Life As Spiritual Theater
“The divine passes from the formless to form, and as human beings we are both spectators and participants in this spiritual theater called life.” — Syd Banks, The Missing Link (page 6)
“It is my belief that life is a cosmic stage. To enable us to play our part in this universal drama, we were given the three special gifts I just mentioned [Mind, Thought and Consciousness]. But keep in mind, these gifts are completely neutral. It is what you as the thinker do with them that is important.” – Syd Banks, The Enlightened Gardener (page 39)
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Stumbling out of a warm, comfortable bed this morning, hair tousled, black rose-dotted nightgown flowing and wearing my oh-so-perfect orange crocs, “life as spiritual theater” was the last thing I was thinking about as I made my cherished huge mug of Gevalia coffee. The flow of thoughts through my mind was pretty ordinary, “Oh, Bill has already fed the kitty. Wonder how the news media is talking about yesterday’s election. Did Stacy Abrams win or lose? Gotta pack today for my trip to West Virginia tomorrow. Birthday dinner tonight. Oh, it will be so sweet to be with my family to celebrate my 65th.” Yawn. “Need to put coffee on the grocery list. Drat, just spilled the coffee. Mmmmm…I love these softly-lit Autumn desert mornings; it’s cool enough to slip on my favorite fuzzy purple robe. Yay!”
Totally a participant in the spiritual theater life, with a dance of fleeting feeling moving through my body as thoughts flow…calmness, curiosity, interest, love, annoyance, gratitude. Seamlessly unaware that the principles of Mind, Thought and Consciousness are moving me through this act in my life called “now.”
Easing into the welcoming embrace of my chocolate brown recliner, I click on the remote and “Morning Joe” lights up my 60-inch TV screen. I listen with interest to yesterday’s election results. One of the commentators is blasting the current administration’s rhetoric. Once again, a participant in the spiritual theater of life, my thoughts flow: “That’s awful. Wish there had been more of a blue wave. We’ve got to stop all the divisiveness. How could people vote for someone with such views? Wish I had more than just one vote.” And with the thoughts, a flow of feeling: anger, hopelessness, dismay and fear. For a moment, seamlessly unaware, once again, that the principles of Mind, Thought and Consciousness are moving me through the act in my life that is “now.”
Suddenly, a gift: I notice my feelings. I fully experience the tension in my stomach, the quickening in my heart rate, the slight clench in my jaw that comes with uneasy feelings. This place of dis-ease isn’t where I want to live; I shift to the position of spectator in the Spiritual Theater of Life. This has become more natural for me. There is a softening inside, an awareness of a different level of feeling – I am comforted. I am looking at the TV screen through the eyes of more love and understanding, with more presence. The flow of thought changes: “Some of the commentators look so tired. They’ve had a long evening. It is so easy to get frightened by thinking about what is happening. People are doing the best they know to navigate life. Look at how many women have become politically engaged and got elected. That is so cool. Some beautiful things are happening as we move through this time in history. I’m here to experience it. What a gift!”
This shift from participating in life in a personal way to spectating life impersonally may seem unimportant. But it’s not. It’s both ordinary and extraordinary. It’s happening inside of us all the time, mostly unnoticed. But as we wake up to it, as we SEE it, we can go with it. Our spiritual theater becomes more positive, optimistic, engaged and alive with greater contentment, beauty, gratitude, compassion and, always, more love, love, love. This is natural to us.
I am so much less self-judgmental and less seduced these days about those moments when my “now” becomes a creation of “lines” and “acts” that are dramatic, traumatic and sometimes down-right silly in their comedic self-righteousness and judgment. Those are hiccups, not disasters, because I KNOW I have the power of recovery, infinite second chances to see deeper, within me, readily and easily accessible, 24/7. How do I know? Because I’ve SEEN the shift happen time and time again, within. As the “Power of Myth” author Joseph Campbell once said, “I don’t have to have faith. I have experience.”
Scores of years ago, Syd Banks, a humble, ordinary man, a welder by trade with a 9th-grade education, was enlightened and saw deeply that Life IS Spiritual Theater. He saw that we all possessed the stagecraft needed, the three special gifts behind life – Mind, Thought and Consciousness – to enjoy our plays with more ease, grace, happiness and with a depth of feeling beyond all understanding. He handed us the keys, the logic, to moving with more grace through life. There is nothing to practice, nothing to do, no technique to follow. Just SEEING what is. And that is enough and everything.