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....
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 greater meaning."
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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 asked:
"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 difficult 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
to give everything away
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
`Whatever It Was' - Em Claire
(Copyright 2007 - All Rights Reserved)
Love and Hugs,