The head versus the heart?
09/06/2011 § 6 Comments
“The spirit of human solidarity and kinship with all life is strengthened when we live with reverence for the mystery of being, gratitude for the gift of life and humility regarding the human place in nature.” The Earth Charter, 2001
I hosted another dialogue session last night in Islington. It was a smaller group than before, with five of us from the previous session plus two newcomers. We had a deeper and more personal dialogue on this occasion, partly I suppose because of the smaller size, and partly because of the continuity from last time. It did have a moment of uncertainty, when one of us had the courage to speak up and say she was tempted to leave. But as so often in dialogue, it seems, this apparent crisis was simply a trigger for us to go into a deeper level of interraction.
What was striking was how every participant had one thing in common – we are all at a stage where we are struggling to earn sufficient income to meet our daily needs and yet we reject conventional or obvious ways of earning money. We feel that we are on a path laid down for us and simply cannot bring ourselves to be “reasonable” in conventional terms and get off this uncomfortable and yet strangely wonderful path.
It is not as if we consider it “bad” to earn a living working in a conventional role. It’s just that there is something inside us that stops us doing so. To me it is as if I am being swept up by a force more powerful than myself, and I have no choice but to follow it. This is far more real to me than the mundane so-called “reality” of earning a living.
Is this the classic “head versus heart” dilemma, one of us wondered aloud. For myself, I feel it goes beyond that. It is as if something in the universe, let’s call it a higher consciousness, being aware of the deepening crisis our civilisation is in, has chosen us and others to follow this challenging and rocky path that is full of mystery and uncertainty. If we are right about the scale of the crisis, there will be plenty of other people going through similar or even more challenging journeys in the coming years. Maybe our role is to go first in order to prepare us to act as guides and counsellors for others who come later. In any event, no matter how I rationalise it, I don’t feel there’s much I can do about it, except follow it and see where it leads.
For me, a key part of dealing with such challenging times is to embrace humility. In order to grow it seems I need to take bold steps, whilst being fully aware of how limited my understanding really is. I know intellectually that I am one with the Earth and the whole of the life. But somehow along the way I forgot and started behaving as if I am not. Learning to go with the flow, to trust, to be humble, to feel respect and reverence for the process in all its mystery, is part of my re-training, remembering the truth of my oneness with life. But maybe I am getting too flaky now!
I am really grateful that the universe brought us all together yesterday evening to be reminded that we are not alone on this journey. And I’m grateful to have been shown the powerful tool of dialogue, that allowed us to put aside our fears and daily concerns for a time, to share our feelings in a group and to feel truly heard.