Loving Everyone

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I teasingly call a good friend of mine a slut. I mean it kindly, and I gave him my copy of The Ethical Slut because I believe his sexual choices come from a place of integrity.  (Yes I own The Ethical Slut because I’m sure there’s a truth in there for me…)

A while ago, he shared a passage from a book with me that he found moving. It was about connection and intimacy and love.  After I read it, I asked how he aligned with that intimacy and with his casual relationships at the same time .  “That’s easy.  I want to love everyone,” he said. 

I am going somewhere with this…hold on…

I also realized that there are people with whom I feel my experience of love at a cosmic scale. I know I love everyone.  That is easy.  No effort. But there are moments I experience with some individuals that have a transcendence to them. It’s kind of addictive. So much so that it can replace or distract me from my longing for full awakening. 

So here’s where I’m going…

I am open to knowing that transcendent love as me, not because individuals trigger it. It is my awareness that falls in love. It is my awareness that experiences love. The object does not create that – I do. And since I already know I can do this because the universe showed me that truth  through a few individuals, then I can experience it often, and fully. Without attaching meaning or form of relationship to it.

And that, my love, is the most incredible discovery.

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On Death and Love and The Work In Between

spiritualawaking1A year ago, when I met with one of my teachers, I asked him to help me prepare for death.  It isn’t because I have a terminal illness or anything else that is associated with the immediacy of dying.  It was because of the Buddhist principle that all of life is for preparing to die, and I knew that since death terrified me, this was something I needed to explore more.

Lee offered to do a sadness meditation with me often. I refused, and I would tell him I just didn’t believe he could support me properly in such a traumatic practice.  I would refer to his lack of empathy, and to how deeply held this fear was in me.  In some ways, that was true – but it was true because there is no one who can support the ego.  Ever.  So the ego will always find a flaw in the other or in the process as a way of sustaining itself.  The ego will do whatever it takes to stay alive, even at the cost of one’s happiness and freedom.  So Lee served as an ideal scapegoat for my ego.

But sometime last year, my desire for awakening and for living in truth became much bigger than my ego.  I learned tools to move energy away from the ego.  Whether that was meditation, or challenging false beliefs using The Work of Byron Katie, or if it was the work on realizing the Self does not exist, I not only faced sadness, I began to look the terror of death in the eyes.  The universe helped by presenting me with many forms of literal or symbolic death, like the death and loss of pets, to the falling away of goals and ideals.

I have to tell you it is unpleasant.  It is a terror like your worst nightmare.  But when it is faced directly, it no longer has that power.  It becomes something else. It becomes part of a pattern or a flow of life.

“The Infinite uses all measures in order to awaken in all the various forms in existence. It uses birth, life, death, happiness, sorrow, clarity, and delusion in order to awaken. All of your seeking is in reality the activity of the Infinite as well. No matter how far astray or deluded you become, you can never get a single step away from the Infinite’s embrace. If you could all at once stop believing your dreaming mind and be completely still right in the midst of your present state, the Infinite would effortlessly present itself.” – Adyashanti

I clung on to my egoic state for a long time. I had very elegant tools, like psychology or even some spiritual principles, that allowed me to justify my ego existence.  It was very easy to see the flaws in others as barrier to my own happiness and growth and experience. And then one day I didn’t. 

One day I realized I could look at others with love, no matter how they were showing up in my life.  I realized I could be in a state of love in relation to others whether they are part of my life or my vibration or not.   I can hold that love regardless of space or time – whether they are in my life or not, whether we share physical space or experiences. In that, there is perfect freedom and awareness.

The Beauty of Meaninglessness

stairsSometimes I feel like a complete fraud, or a liar, writing this blog.  As I move further into reality, into awakening, the use of words becomes more and more clumsy. At one point, I wanted to take this blog down, or at least put up a warning label: Caution – all you read here is just story! And the story is meaningless.

“Something I find fascinating: the absolute meaninglessness of existence is terribly depressing if you’re disconnected from your heart, your center, your true nature. But if you’re connected, that same absolute meaninglessness is pure wide-open freedom — the wholeness of being expressed in every moment.” – Christopher Wallis

I remember a teacher telling me that words can only point you in the direction of truth, but that as long as the mind holds on to them, you cannot get to the truth.  My mind has played a pretty good game.  As someone with a background in psychology, I use inner inquiry a lot.  It has been a striving to find the cause of a pattern or a feeling.  I have tried to see the triggers and fix the trigger. In understanding meaninglessness, I see inquiry now as curiosity about my experience.  The psychological view just makes a more elegant story.  Curiosity brings me closer to what is and possibly to what belief is being used as a lens in that moment.

“As long as your experience of self and life is defined by the mechanical, conditioned, and compulsive movement of thought, you are bound to a very, very limited perception of what is real. But imagine a relationship to thought that was impersonal. This would mean that you were no longer compulsively defining and interpreting yourself and your experience by the movement of thought. If this were the case, you would no longer be limited by the conditioned perspective of thought. Suddenly your entire perspective would shift away from thought to that which was the very ground and source of all thought. A source which, because it wasn’t being compulsively interpreted by thought, would be experienced as it actually is for the first time.” –Adyashanti

I had a long drive and it is usually a time for reflection.  As I thought about the support I have given my former partners, particularly financially and with business support, I began to feel self-pity.  How could they not value that enough to stay in the relationship and to treat me well? Why did I let them use me? I suppose all I did for them was meaningless.

Then it hit me: it WAS all meaningless, at least as the ego saw it. It was flow and it was of the moment.  It was how I expressed in those moments.  It was not a ME, or a contract with the other.  It was experiences that have nothing to do with me – they were not personal. In seconds, I moved from pity and loss to peace and almost amusement. 

For a fleeting few moments, I saw past self.  I knew awareness as IT and the flow of life.  It moved back to a different place as I needed to be mother or friend or colleague.  And even seeing that is cool.

Living a Life In a Day

Canada's_fireworks_at_the_2013_Celebration_of_Light_in_Vancouver,_BCI don’t believe in getting old.  I don’t mind aging – January 22 is my birthday.  I am proud of every minute and every year I have lived.  Occasionally I quip “I am too old for that…” but  I use it as an excuse.  It is an excuse to deflect from something I am not comfortable doing.  There are things that are more in vibrational harmony with who I am and where I am at, but that is not the same as being old.

I met with a Vedic Astrologist, and it was a thoroughly enlivening experience.  We went over my entire life, and the synchronicity of things showed again the beautiful flow and pattern in life.  She captured how the last year was a purge of the old and a true clear slate.  I noticed how profoundly different 2015 has been from pretty much the first minute on New Years.

What I notice as  I reflect over the last year is joy.  Love.  It is like when I make a wish, it is fulfilled within days.  A friend housesat for me for free as a gift.  A new friend – someone who has known me for a few months – chose a really interesting gift that made me feel valued.  I was struggling to plan my birthday party – a big old party with dancing, drumming, and laughter – and the universe gave me a free DJ.  My spiritual practice is deepening.  My daughter is recalling past lives and we are working on that. I am spending a week in Las Vegas.  I am going to India.  And it is only 22 days into the year!

In the Vedic reading, I found out that I have entered a new cycle, and that this year will be auspicious for fulfillment of my intentions.  I have clarity in most areas of my life of my heart and soul’s desires.

It starts with the Now. My joy is in Being Now. Living my life in a day.

“As soon as your idea of enlightenment becomes time-bound, it’s always about the next moment. You may have a deep spiritual experience and then ask, “How long will I sustain this experience?” As long as you insist on the question, you remain time-bound. If you are still interested in time and the spiritual accumulations you can have in time, you will get a time-bound experience. The mind is acting as if what you are looking for isn’t already present right now. Now is outside of time. There is no time, and the paradox is that the only thing that keeps you from seeing the eternal is that your mind is stuck in time. So you miss what’s actually here.” –Adyashanti

 

 

My Truth Is True Even Without You

cracking_the_harmony_2Recently I have claimed things as true that normally would not seem rational to me to do so.  In the past, if I believed something and another did not see it that way, I let my belief go.  To me, if something is true, then we all see it.  Don’t we all agree that 2 +2=4? Of course, when we get into values and the truth of consciousness, the role of objective evidence is no longer relevant. 

Truth is only in the moment. It isn’t necessary for something to be true today and still true tomorrow.  Once, you may have believed that you were stupid and ugly.  If you no longer believe that, was it untrue when you did? Is your belief that you are beautiful and smart less true today because you used to hold a different belief? Does anyone else have to see you as smart and beautiful for it to be true? Is it possible for more than one truth to be true in a moment?

It hurts when I dismiss something that is true for me because it isn’t true for others.  I see truths in others that sometimes they do not see for a very long time.  I see truths in myself that I cannot communicate in a transformative way to another.  I see truths about a reality that isn’t evident in what is physically present.  And I have found that accepting those and working with them is much more powerful than trying to resist or deny my truth.  Truth is not an activity of the mind.  It doesn’t need to be defended or proven.  It is a dialogue with awareness.

“I don’t know what to think about your reading, but then again it wasn’t for me,” he said.  In the past, that would have been reflected as a constriction in my heart center and my gut.  I would have felt anger that he didn’t get it – again.  I would be tormented because he wouldn’t wake up enough to see the possibility in what I was saying, and that he wouldn’t explore the importance of that truth for me.

In seeing what truth is to me, I can let it go.  It doesn’t matter if anyone agrees with my truth. It doesn’t lessen it as truth.  It doesn’t stop me from my journey and awakening.  It doesn’t prevent me from anything at all.  There is nothing another can do to make my truth un-true.  Holy cow…

 

Truth Is

Truth is only discovered in the moment.
There is no truth that can be carried over
to the next moment, the next day, the next year.
Memory never contains truth, only what is past, dead, gone.

Truth comes into the non-seeking mind fresh and alive.
It is not something you can carry with you, accumulate, or hold onto.

Truth leaps into view when the mind is quiet, not asserting itself.
You cannot contain or domesticate truth, for if you do, it dies instantly.

Truth prowls the unknown waiting for a gap in the mind’s activity.
When that gap is there, the truth leaps out of the unknown into the known.

Instantly you comprehend it and sense its sacredness.
The timeless has broken through like a flash of lightning
and illuminated the moment with its presence.

Truth comes to an innocent mind as a blessing and a sacrament.
Truth is a holy thing because it liberates thought from itself
and illumines the human heart from the inside out.

 

© Adyashanti 2009 

What I Learned From Wanting

fastingI don’t like fasting.  I know it is because I don’t like the feeling of wanting, and I get trapped in trying to fill the wanting.

I could try to tell a beautiful story about it.  For instance, last year in a workshop, we were broken into groups around themes. Some of us were Aphrodite from the sexuality perspective, and some of us were Aphrodite from the love perspective.  There was an incredible energy to me as I watched the women who reflected the power in wanting and longing and desiring.  I was attracted and repelled by it at the same time. So I could tell a story where wanting is just not part of my Goddess.

More in line with my current journey is the fact that I resist wanting, and I feel the need to take action.  I judge the wanting, and I feel that something must be done to fill the wanting. I don’t like the feeling of wanting at all.  I feel anxious and depressed when I have sustained wanting.  I found myself counting down the last hours of the fast, and seeing if I had some ways to cheat the last few hours.  Could I have soup? Could I stop early because a friend dropped by? Was I feeling faint – and therefore HAD to break my fast early – even knowing I was not in alignment with the purpose of the fast?

I found myself mildly appalled by my resistance. Have I learned nothing? Why was I not able to transcend ego?  Why could I not return to peace?

Then I found this quotation which brought me back to what really matters:

“This stillness of awareness is all there is. It’s all one. This awareness and life are one thing, one movement, one happening, in this moment — unfolding without reason, without goal, without direction. The ultimate state is ever present and always now. The only thing that makes it difficult to find that state and remain in that state is people wanting to retain their position in space and time. “I want to know where I’m going. I want to know if I’ve arrived. I want to know who to love and hate. I want to know. I don’t really want to be; I want to know. Isn’t enlightenment the ultimate state of knowing?” No. It’s the ultimate state of being. The price is knowing.” Adyashanti

I lost my learning in the fast, by focusing on the fast and the goal of time.  I believed something was wrong with me.  I believed there was some secret to know, some insight that I was missing.  I believed I was not as I should be – my favorite ego pattern.  The good news is I see this exact same pattern attached to other issues that also cause me suffering.  There is no right or wrong in the practice.  I could not fail the practice.  The point of fasting, or any other tantric practice, is to reveal the places where I am holding on to Something.  And that is it.  Once I see that I am holding, it is easier to breathe and let go, and return to being aware.

Fasting and Freedom In Wanting

I am on my first regular fast in a long time.  I have fasted from time to time, but not in a way that was attached to intentions. It was usually something my body wanted, or more often – something I thought I should do.  So many “shoulds” in my mind…It is probably not surprising to hear then that I failed at most of them and hated all of them.

It isn’t that I was starving and HAD to eat.  It is very much a psychological thing.  This time, not only am I fasting from food, I am fasting from shopping.  If you are snickering, let me tell you that they both play the same role in my psychology: fulfilling my wanting immediately.

In my practice this year, I see them as dependencies.  How can food be a dependency since we need it? I am dependent not on the need to eat but the ways in which I fulfill that need.  The same is true for shopping. When I am hungry, I do not make conscious choices.  Instead, I seem to be filling a childhood need to have what I want.  Having what I wanted was not a common part of my growing up. Now, I go out of my way fill my every whim – and that of others around me.  I have a generous personality – true – and I am known as the woman who believes in AND instead of OR.  Why choose between this or this? Let’s have this and this!

And so this fast is not about devotion or cleansing.  It is about freedom. I am not free of filling my wanting.  I am not comfortable wanting. We were given two fasting principles to return to on each fasting day:

  • it’s okay to want something and not have it. (Be with the experience of wanting.)
  • Getting what you think you want is not the path to fulfillment.

I know both of these to be true, and I don’t like how uncomfortable I am in the experience of wanting.  I judge it. I resist it. I have a suspicion this is a key in opening myself to intimacy – I don’t like wanting and if I am open to others, I may feel want. If I am comfortable in my independence – as I am – the idea of wanting is painful.

Let’s see how this goes!