12 Spiritual Attitudes
to Embrace the "Giant Wound" in the Naked Now

1. Loving Presence to the "Giant Wound" is the one thing necessary

Knowledge is the gathering of information. It involves "having the facts straight." This is beneficial to have. But all the information in the world does not of itself accumulate into wisdom. I suggest that wisdom is precisely the freedom to be present. Wise people always know how to be present, but it is much more than that. Presence is wisdom! People who are fully present know how to see fully, rightly and truthfully. Presence is the one thing necessary, and in many ways, the hardest thing of all. Just try to keep your heart open, your mind without division or resistance, and your body not somewhere else. Presence is the practical, daily task of all mature religion and all spiritual disciplines (p. 59-60).

 2. A "Yes" of basic acceptance: leaving the field of the "Giant Wound" open

The great teachers are saying that you cannot start seeing or understanding anything if you start with "No." You have to start with a "Yes" of basic acceptance, which means not too quickly labeling, analyzing, or categorizing things in or out, good or bad. You have to leave the field open (...).  Spiritual teachers want you to live by positive action, open field, and conscious understanding, and not by resistance, knee-jerk reactions, or defensiveness. This is not easy: it often takes a lifetime of work and honest self-observation to stop judging or starting with "no." (...) Once you have learned to say a fundamental yes, later no's can be helpful and even necessary: without them, you have no protected boundaries or identity (p. 50-52).

3. A different "software" to process the "Giant Wound"

All saying must be balanced by unsaying, and knowing must be humbled by unknowing. Without this balance, religion invariably becomes arrogant, exclusionary, and even violent. All light must be informed by darkness, and all success by suffering (...) The early but learned pattern of dualistic thinking can get us only so far; so all religions at the more mature levels have discovered another “software” for processing the really big questions, like death, love, infinity, suffering, and God. Many of us call this access “contemplation.” It is a non-dualistic way of seeing the moment. Originally, the word was simply “prayer.” It is living in the naked now, the “sacrament of the present moment,” that will teach us how to actually experience our experiences, whether good, bad, or ugly, and how to let them transform us. Words by themselves invariably divide the moment; pure presence lets it be what it is, as it is. When you can be present, you will know the Real Presence. I promise you this is true. And it is almost that simple (p. 11-12).

4. Nondual thinking teaches you how to embrace the "Giant Wound"

Nondual thinking is a way of seeing that refuses to eliminate the negative, the problematic, the threatening parts of everything (...) Nondual thinking does not divide the field of the naked now, nor does it eliminate the problematic, but receives it all. This demands some degree of real detachment from yourself (...) Non-polarity thinking (if you prefer that phrase) teaches you how to hold creative tensions, how to live with paradox and contradictions, how not to run from mystery, and therefore how to actually practice what all religions teach necessary: compassion, mercy, loving kindness, patience, forgiveness, and humility. It allows you to live in the naked now and to resist the pulls toward any shameful past or any idyllic future. One wonders if these virtues are even possible in any other way (p. 131-132). 

5. Processing the "Giant Wound" through non resistance

What you resist persists, but now in a disguised form, and inside of you. Only then can I begin to understand what Jesus probably meant by "resist not evil" (Matthew 5:39). My dualistic mind thought it utterly irresponsible on his part to suggest this, but now I can see that Jesus was a psychological genius (...) You need a new motherboard, changing the actual hardware that processes your experiences. It is not merely a change of morals, group affiliation, or belief systems, but a change at the very heart of the way that you receive, hear, and pass on your own experience (...) The dualistic mind gives us sanity and safety, and that is good enough. But to address our religious and social problems in any creative or finally helpful way, we also need something more, something bigger, and something much better. We need "the mind of Christ" (p. 132-133).

6. Holding and "suffering" the "Giant Wound" instead of passing it on or projecting it elsewhere

Dualistic people use knowledge, even religious knowledge, for the purposes of ego enhancement, shaming, and the control of others and themselves, for it works very well in that way. Nondual people use knowledge for the transformation of persons and structures, but most especially to change themselves and to see reality with a new eye and heart. They hold and "suffer" the conflicts of life instead of passing them on or projecting them elsewhere. They do not get rid of life's pain until they learn its necessary lessons. Such a holding tank that agrees to hold it all, eliminating nothing, is what I mean by living in the naked now and being present outside the mind. (p. 114-115)

7. Forgiving the "Giant Wound" break us through to nondual consciousness

The struggle to forgive reality for being exactly what it is right now often breaks us through to nondual consciousness. We have to overcome the rational domination of ego and reason to forgive a deep hurt or memory. As Zechariah says in his beautiful canticle, "You will know salvation through the mystery of forgiveness" (Luke 2:77) (p. 106).

8. Allowing the Divine Gaze to invade and heal the unconscious "Giant Wound" within

Western culture has tended to be an extroverted culture and a "can-do" culture. Prayer too easily became an attempt to change God and aggrandize ourselves instead of what it was meant to be, an interior practice to change the one who is praying, which will always happen if we stand calmly before this uncanny and utterly safe presence, allowing the Divine Gaze to invade and heal our unconscious, the place where 95 percent of our motivations and reactions come from. All we can really do is return the gaze. Then, as Meister Eckhart so perfectly said, "the eye with which we look back at God will be the same eye that first looked at us." We just complete the circuit! (p. 74)

9. Transformed "Giant Wound" transform "Giant Wound"

I know how "safe" and energized I feel when I am sharing even my most offbeat ideas with truly holy or loving people, or good therapists. Perhaps you know this feeling as well. You know they will understand what you are searching to say. Among antagonistic, insecure, or dualistic people, you always feel unsafe (...) My assumption would be that human beings attract other human begins to the same level of awareness, just by being, as St. Irenaeus put it, "fully alive." This inherent attraction, and not the self-promotion of my ideas versus your ideas, is how we must "fish" inside of religion (...) It comes down to this: transformed people transform people (p. 86)

10. God is everywhere and always and scandalously found even in the "Giant Wound"

"The Spirit blows where it wills. You can hear and see it by its effects, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes" (Jn 3:8) (...) For some reason, we forget that every time God forgives or shows mercy, God is breaking God's own rules, being inconsistent and rather non-dualistic. Once you have known grace, your tit-for-tat universe is forever undone: God is everywhere and always and scandalously found even in the failure of sin (p. 77).

11. Allowing the Big Self to transform the "Giant Wound"

Without prayer, the best you can do is know by comparison, calculation, and from the limited viewpoint of "you." Prayer, as very traditionally understood, knows reality in a totally different way (...) It offers itself "nakedly" to the now, so that your inner and aroused lover can meet the Lover. Now you surely see why you have to allow some major surgery in your own heart, mind, and eyes to even pray at all (see Matthew 5: 23-26). Prayer is about changing you, not about changing God. Most simply put, as we've seen, prayer is something that happens to you (Romans 8: 26-27), much more than anything you privately do. It is allowing the Big Self more than an assertion of the small self (p. 102).

12. Healing the "Giant Wound" as we acknowledge our real identity "in God"

Christianity believes that God and humanity can coexist in the same place! (...) With dualistic minds it is always one or the other, it can never be both. The result is that we still think of ourselves as mere humans trying desperately to become "spiritual," when the Christian revelation was precisely that you are already spiritual ("in God"), and your difficult but necessary task is to learn how to become human. Jesus came to model the full integration for us (see Corinthians 15: 47-49) and, in effect, told us that divinity looked just like him, while he looked ordinarily human to everybody! It is in our humanity that we are still so wounded, so needy, so unloving, so self-hating, and so in need of enlightenment. We seem to have spawned centuries of people trying to be spiritual and religious, whereas our record on basic humanness is rather pitiful (p. 69).