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This email correspondence occurred during the weeks just prior to our seeming impending war with Iraq…. But the search behind the questions could be replaced by any other human content, concern or question of social responsibility and taking action.
P: (A woman wondering about her responsibility to oppose the war)
I’ll begin with the dilemma I feel about how I will continue to live in the world given this vivid pain I feel for the world-wide mass suffering and the continued unconscionable actions toward war out of deep seated greed and fear.
RONDA: What do you mean, “how I will continue to live?”
P: I mean that after studying our foreign policy and decision-making infrastructure, I am irate, sad, sickened by the horrors our government is willing to inflict and the lies we are willing to tell in order to maintain the wealth and power of the few over the masses and the many – over the very well-being of this planet and all the species of this earth. It is abhorrent. And I don’t feel it is right to know this and do nothing about it.
RONDA: So you feel compelled to oppose this war and the system that generates it? I’ve nothing against action – everything we do (even doing nothing) is an action. But I do say, be clear on the motivation that causes the action.
How does this call to action arise in you? Does it arise as moral indignation and a strong belief of wrongdoing? What is behind that sense of “right and wrong”? Look and see. …It arises from within a belief doesn’t it? “The war is wrong: the suffering of innocent lives, the havoc to the economy, the taking of resources in order to bolster the rich.” This is what you see as you study the situation. It all surely looks that way from one perspective, I agree.
But how do we really know that this drama between two governments and indeed the whole world – between nations being split apart, and our own citizens bi-polarized – how do we know that on the bigger picture of Life, this isn’t just as it must be? Maybe it will finally cause enough destruction to shift our priorities and save the planet. Maybe its time for the human to crumble and Conscious Evolution redirect. Maybe its all just perfect as it is unfolding.
I’m not saying this to simply rationalize that no one take action. I’m saying, really look and find from what motive the call to action is arising. When action arises from within a belief (“this is wrong”), it is always dualistic, fear-based, and I-oriented. When action arises from what Deepak Chopra calls “spontaneous right action,” then it is prior to belief and prior to “I”…Then it is simply what arises within the intelligence of Life and Unity prior to “I-separation”.
P: Yes, I can see that perhaps as you say, Bush and Saddam are exactly what the world needs to bring about a final world-wide confrontation/conflagration that shifts us to an entirely new paradigm—a spontaneous reorganization of our world-wide ‘system’. Certainly, we’ve learned from systems theory that systems don’t transform in an orderly fashion. So perhaps its utter hubris on the part of humans to assume we have the capacity and power to slowly engineer our way to peace on earth.
RONDA: No please don’t misunderstand me as saying that perhaps this war is “good” because it may bring about….peace on Earth – or xyz. That is just another belief. I am pointing at something subtler, and not within the framework of “right and wrong.”
Let me try to put it this way: I have come to realize that it does not matter what any of us DOES in terms of trying to “effect something” – as in effort, manage, sway, control. It is fine to do so, but it is “I-based” and therefore arising from fear and belief. There is another subtler place from which action arises. It arises from the void, from nothing, from a place just prior to I-thought, prior to “identification”. I think suddenly of Gandhi, a tremendous activist of True seeing for whom action seemed to emerge from a base of inner quietude, humility and sincere seeking after living as Truth.
To crusade on a campaign of “this is wrong” and this would be “right”, is tremendously limited in vision. It is coming from a position that is identified within a conditioned self. It is arrogant really. “I know what’s best.” If you look very closely, I think you’ll find that it is a projection “out there” for what is being asked to be seen inwardly. But please don’t take my word for this. Look into it.
P: But surely it is inconceivable to allow fear to destroy our planet. Something clearly must be done when we see where this current situation is taking us. Surely we must find a way to overcome our own conditioning in order to bring about a peaceful living and harmony in our world.
RONDA: I don’t think “peace on earth” has much to do with anything! This isn’t going to sit real well with you I suspect, but I don’t see that “peace” or even survival of the human (or for that matter survival of this one particular planet) is what this is about. By this I mean the conscious unfolding of creation. Consciousness (God if you prefer) will continue. It has no end. And I don’t sense in that Presence of God, an agenda like “world peace”. I think these are human fabrications stemming from a human mind. God-Mind (Unity Consciousness) doesn’t seem “to think” in these terms of value, right/wrong, progression because it is literally not of time/space. God-Mind (as I currently sense it anyway) merely delights in the play of hiding from Itself (as person experiencing xyz, as plant, as hawk, as planet, as solar system….) and then finding (as in glimpsing Itself) within these various apparent forms. There may be value beyond that which is man-made and of time/space, but if there is, it is not knowable within the time/space dualistic mind of man.
I know this sounds esoteric. But really, in moments of no-I-mind, what I see emerging is a Silent Empty Mind that has no judgment, no direction, no agenda except the joy of seeing!
P: Yes, I can see that we all overlay our conditioned values onto “righteous acts” and yet there’s still something in me that feels that if I give up this belief, that it will leave me in a place of cold disregard for all life on earth. And that feels like an abdication of spiritual right action. Perhaps my confusion is that I can’t tell where this feeling of abdication is coming from: Is it coming from a belief that life should be revered? That all life is precious? Is it coming from a place of choice less awareness? …Or is it (in truth) coming from fear of my own annihilation?
RONDA: That’s the Big million dollar question: From where is this feeling of abdication arising?…..
The only clue I seem to find within myself is when a notion to act on something arises from a clarity that is prior to “judgments, thinking, valuing.” No deliberation is required of spontaneous right action – though we’re duped into thinking/believing that we must engage our mind and weigh the pro’s and con’s and so forth. It is not so. When one becomes familiar with the fragrance of Silence – the place of nothing from which all emerges – then spontaneous right action simply is… Then one organically responds (action arises) within a feild that is consistent with his or her living. Again I think of Gandhi who for example, opposed British manufactured cloth and so also spun his own thread.
When it is simply with conscious presence that I “let” response arise — and not within a field of trying to change or “make” anything — when it arises in this way, it is my understanding of what Chopra calls “spontaneous right action”. …It is merely that which is arising from the breathing of God-Consciousness that exists underneath, around and prior to an “I.”
P: One of the articles I just read brought me to a place of understanding that the war with Iraq (won’t go into all the details of why) is about maintaining the current world order. Life in America (and in all other developed countries) as we know it cannot continue without unimpeded access to Persian Gulf oil. So it brings me to a very personal place of asking how willing am I to change my lifestyle/standard of living and all that is included in that (…I didn’t realize being willing to experience the full nature of God through my own existence might require a change in my lifestyle!!)
RONDA: Exactly. Truth is not necessarily pleasant — certainly not comfortable! That’s why we prefer to project to “out there” what is really being shown as something that must be addressed “in here.” “The Kingdom of Heaven is within.”
I saw a bumper sticker on a huge SUV yesterday that read: “No blood for oil!” …Meanwhile, off the protest owner drove in one of the biggest gas guzzlers that fill our highways… We’re easily self-duped into feeling self-righteous (on either side of the pro/con war) – because we don’t want to face the real issues — which require personal change. Outward issues and conflicts of any sort (be it international politics, or personal relationships between family members) are only ever truly solved by deep inner inquiry and honest seeing. The courage to see ones own motives with complete honesty (undressed of their overlaying justifications) is the only thing that brings about transformation of consciousness and the possibility of more peacefulness of action.
P: So now I’m struggling with what a belief is. Is it possible to hold a belief that there is a better way for peace and love to flourish, without that belief being conditional? Do you think all beliefs are conditional? For example, you state in your book that you believe prayer is necessary for awakening. Do you still believe that? or was that an expression of an honest feeling true in the moment for you?
RONDA: I didn’t say (or didn’t mean) prayer is “necessary” – as in a method. I was pointing toward prayer in terms of becoming conscious of one’s deepest desire for Truth. Prayer to me is simply conscious attention pointed toward Truth. It is invocation of opening to Grace. But that might require another fork in this dialogue road, so let’s save it for another time, and go on with belief.
I see belief and trust as very different things. When I look into belief I see that is always conditional. True trust on the other hand, is never conditional. But the word trust is often misused. Trust to me, can hope for peace and beauty, but it does not expect or project it. This is really a key distinction. Trust can exist within a field of hope, but it never can exist within a field of fear or need or any declaration of what “getting there would look like.” Can you see this distinction?
So maybe it takes practically killing each other off, or maybe it takes the full crumbling of the “American dynasty” or maybe it takes horrid plagues and disease. Trust in Life is not conditioned on any outcome. I am not saying one must have “blind faith” or naïve trust. True trust has nothing to do with outcome or attachment whatsoever. It is before and beyond the mortal self.
I see Faith and Trust as synonymous – not based whatsoever on conditional beliefs. In fact, I see Faith and Trust as the wisdom and courage to live without superimposed beliefs that were created from fear and the wish to control by means of “good/bad” “right/wrong”. I don’t mean we won’t still have our inner sense of these dualistic notions, and take whatever action we feel is appropriate within them. We will, but in my experience these motivated actions simply become less often. As the Still Presence of Being becomes the clearer reference of who we really are, action simply and spontaneously arises within this larger awareness. This is trust. Does this make sense?
P: Yes and yet, you see, I continue to feel intensely the suffering of the world and desire (I’m certain from a place of compassion) to alleviate some/any part of it. And I do feel/believe that much suffering could be eliminated if those of us who have so much simply shared what we have…if this occurred on a massive scale, much of human suffering would be eliminated. This is silly and naive, I know, because the hearts of humans are too closed. But it is an example of a belief I have and according to what Richard [Moss] has said, is part of the culture of distrust. What say you to this???
RONDA: I will see “out there” what I am “in here”: Its all projection and mirroring. As I live more and more outside of the grip of fear and belief controlling my actions, I seem to have greater compassion for those in our culture who cannot see clearly their self-prison of fear and belief systems. I find myself less disdainful of greedy motives and less “needy” to try and “fix it” because it has less grip on my living Presence. And yet ironically (a key) that very freedom from belief, seems to open me to being of greater service! It’s a miraculous process to see.
What reality is really true anyway? We all see what we project from our own state of conscious awareness. Is it objectively true that the hearts of humans are too closed? Is it objectively true that we’re greedy and over-privileged as I said earlier? It is all a projection – a partial reality that is reflecting our own inner landscape. So I am greedy and over-privileged. That is true. I really understand now that we can’t “save humanity” until or unless we have reconciled the projected malaise within ourselves.
Ultimately the only “do good” that really is of service to the larger community rather than just to the one “doing good”, is action that naturally arises within the living expression of that truth or vision. I think again and again of Gandhi who demonstrates that living of his truth so beautifully.
It’s like the old adage, “we teach what we most need to learn”. It’s the same with all our actions to “save humanity” no matter how well inspired. They are a “projected seeing” that is calling to the inner landscape of the seer to learn and to heal, and to integrate these things within. When that inner reconciliation is realized, one naturally and simply expresses that wholeness out into the world – without trying. It is inescapable. It simply is who you are. Within that wholeness and by no other means, is our world saved if it is to be saved at all…
- Come find out for yourself: that there is no greater journey than your own...