This is a follow up to my March 11 post (“Are You Alive?”):
There was an interesting discussion in the Sojourning Spirits group around surviving—that it can be difficult to grow spiritually under very adverse conditions. The adverse conditions can be physical, mental, emotional, psychic or any combination. Survival mode implies a debilitating shortage of food, shelter or safety. Under those conditions, one may be disconnected from the spiritual world. One may be disconnected, but not necessarily. I’ve often thought about concentration camp survivors, gulag survivors, slavery survivors—there must have been some kind of physical stamina, and luck, but there also had to be some kind of spark that kept them alive. What was that?
And then there are people who seemingly have all of the resources possible to provide them with full lives, but they are empty. We have a fair amount of this in the Western World—people who fill up their emptiness with consumer behavior. Clearly, the line between Existing and Living is movable.
I tried a little experiment the other day to see how easily the line could be moved. I went to the shore of Lake Superior, the third largest volume of fresh water in the world. Winter is still with us, but spring is creeping in. The Big Lake was not frozen over. It was a huge expanse of deep blue motion, windswept and raucous. The shore was decorated with amazing ice-sculptured forms, rocks and trees coated with thick white slabs of frozen waves and fringes of tapered icicles.
I stood on the rocky shore. When I was admiring the beauty and power of this scene, I was Living. When I let myself forget where I was, thinking about tasks undone or checking my phone, then I was Existing. Had I slipped and fallen into that 31 degree fahrenheit water, I would have immediately been Surviving (and its likely I wouldn’t have succeeded at that).
But something else happened. While I was admiring the beauty and power of the lake, I also felt myself join that beauty and power. I became aware of the energy, both known and unknown, in that space. The beauty and power joined me. So, certainly there is a continuum, of Surviving and Existing and Living. And there is also Transcending. This is what The Teachers have to say about Transcending:
“Spirit wants to transcend—that is its purpose. Transcending fulfills its purpose. Many humans sense that their physical beings want to expand. They have been crushed into a small space by cultural learning. What they want is more space. They want to expand and allow more energy to enter the space between matter. This is only possible with transcendence…….The average person can practice by increasing their awareness of the space around them.” (Grandmother Dreams, p. 95, which is followed by an exercise for expanding awareness).