Over the last couple of days I have immersed myself in the NOVA series called The Elegant Universe, and capped it off with a recent episode entitled The Fabric of the Cosmos, all about String Theory and Quantum Mechanics, as intrepreted in Brian Greene’s book by the same name.  Oh m’gosh, do we live in a fantastic universe! I don’t want to imply that I understand this really, but Greene presents an accessible, popular version that is tantalizing.

Whether or not these notions turn out to be the long sought “Theory of Everything,”  I am enthralled by these considerations — by the uncertainty, by the mind-stretching, usual reality-blowing implications of what is currently our best guess at the nature of reality operating all around us, and yes, within us!

Another thing that intrigues me is the link to the mystical and spiritual dimensions.  Last weekend, I listened to Hameed Ali, aka A. H. Almaas, author of numerous spiritual books, presenting some of his current work.  Perhaps, or perhaps not, coincidentally, the deepest dimensions of reality experienced by Ali, (and the Buddha as well) have strong similarities to the views emerging in cutting edge quantum physics. I am inclined to think it is no coincidence.  Our nature, indeed the nature of everything, is a mysterious, self-generating, dynamic flow, with no end…

I have one more weekend to go, and am very much looking forward to the second session, working with fellow students, using the practice of Inquiry, continuing to explore our own inner lives as we are led on a journey to explore the deepest nature of reality.

In the interim between the two sessions, Mike and I have been staying in a lovely home on a sweet, small island in the Canadian waters between Vancouver and Nanaimo, called GabriolaIt has been a delicious few days, and an anniversary (our 13th last week!) get-away to remember for years to come.  What privilege, what luxury we are experiencing and sharing.

We have met to walk and inquire with friends, have had fine food, (a wood-fire pizza of prociutto, sage, brie, and sun-dried tomatoes, oh my goodness), strenuous workouts in a great little gym; we have enjoyed a warm fire, some beautiful and some blustery weather — both rich to experience, and the two cats, Mitoche and Moxie, that Mike is here to sit, (as well as the house. while the owners vacation in Mexico).  Gracie is a feral cat that the owners also feed, and protect from a big, bold Tom, called Mango Pickles 🙂

We watched the news one evening, and were both glad, afterwards, that we do not have a TV.  Hearing that the high-up executives of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are being given whalloping big bonuses after ripping off the American people to the tune of billions and billions and getting bailed out by the same, that the Occupy movements are being forcefully evicted in many places — and that we are no closer to resolving the state of growing inequity so plaguing our times, learning that the Harper government is pressing ahead to build the Enbridge Pipeline) the Canadian equivalent of the Keystone XL, meanwhile promoting farmed salmon aquaculture even as they are denying and repressing the tests revealing ISA in BC waters, the same lethal virus that has devastated wild and farmed salmon around the world, and so on…were a radical jolt to the rest and respite, peaceful and probing places.

I have been hanging out — relishing the quiet of this island abode; the clean, crispness of the November air, the slanty, golden light, the rasberries and curly kale still for gathering in the garden; the multi-colored stones on the beach cast against the slippery kelp and the red and gold leaves… and I am filled with gratitude for all the people who are risking their lives and livelihoods that the world be a safer, saner, more just and healthy place…

Taken all together, the above could have a tendency to be crazy-making, stultifying, numbing… at the very least confusing, and in some ways deeply disturbing.  In other ways, this jumble of privilege and suffering, inner and outer, peaceful and revolutionary, is a call to Hold It All, as the title of this piece says; to realize there is no way to understand or manage what is unfolding…, no way to ‘fix’ the problems or even to know what would be ‘best’ for the whole situation, if there were such a thing.

I, and we all, have, as always, the challenge and opportunity to simply be with, sit quietly, in mindfulness, with compassion, gratitude, humilty, to allow and accept.  Then to listen to the inner voice, the call or sense of guidance, toward the action that, on our part, may be called for, appropriate, or simply offered.

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity. Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.

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