By Louis Bourgeois
This series is my best attempt to bring into perspective a lifetime of study, observation, and experience. It has been my life’s work, now some 45 years since clear guidance at the age of 21 propelled me on a journey of personal development and eventual awakening.
Self realization is one term used to describe this process whereby the individual comes to know his or her role of service to Divine manifestation, or what I prefer to call the evolution of consciousness. Eckhart Tolle described eloquently in The Power of Now our relationship with the Divine, which he called “the unmanifested.” Our function, also clearly delineated in a Course in Miracles, my life’s devotion for some 25 years, is to give ourselves in service to this energetic principle.
When I was quite young, in my early search and study, I was keenly attracted to the Tao Te Ching. Taoism has always played a key role in the evolution of consciousness in my life. The symbol of the Tao is the symbol for the yin and the yang, which describes the interplay of opposites, dark and light, masculine and feminine, the timeless realm and our world of space and time. This is the foundation for what I call Conscious Living and Conscious Dying. “We shape clay into a pot, which might be ornate or quite simple. But it is the empty space within the pot which gives the pot its usefulness,” paraphrased from the Tao Te Ching.
Learning to value emptiness, learning to accept and even appreciate loss, is essential in our evolution, both as individuals and as a collective species. We tend to hold onto ideas, opinions, which can solidify into rules and laws, but always the energetic principle of the universe will bend and break anything rigid. Balance and flow define the Divine feminine which truly is leading us as we are called to birth a new earth. We have long been devoted to the Sacred masculine, manufacturing one religion or another based on this “father god.” But I can assure you that the dominant energetic principle active in our world today is feminine, and our willingness to accept and embrace this feminine divine principle will ensure our place in the unstoppable process of evolution.
So how do we learn this dance, what I would call the Art of Surrender? There are endless guidebooks to the egoic masculine, devoted to acquisition and increase, but where do we see guidance for failure, support for what might appear tragic? Conscious Dying is elemental to birthing anything new. Old forms must crumble; old ideas must be undone. The highest level of mastery in this world could be described as “walking empty.” This refers to a total undoing on karmic burden, a complete forgiveness of the past. Only in this way can we walk in the world without need, without ambition, no longer projecting our burden onto the world around us. And only then are we free to function as the creative portal through which this transcendent “unmanifested” shines. We become useful and in this we find our joy.
Because I said “yes” when the Voice for this “unmanifested” spoke to me in the quiet of the night, asking me to do something preposterous, essentially giving up any plan that I had for a happy life (marriage, career, home), the next 45 years would come to look to the world like a long series of failures. But at the soul level, this was the path of mastery.
Remember that early guidance brought me to embrace this Tao Te Ching, and key to its teaching is that any appearance, any interpretation, can easily be turned inside out and upside down. Failure becomes success and success becomes failure. So in the end, though only now in the beginning of my “tercero edad,” the delightful term in my adopted culture for old age, translating to the “third age,” I see this long string of failures as one glorious shining success. As the Native American shaman says to Kevin Costner’s character in the film Dancing With Wolves, (paraphrased)”I see that you are on the path to becoming a true human being.”
We will explore in depth this process, this path, in the coming parts of this series, my reflections on Conscious Living and Conscious Dying. And for those attracted to this philosophy of living we are currently developing a Teaching Center and an Intentional Community here outside Cuenca, Ecuador.
Your inquiries are most welcome.
Louis Bourgeois lives in Cuenca with his wife and baby. He teaches courses in Conscious Living and Conscious Dying. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org