Light | by holly Hudley

I am guessing a few of you might remember a couple years back when Bill had us sing along with him, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!” I thought of that today, as Bill talked about the light of stars being ever-present, though unseen unless in the presence of the dark. I thought about our grandest star, the sun, and how nothing, no thing would exist on this planet unless for the power of the sun. At any moment, the sun emits about 3.86 x 1026 watts of energy. So add 24 zeros to the end of that number, and you'll get an idea of how unimaginably large an amount of energy that is! Most of that goes off into space, but about 1.74 x 1017 watts strikes the earth. Let me say it another way. One billionth of the sun’s energy reaches earth. One billionth. That’s how powerful it is. It keeps everything on earth alive with one billionth of its power.

Light sustains us.

And this! This fact is even more amazing. Has anyone read Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss? (Bill recommends the Archbishop of Canterbury and I...well, I recommend children’s books.) Anyway, if you’ve read it do you remember the spec? The teeny tiny spec teeming with a whole village of micro life forms? Something smaller than that spec, smaller still than the period at the end of this sentence, burst all of life into being. Something smaller than (.) ultimately created dinosaurs, galaxies, and symphonies!! When it burst, the first thing it did was become photon waves. These photon waves differentiated, reassembled, and became all the DNA ever needed to create an entire universe...an infinite cosmos. It is our structural core.

What is the origin of this light?

I think the light is itself the origin. 

Tikkun Olam, my favorite mystical Jewish teaching, maintains that when the original light broke into millions if not trillions of tiny pieces, that each shard contained a soul. In order to return to the source, to the whole if you will, we must perform acts of love. Ergo, love and light are synonymous at best and cousins at least. I have a friend who, as he smokes and talks, asks, “Who is the authority on light? Tell me. Who?” I don’t know what he’s trying to get me to say or if he already knows the answer but try this: the light is its own authority. The light is in us. Draw your own conclusions about whether the word is authority or co-participation. 

Let your light shine bright. It sustains you, it keeps you, it is you. The first light of the first moment pours through you. And you. And you and you and you and you. Sing it now: “This little light of mine...I’m gonna let it shine...Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!”

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Reflections | by Holly Hudley

After preparing for a few dialogues with Bill then with Dr. Cleve Tinsley, after preparing a couple solo talks in Bill’s absence, I totally understand what Bill means when he says creating Ordinary Life is both energizing and a spiritual practice. As I go, I imagine myself in dialogue with you all, picture your faces, who I might see, and I want you to know that ALL of you were present with me.  Thank you for the trust and encouragement. 

As I contemplate, I am a bit mesmerized by the arc of the last couple weeks in which we circuited the interiority of the soul, the specificity of growing in acts of fierce love, and engaging in the wider community with an eye for justice and equity. Now that I look, it seems like these three principles of universe formation guided me the whole way whether I knew it or not: Differentiation, Specification, and Communion. 

Our particular unique souls, though a facet of the cosmos expressing itself through us, represent differentiation. Each one of us is a unique, ensouled thing, possessive of haeccity or “thisness.” I love how Cleve said, “I’ve known I was a doctor since I was born; {RICE} is just now paying attention.” This is true for every single one of us. Our thisness is innate, but we often spend a good chunk of our lifetime opening our hearts and minds to who we are meant to be in the world. Some of us never fully land, but it is my belief our souls continue to evolve beyond this particular body, so have hope! {It’s another post entirely, but yes, I do believe in some form of reincarnation - even if it simply means the energy of us gets reabsorbed by the universe. Remember, matter can neither be created nor destroyed; it merely changes shape. And matter is not separate from spirit. In this way two become one.}

Specification is represented by the evolution of consciousness. How shall we love? This is the specific question I asked when it comes to growing into our unique self and expressing it in the world. Love is not mushy, benign, or mere romanticism. It can be those things, but it is also So. Much. More. Love is fierce, love is struggle, love is the willingness to see every other person - no matter how much they make you shudder - as an aspect of self. Love is the hardest, easiest thing. And yet, like gravity, it just is. It is the thing that tethers us to every other thing. When we open ourselves up to love as fact, I think we can allow ourselves to live with a little more imagination about what might pour through and between us if we live as if it were as much a law of the universe as gravity, motion, or expansion. Even Einstein believed love to be the most powerful force there is. In the words of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”

And now communion. Community. Kinship. Justice. To embody the unity at the heart of the universe, we must be willing to accept the importance of all things - ALL THINGS - as an integral part of the universe system. There is no hierarchy. Tree is no more important than cloud; dark no more important than light; America no more important than Mexico; and I am no more important than you. If everything and everyone belongs, then no one has anything to lose. To realize such truths, we do not need to be friends or even neighbors, but we do need to be in solidarity with each others’ right to be just as we are without one having more power than another. Starting there grows the possibility for genuine relationship to occur. To quote Cleve quoting Cornell West, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” But here’s the rub: how we show up in public has everything to do with how we show up in private. We can start by doing a clear eyed examination of how we participate in or benefit from domination systems. Where is your money invested? How do you view folks less wealthy than you? The questions go on an on. Do you see, now, how the principles of the universe are interwoven? For true communion to be possible, we need to bring our truest, deepest, differentiated selves to the table, grow in consciousness, and make space for everyone else to do the same. In this way three become one. It is an ever expanding cycle. 

The possibility for consciousness was present at the very beginning of our understanding of time some 14 billion years ago. Self conscious awareness and the ability to frame it with words, pictures, and symbols exploded when our ancestors arrived on the scene only 300,000 years ago. We are nascent in this whole process, mere babies. As far as I know time has not come to a full stop, which means consciousness has not either. 

In a fractal, each part has the same statistical character as the whole. Each part is also necessary to the whole.

In a fractal, each part has the same statistical character as the whole. Each part is also necessary to the whole.

A Wild Ride | by Holly Hudley

I want to expand on this notion of whether or not the spiritual journey is a safe one. Full disclosure here: I am a counter phobic 6 on the enneagram, and safety is something I crave and push against in the same moment! I will stay loyal to the cause, but I will question it the whole way down. So my lens on this topic may be wildly different from yours!

When I think about staying safe in the context of our spiritual lives, I imagine us in pretty church dresses, mumbling words we have always mumbled without much investigation, holding onto “the way it has always been done.” If we accept the narrative handed down to us by our culture, our families, our various churches, we will continue to uphold a patriarchal, white dominated, salvific faith where we remain separate from what is sacred, always reaching and grasping for what is “out there” versus what is right here. If we remain safe, there is no transformation, no integration, no creativity. If we remain safe we either stay huddled up in the dark cave with no way out or standing on the departure platform of this wild, often exciting and mysterious, sometimes scary ride. Remember Luke Skywalker’s adventure? Can you imagine how the galaxy would have turned out if he had just said, “Nah. I think I’ll just stay put on my home planet Tatooine, thanks. Just gonna stay here and harvest moisture with my droids...” There would have been no adventure, no Jedi, no hero’s journey. It would’ve been a single, B-, back shelf story rather than an entire franchise of intergalactic awesomeness.

I think we need to be willing to feel a little unsafe in order to fulfill our spiritual “destiny.” Whatever God is, she is wild and beautiful and diverse. Chaordic is a word I like (chaos + order), but not necessarily safe in the way I have defined it. If we only ever stick to the known, we will not grow.

I’m reading The Narrative of Sojourner Truth, also called Ain’t I A Woman? She talked about how she had to get out from under who she thought she had to be - which was a “good slave” so she wouldn’t get beaten or turned out by her masters - to become who she really was - a freedom fighter. She changed her name from Isabella to Sojourner. A sojourner is one who stays temporarily - but she added Truth to her name. She journeyed toward truth, her own story embedded in the larger Truth. She took a risk in the era of slavery and white terror to free herself, her child, and others. By no stretch of the imagination was her path “safe,” but along the way she was blanketed by a nagging suspicion of Love at the heart of the Universe.

Our journey may not look like Luke’s or Sojourner’s. For some of us, it may look exactly like harvesting moisture on a desert planet with two suns. The real point is are you willing to take some amount of risk to see what wants to be expressed through you? The journey may not be entirely “safe,” and you may be shaken up or turned upside down at times, but I believe we will be held by a universe that bends toward communion and expresses itself in sacred mystery... through all of us. The Buddha said the path to nirvana is transforming suffering. In The Road Less Travelled, M. Scott Peck starts out by saying, “Life is hard.” Jesus referred to the way to the kingdom as being “harder than a camel passing through the eye of a needle.” None of these promise a safe, predictable path, but a bit of a wild ride. I’ll save you a spot in line!

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Being Human | by Holly Hudley

I don’t know about y’all, but Michael Morwood is right up my alley. As I stand on the threshold between small god and Big God, or maybe even God and no God, as I lean into a new story - one that suits my personality more wholly than anything else ever has - I am eager with anticipation and a bit of trepidation.

I’ve said this before: the universe is a singularity. It is one thing made of many things. Essentially atomic beings that take many forms. This is the most basic description of what Pierre Teilhard de Chardin called differentiated unity. I cannot buy into a god that threw us into this reality only to urge us to try and escape it to get back to some otherworldly notion of heaven. Our spiritual lives are not one giant Escape Room game - following the correct clues so that our special group can unlock the secrets and obtain freedom. Why would we be here only to figure out how to leave on the express train to heaven as quickly as possible? Access to both freedom and heaven are right here.

I am most definitely not a nihilist - there is a point to life. It’s not all for naught. We are not living a meaningless life in a meaningless cosmos. Otherwise why would humans seek meaning? Consciousness is a direct outcome of the cosmos, and it’s only like 300,000 years old. Consciousness is still a wee baby in the grand scheme of things, and how we experience it is not the end of the road! I love this earthbound gig in a human body. The amount of pleasure and awe and grief and joy I feel is immeasurable. My dear friend and I were marveling tonight at how we humans can experience the full pendulum of emotions in a day...heck, more like an hour! No, I don’t have THE answer, but I think the point is collective, not individual. Actually, it’s kind of both/and. Our individual contribution to the collective has the ability to help or hinder evolutionary progress. As long as it is only about us, about personal gain, then we are a hindrance. When we consider, however, that how we do life is an illustration of the cosmos pouring through us, we cannot help but connect ourselves to some greater unfolding. I am not necessarily talking about what traditional language calls “Gods plan” for our personal particular lives. That is small thinking. As long as it stays about me, I am living a short sighted life. What I am talking about is deepening our intentional connection to the unfolding mystery while truly having no idea where it will land. “When that spirit lives and breathes in you, you are delivered from a dead life” (The Message, Romans 8:11).

Poet David Whyte said, “Humans are the only species that reject being themselves.” We have yet to figure it out...and...maybe to be human is to be in awe. We have this capacity, perhaps even compulsion, to observe and record and create about life’s unfolding. No other species can do this that we know of! Our job is to elucidate the sacredness of ordinary life.

I like Morwood’s idea of examining the window through which we experience sacred mystery. Each of us has our own lens, our own experience to make sense of. This is the import of the individual. But if as individuals we can honestly investigate our our personal experience, we may also have access to how that resonates with the larger whole. You were once a cloud of stardust. You are now human. That’s awesome. I love what Neil deGrasse Tyson says about this: “I look up at the night sky, and I know that, yes, we are part of this Universe, we are in this Universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the Universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up—many people feel small, because they’re small and the Universe is big, but I feel big, because my atoms came from those stars.” So what will you do with your humanity, your beautiful, messy life, that places you among and within the mystery?

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Froglessness | by Holly Hudley

My oldest son nurtures a deep love of frogs.He knows the life cycle forward and back. Spring and early summer are like lullabies for him - frogs sounding like banjos at twilight, chasing mating calls down the block. A few weeks ago he scooped up two tadpoles in a small jar from the drainage ditches still riddled with ribbons of frog eggs in front of the house. He put them in a small demitasse cup, one we normally use for ice cream, asked Alexa what he should feed them, and gathered algae outside.

Over the last two weeks we’ve watched one of the tadpoles transform. First it grew tiny thread like back legs, then from its gills grew front legs. So delicate they were, maybe a millimeter thick. Each morning before school we’ve checked on them — I too became invested, prodding the water throughout the day if it stayed still too long, filling up the cup with fresh water when the cat drank from it.  One morning we noticed its head above water, the next its tail had dropped off.  It sat on the small river stone we placed in the cup, perfectly still, as if contemplating its first hop.  I wondered, what is it like for this once fully aquatic creature to find itself breathing air? To find itself sitting on a stone with legs and no tail? Side note: I would completely freak out if it were me  

I do not really know if tadpoles are conscious of their transformation, if they understand the fullness of their miracle. One thing I know is that the little tiny frog, smaller than my pinky nail, did not try again to become a tadpole. For nearly 2 days it sat in one spot. Perhaps it was bewildered, overwhelmed at discovering itself a frog.

With any change, tadpole to frog, bud to flower, helium to star, there’s a kind of quantum leap that happens.  Our  own movement from asleep to awake, though gradual, requires this leap, however small. You know those moments when you find yourself no longer in suffering? You’re going, “How did that happen? On Tuesday I thought death would be easier and today I belly laughed!” This is a kind of quantum leap. We transform all the time. The natural world is a perfect mirror for what is possible within.

In the morning we had a tadpole who swam. By afternoon it was a frog who jumped. We are capable of the very same!

Noticing these quantum leaps in and around us requires attention and a willingness to fold into small miracles with a sense of awe and gratitude. The best part about having kids and re-experiencing the world through their eyes is awe is never far from the surface. We experienced the wide space between froglessness and frog. To attain stillness and watchfulness, we too had to exist in a state of froglessness, to just be. Thich Nhat Hanh wrote it this way:

The first fruition of the practice

is the attainment of froglessness.

When a frog is put

on the center of a plate,

she will jump out of the plate

after just a few seconds.

If you put the frog back again

on the center of the plate,

she will again jump out.

You have so many plans.

There is something you want to become.

Therefore you always want to make a leap,

a leap forward.

It is difficult

to keep the frog still

on the center of the plate.

You and I

both have Buddha Nature in us.

This is encouraging,

but you and I

both have Frog Nature in us.

That is why the first attainment

of the practice—

froglessness is its name.

In my mind this willingness to hold both froglessness and anticipation is its own kind of miracle. One that necessitates our ability to hold the tension of opposites - stillness with a quantum leap. We are leaping all the time. And as we do, our nondual nature, our ability to hold many states of being at once, grows and matures.

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Reimagining the Gods | by Holly Hudley

Spring is in full form in Houston. For many birds and insects it is a way-station on a long migratory path. Especially magical are the Monarch butterflies whose fifth generation descendants from the year before pass through the same spaces as their ancestors, lay new eggs, and the striped caterpillars munch on the same milkweed as those who came before. Their jewel-like chrysalis, lime green threaded with gold, is a house of transformation. In the process of metamorphosis, the caterpillar digests itself, turns to oozy liquid enzymes, and contains highly organized cells known as imaginal discs that eventually form the body parts of the butterfly. This birth, death, rebirth process produces an entirely new creature. It is miraculous. And yet it is entirely necessary to the continuation of the caterpillar, the butterfly, and the milkweed. While scientists don’t know exactly what it remembers from the liminal space of the cocoon, it is a given that the caterpillar must evolve to survive. If we consider the Christ archetype, it is a direct mirror to this process, one that is not only necessary, but inevitable. “What happens in the life of Christ happens always and everywhere” (Edward Edinger). We find the butterfly beautiful, a diaphanous angel, but often resist our own process of transformation. What, then, can the human and her human made systems glean from the butterfly?

#1. “That we are not all going to die, but we shall all be changed” (Edinger).

Every spring we watch the caterpillars spin themselves into their cocoons. On occasion we’ll get a cold snap and they never emerge, the chrysalis eventually blackens. Or they do emerge but their new wings don't completely unfurl. Of course, those that emerge, transformed and whole, are an apt metaphor for the “ultimate goal of individuation—the transformation of ego into archetype” (Edinger). A Jungian look at the Christ archetype does not reveal Jesus as an intermediary between God and human, but an example of the revelation of the  divine in the human. This is possible for every single one of us. We do not take this for granted as the caterpillar dissolves its essence into enzymes and imaginal discs, so why do we lack this kind of imagination for ourselves?

Necessary to deep change is for our ego to disintegrate into ooze, maintain some form of “imaginal cells” that might help us perform daily tasks, and revitalize to make room for the Self. What Jung and Edinger call the Self Rudolf Steiner names the I. If we can truly understand the incarnation of Christ, “we learn to exert our full self awareness or I-consciousness” (Steiner). If we can accept the challenge of personal transformation, we can more consciously participate in societal change. In mythospeculation, the challenge Brian Swimme, and before him Thomas Berry, issues is how do we engage with the impending Ecozoic Era in full awareness? The time for changing systems and making way for a death-rebirth cycle is now. “We are living in what the Greeks called the kairos—the right moment—for a ‘metamorphosis of the gods,’ of the fundamental principles and symbols. The peculiarity of our time. . . is the expression of the unconscious man within us who is changing.” Edinger asserts that even the Church, or perhaps especially the church, is poised to undergo its own incarnation cycle, learning to live between tradition and progress, ushering in the individual as emissary of the sacred.

#2. The darkness of the chrysalis contains the tension of opposites; its earth bound caterpillar self and its sky bound butterfly self.

Think of how Jesus accepted betrayal with a kiss, from which he incorporates into his psyche loyalty to a future vision and betrayal of and by his “tribe,” his Jewish heritage. Similarly, to fully individuate as the butterfly, the caterpillar must let go of all her caterpillar ways, but somewhere in her is the memory of her original form. So integral is her original form that she can still lay eggs to birth new caterpillars who will perpetuate the birth-death-rebirth cycle. It goes on and on and on. To borrow the metaphor on a personal level, in order to fully individuate, one must hold within the dichotomy of the dysfunctions and gifts of her family of origin as well as the image of who she imagines herself to be outside the cocoon. This is exactly where we find ourselves in this moment of human development. We live in an infinite cosmos; we are finite. We are differentiated unique beings; we are one whole.  If we emerge from the cocoon in tact, we simultaneously understand that matter and spirit are not separate. “The goal of the incarnation cycle, like the goal of individuation, is the coniunctio. The time has come for the psychic opposites—heaven and earth, male and female, spirit and nature, good and evil—which have long been torn asunder in the Western psyche, to be reconciled” (Edinger).

#3. The change from a caterpillar to a butterfly to the human eye is a kind of quantum leap.

The other morning when my boys and I were leaving for school, we noticed a fat, striped caterpillar just beginning to curl itself into a cocoon. Within an hour it was sealed in its hard shell. Ten days later, the cocoon was darker and thin, starting to break open. By that afternoon I watched as the butterfly prepared for its first flight, wings damp and curled. There is a great leap between the caterpillar and the butterfly. There is a great leap for the human between death and rebirth. “Evolution may proceed slowly, as when a plant moves form one green leaf to the next. A leap occurs in the plant, however when the last leaf has emerged and flower buds begin to form, and comparable repeated leaps occur in the evolution of the human race” (Steiner). What Steiner and Jung had their differences both foretold was the necessity of the human realizing her own embodiment of the True Self for spiritual evolution to take place. In sum, if we accept the invitation to consciously participate in the birth-death-rebirth cycle, we cannot live as a divided self. We integrate ego into Self, caterpillar into butterfly, spirit into matter. None of these things are separate. It is our calling at this juncture, not only to reimagine the gods, but to reimagine ourselves as part of the great cosmic unfolding.

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Liminal Space | by Holly Hudley

I had a dream whereby I poked, woke, and got chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex. It chased me to the edge of a “fathomless dark void” that looked very much like a cavernous concrete parking lot. It could not see in the dark, turned away, and gave up on trying to eat me.

I read a book called The Christian Archetype: A Jungian Commentary on the Life of Christ by Edward Edinger. It is an incredible read. The author writes, “There are certain points in history when the collective God-image undergoes death and rebirth. Such is now the case....‘We are living in what the Greeks called the Kairos - the right moment - for a “metamorphosis of the gods,” of the fundamental principles and symbols. This peculiarity of our time...is the expression of the unconscious man within us who is changing’” (p119).

I read an essay on Progressing Spirit by Toni Reynolds on her disappointment with Christianity. Disappointment is an understatement, actually. She is angry with it. Reynolds writes, “There is something happening in the shadow that demands our attention; in the shadow of our families, our nation, our spiritual tradition, and us...I am slowly coming into awareness about the particular ways that Christianity has confused me about the truth of who I am. About how it has been used to swindle my ancestors out of practices, land, drums, and prayers that would have been truly liberating–if they hadn’t been whipped and beaten out of their brown bodies. I am angry about the history of Christianity and its legacy, in this hemisphere and for the last 500 years, as well as earlier and in the eastern hemisphere. The evidence of this legacy continues to result in present day acts of racism and bigotry that damage minds and spirits. It is not enough to say that “those people” who did and do “those” things of the past are not like us, here, even as we cultivate spaces like Progressing Spirit. We are always in contention with the brutal legacy of this country and of the groups to which we belong.”


All of these things are related.


I think the dinosaur represents “extinct” ideas or mindsets that no longer serve. Some of these might be about self doubt, but I also think the dinosaur calls into question traditional religious ideas about God, Prayer, Worship, and Belief as well as outworn practices of racism, homophobia, sexism and the like. I’m in the dark cave wrestling with all of these and how they fit together. I’m even grieving letting go of old ideas about God that no longer serve this new paradigm. We are being called to change, to integrate the tension of opposites and undergo a birth-death-rebirth cycle so that, as Jung says, we might happen to ourselves. What dominant Christianity in America became is not what I imagine Jesus envisioned. In this environment, I don’t think I can call myself a Christian in good conscience. A Jesus follower? Yes. But Christianity has upheld and enabled so much harm. I find myself in the liminal space, birthing a kind of spiritual individuation.

In a sense this is the wisdom of nature, of the Black Hole named Pōwehi. Nature, the cosmos, mirrors to us exactly what is going on within. After all, we too are part of this grand unfolding. Each winter and spring mirrors the death and rebirth process. Out of bleak blackness comes verdant green. Right now in the intensity of all the green, many of us in Houston have monarchs floating in our gardens. The caterpillar is wrapped in a gold threaded cocoon and emerges a whole new creature. This is what awaits us, certainly. I don’t want to usher that forward too quickly, though; to bypass the darkness and often pain that accompanies transformation. In the mean time, having escaped the dinosaur, I sit with the shadows. I am inviting them in as teachers, even friends.

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Pōwehi | by Holly Hudley

Pōwehi: Hawaiian for “the adorned fathomless dark creation” or “embellished dark source of unending creation.” Originates from the Kumulipo, an 18th century creation chant.

This is the name a Hawaiian Language Professor gave the Black Hole in the M87 galaxy nearly 54 million light-years from Earth.

54 million light years away. What we are seeing existed 54 million years ago and it just reached our line of sight!

According to our construct of time on this planet Pōwehi most likely no longer exists in the form in which it was revealed to us. 54 million light years from now another telescope will see what it has become, what the fathomless void will create. All that we currently know about black holes is our best guess based on the movement of matter and gravity near the event horizon. 

 The human capacity for shared language, to create symbols that exist outside of our minds might be able to lend clues to future beings about what we currently know so that they have a point of comparison. Maybe the black hole at the center of the Milky Way created Pōwehi. Maybe it is our descendant. After all one theory is that black holes contribute to the creation of new galaxies. Evolving revelation takes time; sometimes upwards of 54million years. 

I’ve been reading a lot of scripture lately — comparing Hindu texts to Buddhist and Christian, specifically the gospels. (Blasphemy warning!) Sometimes I wonder how much relevance a couple two thousand year old prophets like Jesus or Buddha have today. And then I see Pōwehi 54 million light years away. It feels revelatory. What did it swallow, churn and spew forth from its center? We’ve got years to go before we fully grasp the layers of meaning in sacred texts just as we don’t yet understand the inner workings of black holes. This forward-backward-entangled concept of time is awesome and overwhelming. So exactly what do the prophets have to teach us?

From Zen Buddhism | “The Coincidence of Opposites”

In the very midst of light, there's darkness;
    don't meet another in the darkness.
In the very midst of darkness, there's light;
    don't observe another in the light. 
Light and darkness complement each other,
    like stepping forward and stepping back.

From The Message | John 1:8-9

He was there to show the way to the Light.
    The Life-Light was the real thing:
Every person entering Life
    He brings into LIGHT. 

We are all dark. We are all light. Both are in our midst. Jesus, Buddha, Pōwehi…they all show us the light within that emits from the dark source of unending creation. What happens “out there” in the cosmos happens within. Maybe that is the message of the prophets: We are not actually separate! We are part of this incredible light-dark, forward-backward unfolding! Don’t waste a moment! Be the Life-Light!

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Black Holes & God’s Eyes | by Holly Hudley

With the first ever photo of a black hole, I can’t help but think of this as a new kind of revelation, a literal halo of light in our path of emerging cosmic consciousness.

Let me pause. I’m aware that any time I use a phrase like “cosmic consciousness” there might be a kind of new agey feel to it. We might want to dismiss it too quickly, dress it with crystals and tie dye. Thus is the limitation of language and cultural applications of it. I also wonder if it makes us uneasy because it is true, it is happening, and we are in the very midst of new reaches in quantum theory and space-time relativity. We are wrestling, in a sense, with the hugeness of a discovery and the smallness of our beings. I bet Jesus made people uneasy too. And Einstein chewed on expansion for a decade. But casting new age concerns aside, I invite you to step into the etymology:

cos·mos (n): from the Greek kosmos  (1) the universe seen as a well ordered whole

con·scious (n): from the Latin conscius (1) knowing with others or in oneself

We are in the process of knowing the universe together as a well ordered whole. What an invitation. This is a universe that contains US, every single one of us. As we deepen our understanding of it, we deepen our understanding of ourselves. The image produced was a collective endeavor with over 200 scientists working on it world wide. This community of brilliant folks has elevated us into a new way of seeing. Before them, black holes were conceived of in the early 1900’s, so this image is a continuation of a thought exercise that began a century ago. I want to celebrate for a moment that so many women were part of this team. In a field dominated by the lone male genius archetype, the notable contribution of women is not insignificant!

Scientists are very careful about what they put out there for public consumption. Although their inquiry starts with a question, a sense of wonder, they chase the wonder until it solidifies into something beyond speculation. If you believe what you see, the historical picture we’ve been privy to, leaves no room for doubt in the existence of black holes. Because of the internet, more than half of the global population has access to the image captured by powerful telescopes. And because word of mouth still travels to the far reaches of the earth, even more of us will know by year end. Someone please be sure to tell the shaman in the outer reaches of Mongolia, though I wouldn’t be surprised if he nods sagely and says, “I already know.”

Based on the movement of matter near perceived black holes, scientists postulate that while they consume stars that drift too near, they also eject material that creates new stars, possibly flinging them out of their home galaxy. It’s like some giant watermelon seed spitting contest conspiring to create new galaxies and star clusters. Let’s look at the black hole in metaphor. One person said to me, “It looks like the eye of God staring back at us.” In some sense it is. Remember, “The eye with which I see God, is the same eye with which God sees me.” I thought it looked like an evil eye, the very same amulet of which wards off its shadowy powers. The antidote is in the poison, the healing contained in the depths. It is of course silly to apply emotions or evil intent to a cosmic phenomenon, but in this way the metaphor of language adds beauty. It is also a lightless maw surrounded by a luminous ring of light. We don’t know what happens when we get too close to the event horizon of that blackness. I’m not suggesting we volunteer ourselves to see if it’s true if matter gets stretched and spewed into oblivion, but I am suggesting that the black hole represents the unknown, the shadowy edges of our unconscious. But here’s the good news. There is a fiery light around it. Light cannot exist in the depths of the hole, but it has the capacity to create new stars, new light, new insights and understandings. This very same process happens within. Our shadow is part of who we are, and if we accept the invitation to look inside, to investigate how it operates in our lives, it might well teach us how to transform and illuminate the fiery edges. We might get stretched in new and painful ways, yes, but we might also discover that from the centers of our beings we have the capacity to generate clusters of the brightest light. After all, the same eye with which I see the see the dark, is the same eye with which I perceive the light.

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A poem | by Holly Hudley

I saw

a fern quivering

close to the

black, black ground.

I saw the

small

leaf covered

mound

begin to move.

Pushing

the blanket

of sodden leaves

up

as if

breathing

as if

cracking open

as if

getting born

or lumbering awake.

I could not help myself.

I prodded it

with a lichen covered stick

ever so gently

to see if it had eyes with which to see me.

The mound stopped

pushing.

I watched.

It waited.

I walked

On.

Which does not mean

the earth mound

moved

or not

according to my bidding.

This perhaps is our elusive human flaw.

Our fallacy of misplaced grandeur

that deludes ourselves

into believing

we can force the earth to move.

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