Cultivating Courage in a Field of Compassion

This path is not for wimps. It is an art form and it takes courage to even set foot on it. - Jane Simmon from You Can't Sleep Through Your Awakening

The most vexing question on the spiritual path must surely be, Are you willing?  If I say yes, I’m immediately transported into a virtual arena where I am vulnerable and unprotected amid the fire of transformation. 
If I say no to willingness, I build a wall that would seem to protect me from the abrading discomfort of radical honesty, surrendering my story, and the pain of change. Sometimes I just want to hang out in this “bubble” of riskless complacency where I’m not working so hard on “my stuff!” I want a reprieve from the “upward call of Spirit.”  Can’t I just go unconscious for a while, and have the bliss of forgetting the source of my discomfort and the source of my wellbeing are within me?  Like, enough with the growth imperative!  I’m ready for the Fall when emergence gives way to an easy, fallow season of dormancy.
There can be seasons in our spiritual life….seasons for seeding and harvesting, for effort and rest, for leaning in and leaning back. If I am to stay the course of awakening, I cannot demand perfection, only progress over time.  It is likely to remain a convoluted mix of a few great leaps laced with mini-insights assorted bobbled attempts, and periods of sloth and torpor. I may at time feel like I’ve finally got it and can see eternity from here.  At another time I will feel like the bloom of awakening has dropped away and I can’t see where it has gone. This is normal – rare is the unwavering straightaway path to waking up. It’s like a dance of remembering and forgetting.  Remembering ---I am filled with Light, forgetting ---vision dims.
More significant than recognizing these vagaries of advancement and retreat is holding it all in a heart of compassion.  When you and I fall short of the mark of our own expectations whether it’s for spiritual effort or some other standard we apply to ourselves, our little self, our ego mind, can have a field day berating ourselves.  That’s when the wisdom alarm should sound, warning you “get out of your head, quick, and get to your Heart space stat!” In the heart, which is our true home, there is acceptance and compassion for everything under the sun. Even the ugly characters, the shame, the guilt, the bad, all things unlovable by the judging mind, are gladly held and healed in the heart space. Author Jane Simmons says that we are in the midst of “evolution from an ego-driven, mind-exalted world into a transformed, heart-centered, love-based way of being. Heart and mind are connected and in alignment.”
Somedays I’m very courageous ready to ascend to new heights of self-awareness, deep honesty and authentic action.  Then there are other days when I can’t muster any zeal for my growth and what it demands.  On those days, I will bathe myself in compassion. Soon enough the mighty impulse to grow and evolve will nudge me from the cushy cocoon of inertia and set me down in the arena again. On those days, capacity loads with motivation, and I find the courage, the compassion and resolve to face my fears and see the Truth more clearly.
Let’s remember we are all waking up to who and what we truly are.  It’s important that we don’t forget that waking up is not the same as becoming. We already are whole and complete spiritual beings.  We don’t need to put that outcome on our to-do or bucket list.  What we are in Truth is a completed work of art.  What’s left is to recognize it, in ourselves and in each other.  It will take courage, compassion, and willingness. It will happen as we align our hearts and mind with the mighty Impulse seeking to be made known through and as us. 
Peace and blessings,
Rev. Larry