THE CERTAINTY OF UNCERTAINTY
Some thoughts while awaiting the midterm elections in the U.S.:
"We have to be able to deal with uncertainty, change, chaos and loss of power without the depth of the fear that makes us go into massive denial and massive violence to other human beings." ~ Ram Dass
We teach Oneness in New Thought. That there is One Mind, One Spirit, One God, One Thing Happening. We use the word absolute often, in both forms (The Absolute & absolutely). We tend to understand that we, as human beings, are not designed to fully understand Oneness, because our senses, our language, and our ego structure all tell us that we are separate. Since we can never fully understand, or KNOW, that Oneness is the essence of realty, we are doomed to some level of misunderstanding as we go about our lives. Ken Wilber puts is well in this quote:
“And so absolute truth is beyond good and evil, but relative truth has good and evil. And in the relative world, you’re supposed to choose good and avoid evil—Buddha was very clear on that one. In the absolute world, you transcend both of them. Now, what we’ve done is to confuse the two, and we think that because the absolute is beyond good and evil, therefore in the relative world, we should make no judgments at all. And that is already to capitulate to an immoral action in the relative world. You’re already reinforcing immoral action when you do that.” ~ Ken Wilbur
Sometimes we use our misunderstanding of the difference between the absolute and the relative to declare that we will not engage with the community around us – we will not be “political,” or watch the news, or perhaps we will leave social media – because we deem them to be the result of a failure to realize Oneness. While this may be true (relatively), expecting humanity to suddenly (within your lifespan) realize Oneness and Absolute Truth is unrealistic. It is fear-based thinking, which is firmly grounded in duality. In other words, we all live in relative truth and we had better learn how to do so in ways which encourage the exploration of concepts like Oneness. How do I know this? Because if we were living in Oneness alone, none of this struggle or confusion would be occurring.
“As an adolescent I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual certainty, and I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human life — so I became a scientist. This is like becoming an archbishop so you can meet girls.” ~ Matt Cartmill
The young scientist hopefully learns over time that science is anything but certain. The same is also true, hopefully, for the young metaphysician. Absolute Truth is there, and we may have fleeting experiences of it during our lives, but we live in the world of relative truth, where opposites exist and must be dealt with.
Our efforts to be spiritually realized need to include a loving compassion for all of humanity or those efforts are wasted. If we somehow see ourselves as above or apart from the masses, we are dooming ourselves to a version of hell-on-earth. If Oneness is the actual nature of everything then how can separating ourselves from others lead us to it? The founders of the New Thought denominations all said that we were not to go to the mountaintop and be hermits but were to engage with life. That is a messy proposition, but we have no other choice if we are on a valid spiritual pathway.
“All mystics are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well! Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox, to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They are having a nightmare.” ~ Anthony de Mello
The messy, sometimes nightmarish world we find ourselves in is both our home and our classroom. We are to find our way through this experience and to awaken to a greater truth, ideally making things more loving and compassionate along the way. Political systems are missing a vital component of their development when spiritual seekers are not engaging. New Thought principles, applied wisely, lovingly, and consistently in any system will tend to elevate the entire system to a place of greater possibility. This seems so obvious to me, and yet much time and effort is spent urging our New Thought brothers and sisters to engage more actively in the larger world. It is a paradox.
“The growth of multiculturalism and globalization brings us rising levels of complexity and nuance. The ability to hold tension is absolutely essential. Fundamentalism—strict adherence to one's view of the world as the only right way—is essentially a refusal to live in tension.”
~ David Livermore
Spiritual practice can bring us the ability to hold these tensions – the tensions of the opposites, which are basic components of the world of relative truth. When we fail to develop spiritual poise, the vibrations from the inevitable dissonance of human society can cripple our ability to live fulfilling lives and to be of service. Our movement toward greater wisdom, love, and compassion is an evolutionary one, and we must recognize our own evolutionary nature. In so doing, we expand our capacities to be present in ways which influence others to realize their better natures. When this evolutionary process is farther along, perhaps we will be closer to a natural realization of Oneness. Then, peace can prevail on earth.