What I have learned of Spirit and what I think we intrinsically miss is that we do not need to idolize anyone, not teachers, not priests, not popes, nor any human being for we are all equal. Our place in space time is the only separation from “us” and “them.” To idolize another human is to miss the point that Spirit consistently makes. When we come into contact with someone who is awake to Spirit, we have used the terms, enlightened, “woke,” gifted, touched, Shaman, Rabbi, healer, etc, as names to define these categorically different folks. And what they all have in common is a deep willingness to meet Spirit, humbled to receive, and to be filled up by what we merely need to seek within ourselves. These people are, after all, human. This is my belief and one that Christianity has completely misunderstood. Jesus, in my understanding was merely an enlightened human, just as Buddha before him. And whether in one life time or many, these types of folks had the audacious willingness to go underworld deep and stand in the face of the black hole depths of suffering. They did not turn from suffering, but rather towards it in kindness and they found love there.
When you find love in the darkness you can meet it in another. You do not reject the other. You do not condemn, judge, withdraw, reject, repel, or attack the other because you see the yourself in the other. You have stood through the test of facing fear to meet all of who you are. You have looked at the self and found the light hidden amongst all that ails. And when a person has found that ember, that holy internal grail, the grain of sand that shines more than all the rest, the flame awakens. The awakening occurs. Our senses, mind, and bodies align in harmony. We see that all is one, and one is all, and we are the embodiment ourselves of love because it is within us all.
I know nothing of this world except that I have touched the spirits edges. I have held in hand, the intangible. I have met myself in the darkness and stood ready flame in hand, sword in heart, wings unfurled, ready and waiting. It was as if the wind came alive. The world was seen through clearer eyes than ever before and the intangible and the present coalesced for what felt like eons, but in reality could have been mere seconds. As time has gone on I have started to lose sense of that reality, but it awoke in me the knowledge that fear is not a liar, but a messenger full of information about healing and love. It is truly astounding when we meet fear with love. Love disarms those ready and waiting for cruelty. And in our world cruelty has become the prerequisite response. To not approach with rancor buried in civility with equal subcutis hostility and to instead extend an olive branch of love disarms fear. And in that moment the true nature of love is revealed and for but a moment we see that love is real and far greater than we ever could have imagined. I think because we lack authority over our senses, emotions, knowledge of self and the lack thereof, we return to the lack of belief and we judge what we perceive to be a mistruth in the other. We misinterpret compassion for control. We disbelieve that this singular truth of compassion is alive and living in the present moment between two hearts. Noble fear stands ready to attack the intruder disguised as love and we retreat or attack that which shines instead of adding our flame to the tower of light. And when we do believe that a person truly does contain this level of compassion, we idolize them. We put them on a pedestal believing they hold truths and secrets that we do not contain. They may have knowledge that we have not been taught yet, true. They may have journeyed down paths we have yet to embark upon. They may be in a different place than we in the present moment, but it is this exact multifaceted reality that we live in and it does not mean that we cannot also awaken to the compassion stored and alive within us.
Power does not like to be disarmed. Societal structures that exist in a prism of powerful control over people siphon energy from those under their power. They above all have the most to lose if hearts are disarmed and more people see the need to rise in love to meet the other. When we know love from this place, we see that power is a lie and no single human, animal, plant, or insect is above or more important than the other. When we see the world from this perspective we awaken to compassion as a weapon against power. And we see power retaliate with control. Through that control they teach us about love through the lens of manipulation. The nature of this paradigm is abusive, but it does seem to be the nature of the world as it has been for millennia. The Buddha said, “The world is afflicted by death and decay. But the wise do not grieve, having realized the nature of the world.” People who see the world as it is with an understanding of love realize that in order to help others truly heal, they must meet them where they are and not participate in perpetuating the abusive paradigm. To participate in abuse means to force, coerce, manipulate, or control the narrative of the other; to judge the other. When we act in this way we mistakenly see this as help. We think we are helping the other without seeing that our intent lies in coercing the other to see as we see in order to “save” them. Coercion is not love. Jesus said of those in power, claiming false knowledge of spirit and love, “…you are like a dog sleeping in a manger. The dog does not eat, nor does it let the cattle eat. You have stolen the keys to the temple and locked and barred the door. You have not entered yourselves, nor have you permitted others who wish to enter to do so. Instead you have become as dishonest merchants, selling that which does not belong to you and over which you have no power. Only from the truth I tell you that dishonest buyers and merchants will not attain the place of the Spirit.”
True healers, teachers, and wisdom keepers point us in the direction to ourselves. Their information should not mean that we see them as holy. Their information is coming from the same source. It is Source, Universe, God, Goddess, The Gods, that of many names, the nameless, that teaches through us and could be called Love. We seek compassion. We seek relief from suffering. We seek and do not find and a chasm opens within us. The chasm rifts a disconnection from body, heart, and spirit. The chasm blinds us to truth, and we see with eyes that do not see, and we hear with ears that do not hear. Jesus said, “those with ears, let them hear.” Those are the hearts that stand ready broken on the precipice of despair, on the edge of chasm and lift, they that have grown battle hardened but ready for love. It is they that are disarmed by compassion and they that add flame to tower of light. It is they that awaken and teach, lead, and heal. Their healing does not come from themselves. Our idol worship of them keeps us from ourselves and our truth and the wisdom that we too contain. I believe that Jesus told us that he was the way in the same way Buddha laid the path. They have found compassion to be the reason for all and love to be the answer to eternal life, because in that place fear is absent and love can take hold. Love is the answer to the heart that seeks and the answer is inside you.
When we seek from a place of desperation, fear, control, or pain, we open the chasm wider, but we also may not learn if we do not seek in this way. To seek in this way teaches us about not seeking in this way. To learn is to grow, and to grow is to lift above the chasm. Buddha said, “Be a lamp unto yourself. Work out your liberation with diligence.” To find love within the underworld is to find liberation. To find love through suffering is to find liberation of suffering. To find love past fear is to awaken to heaven and life eternal. There is no suffering past fear. Buddha said, “Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.” To not have suffered enough means that one does not understand the plight of the other. Their privilege is a blindness. They continue their abuse and control because they do not see that it is not possible for the other to rise so easily when held back by base needs not being met. Their privilege blinds them to the pain of those unlike them. They are suffering blindness and we can have compassion for their lack of sight. When we meet their ignorance with compassion it disarms them. When people are disarmed they can see with eyes that see. Love heals them and the world by awakening compassion. And drop by drop that compassion leads them to peace within themselves. We seek outside of ourselves to our own folly.
Once this place is found, that light within, one set upon a path to self discovery and will find that there is always more to discover about the nature of love. Those new to the journey will take the ecstasy of awakening to this love to mean they must seek to teach. They must help others still blinded by suffering. They do not sit with themselves for long enough to see that to teach too early. They are still desperate, yet this time to heal other hearts as their hearts have been healed. The desire can then again become a desperate attempt to seek to coerce, control, or manipulate the other into believing that their way is the only way. “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” – The Buddha. I believe that Jesus spoke to teach us that his path was the path to enlightenment, not that if we don’t follow the rules we go to hell, but rather that to not seek an end to suffering allows it to continue, within us and without us. I believe that those in power sought to control and retain power and manipulated his teachings. I believe that he came to show us the path leading to ourselves. We mistakenly turned him into the only son of God, when he himself said we are all children of God. We are all equal in spirit. There is no doctrine that is the only doctrine save for compassion is the key. Compassion includes boundaries and is not asking the other to sacrifice who they are to meet spirit because spirit is already there inside of us waiting to be rooted out and discovered.
Teachers, healers, wayshowers, they only point in a direction that we must be willing to walk on our own. We must take the steps, one by one to the mystery of ourselves and we must meet ourselves there in love. Once we discover how to love all that we are, we are no longer afraid of all the other carries. We are no longer afraid of love. We also see that the world is a dangerous place for those awake to spirit, but there is great strength in love. There is honor in fighting for love. There is the possibility that speaking up about the nature of love puts one in danger to the effects of the threat to the loss of power. And love disarms power, so those in power actively seek to destroy it’s voice. Look how far reaching, powerful, and lasting is the voice of those who spoke the truth of love. See how their lives were cut short, silenced, discredited, and murdered were they that spoke truth. And see the bravery it takes to stand in the face of all that power and pain, but do not idolize these people as wholly different than the self. We are all capable, maybe not in this lifetime, but the path is there laid out within us. Teachers are wayshowers, not Gods.
We must merely seek to understand love to end suffering.
Seek to reach past fear.
Strive to love all the places that ache within us.
See that our worth does not come from another.
Open our hearts, eyes, and ears.
Listen to understand.
Hold space without seeking to change.
Breathe, ground, and release.
Honor another person’s no. Honor your own.
Honor anger to lead you to act towards love.
Recognize when to say, “I’m sorry.”
Take steps to mend what needs mending.
Know when to move on.
Go easy on yourself.
Find safety in the present.
Allow fear to teach you, not guide you.
Seek to understand nature.
Learn your limits. Respect them in self and others.
Sit in silence.
Ask for help.
Love thyself. Forgive thyself.
Allow your pace.
-Angel Marie Russell