August last year I sat on the mountainside on the Cotes d’ Azur 800 meter above Nice and meditated. It was a star spangled night and I could see the city lights glittering. The day before I had read that U2 would arrive the next day in their private jet, so I knew that there would be quite a party down there.
In my meditation – my eyes were open – the world was present to me as was my knowing about that party. Then the field of my inner perception expanded and I also saw the suffering that people caused each other at the same time, the sex that was surely going on down there and everywhere, the passers by and the television viewers, and the entire busy and difficult goings-on of the world. By and by my meditation deepened and the world disappeared. The phenomena were still present, the lights of the city shimmering, the darkness of the night, the soft warm wind of August, the chirping of the insects and much more. But it wasn’t the world anymore, neither outside nor inside… it had become transparent. And then there was only emptiness, the non-being of all form, the formless.
But I didn’t abide in this state, and something surprising happened. Words are not quite adequate to express what happened then, so the only way to express it is to say that now something beyond the world and nothingness revealed itself: pure compassion. Compassion for everything, for the world and nothingness, for form and the formless. It was as if this compassion was a being, a presence, a living heart, a source. And from this source waves of compassion were streaming through the dimensions of form and the formless, like a heartbeat pumping the light of compassion through nothingness into everything: Boom, boom, boom!
I don’t know how long this revelation lasted but it changed me as it transformed all phenomena. And I also don’t know what really happened there. I just know: Whatever is calling forth the unending universe and emptiness, the I and the other, being and non-being and enlivening it, shows itself to a human being like me as all encompassing compassion. Compassion for all beings, for everyone and even no-one and nothing. No exceptions.
Every evening before I go to sleep I read a bit. Last night I was reading a few lines from the Jewish-Christian tradition saying that in prayer one should stand totally naked and alone before Gods face. And I asked myself, “Am I willing to do so?”
Those who know me know that I’m not perfect in the least – hanging out with myself 24 hours per day I am quite sure about this. So the question was really, “With these characteristics, with this imperfection, these stupidities, mistakes, with all my habits good and bad, am I ready to stand naked and alone facing the Godhead knowing and seeing my totality?”
If God were righteous as many people in our culture believe, if He were to judge me, if justice would be His essential quality I could never stand before His face. I would be turned into a pile of ashes or a pillar of salt because of my failings. If God were like the Judaeo-Christian tradition depicts Him I could stand before Him at most in sackcloth und ashes but never naked.
But the Godhead is not interested in righteousness; at most this is a human endeavour. God is beyond all and nothing, beyond all form and formlessness. And from my own anschauung I have absolute certainty that She is compassion – God is beginningless and endless love and therefore I can stand there alone and absolutely naked. It is Her Grace that allows me to.
So last night it was given me to stand there in Her lovelight enlightening all with compassion – God sees me, totally naked and with all my imperfections, overflowing me with pure unending compassion. But, being imperfect, after a while thoughts and pictures appeared that took me away from Her face. I thought of tomorrow and the people here that I serve and want to serve better every day, so that they too might taste of Her undying beauty… and with these thoughts I disappeared from Her presence. I drifted back again into the darker regions… the presence of this unending light of compassion disappeared from my awareness.
That is what darkness means. It is paradoxical: I am aware when I come before Her face, and I am also aware of being totally encompassed by divine love, but when I lose this presence I am not aware of it… the clouds of unconsciousness spread their mist wholly unaware.
But after a while I awoke to this and noticed. This is not new to me, by the way. I have experienced many mystical ecstasies in which I stepped out of my darkness into a greater light – only to then lose it again. And in the past there was always a sense of loss and the question, “How do I go back there? What can I do or not do to bathe again in this light?” Yesterday it was given to me to pose a different question, though, “Am I ready to be compassionate towards those inner aspects and forces that have taken me out of Gods presence? Can I be as compassionate towards these as God is towards me?” And I know I can, and I do. And so in the midst of my darkness I felt light-hearted because I saw that I can be just as full of compassion for the endarkening aspects of my self as God is full of compassion towards me… and not only me.
What is of most value in this world that is a place of suffering for most people – for even the greatest pleasures and joys of the world are bleak and dark if we remember whose light’s child we are? It is compassion. And if I speak of me and my work, if I speak of my vision that I wish to realize with everyone who wants to commit to it in the midst of this world – what is it about? It is about bringing this lovelight down to earth, bringing it into daily life, into relationships, projects, buildings, businesses, in short: to turn it into a manifest way of life. That is the vision that is alive in the Serenity-Community, and I hope this vision will lead eventually to an integral village. But this is not just a vision of a future reality; it is also a metaphor for a present process in which every step mirrors what the goal will manifest in a larger way and with more depth and power.
The world in which most people live is not a manifestation of compassion and love but rather a manifestation of greed and media-spawned bright sparkling lies, it is a world of not so beautiful pretences and mediocracy, a world of ignorance. That is the darkness we have to face, and much more than that it is the darkness inside us that comes into being through our failings to be lead by intelligent love and compassion, living our light; it comes from giving space to greed, pretence, mediocracy and ignorance in our behaviour and communication and relationships That is the shadow we have to face – and that is what we have to be compassionate about.
Where will we manifest the vision of an intelligently loving and compassionately intelligent society? Amidst the darkness, amidst the world of ignorance, misunderstanding and a crazed individualism in which we live. So if you are asking yourself in which way you can become part of that vision you could ask, “In which way can I best reflect this compassion?” And if you’ve found the answer to that you have defined your comfort-zone. That realm is very important. Foster and strengthen that realm, keep it alive, this realm where it is not such a big challenge to manifest compassion.
It is easy to be compassionate with people that are somewhat similar to us or who move in the same direction. And it is good and helpful – maybe even indispensable – to surround ourselves with such people or live in a community with them. The Serenity-Community is such a place. And the integral village – if it will manifest at some time and become a reality in which we all live together with many others – will also be such a place. Here at Serenity it is already much easier to love people that you don’t particularly like or with whom you are having problems. Here you are supported continually, day by day and hour by hour, to accept your own shadow and that of others lovingly, just as the Godhead compassionately accepts us when we stand naked in front of Her. And then it is much easier to face the challenges and handle the shadows where being and acting compassionate is not so easy because it simply not fostered or supported. So surround yourself with such people or even better, become part of such a community.
If you feel, like I do, that a spark of the Godhead is present in every soul then you certainly see that this spark wants to kindle a fire – your soul wants to be on fire. The light in you wants to engulf all of your soul and enlighten it. It wants to burn in your sex-life, it wants to shine in the bathroom, it wants to set your meditations ablaze as it does your work or your business; it wants to shine brightly in every aspect of your life. The Godhead doesn’t only want to be transcendentally present everywhere, which is the case already, but it wants to be manifest in all of creation – and that isn’t the case. And as much as God wants to set your soul on fire it wants to enlighten the whole world and everyone in it. For that She needs your willing and feeling cooperation. And She is very patient. She loves us all the way, as we are slowly opening up to what we truly are.
I have a vision of a society, starting maybe with a small village that is ruled by intelligent love and compassionate intelligence. (I use the terms intelligent love and compassionate intelligence to free love & compassion from its romantic, naive, Hollywood-like associations and intelligence from its often construed coldness.) This vision can only become manifest, though, if the people committed to this are prepared to let the lovelight enlighten all aspects of their lives. What I can contribute are all kinds of seminars, trainings and learning occasions which empower people to embrace the shadows and, of course, to experience and explore the deep dimensions of their spirituality and humanity. And just as I am serving the Serenity-Community and many other people who are connected with me I am an instrument and servant to an integral lifestyle and hopefully an integral village; a village in which the cooks and the toilet-cleaners, the accountants and the seminar facilitators, the farmers and shopkeepers, and whoever else is going to live there, can do their work in the spirit of compassion.
This vision has countless dimensions. That’s why everyone who wants to connect with it can contribute to it on the level they choose. I cannot and will not decide which level that can be. Because I know this is not only my vision or the vision of a few people. I know this is the vision of all of humanity. For thousands of years people have been touched by compassion and manifest it in their way. So it isn’t just my vision. And to transform this vision in flesh and blood, pathways and streets, houses and shops and businesses, gardens and flowers many more people have to turn it into their vision and realize it in their daily life now. The vision is either reflecting in every step of its realization or it will lead at best to a nice little village full of good-doing people – and honestly, I wouldn’t want to live there.
The vision is simple. On the way upwards from below, where we are selfishly seeking our own profit and that of our clan to where we really care for the well-being of all mankind and beyond, this vision depicts an individual and collective way of development. On the way downwards from above it is the gesture of true embrace, as the Godhead embraces us with compassion so we take all lower levels and realms – including even the selfishly governed spaces – in the arms of our love and compassion. The very same power that moves us to develop our highest potential makes us lovingly embrace that which may not have developed so far yet, including ourselves.
We are asked as human beings to do the next step in our evolution. And I will cooperate no matter how this adventure will turn out in the end. And every step, everything you do out of love and compassion is already a contribution to this development. If you want to do more, if you want to contribute so that in due time this way of life turns into an integral village – welcome!
“Solange der Mensch keine Verantwortung übernimmt, hegt er Zweifel, hat die Möglichkeit, sich zurückzuziehen und handelt wenig effektiv. Für jedes schöpferische Handeln gilt eine elementare Wahrheit: sowie der Mensch sich endgültig verpflichtet, bewegt sich die Vorsehung. Alles Mögliche, das sonst nicht geschehen wäre, steht ihm hilfreich bei. Ein ganzer Strom der Ereignisse folgt der Entscheidung und begünstigt sie durch allerlei Vorfälle, Begegnungen und materielle Förderung, von denen keiner zuvor geglaubt hätte, sie könnten ihm auf diesem Wege beistehen. Was immer du meinst oder glaubst, tun zu können, beginne es. Denn dein Tun enthält Magie, Anmut und Kraft.”
“As long as a man does not take his responsibility he has doubts and the possibility to withdraw, and his acting is not effective. For all creativity there is an elementary truth: as soon as a man definitely commits himself destiny moves as well. All manner of things that wouldn’t have happened otherwise come to his aid. A veritable stream of happenings follow his decision and further it by all kinds of happenstances, meetings and material blessings of which no-one could have thought beforehand that they could have helped him on his way.
Whatever you believe or think you can do, begin with it. Because your doing works magic, beauty and strength.”
– I saw this quote first in the Internet where it was accredited to Goethe. Fred Kofman in his book „Metamanagement“ accredits to Sir Edmund Hillary who was the first human to climb Mount Everest (and survive) –
How can you take part?
Just pick & choose what you’d love to do
- Connect every morning
- remember that Compassion is already engulfing you with its Lovelight shining from the Heart
- decide to regard yourself and others, including your and their shadows, with compassion today
- bless this day with intelligent love and loving intelligence
- let your Heart shine
- any day
- when confronted with difficult behaviour, stop, listen to your Heart and respond from there
- regard your failings and shadows with compassion
- make a stranger smile
- to a lifestyle of compassion
- to support people trying to realize a lifestyle of the True Embrace
- rather then speaking about love and compassion live it on a daily basis
- as much as is appropriate turn your working place and/or business into an example of the power and beauty of the compassionate way of life
- create a community (or join one) that is dedicated to the True Embrace
- to meditate, communicate, relate, make love, make money in such a way that you can forever expand your and other peoples ability to live a compassionate life.
- tell us how you are doing – in private or in a comment to this article
- tell us how we can support and serve you
- tell us if and how you want to support us
- Visit us (and maybe be so kind to announce your visit)
- and you might even want to live with us…