This world is a world with everything in it. It has such beauty, such love, such sweetness, and it has almost unbearable challenges, heart ache, and what sometimes seems like insurmountable darkness. There is a very thoughtful quote from Joseph Cambell I’d like to share on this subject. He says, “The first step to the knowledge of the wonder and mystery of life is the recognition of the monstrous nature of the earthly human realm as well as its glory, the realization that this is just how it is and that it cannot and will not be changed. Those who think they know- and their name is legion- how the universe could have been had they created it, without pain, without sorrow, without time, without death, are unfit for illumination.
So if you really want to help this world, what you will have to teach is how to live in it. And that no one can do who has not themselves learned how to live in the joyful sorrow and the sorrowful joy of the knowledge of life as it is.”
In Hinduism they talk about this world being a “middle world”, a world in which good and evil, pleasure and pain, knowledge and ignorance, interweave in about equal proportions. And this is the way things will remain. That the worlds purpose is to provide a training ground for the human spirit. That what we do is important, it‘s important to build character, to evolve; but we delude ourselves if we expect it to change the world fundamentally. Jesus expressed a similar view when he said, “this world is a bridge: pass over, but build no house upon it.”
I find this helpful; it offers food for thought and a certain explanation, though incomplete, as to why there is such polarity in life experience. I have found there is a place in consciousness, in pure stillness, where thoughts of right and wrong, good and bad, light and dark all cease. Even the world and all things of the world cease. There is great peace in pure stillness. There is total relief from the world, from confusion, from any thought at all. And with out thought, there is no world, there is no person in the world. There is just a wonderful wideness of being, still, blissful, vast, untouched, unaffected being.
It seems to me when we rest at least for a time in this still being, we return to action in the world refreshed, and reminded that one need not hold too tightly to anything here. To anything “of this world”. Then we can be in the world, but not drowned by it; not overwhelmed by its demands or dark corners. Be still and know that which is untouchable peace. Then bring that peace into each moment of worldly life.