July 2017 – These Tumultuous Times
This has been a time of gentle reflection in the Benjamin work. With so much tumult in the outer world, grounding and stabilizing in one’s own practice and inner quiet has felt the truly best response to help hold balance.
At a Benjamin circle at my home in Scotland a couple of weeks ago Benjamin asked us to play with what I am going to call the “zoom lens”. They reminded us that on so many levels we are part of an unimaginable immensity. From observing and sensing the colossal scale of our own galaxy and universe through to the exquisite order in the minutiae of nature, we know that we are part of a space:time continuum that extends through aeons of time and at least 14 billion light years of space. Furthermore we know that the immensity that we are aware of is only a tiny part of what is.
How does this perspective help? When I remember the immensity, it helps me not to get overwhelmed and bogged down by the pressures of day-to-day experiences. For instance,so often a deadline can make me feel like a pressure cooker about to explode. Looking out and remembering “this too shall pass” or “Be still and know that I am God” brings me back to a place of being centered in the eternal, in that which is much greater than my current felt experience. Political upheaval is also something that can be less painful when viewed through a zoom lens focusing outwards to the macrocosmic. Where are we heading in the 20-50 year timeline, never mind centuries and more?
Benjamin balanced this by speaking to the sense of impotence and grief felt by some of the group in the face of the scale of suffering witnessed around them. They counseled deep inner listening and authenticity and asking the question, “What is mine to do and/or be?”, with great openness and truthfulness. They suggested that the Buddhist practice of Tonglen or similar practices of working at the energetic level, centering in the heart, can show us the truth of our felt response and that authentic sense that “this is mine to do”. “What is mine to do” can be something much more active such as supporting a charity or working with an aid organisation. It can can be a range of inner and outer movements and actions. The important thing is that feelings of empathy are only a first step.
Woven into this discussion was the invitation for us to understand that a life lived quietly with the deepest connectivity and authenticity can exert powerful impact on the field of consciousness. Centering in the heart is where Benjamin suggests we begin and end.
With love & blessings