A friend and I were driving into Savannah when a crazed, disheveled man suddenly appeared in the road charging toward all cars coming his way, waving his arms and giving the finger to all of us in a demonic rage! Like a pinball game all the cars began veering left and right in order to avoid running him over! Once again it caused me to wonder about the human heart and the ways we run from what lives within it! For the man in Savannah his way was to rage against those outside his heart for whatever distressed him so greatly within it!
I recently watched a film about Tania Head entitled “The Woman Who Wasn’t There” who claimed to have been in one of the Twin Towers when they went down. She gained notoriety by telling how she survived the horrible tragedy and eventually became President of an organization for surviving families of the 9/11 World Trade Center victims. It turns out though she was never in the towers that fateful day! By casting herself in the role of victim she was able to evoke the kindness and respect which her heart craved! In other words, selling a delusion to herself and others in order to feel better about herself was preferable to facing the reality within her!
Reality has a way of demanding that it be seen and dealt with! How we feel about that does nothing to deter Reality’s insistence! Running away from facing reality does not make it go away! Running away distances us from that which is ultimately the only place in which we can experience the happiness of meeting the Divine! Dealing with Reality so the Divine at the heart of it can be sensed and encountered is what constitutes holiness… not levitating, not foretelling the future, not bending spoons with one’s mind! And it is within the ordinariness of our days that we have that chance!
The holiness of the ordinary is that moment of grace which enables us to suddenly resist what has been destroying our life! It is when we ambush our self-centeredness by reaching out to help someone or when we stop running and face our heart’s cravings! The effort such a moment requires might not feel like what we imagine holiness to be! Reality and the Divine dictate their own terms to which we must reconcile ourselves! Reconciling ourselves to the realities within and without is the work that our heart was made for!
Hawaiians have a wonderful sense that they are one with all around themselves and part of something larger which includes people, rocks, trees, land, water and air. At the heart of Hawaiian culture is the understanding that all of ordinary reality reverberates with the Divine! All reality is worthy of respect and reverence which requires the consciousness of connectedness. In order to be connected we must stop running!