Many years ago, more than I care to think about, I took a set of three vows. First, was to Aspire to Enlightenment for the benefit of the whole. Second, was to Abide in My Path - to know it and to live it. Third, was to Determine Purpose for my path and my life. It was explained that I must examine everything I believe and affirm or reconfirm it for myself. I was required to step aside from everything I had ever been taught, known or believed. I was required to return to the "beginner's mind". I had to begin from the beginning to determine what I believe and how that looks as I walk this Earth Walk.
I have since administered the same vows to others. It has always been done in secret and is not written of, or discussed, even with the "giver" of the vows - beyond the original vows ceremony. I believe this was to avoid any kind of doctrine or teaching from being established through any one teacher. Yet, I have concluded that is time for me to speak more openly and publicly; not to tell anyone any truths, but to encourage everyone to know and establish their own understanding of truth.
There have been other (many) times of re-examination and reaffirmation for me. This was almost always done in private and without discussion with others. It had to be clarified through the authority of my own personal "inner guru", through my personal experience of truth. Everything had to be filtered through my own heart knowing.
Two years were ardently devoted to recapitulation. I revisited my life experiences - especially relationships. I examined, assessed and often reframed them. I took back parts of myself that I had left behind - something like soul retrieval in the shamanic tradition. We give something of our soul-self in each of our relationship. Sometimes those gifts are meant to be left there, as true gifts. Other times, we (I) have given essential parts of our selves and left our core "self" incomplete, partial. We then attempt to complete our partial self through joining with another. We look for someone to complete us. We only becoming whole when we have brought home the lost pieces of self. It is through this wholeness that we have healthy relationships - two wholes that choose to come together to share, not to fill holes in each other.
Re-reading that paragraph, I saw that I had reverted to second person - we, rather than I. It is not my intention to speak for anyone except myself. "I" gave parts of myself away. I gave away my power. I gave away pieces to "earn love", "because that's what we're suppose to do", and for other equally invalid reasons. On a couple of occasion, pieces of me were stolen; like vampires sucking my blood. I lost/left behind parts of my soul. I had to reclaim them to become whole again.
In 1995, after a series of (Buddhist) Tantric empowerments - transmissions, it came time to take, or not take, Bodhisattva vows. I again had to re-examine everything I believe, reconstruct from scratch all my deepest internal knowing. I had to clarify my willingness to make, not only a lifetime commitment, an eternal commitment. I read and reread the traditional vows. I examined various translations and interpretations. Then rewrote them for myself in such a way that I could live truly every vow I made. I share them with you.
"As I gain insight into the (one) true nature, I strive toward enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings.
As I recognize my ultimate, primordial connections with all things, I realize that the all must move toward enlightenment together.
I vow to bring all my passions, my actions, and my thoughts - into unity for the highest possible good of all existence.
I pledge to embody and reflect the truths, the Dharmas, and the highest teachings.
I vow, I pledge, to awaken and remain awake in the highest Buddha (pure) consciousness, the pure enlightened nature, in order to achieve liberation and enlightenment for all existence."
There have been other times of self-examination and reassessment in order to be sure I am "walking my talk". One continued realization is that I must be absolutely faithful to who I am - to the best of my understanding. I am required to be impeccable in every word, thought, and action. I was once told that I behave impeccably at all times, that not even the Dalai Lama could change that. That statement made it mandatory that I continually elucidate my comprehension of the term impeccable and what it means to behave that way at all times. I continue to feel compelled (and I chose) to live up to that comment to the best of my ability. I've also learned to forgive myself when I fail.
That is so easy to say - to put words to - and the commitment isn't especially difficult to make. Staying true to my vows and pledges is often extremely difficult and frequently lonely. AND, I realize that I have no other choice.
More years were devoted to "sacred marriage" ... to bringing myself to a deep state of wholeness - uniting my "parts and pieces" into One-ness and marrying that one of me with the divine One. That marriage began with my first conscious awakening experience with the six Apache women who took me into other realms to dance the male and female halves of myself into oneness. As nearly as I can remember, that happened in the late '70's. At the time, I felt that nothing more profound was possible to experience while in human form. However, equally profound were the internal uniting/marriage ceremonies that began the summer I spent in wilderness camping at Cloudcroft. It was only during the recent relationship workshop that Pamela and Brett gave at Healing Hearts that I attempted to share something of my experience. I talked about the gold rings I wear as symbols of that union. I wear them on my right hand - my giving hand. Before now, to speak of it seemed to diminish the sacredness. Now it is something we each and all must do - as individuals and as a collective.
After our gathering, and the ceremony on Jan 1, with Beth's group, I was fully in my "wise self". I was nurtured and empowered by all of you and by all that had happened. I was ready to write "words of wisdom and joy" to my fellow elders and to the world. As you see it didn't happen. Like some of you, I slid downhill into situations and emotions that deposited me (I deposited myself) in a place of questioning and doubting ... doubting myself and all reality of anything beyond ordinary physical form. I especially questioned the possibility of being able to have any influence on anything much less on the world or the universe.
In a strange (and probably divinely guided) turn of opportunities, I began to listen to "History of God" by Karen Armstrong. I had a similar reaction to what I had experienced when I first read the Nag Hammadi. Both the Nag Hammadi and the Dead Sea Scrolls brought forth evidence of a small part of what had been hidden away and destroyed. I was furious that so much had been taken away from us ... that some group (most often men) sat in a group and arbitrarily made decisions about what truth would be. They then destroyed all evidence of anything to the contrary. I came to an ever greater realization that everything "of spirit" is just what some person or group of people have designed and implemented in politics, in culture, in tradition, in religion, in every aspect of life and beliefs. I was in a state of rage at all of humanity, all of history, all of the false information I had been "fed". I stepped into my deepest yet "Dark Night of the Soul".
There was no way to write my to colleagues any "wise words". I had no way to speak any words of "truth". I didn't know any truths to share. There were no truths that I was able to trust. It would have been insincere - far less than impeccable - to say anything at all. I was unable to speak to myself, much less to speak to all of you.
So, once again I had to return to the "beginner's mind" and empty out everything. I had to start all over and establish (remember); who I am, what I believe, what path I know to be mine. I had to know it all - again - from my own personal viewpoint and experience. It has been difficult - and painful. Both my physical pain and my emotional pain have been almost unbearable. I've had to remember my decision, my offer, to come back one more time to help bring enlightenment to all sentient beings (I believe that there is nothing that is not sentient.
Now what do I have to say to you dear ones, elders and wise leaders of this planet - elderhearts of the universe? ... IT is all still there. Only the "I", my ego, faltered. That irresolute stumbling was necessary to take me once again to my personal truth. A few things have changed, not many. What truths have I found?
· Do not believe on the strength of traditions even if they have been held in high honor for many generations and in many places.
· Do not believe anything because many speak of it. Do not believe on the strength of sages of ancient times.
· Do not believe that which you have yourselves have imagined, thinking it divine inspiration.
· Do not believe that which depends only on the authorship and authority of your master, guru, priest, or other "holy" person.
· Believe that which you yourself have tested and found and true through your personal exploration and experience.
· Believe that which is for your highest good and the highest good of others.
· Believe and teach only what you yourself have recognized, understood, and live (fully) in your personal life.
These aren't my words. They come from "ancient sages" - the Kama Sutra. Do I have any special words of truth, knowing, or experience of my own? Perhaps, but probably not. It may very well have been a waste of your time and energy to read this letter.
I recently had two direct experiences of the "BELOVED" in the fullest meaning of that concept. I have attempted to write of this experience. All my words are inadequate. The beloved has wrapped me in its presence where there was nothing but One. I have experienced the omnipotence of the ONE. I know directly the oneness of everything in existence. I know and have felt, fully stepped into, the common agreement of oneness of earth, sky, fire, winds, water, material objects, non-physical entities, four-leggeds, winged ones, and all other forces of being. We are each as individual cells of the body of God, contributing our experiences for the ultimate experience of the ONE.
Even having had these direct experiences - I had to return to "unknowingness" and absolute aloneness. I had to return to nothing, the empty void. I had to find the womb of possibility and creativity. I had to re-rediscover/re-remember/re-create everything. I had to "know" that "everything" was there; real, ineffable, and ultimately unknowable while residing in temporal form. I had to know this - even from the depths of hell pits.
I have had a life of extraordinary experiences - of "burning bushes", and I continue to "Return to Go" and don't even get to collect my $200. What else would I do? What else is there to do? We can only continue to do the "next obvious thing", and continue to do it (every action) for the highest possible good for all concerned. My experience of each new beginning is that I am able to reach new heights at the culmination of my climb. Each descent brings an even higher ascent.
This time of re-clarification has allowed me to recognize that each cell of my body has been everything. With the recycling and restructuring of molecules, atoms, breath (prana), everything has been everything - literally. This stage of my/our evolution of consciousness has the space between the body cells being filled. The cells are no longer separated by distance and by membranes that keep everything separate and unknowing of each other. There truly is "nothing between us". The individual cells/pieces remember and continue to be connected with all they have been in the past and will be in the future. This process begins the merging of time and space - past, present and future. These same cells allow me to connect with and "know" everything that has ever been - and perhaps - everything that will ever be. We are truly stardust. We are all the "stuff" that was before the big bang. We are all the stuff of whatever caused/created the big bang. We are That which was before the beginning. We are That which is forming the new - the FIFTH WORLD. This process is what comes after the "Rainbow Bridge" that we have all been living and creating.
Much of my distress, both physical and emotional, has been the direct experiencing of the collective energy of the temporal form of humanity - the physicalness that we all are. We (as a collective) are angry, scared, striking out against each "other" in our fear and failing to reach for our highest consciousness as sentient beings. I was feeling only the temporal aspects. My celestial self could not tolerate that we continue to behave in such an inhumane manner toward other aspects of humanity. I couldn't stand being human.
As my cells awakened to their connection with all, my spiritual self began to see and recognize the collective soul energy of humanity. It is from that perspective that I experience the BELOVED. It is through my spiritual eyes that I can perceive the perception of everything, even the things we define as: evil, wrong, painful, etc. It is through the vision of the crown chakra that I can understand the "correctness" and necessity of 9-11 to once again to attempt to awaken us to the fact that we are one unit. I remember thinking that our first vision of the Earth from space would show us (humans) that we are indeed one tiny speck in the cosmos and that are no divisions of race, gender, belief, sentient-ness, country, continent, or even up and down. I thought that we could no longer see ourselves as separate - with division between us.
I read that there were individuals from 90 countries killed in the twin towers. What group/country could fail to see that the attack was on the world? Who could fail to recognize that it was an attempt to retain "fourth world" separateness and juiciness? Evidently there are many. We continue to take actions (perhaps necessary ones) to maintain the perception of separateness, of rightness and wrongness. For the past six months it has been impossible for me to "get over" my distress over "man's inhumanity to man". It is only now with this new ascent that I can begin to accept the "perfection" (at least the necessity) of the action (from the perception of the Beloved). I want to let you know that the collective of souls that left on 9-11 continues to work as a collective in order to try to wake us up to our oneness.
This week I listened to a tape titled "Mystics, Masters, Saints, and Sages: Stories of Enlightenment". It tells of the enlightenment experiences of many individuals, men and women, from many faiths and cultures. Some are: Meher Baba, Baha'u'llah, St Catherine of Siena, St John of the Cross, Ramankrishna Paramhamsa, Kabir, Suzanne Segal (Collision with the Infinite), Swami Ram-Das, and many modern mystics that are not in the public eye. What did I discover? Among other things, that there are as many experiences and ways of enlightenment as there are individuals. ... that many of us could have our (equally valid) experiences told. ... that it is truly possible to be enlightened - here and now - you and me. ... that it is only through our lack of reaching for it the we don't have it. ... that you and I must contribute to the collective enlightenment.
What comes next?
I have no idea.
I know only that it comes with perfection ... from what is, for now, unknowable. I know that it is due to our collective decision. We are designing our own path into the fifth world.
Should we have faith? What other choice do we have? Everything is going to unfold with or without our faith and/or participation in support of our highest path. Can we influence the outcomes? We are "That which is", that which creates, which folds and unfolds. Can we NOT influence the outcomes - the future? We are influences ... one way or another. Stay/go, work/not work, walk our truth or not ... we are influences. Our only choice is how we influence our future world (s).
What have I learned through this, my latest, dark walk? For now, I am solid and strong. I once again see and feel joy. I wake up with a smile rather than with the question of my ability to survive one more day. I retain the bliss of union. I am recommitted to doing everything I am capable of doing. I am comfortable with pain, death, loss, chaos, polar shifts, and all possible outcomes. Can I remain here? Who knows? I have only this moment and the union of the ONE. This moment, this is my truth and my path. I am the Beloved and the Beloved is me. WE are the Beloved.
My advice ...? Do the work of discovering your own truth - It's the only truth there is. Our collective and personal mission statement ...? We fully live our highest path to the best of our abilities through our deepest, most personal, direct, inner knowing of spirit.
Each of you dance in my heart. May we all Walk in Beauty.
Your companion in the heart of all hearts,
Carol Whitewater Dawn