"So Hemingway was twenty-three, rather foreign looking, with passionately interested, rather than interesting eyes. He sat in front of Gertrude Stein and listened and looked." -- The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
"He sat in front of Gertrude Stein and listened and looked." We might just as well shorten it further to, "listened and looked"... Isn't this "listening and looking" the beginning of wisdom? Isn't it precisely in that place of listening and looking that all day dreaming, art, poetry, music, literature, good work, recreation, kindness, compassion, rEvolution, and great sex resides? If one has neither the desire nor the ability to "listen and look", is there any possibility of learning, loving or growing?
In recent years, there has been a great deal of research into consciousness, the brain, and the heart. A challenging discovery is the key role that the heart plays in facilitating the consciousness that animates the brain: it is seeming that in the "silent space" between the beats of the heart, the brain is "listening and looking": the heart directly communicates with the brain, indeed, the heart is appearing to be the highest functioning aspect of the brain... The mystic "idea" is to listen and look deep into the conscious recesses of the heart to directly experience the incredible paradox of being "in skin" but unlimited in love-consciousness: that which appears to be an "I", is truly actualized in everyone, all beings, and everything...
This is the One Reality of which / in which we are parts or "aspects": Universal Consciousness exploring and discovering Itself through our eyes, through our ears, through our activated compassion, through our love-making, through our justice-seeking, and through each of our senses, thoughts, and actions... We are invited into a new "aliveness": an aliveness of intimacy and beauty: we are, right now, infinite and fully capable of loving in the radical and liberating Way of Yeshua the Poet of Nazareth, of Rumi the Ecstatic, and of Dorothy Day, Saint of the Gutter Beautiful... What great art or action is anxiously waiting to come out of you? How are you going to go about becoming one of the world's greatest lovers?
What if? Why not?
Exploring an Alternative To the Dominator Paradigm
What is an essential alternative to the prevailing dominator paradigm that infests nearly every social institution the world over? How might we actualize the spirit of compassion, equality, and justice? Was Yeshua just pulling our collective leg when he said something along the lines of "Love is all around you -- but you do not see"?
According to the mystics, we live, move, and have our very being immersed in One Love -- who / which is everywhere and everything -- nothing exists but this "Quantum Consciousness": on just the other side of the manifested Universe. If this is true, then perhaps ecstasy is the path forward into this rEvolutionary delight. Rumi talks about the reed pulled from the stream bed and of how it longs to return to its source. This longing for intimacy and identification with the Beloved is the key for unlocking the treasures of the heart -- and for the ecstasy that will power the transformation that this moment of time holds out for us. Ecstasy is the conscious, deliberate, cultivation of Sacred Imagination for the liberation of this Planet and the life that it supports. And ecstasy, as the activating energy of creative imagination, even offers the possibility of the redemption of Time itself by un-creating evil, the negative, the destructive, the oppressive and the "ugly"...
Ecstasy, as the Way, means to cultivate the longing of the reed: it means to risk everything for the chance / opportunity to love! This bowl of soup freely given with no expectations of "results" or of "success" is enough. This deep bow of respect for the "other" is enough: this welcoming of the illegal immigrant, of the LGBT, of the Muslim as equal: is enough! This kind word, this momentary embrace of a wounded being, this counsel in distress, this uplifting thought: it is all enough. Ecstasy is the deliberate removal of every barrier in our our minds and hearts, and then outward into our communities. Ecstasy can activate a sustainable rEvolutionary movement with which this precious blue Planet can be healed. Ecstasy is the mystical understanding that at the sub-atomic level, everything is very "loose". It all interpenetrates. It makes the rounds from star-seed to life-seed...
Ecstasy is the "Lover" hiding in your closet! On the other side of the perceptions of "men are meant for the domination of both women and planet", of "violence and exploitation are necessary to Christian values", and of "even heaven is for sale", is our vague spiritual remembrance of the paradise of possibilities that is our divine inheritance. This "remembrance" is ecstasy: this glance, this word, this touch, this kiss... this act of service, of mercy, of kindness and justice... this moment is pregnant with the possibility of transformation: and here's the key: "Only One". In every way let this become your prayer, your meditation, your religion, your politics, your passion, and your play... It's sort of like this: you are in a car going down the road, but the road is inside of you, and you've already arrived home... So get very loose! Get out of your skin and out of every other boundary or box in which you find yourself placed: get out, stay out, cultivate your bliss -- and become part of the gathering circles...
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.