In The Presence of Good Company
“A friend … awakens your life in order to free the wild possibilities within you.”
~ John O’Donohue in Anam Cara ~
In the final analysis, the real “Nitty-Gritty” of life and our spiritual journey is all about relationships. That of course is a multi-level affair. Consider these relational dimensions, for example:
- Our family and friends,
- The world and society —increasingly challenging given continued growth of pluralism in our communities and globalism in general,
- Ourselves — and our ever-evolving and ever-morphing identity and,
- Ultimately, with Spirit — especially the more willing we become to transcend the dominance of prevalence of a materialistic-scientific-consumerist worldview which tends to distract if not envelop us.
In the midst of this, sometimes it is really refreshing and helpful to have a look into a longterm, loving relationship. We recently found that opportunity by viewing the DVD movie “Dying to Know” — a documentary about Ram Dass and Timothy Leary. To quote from the back side of the DVD container:
“With footage spanning 80 years, the film invites us to ponder questions about life, drugs, consciousness and the biggest mystery in the human landscape: death.”
Yes, it does all that in an insightful way. But more importantly, it also explores the relationship between these two men over four decades. In the process, it provides insights about what a meaningful relationship can look like — with all of its highs and lows (no pun intended — remember their research on hallucinogens). Their shared commitment to the exploration of “what life is all about” caused them to keep reconnecting even as their paths diverged.
In the film, the main thread of the story line centered on Leary’s intention to die “with class”. Detected with incurable prostate cancer in 1995, Leary chose to approach the inevitable as his own case study. He “made friends with lady cancer”, suggesting that since they both occupied the same body, they’d both last longer if she went easy on him.
As maudlin as this story-line may sound, it was actually more of an upper than downer — an invitation for us to engage in an unemotional way with our own mortality. If nothing else, it demonstrated the importance of being fully engaged with life and others along the spectrum that covers our span from life to death … and whatever comes next. Clearly, Leary and others found solace in the presence and counsel of Ram Dass. Being in the presence of good company made all the difference.
[Spoiler alert — next paragraph is from the final “chapter” of the DVD.]
The film closes with a beautiful reflection by Ram Dass about Leary’s death on May 31, 1996. His philosophical “wrap” went like this:
“Go into yourself and then, if you go deep enough there is truth and that truth leads you to pick the people, the beings, with whom you’re going to spend your life…and your death. If you have identified with your soul when you’re alive, death — it’s just another moment. In ourselves it’s all there. It’s all there.
“God is awareness, so when we tune into our awareness, we close the space between the individual and God. You delve deep into the moment. One becomes love. Life and death are one. It’s ecstatic. It’s like becoming God.”
There is some provocative and powerful advice there. Go deep and connect with those who you want to be with….And then go deep with them (and yourself), to discover the real nature of love…of Spirit….of life eternal.
It seems to us this what Big Love is all about. We’re calling to each other to be in relationship — ever deepening relationship. And, we’re calling each other into the presence of the Mystery of the Universe. It’s about being in the presence of good company. It’s a matter of life and death! It’s a matter of Big Love!
Can we join together ever more closely — to open the wild possibilities in each other?
Olivia & Steve
It’s Your Turn!
Reflect on a relationship (or more) that is particularly meaningful and important to you. How are you caring for it? How is it caring for you? What might you do — right here and now — to make it even better?
If you’re willing, please share your responses in the comment section under this blogpost as it appears on the Big Love Community Facebook page.
Big Love News:
Update on Big Love Gatherings: We believe we’ve identified some alternative venues that meet our needs. And, we’re also reconsidering a different approach to building the Big Love Community. A question for you: What are the characteristics of a “community of practice of Big Love” that you’d find most appealing? Please share your ideas with us….. Our intention and goal is to further the concept of “being in the presence of good company”. Your guidance would be helpful!
If there are topics you’d like us to address, please send us an email from our “Contact Us” web page.