Lotus and Rose

This is It

By Russ Havens

Look around. What do you see?

Rivalries, anger, jealousy, hatred, murder, mayhem, war.

Like a fire-breathing, many-headed monster, violence rears its ugly, terrifying presence in a place torn apart by invasion and internal inter-religious war, such as Iraq, as well as in a tiny Pennsylvania one-room school house in a peace-loving, gentle Amish community.

Children are molested by religious leaders. Violence is used to force others to accept the doctrines and practices of an organized religion. Local religious groups bicker and fight amongst themselves. Organized religious groups seek to influence and even dominate political bodies in order to compel the unconvinced to adopt their values, often in the name of patriotism or loyalty to the common good. Religious hate mongers spew out their poison, encouraging violence against gay people, ethnic groups, religious minorities, secularists, agnostics, and atheists – who in turn often respond in kind. The wheel of violence continues to turn, grinding our world to dust.

Each of us is right where we are –- now –- in this mess, or however you look at it. The past only exists incompletely stored in the memory circuits of our brains or incompletely written down, often described by people who were never there. The future is a phantom of possibilities. Now is where we are.

So why do we feel the need to carve out spiritual truth in rock? Is it really necessary to convince anyone else of our own spiritual understandings? Is it even possible to do that, let alone desirable?

Instead of arguing and fighting with others, wouldn’t life be a lot better if we each simply followed our own path, appreciated and learned what we could from each other, and encouraged and helped one another in whatever ways we were able? Nothing good comes from demanding that everyone adopt your point of view – or mine. Let each one bloom where he or she is planted.

The place of acceptance that you seek is right where you are. There is no place to go. No one else to seek. There is no guru, no master, no priest other than you. You can spend a lot of time looking for what's right where you are. You are the answer to your own question. And I’m the answer to mine.

The truth is not out there. It’s right here.

This is It.

Chuang-tzu said, “If one asks about the Way and another answers him, neither of them knows it.”

Hmmm…in that case, perhaps I shouldn't have even written this page. But here it is anyway.