“When I empty myself, when I forget myself for the sake of someone else, I’m instantly filled beyond what I could have ever asked for myself.” -Meggan Watterson, Mary Magdalene Revealed
Lately, symbols that designate the middle have been showing up in my reading and along my daily path. I just released my book, The Civil Graces Project, and these elements coincide with the subject of pursuing the common ground. I pay attention to signs and symbols especially when they repeatedly appear. There is a particular shape that is formed when two circles intersect to share a radius. It is called the Vesica Pisces, and from this mystical formation comes sacred geometry, trigonometry, and proportions in architecture, along with other measurements of the universe. This beautiful lens or almond shape, which literally means the “bladder of the fish,” springs up in symbols of life, both ancient and new. Once you start to look, it is visible throughout history, world religions, and spirituality. The ratios also appear in nature, astrology, and in the human body’s design. It is a powerful symbol that illustrates the union of equals–where two worlds cross over. The inner meets the outer. It is at the heart of the Civil Graces overlapping icon that is multiplied when gathered together with other hearts. This symbol forms an infinity of options.
The idea of the Vesica Pisces is a beautiful metaphor as we consider the possibilities of forming a more perfect union. One side meets the other equally, and a third way is formed in the process. The middle way or via media is created. There is space for everything. What would our world be if the emphasis shifted from the extremes and of either-or thinking? What if we instead pondered the heart of the matter and looked to what connects us? Years ago, as a young woman working in politics, I was called out for being a more centrist thinker. The individual challenged me, “Do you know what is in the middle of the road? Dead armadillos.” I remember thinking then and now that this idea that we have to accept an absolute to be effective was not only limited thinking but it was out of alignment with reality. It is why neither political extreme works for most of us.
We are shades of everything that touches our lives, which is what makes us unique. The requirement to accept all or nothing is a fearful posture that comes from the energy of lack. It comes from a place of unworthiness, control, and judgment. It assumes there is only one right answer, and it pits “us against them.” We are left with a world of domination and where it’s every person for themselves. This is not our true nature. Even as you look at the course of a day, while the sun in dichotomy rises and sets, it sends various brilliant shades of light as it traverses the sky. We are the same–we enter life and in our time each bear a special light. We expand in the course of our journey, exploring the path of wholeness with all of life. If we compress, we break down.
We have an opportunity to create a new world today. Anytime there are significant shifts and social upheavals, there is the possibility for us to consider another path. While it may seem hopeless at the moment, so many are working to find a way that works for all. One where women and men, black and white, young and old, nature and economy, masculine and feminine energies, liberal and conservatives come together to create harmony–where everyone has a place at the table. Buckminster Fuller stated, “We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims”–to build a world of “both-and.” This is an ancient call of when the two come together and become a new being. It is the way of life versus giving into destruction. We have to be willing to move with courage toward one another and give equal voice. When we demonize one side or the other, we miss out on our shared humanity. We continue to perpetuate a clash of opposites. Likewise, it is not about collapsing one side over the other.
When we come to the center with openness, we receive the gifts of joy and peace. It doesn’t mean that we will not experience the challenges of life, but we will be in a space where we will not suffer alone. When we build a culture where there is space for it all, we realize that our vulnerabilities are the portal to one another. By crossing over, our pain is lessened because we see it is shared. As the Dalai Lama stated in The Book of Joy, “not a denial of pain and suffering, but a shift in perspective–from oneself and toward others, from anguish to compassion–seeing that others are suffering as well.”
We can transform our lives and our world in this 2020 year…to authentically do the inner work and let go of what we are grasping onto. It is a moment where we can return to the flow and release our ego need to identify with our side or what we have. Each time I consider the concentration of ideas or wealth in our world, I see blood clots in our system…which is why we struggle and are not well. When the waters rise, we can sink in despair, swim to save ourselves, or build an ark for everyone. The symbols of old invite us to consider the third way. It is a return to love. Grace calls us to that magical instant where we discover abundance, and that there is more than meets the eye if we are willing to journey to the common ground.
Photo credit: Vince Moro, Chartres Cathedral, France. October 2019.