Sunday, 26 February 2017

The Essence of the Truth

“Guarding the Rock of Truth” taken from "The Truth in 60 Seconds: 99 Tales to Set Your Clock By" by Art Lester

The Guardian of the Rock of Truth was entertaining his grandson on the mountain top. After several millennia he felt the need of a little company, and it wouldn’t hurt the lad to learn a few things about what grandpa did all day. They sat and watched as various humans below attempted to scale the mountain where the large Rock gleamed in the sunlight. They watched them as they got side-tracked or discouraged. Sometimes people actually fell in their attempts.

“Why do you need to guard the Rock, Grandpa?” asked the boy.

“Because the truth is dangerous to humans.”

“Why is that?”

“I’ll explain another time,” said the Guardian. He was looking closely at a human who was getting very near the summit. They watched as a man scaled the last few feet of the climb and stood unsteadily blinking in the sun.

The Guardian walked over and stood between the ragged and exhausted man and the Rock. “I’m afraid you can’t go any further,” he said.

“But I want the truth,” complained the man.

“Sorry. Out of the question,” said the Guardian.

He turned back toward his grandson, and the man dashed forward. In a second he had picked up a small piece of the Rock and jumped back onto the trail. The Guardian watched him head down with a sigh.

“Another poor fellow,” he said.

“But, Grandpa, he looked happy!” said the boy.

They looked down at the man. He was holding the tiny piece of the Rock of Truth over his head, a look of ecstasy on his face. Far below him they could see a crowd of cheering people who watched as the man made his way down the mountain. The Guardian clucked his tongue and shook his head sadly.

“Are you afraid he will fall, Grandpa? Is that why it’s bad for him to have a piece of the truth?

“No.” answered the old man.

“Is it because it will make him ill?”

“No,” said the Guardian.

“Then why?” asked the boy impatiently.

"Because now he will take that small piece of truth and start another religion.” The Guardian said.

"A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing…You can wear a crown, it doesn’t make you king, beware the trinkets that we bring"…"For all that glitters is not gold"…Beware the dangers of shiney things…perhaps the most dangerous being the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…Or perhaps the delusion that you believe that you hold the whole truth in your hands...

The Buddha reputedly said “Three things cannot be long hidden, the sun, the moon and the truth”. Now while these things are not long hidden we never see the whole of them from where we stand "whole of the moon", despite what the “Waterboys” sang, the whole of the sun and certainly not the whole of the truth.

None of us know the whole truth, we can only get a glimpse of it and even the small aspect that we get to glimpse upon we do not see directly. Any bit of the light we gaze upon is refracted…As Paul said in his famous words on love we only see into the glass dimly. No one sees the whole truth…It is important to remember this and it ought to breed humility…

People can be very funny!!!

I recently posted a comment on facebook, it was meant for my more theologically inclined friends. It read “Has anyone else ever noticed that when ever you type "panentheism" into Word it wants to correct it to pantheism...They are not the same and one is not a mispelling of the other...”

...The responses I received were hilarious, mainly from people who just made jokes about the terms, which they'd never heard of...

Now I’m not going to talk about their differences here, they are vastly so by the way, although one does seem not to be recognised by Microsoft. No the reason I mention this is that I was recently sent a questionnaire by a friend who was asking me for my views on God and Love amongst others things for her thesis titled “Models of God and the Meaning of Love”. The word panentheism had come up in my attempt to describe my own beliefs, as I attempted to share my experiences and my truth. I found the exercise both useful and deeply moving as I recalled and attempted to put into words experiences that are beyond the limits of my language and seemingly way beyond the limits of Microsoft spell checker, or this "Blog" by the way. Google blog keeps on wanting to correct "Panentheism" to "Pantheism" too. I was merely trying to attempt to share my truth from my experiences, my own understanding of the little aspect of the light I have glimpsed upon and only dimly…my partial truth…my imperfect truth...

I was also recently asked a question by another friend about faith, I think she was trying to work me out. She thanked me for my truth but I could tell it made her a little uncomfortable as it didn’t fit into her own model it would seem. I was also asked by someone at the gym, who I’ve been chatting to in recent weeks, “What I was doing later today” to which I replied “Mainly working, got a lot a of visiting today”. They then asked “Oh what do you do?” to which I replied “I’m a minister”. They then asked, with that slightly shocked look that people often give me when they discover what I do, “Oh are you very religious?” To which I replied, “Well it depends what you mean by religious?” We then had a very interesting conversation about matters of faith etc, in which they did most of the talking and I listened and shared a little of my truth. We then carried on with our workouts and I smiled to myself as I thought about the truth I’d just heard.

Truth is an interesting concept, especially in matters of faith, belief and disbelief. So often people see it as a rock that must be clung to, that is absolute and must not be questioned. It can often lead to argument as people find that in order to hold on to their truth they must disprove the truth claims of another that differs from their own. Such reasoning lacks humility, because the truth is that whatever we believe or disbelieve about truth we never see the whole truth completely, instead we merely glimpse through the glass dimly or maybe get a hold of only a tiny piece of the truth. Who can honestly say that they know the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Well I suppose some can say it and even believe it, but that doesn’t make it true. Whether that is a person in the gym or coffee shop or the leader of an institution or nation.

This brings to mind this little snippet from Anthony DeMello’s “One Minute Wisdom”

"To a visitor who described himself as a seeker after Truth, the teacher said: “If what you seek is Truth, there is one thing you must have above all else.” “I know,” answered the student, “an overwhelming passion for it.” “No,” said the teacher, “an unremitting readiness to admit you may be wrong.”

To seek the truth one needs humility and openness and enough self-esteem to see that we are wrong sometimes and of course the capacity to admit to this. If we cannot, we will not be able to see the truth, even when it is right in front of us. It is so easy to become blinded by what we think we know. We need the openness that comes with true humility, it’s a truth that will set us free.

According to the Gospel of Thomas Jesus said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

Whilst Lao Tzu wrote in the “Tao Te Ching”

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”

You will never bring forth what is within you while ever you are afraid of what is within you. There have been times when I have been afraid to bring forth what is within me and I have witnessed the same fear in others too. After all isn't it a little less scary to receive our truth from elsewhere rather than to let it come forth from within ourselves?

It can appear safer to accept the truth offered to us, rather than to seek it out ourselves. So often in life we want certainty, absolutes black and white and not a thousand shades of grey. So often we seek the illusion of certainty. This though just closes us in, builds those walls and keeps us cut of from what life offers to us.

The key to truth seeking is openness, born from uncertainty and humility. Openness is a way that enables us to experience new previously unseen truth; a truth that will set us free. It will allow us to bring forth what is within us and by doing so we might just uncover what will save us from the delusion of what we think we know about ourselves, one another and life itself. It will build bridges between the walls we build around ourselves.

There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that goes something like this: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” I suspect it’s the same with truth. Is it better to be given something that will feed us for a short time or is it better to be given a way that will enable us to keep on feeding ourselves and one another? Do we want to be given a fish that will fill our bellies for now or do we want to be given a method that will keep on feeding us; a method that will enable us to seek the truth that will set us free and continue to set us free?

Do we trust ourselves enough to seek out the truth and therefore to bring forth what is within us or would just rather stick with the safety of what we think we already know of what someone has taught us or told us is the truth.

In John’s Gospel Jesus said “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” when I first read DeMello’s wisdom shared earlier in the "blogspot" these words immediately sprang to mind. What I have discovered is that we are only truly set free by living in the truth. Not by accepting the truth we are given but by fishing for the truth and by seeing that some of the fish that we catch are of no use at least today and throwing them back. As DeMello taught if you want to be a seeker of truth then above everything else what you need is an unremitting readiness to admit that you may be wrong. Remember we only get a partial glimpse of the truth. Can we even trust this? Can we trust our own eyes?

Well we can trust what we unearth if we learn how to truly live in the questions of ours and others truth claims. Trust is vital. We have to learn to trust what we discover, what we unearth, what we catch, whilst not putting a fence around what we see as the truth today; the key is an open attitude whether that’s in finding your own truth or in offering truth to another. Now the challenge of course comes in dwelling in the ambiguity of truth without becoming overwhelmed or paralysed by it; the challenge comes in maintaining a deep commitment to the openness that truth seeking requires and not allowing yourself to become closed down.

This is not for the faint hearted. This takes courage. This is not the easier path, but it is definitely the one worth taking, for it is the one that will set us up to live in and through truth.

You know its ok to get it wrong to make mistakes. It’s ok to feel lost and confused about life at times. That is so human. There is something both glorious and beautiful in this.

If we want to be a seeker of truth then above everything else what we need is an unremitting readiness to admit that we may be wrong. .

The truth is of course. Once you can see you are wrong about something, admit you are wrong about something, do whatever you can to put right what was once wrong, then you are no longer wrong, you are right. The key is to feel right enough in your humanness to be able to admit that you can only ever vision the partial truth and to be open to the truth of others…

The key is in being right enough to be wrong...For that is essence of the truth...

Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Wounded Journeyer

I love driving to events and occasions with a passenger at my side. Now there is of course the joy of travelling with another, but it is more than that though. In many ways some of the most rewarding ministry that I experience takes place in this time and place. What I love the most is that as I drive I listen. It is a time that is primarily when my ears do most of the work. I don’t just mean the two lugs at either side of my head, but the inner ear, the ear of my heart. It is a time for deep attentive listening and I’ve noticed that people sometimes open up, particularly about their woundedness in this time and space. I think it has something to do with the physical proximity as we are close but not face to face and somehow people find it easier to open a wound as they open the mouths of their hearts and I open the ears of mine. It seems to be the perfect environment for the language of the heart to come to life.

Now I know it is not my task to heal other people’s wounds that is no one’s task. I cannot heal anyone or anything, I don’t even think I can heal myself, not completely at least. Yes the wounds can be tended to, the emotional bleed can be stopped and the pain relieved but the scars remain and the past cannot be wiped away. The scars are sacred, they are marks of a life fully lived. They must not be hidden away they are a part of our lives. In fact these scars can become our greatest assets as they help us to walk side by side with others, showing them that they are not alone in their suffering and that whatever they are going through that they can survive and grow; that love can rise again from that suffering and that meaning can emerge as something beautiful grows from all our life's experiences. In many ways my ministry is exactly this. It grew from my greatest sorrow and suffering. It has not completely healed what happened, it does not take away the pain. If I could change it I would, every second of my life I would, but I can’t. All I can do is create something beautiful from it. I can walk with others in their suffering and joy. I can live with courage. I can live from the heart. I can live with my wounded heart cracked open, undefended and in so doing I can know love…In so doing I can live in such a way that my life will prove worth dying for, by the love I leave behind. (to paraphrase Forrest Church)

Life is a most amazing journey, never a dull moment. Now although each journey is personal and each experience unique. We never journey alone. We journey in the company of others. Some are there at the beginning and remain to the very end, some are there at the beginning but do not stay until the end, some come and join with us for a while but do not remain. Some are with us later in life and then journey on without us, when we are gone. We never journey alone, we always journey with others, although sometimes it doesn’t feel this way.

We are all wounded in some way on this ship of love journeying along. If we live in love we can bring some healing, we can become wounded healers. It is our wounds that put us in a place where we can be of service to one another. We are all wounded to some degree we all have cracks within us. Nobody is perfect, complete, and who would want to be. In fact it is our wounds and imperfections that put us into a better position to help others come to terms with who they are. It is this that breeds empathy and understanding. Who amongst us is not wounded in some way? Who amongst us does not bear the scars of life? It is our very wounds and the scars formed from them that makes us better able to help others come to a place of healing from their own wounds.

Now as they say life isn’t about the destination, but the journey itself. In many ways I’m not even sure it’s even about the journey, well not wholly, it’s more about who you journey with. We do not sail this ship alone.

We are all "Wounded Healers", journeying along, limping along...

 The ancient Greeks understood the power of the “Wounded Healer”. Their mythology tells the story of Chiron, who was a wise and benevolent centaur and a master of healing.

As the story goes during one of his adventures Heracles visited the cave of Chiron. He had been invited to a gathering there. Now as we all know it is impolite to attend a party without bringing something for other guests and so Heracles brought along a flask of strong wine. Now the smell of the wine attracted many of the other centaurs who began to fight over it, nothing much has changed over the centuries, during the melee Chiron was accidently wounded on the knee by an arrow shot by Heracles. This was no ordinary arrow, it was poison tipped. This was no ordinary poison either it had come from the Hydra a monster with many heads that was virtually impossible to slay. Now while Chiron could show Heracles how to heal the wound caused by the arrows tip, he could not treat the Hydra’s poison. As he was immortal it could not kill him but neither could he fully recover. He would have to live on into eternity with his wounded knee. Chiron the greatest of healers could show others how to heal, but he could never fully recover from this wound. His wound would always show. He walked on into eternity limping. Chiron is the archetype of the wounded healer.

“The Wounded Healer” was one of the most important archetypes identified by Carl Jung. For him the image of Chiron overcoming the pain of his own wounds by becoming the compassionate teacher of healing was a powerful example. The wounded healer is someone who has gone through great suffering and learnt from the experience. Through transcending their own suffering they are drawn towards the path of service leading them to help others. This process strips away the selfish ego-based feeling of being alone and isolated in their own suffering and woundedness. Instead through seeing the wound through different eyes they can see this suffering in others and they can therefore lead others to find ways to overcome their own suffering. Their wounds may never fully heal, as Chiron’s didn’t, but they can help heal the wider ailments of our shared life.

In his book “The Wounded Healer”, Henri Nouwen envisioned the religious community as a safe haven where people could be open and honest about their own woundedness, their suffering and loneliness, a safe haven where through recognising ones pain healing and recovery could begin. Nouwen wrote that people today are “Semitic nomads…(who) live in a desert with many lonely travellers who are looking for a moment of peace, for a fresh drink and for a sign of encouragement so that they can continue their mysterious search for freedom.” 

This speaks to me, one of the reason I became a part of a Unitarian community was for this very reason. Spirituality on an individual level is fine, but it only really comes alive in community as we search for healing and understanding together. Everyone is wounded in one way or another and everyone is looking for healing and understanding at one level or another, even if they are not entirely sure what from. We are all looking for love, understanding, acceptance and meaning. We are the religious animal, to deny this is to deny an important aspect of our shared humanity. None of us though are the experts, at least not in my Unitarian tradition, which is why we need one another. As the Buddhist Pema Chodron wrote in “The Places that Scare You”

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.

So how do we begin to heal, to live whole lives? Well it begins by knowing and naming our own pain. our own darkness. and to not be afraid to show our scars. I always remember the scene from “Jaws” when the great white shark hunters are going out to face the man killer and they begin to drink and sing sea shanties and of course show one another their scars. The scars are marks of experience of having lived the lives of shark hunters.

Now I know that this is a very machismo setting but I think there is something in it for everyone. Our scars, our wounds, are symbols of the lives we have lived and we ought not to be afraid to show them. Not is some form of vainglory but as symbol of our shared humanity. To show we have lived and found a degree of healing from our wounds, although no one escapes scar free. By understanding our own woundedness and not hiding our scars we can better serve one another and walk side by side with each other in our shared troubles. It is our very imperfectness that best fits us for the task of journeying together in the fellowship of love.

Henri Nouwen wrote “We do not know where we will be two, ten or twenty years from now. What we can know, however, is that human beings suffer and that a sharing of suffering can make us move forward.”

By sharing our suffering we can begin to move forward and it is this that can begin to bring about the healing and wholeness that we are all searching for, we are hoping for. This can grow from within each of us as we commune together, work together and do the works of compassion that our wounded world needs. We can begin it today, it begins in our own hearts. We are all “The wounded Healers.”

So let us journey together, side by side, let us tend to one another’s wounds lets become together, the wounded healers.

Let's keep limping along...Together...

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Life on the Mobius Strip: It's all about Relationship

Please watch the clip above before reading on...

It seems I'm not mad after all. I cannot draw a perfect circle.

Now I know that this test may not hold up in court, but I think it’s revealing. Not that I think it is one’s ability to draw perfect circle that is actually the true test of madness, the true test is to actually try. I think the true test of madness is to actually keep on trying to draw the perfect circle, or to even think that such a thing is possible.

The circle is never perfect, in fact I’m pretty sure that the circle will remain forever incomplete. I think it’s better that way…

One of the great plagues of humanity is perfectionism, seeking perfection both within ourselves and others. How many times, I wonder, have I rejected either myself, others, or life itself, because it did not offer perfection? How many times have I noticed others doing the same? It is a lot easier to see in others by the way than in myself.

Nothing in life is perfect, it is always imperfect. I am pretty much convinced that this is how it ought to be.

Now imperfection is one of those interesting words that doesn’t mean exactly what it always meant. When today we say that something is imperfect we are usually making a judgement about this something suggesting that there is something wrong with it. In so doing we are making an error. Imperfection comes from the Latin “imperfectus” which actually meant incomplete.

So when we say that we are imperfect, that others are imperfect, that life itself is imperfect we are correct, in the sense that nothing is ever complete.

The mistake we have made is that in saying that someone or something is imperfect we have suggested that they or it is somehow wrong, when in fact we couldn’t be more wrong. Imperfection itself is what makes life what it is, it is the fuel and energy of life as it is through imperfection that the energy to create relationship is fuelled.

Imperfection, incompleteness is the energy of life.

This brings to mind this rather lovely poem by Harold Kushner “Jigsaw”:

There must have been a time when you entered a room and met someone and after a while you understood that unknown to either of you there was a reason you had met. You had changed the other and he had changed you. By some word or deed or just by your presence the errand had been completed. Then perhaps you were a little bewildered or humbled and grateful. And it was over.

Each lifetime is the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
For some there are more pieces.
For others the puzzle is more difficult to assemble.

Some seem to be born with a nearly completed puzzle.
And so it goes.
Souls going this way and that.
Trying to assemble the myriad parts.

But know this. No one has within themselves
All the pieces to their puzzle.
Like before the days when they used to seal
jigsaw puzzles in cellophane. Insuring that
All the pieces were there.

Everyone carries with them at least one and probably
Many pieces to someone else's puzzle.
Sometimes they know it.
Sometimes they don't.

And when you present your piece
Which is worthless to you,
To another, whether you know it or not,
Whether they know it or not,
You are a messenger from the Most High

I love the way Kushner explains why we are incomplete. That it is through our incompleteness that we draw closer together. This is so true, we are relational beings. We do not live in separation and we do not live separate lives. We are constantly seeking unity, to be yoked beyond ourselves. The word “Yoga” actually means to join, to unite. It seems to me that all the great spiritual traditions, eastern and western, are in their own way pointing to this. That the spiritual life cannot exist in isolation. That in actual fact to live spiritually is to live in relation. That there is a yearning within us all to find that missing piece. In so attempting to do so, by the way, we enable others to do the same. In so doing we find ourselves and bring to life our true selves in the world in which we live and breathe and share our being.

When we come together in love, we create the love we have all be searching for.

This brings to mind a book I read just weeks before I began my ministry. It has been one of the most important books in shaping my approach to ministry, which of course literally means to serve. The title of the book is "Radical Hospitality: Benedict's Way of Love": By Father Daniel Homan and Lonni Collins Pratt. This is from the Chapter "Hospitality begins inside." (pg 33-34)

They wrote

" We are caught up in what is probably the most immature attempt at spirituality humanity has ever seen. It is tragically and poignantly adolescent, with the deep emotion and angst that goes with adolescence. It is a spirituality that seeks improvement for life - a better me, a better relationship - but it does not seek God and it does not move us towards others. It just keeps us running on the treadmill of our little egocentric worlds.

We are accustomed to easy answers. Hospitality is not an easy answer. It requires that we take a chance and we change. It requires us to grow. The moment we engage with another person everything gets messy. Our time becomes not quite our own; we can count on others interrupting us. We become subject to a whole hoard of emotional dangers.

Because hospitality always involves giving something of ourselves to others, it is a spiritual practice. Spirituality is about relationship. When you and I become confused about the meaning of spirituality, remembering that spirituality is about relationship will bring us back to the basics. Relationships."

...Spirituality is about relationships...

One of my great frustrations with a lot of modern “so called spirituality” is that it does not seem to be about relationships at all. It seems to be all about the self, almost about protecting the self, from the so called “messiness” of living. It seems to have become almost narcissistic in its nature. Maybe that’s why it can seem so appealing. The truth is of course that all we ever achieve in blocking ourselves off from the messiness, from circling our spiritual wagons, is increase the loneliness and the emptiness.

The spiritual life is about relationship. We need to be in what I have often heard called right relationship, with ourselves, with others and with whatever it is we connects all of life, what is often called the Divine, to live spiritually alive.

I can usually get a good measure as to where I am at spiritually by simply checking where I am at relationally with myself, with others and with God, they are all interconnected and inter related.

Now all this brings to mind the YouTube clip that began this "blogspot". by Parker J Palmer on “The Mobius Strip”.

Here is a little written reflection by Palmer followed by my own attempt to explain what he describes so well.

“Life on the Mobius Strip” by Parker J Palmer

Here’s a brief meditation on life on the Mobius strip, a curious concept to be sure, but no more curious than life itself!

The curious object pictured is a Möbius strip.

If you take your index finger and trace what seems to be the outside surface, you suddenly find yourself on what seems to be the inside surface. Continue along what seems to be the inside surface, and you suddenly find yourself on what seems to be the outside surface.

I need to keep saying “what seems to be” because the Möbius strip has only one side! What look like its inner and outer surfaces flow into each other seamlessly, co-creating the whole. The first time I saw a Möbius strip, I thought, “Amazing! That’s exactly how life works!”

Whatever is inside of us continually flows outward, helping to form or deform the world — depending on what we send out. Whatever is outside us continually flows inward, helping to form or deform us — depending on how we take it in. Bit by bit, we and our world are endlessly re-made in this eternal inner-outer exchange.

Much depends on what we choose to put into the world from within ourselves — and much depends on how we handle what the world sends back to us. As Thomas Merton said:

 “We don’t have to adjust to the world. We can adjust the world.”

Here’s the question I’ve been asking myself ever since I understood that we live our lives on the Möbius strip:

 “How can I make more life-giving choices about what to put into the world and how to deal with what the world sends back — choices that might bring new life to me, to others, and to the world we share?

I came across the wonderful Youtube clip on "The Mobius Strip" the other day, my journey to it was another beautiful example of synchronicity. The type that often leaves me smiling for days. Palmer suggests that “The Mobius Strip” is a useful metaphor for our inner and outer lives. How these are interrelated and how we are affected and how we affect the world in which we live. He claims that the onstage life is how we appear in the world, how we impact on the world, what he describes as the ego questions. While the backstage life is more about intuition and instinct and value and faith. These are those deeper aspects of ourselves, what is called soul, that greater reality that makes who we truly are. He claims that we are born in wholeness. That there is no separation between our inner and outer lives but as time goes by and we become increasingly influenced by the external world we lose touch with our souls and disappear into our roles. He suggest that as we grow up into the world we realise that it is not safe to be our backstage selves in the onstage world, that we somehow have to hide who we truly are and we begin to build a wall of separation. This he says becomes painful due to the disconnect between the inner and the outer life. Due to this, for so many, often the spiritual seekers, there is the desire to bring our lives into the classic shape of the circle. Which he says means I want what is important to me internally to be the values by which my external life which surrounds revolves. Thus bringing a sense of unity to my life. Thus my external life becomes authentic as I become centred.

Palmer acknowledges that this "centering" is a step forward and I personally see that this is where so much modern spirituality takes us, the kind that frustrates me. The problem with it is in the circle itself, it’s a kind of circling of the wagons, a wall of separation a kind of spiritual “gated community”, a walled garden of myself, that nothing and no one can touch. Yes we create our own sanctuary that no one can enter, unless of course they agree with us. Those who do not share our core beliefs and principles are excluded, thus avoiding the messiness and trouble of such relationships. This circle he suggests is just another kind of wall of separation and protection and does not in the end solve the real problem that we all suffer from, it feeds the sense of separation and does not truly allow for a deep spiritual intimacy that we all crave, it does not bring about true wholeness true relationship with ourselves, with others and with God.

Palmer suggests that there is another way, an alternative, which allows us to be both authentic and open. It is achieved by reshaping into the “Mobius Strip” which has the feature of being continuous and unbroken. By simply tracing your finger around what appears to be the outside of the surface you soon find yourself on what appears to be the inside of the surface.As you continue round you soon find yourself on what appears to be the outer part of the strip. He says that it only appears this way because one of the key features of the “Mobius strip” is that there is no inner and outer the two seem to co-create each other. That this is how life is. That whatever is inside us mergers with what is outside and vice versa and both influence each other and in that exchange, interaction, coming together we co-create what we call reality.

This Palmer says leads to one question that ultimately we have to ask “As I travel this Mobius strip between my onstage life and my backstage life, constantly co-creating, how can I become so aware of that exchange that co-creative transaction, moment by moment, that I can increasingly make choices about it that are life giving rather than death dealing?”

For Palmer this is the question that links the inner life with the outer life. It is this that brings that sense of connection of oneness and brings us closer together. It is this that brings the pieces of the jigsaw together and begins to bring about completeness maybe one day, that yokes all life together, that is Yoga. In so doing we return to the wholeness, the natural state, in which we were born. Or perhaps to put it more religiously we return to paradise, we return to the natural state, the original goodness and blessing into which we were born. We find completeness. We create the Kingdom of God, the Kin-dom of Love, right here right now.

So to answer Palmer’s question “How do we make choices that are life giving rather than death dealing?”

Well it really does depend on what we put into the world and what we take in too, to paraphrase Thomas Merton. It is about how we relate to one another, to life and to our inner selves. It’s about relationships. It’s about not trying to draw that perfect circle because that can soon become a wall, a barrier, that cuts us off from everything, unless we agree 100% with it or them 100% of the time, in which case we will find ourselves completely alone.

It’s about becoming the imperfectionist. It’s about learning to dance on the Mobius strip.

I’m going to end this little chip of a "blogspot" with a little meditation written by my imperfect inspiration Forrest Church. This is “The imperfectionsit”

"The reason I’ve been able to produce so much is that I’m not a perfectionist – I’m an imperfectionist. I’m confident that everything I say can be improved upon by others, and that’s my great strength, because I know that it won’t be improved upon by others unless I take the first step. When we only do things which please us, or don’t frighten us, after a while fewer and fewer things please us. Over time, our circle of options diminishes until we are prisoners in gardens of our own making. The more decisions you make in your life, the more times you act, the more certain it is that you will be wrong. To be fulfilled we need to recognize, all of us, that the world doesn’t owe us a living – rather we owe the world a living. And in the brief time that is given us, we must somehow learn to give ourselves away."

So take the first step. Become the imperfectionist. Learn to dance on “The Mobius Strip”