Moving Beyond Brokenness

For centuries now, humans have been struggling against one another.  In fact, we even struggle against ourselves. My years of wrestling with depression, eating disorders, alcohol abuse, relationship issues, and bursts of reactive rage at the injustice of it all, revealed something to me about myself.  Being close to my own suffering brought me closer to the suffering of others, and ultimately illuminated the human condition.

We are all broken.  We all have our reasons. Sometimes we’re shattered by the choices we make ourselves; other times we are fractured by things that happen to us, and that we would never choose.  While our brokenness is one aspect of our shared humanity, and is the basis for our search for comfort, meaning, and healing, too often it becomes an identity that keeps us in the cycle of suffering instead of popping us into a new way of living and being together.

Beyond Conversation: Awakening the Space Between Us

We have a family text thread that includes my husband and me, our son, Colin, who is away at college, and our daughter who is at home.  Last night we received a text from Colin that said “word is going around that Paul H. passed away today.” Paul is the younger brother of one of Colin’s close friends.  Sadly, we soon learned that it was true. Paul had indeed died by taking his own life. In our grief, we struggle to understand how this can be true. Paul was a senior in high school who did well in school, went to church, played sports, had a loving family, yet here we are with this tragic truth.  Paul is no longer with us.

Many of us are throwing up our hands in dismay these days.  How can we move through this time? How can we make our interconnection visible?  Some say that conversation is the answer, yet civil conversation seems to be a thing of the past.  Conversation is defined as “the informal interchange of thoughts, information, etc., by spoken words.”   I don’t know about you, but I’m noticing that very little information actually gets exchanged in the divisive climate we are in.

Beyond Contemplation

After his transformative experience at the corner of Fourth and Walnut in Louisville (now Muhammad Ali Boulevard), Thomas Merton wrote “I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness. . . .”

This experience of universal love, of recognizing one’s self in the other, is directly facilitated in the Mutual Awakening Practice.  Like Merton, we discover our interconnectedness with one another, and something larger, but we do it together.