spring awakening

more than daffodils emerge

Spring is here again, the time of growth and renewal. I love this time of year when the trees start to bud and the flowers push their lilac and pink faces above the winter-ridden soil. At the first sign of daffodils I always get that familiar anticipatory pulse, I know that change is about to happen. While all seasons have their charm; the lazy sunshine of summer, the colour and ruggedness of fall, and there is even a certain beauty in the bleakness of winter, spring holds a special place in my heart. Perhaps it’s something to do with the fact that I was born in spring. I think everyone holds dear that time of year they came into the world. After all we choose our birth, so the time and season must have a special resonance.

To me spring awakening is symbolic of our personal awakening, of the awakening of the spirit to its real nature. Spring is like a newborn child, and brings with it that same excitement and expectation. It is a time, for me personally, when I always look forward to the forthcoming events the year has to offer; the adventures, the joys. It is also the time when we celebrate Easter, another kind of awakening.

A Sunday stroll in spring

I was out walking last Sunday along the Dodder bank and through Bushy Park, familiar spots for those of you who know Dublin, enjoying the unexpected spell of good weather we’ve been having. Suddenly I got to thinking. You know the way walking makes you do that?

There have been so many disquieting things happening here in Ireland over the last few years; the economy has collapsed, unemployment is rampant, and on a more personal level the scandal of child sex abuse has been unveiled. This is a septic wound in the Irish psyche (although sadly one not confined to these shores). What is most outstanding is the courage of those survivors (I detest the word victim) who are finally getting some consolation. After so many decades of winter their story is at last being heard. They are having their own spring awakening.

A subdued rage seems to hang over the land.

Faith in the Catholic Church has all but collapsed here. There seems to be an inability amongst the clergy to understand the full sense of the horror. And while some in the church do want to take responsibility they don’t seem to know how. There's really no mechanism for them to do so. In many ways they seem to think they are the ones being wronged, that somehow the reporting of all this, and the virtual collapse of the church is the real crime, not what they as an institution inflicted on innocent defenceless children. We can all get trapped in our confusion, in our programs and defence mechanisms.

And this got me thinking about the whole subject of awakening. There never was a greater need for healing, in Ireland, and throughout the world, for a genuine spring awakening than there is right now. This, as you know is pretty much the theme of this website, awakening from the programs and scripts that have imprisoned us for so long.

It is fascinating, with a tinge of sadness, how history always reacts to what went before it, and in its reaction is in danger of making the same mistakes. How easy it is to decide we are special, different, apart from others. When we experience awakening we are also prey to the lure of thinking we are better than others. This is a deadly trap my friends.

We must be careful not to condemn all religious for the actions of a very few. And also to keep in mind there are Catholics, Muslims, and people of every faith, and none, who are also awake. This is not the preserve of any one person or group.

To be awake is simply to live from the heart. I don’t mean this in an emotional way. I’m afraid your heart has been hijacked by the emotional brigade. Today you have to scream to be heard, strike out to feel, and be assertive to earn approval. However, this false emotion comes not from the heart, but from a little lower down.

I’m talking about the adrenals!

You are living from your highest good when everything you do is informed by the heart.

All judgment is self judgment

Judgment is always around the corner. And all judgment is self judgment. You may think you’re judging someone else, the world situation, the banking crises, the Church, and so on, but you are really judging yourself.

What we criticise we generally imitate. When we experience anything new in our lives the first thing we want to do is go out and tell others about it. That’s natural. But another part of us wants to change others too (because we know it’s the right thing!) and because we gained so much from it ourselves.

But therein lies danger.

It is no accident that all the world religions and movements brought a swathe of people who vigorously, and often ruthlessly, set out to convert others one way or another. Such actions can never be justified, even if we can understand the devotee’s misplaced ardour. When we behave like this we are merely imitating those we are criticising. We have become them.

Being awake has nothing to do with any specific doctrine or faith. You can share in the experience of it whether you are a nature poet like Wordsworth, or a Sufi mystic like Rumi, the Dali Lama or the Pope of Greenwich Village. The truth is the same, the medium of how we discover and expresses it is unique to that person.

Jesus emphasises this in Matt: 5.45 that the sun shines on all alike, the just and the unjust. To be awake is to know that, and to hold others in compassion and not to condemn them. Yet it never ceases to amaze me how his very clear message has been so screwed up, and used for exactly the opposite purpose than it was intended. For more on this see God in Religion. Christianity has spawned more people who felt the need to proselytise and go on a rampage of conversion than, I think, any other religion.

And this is why we must go beyond religion. But in doing so we must be careful not to condemn those who have discovered what we have through that medium.

When we do this we will truly discover our own spring awakening.

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There is a voice that doesn’t use words - listen!


Reality is merely an illusion - albeit a persistent one.

Albert Einstein