The Blog

There’s Always (at Least) Two Sides

US quarter in the snow.

I recently shared my definition of faith as being our most intimate connection to the essential Mystery that has inexplicably given birth to all of life. In other words, faith is a recognition of the personal self’s contact with its Source. This conscious connection yields an indescribable sense that I’m something way bigger than this individual me, while not dismissing or belittling the unique mortal me in the process.

Enter the paradox: How can it be that I am the grand Source of all and I am this little impermanent me?

Eugene Peterson, my new favorite pastor (google him—he’s amazing) says, “a metaphor is a really remarkable kind of formation because it both means what it says and what it doesn’t say… so those two things come together and it creates an imagination, which is active. You’re not trying to figure things out, you’re trying to enter into what is there.”

Let’s investigate our paradox through the metaphor of a coin.

Every coin has two sides. Let’s place Source on one side and the personal self on the other. They are not separate, though they are certainly distinct.

Let’s stretch our imagination now, applying Eugene’s wise counsel, to enter into the coin, not merely comprehend it.

Hypothesis: In order to embody the fullness of who I am, I must become conscious of myself as the entire coin.

It’s important to remember that, though we are making the two sides distinct in order to assist our inquiry, the two sides are never truly separate. We are always God and we are always our impermanent self.

Why then is this embodied knowing of our God side not enough to ensure a happy life?

Because, I suspect we are ultimately seeking an integration of both sides of the coin, not the mastery of placing our attention on one side or the other. Embracing our wholeness in this way brings a clarity of being to the personal self that is actionable, sustainable, and trustable. Faith alone can free us from fear, but it is not enough to bring about personal transformation.

This path of realization is nothing new in human history. However, it’s a new millennium, and the context within which we are developing ourselves is unique to that context. It’s time for us to update our spiritual operating system to provide our present generation and future generations a proper reorientation to a bigger picture perspective — a framework for remembering we are whole coins.

We might begin again by asking these questions.

Who am I?

Why am I here?

What is true?

January 30, 2017.

Donald Trump is president of the country I call home.

Democracy is being profoundly tested.

Divisiveness and fear are on the rise as much as solidarity and unity.

Unless we realize our wholeness we will simply increase the tensions around us and within us.

We will remain at war.

Left against right.

White against brown.

Man against woman.

Wealth against poverty.

Life against death.

What if we were to also view these tensions as coins?

What kind of consciousness is able to see the whole coin while inhabiting both sides? What kind of actions in the world would this quality of consciousness engage? What does it take to grow into embodying this level of consciousness?

To realize ourselves individually as Source is not enough to transform the world, or even to show up fully for its demise if that is what will be. Once our Source-side is re-membered, we must then cultivate a relationship with our human side; we must take the wisdom and courage from Source and bring it into our personal heart, so that the self side of our coin can act in the world with integrity, kindness, and authenticity. The citizen of the new millennium will need to be aligned; anchored in Source while being human in the world.

Game on.

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