The cultural and group-bounded aspects of religious narratives and archetypes can put obstacles on our spiritual path if we fail to notice their mirage-like quality. Ultimately, a powerful and true archetypal narrative will take us to the same place, same be-ing, same awareness. By transcending our in-group certainties, we open up to the most beautiful and powerful capacities of what it is to be human. Similarly, by opening our hearts to see how we, too, contain within us the seeds of all that is ugly and destructive in the social world around us, we can respond in a productive way rather than adding to the chaos. We don’t become bearers of false good will, or masked ill will, but fully engaged in the world, aware of its complexity, and our explosive, but frail, natures.
My biggest challenge in this area comes when I see outright unethical, unfair, and mean behavior that goes unaddressed or is not called out, out of fear. I know that when I call these things out, my own frustration and sense of entrapment by the dynamics of bullying, hostile environments, & harassment, color my tone with flashes of anger and fear that defeat my purposes. The mindful, compassionate solution to which I aspire is to be able to call out and address these things with an ontological trust that does not give my power to that which is untrue or unfair–nor hide it behind a mask of false civility.
I can only hope to attain this level of presence, devoid of strategy, with practice–not a practice of how I ‘act,’ but a practice of being present, so that when I am challenged, I don’t ‘leave’ and allow myself to be embodied by spirits of fear, desperation, anger, guilt, fatigue, pretense, or even the joy that stems from an over-active ego.