The Lazarus Paradox
by Ida Lawrence
One of our finest challenges is to experience life consciously, with ears open to the truth, eyes open to what is, mind open to ask why, and heart open to love. And here’s the big one: if it’s in your heart, ask permission to serve the highest good.
I can also include in this the principle of non-infringement. Since everyone is in life to learn through experience, you don’t infringe on other people’s lives… you practice allowing and detachment. So let’s talk about how serving the greater good fits in with allowing and detachment.
A lot of people have trouble with this, and I do too. It seems to present a paradox.
I remember a friend saying, “I cannot believe that so many children chose to be born into such terrible circumstances in order to experience those circumstances… I just don’t buy it. Seems like a lame excuse for not caring.” She has been volunteering in her spare time for years… she cooks and serves at a food kitchen for the homeless, with no thought about karma or detachment… just doing what’s in her heart to do, and I love her for it.
So let’s get into this a little deeper by talking about one person’s life experience, so that we can get a feel for the empirical knowledge of experience.
Here’s a story of a man born into Bronx/Brooklyn poverty, life in the ghetto, family conflict, drugs and violence… and he was one of those whose spirit didn’t get swallowed up. He survived the onslaught into his teens, and got a boost from the music of the time… the Temptations, Curtis Mayfield, Bob Marley and many others who sang about life as it is, and rising above it.
He went into the martial arts at age 15 and he became a Muslim at age 18, letting the disciplines and practices lift him up. In his late twenties he escaped to California, incorporated some new age thought into his spirituality and kept learning and teaching the arts.
He built martial arts schools in three different cities, experienced some success, gained respect as a master of the arts, and he lived happily… not within system’s idea of normalcy, not free of financial stress, but with many enjoyments. This was his life… he served, and offered knowledge, insight and self-empowerment to people.
Then he began to succumb to an inherited disease. He lost his physical power, and he waited for death to release him.
One of his favorite songs… I think it was a reggae artist… spoke at a high level: we have to experience it all before we can reach Zion, was the message of the lyrics. It was a song that recognized the pure knowledge gained from life… a concept that liberates people from victim mentality.
This man couldn’t have made it if he hadn’t been helped. The artists who wrote and sang such beautiful, conscious music helped him. The teachers of Islam who were an example of clean-cut, non-violent, drug free… helped him. All of his martial arts teachers helped him and his students helped him.
So what does this say? If we are inclined to evolve, we will welcome into our lives the light and grace and empathy of others and we will offer it back out to even more ‘others’. I am saying this with oneness in mind… we are each other, we need each other, and we nourish each other in the thirst for knowledge. We are one, after all. Even more so when we give ourselves to the highest good.