A Beautiful Stew

“The Chefs of G~d

are cooking up a special stew

Just for you.”

~ Rumi

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Who are you? I mean really.

Sounds like a simple question, but have you ever actually asked? I’ve posted on the subject before, and maybe once I know the answer, I’ll be done with the exploration. But that might not happen till the day I die! Or maybe it’s just at that precise moment, after my life has flashed before my eyes, that I’ll finally know just who I really am. Ha.

Amazing how we much we take it for granted, how many of us go through life without even pausing to ask that basic question. In my Fierce Light workshops, I often use a simple Zen excercise I learned from one of my inspirators, Roshi Enkyo O’Hara of the Village Zendo. In this partner practice, one person asks the other, “Who are you?” and after listening to the answer, says, with a little bow, “Thank you.” For five minutes. Which is actually a very very long time.

When I first tried it, I felt as if this practice expanded me, from my smaller self, to my larger, larger and still larger Self. At first, the obvious answers emerged- I’m a man, a filmmaker, a son, an artist, a sufi buddhist baha’i punk rocker – all the usual descriptors….but eventually I ran out, and things began to go further afield. I discovered that I am You, I am a blade of grass, a speck of dust, a dentist in millwaukee (that one surprised me!), a murderer, a lover of Love, an ant, a whale, everything that is was and could be…all of the above, and none of the above.

So who am I? I am a gorgeous stew, of the Great Big Enormous Beyond Enormity All Everything Totality, spiced up with the particulars of my souls journey ~ all I have been, known, seen, everything I do, think, feel and love. Especially all that I Love.

My unique ingredients are not who I am though. Rather, I am the dance of my elements, of mind body spirit and shadow, impermanent, ever changing, but rooted somehow in an essential Beingness, that is Me.

Sometimes we think we know someone, or we think we love someone, but what we really know or love, is just one small aspect of their stew. Perhaps the part we lack, or the part we celebrate in ourselves. Sometimes what we love is not even in their stew at all – it’s part of us that we’re projecting onto another. Yikes, that’s a recipe for disaster.

Love is about truly Seeing. Whether we are talking about another person, or ourselves, we cannot love unless we see, honestly, clearly, with an open, forgiving heart. Because we are all stews, it’s okay that part of our unique concoction includes our broken bits. We all have broken bits! In fact, those crunchy, gristly shadowy parts of us, with the proper mixing and spicing – add a dash of compassion, half a cup of letting go, three tablespoons of forgiveness – can be some of the most nutritious parts of our stew. The minerals and vitamins.

But we need to see those bits, bring them into the light, embrace them, release them, and allow them to be part of us. Both/and. Sometimes we need to release the shadows, sometimes we just need to shine the light into the basements of our consciousness, and see what’s there. If we try to repress the shadow bits of us, or deny them, they lurk around in our unconscious, sediment at the bottom of the pot, not properly integrated, and they can throw the mixture off.

We are continually seasoning our stews, and as we become more conscious, we can decide just what the flavour is we’re going for. With consciousness, we can align ourselves with the great Chef some call G~d, and start bringing forth those seasonings that we intuit we are here, on this plane, this planet, right now, to discover.

What spice, what ingredient, what pinch of this, or dash of that, would bring you into harmony? Or put you into the perfect off-kilter place you need to be right now- in case you are a little too balanced? Perhaps, in fact, there is nothing you need, other than what you have in this moment. Phew, that would be quite a feat – to accept who we are, and work with what we have.

More than anything, the key to being a tasty stew is truly integrating your ingredients, letting them flow together, play off each other, bring out the best in you, the whole You. It might seem unlikely – how can that broken heart ever be part of my flavouring, surely it’s going to turn me sour – but really, the choice is yours. As Viktor Frankl said, in “Man’s Search for Meaning”, we can lose everything except for one thing – our freedom to choose how we respond, to whatever comes our way.

The Chefs of G~d are cooking up a special stew – named You. Our small, individual stews are each a part of the Great Stew that constitutes all of creation, in fact all that is manifest and unmanifest, seen and unseen. Each one of us is an essential ingredient. This world, this universe, would not be the same without you. Thank-you for the vitamins, the minerals, the spices, the salty sour sweetness you bring to the mix.

Maybe it’s time to turn up the burner, and bring those juices of creation and destruction, tragedy and comedy, eros and pathos, compassion and ecstasy, love and limitless possibility, to a boil! What do you have to lose?

fire

A Respectful Rebel in an Orthodox Land

Meteora Monastery

Sitting in a cave in Meteora Greece, a few days after Fierce Light has screened at the Thessaloniki Film Festival.  A soft rain has driven me off the purple, yellow white flower speckled mountain trail.   Like Mount Athos, Meteora is a land of towering ancient greek orthodox monasteries. Unlike Athos, women are allowed here, and there is even a convent,  named St. Stefanos.  

Although I am not a Christian (I was raised a Baha’i, used to call myself a sufi buddhist baha’i punk rocker, but now I simply say I’m a divine human, being),  I have a deep sense of respect for all things holy, and the impetus behind the religious calling.  I make a point of trying to cut through the dogma, to the deep devotion that often resonates profoundly in places of worship. I seek the true mystics, the ones who’s hearts are on fire, who have transcended the rigidity of structures to that place beyond concepts where the source of all that is sizzles. 

Mary

 But always, irony abounds-for example, the orthodox religion were the ones who invented the word dogma (not to mention the word Orthodox).  And of course, for them,  the word  has a positive connotation: it means to be faithful, and to follow the precise pathway to God -just so.  Dogma is seen as a divine security blanket that keeps us from falling astray.

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It is ten years since my previous visit to Athos.  At that time I was wide eyed and innocent, in many ways, a naïve pilgrim embarking on a new journey of discovery.  It was far from the beginning of my spiritual search, but the beginning of my  first hand investigation of the worlds holy places, seeking a path, a system, a doorway into divinity, as I circled the planet, visiting everywhere from the Avebury Stone Circle, Lourdes, Athos, Konya, Jerusalem, Bodh Gaya, holy native sites in North America-a wide journey into the heartland of many of the worlds beliefs systems.   In each of these places, I took time to really steep myself in their wisdom, spending time in spiritual retreats inspired by each of the faiths I encountered.

I left that journey with a clear understanding, articulated in Fierce Light:  it is the essence of the worlds religions that matters to me, not the particular form.  Spirituality is beyond form. Way beyond.

A few days later, I find myself wandering through Meteora, where the monasteries perch high atop pinnacles of rock, safe from invaders.  In the past, the only way to enter the monastery was to be hoisted up by rope.   Perhaps too, the devotees feel closer to God, up in the clouds.  

After hours of winding through the awe inspiring moss covered pinnacles, alongside sparkling glades, I climbed the spiralling staircase to one of the monasteries that clings to the rock steeple, impossible stone acrobatics.

Velcrow Meteora

I entered the church, it’s byzantine dome painted with ornate frescos, glittering gold halos and angel wings.  I was greeted by an Orthodox monk dressed from head to toe in black.  I told him I had been to mount athos, an excellent icebreaker in these parts, and asked him to remind me of the greeting: evlogites, which means “bless me!” To which one replies, akirosos (no doubt spelt wrong): I cannot bless but God does, through me.

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He showed me around the church, explaining the significance of the many ikons.   I asked why so many figures are dressed in red, and he explained that red is the god colour, and blue is the colour of the earth, except in the case of Mary – then red is the colour for earth and blue is the colour of God.  Interesting for me, as I am shooting a film called Redvolution: Dare to Disturb the Universe.  It is about the path of  what co-director  Sera Beak calls “red” spirituality – becoming your own spiritual authority, being a spiritual outlaw, truly knowing yourself, your authentic Self.  It is about  embodied spirituality-a passionate, sexy, spirituality that isn’t afraid of ecstasty, that celebrates life, being human, that sees God in all things. 

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Molotov
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Panagea

Meanwhile back in the church…

Transfiguration…metamorphisis….extasis…theosopis…greek words were flying about.  My new monk friend explained that to him extasis -ecstasy-was the stuff of other religions, like the eastern religions, and it was an escape.  Much like our induglence in the “sweets” of life, like women.  Yikes. Clearly the orthodoxy was created by men.  

The orthodox path is about transfiguration, he explained, and metamorphosis-through the correct rituals, prayers, divine love and grace, one clears away ones heart and allows God in.  It is about theosopis, not extasis.  Joining with God not escaping into ecstasy.  

I didn’t argue-I never argue with the faithful – but between you and me, I have to beg to differ.  For me, God is also human, God is also creation, God made all of this amazingness, and I have a hunch She wants nothing more than that we celebrate this magnificence. Her magnificence.  With depth, and divinity, for sure, but celebration nonetheless.  And that  celebration can be joyful, it can be ecstatic, and it can be quiet, it can be sober.  It can be both/and.  God doesn’t fit well into boxes of this not that.  God has a bigger palette than that.  God wants us to go for it, to burn bright, to be fully embodied and fully ecstatic, all at the same time, in waves and particles, particles and waves – both/and.   That’s my two cents, just the tip of my tongues worth.  But I kept it there, on the tip.  It’s not for me to argue with a monk, but to listen respectfully, and take what he has to offer, and leave what doesn’t fit behind, in that holy place.  With respect for his calling, his commitment and his sincere love.

As we were leaving, I told him perhaps one day I would return to Mount Athos-it is a beautiful, holy place.
“Yes”, he said, “but the real holy place is right here”. He tapped my heart, “wherever we are.”

I couldn’t agree more.

“Pray for me” he said, as I stepped outside the monastery gate, into the sunshine. 

Now, as I walk through the stone trails, lined with purple flowers, sun glistening, flocks of birds swooping and gliding, I can feel the presence of divinity everywhere.  It is in the very air. As I walk in the midst of the sublime beauty of creation, it is clear that this is my communion.  And that for me, as a spiritual rebel, I will always be a little, and sometimes a lot, unorthodox.

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Happy Annihilation Day

“Heart, you are lost.
But there’s a path
From lover to love.
Worlds blaze round.
Don’t shrink!
The path is hidden
But yours.”
-Rumi

fire

Well here it comes – Valentines day. A celebration of love! And a great opportunity to market flowers, chocolates and Hallmark cards. For those not in a relationship, it can be a bit of a downer – like christmas when you’re far from family. A new friend just commented that she calls it “singles awareness day.” Ha.

Ah love, that beat up misused misunderstood word. We just finished interviewing Coleman Barks, the great Rumi Translator, for Redvolution: Dare to Disturb the Universe. Rumi is well renouned for his tremendous love poems, but the love he talks about might be a little different than the kind of love those red hearts in the store windows are selling. Coleman told us that he once got a phone call from Hallmark, asking if he might consider doing a line of cards with some of his Rumi translations on them. He said, “well you realize that the kind of Love that Rumi writes about involves complete and utter obliteration.” There was a long pause, and then the Hallmark rep asked, “is there a holiday for that?”

Say what? Love = annihilation? WTF? Isn’t love warm and fuzzy and nurturing and sticky sweet? Not the kind of divine love that Rumi talks of. He wasn’t referring to romantic love, between humans. No, he was talking about the human daring to truly love G~d. Daring to truly be loved by G~d. This can certainly, and most beautifully, happen between humans – in fact, one of the highest forms of human love is when souls meet through the human form. Which can involve down and dirty sex. Spirituality and sexuality are ecstatically happy bedfellows. But it is not the kind of romance and intrigue, the ‘will you be mine’, the clinging, grasping romantic love that we’re taught is love, the kind that is really about the quest for ownership over another. No, the kind of love Rumi talks about involves complete freedom, non-attachment, and trust.

To be consumed, destroyed, burnt in the flames of divine love, to the place where your ego dissolves, and there is nothing left of you but G~d stuff, that’s Love. The search for this union with the divine is the path of the mystic. Every tradition has a mystic path, the path that involves daring to stare into the sun with your eyes wide open. It’s not for everyone, and there are many dangers on the way. But once one has had a taste of the possibility of the the mystic path, it’s hard to turn back. One is consumed by what the Sufi’s call a sense of divine longing, which calls you, and refuses to let you sleep – refuses to let you fall back into unconsciousness, lose touch with your divine heritage.

There are as many paths as there are humans on this planet, and we each need to find the one that is ours, and ours alone. As Rumi says, “the chefs of God are cooking up a special stew, just for you.” For me, that stew is ever changing, though at one time I used to call myself, in an attempt at simplicity, a “sufi buddhist baha’i punk rocker.” There is still a lot of truth to this description – the Sufi in me is the passionate, fiery side, the Buddhist is the patient, peaceful, centered part of me, the Baha’i offers me a global perspective and a sense of law, and the punk rocker is the rebel, always seeking the fresh truth, the present truth, the truth beyond all limitations and dogma. I am all of those, and none of those.

Here is a mystic poem I have written, in honour of the search for annihilation in the fire of God, here spoken of as the divine feminine, the great Goddess, so needed as a counter balance to the worship of God as a patriarch. It is about the search for true divine Love.

~ ~ ~

 

All my life
I searched for the diamond heart
Ruby Red
Emerald Green
Alchemy’s leaden Gold

The hidden truth
At the center of lifes labryinth

At each turn of the bend
A fire awoke
Ablaze
Alive

Yet around the bend
Always
A sudden downpour would appear

To douse my desire
Until there was nothing left
But smouldering coals
Blackened
Charred
Back in the cave

Yesterday
Or was it tommorrow?
In this dark dark cave
I found that spark
A single flash
A glint
A twinkle
A droplet of light
And fanned the flames
With my dogged Love
My unextinguishable love

I let the wind of my desire
For Her
That Red and gold divinity
That perfection
Completion
I can taste
On the tip of my tongue
On the very tip of my tongue
Just there
Always there
The aftertaste of truth
Still there

Love!
I shout
I cry
I weep
I pound the pavement

Love!
I kneel before you
Ripped open
Broken wide and bloodied
Dripping red
And roaring loud
Then soft
Softer
Just so….

And you who witnesses
My agony
My ecstasy
You know
You truly know
That this is no charade

That Love is here
Not gone
Truly here
Not gone

And I
Am one
Not two
Not two
Just One

And all I ask for
Is nothing
Just everything
Inside that nothing
Always
And not now
Now
And not then

All ways
From inside
To out

I shriek like the wind in february trees
And loom like the moon
On a hot august night
With persistence
Dogged presistence
My stalwart friend

Waiting for the day
Not wanting
Not wanting anything more than this
Even if this
Is the waiting

Waiting

Waiting

Waiting for God’s deepest embrace
Consuming embrace
To rip my illusions to shreds
Until all that’s left of me is Love

Waiting

To be destroyed by Her raging love
Her flaming benediction
Annihilated by Her grace

I kneel before You
I stand before You
I cartwheel before you
Laughing
Wailing
Beseeching You
To bless me with a deadly kiss

I ignore you
Turn from You
Walk away
The haggler in the market
Suddenly tired of trying
Suddenly finished
Done.
Enough.

Ha!
I’ll never be finished
I’m still baking
I am half baked

I will not be finished
With this Love
With this life
Until my very last breath

And even then….
Well I just may be back
To continue the Work

But let me tell you this one thing, this one thing:
If you want to talk numbers
Percentages
I am 100 percent divine
Not one iota less
I cannot be otherwise
Even at my most imperfect
Try as I might
I am Him
Even when I’m too foolish to know it

He is me.
And He is here
Kneeling
In front of this perfection of wisdom
This Goddess
Of Fire

Burn me to the ground
Destroy me
Consume me
Devour me
Until there is nothing left of me
But You
Until there is nothing left of me
But Me

Truth is a Pathless Land

“Because I am free, unconditioned, whole, not the part, not the relative, but the whole Truth that is eternal, I desire those, who seek to understand me, to be free, not to follow me, not to make out of me a cage which will become a religion, a sect. Rather should they be free from all fears – from the fear of religion, from the fear of salvation, from the fear of spirituality, from the fear of love, from the fear of death, from the fear of life itself.” – Krishnamurti

 

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I just spent the weekend in a Zen retreat, with Roshi Enkyo O’hara, of the Village Zendo in New York. My friends Michael Stone and Michelle McAdorey run a meditation center here in Toronto called The Centre of Gravity  and lucky for us, have been inviting her up once a year to lead a retreat.

I first came upon Roshi Enkyo through a remarkable series of synchronicities.  In 2000 I was in Hiroshima, shooting  Scared Sacred, my feature documentary based on my journey to the ground zero’s of the world.  Scared Sacred is inspired by the meditation practice  of Tonglen, the practice of breathing in suffering and breathing out compassion.  

While I was filming the ceremonies on the anniversary of the dropping of the atom bomb, I met Daniel, a Zen monk from New York City.  In fact, turns out he was the first married ordained gay Zen monk in North America.  Daniel and I were both at Hiroshima for a similar reason. He was doing a series of poems and photographs about searching for light in places of darkness.

A year later, I found myself in New York City, in the wake of 9.11, at a reading of poets for peace.  That night I filmed  Ann Deaver Smith quoting Professor Cornell West on the difference between hope and optimism: “optimism is based on the notion that there’s enough evidence that allows us to think that things are going to be better. But hope – hope is saying,  it doesn’t look good at all – so we’re going to make a leap of faith to create new possibilities based on new visions that allow us to engage in heroic actions against the odds.  That’s hope!”  

That quote was in  the film for a while, but I finally it cut out.  I still miss it.  I compensate by reading the quote aloud at every Scared Sacred q & a.

The walls of the Cooper Union Building were decorated with poems by children about 9.11.  The little ones were there, buzzing with excitement about their poems being displayed.  I asked one of the parents if I could interview some of them, and she said I would have to talk to their teacher.  She pointed him out across the room.  It was Daniel.  

Later I talked to him about why I was in New York City – continuing my journey to the Ground Zero’s of the world in search of stories of hope.  He told me of his Zen teacher – Roshi Enkyo.  He described her as a remarkable invidual, someone who is both deeply spiritual, but also deeply engaged in the world, committed to activism, to creating positive change in a world of suffering.  She is  a member of  the Zen Peacemakers Order, and does a lot of work with AIDs activism.   But right now, in the midst of 9.11, her Zendo had become a place of refuge and peace activism.  It was only two blocks from the twin towers.   A few days later I was in front of Roshi Enkyo, interviewing her for Scared Sacred. Her words became the heart of that 9.11 scene in the film.

Over the years Roshi Enkyo has appeared in my life again and again, as a wonderful, brilliant, challenging and heart expanding spiritual teacher.  I did a life changing ten day retreat with her in New Mexico, at Upaya,  with Roshi Joan Halifax, I visit the Village Zendo whenever I can in NYC, and have sat two retreats with her here in Toronto at the centre of gravity.  This weekend I realized she is the most consistent teacher in my life.  

I am not a joiner.  This is something I have realized, and made peace with.  For the longest time, on my spiritual journey, I assumed that eventually I would settle into a single path and make that my home.  I can see the benefits – focus, discipline, the ability to really go the distance with support.  A solid container within which to work. Community. The vastness of a lineage.  

When I was in my twenties I was a student of Pir Vilayat,the wonderful Sufi saint of the Sufi Order International.  At one gathering Pir was doing initiations into the order, and I decided to join and receive my Sufi name.  When I came before Pir, he asked me what religion I was raised in.  I said the  Baha’i Faith.   He said, “oh, same thing as Sufism.  There’s no need for you to join.”  And that was that.  Although I was no longer a Baha’i, I was also not a Sufi. It was the last time I tried to join anything.

Today I am unapologetic – joining just is not for me- perhaps I’m  just too much of a spiritual rebel, too much of a trouble maker to rest in any one container.  I have this urge (ever growing) to continually blow up boxes.

But I’m not so arrogant to think I can do it all myself – I welcome guidance, I seek guidance, in all it’s forms. So it was a great moment of recognition for me this weekend, that I do have a teacher I can count on with the Roshi.  Even if I will never join her order, there is a source of wisdom in her, and the core teachings of Zen, that will always serve as a touchstone for me.

Not that those core teachings offer easy solace or any form of escape.  Zen asks us to stay right in the thick of things.  In the midst, the middle, right between form and emptiness.  Between the material world and the boundless ground of being.  Right where the friction is.  In a state of freshness, openess, a comfort with “Not-Knowing.”   Moment by moment, not knowing what’s next.  Spontaneous becoming, this is what faith is to me.   

Roshi focussed on the heart sutra this weekend, a deep deep well of wisdom – which demands us to let go of wisdom itself, to let go of the path, to let it all go.   No attachment. No grasping. Let go.

And in that letting go, a vast spaciousness occurs.  And in that space, life itself is renewed.  Fearlessly. The path forming below your feet with every step.

 

~                          ~                       ~

doorani

The original Scared Sacred was a interactive web site, done in 1995 at the Banff Centre for the Arts.  As part of the site, I did a peace called “Cyber Limbo”, about the pope’s elimination of limbo.   The piece culminated  in an excerpt from the Heart Sutra.   You read it by scrolling down…

The Urge to Manifest

altar

It goes something like this…

First, I just was.  A void of pure potential.  Shunyata. Emptiness – but pregnant with possibility.  I had this deep, unspoken urge to manifest…you know the feeling. One thing lead to another, which lead to another and before you know it, I was over the edge: it was the Big Bang, the Big “Ohhhh” , the Divine Orgasm…and I let out a moan that was long and low and deeeeeeep – way below the range of human ears – this Kosmik boooooooming sound wave that slowed and thickened and transformed slowly – oh you don’t know nothin’ bout how slow I can go – slowly into matter. Slow – like a few billion years slow – a time  of birthing galaxies, exploding stars, spiral nebulae, black holes, fiery intensity, and burgeoning solar systems.  Me became We, a multiple orgasm of complexification and diversification that keeps on coming and coming with no end in sight. 

Recently, this little blue planet called earth popped out of the Kosmik womb. This I of the great Me was a quiet baby, for a long long time.  But finally, I caught my breath, found some air molecules, then  some of My H’s found an 0 and voila – I had my blood.  The first oceans were a sexy soup.  Slowly rock turned to flesh.

Way late in the game, those early twinkling splashes of stardust turned into human beings. I began to awaken into consciousness.   I disovered spirit. I discovered matter.  The two went hand in hand like lovers, and I revelled in this manifest realm, I worshipped Her as a Goddess, as a Lover.  Good times!!!

Then a new kid on the block arrived, a part of Me named Christ, and at first everything He said jived with what I knew.      But a short blink of an eye later I lost Him to dogma and digression, and I was severely dissapointed.   Huh, we’re original sinners? What, pleasure is bad? Wait – you’re saying I can’t talk to God by Myself any more? And you’ll kill me if I beg to differ?  Weird.   Scary. Disturbing.

Tired of the churchy hyporcrisy,  my ancestors became Mennonites, a pacifistic utopianistic tightly knit religious community that was trying to live by the true core tenets of Christ’s teachings, rejecting the excesses of what they saw as a corrupted Christian faith and a violent culture at large, refusing to take part in war and bloodshed.  

When the Dutch government asked them to go to war they refused, and to avoid forced service they moved to the shores of the Caspian Sea. They lived in peace for several hundred years, maintaining their isolation and their ideals, until again they were told that they would have to kill. This time they moved, en masse, to the New World: Canada.

My grandmother was raised in Alberta in the strict Mennonite fashion. And as usual with my peeps, she was a trouble maker.  She didn’t like the patriachal structure of the religion. She especially resented the fact that as a girl she was not allowed to ice skate. She left as soon as she could, on the arms of a ne’er do well from down south named Missouri Jack.   She raised her eight children without any religion.

In the late fifties the religious void was filled when, one by one, my family became Bahai’s. Baha’u’ll’ah, the founder of the faith, taught that humanity is undergoing a process of spiritual evolution, similar to the growth of an individual. We are in a state of adolescence, albeit a stormy one, but Bahai’s possess an unshakable belief that we will make it through to global maturity, to a time of global peace. They believe we are on the verge of a great leap in consciousness that will bring humanity to a future where, ‘world peace is not only possible, but inevitable.’

As a child I was deeply committed and pious, a little holy roller, which culminated in a pilgrimage to the Baha’i holy city of Haifa, Israel, when I was nine. But as a teenager I found that I was unable to embrace a single wholesale program. One tenet of the faith is ‘the independent investigation of truth.’ You need to come to your own understanding of truth, instead of just following the path of least resistance, succumbing to the pressures of family or culture. So I left, to ‘independently investigate truth.’

Today, I realize that I will never belong to a single belief system. What I look for are the universal truths,the mystic heart, and I do my very best to live by these truths. I believe the true heart of the sacred is accessible to us all,not just for the experts.  We can all be “mystics without monasteries” if we so desire.

Alongside my spiritual investigation, from a very young age I had a strong sense of social responsibility, and all my life have been an active agent of change, on the front lines of the planet, working as a media activist.

But like many people, my two sides – political and spiritual – have been deeply divided. In progressive circles, there has long been a deep distrust of religion, that opiate of the masses, which has been used and abused in the name of power and domination. It takes tremendous courage to ‘come out of the closet as a spiritual person’ in the activist world.

On the spiritual side, there has long been a distrust of politics, with it’s biting cynicism and tendency to focus on the negative. In the extreme, there is a belief that this world is an illusion, a place of sin and temptation, and the best we can do is get the hell out, as fast as we can, to that pie in the sky when we die, however you might envision it. I have to wonder: 14 billion years of evolution, so we can simply transcend it all? Hmmm….

Today, I feel that the need to merge the power of action with the depth of spirit is urgent, crucial, in fact, the direction we need to go if we want to have any hope of coming through the “Great Turning” with our precious small blue planet intact. But I dream of much more than survival – I dream of utter transformation.

I try my best to live my truth, to build true power from within, so that all my actions come from a place of deep, deep authenticity. The means are the ends. Transformation begins this very moment, not in some distant future. It is personal, it is political, it is spiritual, it is global. The journey begins with this very breath.

– Velcrow Ripper
Toronto Island, Canada
www.fiercelight.org

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