by Stew Glick
…I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe.
John Lewis, from his final words shortly before his death, as printed in the New York Times, July 30th, 2020. A beautiful, moving piece, well worth reading.
What is the “highest calling” of my heart? What do I see to be so, and not just “believe”? That separation is an illusion. That when I look at you with clear eyes I am seeing myself. When I listen to you with clear ears, I am hearing myself. When there is clarity in a moment of in-touchness with what is here, this present moment, there is no “me” and “you” and no sense of separation from the universe. The question “who am I?” is answered in the tweeting of birdsong, the swaying of trees in the wind, fresh air on the face, the glistening of early morning dew, the barking of a dog. It is answered in seeing clearly the person right next to me, freshly, just as they are. In this spirit, the question “who am I?” is not “my” question, but rather, it’s the question the entire universe is asking. And it is answered in being with what is here, in being present to this moment, fully. In being aware of what gets in the way – the resistances, the fears – not by moving away but by opening up to whatever presents itself. Seeing right here, in oneself, the prejudices, subtle and gross, that are a part of our conditioning. What I “believe”, what is seen here, is that when there is light shed on how we actually are, then there is the possibility for change to occur; the seeing itself is already change. Maybe it’s the most radical of actions, this seeing, awaring. Because when it happens, there is the possibility that ones’ preconditioned ideas, images, and beliefs about oneself and one another can be – at least for the moment – seen through and dissolved. And with that, comes the possibility for a real, true, intimate relationship with each other. A relationship with love and understanding.
If one is so moved, we may find ourselves at a march for a cause that we take to heart and wish to support. Or maybe we make donations, or actively engage with organizations that are at the front lines in fighting for a cause we believe in; or maybe even put our own bodies on the line. Recently I participated with Lisa and some of her co-workers in 8 minutes and 46 seconds of kneeling in silence in honor of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter. I was surprised at how moved I was. Maybe it was the shared silence, or that people were taking time out of their busy schedules to be together, or maybe it was a moment of empathy for someone losing their life so mercilessly in a moment when someone – in this case a police officer – could not see him clearly; not as “the other” to be feared, but as himself. Yet this is the world we live in. Does it have to be this way?
Krishnamurti would say “the first step is the last step” towards what he referred to as “self-knowledge”. Wherever we find ourselves, whether in a meditation center engaged in dialogue about whatever is at hand, or at our work place, or with family or friends, is it possible for there to be some spark of interest to be more fully aware of what is going on? Noticing the defensiveness, wanting to get ones’ way and not really seeing or hearing the so-called “others”. The sorrow of this world may manifest right here in this feeling of separation. What is also seen here is the possibility of waking up from this sense of separation and all that comes from it. This is not just what I “truly believe”, this is what is seen here as being so: the possibility of waking up from the illusion of separation, and with that, the arising of a love and affection from who knows where?