Tag Archive | finding peace

The Stages of the Path

A spiritual path is not chosen.  It is given to everyone.  Every single one of us has the chance to journey inward to our highest self, or remain trapped in the machinations of the seemingly unfixable external world.  Honestly, I’m not comfortable with either, but the inward path, while currently quite painful, makes more sense to me than anything that unfolds in the world.

The first stage is recognizing that we are more than our bodies.  That part is easy.  Once our self-identified egos realize that we are open to the Truth beyond our personal selves, this is where it becomes treacherous.  Most of us abandon the path at the first sign of trouble.  That is okay.  Whatever you do or don’t do aligns perfectly with however the eventual awakening of the planet happens.  Do not worry one bit if going inward hurts too much because believe me, it does.  Maybe some day you will be ready, maybe some day you won’t, you are perfect right where you are at.  As much as I’ve tried to avoid going beyond the self, it hurts me more not to.  So, I keep going, one painful step at a time.  On to the next stage…

This is where you understand that there are two thought systems in your mind.  One that is full of judgment, blame, guilt, fear, comparison, lack…these all are personal self-ways to stay mired in the story of life.  The other thought system is LOVE.  This isn’t love in the traditional sense (as related to a personal self or selves).  This love doesn’t transform the outer world, this is the love that transcends it.  Very different.  This is the love that accepts the world exactly as it is because it is beyond the world.  This probably doesn’t make a lot a sense, that’s the trap built into it.  It seems to make no sense to keep the personal self denying the Truth. Even slightly entertaining the thought of something beyond the self might make you angry, upset or spark a myriad of malaise and maladies.  If it seems like too much trouble, then it is.  Let it go and if being a self in the world works for you, then keep going as you are.  Nothing to change, nothing to do, all is well.  However, if something inside you is recognizing even a tiny speck of the truth beyond the veil of the world, then you might make it your life’s work to consciously discern from the two thought systems in your mind.  If you do this, it is the hardest work you will ever do.  Your personal self will fight you tooth and nail.  It will be subtle, sneaky, overt, mean, seductive, and whatever else it can throw at you to keep you engaged in its story.  The personal self knows if you are outwardly focused on making the story of your life different, better, shinier… then you don’t have to do the work of letting it all go.

The next stage is the letting go part.  I’m not there yet so all I can write about is what I imagine this to look like.  This is where the thought system of love wins all the time.  There is no need or desire to change the self, the world or anyone or anything all.  This is where we are liberated from thinking we need to change anything about ourselves.  There is nothing wrong with us.  The only idea that is wrong is that we believe something that isn’t true.  We are more than our bodies.  Believing we aren’t is the source of all our pain, separation and angst.  However, I will say this again, if you are at peace with the story of your life and the world as is, it is okay to stick with it.  On the other hand, if something feels off or like you will never quite belong here, maybe consider the inward path.

I used to think that it was all up to me.  It’s not.  It is inevitable.  We all awaken in our own time and at our own pace.  This I know for sure.

“The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

-Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

The Floating Heart

The tiny girl sat on the step.

A wisp of wind blew her golden strands across her face,

Matted to her tears, she moved them aside with her hand.

She watched herself doing this but not from where she sat,

The tiny girl was somewhere else.

 

Her heart floated away when it became too heavy for her small body to carry.

This is how she coped when life broke her.

She had learned no one outside her had any answers.

Often, other people were more broken than she was,

The difference is she knew she was and she owned it.

She didn’t deflect her suffering onto others,

She held it in her small body until it was too much, and then,… she was gone.

 

She rested in Love while everything crumbled.

 

Her prayers were only for the realization that none of us are separate.

We are all branches expressing the deepest roots of Love.

 

When the tiny girl returned to her body, the suffering had not subsided, at least not today, maybe not tomorrow and maybe it never would.

 

This seemed to matter to her but somewhere beyond herself she knew that it didn’t.

Suffering seems to define a body’s experience but instead, it strengthens the soul.

 

When our suffering is so deep, so true, so beyond ourselves, this is when we begin our

journey Home.

The tiny girl’s ancient journey had started before she began.

She couldn’t alter the path even if she had wanted to.

It made her feel so alone until she understood it was teaching her True Connection.

 

But for now, all she had was the step she sat upon, the tears that would not cease and an unbearably heavy heart…

 

And in that instant, she floated away once more…

 

The Path of the Dragonfly

As you walk through the world do you ever notice signs?  While I consider myself to be spiritual, sometimes I’d prefer to take a walk and not be on the lookout for anything.  I’d rather be, than meticulously survey my surrounding for signs.  That’s how most of us are most of the time.

Lately, the universe seems to have a different plan for me.  I am being inundated with dragonflies.  They swarm me in parking lots, they swarm my car when I’m at a traffic light, they are constantly trapped in my screened-in patio.  I’ve seen illustrations of them everywhere, too.  I was in the post office today and there was a picture of a dragonfly!  I was shopping for clothes on-line (I don’t do stores), and a sweater I liked came in dragonfly blue.  I had a dragonfly trapped in my bedroom blinds that buzzed intermittently throughout the night.  I waited until daylight to see what it was, too afraid of what I would find during the night.  As I walked my dogs I came across a moving truck parked in a driveway in the middle of our path with a giant dragonfly on it.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  What is the universe trying to tell me?  What am I trying to tell myself? These are one in the same if you think about it.

The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self-realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life.

dragonfly-site.com

The changes unseen are the ones that matter.  I do not look different but I am different.

It’s time to follow the path of the dragonfly.

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The In Between

I am a mystic.  Before you get too excited that I carry the answers of the universe within my soul, well, I’m not that kind of mystic.  I’m more the ordinary soccer-mom variety that feels clueless most of the time.

Here’s a definition (courtesy of dictionary.com) I found that most closely represents my experience of being a mystic:

a person who claims to attain, or believes in the possibility of attaining, insight into mysteries transcending ordinary human knowledge, as by direct communication with the divine or immediate intuition …

I never set out to be a mystic.  And if I did, I’d certainly want to be the kind that has their sh*t figured out.  Instead, I’m the kind that perceives weird stuff that no one else does and I have to pretend I don’t for fear of… well, just plain fear.

For example, I see white light emanating from people and/or objects fairly regularly.  Sometimes, solid objects become fluid and wavy when I look at them.  I can intuit people’s moods and feelings often before they can.  The kicker with this is it’s usually the stuff they are trying mightily to avoid so when I speak about it, I appear to be talking about something that is completely irrelevant.  I spend most of my time trying to say the things that people want to hear instead of what they maybe need to hear.  If someone is sick, hurting or physically uncomfortable, I feel it.  Sometimes my body mirrors their pain and sometimes I feel a general sense of unease instead.  If I’m able to name it out loud that sometimes helps.  But it’s weird in certain situations to say, “Your knee hurts, doesn’t it?”  especially when it’s not a topic currently being discussed, so again, back to trying to talk about what is acceptable and not what I’m sensing.

I’ve lived my whole life this way, denying what I know to be true most of the time.

It’s possible all this weird stuff isn’t what sets me apart, but actually may be the path that is leading me to oneness.

So very often we think the ‘weird stuff’ about us is why we remain unloved.  That’s not true.  It’s simply an invitation to really see what is true in front of us.

Am I different?

Maybe.

All I know is that I can’t keep denying what my experiences are and I’ll see where it leads me.

Farther away from here or closer to there?

It’s the in between that makes no sense.

 

Floating

As I was lying on my yoga mat sprawled in the darkness surrounded by strangers, I started to float away.  Not my body of course, but the something else that is me, but isn’t me.  This wasn’t the first time this had happened,

Where do I go exactly?

Wherever it is there aren’t concepts or words. There is great fear and loss associated with these experiences.  However, if I open my mind and push it to its limit of comprehension, I may be more real when I’m gone then when I am on that yoga mat.

This random detaching from myself is why I no longer belong.  I have never belonged.  Chances are, if you are one of the two people reading this, you have experienced your own non-belonging moments.

There is a fissure in my soul that I keep trying to mend with answers.  In some ways, I have found my answers, but I don’t like them.  If I open myself up to the possibility that I am more than a body (and let’s be honest, if I keep floating away from it, I may need to seriously entertain the thought), I find a little freedom there.

The upside is, well, I haven’t found that yet.  The more I open myself to something beyond myself, the more I leave behind.  Whatever illusions I had of ‘finally finding my tribe’ as I embarked on my path are obliterated.  The deeper I go within, the farther I am from the world.

I am willing to find the truth of me.  I am willing to let go of the world to do so.

I am willing.  I am willing.  I am willing.

There is no guarantee that I will get the answers I crave.  Instead, I will get the answers I am ready to receive and find solace in the only place I have for shelter.

So, I continue to go within, float away and pray.

 

The Dogged Truth

Before saying a word, he [Ajahn Chah] motioned to a glass at his side. “Do you see this glass?” he asked us. “I love this glass. It holds the water admirably. When the sun shines on it, it reflects the light beautifully. When I tap it, it has a lovely ring. Yet for me, this glass is already broken. When the wind knocks it over or my elbow knocks it off the shelf and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’ But when I understand that this glass is already broken, every minute with it is precious.          

 – excerpted from FakeBuddhaQuotes.com

There is something to be said about our attachment to the way things are.  We believe that if our external world aligns properly with our personal preferences then peace will be achieved.  Perfect external alignment is an ephemeral concept at best.  Those fleeting moments of having our personal agendas manifested are the hook that keeps us from going inward.  Yet lasting peace never relies on the external.  Only by connecting to our deep inner truth do we find ourselves home.

I often find myself very attached to certain outcomes for my personal self.  I wished I looked better, felt better and that my favorite baseball team would win every single game they play.  Living this way does not work for me any more.  My attachment to outcomes is what is making me sick.  This sickness is physical, mental and spiritual in nature.  I am trying to learn another way.

When I walk my dog, who happens to be one of my favorite beings on the planet, I ponder my attachment to him.  It is precarious.  While he is healthy and spry for his age, at the center of my knowing I understand he will not live forever.  My personal self is quite distraught over this potential loss.  It was to a point where my anxiety about every little thing he did or did not do meant that the end was near.  I was making myself miserable and forgetting to be present with him in the now.

My attachment to him is still strong.  To counteract this I have opened a window in my soul.  This is where I let the reality of impermanence dance its way through me.  When I stay open and present with this truth, my attachment loosens a bit and I experience a loving flash of being in the moment.  Being in the moment feels so much better than stressing about an attachment or outcome.  There is no story about endings or beginnings, there is only grace.

My intention is to let grace guide me.  With grace attachments are not required and honestly, neither am I.

There is only truth.

Take Me to the River

I was strolling by myself in the woods one day when I happened upon a river.  Since I felt uncomfortably alone in the spot where I stood, I made my way out into the open air towards the gushing water.  The constancy and surging strength of the current comforted me.  It made me feel less alone.

You see my journey thus far had been harrowing.  It had felt like the faster I walked through the forest, the less progress I made.  It made no sense.  I made no sense.

But here, right next to this bubbling cadence of soul-cleansing water, I stopped my journey completely.

It was time to change my plan of action.  The new action plan required that I stop taking any action.

I only needed to be still.

The banks were rocky and appeared to be jutting and jagged in a way that was anything but inviting.  Since I could no longer take action, I was forced to sit. Once I sat down I noticed that the rocks were actually quite smooth.  They felt good against my crossed-legs and backside.  Given I was no longer making progress, I was happy that at least I was comfortable.

I sat in stillness for a long while.

The river called to me.

How does a river call you may wonder?  Not by words but by example.  A river is a river.  It never once in the whole dawn of its existence was anything other than a river.  That’s not to say it didn’t evolve over time. Sometimes it was massive in its force, other times it was slow and meandering. Still, it was always a river.

The river’s call was my invitation.  It was inviting me to join in its authenticity.

I liked that idea very much but I was afraid.

While I had been sitting in stillness, a crowd of people had gathered behind me on the banks of the river. These were the people I had been trying to find this whole time!  My journey was over…or so it seemed.

Somehow, the pull of the river was more powerful than belonging.

I made a choice.

I chose the river and simply waved goodbye to all the people I had so desperately wanted to see.

Of course I still wanted to be with the people.  That’s where it’s at, right?  We are taught other people are the ticket to loving ourselves.  It’s through their acceptance that we are able to have the courage to love ourselves.

But, I didn’t see it quite that way anymore.  Maybe the wisdom of the river was on to something.  Maybe if I could at least stick my toes in the water, I would no longer care about fitting in with anyone or anywhere.  I would let the strength of the river sustain me.

I knew this would be enough.

I quickly slipped off my hiking boots and peeled off my socks.  I admit there was still fear within my soul as I endeavored to place my toes into that rushing surface.  What if it’s too cold?  What if who-I-really-am is not enough?

I did it anyway.

Turns out, the river was everything I never knew I needed and more.  Turns out, I was already everything I never knew I needed and more.  The river and I were one.

I was emboldened by the joy that flowed through my body simply by connecting with this powerful source of authentic love.

I submerged both my feet.

I may have been alone but I felt more alive than ever before.

I was free.

I knew from that point on I was going to do whatever it took to express whatever was in my heart exactly in the moment that it would arise.  The approval of others and the search for belonging were over.

I was home.

As I continued to bask in the river’s love, something caught my attention.  Out of the corner of my eye I noticed another brave soul had joined me.  They said, “Seeing you in the river has given me the courage to put my toes in, too.  Are you sure it’s safe?”

I replied, “It’s 100% safe.  You are going to be your truest self when you are in the river.  It is the most sustained joy you can experience while being on earth.”

I could tell this was extremely tempting to them.  They asked more questions.  “But what if my friends and family don’t understand my truest self?  What if they leave me?”

In their eyes was the same fear I had experienced a few short moments before.  Instead of comforting them, I gave the truth.  “Your friends and family may not understand your truest self.  They may make fun of you, say hurtful things or when all is said and done, they may walk right out of your life forever.”

At hearing this, the near river adventurer became frozen with doubt.

Even though I knew they did not want to hear more of the truth, I continued. “I didn’t tell you that to stop you in any way.  All I can offer you is my example.  Here I am.  I am standing with both my feet fully submerged in the river.  I am free here.  I would love to have my family and friends join me, but now I know without hesitation that it’s okay if they don’t.  I have a feeling the ones that matter the most to me are going to honor my river journey.  In fact, the bravest ones may even join me.  All I can do is be me, be free and let them be.”

With that, I took my first giant step towards the other side of the river bank.

I didn’t look back.

Not even once.