“This world is a mountain. What we do is a shout. The echo comes back to us.”Rumi, The King And The Handmaiden And The Doctor , from Essential Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks with John Moyne
Spiritual practice and Karmic practice are intertwined as faith and doubt are intertwined. In a previous blog I wrote:
“Karmic practice is made up of frozen habits that bind and resist change. Its agenda is to protect self (ego), and only self, from the natural pains that come with spiritual growth into Self. It is the essence of selfishness (one-sidedness) which produce seeds of violence and injustice. Its masquerades appear heroic, loving, and kind to the innocent, naive, grieving, sick, and desperate, setting up betrayal, exploitation, and devastation. It does not move with Truth that serves Love, that is creative flux with all its demanding trainings in surrender and sacrifice. Rather, it resists creative labor, and aborts life over and over and over again. It produces “strange fruit.”https://kairoscenter4change.com/2022/02/22/a-reflection-on-karma/
On this 10th day of the Russian invasion on Ukraine, following the State of the Union Address and President Zelensky’s warning about the uncertainty of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant exploding, the second year anniversary of COVID, we receive more disheartening news about global warming and threats on our coral reef, the Beijing Paralympic games commence, newscasters process the release of former Attorney General Barr’s book, and reports stream in this morning about the NATO summit meeting held yesterday where President Zelensky stated in his clear and poignant voice:
“You had to think about people, about humanity itself, and what did you think about at that summit?” he said. “All the people who will die starting from this day will also die because of you. Because of your weakness. Because of your disunity.President Zelensky
I pause into lamenting silence, into the words of Psalm 26 read this morning, and continue my reflection on karma, collective karma.
Karmic practice is hidden and maintained by narratives that hide a particular coldness and closed quality that sends chills through the spine. As only the Great Physician knows, a mustard size karmic seed in our eye can hold us in bondage with karma, leaving us spiritually afflicted and tormented in her funhouse of mirrors where everything is personal, power and freedom are delusional kings, futility is a color, complacency satisfies like cotton candy and birthday cake, and destruction is righteously claimed as a “right”. This seed is in all of us, all the time. Until the cold chill breaks through consciously it continues with insatiable appetite. Once aware of this seed meets the heart, spiritual practice becomes non-negotiable. Absence of awareness defensively dismisses any and all evidence that it exists while building highly addictive idealistic narratives, one on top of the other, that keep karmic practice well fed, stronger and more destructive than ever, constantly reversing the meaning of things.
So how is this war on Ukraine reflecting long periods of karmic practice, absence of real consequence, drunk on Creator’s gifts and driving without a license, unable to comprehend Reality and discern from fantasy, unable to comprehend Love and discern from sentimentality, unable to comprehend Justice and discern from greed and vengeance? Are we living in a time similar to that of Kohelet or Noah, lawless and reckless spoiled children with no moral compass, no regard for consequence, no real protectors of truth, and no faith in and fear of a higher power, consequences of natural law….. Reality? Are we surrounded by oligarch monsters worshiping money who profit on the marginalized, the righteous, the poor, the infirm, the children, the orphans, the widow….because they can? Martin Luther King, Jr wrote in his Birmingham letter, “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God.” What laws remain unjust, continuing to fatten oligarchs and tyrants, threatening the children, threatening the world’s very existence? How did and how do we create these monsters? What parts of ourselves did we sell and what for? Were Nancy Pelosi’s incongruent hand gestures and grin at the State of the Union address as President Biden spoke of burn pits emblematic of OUR collective shadow of greed living in the super power executive branch of the world, disconnected from the value of life, grotesquely heavy in power? I emphasize OUR to deter any sick satisfaction one may have in hating her or “them”, externalizing the enemy rather than acknowledging her gesture as a dissociated part of OURselves reflecting back in our collective mirror.
We stop “playing life” and start living life when we begin reverently engaging the movement of turning inward toward Creator with gratitude, toward understanding life as a series of purification trials waking us out of unconscious karmic practices or rocks of ignorance, waking us to where we are being unconsciously irreverent to life through blessings of affliction that bring uninvited and unceasing dry spells and/or full body affective bursts designed to shake things up at the root of “strange fruit” baring trees mistaken for trees of life. When they are shown to you in yourself, pull those trees! Immediately. Now. Any hesitation in response to this Holy call is undeniably lethal. Any discontinuation of spiritual practice is fool hearty and reckless. In the imagery painted by Robert Frost, winter is here and we have “miles and miles to go before [we] sleep.”
The medicine of Mystery exists in the invisible realm, in the private subtle bodies or attitudes that lie in the spiritual emptiness or poverty of the heart. We are privileged to now see, from the standpoint of the still point, the spiral glimmer of millions of years of spiritual emptiness in the eyes of the Ukrainian people as they access our Creator and resist the world’s karmic practices alone, the world’s evil, receiving the secrets of Mystery firsthand on the cross. They are the innocent body of Christ.
Are we being called to world redemption? To collectively realize our deep dependence on Source? for Ukraine to rise up from the ashes and become the World Phoenix, Christ resurrected in this time of Lent?
The world is being held at nuclear gunpoint while having to watch Ukrainian warriors and children ceaselessly fighting on the front lines of battle. Afraid of escalating the mad man’s violence on Ukraine, do we have any of that Ukrainian insight coming out of the chill in our spines that this is a war on all of humanity? Do we have any of that Ukrainian resolve to get involved in the resistance and impose a no-fly zone? to stop receiving their oil at any cost to our economy? As Ukraine receives the beat down, the rape, the pillaging, the destruction, she knows that unless we get involved in some particular and deliberate way that is sourced by Source, acknowledging our part in this human play, the violence inevitably meets us all … intimately and sideways. What are we willing to give up? Are we willing to go into an economic depression to save humanity?
President Volodymyr Zelensky is showing the world, daily, how to face reality while holding the sorrow of millions in his heart and persist in rational, unperturbable upright engagement through Source. He is exemplifying the poet in Psalm 26. He and the people of Ukraine are exemplifying the absolute best of humanity that only lives outside of karmic practice. So I ask now, where are we living….now? And, for what? How are we sleeping?