By Moshe Ross: Life is actually poetic visions, in which we're meant to fathom messages of endless depths.

In her very difficult childhood, my friend looked at a tree she'd seen every day and, miraculously, suddenly, every leaf, every branch, every shadow lit up with unutterable beauty. Even though she was a child, she recognized that this was the truth of her life, and this entirely muffled her sufferings and saved her. Just like my friend, we can rise out of the literal, physical perception of our life, into our metaphorical life, and be saved.

Life is actually poetic visions, in which we're meant to fathom messages of endless depths. Metaphors stand for something else, and the metaphors of everyday life represent awesome and portentous unknowns in ways that we can sense. Our life's a sacred ceremony; every participant, event and ritual object gives forth meaning. We reach into deep, rich, symbolic experiences. We start to find that, in our work, friends and family, we're meeting a presence unified with ourself, appearing as the very people and situations, hidden even within problems, that are needed for our ongoing this day. In this greater awareness, we are living and moving and having our own being within an ocean of unified being. I will never leave you nor forsake you. I am right here with you, pouring out my life as you.

Miracles are the natural way of things in this metaphorical, spiritual universe. Tuning into our early encounters with miraculous events, they seem like bolts of lightning out of the blue, which suddenly intervene in a material world, and might never return again. How can I stand firm upon something as unreliable and vagabond as this? Then we try to control these strange jolts that have broken in, and sporadically this seems to work. Then eventually we're blessed with failures and pain that are meant to jog us out of our slumbers, so we awaken to our real life. This is all a gradual growth process, a personal evolution that takes many years.

At such crisis points, we find that the way out lies in surrender to this invisible infinitude. When we're brought to this place where humanhood fails us, where we place our faith in divine hands and we find that these hands have always been upholding us. We simply didn't see this before, and now we feel, we see, we touch, we recognize and know what is actually happening, and this subtle shift makes a gigantic difference. So our faith is the discovery that God in us, who lives forever, is already faithful to us.

We suffer, yet nothing can injure us in a dream. The members of the Senoi tribe on the Malay peninsula relate their dreams to each other every morning. They teach that, if we meet a monster or enemy, we should befriend it. If we're falling, fall to the bottom and find what's there. Likewise we each have karmic scripts in this world, full of faults and conditoning that keep replaying like a skipping vinyl record. These are motherlodes of dramatic material that are ripe for our working over and repairing, myths to be told for the ages. We each have a unique, heroic mission in this world and, knowingly or not, ready or not, we are lifting up the whole world for ourselves and each other.

At the core of our difficulties we ask: The grief that I'm experiencing, that we all experience, what does it point to underneath? The self-sacrifice of our entering this serpentine world is in itself the root of all our anguish. This underlies all the metaphors of seemingly senseless tragedy. And now, within my meditative prayer, I can so presently feel that I have indeed chosen to enter this experience. Feeling this, I also feel my existence beyond any of these forms that we've created together. I am endless and free, and am ever bathed and supported in compassionate love. Peace and love.

Moshe Ross lives and teaches in Ashland (541-488-2571). His book, "Really Being With You," is available at Bloomsbury Books and Soundpeace.

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