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.

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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.

 

The Principle of Non-Interference

As a mom, my guiding principle is to direct my child as little as possible. She is in touch with her truth and my job is to get out of its way. I step in when I believe she is in danger, physically or emotionally.  But otherwise, I ask what my motivation is.

A week ago, when she had friends over, I asked her to help me set the table for breakfast. Her friends turned to her and said, “No let’s go play.” She hesitated and then went with them. The part of me that wishes for her to behave as I want was unhappy. But I realized I had taken her action personally and that I wanted control.  I took a deep breath and let it go.

An hour later, she came and hugged my legs. ” I am sorry, mom. I should have helped. But sometimes it’s hard to listen to that part of me and my love.” She recognized that she didn’t follow her truth and her love. She learned about the difference between her ego and her truth.

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Today, she chose a Halloween costume I don’t approve of – a black angel. But, true to Non-Interference, I let her try it on. I hoped she would not like it when she tried it on. The look of joy on her face when she saw herself in the mirror was disarming.  All hopes of seeing my beautiful child dressed as something cute and innocent faded.

Halloween is about exploring fantasy, shadow and whimsy. My child is loving, kind and gentle. Why wouldn’t she want to see what her shadow feels like? And what kind of spiritual love would I demonstrate by stopping her? Isn’t the divine in all things?  Isn’t it perfect that she sees that?
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On the ride home, she quietly confessed, “I didn’t think you would let me choose.  Thank you.” And she enthusiastically took my hand and hugged my arm.

My child will follow her truth. My job is to let her know it is ok to do that.  In that total acceptance of her, I accept what is. I am in a state of non-resistance and can see the perfection in what is. I see the flow, I see God.

And so it is.

Emptiness

As I meditated, everything dissolved into another plane. We sat across from each other, in a circle of energy.  We were neither man nor woman. Just energy greeting and recognizing each other, as we had many times. As we had across lifetimes. As we had across space and time.   We were in silence for a while.

“It is my desire for you to be happy,” I expressed.

“I am”, he returned. 

“I know, ” I said. Stirrings of sadness and longing were beneath the surface.  But there was also a sense of the bigger plan.

“I love you still,” I confirmed.  “That hasn’t changed. It never will. It never has. For lifetimes.”

“I know that too,” he said, smiling.  His energy softened.  “Can you let go?”

I paused. My essence knew the answer to be Yes. But some part of me was still holding on.

“I don’t want to,” I said, feeling a grip of sorrow. “Why must I?”

“Because that longing is not for me, and you are holding yourself back by holding on,” he said. His energy field projected more compassion and love.

I stayed with that for a moment,  for an eternity.

“You are creating separation,  you are keeping your self from union by holding on. Let go,” he coaxed. “You will find your longing fulfilled if you just let go.”

I know, my energy said. I know.

And then, softly and precisely, I just let go. There was a subtle shift in energy. He was gone, at least in that form. He was no longer different from me. There was no longer a “He” nor an “I”. Just a moment of “I Am”.  

“Let all these projections of mind fall away,” I knew in myself, “and return to this as truth in every moment. ”

When I awoke, the tears streamed silently. A profound healing had occurred. A seperateness in myself had been replaced with a doorway into wholeness. I could sense the joy of emptiness, and knew that the longing for God had somehow been realized.

Why does alone create fear in me?

When I was growing up, one of my chores was to call my grandmother everyday. I would be reminded of how lonely she must be by my mom. This would be reinforced by my nana, who would tell me some days she never opened her mouth to speak.

When I was older, I did my graduate research in nursing homes on the topic of loneliness.  I saw much sad loneliness and systems that perpetuated loneliness.  It was disheartening,  and as an empath,  I internalized much of it.

So now, I am an adult who has lived an enormously full life. It was in meeting a new person who was asking me about how I knew things I knew that I saw my life through his eyes: 10 years his senior, I had accomplishments,  relationships,  a child, abundance,  and incredible stories of what I’ve done in my life. 

I have said out loud I don’t want a traditional partnership,  although I do want a partnership.  And in clearing my consciousness to create openness,  I have to ask why I want what I want, while noting any fears as well.

I don’t fear being alone. I quite like it. I like creating alone, meditating alone. Relaxing alone. What I fear is the absence of the right person when I want to share. When I want to be in the company of beauty, love, humor, wisdom, compassion and consciousness.

I was asked if I was saying I wouldn’t or don’t always want to be in the company of beauty, love, humor, etc? And isn’t waiting for the ‘right’ person to share with attaching my ability to share with conditions outside of myself? If I believe the universe provides me with exactly what I need in the moment, why do I fear a moment where I think it will not provide?

All of that is true. It also summarizes my blockages. Because some part of me believes I will be sad and alone. Some part of me thinks I will suffer. Some part of me doesn’t trust or surrender. Some part of me feels utterly alone. I am blocked and blocking. I’m equally aware it is all untrue and that all is well.

I’d like to get past this ego barrier and flow. Saying it out loud helps. Noticing the fear helps. Noticing the repeated patterns of surrender and knowing my relationship to the universe is helpful. Remembering that all that happens is part of my path of consciousness is pivotal.

But…I would still like a hug.

Freedom, Love and Unlimited Potential

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“Mommy, one of my friends is afraid to say ‘love’. She calls it the L-word,” the pint sized priestess told me over breakfast pancakes, shaped like a heart.

“That’s too bad, ” I said, “Love is one of the most beautiful words there is.”

“No, I think freedom is a better word. And ice cream too,” she added.

I treated the ice cream comment as a self evident truth. “Why freedom?”

“Because you can do what you want. You don’t have to worry about rules, ” she told me.

“Hmm. Does freedom mean I can hit you if it feels good to me? Is that a rule? Or can I take something that’s yours?”, I queried as she shook her head No. “Maybe freedom and love are words that go together, ” I suggested.

“You know, maybe love creates freedom,” she said.

I stopped short, realizing there was a deep truth in that. She may have been playing with words but I think there is a key to freedom in what she said.

Philosophically, there is a balance between freedom and responsiblity. Often I idealize freedom as being unfettered by anything, including relationship. I feel at times as if my life has been characterized by trading freedom for safety and security. In fact, that belief is so strong inside me that it erupts like a volcano, evoking a need to do something impulsive and out of character (or maybe self image?) to prove I’m free. I find myself desiring complete and total change – trade in the house and car, move to a new country, live in a small village in Hawaii or the Caribbean teaching from my kitchen, drop all my Western world responsibility. And then I get frustrated by my inability (and possibly unwillingness) to have those circumstances instantly and therefore it means I’m trapped, not free at all.

Yet I know that true freedom is an inner place that is love. True consciousness is love, by nature. It accepts what is and does not grasp at conditions. Freedom is the antithesis of ego’s self image.

My teachers tell the story of a man who was imprisoned and learned meditation. He was offered parole, but rejected it, saying he was not ready. His friend asked him, “Don’t you want to be free?” He responded saying he was free but he hadn’t embodied unconditional love and acceptance yet. He felt he needed another year.

Freedom does not come through outer circumstances. It is only superficially about choices and relationships. It is about embodying our true consciousness, which can never ever be anything but free. What I crave is that feeling, that knowing, and it won’t come any more easily on a beach. I crave the knowing of unlimited potential, which is true freedom for me.

Perhaps that is why we represent freedom with the sky so often. Pictures of people with their arms open to the sky, or water blending into the horizon are metaphors for freedom, as are birds in flight. These are symbols of endlessness, the infinite. So possibly, we know in our collective consciousness that freedom is oneness with Consciousness. And Oneness is Love.

This is not an easy letting go for me. I awoke from a dream this morning where that need to erupt like a volcano was triggered by the dream. It took me an hour to move out of ego and back to conscious awareness. What I know is I’ve set the direction and that intent will manifest, persistently, surely, and in harmony with my true self. It is inevitable. Because I am unlimited potential.

So I Had a Bad Day

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What makes a bad day? For me, its when I step into mind and out of conscious awareness.  I begin to feed fear. Often a few deep breaths will get me out. Today mind has been very strong.

Today I am scared and feeling alone. I feel like a bad person. I feel overwhelmed. I feel like my ego wants things it can’t have and that I’m hurting people as I grow. I don’t believe in consciousness or law of attraction or in myself today.

A part of me knows this is all mind. I really do. But I am living in suffering and hell. My ego wants action! Make a change!  Get some adrenaline going by yelling or crying or being confrontational. My mind wants to just walk away and start again – move to a new city, start a new love affair. Or to intoxicate myself, numb myself and call it a search for higher consciousness.   I want to go back to codependency and to be taken care of by someone.  Except I can’t go back.  It isn’t me anymore.

I was reminded by my teacher that once a soul starts down its spiritual path, awakening and enlightenment is inevitable.  And since consciousness is not bound by space and time, it is possible to ask your enlightened self for guidance. To ask about the direction in which your energy should flow.

“What we love, we tend to. What we love, we nurture. What we love, we cherish. What we have faith in is what we live our life according to. What can you give to those deeper moments of clarity each day? What could you give over to them? How could you embody them in some small manner on any given day?” Adyashanti

When you have a bad day, this is when we need to nurture and love that spark. So I will find one little spark. One place in me that is open, even if all I am open to is being open. I will connect with my enlightened self and know that my soul will guide me, nurture me, embrace and cherish me.