After some stunning news both personal and national, I have to ask the larger question. Where does the Almighty go when it's His/Her turn to weep?
Some years ago I was working with what might have been called a spiritual teacher who had introduced me to the study of Gurdjieff's Work. I spent eight years with him, and then went my own way, but not without having learned a great deal for which I am eternally grateful.
Among the many powerful lessons I gained was from an observation he made one day about prayer. The Work speaks to the power of prayer but not in the sense that most of us consider it. People pray all the time, as George Carlin made fun of, for help with Johnny's math test and Dear God don't let me be pregnant (prayers which increased exponentially this past week).
He noted that God deserved a day off, which S/He does get from our species' incessant, childish demands. Not just one day a week. If you include Judaism and Muslims, S/He actually gets a three-day weekend. For that, you and I might want to leave the poor sot alone for a while, given that there are some eight billion souls badgering Her/Him about one thing or another.
Gimme this, gimme that, make me rich, blah blah. Cure my cancer, make her love me, name your prayer. However, comedy riffs aside about an Invisible Man in the Sky, let's talk.
My teacher pointed out that God (to him Male, because that suited him, to me Female, for that suits me) needs help from US.
It isn't as simplistic as God helps those who help themselves.
While that in my book is monumentally true, as I lean heavily towards personal responsibility, even that isn't enough. Witness this story about personal responsibility guru Mark Manson:
Careful what you pray for, I guess.
As the article outlines, he ended up buying a massive and massively expensive New York apartment with all kinds of utterly ridiculous goodies he never used (kindly guffaw quietly here, I just did the same damned thing) and has "downsized" to LA. Cue tears. Not mine.
Stuff doesn't do it for us, a lesson which I continually face, am currently facing again, and which natch, led to yet another set of considerations.
My teacher said that it was our job to help God, not the other way around.
That is such a fundamental rethinking of the compulsion to find a savior that it instantly became part of my repertoire. I loved that idea. I loved it because for me at least, it's bloody well true.
As a species, in our need to believe in something outside ourselves as sacred, we have created all manner of deities and gods and goddesses which serve our purposes, including every single ugly, evil, nasty compulsion which has led to where we are in this nation today. Waiting around for something or someone to save us is a deadly stupid business, turning us into infants. We are an ignorant, superstitious lot as a species.
I am a huge fan of the works of Reza Aslan, most particularly God: A Human History. In it this excellent religious scholar details how we created God in all its forms, for our own purposes. We have ever handily changed the narrative as it suits us, please witness Christianity to justify slavery and apartheid, just for an example, of which there are untold thousands.
Ultimately we are indeed on our own, but not alone, for as every major religion teaches, The Kingdom of Heaven lives within us. We are God/Goddess. Owning that, means owning ALL our results, ALL our life, and recognizing that we need each other in order to have a good life, including all other life forms. A message we have utterly missed in large part, certainly in Western society.
In this sense life is indeed sacred, knowledge which has lived in indigenous tribes and cultures for centuries, and which we have steadily wiped out.
To make a point, here is one example of what we are missing:
God/Goddess needs our help, not the other way around. We embody the sacred, in the form of life, and in doing so, we also carry the burden of behaving as though we are sacred.
We aren't doing so well with that.
This essay delves into a slew of topics so rich and provocative that it might take you a few readings to get all the juice out of it. It's worth it, however:
Mind you, our Luciferian dream is to build an alternative, artificial world, a paradise that enables us to go on permanent vacation, to live like kings. But we become instead those obese adult babies from WALL-E and build that castle on sand, that is on the back of the wilderness which shifts this way and that beneath our feet, based on its natural cycles that are indifferent to our survival. To make good on our infantile course, we’d have to take it off-world, but that would require the monstrous determination and dark heroism of turning ourselves into a starfaring species.
We prefer to imagine a kindly God will just hand us paradise in an afterlife if only we say a few magic words in prayer or obey some rants from scripture. Or we fall for the cons we see in corporate advertisements, which tell us we’ll be happy if only we solve this or that material problem with the latest cheaply-made product.
We’re babes in the woods and the woods will wipe us out or teach us inadvertently how to be noble men and women. (author bolded)
Cain digs a dull spoon deeply into our guts here, pointing out in a different way what I'm trying to say. There is no kindly God to save us. God/Goddess is weeping, for that sacred fire IS us, it enlivens and moves us, and we are denying its power and the possibilities that we all possess.
The sacred inside us weeps. She most certainly weeps inside me when I fail to attend her. When I do, I soar.
As I deal with my own financial issues, the challenges of a dream that misted away, I am regularly reminded, with deep gratitude, of the words of Noble Laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore.
I have quoted him before, but for this essay, once again:
“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,
but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but
for the heart to conquer it.
Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved,
but hope for the patience to win my freedom.
Grant me that I may not be a coward, feeling
Your mercy in my success alone; but let me find
the grasp of Your hand in my failure.”
― Rabindranath Tagore
That quote has lived in my Daytimer for decades, right in the front so I can see every time I open it. I am not in the market for a savior. I am in the market to live from my sacred. This is that journey, this is what it takes.
For my spiritual and literary dollar, this speaks to the fact that God/Goddess looks back at us every day in the bathroom mirror. Looks at us everyday through the eyes of the homeless and even through the eyes of Donald Trump and his lackeys. When we deny the sacred in us, we become evil, evil unto ourselves and to others.
The sacred is life, life is sacred. What we do with it is what makes it godless.
In light of recent events, I am reminded a thousand times over that when I recognize what is sacred in others, by doing so I acknowledge it in myself. I heal two at a time. Even if the other person doesn't receive the message in whatever form it's offered, I do. So do you.
When God/Goddess needs to cry, it is my responsibility to heal the sacred.