Better Than You

jokeDeep 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.

But You Don’t Look Like A (Insert Spiritual Stereotype Here)

“But you don’t look like…”

…a yogi

…an intuitive

…a student of Tantrik philosophy

…a bodhisattva

…a spiritual teacher

This week, I had 3 conversations with new people in my life where the conversation turned to the idea that I do not meet their expectations of what a yogi, bodhisattva, spiritual teacher or whatever looks like to them. My ego became involved each time, which is a great way to know something has to be let go on my part.  Really, each of these is about identity, and identification.  Moving into awareness, I am less interested or at least, wish to be less interested, in my identification with roles or expectations of others.

Some days, I do not look like a yogi. If a yogi wears yoga pants, or loose hemp clothing most of  the day, I would be a surprise in my suits and dresses and heels.  If an intuitive uses language about energy fields, the influence of astrological phenomenon, or balancing chakras, I would seem to be apart from that when I am leading a conversation about workplace performance.  If a student of Tantrik philosophy is envisioned to speak Sanskrit, my hopelessness with languages would be shocking.  And if a bodhisattva or a spiritual teacher is someone who runs many classes focused on entry level spiritual ideas and practices, I would most definitely seem out of place in the ways in which I integrate spiritual concepts with business concepts or build community with people who have set an intent on spiritual truth and awakening as the biggest priority in their lives.

One of the most profound teachers of yogic philosophy and awakening was Nisargadatta Maharaj.  Initially he worked as a junior clerk at an office but quickly he opened a small goods store, mainly selling leaf-rolled cigarettes, and soon owned a string of eight retail shops. If you read his works in the book “I Am That”, it is clear that he is an awakened being.  Yet, he did not follow any particular course of breathing, or meditation, or study of scriptures. He gave talks in his humble apartment, and it was used for chanting, mantra, and meditation.  He could be irritated by his students, he was direct, and most definitely did not “look” like a fully realized spiritual guru.

I am glad I do not look like what people expect. I am glad this triggered my sense that I must look or practice a certain way to truly be devoted to my path.  I am glad I surfaced some part of me that was connected to how others identified me to be. I am one step more in line with freedom.

When the Going Gets Rough

“Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called everybody, and they meet at the bar. ”   Drew Carey

Generally, I love what I do. I specialize in improving organizational performance and I teach systems approaches to business problems.  Cool, right?

A few years ago, I left a role because the business I was working with were making decisions that I didn’t agree with, and I could not implement these decisions without hurting every time I acted against my values as a leader.

For a year and a half, I have been engaged and satisfied in my new role. But not now. I am being asked to implement decisions that I struggle with again. My engagement has dropped. I feel anxiety and I am getting sick.

But, I recognize that when a pattern like this shows up, it is about what I can learn. It is a pointer towards my spiritual awakening. 

Since the last time I faced this, I have learned that circumstances do not control my experience.  That knowledge alone, however,  was not enough to move past this.

Today, I had an event remind me of an essential truth: when I look at a situation with an expectation of how it should be, I have limited my availability to life to only one option – whatever expectation or belief I have. It means I cannot be available to what is. And it means I will be unhappy. In the Tantrik tradition, it means I am confused by illusion.

When I let go of my belief about how something should be different than it is, I can breathe. I can let go. I can be open. I can be with Truth. 

So now,  let’s be with what is.

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You Can’t See Me

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A colleague asked for my perspective.  “I want your view,” she said, describing a relationship issue. “You are touchy feely. You get this.”

I tried not to laugh out loud. I am not sure there are many people who would call me touchy feely. I hear the terms strong and confident alot, but not touchy feely.

But I would describe her as very touchy feely.  Which makes sense. “We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.” – Anaïs Nin

Yet, I don’t truly disagree with her perception of me. What I have learned is that while my egoic conditioning or personality may be defined and limited (e.g., I am THIS,  I am not THAT ), my true self is all possibilities.  I can be touchy feely. I like to express my love through touch. I am less expressive than some with my emotions so I let my actions be my Love Language.

What I know is that for all the times we crave being seen, what we mean is that we want to be seen for our ego and still be accepted and loved. I can’t crave being seen for my true self – it is infinite.  It is all possibilities.  You can never really see me unless you can see the divine. You can only see me as the word Namaste – the divine in me recognizes the divine in you. And when I glimpse that, it is a beautiful and miraculous thing.

Illusions: Assigning Meaning to Your Story

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Often, we believe in that narrative in our head. To keep our story going, we will go to great lengths to assign meaning to things. We assign meaning to things as a way of making our story true.

The best examples of the illusion of meaning are our favorite stories: The One, Falling in Love, and Meant to Be.

The One
The biggest illusion going right now is the one that says there is The One for us out there. This One will light us up and bring us to life. This One possesses unique gifts that will enrich my life and give it meaning. The One is you, your deepest truest you. There is no One necessary for that. It is you. You are your One.

Falling in Love
I am not sure why we talk about falling in love. It is more true for me to say I am in a state of love in relation to you. The object of my love is irrelevant. If I feel love, that is a pointer to me as a spiritual awareness. It reveals more of that. It is not triggered by another. There may be conditions that resonate with the needs and conditioning of the ego that make it easier to access. But that is still about me and my love. It is about my willingness to be open.

Meant to Be
Ah my favorite. This is the backwards illusion we tell ourselves when we struggle to accept what is. Everything is meant to be. There is no unique path we need to hand pick or interpret by the stars. What presents itself to us is what is meant to be. Our vibrations will align or not with what we see. We will let the energy of something flow or we will grasp and hold on. All that is presents itself so we can have peace and freedom – we get to experience peace and freedom no matter what life seems to look like.

For the sake of these illusions, I have held on to things that needed to be gone for a very long time. I make decisions by alligning with my true self now, and leaning where that takes me. If I move based on that inner alignment, what follows seems so obvious. So real. So true.

Story Time Is Over

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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.