We conclude today our three-part series:

Life’s
Gifts and Life’s Tragedies – Making sense of it all

So
many ‘bad’ things happen to good people. What’s "up" here? What’s this
all about? How does the spiritual student make sense out of Life’s gifts
and Life’s tragedies?

As it happens (there are no coincidences in
the Universe) I am hard at work now on the biography of Barbara Marx
Hubbard, a futurist and visionary of the first rank, and a woman who is
changing the way we think it is to be human. In the chapter I am just
finishing, I tell the story of how Barbara found out about the
life-threatening (and, ultimately, life-ending) illness of her son,
Wade. I should like to dip into a little of that writing here, because
it is right on point….

Okay…from the book, then…which is
titled THE MOTHER OF INVENTION: The Legacy of Barbara Marx Hubbard and
the Future of You….

OCTOBER
2005:

Barbara is being driven by a dear friend, Carolyn Anderson,
to Palm Springs, where she is to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award
from the Association for Global New Thought, and will deliver a major
address in the form of her acceptance speech.

It’s a beautiful day
and Barbara is enjoying the drive and the good conversation with
Carolyn. Their lively exchange is interrupted by Barbara’s cell phone.

"Mom,
it’s Wade."

"Wade! How are you, darling? I’m just on my way to
Palm Springs to-"

-"Mom, I’ve received some interesting news."

Barbara
does not miss the concern in her child’s voice. "About what,
sweetheart?" There was the slightest pause. "About what?"

"I’ve
just been diagnosed with a major tumor." Barbara caught her breath.
"They say it’s fatal, but I don’t believe it."

"Oh, Wade…where
is it?"

"It’s a brain tumor, Mom. They call it glioblastoma."

Barbara
did not know it then, but in the medical profession they describe this
condition with three words: Death Upon Diagnosis. Untreated, the average
patient lives three months. With treatment, one to two years. Wikipedia
says that the single most prevalent symptom is a progressive memory,
personality, or neurological deficit due to temporal and frontal lobe
involvement. Shortly, Wade began exhibiting all three. At this point,
though, none of that was happening. Wade sounded perfectly fine on the
other end of the phone-and very determined.

"I want that tumor
out," he said.

Barbara told him that of course she would support
him, and do everything in her power to see him victorious in the battle
that both knew lay ahead.

Wade hung up and Barbara told her friend
at the wheel what she’d just heard. "Oh, dear," Carolyn continued her
drive in a deeply pensive mood. Within hours Barbara was to speak on the
potential of humanity, and now she would do it knowing that her own son
was threatened with death. If he had been in any immediate danger she
would have canceled the appearance and raced to his side. But this was
not the case, and they both knew it. So she pushed ahead and made the
presentation-though what was anticipated as a light-hearted and
thoroughly joyous occasion became for Barbara a very challenging
evening.

She did not elaborate in her talk about Wade’s
circumstance, but she re-framed her remarks in the context of tragedies
that are occurring in the lives of so many people in so many ways, at
the same time that so many new possibilities are being born.

"Concurrent
realities, I call them. They create the terrible dichotomies within
which so many people now live," she told her audience. "The only way
that anyone could hold a positive vision of the future would be to see
our present-day circumstance in spiritual terms."

She paused for a
moment, clearing emotion from her throat. "Many are dealing on this day
with tragedy, pain, and suffering. And life invites us to call up the
deepest faith, an inner `knowing,’ that crisis precedes transformation,
that problems are evolutionary drivers, and that there is nothing that
happens that does not have a meaning."

= = = = = = = = = =
= = = = = = = = =

What Barbara told her audience that night has
struck me ever since she shared it with me. It echoes for me the wisdom I
found in Conversations with God. It can be very useful for us to see
that we are "brightening" and "burning" at the same, as I wrote in my
analogy here last week. In that previous installment I :

"Can
a flame be said to be suffering because it is extinguishing itself even
as it illumins? Each illumination of the flame is the result of its own
`burning up.’ Is the burning up, then, less perfect than the
illumination?"

The truth is, we are living (just as Barbara says)
"concurrent realities."

Even as our flame burns to extinction, we
brighten everything around us. CwG says, "Pain is pain. `Suffering’ is
our thought about it." When we see the events of our lives as All
leading to our own evolution and the evolution of our species, we begin
to, as CwG says, "see the perfection."

This is another thing that
it is important to remember. We are not only "evolving" our Selves, we
are "evolving" the entire human race. What we are doing, we are doing
not only for us, but for every other living member of our species. What
we are going through, we are going through not only for us, but for all
other people. We are creating "memes," we are producing data, we are
sending information into the pool of collective consciousness from which
every sentient being extracts its knowingness. I want to speak more
about this next week, because this idea of us all working for the rest
of humanity is not one that is widely discussed or explored, but I think
it should be.

For now, let me end this three-part series with
this observation: Everything "bad" that is occurring—from the
earthquake in Chile to the terrible explosion in the mine in West
Virginia—is part of a Larger Process by which All of Life evolves. I
know that it is very to see that "silver lining" when you are
one of the people whose husband or wife or child died in one of those
tragedies…and so I also want to talk next week or in future weeks just
ahead about the process of grieving, and how that can be affected and
facilitated by moving to higher and higher levels of spiritual
awareness.

So we have much to discuss in the weeks ahead. Stay
tuned. Until next we meet here, I would like to leave you with a bit of
poetry from my wife, Em Claire…

Whatever It Was

It is
your own life that you desire to cherish

like one brings the downy
tuft of a Dandelion to the lips

blows softly

prays

to
give everything away

keep

only what remains

of a life
well lived

a life well loved

nourished and blessed

by
the suns and by the soils

and by whatever it was

that

finally

Opened
You.

`Whatever It Was’ – Em Claire

(Copyright 2007
– All Rights Reserved)

Love and Hugs,

Neale.