The Struggle to Awaken to a Larger Life

The carnage of a Trump Presidency, the division and chaos and twisting of the truth, have brought us to a point of deep introspection, forcing all of us, even against our will, to confront the question of who we really are, both as individuals and as a nation.

It seems clear that we are going to have to seek out and find new avenues of being, or we are going to continue plummeting down dark tunnels toward disastrous consequences. There is no going back, and the old ways no longer work.

The United States, as well as the world, has been experimenting with a reversion to isolationism, and a retreat into the self. Brexit, and a cutting off of relationships; and Trumpism, with its severing of ties with any but an inner circle of loyal friends, has led, finally, to its logical conclusion: economic and social chaos, and a vicious, deadly pandemic of epic proportions.

Yes, the virus, the pandemic, also.

Because Life, in the largest sense, will not support a withdrawal into the self. Life is always straining beyond the self, to the whole, to the individual awakening within to the vast web of ties with others, to compassion as broad as the universe itself, beyond discrimination, beyond borders, beyond names and identities, to a realization and actualization of identity with everyone and everything, compassion for one’s own life and the life of the universe itself, as one and the same person, indistinguishable.

To go against this tide, to retreat into the self, personally or as a nation, is to extol and encourage greed and self-centeredness, and the results come, as they do now, in blatant retribution, of a virus, of destruction, of loss and hunger and deprivation.

Greed breeds pestilence. Discrimination breeds pestilence. Hatred and violence breed a deadly virus ravaging our lives.

The pressing need is to awaken to a larger life, encompassing the universe itself, and this can only take place within the life of the individual. Change the social, economic, and political structures all you want, nothing will resolve itself until each person, one by one, two by two, transform themselves from within.

How is this to occur? We need a new vision of life, a new philosophy, a new religion to point the way – a religion anchored upon a belief in the profound potential of life residing within each person’s life; a religion beyond all borders, beyond race and ethnicity and nationality and gender and religious identity, that has the power to recognize and unleash the boundless power of Life itself, oriented not towards the self and egoism, but towards others, towards all of Life, towards humanity, centered upon the quest for the happiness of each and every member of the human race.

New winds are blowing – blowing away all the dead leaves of an immense past, making way for a totally new chapter in humanity’s history, opening also boundless new avenues of being for the individual, for dreams that resonate and are attuned to this reaching of Life for its truest and fullest expression and potential.

America, with all its troubles and disillusion and division and chaos, is where this new world will now unfold, spreading to the rest of the globe a new expansion of the spirit, new dreams, new paths of growth and celebration.

The Buddha is coming to America.
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James Hilgendorf is the author of eleven non-fiction books, his latest being “Capricorn & Cancer”, a story of love and marriage, life and death, and the struggle for America’s dream amid the pandemic.

In their 50th year of marriage, both the author and his wife, Elizabeth, waged an ongoing battle against Elizabeth’s pancreatic cancer and stroke.

Meanwhile, America itself was waging a war of its own – political, economic, and social division and a devastating viral attack – that tore apart the fabric of our nation, threatening the end of our national identity.

Who are we? Where are we headed?

Life and death, moving about each other, searching for answers and a way forward.

A time of deep transformation.

To purchase a copy of “Capricorn & Cancer”, in paperback or e-book format, visit your favorite online bookseller.

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