Alchemy, of a sort

Now that  _____  has posted his news on Facebook and I can see what he’s feeling about the ordeal he is going through—or what he’s willing to share about it—I’m feeling proud and grateful for the family I was born into and the families we’ve made.

I’m proud of these people for their equanimity and acceptance and for the generosity they’ve shown throughout their lives. I’m proud of the way they’ve done what every person has to do in this lifetime, which is to piece together and craft a way of living that serves other people and tells a story that is worthy of passing on.

I’m especially in awe of the people who have found a way to give a warmer kindness, love, and attention to others than was given or modeled to them in their younger days. That’s a form of alchemy, turning humble ingredients into something higher and more refined. That people still do this, in a time when all the worldly forces tell us to celebrate the lower self, to grab what we can and go—this is proof of spiritual powers to me. I’m thankful for those powers and for the people around me who express them so gracefully.

I haven’t made peace with the circumstances leading to this realization, not at all—but sometimes people remind you why you not only love but admire them, and the world feels like a better place in spite of the circumstances.

 

Lah ti dah, la la laa…

Our job at this stage of our development, says R. Steiner, is to transform our feeling life through the I.  Huh?  What what?

The “I” is our higher ego, the one that outlives our physical body. The feeling life is the entire body of likes and dislikes, identities and aspirations, tastes, judgments, attachments, and impulses, both noble and low, that we tote around with us. And the work of the I in transforming that body of feelings is somehow connected with the deepest part of the original Christian message. That’s about as far as I can see into that.

Oh, and to get there we’re supposed to work with imaginations. These are the little (or big) insights we receive about the way things work, or thought pictures, or events we bring to life through our thinking, and through our thinking we bring higher consciousness down into the world.

As for me, I know I’m not good at any meditative discipline. Maybe in the fall I can take something up again. All spring and summer I’ve been taking grace for granted—spending from my savings so to speak—and turning away from meditation with a will. I feel like there may be a reckoning for this at some time to come; but I also know at some level I’ve chosen it and will learn a lesson from whatever the consequence is. Of course, if I’ve done harm, or failed to do some good, through my lack of a practice, I hope for a chance to restore things in this life. (More grace, please?)

Even without a practice, I’m hungry all the time for a glimpse behind the curtain. So I’m hungering and at the same time refusing to do the main thing that might feed me. The hunger, or rather the eagerness for the experience of growth and living, tells me I’m not completely asleep, and I’m trying—trying, not mastering, but trying—to be silent more and let the world speak to me through its forms. I’m trying to observe things without naming them or explaining them. That is a kind of practice, more of an abstaining than a doing, and I know it’s like scattering seeds—some will grow, but only to the degree I’ve given them good soil to grow in. The rest are not wasted, of course, but their effect is much less than it could have been.

There you have it—Summer.