THE IN-BETWEEN TIMES
There are lines that I love from an old song, ‘All The Way’, by Frank Sinatra. One phrase especially pops into my awareness: “Through the good or lean years, and for all the in-between years…”
Other phrases are also important to me. They also come: “Who knows where the road will lead us? Only a fool would say. But if you’ll let me love you, it’s for sure I’m gonna love you All The Way…”
I hear those simple words now, like cosmic music of knowing and unknowing. Sometimes, for me, simple music that I’ve loved in my life is like a mantra. It is a simple and deep way of experiencing life. I can’t figure it out, even though I try. There are cycles of good and lean times, as well as in-between times.
And there is a Love that, if I recognize it, is always with me…All the Way. I call it Forever Love. I know that Love shows up in human form as well as Divine form. Both are sometimes, rarely perhaps, in the same package. That will include relationships, work as pilgrimage, nature and more.
The meditation gardens at Unity of Tustin, for me, are one of those experiences in time that are Timeless. They are symbolic of all of the stages of our entire lives. And they are also about collective consciousness, the story of humankind.
Each site in the garden can be applied in the individual events of our unfolding journey. It is also applicable to the whole story, where we are in awareness, as a community, a country, a planet. It is the microcosm and it is the macrocosm. And it is everything in-between. It is our life alone, and it is our life in relationship.
In this experience of putting together all of the pieces of our 1,000 piece puzzle, we have the ‘puzzle box’ with all of the individual pieces, it’s called our life. Yet somehow, the cover picture of what it will finally ‘look like’ got lost…
Finding our way to put the pieces together takes time, even though there are ‘clues’ that we figure out. We may sort out the pieces that are easy first, like ones with ‘straight edges’ that are indicators they are potential ‘borders’ of our particular puzzle. We may also look for different colors that sort of ‘match up’. We look for shades even perhaps, of ‘forms’ that are to come.
What I’ve noticed is that the whole picture emerges in stages, sort of clusters of pieces sometimes, of the whole. I’ve taken some of the pieces ‘out’ and ‘laid them on the side’ as I’ve looked at ways to put others together. A picture begins to reveal itself. Sometimes other people will help me put the puzzle together.
Another symbol that has had immense meaning for me is the Spiral. There is a ‘connecting path’ that seems to move horizontally in ascending and descending circles. Yet it is clear that the view of the whole includes seeing Vertically. It’s the way to see ‘All The Way’.
In the garden at Unity of Tustin there is a point on the path ‘in-between’ the first and the second stage. It was developed by the prayer chaplains so they could have a place to pray with people. The whole journey is depicted in the art of the stepping stones that lead to the bench where people can sit in prayer. The symbols on each of the stepping stones are of the seven chakras.
As we move in the experience of our life unfolding, it is like the puzzle and the spiral dancing! Often we are moving to different points or levels on the spiral, and we are trying to put in the pieces that belong there. Sometimes we are in stages, we’ve earned them and they seem to last for awhile. Sometimes we are in states that come and go. They come and then seem to disappear. We may think we ‘had it’ and then ‘lost it’. Yet we have a ‘center of gravity’ to which we seem to return.
Each of the stepping stones in the garden site is a ‘glimpse’ of one of those stages. There are no details. It’s a bit like walking into a puzzle store and seeing that there are different puzzles available. Some will ‘appeal’ to us now, others won’t…yet they may later. There is no rush to ‘get’ all of the puzzles. Yet could it be, somehow, that at one point we will see that there is an ‘over-all’ theme or Knowing?
An additional complexity may show up in our lives when we try to ‘nail it down’, control it. We want to feel safe and secure, it’s important and natural. Yet that ‘point’ that we think we can ‘stand on’ is moving…
It’s a Spiral, as well as a puzzle, and there is an Impulse that is yearning for us to go Higher…and Deeper. We feel It, yearning for us…and we feel that yearning within us that responds. It’s about transcending what we ‘thought we knew’, integrating more, even while including the Good, the True and the Beautiful of all that we have experienced.
The invitation is to a vaster knowing. It will feel like integrating more and more, perhaps like ‘growing up’. And simultaneously, sometimes ‘without knowing it’, we are also ‘waking up’…to an invisible ‘inner something’ that we feel…almost as if we have always known it.
The complexity will ultimately dissolve into a Simplicity…that is like…Love. That’s my word for what I experience. Your word could be Peace or Joy. Yet it is different than love, or peace, or joy that we’ve ‘previously known’… This is something that has no opposite. It just Is. And it includes the world we know…as it is. It’s sort of a ‘Strange Land’. In the beginning, we may feel like a ‘stranger’ in it. You’ll know your word when it happens.
It is like the rainbow. The colors are spectacular, and you don’t have to create them. You can’t take one color ‘out’, they are all part of the whole. And yet, there are different colors, each is part of the beauty. Sometimes there is also a double rainbow, in rare moments, perhaps after some kind of unusual storm or rain that seems to make everything fresh and clear.
What seems important to ‘sort-of get’ if you stop to sit on the bench at this place in the garden is that things and perceptions from one ‘level’ or ‘color’ or ‘stage’ of our lives have to show up in their own colors. And even though we see the rainbow clearly we can’t actually ‘keep it’…except perhaps as a sacred and precious knowing.
The ‘in-between times’ are also there. Often things and perceptions from one ‘level’ or stage of our lives have to dissolve in order to open into what is coming. It is a natural part of ‘making way’, creating the space, for things that are part of our Future Time, part of our Soul’s Plan, part of our Destiny Path. There are beginnings and endings in the Vastness of Cosmic and human experience, as all One…
PRACTICES: BRINGING YOUR LIFE INTO THE CURRICULUM
In times of ‘trouble’, in times of confusion or sorrow, this place in ‘Cosmic Knowing’ can be a very comforting ‘Bridge over Troubled Waters’.
It gives you time to sit in the Quiet, to breathe, to feel like you are being held in the arms of the Invisible. You don’t have to ‘understand it’, or even figure out what to do. It will hold you when you don’t know the way…
The engaging with your personal Invisible will be strengthened by your connecting with this Invisible Vastness. Find your places of this… It may be in nature, it may be a sacred place that you are guided to. It may be a person who ‘shows up’, like an angel in a human disguise. This is a time to be gentle with yourself.
Take some time to become Aware of this Always Already Presence that has been there in your life, sometimes in strange or surprising disguises. Write about it, if you are willing. It might help other people some day…and it will help you today, if you are in one of those spaces of ‘troubled waters’ or unknowing.
Look at the Template of your life with the spaces that still have ‘blank space’ where words have not been written. See if certain moments of ‘darkness’ had some of this space. Be aware of moments of Light coming in as Surprise or Revelation.
See if you can recognize how experiences of ‘creating, maintaining and dissolving’ have been part of one whole at various stages in your life.