Hello, and welcome to another episode of Mindfulness+. I'm your host, Thomas McConkie. Thanks so much for listening. Okay, this is a good one today people. I'm happy you're here. So I want to talk about the feeling of being incomplete, like something's missing. This is a really easy experience to have in that, you know, objectively, relatively speaking, it's true. We're all human beings in a process becoming something. We have different beliefs about what that something is. Let's say for the sake of argument, becoming some better versions of ourselves. So by definition, when we experience ourselves through time, who I am right now is an incomplete version of who I am tomorrow. So that's okay. Like Suzuki Roshi says, "You're all perfect just as you are. And you could use a little improvement." It's important that we capture the paradox. If we only hear I could use a little improvement I could use a little improvement, it's crazy making. And before long, you know, we're in the therapist chair saying we can't get a grip on our life. I want to read a quote from Teilhard today, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Teilhard was a Jesuit priest, a scientist, a paleontologist, a theologian, a mystic, quite a beautiful thinker and visionary who died in the 20th century, 1955 he died. And I'll get right to the chase and give you the words, and then I'll expand a little bit on what I want to explore in today's episode. Get comfortable. It's a little bit longer of a quote. "Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new, and yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability, and that it may take a very long time. And so I think it is with you, your ideas mature gradually. Let them grow. Let them shape themselves, without undo haste. Don't try to force them on, as though you could be today what time. That is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will, will make of you tomorrow. Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete." I'm gonna give it to you again, but just like a little context. And I'll offer some commentary on the second time through this passage. So I mentioned Teilhard. He was not just a theologian, but he was, how shall we say, his theology was not always well received by his people. So for much of his life, he was in exile and the Catholic Church didn't allow him to publish his writings. And he was also a scientist and paleontologist. Many people in the scientific community know Teilhard for his contributions to the discovery of so-called pecking man, one of the ancient skeletons that was discovered and helped us piece together a more clear picture of how human beings seem to have evolved on the planet. So when he talks about trusting the slow work of God, this is a man who is scientifically trained to think about human life on a geologic time scale. So I was in New York not too long ago. And if I missed a train, I would feel all of this anxiety like, oh, I gotta wait seven more minutes. That modern, that hellish modern condition of feeling like I never have enough time. And here's Teilhard on the other side of the spectrum saying the very substance of your being was forged in the crucible of the stars. You have literally more time than you could possibly imagine. If you could even get close to imagining how much time you have, your brain would explode. So that's Teilhard, let's do it again. He writes, "Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new, and yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability, and that it may take a very long time. And so I think it is with you, your ideas mature gradually. Let them grow. Let them shape themselves, without undo haste. Don't try to force them on, as though you could be today what time will make of you tomorrow. Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete." There's one piece of this that I want to work with today, to work with meditatively, I should say. This last phrase, "Accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete." I'll say that our modern worldview of a relationship with anxiety is that if I'm anxious, that's a problem. Anxiety is, you know, they don't call them anxiety orders. They call them anxiety disorders. So if I feel a lot of anxiety, that's a problem. And I, you know, have various tools to take care of that. And I think that's true, let me be clear here. I think there is such a thing as too much anxiety or, you know, medically problematic anxiety. But I think there's also the ordinary, everyday anxiety that our lives are filled with if we're honest with ourselves. And Teilhard's giving us some shroud advice here saying, you can accept that anxiety, the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete. In fact, the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspension and incomplete is built into your human life. So take that in for a moment. This is radical permission. It's a wisdom teaching and a pointing out instruction that says that anxiety that you think is problematic, that anxiety, it just means you're alive. The anxiety isn't a problem. It's evidence that you are in suspense and incomplete because of course you're in suspense and incomplete because you are involved in an infinite process of becoming, well, you fill in the blank, whatever it is you believe you're becoming. This is a sweet teaching to me and it reminds me, so I had a really dear guest on the show this season, David Timson. I think it was Lessons from a Healer in episode three. There was a time I was in great anxiety, held in suspense and incompletion. I was 20 years old. I had fled to China for personal reasons. I think I talk about that somewhere else on the show, not to get into it. my sob story. But I felt very much alone and even abandoned in China. I felt exiled. See, here I go getting into my story. Okay, discipline yourself. I was as lonely as I'd ever been. I had profound anxiety. I felt totally incomplete and unmoored. And I remember, so David, he was a mentor. He was a teacher to me at that time. And you know, like you do, you bring your pain and your confusion to your teacher. And I remember, so here's the scene. I'm 20 years old. I'm just this boy. And I'm freezing and I'm in the hinterland of China and just like chilled down to the bone one winter. And I went, I think six weeks at one point without talking to anybody. It was just like I was out there, but I'm talking to David so at some point, you know, I broke silence and I'm talking to him. And he just said, like he knew it when he said it to me. He said, "You are developing a powerful base of service." And that made exactly zero sense to me when he said it. He could see something that I couldn't. To me, I was just this lost boy in the world who had failed to become a man, had missed his right of passage in his home culture, had fled to China to take refuge. And I was just lost and just lost somewhere in the hills there. And I had no idea what I was doing there and I had no idea where my life was going. And David said, "You're building a powerful base of service." And that same wisdom that we hear from Teilhard, it was David in his own unique wisdom saying accept this anxiety, accept this anxiety and the sense of being held in suspense and of being incomplete. And I look back on that, this was over 20 years ago. And I look back at what I was doing at that time. And I was studying Chinese and I was studying Buddhism and I was healing. I was getting better. And here I am, 20 years later, you know, telling you the story over a podcast because I very much want you to have that same wisdom I was given. So to the extent that this message right now in this moment is a service, and I hope it is, David was right. The anxiety of that moment, the feeling of being incomplete wasn't the problem. It wasn't that I had to hurry ahead. What does Teilhard say about it? You know, this idea, like let your ideas mature gradually. Let your life grow and develop gradually. Let your life shape itself without undue haste. It's this wisdom that exactly how you are feeling right now, it is the raw substance that God, that universe, that spirit, the intelligence that is, it is the raw substance out of which your life is shaped and grows and manifests, and out of which your life manifests as service. If we get hung up on the anxiety, which is terrible, and we get hung up on this sense of incompletion, like I need to hurry to the end. "I get impatient and I want to reach the end without delay," Teilhard says. If we fall into that trap, we miss the gem. We miss the very blessing of this anxiety. The anxiety itself, the feeling of incompletion itself is a form of completion. It is the complete expression of this moment, in this moment of our life taking shape as it does in its own intelligence. I don't know how much finer a point I can put on it than that. But I can say from very direct experience, not knowing you personally, you listening to me talking right now, but I do know you personally. I know you're like me and I know like me, you feel anxiety and you feel that you're in suspense and you feel that you're incomplete. And I can tell you that that anxiety is the very substance of your own completion. That you too, in this moment in your life, are forming a powerful base of service. Who you will serve and how you will serve them and how your work, your process right now will transform countless beings. You can't imagine, but it's so, this is true. And you can decide if you believe that that's true, but it's true to me. So we'll pause there and we'll move into a little practice. I invite you to go really, really slow. So slow that it's imperceptible that there's any movement, that there's any growth. You're going so slow that you doubt, sincerely doubt that anything's happening at all. Notice what's present. If there's any sense of impatience, wanting to get to the end without delay, maybe bring more fully to awareness your favorite fantasies about how one day, your ship will come in and it will all be well. I'll be enlightened. I'll be saved. I'll be rich. I'll be famous. I'll be a rich, famous, saved, enlightened person. Whatever your favorite fantasies, not to poke holes in them. Those have their place. But to actually just be honest about the ways we grow impatient with the slow work of God. This process of becoming, that happens not just in seconds and minutes and hours, but in millennia, in eons measured over the tens of millions of years. Just like that. Going slowly, trusting this slow work. Accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete. Typically we feel anxious and in suspense and create a fantasy around one day, I won't feel anxiety. One day, I won't feel incomplete. But instead, I want you to just enter even more deeply into the anxiety, into the confusion, whatever remains unknown in your life. You don't know where you are. You don't know what you're doing. You don't know who you're becoming And to relate to exactly this feeling, this experience and this process as intelligence itself, it's not a mistake. You don't feel incomplete cause you took a wrong turn and you need to hurry up and get complete. You feel incomplete because this is the nature of things. This is how creation creates through you. It's this tension, this anxiety, this sense of incompletion that moves from fullness to fullness. And suddenly, what seemed to be in the way reveals itself as the way. These same words that rippled across the ocean to me so long ago, they now ripple to you right now. Exactly right now. You're forming a powerful base of service, a way in which you will offer your unique, most authentic gifts to humanity. The way might feel completely hidden to you. And that hiddenness might create all sorts of anxiety. And that anxiety is the very heat and friction of creation. It's okay. It's profoundly okay. As you go deeper in this moment in this work, if you have any sense that you're finally okay, I'm getting somewhere, I'm making progress. Let go of that. Get nowhere, no progress, no path. Let yourself really let go. If you feel like you're making progress, you're going way too fast. Go even slower. Getting nowhere, doing nothing. This is deep trust. That was a good one. Thank you, David. Thank you, David Timson. Thank you Teilhard. Thank you all, all of our teachers, all the wisdom that supports us and expresses through us. I'm just right in the slow work with you all right now. It's such a good reminder. Yeah, so enjoy the rest of these holidays. Go slowly. And if you're going slowly, go even slower. And I'll look forward to seeing you next week here at Mindfulness+.
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