Blog by Marcos Frangos, Director of Wellspring Change and collaborator in our Landscapes of Change work
“That, by which all this universe is pervaded, is indestructible, so get up for the battle”
These last few weeks, inner and outer life has been full of paradox: beauty, complexity, love, uncertainty and fear: sometimes in my innermost world I have felt deeply trusting and at peace, yet I’ve also been very confused, bewildered and frightened by what’s happening in the outer world too.
I’ve enjoyed a ‘sacred lockdown’; the stripping away of so many distractions that have allowed me a spiritual quietude and deepening: evening walks; the glorious basking sunshine; life abundant in nature.
Time to be still in my cave.
Life is forever on the move though, a fast-flowing river, and as I write I’m busy with a whole bunch of stuff: finances, work, children’s online schooling; what’s happening to my friends and family, COVID-19 etc.
So why the title of this blog?
These conflicting demands and realities remind me of Arjuna’s struggle between seeking stillness and also knowing when it’s time to act. In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna’s enjoyed the purity of his spiritual cave, and at a stage in his life he finds himself on the cusp of battle as the world around him has grown ever more torn and conflicted.
He sees the enemy’s armies lined up, he can’t see what good will come of a battle where inevitably good people whom he loves, are within the ranks of the enemy. Either he or they will die : and he asks “Why is my blood any more precious than theirs?” Lord Krishna who journeys with him on his chariot, responds thus:
“How has the dejection come to you at this juncture?” “Shake off this weakness of your heart and get up for the battle, O Arjuna. Know That, by which all this (universe) is pervaded, to be indestructible. No one can destroy the indestructible Atma*. The one who thinks that Atma is a slayer, and the one who thinks that Atma is slain, both are ignorant, because Atma neither slays nor is slain”.
So, what does it mean to ‘get up for the battle’?
I am clear on one thing, this warring rhetoric is not an invitation to project the enemy outside of ourselves onto another thing: a virus, a belief system, an organisation, another race or another person. Yes, there are gross inequalities and atrocities rampant in our world – we cannot kid ourselves that all is well with the world, but….
How do we become sacred warriors, with our hearts integrating with our minds and spirit? How do we find our authentic ways of engaging in the ‘ring of life’? There was an old Greek ascetic monk who used to say: “live with your mind in your heart”. I cannot think of better counsel for these times we’re in, and I wish you well balancing your inner worlds and the outer too.
If you’d like to explore how your inner and outer worlds meet, and to do so with people in safe community, join us at our next online Inner & Outer Landscapes of Change campfire. It’s been a pleasure for Kirstin Irving and I to host our first five online campfires and we look forward to the remaining two in this series. Follow the links to register for free:
If you have a friend, colleague, neighbour or family member you think might enjoy stepping in to our pop-up community, please welcome them along too!
*Atma, means the World Soul, from which all individual souls derive, and to which they return as the supreme goal of existence