Updated: Apr 2
It cannot be overstated that, in Spirit, we are all neighbors to each other. Knowing the truth of Oneness, and recognizing its nature is unity, there can be no other understanding than the knowing that we are all neighbors to each other. We bump up against each other in the grocery store, interact with each other at work, at school, at the gym, at church. We join with each other in intentional community, creating deliberate neighbors in deliberate neighborhoods, some gated. We encounter each other in traffic. Hopefully, we let each other merge, yielding our space for a moment and allowing an other to pass.
In the neighborhood of life, there is no other, only individualized, unique aspects of The One. We are all only neighbors sharing this One Perfect Life. So what kind of neighbors are we? Are we good neighbors, showing love, compassion and care for one and other, even when our neighbor’s dog poops on our lawn? Or are we that neighbor that only appreciates the ones that dress like us, pray like us, vote, live, and love like us? How about our neighborliness for the ones who don’t do all that, or don’t even sleep in the house across the street from us, but sleep in the street in front of that house, in a box, with their dog, that may occasionally poop on the lawn? Or perhaps they (the ones not like us) sleep across the world from us, in a place where we have never been, but where we have been told that the folks there are not our neighbors. They are to be feared and loathed, despised and destroyed. Are we a good neighbor to them? And if we are not, are we then being a good neighbor to Spirit itself?
If indeed we believe we are being a good neighbor, what does that actually look like? Certainly one aspect of being a good neighbor is to do good deeds for our neighbors, thus improving and enriching the livability of our neighborhood, but being a do-gooder does no lasting good if the one doing the good has no capacity to receive it. Nor is it truly Good-Doing if it is one-sided and attached to a false sense of pride, prestige and ego driven narcissism. One needs to be as good at receiving as they are at giving in order to fully enter into the flow of abundance, the rhythm of goodness, and the affirmation of Spirit in Action. Being a good receiver creates a pathway for the good to flow FROM ENDLESS SUPPLY, and it allows Spirit to reveal itself through your neighbor, for you. What if we are that neighbor that shows up for all the do-gooder stuff yet is blind to their own needs, never taking time for self-care, spiritual practice, or deep connection to life, love, family, or delight? Is that doing good? Are we receiving as well as we give? Are we allowing goodness to come to us, even as we do good things for our neighbors?
Are we as good at receiving good as we are at giving? If not, then what good are we really doing? In order to be the living demonstration of good, it is necessary for one to be both a good giver, sharing freely from abundance and overflow, as well as a good receiver, accepting with grace and gratitude all the goodness and affluence that flows to them.
The Living Demonstration of Good.
The Demonstration of Good is the manifestation of neighborliness. It is the demonstration of Love in Action. Spirit moves the world for the One who moves with Spirit, both giving and receiving joyfully, and with delight: Gratefully and with mindfulness.
Like a Good Neighbor, Spirit is Here…
Another word for Neighborhood is Community. One of the most identifiable ways of connecting to each other is through the creation of intentional communities. Intentional community takes any of a number of forms, from work, to school, to play, to the arts, politics, and, once again, church. The idea behind intentional community is inherent in the phrase: Intentional, Deliberate and with purpose, and Community, the joining together of people around common interests and or goals. When we join together in Intentional Community we deliberately set the Law in motion, collectively, to manifest some demonstration greater than our own individualized focus. In Intentional Communities, one of the ways people participate is through an accountability process. In Love-Centric Intentional Communities, where the values of Peace, Compassion, and Mindfulness are core abiding principles, this accountability might be referred to as “Calling In”. Calling In, as opposed to a “calling out”, where public shaming is the underlying paradigm, in the words of Ngoc Loan Tran; “is a practice of pulling folks back in who have strayed from us. It means extending to ourselves the reality that we will and do mess up, we stray, and there will always be a chance for us to return. Calling in as a practice of loving each other enough to allow each other to make mistakes, a practice of loving ourselves enough to know that what we’re trying to do here is a radical unlearning of everything we have been configured to believe is normal.”
A radical unlearning…
Spirit is always calling us in. We never run out of chances to return to who and what we truly are. Spirit Calls us In to remember who we really are, and to unlearn all the misconceptions rooted in our collective subconscious that seem to keep us trapped in the hamster wheel of resentment, anger, hurt and despair. When we’ve said yes to Spiritual Growth/transformation and being in alignment with our divine nature, we also say yes to all the ways Spirit aka Life shows up to help us do that. One of those ways can be calling in.
As early as 1956, Dr. King spoke of The Beloved Community, perhaps the most specific of ways to create intentional community, he said; “the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the Beloved Community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opponents into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of people.”
Since I choose to be about the business of miracles, and to be about Love in Action, Transforming Lives and Transforming Communities, it’s abundantly clear to me that creating Intentional Community, specifically around the principles of Beloved Community, means Calling In: By Calling In (from ourselves or from each other) we allow the barriers in our beliefs that keep us from realizing heaven on earth to be forever removed.
-Tami Simon, from Sounds True, : “And so it is that we start wherever we are. Whether you are having the best New Year ever or you are struggling right now, the essence of spiritual life, in my experience, is to always begin again—again and again—from wherever we find ourselves.
Each new moment is a chance to open our hearts and to turn an affectionate gaze on ourselves, others, and our surroundings. Each new moment is a chance to say something true and vulnerable and meet someone in a deeper way. Each new moment is a chance to start again and take some type of action that feels loving and life-giving”.
Each new moment is a chance to open our hearts…How glorious and liberating is it to know that? Opening our hearts is the gateway to making true and lasting connections with each other, building heart centered relationships around the shared values of kindness, compassion, mindfulness and presence.
Reverend Amani likes to remind us: Connection and unifying with Life is where the power of Love In Action comes from.
Ashe’, Aho. Y Asi Es, Amen, And So It Is !
Paul Hunt Cuffee