Home » Bring It On! Confrontation as an Essential Spiritual Practice
Being normally a rather easy-going and reserved person it’s hard for me now to imagine how, as part of my youthful rebellion against the institutional church, I stood up in the midst of a worship service in front of several hundred people and shouted down the minister just after he had concluded his sermon. The anger this occasioned throughout the congregation was perhaps most poignantly focused by the man sitting next to me, who threatened to kill me if I ever stepped into the church again.
I suppose something was accomplished by my defiant act; several young people gathered around me as the congregation filed out, indicating they felt the same way and praising me for my courage. But basically, my confrontation with the church establishment just fueled anger and aggression that could have degenerated into outright conflict, especially if weapons had been present.
In other words, this was destructive confrontation and is certainly not the kind of confrontation I would endorse in writing this article. When coming from ego and from unwholesome involvement in the human drama, confrontation is inevitably destructive. Our world full of disagreement, conflict and chaos is ample testimony to this. As are the current political campaign debates for president, laced as they usually are with name calling and assorted personal attacks.
Contrast this with what I call creative confrontation, which to me is an essential part of spiritual practice. There is one basic requirement for this kind of confrontation: acting from one’s highest vision of the truth of love or, it might be put, from inner stillness, holiness, wholeness and grace. When coming from this true point of centering, i.e., our divine nature, we can move boldly forward to confront any and every circumstance no matter how negative or threatening it may be.
In fact, this is the very essence of our spiritual work. We came on Earth to confront problems and issues of all kinds because, coming from the truth of ourselves, we have the capability to embrace these things in an ascending process. They are grist for our creative mill. Without anything to face on Earth, how could we do any actual spiritual work?
We do this work primarily by engaging with the patterns in our own consciousness that are triggered by our sense perceptions of external circumstances. For example, listening to or watching a newscast puts a lot of material into my consciousness, and if there is a willingness to confront these patterns with the truth of love at my core, they may be transformed and transmuted, lifted into the creative process, all of this drawing resonant substance in the mass consciousness of humanity to the truth of love that I represent.
This is the essence of “subtle activism,” a practice that is becoming increasingly popular in leading-edge spiritual circles. Its chief proponent, Dr. David Thomas Nicol, describes it this way: “Subtle activism is both a new discipline and a growing movement that brings together spiritual practices with emerging insights into how we can begin to shift our world in a positive direction through the power of our individual and collective consciousness. It both opens intriguing new horizons of transformational practice, and serves as a way to integrate inner development with outer engagement—bonding communities together in a mission of healing and positive change.”
I think this world service, or what I call “world radiation,” gains greatest potency when we courageously confront the challenges that are most personal to us. For example, those who are astrologically inclined may have some sense of what a “grand cross” is. It involves four planets that are in 90 degree relationship and is sometimes referred to as a “cross of crucifixion,” bringing life-long challenges. I have such a configuration in my natal horoscope as well as an exact conjunction of Saturn and Uranus. The latter is said to cause nervous tension alternating with depression throughout life with possible breakdown in extreme circumstances.
This is exactly what I have experienced in life, sometimes with so much intensity that it’s been difficult even to remain on the planet. A few years ago a psychotherapist handed me this diagnosis: “general anxiety disorder, panic anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression.” What a handful to deal with! But I’ve found that in spiritual orientation it is possible to creatively confront these tendencies and to even give thanks for them, for they open up tremendous avenues of blessing and service.
Fear is, of course, the primary and most powerful emotion that I experience. Great! With the human race virtually convulsing with fear these days as terror and violence increase on Earth, here is a wonderful point of connection I have with human consciousness. If I am able to creatively confront my own fear, this puts a message into the mass consciousness of humanity that creative confrontation with fear is not only possible but generative.
How can one creatively engage with fear? Not by trying to ignore it. Not by trying to suppress it or escape from it with drugs or alcohol, etc. Not by trying to fight it in any way, for fighting only gives more energy to what is opposed. I’ve found that the only way to creatively confront fear is to welcome it as a friend, to warmly invite it in. I know it has been said, “Perfect love casts out fear.” But fear can only be cast out if it is first welcomed in and loved.
This kind of personal confrontation with fear, anger, shame and a host of other negative patterns in consciousness is the very work spiritually awake people are here to do on Earth. I like the way this work is described in a piece called “Sustaining the Galactic Blueprint” by Peggy Black and the “team”: “In this reality of polarities and free will, the manner in which a transformation can take place requires a star being to fully embody and experience the very dense dysfunctional energies as their own. Once these experiences have been felt, endured, observed and anchored in your personal electromagnetic mental and emotional field, they are yours to transform and uplift. Remember you are an alchemist, here to transform and uplift dense dysfunctional energies.”
As star beings and divine alchemists, we are ready, indeed eager, to confront everything that comes to us. By the way, when two or more people are coming from this place of underlying agreement, issues that might otherwise divide them and lead to serious disagreement can be creatively confronted. Even the strongest differences on policies and ways of doing things can be resolved without conflict. Oh that something of this might be known in politics and government!
So bring it on! However dense and difficult, however painful and perplexing the things that put in an appearance in the course of our lives on Earth, we are here for creative confrontation. “For this cause came I into the world.” Only as there are those who consistently engage in this work of transmutation is there any possibility for regenerating human consciousness and realigning our precious Earth with the cosmic whole.
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