Loving When Your World Goes Crazy
Triangle Center for Spiritual Living, 27 August 2017
Excerpt from Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl:
——I consider it a dangerous misconception of mental hygiene to assume that what man needs in the first place is equilibrium or, as it is called in biology, “homeostasis”, ie a tensionless state. What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him. What man needs is not homeostasis but what I call “noo-dynamics”, ie the existential dynamics in a polar field of tension where one pole is represented by a meaning that is to be fulfilled and the other pole by the man who has to fulfill it.———
SONG (Bob Sima): Center of You Center of Me, from putalittlemoreloveintheworld
“When the center of you sees the center of me, we take all of the suffering away from this place.” How do we find the center of ourselves? How do we meet the center of another?
That song was inspired by The Last Vision of Crazy Horse spoken in 1877, approximately seven generations ago. It was retold by Chief Joe Chasing Horse, a relative of Crazy Horse. He translated it from the words of the grandmother who was present when the words were spoken, while Crazy Horse sat smoking the sacred pipe with Sitting Bull for the very last time. Four days later he was slain. This is the translation:
———“Upon suffering beyond suffering; the Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world. A world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations. A world longing for light again. I see a time of seven generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again. In that day there will be those among the Lakota who will carry knowledge and understanding of unity among all living things, and the young white ones will come to those of my people and ask for this wisdom. I salute the light within your eyes where the whole universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am that place within me, we shall be as one.”———
Notice that his vision began with the words, “Upon suffering beyond suffering”. Suffering beyond suffering. Let me repeat… suffering BEYOND suffering.
Does it ever feel like the world is in a state of suffering beyond suffering?
Do you ever feel like you’re smack dab in the middle of the craziest of crazies and you just can’t see the light through the darkness?
If you recall part of the selected reading by Victor Frankl where he stated, “What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.”
That doesn’t indicate that humans will find their meaning or their purpose or their goals or their absolute potential in moments of ease or comfort or joy. Those are all higher vibrational states where the tension has been discharged or dissipated. It indicates that we will come closer to the clarity of our passion and desire and service and the full bigger picture spectrum in the midst of conflict or confusion or frustration or, even, pain.
Are you able to find within your polar field of tension – as Frankl described – “meaning that is to be fulfilled” as one pole and “the person who has to fulfill it” as the other pole? Do you recognize that you – yes YOU – have a meaning that is to be fulfilled? Not only do you have one, the fulfillment of that meaning heals not only yourself but also opens to the expansion and rippling effect of that healing on to others whom you touch directly and indirectly?
Do you recognize that YOU have a super power within you? Power does not come through a turbine and through a transformer and into wires that connect to a pronged receptacle in our homes. Power does not come from a dollar bill received from a paycheck within an economic system created to control the flow of exchange in support of another. Power does not come from a religious dogma presented by a religious leader that is interpreted by an agenda and exercised through some extreme activity. Power does not come from a political system that creates laws and regulations that are implemented through force.
Power comes from within. Power comes from love. If power comes from within and power also comes from love, then love must come from within.
In my opinion, we have to be able to accept what is – crazy or not – with compassion in order to fall in love with ourself. Falling in love with ourself is the highest challenge of this human existence. Because once we think we have that figured out, relationships happen. And we all know that what comes up as tension in any relationship is a mirror of what we haven’t resolved within our own self, whether we creatively attempt to place the blame on the other or not.
Every relationship requires presence and commitment and work to realize the potential of the dynamics that exist between friends and family and lovers and coworkers. That realization of potential is what then allows us to recognize the strengths and the goodness and the love within ourselves – at the same time showing us our challenges and distortions and disappointments that prevent us from “acting” as our true selves.
When we don’t act or be as our true self, isn’t that what we consider “crazy”?
When you know the higher potential in someone else yet you observer them acting or being what could be described as less than their true self, isn’t that when we call someone else “crazy”?
Relationships open up an entire box of polarities – tensions yet potentials, vulnerabilities yet meanings, conflict yet resolutions – to our own existence within that polar field of tension. Not only with another person, but within ourselves. It is the same “within” that births love.
If love comes from within, then we sure need to love on ourselves in this world of suffering beyond suffering. We must love on ourselves in our craziest or crazies. That is when – in the midst of what appears to be chaos – we can experience that moment when seven generations gather to experience those profound words of Crazy Horse, “I salute the light within your eyes where the whole universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am that place within me, we shall be as one.”
In this seemingly chaotic and crazy world that we live in, how do we continue to love? How do we continue to see our full potential? How do we not lose sight of the full potential of another? How do we not lose sight of the full potential of humanity? How do we not lose sight of Crazy Horse’s vision of unity?
There is a quote from Marcel Proust that made me reflect for some time when I first stumbled upon it. It goes like this: “Since desire always goes towards that which is our direct opposite, it forces us to love that which will make us suffer.” Allow me to repeat: “Since desire always goes towards that which is our direct opposite, it forces us to love that which will make us suffer.”
My takeaway from that is that our desires force us to love those things that we feel may cause suffering in our lives. Our desires teach us to love. Let us use an example: If we desire world peace and we constantly see war and terrorism and conflict in the news, we are forced to love that which appears to be un-peaceful as part of the path to peace or we will suffer gravely because we will not be able to find the peace within our own self. You see, the potential for perceived suffering always exists.
I’ll paraphrase a quote I once heard that says something like this, “Challenges are mandatory but suffering is optional.” When we are able to take off the lenses of suffering and find love – no matter how small of a piece of love we can find – in every situation and every person, we will let go of the crazy. When we can experience news and relationships and action and words without being triggered, we will let go of the crazy. When we are always looking for the little hint of goodness within every thing, we will let go of the crazy.
Back to Proust: “Since desire always goes towards that which is our direct opposite…” – this is the polarized suffering – “…it forces us to love that which will make us suffer” – this is the power of love from within. That is how we let go of the crazy. That is how we never lose sight. Love brings peace. Peace brings understanding.
I invite you into a relaxed position and into a state of contemplation. Receive a deep breath. If you are comfortable, close your eyes. Receive another deep breath. Focus on the following words and see how and where they resonate in your polar field of tension and in your desires: compassion, grace, forgiveness, truth, empathy, peace. Create a pair of glasses with lenses of love. Put them on and sink into a meditation with the words of Bob’s song.
SONG (Bob Sima): If You Knew Me Better, from It’s Time
When we have clear vision using love as our objective lens, we foster compassion and grace and forgiveness and love and understanding FIRST for ourselves and then for others. We begin to see different perspectives simply as different perspectives instead of as threats or conflicts or judgments. We begin to connect to the center of ourselves and we begin to feel the center of others. The deeper understanding of a human condition comes when we realize that all behaviors are conditioned. We choose to be certain ways because of something, a condition that may or may not be true but appears to be real. We behave based on a thought, a belief, a story, a fear, a hope, a desire, a directive, an experience, a joy, a feeling, a memory.
Imagine ourselves if we only responded with and through love. Imagine how you would see yourself if you accepted all of you through your own lenses of love. Imagine how you would care for your beloved if you only responded to them as love. Imagine how you would see the world if you agreed to find a thread of love in everything you experienced. That is a world that, I believe, Martin Luther King Jr spoke of when he said these words, “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; ‘and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together’.”
How did Martin Luther King Jr view the world through all of the crazy… the racial injustices placed on the African American community? Do you think that his goal to unite the highest potential of humanity made the difference between encouraging non-violent demonstrations instead of violent protests? Do you think he looked outside of himself for some external power source to stand as and for love in the face of threats, physical harm, and discrimination?
How did Viktor Frankl view the world through all of the crazy… the antisemitic atrocities that were happening to the Jewish communities throughout Europe during World War II? Was his desire to fulfill his meaning more powerful than the possibility that he could just give up his life to avoid the fateful suffering of the holocaust? Do you think he might have been challenged by choosing to find and connect to the center of his perpetrators rather than succumb to anger and bitterness and resentment?
How did Crazy Horse view the world through all of the crazy… the unlawful betrayals presented to Native American communities as the United States was infiltrated and overruled by non-natives? Was his desire of a unified world a vision so strong within him that seven generations from his time was such a relatively short time scale that his own inability to experience that unity was far less important than simply holding steady in the vision? Do you think he looked at the world through lenses of fear or through lenses of love?
The only possible way to manage a crazy world is by finding peace within ourselves and allowing that foundation of peace to create the love with which you – not only – see the world, but also hold for the world. It takes a compassionately strong and centered individual to light the way for future generations.
Patricia Cota Robles writes in Who Am I? Why Am I Here?:
———It is time for all of us to really grasp the fact that people do not know what they do not know. When a person awakens, his or her consciousness is raised up, and their perception of reality is transformed. An awakened person literally thinks, feels, sees, and hears with greater awareness. This shift of consciousness allows the person to perceive a greater Truth and to comprehend the Oneness of Life at a deeper level. This awakening results in an indisputable inner knowing within the person’s heart and mind.
When an unawakened person tries to deny or discredit the inner knowing of an awakened person, it is futile. That effort is like a deaf and blind person trying to convince a sighted-hearing person that there is no such thing as color or music. The difference in this situation is that the sighted-hearing person would understand perfectly why the deaf and blind person was having trouble grasping the concept of color and music. The sighted-hearing person would have compassion for the deaf and blind person and would respond to him or her with patience and understanding.———
Martin Luther King Jr.
The level of patience and understanding for what was happening allowed them to accept what was happening. Their ability to see – through love-infused and peace-filled glasses – a 360-degree panoramic of a greater expression of humanity allowed them to disagree with what was happening yet articulate and model their concern effectively that has impacted the history of their lives and will impact history for lifetimes to come.
It is time for us all to “see with new eyes and hear with new ears”.
It is time for us to find our center and meet the center of others.
It is time for us to salute the light within each other and live as one.
It is time for us to recognize our meaning and our role in fulfilling that meaning.
It is time for us to desire so strongly that we learn to love even stronger.
It is time for us to know ourselves so we can more deeply understand others.
It is time for us to love our crazy so much that we shine like the light of the world.
It is time for us to be bold, brave, and unafraid.
SONG (Bob Sima): It’s Time, from It’s Time