by Rob Field, CSW Director
“Wake up and smell the coffee.”
Even though I usually chuckle when I hear it, I don’t like the sentiment behind this particular command. It’s usually said with a flippant and often dismissive tone. It’s as if someone’s trying to say, “You’ve got your head in a cloud, Rob. You’ve gotta shake it off and greet the world—right now.” Whether I’ve been daydreaming or trying to recover from a rough night of sleep, it feels rude when I hear someone rattle off this old cliché.
That said, I have to admit it’s never a bad thing to realize I’ve been overindulging in some kind of fantasy or other distraction, and that I need to turn my attention to more pressing things. You can make a persuasive argument that our country and our world are being invited to wake up right now. I hear it as a call to pay greater attention to urgent matters that threaten our well-being: gun violence, war, the climate crisis, international instability, the mental illness epidemic, etc. How can an individual or group start moving in a better direction?
This is where spirituality comes in. Someone (it might have been Ken Wilber, the philosopher/writer who popularized Integral Theory) once said mature spirituality can be summarized in a few simple directives: Wake Up, Grow Up, Show Up. As hard as all three might sound, their brevity helps me keep them in my heart and mind:
1) Wake Up means to shake off the numbness, the distractions, and any sense of helplessness that might hold me down. The time to awaken is always now. 2) Grow Up means to resist our culture’s general obsession with youth and juvenile naiveté. The time to grow up and become wiser people has come, because the world’s various crises require both wisdom and maturity. 3) Show Up means to stop hiding behind whatever set of excuses I might think I have to put off the work I need to do: to tend to the hurts, hopes, and needs of our world as well as my own inner/spiritual life. It is possible to do both at the same time, and not wait until some mythical time in the future when I “have my act together.” (Some of us are old enough to look back and admit we’ve never had our act perfectly together, and probably never will!)
Behind every offering at Center for Spiritual Wisdom, we carry a deep desire to Wake Up, Grow Up, and Show Up. Here’s hoping you will choose to come and share the same desire with us, as we engage the work that belongs to all of us.