So, on January the 3rd, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with a very aggressive form of blood cancer, Burkitt’s lymphoma. I decided to engage this unexpected diagnosis as a class that I was taking.
Burkitt’s lymphoma was a very demanding professor. This professor also initiated me, just like I was initiated in 2006 [at the MROP]: I’m going to die. I’m not in control. It’s not about me. I’m not that important.
There have been weeks where I have literally been on the bottom of the floor, feeling like my body is being torn apart. My practice has become helplessness.
When my body is so scrambled, all of these inner-work practices that are sensation-based just dissipate. And I just find myself . . . and all that I can surrender is my helplessness.
What I have discovered is that helplessness calls the Helpers. Not just my friends on this physical plane, but I’m convinced that there are Helpers in the other world. And they are drawn to powerlessness, they are drawn to helplessness. And they do come, they do come.
In some ways, I guess I see we [the community of Illuman] are at this juncture point where I hope we can deepen the practice of helplessness.
I see tensions between renewal community and institution, and the fear that we will lose something of the renewal insight if we become too institutionalized. I see tensions between the guys who have been here a longer time and the newer guys who are trying to figure out this place. And I hope we can get beyond just like and dislike.
It’s natural to want to be validated and visible and have a voice. What do these older guys really think about me? Do they even see me?
I think we need to deepen the inner work where we don’t fall apart when we seem invisible or voiceless or not validated. And trust the process, trust the process.
I don’t think “institution” is going to iron out conflict. I think we need to find a different relationship to conflict.
This has been my lifelong lesson: mess, constriction, uncertainty, tensioning, conflict. These are necessary and holy ingredients for transformation to deepen within us and within the organization. If we can’t find a way of standing within it and changing our relationship to it, we aren’t going to be better off if we eliminate it. We have to find a different way of engaging [conflict] because that kind of stuff is a mark of community-deepening and transformation-deepening.
If we want to grow our being, if we want to grow our capacity to connect and love, and to see new possibilities, we have to change our relationship to conflict and see it as a gift. That only comes as we deepen our own inner practices. Otherwise we just go into autopilot.