Better Than You

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Deep down, I believe I am better than you.

Please don’t get angry – I am not proud of this. Until recently, I was not even conscious of it as a belief I hold.

Lately, I have been irritated by people who are part of the spiritual/new age/consciousness community who show up in my life as pseudo-holy seekers on an amazing quest to prove that life is one big Joy Orgasm. What I see, or what gets triggered for me by this is that it is their ego continuing to try to replace itself with a much more desirable and illusory image than it had before.

But of course, then I have to ask what is alive in me that is rubbed by all this. The answer is because I believe I am better than them for not being that way. Honestly, what is wrong with people just being who they are on their journey? Nothing, except I have a belief that when they interact with me, they should see that their illusion is just an illusion and be in awe of where I am at on my path. Trust me, I am cringing as I write this.

Yes, I see that as my own ego illusion. Yes, I hear the judgement in it.

And after a lot of sitting with it, I have decided I am ok. The ego is all about desire and repulsion. We either put energy into wanting something, or not wanting something. My ego does not want this belief to be true – it damages my self illusion. And thank goodness for that! Who wants a self illusion anyway? One teacher said that disbelieving something undesirable in you is not holy, it is more ego.

Instead, I am not putting energy into this belief. I recognize it has surfaced. I recognise it as untrue. And now I let it go. It might pop up again, and I will look at it, then let it go. As many times as I need to do so. I simply won’t identify with this belief, or any of my beliefs.

That won’t make me a better person. Hopefully, it will be one more aspect of self that I not longer hold on to. It is a tremendous movement back to my still point, to conscious awareness. And maybe it is one step towards Oneness with you.

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Soulmate Myths: I Blame Richard Bach

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Soulmates, twin flames, spiritual partners…

I think nearly every spiritual online subscription I have posts some article on one of those topics.  Richard Bach was the first writer through whom I was exposed to the idea of a Soul Mate.  I was sitting in the University cafeteria, and one of my friends passed me his book on soul mates.  I read it in a day – could not put it down. And so began my life long search for this idea.

A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.” – Richard Bach

Then of course we began to hear more about twin flames. “There tends to be a lot of confusion about what a “twin flame” relationship really is. Unlike “soul mates,” which are our perfect matches (or our spiritual family) twin flames are our perfect mirrors. Relationships with twin flames tend to be on-again-off-again, intensely passionate, and sometimes intensely painful. Twin flames help us awaken like nobody else, and they ultimately serve to show us who we really are.” – Thought Catalogue  Or another view is “twin flames, also called twin souls, are literally the other half of our soul. We each have only one twin, and generally after being split the two went their separate ways, incarnating over and over to gather human experience before coming back together. Ideally, this happens in both of their last lifetimes on the planet so they can ascend together. So you probably haven’t had many lifetimes with your twin.” – Soul Evolution  

Finally,  I was introduced to the idea of Anam Cara, which seemed more authentic because it was described as historical: “Anam Cara means “Soul Friend.” Anam is the Gaelic word for soul and Cara is the word for friend. In Celtic tradition, an Anam Cara is a teacher, companion or spiritual guide. With the Anam Cara you can share your innermost self to reveal the hidden intimacies of your life, your mind and your heart. This friendship cuts across all convention to create an act of recognition and belonging that joins souls in an ancient and eternal way.” – Anam Cara Therapy

I bought into the idea, or ideal.  It became the measuring stick for each relationship.  If a relationship was not this, then it was not good enough.  If it was not this, then the Fear of Missing Out would kick in.  I accepted and rationalized unhealthy relationships as evidence of soul work, or of the challenge that comes when twin flames are together.  For the sake of this deep belief, I allowed myself to suffer and call it the price of such lofty relationships.  It fed my egoic belief that I was doing something special and harder than the regular type of love and relationship.

The obvious reaction a person may have is that I am cynical, or because I have not experienced these things I am taking a view colored in bitterness.  In response, I would note that Richard Bach told the world he found his soul mate, he also told the world that they divorced.  I believe it was a growthful relationship, but not the soul mate relationship that he postulated in his books.  Here is why: soul mates, twin flames or any idealized description of how love manifests is the ego attempting to make permanent the relationship that occurs between personalities.  These are attempts at spiritual overlay to make identification with the self seem meaningful.

I have had deep moments of connection with people I am close to and people I barely know.  I have had long healthy relationships.  I have had long unhealthy relationships.  The dynamic of the relationship is a function of the personalities in the relationship.  I believe that the moments of connection are moments where I let go of self. I believe we look for these idealized romances to fill in for when we are trying to feel connected to the Divine.  It could even be a vehicle for that spiritual path.

I rest on the koan “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him” and extend it to “If you meet your soulmate/twin flame/etc, keep looking.”

 

 

 

 

Aging is Just Another Ego Structure

“That is just how it is when you get older…”

“Everything starts to fall apart once you hit 40.”

“You aren’t valued for your wisdom as you age – the younger staff get the opportunities.”

I have heard several spiritual teachers say the equivalent of “Aging is Optional”.  Wayne Dyer said it, and Christian Northrup teaches it. That is not to deny that the body changes.  We transition through many body changes: baby, toddler, child, teen, adult, pregnancy, etc.  The way we see aging significantly impacts the way we experience it.

In Chasing Enlightenment, Adyashanti talks about aging as a tool for moving us past the constructed self.  He suggests that at some point, usually between 40 and 60, we are no longer able to reconstruct the image of self we have spent most of our lives building.  We can’t sustain our career identity, as we may have hit the peak of positions we can attain.  We can’t sustain our illusion of invincibility, as our bodies change. Gradually, those things we have spent a life time putting in to place as Me are no longer true.

Many people are terrified of that.  They grasp at whatever is possible to hold on to a fragile ego identity that will inevitably fall away as death. The question is if you are willing to die to  your ego while you are alive, and live in that freedom.

Personally, I feel great relief in the knowledge that nature has designed life to assist us in letting go of ego structures and increase the opportunity for us to be fully Awake. I have been actively devoted to seeing the ways in which I create separation for a few years now, with varying success.  One noteworthy success is that, where as the knowing that I will die someday used to invoke terror, it now feels peaceful and beautiful. I know that I will come to be released fully from my mind and my ego.

I have never been one to fear getting older.  I don’t have a mental model of aging.  I have no expectations and no script to follow.  That is one blessing of having a young child at a time when many of my peers are grandparents and retirees.  My life is my own, not a pre-written script.

And that too is incredible freedom to be fully alive.

Just A Day of Ego at Play

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Blue sky. Apple tree blossoms.  Fresh green grass. Sunshine and gentle wind.

Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it?

“I wish I had worn my Sketchers. These shoes aren’t as good for walking.”

“This is a much longer walk than I planned.”

“My tank top would be cooler than this shirt.”

I noticed my egoic mind chattering, so out loud I said, “I am struggling against what is. Just be with what is real.”  I was proud of myself for that awareness.

And almost immediately,  my mind started turning the moment into a blog. So at that moment,  I was egoically creating meaning from my experience and ironically, STILL not being present with what was.

And so I accepted that. Stopped criticizing myself for it. Settled into the moment. Laughed. The ego will do what it does. I am the one listening to it, experiencing it. And I am the one who let’s it go. I am the field within which all this occurs.

This dance my ego plays of trying to look right (spiritually accomplished? ) on the outside or striving for awakening on the inside is such a foolish use of energy. 

Wrote the blog anyway! Lol!

Truth and Beauty: How Stories Point Us to Divinity

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Ode on a Grecian Urn, J. Keats

Like many other people, I love to talk about the most recent developments on Game of Thrones.  I have a little “fan club” among my circle of friends. We text about what happened.  We discuss it over tea.  We predict what might be happening and what patterns are being woven. We search the net for more ideas to share with each other.  And we do it all over again each week.

It is fun.  It is exciting to let the mind play.  It provides energetic experiences as we replay what we saw, what it meant, what it could mean.  But, of course, we know it is a story.  We are discussing a story and enjoying the energetic experience that goes along with this. Drama is fun.  It is beautiful.

I heard Adyashanti tell a story of a monk who agreed to raise a child born out of wedlock that was not his.  The mother told the community it was his, to diffuse the social consequences.  In time, she claimed the child and told the community she had lied.  The community started to gossip and rile up.  The monk told them that at this moment, she was doing the right thing.  The time to be mad was over – in the now, she was being noble.  But, the community wanted the ego drama. They wanted to focus on beliefs like “She lied” and “She whored” and “She defamed a noble man and let us do it too”. They didn’t think about things like the needs of the child, or the growth of the woman, or the gift the monk had made in his kindness.  That would not fuel the ego drama – it would be more Truth, and that does not make for good ego drama.

To me, there are two types of stories: ego drama, and stories that point us to underlying truth by connecting us to beauty.  When we are enamored with the pull on our soul from a piece of art, or a beautiful play or movie, what we experience is moving past the Egoic Self, in to the Truth. We are connected to Divinity, and may even be experiencing Unity.  I have read books that took me out of this world, and made me cry, or laugh.  I could not stop reading them, and dreaded seeing the ending approaching – because my experience would be over.

Why do we love great stories? It is not a coincidence that spiritual teachers have used stories to teach.  Whether it is the Bible, or koans, they exist to take us out of egoic mind and move us past self.

In life, when we connect with another person’s story from the heart, I believe we are moving past ego drama to allow the beauty of the story to lead us to truth.  Even stories that are about struggle can have beauty to them.  And in that beauty, we begin to glimpse the essential truth of being.

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Impulse and Intuition

“See those shoes? I bought them because I had an intuition I would need them for a fancy dinner.” Impulse or intuition?

Like many, I have confused impulsiveness and intuition in the past.  I see the difference as related to how much one is tuned in to the Flow, divine currents, or how much one unconsciously responds to egoic patterns.

“When you act on impulse, you’re reacting immediately and subconsciously to an external trigger. An emotion, a place, a person. You don’t pause, sit down and analyse, you just go for it. A shot in the dark. Impulse is an impelling force or emotion that will trigger some kind of reaction from you. It is, in effect, something that overpowers your being, and controls you.” Impulse vs Intuition

Your ego acts from resisting what is.  An impulse often is from a sense of lack, or a set of patterns of fear that trigger a response. “Generally speaking, an impulse is motivated by an underlying thought of lack or limitation. It tells you that if you don’t act right now, the opportunity you are considering will be gone forever! Underlying every impulse is a subtle feeling of fear—of tension or anxiety—and you may feel like your happiness hinges on taking this step.” The Divine Flow

When we listen to intuition, it is gently relentlessly persistent. Intuition has an aspect of knowing, or possibly of recognition, in how it surfaces.  Intuition is love based.  It accepts what is.  If your intuition guides you to something, and you decline, your intuition will draw you to another opportunity.  Intuition is closely aligned with Truth.

Want to be able to check in on which it is? When something presents itself, Stop, Be Silent, Breath, and Be Aware.  An impulse will gnaw at you, fill your gut with angst.  An intuition will feel right and will give you peace when you recognize it.

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How Deeply Can We Meet?

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Early in my non dualistic Tantrik study, I asked a friend, “But what’s the purpose of relationship?  There is no separation.  It’s all one.” His answer had something to do with learning from each other, which I rejected. We can learn from everything.

Jeff Foster speaks to this experience too. “Yes, nonduality so easily becomes a war against duality. “You’re stuck in your individuality! That’s just a story! That’s so dualistic!” So deeply ironic, once again.

I speak from experience. I have been there myself. I spent a long time stuck in that nihilstic place where nothing matters, where there is no world and no relationship and everything is disconnected. I have written about this ‘Advaita Trap’ extensively. At the time, I thought it was freedom. I see now, it was another identification. It was totally lacking in love and compassion. In the end, it wasn’t nonduality that saved me and ended seeking. It was the discovery of this love beyond form, beyond words.”

I find myself disconnecting from people I love when they talk about their Story. I am very engaged in their soul journey yet I feel like pulling back when their story is filled with what is not True.

My spiritual partner approaches it like a curious spirit having a human experience and witness what humans do, feel, and say. In that way, she can be empathic when she is curious because  she can see how it is affecting them as they tell their story. That is a beautiful perspective.

“Life is a constant invitation, to recognise yourself as the vast ocean of consciousness in which every single wave – every thought, sensation, feeling, sound – is deeply welcome. What you are may be a non-dual ocean of consciousness, but as that ocean, you welcome – apready welcome – every wave without conditions. This is not an acheivement, but your very nature, the way you are actually built. Awakening is not an acheivement, it is a real-time remembering of how you are ‘built!’…

Life gently whispers, always, “How deeply can we meet?” – Jeff Foster

Some part of me denies experience when I tune out of the story because it does not comply with my desire to be immersed in Spirit. It is the ego wanting a spiritual experience on egoic terms.

“Are you able to meet the one in front of you, and for a moment, not try to fix them, or heal them, or spout nondual cliches at them, or try to win some argument, proving your identity? How deeply can we meet?” – Jeff Foster

How deeply am I willing to meet life? Can I let go of even this happening on my terms?