A Mighty Companions Interview with
Lex Hixon was a rudder, steering us in what he called "non-dual awareness" as the ultimate perspective. With Lex's insistence on the seamlessness of existence, where even life and death are held in a oneness that transcends any hard line between them, Lex died on November 1st, Celtic New Year's Day, when it is said the line between the living and the dead is thinnest.
At a time when separation prevails, Lex was unique. A renowned author, he was not content just to write. Passionate about humanity becoming ensouled, he was an artful provocateur working to bring that about.
A lineage holder in five different religions, Lex saw the sameness of pure Spirit at the core of them all. Being with him provided a sense of what it would be like on the other side of this shift in consciousness -- the fellowship and the celebration that would prevail. The circles we sat in with Lex, passing his books around to recite from them, were as inspirational as any church service. Reading the words of "the finest purveyor of spiritual realities writing in the world today," as one reviewer called Lex, in the company of the author, swooning together over the beauty of the words, we were voices of God, singing to one another. As Lex wrote:
A coalition already exists in spirit. It is coming together now in the social context by the attraction of its unconventional intelligence and compassionate form of high-mindedness.
This natural coalition is drawn together by the recognition that the elevation of consciousness is our fundamental life work. This is a genuinely democratic, self-organizing force, flowing through persons of all descriptions. This force does not flourish as any highly structured form. It is not an institution or a foundation or a non-profit company or anything conventionally named.
This coalition is a living organism -- natural, wild, free. It is made up of individuals devoted to serving the world and developing themselves as finely-tuned instruments of service. They learn to gather in the energy of will-to-good, from which authentic goodwill flows out subtly to the entire world.
Lex devoted his life to this coming together. We stand on his shoulders, anchored in the oneness that is ahead. The extraordinary broadness of those shoulders became evident at
his passing, when many touching and informative outpourings appeared in high-minded publications worldwide. Like discovering a fortune under a miser's mattress, I don't think anyone knew the scope of Lex's largesse and the impact he had on so many, including some who had met him only once, never to forget the encounter. Everyone Lex loved felt bolstered by the mirror of their grace, which he held for them. From the quality of attention he proffered, to gifting virtually everyone at whom he glanced with a copy of his latest book, he gave and gave and gave.
We believe he is giving still.
Mighty Companions conducted this interview on August 8, 1995. It turned out to be the last piece Lex worked on, and you have the privilege of his editing that cut it down to its non-dualistic essence.
MC: How concerned are you about humanity and what's going on now. Are we okay?
LEX: Concern for humanity, and all the related beings that surround humanity, is the only meaning of human life. Maturity is greater and greater levels of this concern. As far as being okay, for someone with deep faith in human nature -- and I am one of them, we are doing well. There is no fundamental disharmony deep in the human being. In one way or another, all religions teach this. Yet, from another standpoint, we're doing horribly. There is near chaos. The cruelty of human beings to each other is astonishing. Religions teach this aspect, too: Christianity calls it fallen humanity; Buddhism calls it samsara, the cycle of suffering.
MC: Do you think we could actually destroy ourselves in this process?
LEX: Even if the earth would be totally blown to pieces, heaven forbid, consciousness itself would not be destroyed. But, on the second level -- I call them the ultimate and the relative levels -- on the relative level, every single human being counts and is irreplaceable. Every time a person of good-will is destroyed by the negative forces in the world, we suffer an irreparable loss, so that we suffer a kind of destruction of humanity that is going on all the time.
MC: How concerned, Lex, should we be about the relative level, in your terms?
LEX: Relying on Buddhist insight -- and I tend to rely on traditional teachings rather than on my own bright ideas -- we should be careful to be concerned equally about the relative and the ultimate, and that's a difficult balance to keep. So, for instance, when someone says that we're just about to peek over the mountain range into the New Age and there will be a totally different way of doing things, and we won't have money and competition that is, I would say, a failure of concern about the relative.
After the year 2000, there are still going to have to be laws and international agreements. On the other hand, I believe a world civilization of great beauty can unfold, and really must unfold. There is a division in culture now between people who are visionaries and people who focus themselves entirely on the relative.
We need people to take responsibility to bring these two positions together. There's nothing more depressing than someone who's always harping on the relative. Many social radicals are this way. Yet, on the other hand, there's nothing more debilitating than someone who's always referring us to some grand vision, without a deep sensitivity to relative concerns.
MC: When you speak of non-duality, you don't bring in God or religion. And yet, other people would call non-dual reality a religious idea.
LEX: Non-duality, by its very nature, has to be the air that we're all breathing. Mystical bodies of committed people who work out a coherent way of living and a coherent way of justice among themselves are the vessels of spirituality in culture. There's no way to transmit spiritual gifts without vessels, without organizations.
MC: Would you tell us what you mean by God?
LEX: I can't say what I mean by God.
MC: Can you talk about your relationship to God?
LEX: No. A person can't pontificate all the time.
MC: How about dark nights of the soul? Does everyone have to go through one?
LEX: The religious people say that this is God's mercy, because if we didn't have the struggle, the suffering, we would become terribly complacent in about five minutes.
MC: Do you think that periods in which it seems all is lost are crucial for people on the spiritual path?
LEX: Let's not talk about "spiritual" life. This sounds as if there are a few people living a spiritual life and the rest of humanity are not. This period of testing, of feeling everything is lost, happens with regularity to all human beings. They must get through it and that's the way they grow. Human life itself is spiritual life.
MC: How about your perspective on the purpose of life then, the meaning of life?
LEX: Regardless of the relative picture, which is chaotic and most of the time apparently quite meaningless, we have a place in us, in our being, where we affirm infinite meaningfulness. And that infinite meaningfulness, or God, comes to us in various ways and unexpectedly speaks to us or turns us around right in the middle of what appears meaningless.
MC: And in terms of the purpose of life, is it just to have that experience?
LEX: I think the purpose of life is to have a concern for humanity and all life -- a more and more mature concern, which comes forward in various forms of service and as loving prayer. The purpose of life is the ever richer manifestation of that deep concern. We could also call it love.
MC: Rupert Sheldrake talks about morphogenetic fields -- that if a new pattern emerges in one place, there's a whole grid that can light up.
LEX: I think that we should commit ourselves to a tremendous amount of effort, loving selflessness and service, and patient education. The human race has been working on its own spiritual evolution consciously since before recorded history and this problem is not susceptible to any kind of easy or sudden solution.
MC: So, then, what is it to be "awake?"
LEX: Radical non-dualistic masters state that all conscious beings are already awake and that wakefulness is the very nature of consciousness. If you raise your hand before your face and hold up three fingers, you will know with absolute clarity and certainty, without any ambiguity, those are three fingers, not four fingers or five fingers. That kind of clarity is the natural, innate awakeness of consciousness. Of course, this is a very small, limited application of it. If we extend that quality of consciousness gradually into all dimensions of our lives, and sustain it moment by moment, that is what spiritual awakeness is. But it's not that there are some people who are awake and some people who aren't. It's not some sort of strange commodity that only advanced contemplatives can catch a glimpse of after years of discipline.
MC: What about formal disciplines? How do they fit into this process?
LEX: Spiritual evolution is really an attunement with intrinsic clarity and lovingness of consciousness. It doesn't necessarily correlate with how many hours of meditation you're doing and whether you're living in a monastery. There have been awakened people throughout history who have developed ways of life and methods by which people have been able to accelerate their spiritual evolution, which are to be respected and cherished, but we should get away from the idea that the application of technique is the point.
MC: What would you recommend for people to stay in this focus once they touch it and understand it?
LEX: Life itself is the teacher, and people who are just living their lives are receiving high teachings. They are in touch with the ultimate teaching power. It's like learning how to swim. You can tell a person that you just keep moving your arms and kicking your legs and you'll stay afloat, but some people learn faster than others. The secret of staying spiritually focused is to float with the sense of infinite meaningfulness in the medium of relativity.
MC: The difference is that once you know how to swim, you always know how to swim. But once we wake up, the next minute we don't know which end is up.
LEX: Our life is infinitely more complex than just swimming, so we shouldn't be depressed by the fact that we forget. We have to come back, again and again, to refresh our memory. There's nothing wrong about that. It's just the way human nature works. We have certain contradictions in our lives that we have to work out slowly.
The Founding Fathers were really awake when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, which still stand as magnificent documents, but they permitted slavery, because that was a given of the society of the time. Societies have unconscious assumptions, and individuals have unconsciousness assumptions, and one has to bring those to consciousness over time.
The ultimate teaching power is teaching all the time. Everywhere in society, in the mundane activities of keeping our homes, we can participate in the great teaching, and not set up a situation where we think it would be ideal if we could be in a monastery or some sort of retreat, where we could focus entirely. That would be dualistic. What we call the relative and the ultimate are never separated, so that in the midst of the struggle of our relativity we have full access to the ultimate joy.
MC: What is your unique contribution? Do you have a sense of that?
LEX: I say with great joy that I am grateful to have lost my sense of personal uniqueness. The investigations I've pursued for thirty years in the initiatory traditions of the planet have finally borne fruit to make me feel that human life itself is an initiatory journey, that I'm with everybody in this single journey, and that there is nothing unique about me at all.
MC: What's your idea of a good time, Lex?
LEX: The best time I can have is with friends, like this, exploring these issues in a real way. Spiritual evolution is definitely a communal effort.
OTHER LEX FEATURES:
Lex leads a discussion about Non-Dual Awareness
Vedantic Light, written by Lex
Lex participates in the Mighty Companions Herringbone Project
Lex's Reflections on the Herringbone Project
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