Welcome to samples of The Way of Animá, an essential Animá text. These short prayerful “truisms” are given to help us deeper connect– with our authentic selves, with family and friends, with the greater community of all life and this vital living land. It is our prayer you’ll find something useful in every brief passage, whether you refer to a section that addresses a current quandary, or pick out a page and line at “random.” They are more than tools. Get familiar with them, as you would a river or a friend.
We’ve been well instructed by the Seeker’s life of bliss and pain, and yet the information recorded here is far more revelation than conclusion. We speak of it as ancient wisdom, because we know the most basic truths have been disseminated again and again over the course of human existence, translated into myriad languages and different contexts by those of our kind who knew enough to go the the Source: the natural world, and the palpable experience of magic. And to the undefinable Spirit that informs the very course of evolution, that sets the countless planets spinning around their birthing and dying suns. Generations before what we call the “great disconnect,” tribes of every race accessed this universal Source through intimate contact with the natural world around them, consciously linking to the universe by attentively connecting with a specific watershed, a certain mountain peak, or a secret darkened cave. By acknowledging and celebrating its gifts, and by giving of their selves in return.
These gifts and inisight are ours to own….. and yours to both utilize and share with others.
Service and Purpose
Service is compassion manifest as action.
To serve is to commit energy for the good of others: other persons, other lifeforms, other elements and expressions of the natural, inspirited world.
An unconscious benefit is useful. A conscious benefit is a service.
A thing cannot “serve a purpose,” unless it is aware of its gifting.
Nobility and elegance are mated in artful service.
To serve includes rendering assistance with that which benefits another— but it does not serve someone to assist them in the completion of an unhealthy or unwise effort.
All service is voluntary service.
Service is a gifting, not an occupation. One is only a servant when their intention is to serve, rather than to earn income or acknowledgment.
An unwilling or ungracious servant, is a slave.
One does not serve something by obeying its commands, but by responding to its needs.
Anyone living by a schedule, can be said to be “serving time.”
One’s “term of service” lasts until, at the very least, the satisfaction of a need. In the larger picture, of course, one’s “term of service” is eternal.
Service to humanity, and service to nature, is service to God.
Whether we know it or not, service is the one purpose that all people share.
The search for purpose, is really a search for the most meaningful ways of serving.
We are suffering not so much from a crisis of meaning, as a disconnect from purpose.
Therefore, do not ask “What do I want to do with my life?,” but rather, “What is my purpose?”
Threads of one’s purpose, can be found found in the fabric of their unfulfilled fantasies. By being intensely alive every moment— by tending to the needs and dreams of our authentic being— we are led through the portal of the self to our place and purpose.
Purpose is not the reason for our existence, but rather, the optimum use of our time, the most appropriate application of our will, and the ideal focus of our love.
Purpose is not something we can “have,” but rather, something we can either fulfill or fail.
Purpose is failed when we fail to recognize it…. and to commit to it. None fail who give it their all, and all fail who fail to try.
Purpose is a spiritual calling…. but body, place, and context are factors in our selection. It is a matter of situation and ability, as well as certain assignment.
One’s most meaningful purpose is that form and focus which best utilizes our moments, skills and gifts— in services directed by the opened, seeking heart.
Bliss, Rapture and Delight
Human kind evolved as an organ of feeling. And delight is one of the most essential of all feelings.
The root of the word “delight” is to “entice.” It entices us to forget our schedules and plans. Indulge in the moment. Revel in sensation. Give ourselves over to enjoyment and pleasure.
That which delights us does not bring us happiness, but rather, stimulates and invigorates our existing reservoirs of joy.
“Delectable” are all things we delight in.
Disruption is an important learning tool, and pleasure can be more disruptive than pain.
Delight is a useful agent of connection. One isn’t delighted “about,” but rather,“with” someone or some thing: With one’s self or situation, activity or occasion. With a favorite person, or a flavorful meal. With an idea, being, spirit or place.
Delight is a combination of excitement and joy, in excess of any ability— and beyond all desire— to contain it.
Play leads to delight, and delight is encouragement to play.
Bliss is a component of the natural human state, and a gift of the godly universe.
Bliss is not “found,” but revealed. Acknowledged. Allowed. Engaged. Embodied.
Bliss can survive next to suffering, alongside our mourning and pain… and yet it can be defeated by fear and self doubt, indifference and lack of enthusiasm.
Rhapsody is the creative expression of one’s bliss.
Bliss is a sustainable condition, ecstasy an unpredictable peak.
Ecstasy is being fiercely awake. It is a heightened state of being— of hypersensation, and conscious oneness. It contrasts not with rage or misery, but with normalcy and boredom, antipathy and insensitivity.
To be ecstatic is not to be “beside one’s self,” but to experience our larger inclusive selves. Nor is ecstasy a matter of “transport,” but rather, expansion— a broadening of compassion, consciousness and identity.
The self is our point of connection with the rest of the contiguous universe. To “go beyond” the self is to bypass this opening.
For the Seeker, rapture isn’t a goal. It’s a result.
One can be blissfully oblivious, but there is no true rapture without a component of awareness.
Rapture is rescue from inattention and disinterest.
Rapture is beyond our control. Therefore while many claim to desire it, we often do our best to avoid it.
To be enraptured, means “to be forcefully seized”— by emotions such as love, and awe. By the magical experience of Spirit. By that which is greater than us, and yet includes us.
To be rapt isn’t to be carried away, but to be delivered back to the realities surrounding us: physical, emotional, spiritual and cosmic.
In rapture we are simultaneously grasped, and lifted. Disturbed, and assured. Reimbursed, and reassigned.
The conscious Seeker is excited to face what is wrong, and elated about what is right. She exults in life, and exalts its spirit and source She is blissful by nature, not to the exclusion of suffering, but as its counterpart and balance. She is delighted with the delightful, and ecstatic at every opportunity. For the Seeker, thrills awaken. Passions sustain. And rapture rewards.
Insecurity and a Call for Heroes
Insecurity is the fear of exposure, judgment or displacement.
When we learn to recognize, love and express who we really are, we lose our fear of exposure. When we learn to recognize and embody truth, we lose our fear of judgment. And the fear of displacement vanishes, once we learn how to connect to the Whole through whatever place we’re at.
That which is secure, can be depended upon.
One way to secure something from falling is to fasten it: to attach it to something larger and more substantial, if not to the ground itself. Similarly, the most secure people are in some ways the most attached, and grounded.
The Seeker consciously secures herself to authentic self, certain truth, and inspirited Earth. To that which is assured.
The cure for insecurity is a deepened sense of self, truth, place and purpose. And a result of this deepening, is self love.
Self love is a concept, an emotion…. and a practice.
To properly love the self, one must be present with it. Consciously attend it. Acknowledge, honor and celebrate it. Nourish and reward it. We must take time to tune in to its soft-spoken needs, and take heed of its concerns.
One who loves the self, is more secure in loving other people, other life forms, and those mountains or valleys we call “home.” And one who has practiced how to love the self well, knows how to best love another person, a kindred species, or a special place.
As one becomes more conscious of their essential connectedness to the Whole, self-love expands to become love for the All.
In this way, to honor Earth and others is to respect our human selves. And to denigrate the self is to insult the Godly universe we’re each an inseparable part of.
Self worth comes only when we begin to recognize and experience our lives as truly, deeply significant. It swells proportionately with every challenge we rise to meet. It roots and strengthens with each difficult, selfless quest we prove capable of fulfilling. And it bears noble fruit, as we uncover our most meaningful purpose.
One’s worth is determined by their capacity to share, not by how much they own— not by the amount of skills they have, but by the ways in which they employ them.
New traditions and rituals are needed, that affirm and sanctify the inherent or learned gifts of the individual. Seek to create the varied opportunities whereby every “ordinary” person might excel, and thus learn to value and love their selves.
Self worth is validated by doing the right thing, no matter what the costs— and not by whether we are liked, paid or applauded.
To preserve the health and integrity of our psyches, societies, and this natural world, we must make a place in our hearts for heroes again… And discover the many fine ways of honoring everyday heroics.
Altruism is the art of selflessly doing for others. Altruism begins with self love, and manifests as heroism.
Being a hero requires more than simply surviving tragedy, oppression or calamity. Heroic means taking deliberate risks— and for the sake of something other than the narrowly defined self.
Heroes are the kids who befriend the unpopular outcast, who risk censure by reading their most sensitive poetry, who pester the teacher to deliver up more, or who refuse to go to school at all. Heroes are the adults who take care of their dying parents, and who set examples for their children by putting their bodies between their beloved family or bioregion, and whoever or whatever might try to harm them.
The most conscious heroes readily pay any price to do what they know in their heart is right for the good of the Whole. They may have given up on social acceptance, health assistance or material wealth, in order to save endangered rainforests or battered wives. Or they may give absolutely everything they have to the whole and holy land… and its timely and timeless teachings.
No matter how fast we acquire material goods, honors, titles or responsibilities, we don’t feel truly “successful” until we’ve made a choice to risk more than our incomes or reputations for a precious person, place, or ideal.
The more rare that authenticity, empathy, integrity and chivalry become in our societies, the more opportunities there are to be a hero. And the larger and more powerful the paradigm of distraction and destruction, the more imposing the dragon that we are privileged to face.
Heroes aren’t always successful… which is exactly what makes their efforts so heroic.
A hero is capable and courageous. But she or he is also polite, considerate, and concerned. With a penchant for art, gesture and flair!
Every generation is born into its own Heroic Age. Every person is born with an equal chance to distinguish themselves, through the passion of their engagement and response, and the intensity of their love.
Heroism is not about prowess, but willingness.
Heroism is the difficult and selfless giving through which we assume maximum worth… and regain the most meaningful sense of sacred human self.