I'm reading a wonderful, intense, spiritual, mystical book by Beatrice Bruteau entitled, "Radical Optimism: Practical Spirituality in an Uncertain World." It's an awesome book. Here's a section that I just finished (excerpted from Chapter 4).
We have developed a cult of the descriptive self, our own personal image industry... conventional categories that we use as a kind of shorthand for organizing our affairs for particular purposes that we may have chosen: getting acquainted, identifying people, carrying on a conversation while waiting for the bus. But all these descriptions could be otherwise and that person, the real person living inside, would still be there with the same interior sense of "I am, I am here, I am now, I am I."
It is this interior sense of actually existing in this moment as a sheer "I am" that is the real living person. This person is undefined, indescribable, and transcendant of all categories, roles, and descriptions. ... Because it is not defined or confined, the real person is not limited by contrast with beings possessing different definitions. It does not identify itself by seeing how it is distinct and different from others.
...Once we see that our deepest self, the real person in us, is not limited to being any one particular image-self but is actually a child of God, one who simply says "I am I, here, now" - once we really grasp that, all need for this elaborate and expensive defense system evaporates. Then we are free to love others, to will abundant being to them, to all. We no longer have to struggle to maintain a favorable balance of trade in our interactions with them in order to keep a good sense of self-feeling. Our sense of feeling good in being ourselves does not come from any kind of contrast or comparison with others. It comes directly and immediately out of our realization of being a creative act of God, simply unique and absolutely precious.
Questions that I'm asking myself, and asking you to consider, in this new year:
- What would it take for you to see yourself as connected to all other beings, as being a creative act of God, as being worthy and of value just because you exist?
- What would it mean to your 2009 to see others without the distinctions that they choose, or that the world puts on them - liberal, conservative, Christian, Muslim, foreigner, immigrant, gay, lesbian, criminal, victim, black, white, druggie, normie, etc.?
- How would the liberation described by Bruteau change your life on a daily basis?
- And how would it change the world?