earth. We want wars and genocide to end. We say we want forests to grow and rivers to run with sweet water. We say we want to watch our children play. A Course In Miracles says, just like a sunbeam can’t separate itself from the sun, and a wave can’t separate itself from the ocean, we can’t separate ourselves from one another. We are all part of a vast sea of love, one indivisible Divine Mind.”

We know this in the deep stillness at the Centre of our Beingness. And then we fall asleep once more to waken to the savagery and tragedy in the offices of satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo and brutal scapegoating of Raif Badawi.

We’re crucified by polarity, still living in the tribal mind that acts out of scarcity and survival. Still demands an eye for an eye, a precious life for a precious life that must be weighed in the bloodied scales of blind belief or castrated custom. The ponderous form of Pluto’s slow transit through Capricorn will bring the darkness of our personal and Collective Shadow into form: Stasi States, the Cyclops eye of Big Brother, the silent trawling through great lakes of data by Google and Facebook, the porous walls of private chat rooms.don't speak

Religious oppression, where human dignity, creativity, uniqueness and freedom of expression cower in the shadows. Where whistle-blowers like Edward Snowden and Julian Paul Assange are silenced. Where Raif Badawi faces, what astrologer and blogger, Joanna Watters calls “barbaric consequences” for his thoughts and words which challenge the tribal mind and threaten the status quo.

Bruce Lipton writes in his book, The Honeymoon Effect,  “There is a fundamental biological imperative that propels you and every organism on this planet to be in a community, to be in relationship with other organisms. Whether you’re thinking about it consciously or not, your biology is pushing you to bond. In fact, the coming together of individuals in community (starting with two) is a principle force that drives biological evolution.”

And yet how are we bonding? Are we seeing without sight, hearing without ears when we grip so tightly to our need to be right?

We all see the world differently. Or we like to think that we do. It depends on which lenses we choose to wear. And it depends on how we wear the lenses that are chosen for us.

“Some toxic co-authors live in our world, and others live in our minds,” writes clinical neuropsychologist Mario Martinez in his book, The MindBody Code.Discarding toxic co-authors involves both literal and figurative action.”

 imagesCA3M04XGNelson Mandela said, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Tolstoy believed that if only we managed to see through our superficial differences and our fear of the other’s otherness, we’d recognize instantly the universe’s basic “law of love”. It is something to which we are born and attuned, only to forget as we enter adulthood; until we choose, consciously to question, to let go of our learned bias and to see in the other their differentness, even as they brush against our tender places.

Where and how will we be the Guardians of each other’s hearts? How do we demonstrate by our words our actions, Tolstoy’s “law of love”? How can we be the Presence, the Peace, the Generosity we want to see in this world, if not by daily remembrances, daily demonstrations of Grace, of compassion for ourselves and all other sentient beings?

How do we guard ourselves from slipping into the stagnant mire of old thinking without sitting back and saying, it’s just human nature, or more eloquently, the real problem is in the heart of man? Where do we draw the line, erect the wall, raise the drawbridge in this permeable, digital world, stripped bare of mystery, bleached of nuance, devoid of dappled delights, empty spaces, pauses in the bustle of busyness? How do we become Guardians of boundaries when our primitive impulse is to become ensnared in hot-blooded, self-righteous outrage at a world where insanity postures as politics and madness dons the cloak of religion?

irish landscapePerhaps we can be vigilant of our own energy leaks, the thoughts that fly like stealth missiles towards nations or leaders who provide a convenient hook for our own Shadow, our own primitive survival impulses which feed on fear and superstition, good and bad, them and us.

For me, it is the poets, the artists, the musicians who live among us who dust our dull minds and open our blackened hearts with the shimmering sparkle of their Divine Vision. 13th-century Islamic scholar, poet and visionary,Rumi writes in this exquisite verse from Wetness and Water:

How does a part of the world leave the world?
How can wetness leave water?

Do not try to put out a fire
by throwing on more fire.
Do not wash a wound with blood.

No matter how fast you run,
your shadow more than keeps up.
Sometimes it’s in front.

Only full, overhead sun
diminishes your shadow.

But that shadow has been serving you.
What hurts you blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.”hearts_2057988a

 

 

 

Three Hearts – Benetton. Photograph by Oliviero Toscani

 

Alanis Morissette – Guardian

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Hometown Glory

“My sister’s not talking to me again,” lamented Maggie, who comes from a family that handles “hot potato” issues by abrupt withdrawal, rigidly polarized role-playing, vast, frozen lakes of silence. Behind closed doors, shuttered windows, or on the altar of talk shows we enact archetypal patterns. For most of us, though, family bonds flourish in adversity, survive ruptures, reincarnate in the comfort of shared history and the cohesion of blood ties. For others, feuds fester for generations; anger poisons the food at the dinner table.

 As we grow into adulthood, it is within our family relationships that we are challenged to set the bar high for our personal growth. Our interactions with our parents and siblings ask that we draw from our creative Higher Self to break the cycle of habitual role playing, to short circuit destructive behaviour. We may need to be counterintuitive to breach the walls of a heavily guarded family secret. To ask questions that inspire thought and heart connection, rather than ignite reactivity. To validate and empathise rather than judge or blame. To choose not to react to behaviour that baffles or appears insensitive or cruel, in the knowledge that it rises from an ancient riverbed of pain. Sometimes it is the news of an accident, an affair, a splintering divorce or lingering illness that opens padlocked hearts, draws us together to deal with a family crisis bonded by our blood. Often it means dismounting from our high horse, bowing our heads to our hearts. Asking ourselves, “do you prefer that you be right, or happy?” (A Course in Miracles)

Like a flock of starlings, families have a murmuration, a rhythmic dance of energy that is passed on from generation to generation. Family therapists see “the identified patient”, the disturbed child or adolescent, who comes bearing the symptoms of the psychic life of the family.

Astrology describes a different approach to the standard psychological view. Our birth charts depict our perceptions of our parents, the unconscious conflicts they bring into the family home, family fate… present in the symbolism of our life journey. There is an old adage “You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.”  Our horoscopes suggest we certainly do choose our family. Our father’s drinking, his covert affairs, the inconsistent or unavailable mother, our sister’s anger, our brother’s depression, is already innate, depicted in the birth chart. We are predisposed, or “fated” to experience our actual parents and the archetypal parents through inner images, our own filters. We may perceive our father as being rejecting, distant. Frequently our actual father will behave towards us in a way that will be rejecting and distant, despite himself. Our own behaviour and conscious or unconscious feelings will elicit a cold and distant response from this father figure who may have other attributes that are perceived very differently by our siblings.   Though the protagonists in the family drama are easy to identify, family complexes are enduring. Salvador Minuchin speaks of a family “system” to which the individual must adapt. Our challenge, our growth comes from knowing that our family members mirror what we disown in ourselves.  Only we can choose to break free of the tyranny of repetitive knee-jerk response to stressors, the old agreements, toxic dynamics and outworn resentments, to try on new behaviour.

Freedom from our suffering comes from taking back our projections, one by one. As Bryon Katie says succinctly, “Placing the blame or judgment on someone else leaves you powerless to change your experience; taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them”.

Families are temples for spiritual growth. We elect the curriculum, and set our own pace to do the work. When things get painful we can choose to cut ties with those who trigger our tantrum-throwing inner two year old. To diminish and dilute painful contact to an occasional well-mannered Hallmark greeting card or a one-line text message. To allow the misunderstandings, miscommunications, to stretch and strain into years of silence.  Or we can value ourselves and our family of origin enough to stand in our own solid, flexible sense of Self. To take responsibility for our own lives, pull back our judgements, and open our hearts to incredible Love. That is Power.

The uniquely magnificent Adele, sings out her soul-sound: Hometown Glory

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