Can Facebook Be A Spiritual Practice?

Facebook-createLike many people, I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook.  I joined it 9 years ago, first as a place to share pictures of my new baby with my family, and over time my use of it has evolved into a forum for social interaction and sharing of ideas or events.

Many people can tell you how social media is a time waster, a sucking hole that takes away from the richness of our real lives and relationships.  It can be used to promote some of the worst qualities of our society.

My question is: can Facebook be a spiritual practice?

In a satsang I recently heard, Adyashanti spoke about personal identity and how we create separateness in a way that resonated for me.  The question of study was “Who are you if you do not reference any thoughts?”. When I contemplated that, my experience was briefly one of Being-ness.  I felt what it means to say I Am. My mind took over too quickly, but I was left with a sense of what it would mean to let go of separateness.  I feel a desire to return to that feeling, nurture it, expand it and never be in a space of separateness again.

Fast forward about 10 hours later while I am on Facebook: a former school mate posts a video that goes against many of my non-violent values and beliefs.  I delete the post.  I send out a Facebook question about how others handle it when someone posts something you are strongly against.  I engage in non-violent dialogue with others who think it is no big deal, or that there is nothing I can do about it.  I feel strongly that I have an ethical responsibility to do something and begin posting counter-stories all over my feed.  I begin posting memes with quotations like “The only thing evil needs to flourish is for good men to do nothing”. I contemplate deleting people from my Facebook account who do not share in my “vibration” and therefore are not attracted in to my current life.  I remind myself that there is a reason why we lose touch with people in life and feel satisfied that I have set up a strong boundary between me and everyone who is not me. Temporarily, I feel the happiness of the righteous.

Then I wondered what Adyashanti would say about what I had done.  I imagined he would note that I had created a great story to justify my differences with others. That story of differences was energized as far as possible for me to define a separation from others, justify it, and turn away from even being curious about if our differences were real. I could feel myself realizing that as much as I earnestly claim a desire for oneness and awakening, my energy and story had moved me in a different direction.

I do not beat myself up over that.  Doing so would be replacing one story with a new one.  I feel peace in the idea of releasing this pattern.  I feel peace in opening a new possibility for myself.  I celebrate that this whole thing has led me one step closer to letting go of an illusion keeping me from knowing awakening and oneness in me as a truth right now.

So, Facebook, I will contemplate how to incorporate you into my practice, and be a place of love every time I go on.

 

Advertisements

Listening to the Calling

image

The sick body is the voice of the fearful mind. – Byron Katie

It has been two years since my two week retreat to Brazil to see John of God. It was a very personal experience and I didn’t share alot of it with people.

I have been invited a few times to make a return journey. I have declined because the Calling wasn’t there.

I was driving to work, listening to my meditation CD, when my awareness and energy returned to the Casa in Abadiânia, Brazil. I have completed the work I started there. And it is time to go deeper.

I have listened to many people who have been to the Casa describe remarkably similar experiences to my own. There are some commonalities that occur for all of us. This is not a stereotypical faith healing. There are no promises made and not fulfilled. There is no negation of medical practice.  There is simply healing.

Healing means releasing or removing all that does not align with divine nature. Some people may go to see John of God expecting a cure similar to when one takes medicine for a headache or when your appendix is removed. That is not what healing is.

One of the women in our group died a few months after returning. While her body was not cured, she spoke about how the pilgrimage has prepared her for a peaceful and fearless death. For those of us who shared that with her, it was impossible to deny the perfection of her experience.

For me, I was ready to release my entire life. I moved through a transition in my life where everything changed. My relationships ended. My job ended. My codependency ended. My anxiety attacks ended. My financial lack ended. My fear ended.

Did it all dissolve instantly?  No, it has taken two years to fully integrate my work from that trip. My body is stronger and healthier than ever.  I have more fulfillment than any time in my life.  I am a full expression of self.

And now I feel called back – to what and why is unclear.  Last time I was ready to die to my whole life.  Right now,  this wasn’t my plan. (I am waiting to hear if i have been accepted by a much desired teacher.) I am doing other things!

So I will stop and seek  what is whispering to me in my longing. Whatever the Calling is, I am listening.

Pint sized polemics on fear

“How did you sleep, mommy?”, my pint sized Wisdom Soul asked me.

“Not great. I was dreaming about my new job,” I yawned, in reply.

“Are you afraid of failing?” She nailed it, with the accuracy of, well, a child.

“I am,” I confessed.

She reflected then looked me in the eye. “I felt that way when I started kindergarten but then I passed. I was afraid again in grade 1, but I passed again. So this year, I was afraid but I know its not true. Same for you.”

I gratefully loved my little guru.  I thanked her.

“OK mommy. But you taught me not to be afraid. So you don’t be afraid!” 

The Day After Solstice

image

A year ago my biggest fear was living and not being a full expression of self. I also attached that to being dependent on another for that expression to occur. Today I’m smiling at it. That fear is a benchmark for how much egoic  consciousness has been released.

That full expression of self was of course expression of self as ego. Now I focus on letting go of ego and awakening to something deeper.

How can I be anything but an expression of self?

What I also believed was that it was only through a special spiritual partner that I could realize my awakened consciousness.  In fact,  that journey is taken alone.  I value my spiritual partner for reminding me when I’ve strayed from my own truth but that journey is not a WE path.

I do share my path once I’ve walked it. I value my spiritual community of people who gather in my home and heart to do work.

And now I awaken to a world and reality quite different than the one I held beliefs about.

Story Time Is Over

image

An emotional trigger can only trigger a story.

A trigger is an object or event that recalls a memory which causes pain or grief. (This blog will not be about sexual abuse triggers.) So, if you’ve been let go from a job, you might avoid driving by the place because seeing it triggers you. Or when we end a relationship, we remove all the things our former lover gave us because the items trigger memories or thoughts about him. It’s why we change cities when things go wrong and we want a fresh start.

What I know is that triggers can only activate a story. We assign meaning to our experience in our minds, and the story becomes more real than the direct experience. But triggers are another version of mind, or of ego. They are grooves, energized by repeated patterns. And thoughts can be dissolved. You can ask if the thought is true, or you can move your energy back to your experience right now. It is not the trigger that causes suffering. It is the story.

So, on this path of awakening, and of experiencing No Self, story time is over. I practice not assigning meaning to my experience and I recognize the non-reality of my thoughts, particularly my triggers. There is a fear from time to time, as my world becomes more quiet. But the liberation as less of my mind sticks to me is a powerful experience.

Facing My Mind Body Grooves: Uncoupling

image

I was married in kindergarten.  No, not some weird child bride. But I liked a boy and we acted like a couple. I was allowed to sit at the boy’s table with him. We were always the mom and dad when the kids played house.  He kissed me good bye at the end of every day. He left the school at the end of the year.

My child’s father moved out this week and the Magus told me he is heart engaged with a woman he has met. Yesterday as I hosted my child’s birthday party,  I realized I was the only uncoupled adult in the room.

When the Magus told me about his relationship, I felt disconnected. I feel strongly that there is a journey of consciousness for us. He was happy sharing conscious conversation with me but that’s it. He told me he was embodying what he wanted, and if I wanted that type of heart connection,  I needed to embody it too.

For a day,  I bought into the idea that I needed a relationship,  and that by not having one, I was somehow a failure.  I mean, I had been in relationships since I was 4!

My ego played for a while, explaining and rationalizing what his experience is, or what my child’s father is. I started reconsidering all the men I have in my life for the most likely prospect. 

Then my soul took over again. The fear I felt was how much I would have to change to be in the relationship energy the Magus was exuding.  Thinking of embodying that made me throw up. A few times.

In my fear,  I convinced myself I had never fully been able to love, and that the reason I can’t be in relationship to my child’s father or the Magus when they are coupled is because it reminds me of my failure to love. My fear is not being alone – it is not loving. 

So I went to my kula. Kula mate after kula mate reflected my truth – I am loving,  I have exactly what I value,  nothing is missing. Listen to the truth of my soul. 

Finally my teacher waded in with his observations.  With proud encouragement, he praised me for digging deeply into the mind body grooves that expressed as fear. He did not direct me, or tell me how to think. He waited with loving presence, and he was watching my whole process lead me to truth, even as I was overwhelmed by it. He did not rescue me. And the second I found truth, he engaged with me at that truth.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Magus and I could have created a fully heart engaged relationship of consciousness.  And there is no doubt that I can create that with anyone that also wants and values what I value.  The Magus was capable and I believed that capability also meant we valued the same path. But, the truth of tantra and of law of attraction is that we embody what we value. 

More than ever, I am who I am. And there is so much more.

Entitled…says the ego

image

We’re told that the ego becomes more and more subtle in its influence the deeper you go into your consciousness work. I encountered that a few times this week, including the ego trap of being disappointed that I fell into ego. Which is ego…lol. Yay vicious circle! Ironically, I didn’t celebrate the consciousness that recognized ego.

I have a business opportunity coming up that would manifest almost instantly my desire for freedom, independence, and doing the things that I most love to do. And yet as I go through the process of negotiating with the business, I find myself frustrated and irritated by the things that they are asking. When I shared  this observation to my wonderful friend, he instantly identified it with the word “entitlement”. And like he has done for me before, my world had to stop for a moment as I realised how often that came up for me over the week.

When I was in pain with my daughter’s father this week, a part of it was about entitlement. Wasn’t I entitled to more support from him? Wasn’t I entitled to freedom? Wasn’t I entitled to a better relationship given how wonderful a person I am (and actually how wonderful he is)? The shame the creeps over me as a write it out and see how ridiculous it seems is instructive. And even that is ego.

But entitlement has occurred in other ways as well. For example, I look back over 26 years of relationships and say “I have done everything I possibly can to meet society’s guidelines on how to have a healthy relationship and yet here I am unfulfilled and dissatisfied every single time.” It is only when I am simply being present and experiencing the relationship with others (relating) that I am completely fulfilled and satisfied in the interaction. In fact, at this moment, while not being in a partnership, I find myself about as peaceful and happy as I have ever been. There are definitely interactions that I shared with the Magus that I would like to share again, but not as an experience – as a reflection of the relationship. Overall I find myself happy until my ego says “aren’t you entitled to more?” I become angry and sad. It destroys the opportunity in every experience. 

I also fell into to the ego trap of being very disappointed with myself when I realized that entitlement was showing up. I spoke to my Tantra teacher (Christopher Hareesh Wallis) who asked me, ” What does it feel like when you’re not judging it? What does it feel like when you remove even the label of anger? ” At first, I couldn’t do it. I needed the identification and self flagellation to feel better. Thanks ego!

But, as I moved to a space of love, more openness was possible.  More allowing.  More release from the identification. 

I realize that entitlement is really a symptom of the personal will. It is that part of me attached to outcome. It is how ego wants to construct the world, and is willing to hijack my spiritual desire to do it.

But that spiritual longing, the intent that is more powerful than anything else in my life, has always moved me back to center. As one friend said,  “you have to feel it to heal it.” Entitlement is just a left over from the belief that I am not enough.

There are two Adyashanti stories that are healing me today. One is the idea that the belief in Not Enough is the ego confessing that indeed it is not enough to be Me, my true consciousness.  (Let that settle in and blow your mind…)

The other is his saying “If you want what life wants, you will get everything you want.”

Mmm hmmm.