(A version of this post appeared in Jen Louden's Savor and Serve Cafe program).
Jen Louden wrote this wonderful post asking us to walk with her in considering, "with lightness and love and curiosity," our own use of resources, bearing in mind the potent statistic that if everyone alive consumed at the rate of Americans, we'd need 8 more planets. Along with more than 100 others, I commented; Jen asked me to write a guest post expanding on what I'd said.
I got abashed and tongue-tied. I boinked my head, hard, against my tedious old writer's blocks. I so wanted to say something positive and real, something from the unified Field "out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing" that Rumi talks about.
But all that came was a brain tangle about brain tangles. The writing floundered like an oil-slicked bird with a plastic 6-pack ring round its neck. I wasn't much feeling the lightness, love and curiosity.
The Best Thing I Could Do At The Time
So I decided to go for a literal walk, to do a practice I call The Oracle of You.
Here's how it goes: You start with a question that you're willing to stop seeking answers to. Then look around and find some thing or scene that attracts your attention. You might ask this thing that tugged on your awareness your question, and listen. Or you can interpret what you saw like dream imagery, by identifying with different aspects of it and exploring personal definitions and associations about what you noticed.
My question was about how to write the piece. I let go of trying to solve it.
Do it Right and the Listener
I walked around the park, where there were many sights to see. Soon I'd forgotten all about The Oracle and my question.
Passing the basketball court, I heard a middle-aged man jeering at a teenaged boy with shoulders bunched up around a short neck. The older guy was probably a father or uncle, had a similar body type. He seemed to feel he was doing a great job of mentoring the sullen kid. He crowed, "I am now going to prove to you that you just don't have it!" as he rushed in for a basket.
Nearby, I saw a graceful younger boy sitting poised on a basketball, listening alertly to a man speaking to him from the driver's seat of an idling car through the open passenger-side window.
As I passed, I heard the man saying, "…so she just took off. That was the best thing she could do at the time…"
Around the curve of the path I could still hear the man on the court, repeating loudly to the teen, now attempting a free-throw, "Not like that! Do it like you did the other time! More control! More control! NO!"
Further along, a small boy appeared, sitting on a ball, smack dab in the middle of the path, with a happy, boisterous family playing nearby.
Wait. There had been another boy sitting on a ball earlier! This must be part of my answer, I thought, remembering the Oracle, which had come up with this second boy-on-a-ball as a nudge.
He saw me seeing him, as if he recognized and shyly welcomed me. I was no longer an invisible observer, a non-participant passing through.
When I got near, he picked his feet up off the ground and tried to balance on the ball for a second, his eyes twinkling. As he tipped and caught himself with the toe of one sneaker, he gave hint of a quirky smile, smaller and more filled with delight than Mona Lisa's. It transmitted a bursting happiness.
As I walked around him, I said in a gooey adult voice, "That's a neat trick!" His face fell just a little, and immediately I was sorry. I felt keenly how the reflex of praising him had interrupted a moment of communion full of acute joy with this little guru.
Out of habit, I had pretended he was showing off, seeking my approval. But really he had just invited me to join in an ordinary instant of love meeting itself--as we balance and tip, or sit in stillness, on this amazing ball of a planet together.
Waking Dream Interpretation
It was easy to see myself, with a wince, in the mirror of the Do It Right guy heckling the kid he was trying to teach. When I'm pushing myself with criticism to do the "right" thing--about what I consume or what I write about that--the motive is something about seeking "More control!" --especially over how I see myself. And I usually wind up proving to myself that I "just don't have it!"
I'm likely then to take off, to find some way to escape from the whole overwhelming mess. But I'm also that Quiet Listener--the first boy-on-a-ball--so centered, taking in the compassion of acceptance and forgiveness in "that was the best thing she could do at the time."
Seeing myself in the mirror of the second balancing boy was harder somehow. That sparkle in his eyes felt blindingly bright to fall into. It shows me a closeness, an open tenderness within myself that I fear even as I long for it.
What the Oracle Said
I took some notes about what I heard from the Oracle:
Listen very alertly to the kind voice that tells you about the best thing you could do at the time, even though you're in earshot of a voice pushing you to do better by having more control.
Trust the little complicit smile of the child balancing on the ball and enjoying falling off center. Give up on finding a formula for balance. We are always falling, always failing, and that's the play, the practice.
Don't interrupt the delight of communion and recognition by evaluating performance and offering praise, much less blame. Praise and blame are the same coin of separation.
(Am I doing this right or wrong? Well or badly? Am I doing/being enough? These questions don't serve me.)
You can accept this welcome to be here, exactly as you are. You can brave opening to full union now, being this intimate with your own beloved Self, with your whole round Planet, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.
What do you really want?
There's an ever-renewing resource of creative intelligence found, through practice, or grace, in the Field of our own innocent wholeness. It leads us beside still waters and restores us to sanity.
This intelligence moves us into fresh, useful action with the power of unresisted aliveness. It leads us into the exact next steps that harmonize our individual part in the great dance.
The old ways, of DoItRight, of individual ego blame and praise, can they meet the need we see all around us for a rapid, creative, evolutionary change of consciousness and the action that follows from it?
Let's meet ourselves in this Field, now, where the world is so full, and walk along considering together from here.
-----------------------The Oracle of You is one of the potent practices for reconnecting with creative wisdom that we'll explore in the next MysteryMind Course in Creating program.People on my Insightments mailing list will be the first to hear when enrollment opens! (Top of right column to sign up).