Wisdom in the Common Space part 1


The deepest understanding we can come to in an experience like this is that our life and who we are — once we have jumped the ego boundary — is an experience in Wisdom. Even prior to jumping the ego boundary, we can begin to reinterpret the ego experience and its difficulties in such a way that the experience itself becomes a Wisdom experience and not a barren experience. Our purpose is to be with ourselves and to have our eyes closed.

We have our eyes closed because it is easier to listen to what we are on the inside and to listen to the tone in which these words are spoken. They are not spoken in a tone suggesting they are philosophically correct or conceptually right for everyone. Rather, there is no intervention. There is gentleness. There is easiness. There is a space for each person to experience his or her own uniqueness and a space also for us to celebrate our commonality. The beauty of gentleness, as opposed to intervention, is that it allows room for uniqueness; and it allows room for unutterable commonality. Both exist here. Our circle represents us in our uniqueness and our individuality on the outside. The space on the inside is our commonality. Whenever anyone decides, for whatever reason, to bring something of themselves into the common space, it is healed because it is recognized to be everyone else at the same time.

We are here to honor everything we experience, including our difficulties. We are here to honor our difficulties; we are here to honor our joys. What a great relief this is. We are not here to propose the idea that because we have difficulties, because we experience pain, because there is confusion or guilt or anger, this excludes us from also being spiritual human beings, that this in some way demerits us or degrades us. We are here to recognize that on the other side of every difficult ego experience, on the other side of every guilt we may feel, on the other side of every anger, on the other side of our loneliness is a deep calling out to a Wisdom which is there, which we have.

As we begin to see this, and as we begin to feel it in a very clear way, we can begin also to recognize in those difficult feelings, in that pain, in those problems, the Wisdom itself. Wisdom is not outside the pain. It is right there with the pain. What is causing us to be so restrictive within ourselves when these feelings arise is not the feelings as they are, but the feelings as we interpret them. This is a bountiful and abundant understanding about who we are and what we are capable of becoming and where the Wisdom lies. The Wisdom doesn’t lie in a book. The Wisdom doesn’t lie in a particular teaching or in another person. The Wisdom lies where we are at any given moment. It does not lie in some abstract way which suggests, if only we saw beyond where we are in some fundamental way, we would have Wisdom. But rather, the Wisdom is where we are right now. The Wisdom is in us. It exists as part of our most painful feelings, as well as part of our most released and joyous feelings.

This is a radical re-evaluation of our inner life. It is a beautiful re-evaluation of so much of our interpretations. So much of the way we look at ourselves has to do with a fundamental belief that either we have done wrong, or we are wrong in some cosmic way. There is a fundamental belief in an undercurrent of sin in our experience on this earth. That shadowy picture is an interpreter, a lens, a translator. It seeks so much of the time only to affirm itself. This is particularly true when we take a look inside of ourselves and see that there are things we think we don’t want to feel, things we don’t like, things we think are not pure enough for the spiritual quest.

The greatest understanding we can ever come to as human beings is a response to ourselves that embraces and does not reject. How interesting it is sometimes that this is the most difficult response we can ever summon from within ourselves. Sometimes it seems like too big a medicine to ingest. What I am and where I am and what I am feeling is the Wisdom I need. The only gap between truly knowing that and living an experience that feels barren and trapped is my interpretation.

Even deeper than this is the understanding that we are not alone. Much of our inner turmoil and much of our difficulties and pain is a calling out for a heart felt recognition that there is a Presence. There is no need for loneliness. There is Love. This Love abides fundamentally, and It abides in an uninterrupted way. It exists both in time and outside of time as well.

Part 1 of a 3 part series transcribed from “Sunday Meeting” April 1988, Valley Cottage, New York

Copyright 1993: Estate of Stephen Robbins Schwartz

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