Allan Schnarr MDiv.,PhD.
an assumptive world view
1. Wholeness is the dynamic process of embracing more and more of what is.
Love embraces what is, just as it is. This means a conscious act, bringing awareness to what is being experienced, and accepting it. Paradoxically, it is this act of acceptance that allows the mystery of transformation to something more than what is, something more complete, more whole.
When I accept what is, I give a meaning to it, I give it a place in the story I tell myself about my life. At any given time my story is my best effort to face and name the truth of how things relate to each other. This means identifying my place in the relational patterns that form the whole.
The challenge is to let my story be dynamic. I keep it flexible by remaining open to new information that requires a change in the story. If I’m in the practice of embracing what is, then unexpected information is an invitation to growth. Uncertainty is opportunity. My awareness is invited to expand – and with it, my story.
It is my story. I create it. Only I can change it.
2. My story is a tale of truth and illusion.
At any moment, my story is my best effort to tell myself the truth about my life. I need to believe the meaning I give to my place in the whole. This meaning shifts as I feel the ups and downs of life coming and going. It’s easy to believe my truth when I’m up. I love what’s happening. I embrace what is. It feels good.
My story is challenged when I’m down. This doesn’t feel good. It’s hard to embrace what is happening. My story gets restrictive. As I avoid what I don’t want to face, my story contains less than the whole truth. I bring myself to believe something that does not fully match my experience. I create an illusion, and believe it is the truth. I have now made love conditional.
3. Conditional love is an attempt at control.
I no longer embrace what is, just as it is. Love now requires control. When something matches my conditions, then I “love” it. To merit my love, it must fit my beliefs about what brings pleasure and wards pain. I impose my conditions about what works for me. I remain unaware of anything else.
When my story is based on conditional love, I have to judge everything. You are good for me means you are lovable means you optimize the pleasure-pain balance that I expect.
If you don’t, I will have to find a way to make you do what works for me. As long as you are meeting my expectations, my beliefs are reinforced. Everything is under control, and my story holds true – mostly. All’s well, is what I tell myself.
4. A loss that I cannot control is inevitable.
I keep proving to myself that all’s well by refusing to notice anything else. I try not to acknowledge the anxious buzz outside the walls of my awareness. It works well enough until a certain kind of loss comes along, one that exposes my lack of control. I have no choice but to resist the vulnerability. I do not love what is happening now! I refuse to accept it.
I double down on blocking it from my body and my mind. I create the tension in my body so that I don’t feel the loss. I adjust my storyline to weed out the loss. My beliefs get refocused to ease my avoidance of what I can’t face.
The cost of my reassurance is that more of my beliefs are now based in illusion. My awareness is increasingly restricted.
5. The backlog of unwanted truth grows.
The illusion holds back the growing buzz of untended experience. Yet, the truth continues to call for awareness. Fearful thoughts struggle to recapture control. Numbness battles restlessness in my body. Eventually I have to acknowledge, all is not well.
I am at a loss. My beliefs are shaken. The center does not hold.
Wholeness is a dynamic that will not long be denied. It waits with a soft, safe place to settle – into the truth of my experience.
6. I discover the grace to honor my resistance.
I may now begin to notice how hard I’ve been working to avoid facing the loss. I begin to gently accept the vulnerability that quivers as my illusion of control is exposed. I allow myself to feel the unravelling, especially as i fight against it. Humbled and helpless I observe. I listen. I learn. I begin to acknowledge the beliefs that have diminished my experience of life. My old ways are exposed, now glaringly self-defeating.
Having returned to the loving embrace of what is, I realize that my old self is dying. I carefully release it.
7. As I let go of old ways, new possibilities emerge.
Who I thought I was is not who I am. That much I know for sure. Who I am now, however, is uncomfortably unclear. What is evident if I allow myself to notice, is that I have let go of the illusion of control. If I let myself, I can now identify the thoughts and actions with which I fooled myself. They still call to me, and that gives me the chance to call them out of the shadows. I see you. I disown you.
I claim instead the loving acceptance that has been holding my vulnerability. I do not need to fearfully block the notice of what I don’t already control. I can choose to embrace the unexpected, whether it brings pleasure or pain. I can breathe and feel what each moment brings. I can allow my awareness to expand, holding more and more of what is.
I can learn. I can grow.
8. My story is one of dynamic wholeness.
As much as I may embrace the unexpected, there is always a part of me that sifts out what is too much at the moment. So it is that my story is always incomplete. It holds only what experiences I have been able to acknowledge. At any point in my life, I tell myself the whole truth – that is, as much as I’ve been able to get.
It all makes sense to me until another loss comes along, exposing another illusion of control. I never want such a loss. I can’t help fighting against it at first. And yet, time and again I come to recognize the opportunity.
My awareness has another chance to expand. I can face and release another illusion. I can change my story to more fully represent the whole of my experience.
Steadily I come to appreciate the dynamic in my story. Its path is a spiral stretching outward. Each time I cycle through loss I come out renewed. I am embracing even more of what is. I am a lover of all of life.
9. I am becoming the I that is We.
Each time I am reborn my story expands. Steadily I discover how deeply my story is entwined with the stories of others like me – and indeed, even with the stories of others unlike me. In each transformational shift, it is my story that I am telling myself. Nonetheless, it is also more and more clearly our story. I embrace the threads from each story as they are woven into mine, and as it becomes ours.
Each time I transcend my old self, I awaken to a more complete truth of who I am. I am the weaver of the whole tale. I am the divinity arriving in all that is given. I am the one that I recognize in all that we are. I am who I say that we are.
Each moment, anew now, I become the I that is We.
Whole, aware, now: all is well.