Skyline, Fall - 2011

By Diane Pendola

Balance Between Dark and Light

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September 23 is the date of this year's fall equinox, a moment of balance between dark and light. These first days of fall are a good time to sense this balance within ourselves, to re-discover the fulcrum at the center of our lives, the reconciling force between inner and outer polarities. As a nation we are 12 days past the ten year anniversary of 911. Personally I am nearly a month past the one year death anniversary of my dear teacher, Raimon Panikkar.  My internal landscape has shifted, just as the national landscape, just as the planet itself. With every shift there is a point to be found where we re-orient ourselves, where we contemplate a vision of totality through discovery of the center within1.  With renewed vision comes an opportunity to participate in the creative powers that emanate from this still point between turning worlds, and to create reality anew.

On the morning of September 11, 2011, I tuned in, as probably many of you did, to the dedication of the 911 memorial. We were allowed to witness family members seeing, feeling, being at the two great empty wells, representing the twin towers and all the lives that disappeared into Mystery that day– with the water falling endlessly into the well's centers– and the names of all who died etched around their periphery. Watching, I had so many feelings: empathetic sadness and grief with the family members; the sense of lost opportunity for taking the higher ground that 911 offered America; the mourning over the huge continuing losses of life set in motion from this event: war in Iraq, war in Afghanistan, thousands of American lives, and more thousands of civilian lives, lost. And I asked myself, "for what, doesn't, an eye for an eye make the whole world blind, as Gandhi said? Don't we know that hatred never ceases through hatred but by love alone is healed, as the Buddha taught?  Haven't we been commanded to "Love our enemy and do good to those who hate us?"  Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, all the great religions have pointed the way to the higher road and humanity continually takes the low road, we choose violence and retaliation. The need now is not really for more brains, the need is now for a gentler, a more tolerant people than those who won for us against the ice, the tiger and the bear.2 We need to find our balance in a world where violence no longer furthers the cause of our human evolution but threatens to destroy the entire planet. We need to live, in the best way we can the law of love, trusting that this law already has the victory because it is the law and the heart-beat of the universe; the highest frequency, the pulse of creation itself.

I have had the amazing opportunity to work with women, doing life prison sentences,  in a program called LiT-uPP, based on my book The Lioness Tale.  I have witnessed the power of love moving mountains of fear, pain, abuse, shame and guilt, exposing the ground of love that receives all back and transforms it into love itself. I am a privileged witness. These women have a high purpose before them. I had the benefit of having them selected specifically for my group, some of the best and most capable of leadership in the prison.  They are graduating the program in October, commissioned to take this light out into the general population of the prison and let this love transform their world. Their challenge is far greater than mine.

This is the real work. This is the work of the Real, what Raimon Panikkar calls the cosmotheandric vision and vocation. The cosmic confidence, the trust in the significance of my precious human life, the glimpse into my participation in creating reality anew, the knowledge that each person is a microcosm of the whole of reality,3 this is what Raimon has transmitted to me.  What my teacher gave to me I give to these women who have spent ten, twenty, thirty years of their lives locked up in prison. And now they in turn pass it on. This is called lineage. This is called transmission.

We do this work simply,  by following our anger,  our fear, and our sense of separation along the inhalation and exhalation of our breath. We ride the breath down to where these energies disappear into the Source that converts them into the higher frequencies of our cosmic-human-divine (cosmotheandric) nature. Whether we do this work in prisons, or schools, or corporations, or military barracks, or work places, or monasteries it is the real work. It is the work of converting the energies that won for us against the ice, the tiger and the bear" into the energies of non-violence, loving kindness and common cause on behalf of humanity and the entire planet. It is the work of the Real, the work that can only be done by you and by me.


911 – Memorial Poem

Into the dark unknown.

Into the mystery of death

            –the void of violent death–

the water falls.

What we see,

            standing on the edge,

is disappearance,

            utter and complete.

What we feel

            is the dark hole in our hearts

            and the plunge our bellies take

            as we stand on the precipice

            of sheer space,

            our mortality drawing back

            from the beckoning flight–

                        doubting our wings and the wind's embrace.

The truth is

            they are gone from us.

            Gone from our touch

            and our embodied lives.


Into the dark unknown.

Into the mystery of death

            -the void of violent death-

They fall,

now, clear and pure as water:

            streaming light.

We stand, our feet on the ground,


to this light

            returning to light

                        at the unseen center

                                    beyond our sight.

©Diane Pendola- September 11, 2011

1 From The Cosmotheandric Experience by Raimon Panikkar

2 From The Immense Journey by Loren Eisley

3 From Christophany by Raimon Panikkar



©Diane Pendola, Fall 2011. You are welcome to print or make a copy in electronic form for personal use or sharing with interested persons as long as the copyright notice is not removed or altered. Please do not print it in any other publication, or sell it, by itself or as part of another work, without express written permission of the author.

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