The effort you make in your spiritual life is about moving to some edge – and it doesn’t matter what edge you move to, because every edge is connected to all edges. Any door opens to the same Great Mystery.
I love the dietas in the jungle because they teach me through completely non-rational means. As an intellectually centered person filled with skepticism, I need to choose edges that take me out of the comfortable rules created by the intellect, to a place of real discomfort that frustrates my rational mind to the point that it finally gives up on trying to convince me to stay safely "home," and collapses and naps for several days. Then the plants swing the door open and teach me.
Skepticism is a safety zone, frosted with arrogance. ("I'm not one who is easily tricked or manipulated – I stand outside the ridiculousness that weaker people get drawn into.") In its positive expression, skepticism is strong protection against energies that will take you in wasteful circles. But, left unchallenged skepticism is an encircling electric fence that keeps out the transformative energies of life: wonder, awe, joy, gratitude.
It doesn't matter how you approach your own edge. What matters is that you identify an actual edge for you. Your growth as a human being - as a spiritual being - happens when you take the courage to head toward, and play on some edge – the place between old comfort and new structures. You'll know the edge by the discomfort you feel. Discomfort is the price of admission to spiritual power.
We are moved to the edge by our own choice, and also we are shoved to the edge by Spirit. I see the pandemic through this lens – our entire species pushed to an edge, so that we can learn something from the powers of discomfort - learn how to be new beings, how to become true humans.
So, as I embark on my chosen discomfort, I think about you – students, clients, layers of friends in my Facebook feed – each of you making choices of what edge you'll go to next and how you'll gracefully manage the edge that has been foisted upon you. I send you my respect, love and admiration for being human.
Here is a little song I created, adapted from a bit of text from Alan Watts:
You did not come into this world.
You came out of it.
Like the wave crest out of the ocean
Like the purple bloom on the lily.
And you are not a stranger here,
And you are not alone.
No, you are not a stranger here
And you are already home.