Ruthless Saints: A Sign of Life

The growing number of ruthless saints is the real proof that the world is moving in a positive direction.

Steve Roberts black ink drawing: head with wings on a unicycle

Here’s one measure of how the world is heading in a positive direction. 

Fifty years ago the epitome of the circus was Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey.  With its lion tamers, dancing bears, trick horses, performing elephants, monkeys on bikes, and seals bouncing beach balls on their noses, the implicit message was Man Over Beast.  Even the aerialists, tightrope walkers, jugglers, fire-eaters, knife-throwers and human pretzels were an example of Man Over the Beast Within.  Today, the epitome of the circus is Cirque du Soleil, whose implicit message is The Celebration of Humanity.  Indeed, Cirque just might leave a whole lot of churches in the dust when it comes to inspiring the integration of body, mind and spirit: the criteria for living as a whole person.

Here are hundreds of the planet’s most exceptional performers and everyone who gives them life, all striving to convey a vision of dignity, joy, depth, a world without limits, jubilation, playfulness, breaking the bonds of ignorance, overcoming indifference, etcetera, etcetera.  And, needing to open themselves perhaps more completely than they ever imagined possible in order to even approach pulling it off. 

Excellence at Cirque du Soleil is not a matter of taming beasts, but of bringing forth the unfathomable beauty within each person, including members of the audience. 

Although you wouldn’t necessarily know it by the barbaric choices we make everyday in the name of goodness, humankind’s evolution has been a continual, and actually relatively speedy, awakening of consciousness. 

According to a monk friend of mine, about 1500 years before Jesus, Moses preached an idea revolutionary for the time: “Don’t kill your brother.”  When Jesus came along, he advised something that was, for his time, equally radical: “Love your brother.”  Today, we’re gulping at another notion: “You are your brother;” which is to say, there’s nothing out there that isn’t part of us.  That’s a pretty big shift in just 3500 years, but such is the nature of our unfolding. 

Cirque du Soleil is an example of life on the leading edge of that unfolding.  Yet Cirque is not unique.  Many organizations are home to people I call ruthless saints. 

These are men and women engaged in a practice of growing their attunement to the unconditional love and support of the universe––and are uncompromising in assessing the extent to which their work in the world expresses that attunement.

One sign on their fridge says “No Blame.”  Another says “Everyone is Our Teacher.” 

The growing number of ruthless saints is the real proof that the world is moving in a positive direction.  And the best news is you might meet one anywhere. 

In the mirror, for instance.

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