Sacred Hospitality

On October 25th, the World Social Initiative Forum (WSIF) launched the Leadership in Transformation (LiT) Forums, an online program investigating Leaderful Practices for Societal Metamorphosis. The following text is taken from Orland Bishop’s opening invocation entitled ‹Sacred Hospitality›.


One thing is necessary here in this hard world
of homeless and outcast people.
Taking residence in yourself.
Walk into the darkness
And clean the soot from the lamp
so that people on the road
can glimpse a light
in your inhabited eyes.

Hans Børli

Willingness

I am inspired by this theme of what gives our Will willingness. Where do we become connected in a way that allows our Will to engage more deeply with freedom? And what defines the freedom that we pursue? How are we able to dedicate our collective aspirations towards a society that is just, inclusive, and reflective of a higher purpose? These are the questions I took up in preparation for our theme today.

Human beings must be where we must be – and when – to keep certain divinely sacred appointments. The planet’s energy gets elevated when we are in the sacred hospitality of our mutual futures. There’s something I take to heart – that we are never far from the truth. As human beings, we carry the macrocosm in us. We carry a truthful reality, regardless of where and when we are, in this oneness of spirit. But how do we know that? What gives us the experience that we are connected, if we don’t pursue this inner truth? We feel only our own limitations. We feel separated. But there is one area in consciousness, that when we go there, we know we are part of something greater – that is the Self, the real Self.

Throughout human history, cultures and traditions understood that a human being must become a knower of the Self. It has always been the critical hallmark to how we are initiated and how our development is oriented – towards self-knowing. This is different than self-interest. Self-knowing was not self-interest. Self-knowing is the truth that allows us to participate in reality as it becomes reality and share in the vital energy of a planetary consciousness. We’ve lost that. And we are now trying to find a way to lead our own Will back to the Truth.

Here, leadership is not for other people, but for our misguided Will, back to its source, back to its self-knowing. This potential initiation of our modern age is to become self-conscious, self-guided initiates of our Will and the destiny of this planet.  This is of the highest prerogative. This calling is not just from other people – that we have to participate in some form of enterprise, whether it’s democracy or capital or something else – but the calling is to be able to participate in our own Will.

Pedagogy

I’ll outline a couple of things about human development. The Will is a super sensible reality in and of itself. Our Will is not the intellect wanting to do something great. The Will begins in the human being as pure observation.  Like the child whose attention incarnates that super sensible consciousness into the sense body which has been prepared for life. The child comes into the world to become human, and the child develops the Will to be human by observing other human beings. We inherit the world from other human beings. We inherit our bodies from other human beings. We inherit our cultures from other human beings. We don’t inherit our Will. The Will is given to other human beings to guide it until I can guide it myself. And so the child follows the guidance of others.

There’s a leadership in that, a pedagogy in how we represent the human reality to a child. And just imagine the truthfulness of this child’s attention to us saying, «I behold you as light, as love, as life.» And how truthful are we in what we display to a child, in the archetypal expression of being? The first limitation begins in this most intimate relationship. Can we live up to the devotion that a child gives, the reverence that a child is to a human adult? Observing if light, life and love is reaching the very heart and inspiring that child’s willingness to be the same. So the Waldorf teachers among us know how we choose to develop that, but it’s also true for the physician. It’s also true for the artist. It’s also true for the neighbor, the friend. What do we give each other? We give what inspires the Will of the Other. So sacred hospitality invokes a memory in the deep, deep, deep self-awareness, that our body was prepared to host the soul spirit. It’s a sacred intention. My body is hosting my Will, to be able to bring into this world all manner of futures. And between two or more, those futures are possible. They’re also probable. And they could be very real if we host each other’s creativity and intentionality of being, as if the sun, the moon, the stars and all the planets depend on that.

Now, this is not an everyday conversation in our world. Most everyday conversation in our world about leadership is about who will be in charge of the vast resources of this planet and the human populations of this planet. People want our Will, all day, every day, for something to do with their self-interest. And if people don’t give it up for financial gain, it’s taken and enslaved. There are still over 80 million slaves in our world today. Consciously enslaved to produce what we buy and sell every day. Where is the leadership in that experience?

Light wants to get into our Will – light, which has to do with the superconscious, supersensible powers of other beings whose wisdom could replenish not only our Will, but replenish what we have done to this planet. And the only way for their light to become manifest is for our sense perception to take it up. But we have not been accustomed to taking up light for a long time in the various pedagogies of our cultures, because it sometimes goes against the aims of self-interest. Those lights may want us to take on more sacrifices than we are willing to, and be more generous with what we have than we are willing to, or be more creative. And so this limitation has to do with self-healing – that I deserve more for myself. More of what? I don’t know, but it’s the dominant expression in the culture, that I don’t have enough to be me.

So I’ve taken a step to look at this Philosophy of Freedom – a philosophy that is so truthful at the youngest age of our lives. A philosophy without any content. It is just pure attention. The self-guided Will of a being whose love for becoming human puts us in the most vulnerable space and time in life, as a child to say, «Let there be, out of this pure awareness, all faculties for consciousness.» There’s a philosophy that was born with the human being, that develops the human being to be open to becoming human, by preparing that being to speak any language, to love anyone, to inherit any culture. What willingness we used to have.

I wanted to begin with reverence for this way of life that we all came through, not very long ago. We didn’t lose this a thousand, or 20,000 years ago. We lost this just a few decades ago. This primal intuition was with each of us only a short while ago. And so this is why I’m very hopeful, that with some degree of effort, we can look at our own biography and come back to the light. It doesn’t require a change in any philosophy in the world, or any economic system in the world to return to the life that we brought with us. This is sacred hospitality. Can I bring my biography up to the level of transparent intervention and disrupt my habit life? The habit life that has learned to want more matter and not more spirit, to want more time as future and not to review the future that is already hidden in us?

Seership

What does it mean to host another human being and ask, «What do you need from me in order to return to the very heart of your innermost self?» That question doesn’t cost anything other than companionship and time.

This kind of pedagogy enhances our appreciation for what time really is. It inspires the Will to do two things: to take up more of the World, and to take up more of the Self. Like the poem that we started this Forum with – to inhabit one’s eyes, to know that I’m seeing you, and agreeing that, if we see each other, we owe each other a certain level of reverence. This is leadership for the future. Nothing will change if I don’t restore this fundamental capacity of divine seership.

We lost this seership only a short while ago. It came into the world with us. And there is enough substance in our memory to retrace the steps and return to this natural clairvoyance.

Now, interestingly, as we study back our life energy, we’re not going back in time in the chronological sense, we are actually going into higher states of conscience.  This initiation opens up a path of personal responsibility.  Responsibility for the social significance of what we can share.  It also gives us access to the higher principles we refer to as prophecy. It brings us into seeing the world as the archetypal beings whose wisdom shapes creative forces on the highest level. We gain access to their wisdom of potentiality in ourselves and around us. They present us with an ecology, to be able to relate to the creative potential of our own consciousness.

Looking back at our lives, we look back into the creative world, and then we take up our Will, imbued with certain intelligences.

Now this might go against many paradigms of what knowledge has become. But there’s one wisdom hidden in this: the wisdom of love. If we are to look at our lives, we begin to understand a quality of insight around forgiveness. We realize that what we’re looking at, what we call our lives, contains many transgressions. I’ll take it a little bit slow here. This is really important.

The human being of our time sees the conflicts in our life. This is really where many people don’t want to go – into the tension and contradiction, that I intended to do good, but didn’t. Something kept me from doing good. I realized I was not strong enough to resist the temptation and fell into the choices I made. This is probably the most critical aspect where we must dedicate some freedom. The freedom to forgive ourselves, our Will, from choosing the light. It’s all communion, really. To forgive ourselves is our communion. To restore this sacredness to self observation, because we did not know who we were to be. We  inherited so much of what we think of ourselves. And because we were willing to be, we took all kinds of messages in and lived them out. But self-reflection is a capacity of the angelic world. Every time we reflect on ourselves, we’re using the wisdom of the angelic world. And so I’m saying we are in the microcosm when we are giving the Will back to itself. No human being is without the cosmic Will when we are transforming ourselves. It’s actually freedom we’re giving ourselves. To take up interest in redeeming the free forces in our Will and the creativity in our imaginations.

The word sacred here means to me, Self. Or – an integrity, to participate in the higher shared purpose of all realities, whether we share it with human beings, with plants, with animals, with the higher world beings. The self is integral to all realities. And here we assert the goal for seership, to be able to see into the workings of this mystery. Attention to this reflective capacity lifts the veil. Things might actually get more difficult than it was before, when lift the veil to become seers of the real world. Emphasizing ‹real› because now we can participate in it, with enough Self-knowledge – not self-interest – and bear the responsibility to be companions to others for a more just society in the world. The challenge of our economies and societies has to do with the withholding of the real self and the giving of other substances and things that we think will make our relationships better. «Well, I’ll give you another position in leadership. Well, I’ll give you more pay. I’ll give you some other reward. But I’ll withhold myself from you.» For the most part, this is our world – lack of availability of a host and lack of intimacy between people who share our society. We have a lot to trade on Wall Street and stock exchanges. We do a lot of business every day but how often do we inhabit this inner space for what we know are truly needed futures?   But the hope is that the time has come for a kind of justice. Not the courts, but the Self that keeps showing up in our lives – the Self that wants to be seen and acknowledged. There’s no justice more complete than becoming a Self. A human Self, bearing the world in consciousness.

And so the freedoms that we develop have to do with individual competency for a certain kind of divination, the responsibility to keep asking for clarification of purpose. When we’re doing anything, are we doing it to serve the good?  This may not always appear to serve me because the good may want to serve someone else first. Again, goodness is not for my self-interest. Goodness wants the human being’s Will, to guide it towards a reality where something could be fulfilled. And so one can say Good is like an energy field within the ecology of nature and within the ecology of human consciousness, working to create substantive experiences that progresses the world. It’s not something we take personal account of and say, I’ve done a lot of good. No, we were fortunate if Good has done something with our Will. This is not easy to do – Good, or to have Good be done unto us. We have to give Will the freedom for goodness to happen, we have to let it be open and the world comes in. So does the Truth. It’s like Beauty. You behold it. It shows up and you create a sensitivity in consciousness to witness it. But you don’t rearrange your Beauty. We don’t say I prefer… another pattern. We stand back and we find the creativity to say, «Ah, wow.» That gesture is creativity. We know how to become free, to become aware of something that is beautiful. Truth and goodness require the same creativity to find the artistic, imaginative impulse to move things out of the way so that intuition might come in.

Hospitality

Leadership now is not to put someone else on some particular path. We are responsible for bringing these faculties that were sacred at one time back into alignment in service of a greater good. Justice is sacred hospitality towards ourselves and each other in this rhythm every day, so that we host what the planet will be attracting in its own evolution.

I’m glad there are people with profound knowledge that will help guide this course along the way. It’s more like a discourse, a space for us to inquire. What is working on us? What is revealing to me my own transgression with my Will? What kind of knowledge allows me to be so honest that before I correct someone else, I try to correct my own Thinking, Feeling and Will? To be able to say to someone, «Remind me to be my best self.» We are reminded to be our best self, because their form inspires reverence. «I cannot approach this person without my full attention.»

I’m inviting into this discourse the discernment that choices we have now could be much easier if we understand the freedom that comes with deep self-reflection and the acceptance of the super-sensible realm – what we call the super-conscious. This doesn’t require much content or information, but rather a creative energy that allows me to adjust my Will. When I’m in the super-conscious stream of awareness, I incarnate more Will. And it helps me to love what I do in the world as deeds. I love the deed before I do it. I love what my Will will fulfill, because I’m able to see it, to witness it, to interact with it in the moral heart center of my being. It’s confirmed that I’m better because I know the future. I’m healed because I know this future. So, it’s time to take the wound out of the way, which is the excuse that I could live more of this world’s time accumulating more, and at the same time withholding myself.

I invite us into the sacred hospitality of our beingness, not for any game, but for ending the transgression of self-betrayal, and the sabotage of self-care, and a misuse of divine inspiration. We do it all, and yet. And yet. And yet. And yet. Every moment brings a possibility for something true, different, real, purposeful, magical, mystical, and potentially free. We live in this dialectic struggle, and the modern human soul has a choice. Hopefully this course will inspire us to keep making those choices to find freedom for this potential and to love the world into its future. Thank you so much, my dear friends. And I hope this contributes to a most meaningful conversation between us.


Orland Bishop is offering two upcoming talks, both are free and open to the public.
January 3rd at 4pm CET,  Orland opens LiT Forum’s second semester.  Register to receive the Zoom link at LiT-Forums.
January 6th at 12pm ET, Orland offers an Epiphany talk with the Anthroposophical Society of America. Register at Anthroposophical Society in America.

Cover image Priscilla Preeze, Unsplash

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  1. I opened the article of Orland, a personal friend, to read, my first article and then you gave me the notice I could not read further when I came back to finish it. So I haven’t read it hardly at all. I understand your need for funds and this way of going about it which is interesting. but don’t appreciate that it worked this way that I couldn’t stop as necessary and then come back and complete an article. Having spent a life time of giving so much of my work away as a free gift (helping with death and dying, art, films, counseling, teaching parents etc.) I would wonder if this is the most suitable way?? with holding your writers and news for this subscription? I think you might consider if would it do better to ask for a one time sum up front in order to keep the operation solvent which people would understand rather than this monthly joust of choice?? Just a question.

  2. Thanks a lot for such an inspirational article… it really catch the essence of Philosophy of Freedom. I really look forward to read your book.

  3. I second the suggestion by Nancy Jewel Poer as to how to sustain your fine work.

    Being held hostage every month is hard on the soul.

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