THE MIRACULOUS GIFT OF GROUCHINESS

grumpyI used to be addicted to the opinions of others. I took my cue on how to feel about myself or what to think about my day, based on the reactions I got from everybody around me. If someone smiled at me first, I smiled back. (Nice person, upbeat day.)

If they frowned I took it personally, because I was sure it meant that either they were an asshole, or I was—depending on the situation. (Maybe you know what I’m talking about. Maybe you’ve responded to life in this same way once or twice.)

This despite a kick-ass spiritual life in which great wisdom and deep compassion flow quite naturally through me. I know people suffer. I know their responses to life say very little about me, and a great deal about how they perceive their own difficult circumstances. And I genuinely want to help ease that pain somehow.

But. Despite glorious light-filled meditation exercises in which I could feel all these things so clearly…go ahead and cut in front of me in the Starbucks checkout line and watch me go to that lightning-quick place of silent outraged judgment. I’m a jerk, you’re a jerk. Or vice versa.

But this approach to life has become too painful and too pointless to continue.

So lately I’ve been kicking the habit of looking to the behavior of others, to tell me how I should feel about myself, or my day. I decided I want to be truly confident about myself, exactly as I am. I don’t want to wait for anybody else’s approval in order to approve of myself.

Because actually that’s nuts. We all do it, we all take our cue from the responses of others—but it makes no sense at all to do that. Others are all wrapped up in their own forms of self-hatred and pain, and guess what: They are just as preoccupied with looking to the outside world on how to feel about themselves. Why would you want to base your own self-worth and happiness on that?

So I’ve taken serious steps to end my addiction to the reflections I get from others. I’ve checked myself into the most private clinic in the world, you might say—only one doctor, only one patient—and the therapy is to wear a Self-Love patch.

This is not some sort of self-esteem/affirmation thing. I’ve never found that kind of thing to truly work, have you? Not way down deep where it counts.

This Self-Love ‘patch’ goes beyond all that stuff. It releases little reminders of my own stupendously beautiful divinity into my bloodstream every so often throughout the day. Whenever I remember to do it, I pause in what I’m doing, and choose to feel my true identity as God’s love. I witness myself as being composed entirely of the sweetness of holy light. And I feel how fantastically right that feels.

I started doing this because I recognized it’s time for me to stand up confidently strong in my own being. It’s time for me to be of truly loving service to others, in the way my soul yearns to be. I want to be a beacon of strength and light for all.

And yet I know I can’t offer authentic love to others if I’m not feeling it for myself first. Because I can’t give it if I don’t have it—not really.

So I’m pausing to feel my own divine radiance a bunch of times a day.

And as my body-mind slowly gets used to this more truthful self-image, I’m noticing an interesting, unlooked-for side effect: The obsessive need to calculate my worth based on the random reactions of others is becoming far less powerful.

Like, far less powerful.

When somebody smiles at me first, I still smile back and automatically go to that same old happy-place: This is a good day. Nothing much has changed there yet. But here’s what is noticeably different:

Anytime somebody frowns, or is snippy, or in any way harshes my happy-buzz…I seem to bypass my usual reaction and go straight to the recognition that this person is composed entirely of God’s love. They are made of sweetly holy light.

This is not an exercise. It just happens.

(Well, sometimes I react first, and then it happens a few seconds later.)

But then the most heartfelt THANK YOU wells up in me. Thank you for reminding me of who you are in truth. It’s such an honor to hold this reminder for you…until you can remember it for yourself.

And that’s the part that blows me away. I’m totally touched and honored that this person entrusts me with the memory of their divinity on their behalf.

Think of it: Every asshole, every brusquely preoccupied person, everybody who treats you poorly…each one of them is only doing it to offer you the supreme honor of remembering their light for them.

In truth they don’t need the help. In truth, their light is self-evident and known by all. They’re just here to help you (and me) practice holding the reminder of it, so that our own light can shine ever more consciously and beautifully throughout the universe.

What a rich and joyous world this is.

So that’s today’s realization.

I can’t guarantee nobody will just plain piss me off, of course. That could happen. But for all the ones who spark this gorgeous recognition of holy light instead…my gratitude knows no bounds. Thank you.

NOTE TO SELF

secret doorNote to self: There isn’t a single thing I would change about you
Even if I could.

Everybody talks about unconditional love. And it sounds awesome.
It also sounds like nothing we actually know how to do.

How to give love unconditionally to others?
This is how.

When you can sit in the presence of your own darkest shadow
And see all the stuff about yourself that you hate,
Or fear,
All those things you find ugly,
Everything you’re secretly ashamed of…

When you can embrace your own shadow self
Including all its cringe-worthy elements,
When you can say to your darkest self—and really mean it:

‘There isn’t a single thing I’d change about you
Even if I could…
(Yes, I still don’t like the things I don’t like about you. That hasn’t changed.)
But my love for you is way bigger than any of your limiting beliefs,
Way more constant than any of your dreadful behaviors.
My love is bigger than those extra 15 pounds you refuse to lose,
Bigger than the way you snort when you laugh
Bigger than the scars you insist on carrying
From way back when you were little.
My love for you is completely unaffected by all that stuff.
I’m here for you, no matter what.’

This is unconditional love.
And the moment you feel it authentically for yourself, you will instantly recognize
This is the only kind of love that actually exists.
The rest of it is shadow-puppet love.
Placeholder love.
Something to kill time (and relationships) with
Until the real thing comes along.

Be the real thing for your own beautiful self.
This is not a selfish act.
Once you feel the real kind of love for yourself
It becomes clear how to give this gift to others, too:

Feel absolutely no need to change a thing about them.
Let them remain as flawed, as blind or annoying as they want to.
And love them anyway.
It opens you up to a world of joy.

ALL ROADS LEAD TO HOME

compass-roseA couple of years ago while strolling through the walled city of Old Jerusalem, I had a sudden realization:

“I” didn’t exist. I was not the busy person immersed in highly important doings, who I had always assumed myself to be. Surrounded by this noisy tourist throng, I suddenly experienced myself as a vast empty hole, an impartial and impersonal gap through which oceans of stunningly trivial stuff—past lives, present lives—poured forth.

It made me cry.

I’d been a seeker of enlightenment for a very long time. This shift in perception was exactly what I’d been aiming for, hoping for, all along. But the actual experience of sudden identity loss, coupled with the recognition that none of the things I cared about had any meaning at all…well it was more uncomfortable, more disturbing than I’d bargained for.

Part of me knew this realization would lead to the liberation I’d been craving—if I could only manage to hang onto it as a permanent state of awareness. But most of me wanted nothing to do with it. And so the recognition faded as quickly as it came.

I’ve really only ever dabbled in the Advaita Vedanta stream of enlightenment. I’ve watched videos and read books by a handful of excellent teachers, and tried to do as they suggested. Tried to look in the direction they pointed. Tried to figure out who was the “I” who was doing all that looking and trying. But in the end I really wasn’t particularly drawn by the promise of emptiness, or detachment: Too harsh. Too depressing. I wanted some other kind of peace.

And so life led me to the version of nonduality taught by the Everything-Is-One crowd: God Is. Nothing else is real.

It seemed, on the surface, to be an entirely different stream. A completely different road to freedom. It allowed for the existence of divine intelligence, and for unconditional love.

Sure, I would still have to render the world meaningless, and shed the personal identity—but I could do it in a way that seemed a little more happy-clappy. A bit more Kumbaya.

*          *          *

Over the past 10 years I’ve made my home in these more God-centric teachings, and they’ve been wonderful. They do indeed offer a slightly cozier and more comfortable place from which to pursue enlightenment. But I’ve also wandered freely onto other resonant paths, some related and some not. It’s been the combination of all these diverse teachings that seem to have collectively done the trick.

Case in point: In the weeks since divine love has taken up partial residence within (as described in the last post), the most amazing sort of full-circle Advaita-like thing has occurred: Suddenly I recognize the true eternal nature of everything. Without working at it. Without hunting for the “I” who is, or isn’t, busily searching for itself.

I seem to effortlessly see that everything in existence, including my own body-mind, is nothing but smoke and mirrors. Insubstantial puffs of steam—each looking unique and different and utterly believable on the surface—yet so obviously arising out of the one undifferentiated sea of existence from which everything springs.

Yep, that’s the same sea of existence that I previously identified as an empty gaping hole, devoid of identity or meaning. Which seemed so disturbingly freaky two years ago. Two years ago it had all seemed so…unloving.

Because I was so unloving in my witnessing of it. Funny how that works.

Back then, I experienced emptiness through a very startled and reluctant human mind. Yet seen through the gentle eyes of divine love instead, the experience of that empty hole is quite different now than it was the first time around. This time around I like it. The sea of existence, it turns out, is actually pretty cool.

That may sound kind of hard to believe. But trust me, it’s way more fun to bask in that, than to stew in the raggedy old identity I’d always previously thought of as me. I find it both comfortable and comforting now, to enjoy brief visits into my own pristine, limitless nature, where my only identity is that of the eternally holy now moment.

The antics of the personal identity are still here to be enjoyed (or endured) like a rambunctious puppy—but formless awareness is my undeniable home. I haven’t yet brought my overnight bag with me, but I have no doubt where my home lies. Even if I’m only currently staying in it for brief periods at a time. The truth is always true, even in extremely short snippets.

There’s plenty I don’t know. Tons I haven’t realized. Loads of misperceptions that have not yet been released and transformed into light. I certainly don’t claim any special state of being. And if you have any question at all in your mind about whether or not I’m wafting around in an abiding state of rainbow-unicorn-transcendent-awareness…talk to my husband. He’ll set you straight.

But there are some definite things I now know to be true. Beyond any doubt.

*          *          *

Advaita Vedanta is a wonderful path. So is Buddhism, which I practiced for 20 years before that.

And. Speaking only for my own highly subjective self, it wasn’t until I let divine love come and take up residence within, (an effect of following the Everything-Is-One path taught by A Course In Miracles and others) that I was somehow freed up to recognize formless emptiness as the one true underpinning of all existence. I have no opinion on the comparative merits of each of these teachings I mention. I’m not playing favorites here. I’m just pointing out that I haven’t really seemed able to get to those realizations by following any one single path or teaching. I seem to need that blend.

These differing streams have all worked for me in beautiful harmony, like the threads of a tapestry. Squiggly on the backside, but—surprise!—coming together into a cohesive picture on the front.

Maybe that’s just me.

But if my strange and wiggly path rings a bell for you too, then I would offer this advice:

Try not to be insistent about what your path is supposed to look like. Trust in the wisdom of your higher Self, which is always ultimately in charge of the journey.

No matter how random the roadtrip might seem at times…no doubt the universe—and your own experience of its divine perfection—is unfolding as it should.

(Hum uplifting Desiderata choir music here.)

Sooner or later every road leads home, is what I’m saying. Of that much I’m certain.

YOUR BODY IS PERFECT

chakra-expandedThis morning, as is often my habit, in between the tooth brushing and the hot shower, I had a shit. It was an unremarkable shit, really. Hardly worth blogging about. I only bring it up because Steve opened the door unannounced and wandered into the bathroom mere moments after the flush. And as I stood in the shower, I noticed my own reaction. I felt slightly…responsible. Like I’d encroached a little bit on his right to a stink-free existence.

For me, the shower is always a juicy place of divine inspiration. So I went inward and investigated that slightly nonsensical feeling of shame. And then I turned my face toward divine Source for further illumination.

The message that came in response was immediate and direct—and although some of the details pertain to me, it’s clearly addressed to humanity as a whole. So here it is, without added commentary, in its somewhat startling entirety. Enjoy.

Your body is perfect. Your body is an indivisible part of a perfect system of creation, chosen by you. It is not an accidental byproduct of blasphemy.

 You are a unique individuation of the one Creator. At the inception of the soul, each human is gifted with a vertical column of light originating from divine Source. It is part of the non-physical aspect of the human body; the light runs vertically up the center of the physical body structure. This stream of light goes constantly with you, it is yours. It contains the full knowledge of your own individual aspect of divinity, your own true identity, and all the love that heaven holds for you. You couldn’t lose it if you tried—and you have indeed tried. Very hard.

 Your body is also gifted with a system of energy centers, a sacred octave, each one vibrating at its own unique frequency. Everything in your world, your universe, is composed of energy in motion. The body is no exception. Everything is vibration, operating at various frequencies from very low to very high.

 Unconditional love is a vibrational frequency—a very high one. If you want to embody the state of unconditional love (and you say that you do) it is merely a matter of raising your own energetic frequencies high enough to be compatible with it.

 You’ve been rapidly “climbing the ladders” from one frequency level to the next, of late. As a result, you fleetingly experience yourself as an undifferentiated field of unconditional love, indivisibly one with all that is.

 And you are asking: What holds me back from fully embodying the state of unconditional love? What holds me back from releasing the small self and choosing divinity as my true expression on this plane?

 This is it. This is what holds you back.

The body is a vehicle of divinity. It was always designed to be so.

Yes, it has uncomfortable urges, inconvenient needs. It shits, it farts. It ages and breaks down in various ways. It demands sexual or other forms of gratification at inopportune moments. Even so. The body is an intrinsic part of the package. It is your divine vehicle. Your gateway.

 But humanity has never seen it that way. It has instead overlaid a complex system of collective agreements onto the body: The body is dirty. Its requirements of elimination are shameful. Menstrual blood, which is nothing more than the neutral shedding of the uterine lining, is especially taboo in virtually every culture.

 And then there are the agreed upon ideals of physical beauty, and the immense pain of self-abnegation that comes with falling short of that ideal.

 Shame and hatred for your own physical vehicle is deeply woven into the human psyche—and therefore into the cells of the body as well as the vibratory field you emit. If you could only see the eternal magnificence of the body’s true energetic potential, you would clearly recognize the enormity of your error.

 The light of heaven can only be metabolized and brought to earth through a body that has been wholly forgiven by the self, a body that is cherished and recognized as a sacred part of all that is. Even though its shit may continue to stink. Even though it may sprout gray hairs in increasingly unlikely places.

 World religions and cultures have promoted the idea of body shame and hatred, in part as a way of keeping you from discovering your own divinity. Make no mistake: There is no more surefire way of blocking full expression of the divine AS you, than by refusing to witness the body in the truth of its perfection. It is the gateway to heaven on earth. To lock the gate and bar the door is to simply never experience that holy union.

 Do you wish to free yourself of your history, dear one, and unburden yourself of all your negative beliefs about the body?

(Yes.)

Then rest now, in the divine light that I Am. And release every belief you’ve ever held about your own body, positive or negative. Empty out all the misinformation from your cellular memory. Let there be no interpretation at all, of what your body is. You have no idea of what your body is. Remain empty, and let yourself be shown.

(I did this. It felt…very unusual.)

Thank you, dear one. This is a process of letting go, and you have begun it. Your One Self rejoices.

THE TERRORIST IS WITHIN

jailbird-withinThese days I can’t help but notice the vast number of unconscious agreements we all make with each other throughout our lives. We make them between individuals, between families, between nations. Not all of these agreements are bad things, of course; some of them are meant to keep the world running smoothly.

It’s just that these agreements we make are…well…unconscious. Nobody is reading the fine print before signing these contracts. And because we unknowingly sign up for these agreements, we’re unaware we have other options. It all feels like it’s out of our hands. A done deal.

And of course, many of these unconscious agreements are not intended to provide harmony or stability for the good of all mankind. Quite the opposite.

Which brings me to the topic of terrorism. It’s on my radar screen right now because I leave for Bali in a couple of weeks—just as Indonesia is heating up once again as a potential terror target.

The point of terrorism is revealed in the name; no secrets there. A few people can create a very large effect in the world, by carrying out acts designed to shock and traumatize its citizenry. The point of their effort, obviously, is to instill terror.

Except nobody is forced to feel terrified in response. Nobody is forced to feel unsafe, outraged, horrified or angry.

It’s only the unconscious agreement we all signed that says you should respond in this way. That guy over there did something horrifying; therefore I have no choice but to respond with horror. But is that really true? Are there no other options? And is horror really the most appropriate or useful response to a horrifying act?

There are any number of large public institutions and corporations throughout the world today that profit greatly from mass fear. Too many to name, really. (No point in getting angry about that, by the way—we’ve all signed the contracts that allow for it.)

What do you suppose would happen if, one by one, we all sat up, rubbed our sleepy eyes, and then erased our name from those contracts that agree to uphold mass fear? There’s nothing preventing it, you know.

Terror is a two-part agreement: One – Somebody does awful, shocking things.

And Two – You agree to feel terrified. The actual terror happens within you.

This was a pact made innocently, of course. You were sound asleep when you agreed to it. Nevertheless, this is the two-part structure that allows terrorism to work. It’s only through your participation and mine that terrorism is able to make a complete circuit. So when enough of us start withdrawing our consent from that arrangement, the whole structure soon collapses.

You can choose to withdraw your participation and unplug from the terror machine any time you want. Well, that’s what I’ve chosen to do, anyway. I look at the work of ISIS, and I’m not responding to it with fear anymore. So now there’s one less person completing that circuit.

I’m not immune to the invitation to fearfulness that ISIS is sending out. I recognize they’re doing plenty of things I can be afraid of, if I want to be. But I’ve consciously decided not to attend that party. How quickly do you suppose terrorism would fade as a viable tool for world manipulation, if more and more people simply refused to RSVP to that fear invitation?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Draining terrorism of its primary food is an important start, but it’s not an actual solution. It still implies that there’s an enemy that must be vanquished. So I’m personally going way beyond simply unplugging, because I know how energetic intention and vibration work.

Energetically speaking, the action of unplugging alone still contains the vibration of Us versus Them. It means I’ve found an efficient way of bringing terrorism to its knees—but this vibratory Us versus Them intention is the very thing that keeps the whole unhappy dance of terrorism locked in that same old perpetual motion machine of victim and victimizer, of revenge and one-upmanship.

So for a change, I’m quitting that, and instead trying what truly works: I’m standing up to squarely face the terrorists responsible for the many acts of terrible violence all over the world. And I’m refusing to judge. I simply stand firm as I hold them in my unflinching gaze. And as I face them I consciously radiate the love that I am.

The love I radiate is agenda-free. It doesn’t seek to annihilate any structures or institutions. It doesn’t seek any outcomes at all—if it did it wouldn’t be authentic love. Love sees only the perfection that it knows itself to be. It doesn’t insist that anybody has to change. And that’s a good thing, because trying to force anybody to change never works. Not really.

Authentic love is the technology of the spiritual badass: By seeing no enemies anywhere, love works to unravel fearful mass agreement, and detangles the energetic bonds that hold things like terrorism in place. Don’t ask me how. I just know that it does.

What?!, shouts the mind. No judgment for such terrible acts? Unthinkable!

Yes, I know. The mind doesn’t get it, and it never will. The mind wants you to believe that non-judgment of terrible things makes you a co-conspirator. The mind believes refusal to engage on the same old battleground means you’ve turned your back on the victims, and now you condone, or even applaud the terrible things that terrible people do.

But that just isn’t true. It’s time to put the arguments of the mind aside, because frankly they don’t work. Fighting enemies just brings on more of the same. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Contracts that call for fighting fire with fire can easily be broken.

So forget the arguments of the mind. It’s time for something different. This is a job for the ultimate superhero: The heart. The limitless transformational power of unconditional love is one of those paradoxical things that the mind can’t seem to figure out. But the heart, the very seat of spiritual bad-assery…well it just knows.

So I’m grateful to ISIS, in a way, for this beautiful opportunity that has arisen on my personal radar screen. It gives me the chance to discover more of who I am in truth. More chance to experience the unconditional love that I am, in action.

If spiritual bad-assery is a technology that appeals to you too, I invite you to respond to ISIS with open-hearted, agenda-free love instead of fear. If you’re inspired to join my party of one, feel free to RSVP to this invitation instead of theirs. You know where to find me.

A Tree Grows in Dorset

tree wingsActually, lots of trees grow in Dorset—England is a very green and beautiful place. But this particular tree sprouted only a few nights ago, and it may well be the first of its kind. This is a tree of freedom. A tree of safety for all.

••

Here’s one way of describing the human condition: Each of us lives in our own little fairytale cottage, and all of these cottages are set in a beautiful forest. We all deeply love the forest. Our ancient family roots are there.

But we’re each sealed up in our own little house. There’s no door to the outside. And the windows are coated with the grime of 10,000 years, so no light gets in. We long for a view of the forest, our true ancestral home—but we can’t see a damn thing out those windows.

So we spend all our time looking through magazines, tearing out beautiful pictures of forests instead. And then we tape them up over the windows and pretend the view is real. When those images yellow with age, we tape new ones over top.

It’s just what we do.

And yet it doesn’t satisfy. Magazine pictures don’t smell like a forest. Birds don’t make their home in them. Putting up pictures (an activity designed to alleviate the ache of homesickness) actually makes the pain worse.

I got bored with putting up pictures long ago. I wanted to be able to see the forest outside my window. So over the past few decades I’ve been persistently clawing away at the crackly, yellowed scotch tape that holds those magazine pictures in place. Layer after layer, the old faded pictures were removed. Every so often I would take a break from this activity, and run to a different window—the one in my office, say—and put a new picture up.

It’s a habit that’s very deeply ingrained. It took some concentration and effort to learn how to stop doing it.

In recent years, most of my windows were now no longer covered with magazine images. There was still sticky goo from mountains of ancient Scotch tape around the edges, and a few torn corner fragments still remained here and there. But the false pictures themselves had mostly been taken down.

This didn’t mean I was then able to see the forest outside. All I saw was the impenetrable grime that caused me to put up pretty pictures to cover it up in the first place.

So now I was severely bummed out by the view. Poor me. All that hard work for nothing. My windows were so dark and ugly, and I was no nearer my goal of seeing what was outside. Seemingly.

But of course that wasn’t true. The decision to stop wallpapering over the grime is itself a huge step in the right direction. Taking down old pictures is a necessary start. But what now? I looked around at all my grimy windows and sat down on the floor in a puddle of tears. After I stopped sobbing (a year or two later) I looked up to notice a beautiful, luminous, heavenly gift had been quietly placed by my side.

It was a mop and a bucket.

The window grime was my own. I put it there, and I was the only one who—with divine help—could remove it. It was time, clearly, to get busy and clean my own damn windows.

A funny thing happens when you start to clean your own windows. Even though you’re focused on washing the window glass, the outlines of a door start to automatically appear all by themselves, over there where only a blank wall had been before.

The door was always there. You just couldn’t see it, for all the shmutz on the windows. The light was just too dim.

••

So all this talk about grimy windows (and reappearing doors) is all well and good…but what does that actually mean, to clean your own windows? What does that look like in practical terms, and why bother doing it?

First off, this is why it’s important to attend to one’s own grimy windows before doing anything else: If the world outside my window seems to fall off its collective bicycle—yep we’re introducing yet another metaphor into the mix—gashing its knee and howling with shock and pain, it’s my own wound that actually needs attention first.

I won’t be able to correctly perceive anything about the world’s so-called knee injury unless I’m willing to address my own throbbing knee, right where I am. Because in truth I wouldn’t be seeing a bike wreck in the first place, if I hadn’t first pasted a picture of it on my grimy window. It’s me who needs the paramedics.

Those of us who want a clear window view, bless our hearts, we tend to try and scrub down the outsides of the windows first. Fix the problems we see ‘out there.’ But we’re not on the outside, so we can’t get at them. Besides, in truth the outsides of the windows are sparkling clean. They just look dirty from in here.

Everything depends on cleared perception. Because as long as my windows are grimy and covered with magazine pages, all I’m actually looking at is a picture of a bike accident.

But as my own injured knee responds to my loving attention and care, I’ll be better able to recognize what (if any) action should be taken to help heal the ongoing bicycle mishap that seems to be happening out there. Until my own knee is attended to, outward efforts to fix the pain of others don’t mean a damn thing. Not really.

So I’ve been patiently cleaning my own windows first. Taking responsibility for the distorted lens through which I view myself and my world. And here’s what that means:

I’ve been welcoming in my own stuff, my own uncomfortable baggage. Not necessarily to try and fix it. I invite it in so I can accept it, just as it is right now. All that stuff I dislike about myself—the stuff I judge, the stuff that brings me pain, fear and frustration—I’m not suppressing it, or wallpapering over it anymore.

I’m not fighting with it or denying it. I’m letting all those discarded, rejected bits of myself come back and be seamlessly reintegrated as newly remembered, newly loved and respected parts of my one indivisible self.

I’m cleaning and kissing that infected gash on my own knee, as it were, before even trying to bandage the giant, collectively wounded knee I seem to see out the window. And ever since I started doing that—instead of focusing my attention on the wreck outside—the changes have been profound.

••

It dawned on me not long ago, in one of those spectacularly mundane DUH moments, that instead of working hard to get my own needs met first, and only then helping all others—my spiritual and worldly method of operation up until this point—I could simply focus on meeting the needs of all beings, for the highest good of all.

Why? Because ‘all beings’ includes me. (DUH.)

When the highest good of all is my firm intention, my own highest and best needs for safety, survival, love and all the rest of it, are automatically met—just as everybody else’s are. Not only that… my own life is bound to be that much safer and more beautiful if everybody in it is happy and released from pain, too. Right?

So why wouldn’t I choose to live in this way? What the hell took me so long?

••

A few nights ago I was reflecting on the whole idea of fear. Recognizing that it all boils down to a simple desire for safety. All those terrible things we do, all the awful effects out in the world, are really just cries in the dark. We all just want to feel safe. I just want to feel safe.

And all of a sudden, a shaft of very clear light shone through one of my less grimy windows. And I realized: I can do something about that. For the highest good of all—and therefore for myself.

On behalf of all beings, I open myself to receive the fearful anxieties and terrified emotions of the entire world. All of the pain and misperception, all of the naked hunger for peace and safe harbor—including my own. Bring it. I welcome it all gladly. And let a heavenly recycling plant operate as me, through me, allowing all universal pain and fear to be dissolved, transformed and purified within. And let my smokestacks belch infinite pristine peace and healing back out into the world, for all eternity.

And you know what? When I set that intention, when I agreed to stop screwing around inside the cottage, and finally try my hand at stepping out the door to take on my true job description…my own remaining fears and anxieties melted away. And for that moment at least, I experienced myself as not only being outside in the forest—I was the forest itself.

I am the forest.

Or at least, in practical terms, I’m a single tree—quietly absorbing the world’s pain and fear, and allowing heaven’s divine essence to perfume the atmosphere via my branches, leaves and flowers.

Imagine what the world might be like if lots of people were doing that same thing.

I’m not actually ‘doing’ anything, by the way. It’s all done for me, through me. As me. My only job is to let the process take place. And that’s amazingly easy to do. It’s only the decision to do it, that seems so ridiculously hard.

The world can use a few million-billion more of this kind of tree. Don’t you think?

So let every day be Arbor Day. And if you feel inspired, consider this your invitation to come on outside and rediscover the forest. Smell the fresh air. Dance in the sunlight. And maybe decide to be the fantastically beautiful tree of divinity you were always born to be. For everybody’s sake. For the highest good of all—which definitely includes your own.

— Carrie is the author of 3 books. Her latest, Tastes Like God, will be released July 30, 2015.

A Year without Fear: GOING STEADY WITH GOD

going steadyThere’s a scene in Private Benjamin where Goldie Hawn enters an army recruitment office and is shown a beautiful, slick brochure on the benefits of modern military life. She’s so impressed, she enlists right on the spot.

But when she arrives at bootcamp in Mississippi, she’s confused: Quonset huts. Latrines. What the hell? This is definitely not what she signed up for.

“I think there’s been a mistake,” she tells the drill sergeant. “I joined the other army. You know, the one with the condos, and the private rooms.”

•          •          •

Asking to know spiritual truth is a lot like that. The brochure looks great, and plenty of us sign up for it right there and then. But it’s never what we think it’s going to be. We imagine a perfected “spiritual self” who never gets upset, never has issues. A luminous, blissful peace-bunny spreading divine love and joy to a thankful world.

The truth, it turns out, seems so distastefully alien by comparison to our spiritual fantasies—so upside-down from everything we think we want—that it’s damn near impossible to stand still long enough to even consider it.

At least, that’s how it’s been for me. For years I’ve been patiently shown the truth over and over, and over again. I’ve seen it in videos, I’ve read it in books, I’ve witnessed it in visions. It shows up in my email inbox.

But each time I’ve brushed it away.

Because that’s not the truth I signed up for. I wanted the one with the condos.

•          •          •

I really want to know God. It’s been an unstoppable urge for a while now. In the last post I spoke of being in the goodnight-kiss-at-the front-door stage of my relationship with God—but the desire to go all the way, so to speak, is a craving that seems to emanate from the depths of my soul. It’s really my one great desire.

And that’s a fairly uncomfortable predicament to be in, when the only way to know God is to get with the program and agree to accept the irritatingly, disappointingly unacceptable truth of existence:

There’s nothing to fix. Nothing to teach. Nothing to learn, and nothing to heal.

Everything is perfect exactly as it is right now, because everything and everybody is composed entirely of God. Joined in perfect oneness with God. No matter what things look like, and no matter what disastrous effects those things may seem to be having on your life, or the world…innocence and safety, love, peace and joy are the only things going on in truth.

 There’s nothing to accomplish or do. You already have it, and ARE it. Stop striving to be better. Stop yearning to wake up. Stop trying to escape from your perfectly imperfect circumstances. Your job is just to be. Recognize you don’t know anything about anything. Refuse to judge anything you see. Have faith that it’s all innocent. Disbelieve everything your mind tells you, and instead walk through life snuggled deeply, blindly, trustingly in God.

 There is no “you,” no spiritual self who can heal the world. You can’t bring love into this world—bodies can’t bring love to other bodies. You can only see through the illusions this world of bodies presents to you, and find your one true love in God.

 

Needless to say, I had some wee issues with all that—particularly the business about there being nothing to heal or fix or teach. Also the bit about being just dandy, thank you very much, exactly as I am right now. Come to think of it, I’m not crazy about big chunks of the truth, to be honest. My mind is still spluttering its indignation.

But I got sick of seeing the truth gauntlet thrown down in front of me every time I turned around. And even sicker of stepping daintily over it, pretending it wasn’t there.

•          •          •

Last night, before falling asleep I finally agreed to drop my resistance to the truth (despite its distasteful appearances), and to try joining fully with All-That-Is.

But on one condition.

A prayer, of sorts: You know everything about me, my thoughts, my beliefs. You’re there when I fart. You’ve seen me have sex. But I know nothing, really, about you. Give me a hint. Show me how you see things. Help me know you better.

I slept as I normally would, dreaming about nothing in particular. But then I woke in the early morning with a strong sense that I was in the presence of a huge entity of some kind. It was vast, deep, powerful. It felt thoroughly benign. No…more than just benign: It was wholly suffused with God.

I felt I ought to recognize who or what this entity was. It seemed somehow familiar, yet I couldn’t quite place it. And then suddenly I realized:

Oh. My. God. This is the devil.

I was seeing Satan—as viewed through a completely sane mind.

•          •          •

Well, I asked for an example of God’s truth. That was a pretty good one.

Alrighty then.

A radiantly gentle, spotlessly innocent Satan is pretty clear testimony to the fact that I know abso-freaking-lutely nothing about anything. (Not to mention that my lifelong terror of the supernatural is a pointless joke.)

If the devil is perfectly, luminously innocent, you might ask…then what the hell isn’t?

That’s a very good question. Oops-a-daisy. I may have made a teensy mistake here, wasting my time judging and condemning everything and everybody, 24/7…

Because, apparently I’m entirely wrong about everything. I mean, like, ENTIRELY wrong. About EVERYTHING.

Which means my distaste for God’s truth is probably all wrong, too.

Probably. In all likelihood.

•          •          •

So it’s looking like God might be marriage material after all. Possibly it’s time for me to get serious, and stop playing hard to get.

I guess I’d better start picking up the phone whenever the truth calls, instead of letting it go to voicemail. Because I suspect we’ll probably be seeing a whole lot more of each other from now on.

 

A Year Without Fear: LOVE IS A THING WITH WINGS, DAMMIT

thing with wingsIn my chosen spiritual ocean, I’ve spent many a pruney year dog-paddling in circles around the idea of unconditional love. It’s an authentically healthy love (I’m told), one that offers complete freedom and true healing to all who experience it. And all, apparently, are equally worthy of it.

It’s a beautiful theory. And to practice unconditional love feels totally great as an abstract exercise—always performed on my own terms, of course, and only when I’m in the mood for it.

But in real-life daily practice? Where it actually counts? I’ve barely dipped a toe into that pool. I’m talking about real, true, healthy unconditional love. I want to see how it applies on a blood-pumping individual, interpersonal human level—you know, the one where we actually live.

What does truly healthy love even look like? I mean seriously—I want specific personal knowledge of how it works. How it feels to do it. (This is where the spiritual books all scurry forward to fill the experience gap, flipping open to well-thumbed pages:

Healthy love, they inform us, is given freely and without a need to get anything in return. It’s a love that holds no creepy crawly strings or hidden clauses: I’ll love you IF. Healthy love is our true identity, they say. We become whole as we remember our own wholly loving nature.)

Yes, I know all that. But I’m tired of letting book-knowledge substitute for lived experience. There’s no liberation in it.

 

•          •          •

 

These days, I’m all about bringing my own interior darkness to light. Historically, some areas have always seemed darker and more persistently painful than others. They refused to go away, so I told myself they were beyond my power to heal or transcend.

But I’ve grown bored with telling myself the lie that I’m helpless to transcend my own crap. In fact I’m not the slightest bit helpless, and never was. (No one is.) In my mostly unconscious misuse of my infinite God-given creative power, I have created my own suffering entirely by free-will choice. I accept this truth; I own it, I take responsibility for it. And having recognized and embraced this unlimited creative force within, along with its unconsciously crappy effects, I am therefore free to un-create those effects anytime I choose.

So there was this black hole of self-hatred and unworthiness that I spoke about last time. I reported that it had miraculously healed all by itself. But I didn’t tell you that in the months leading up to that profound transformation, I had chosen to shine a light into that deeply unconscious black hole for the very first time, to see what was in it.

(A black hole is not a place that readily accepts illumination, by the way. And nothing can escape from it. Which was why I had never seemingly been able to touch its interior in all my years of trying. Until I finally recognized the black hole’s existence depended solely on my permission. I had created it, and my choice to let it endure was the only thing holding it in place. It behaved as a black hole would, in other words, until I saw I was bigger than it was. Upon realizing my own power over it, I found I was suddenly able to access its secrets, because I had granted myself entry.)

Upon examination, I saw that the black hole was a sort of a cosmic bucket without a bottom. And forever falling through that bottomless bucket was a tiny, terrified self in search of a worldly identity. A ‘me’ that was unable to offer itself the smallest crumb of love or compassion. A self that fruitlessly searched the external world for evidence of its own lovability and worth. But even when that evidence showed up, there was no ground to hold it. No matter how desperately the small self grasped at those bits of external validation, nothing could stay. It all fell right through the hole.

That black hole was the very essence of neediness and terror.

We are told in spiritual practice—and in every self-help guide ever written—that real love is within. And it’s clearly true. Real safety, real peace, real wholeness and real validation can’t possibly come from anybody but the self. Trying to get any of those things from another person (who, let’s face it, has their own black hole to deal with) is, in the immortal words of George Carlin, like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.

It has to be an inside job. The external approach simply can’t cut it. But I knew no other way. I tried doing what the spiritual teachers said. I really did.

I looked very hard for a very long time, searching determinedly within for all that juicy good stuff.

But the black hole just couldn’t love me back.

 

•          •          •

 

I’m married to a gorgeous guy who is delighted to be married to me, and isn’t shy about telling me so. I luxuriate in his loving approval. I know exactly how lucky I am.

He and I find ourselves participating in spiritual retreats together fairly often, either as presenters or attendees.

Retreats are funny things. Due to the nature of the exercises involved, everybody wanders around with wide-open hearts. Beautiful souls who are often starved for true communion (with the Self!) gain temporary nourishment from the next best thing: In the safety of the retreat setting, we all let glimmers of our true beauty out. A bunch of magnificent open-hearted angels, holding up shining mirrors to one other. And everybody falls a little bit in love with everyone else’s light.

Is this a problem? No, of course not. It’s beautiful. It’s an honor to participate in it. But the needy Black Hole Troll has been known to have an issue with it now and then—like when the husband’s light gets admired a little too much, if you know what I mean. Or vice versa.

But how much is too much? Degrees of anything is a fool’s game. I know better. Trying to manage something by degrees is a slippery slope that leads directly toward suffering and away from liberation. There are really only two choices: There’s either healthy, authentic unconditional love (which has no degrees, and means total freedom is extended to the spouse, to give and receive love as he sees fit)—or there’s guaranteed darkness and pain.

I’m not talking about monogamy or fidelity, here, by the way. That is a closely related subject, only because we humans who are so starved for authentic light and purity of love, often confuse its beauty for the kind we’re more familiar with. And then complications ensue. But that’s a topic for some other blog post.

Right now I’m just talking about my own exploration of the perceived danger, the extreme threat that seems to rear its head when a loved one is allowed in fullness, as a sovereign being, to receive love or express open-hearted admiration for the light of others.

Last month, the husband and I attended a retreat workshop at a beautiful monastery in Israel. Our group took over the entire monastery. The only other person staying there at the time was a lovely woman on a personal silent retreat, who spent her days in walking meditation out in the garden.

She did nothing to call attention to herself. She wore no makeup, her hair was pulled back in a simple low ponytail. She wore plain white cotton shift dresses and flat shoes. She was the essence of humility. The women in our group (if they noticed her at all) saw her and smiled at her lovely simplicity, and then gave her no second thought.

The men in our group zeroed in on her like flies to honey, like moths to a candle flame. They obsessed over her, speculating about her, telling themselves and each other stories about her presumed state of elevated ethereal awareness. Some of them even followed her around and made general pests of themselves.

Observing her effect on all of the men, yet none of the women, I would ordinarily be inclined to call it a simple case of pheromones, dressed up in spiritual claptrap. Except for the effect she had on my husband.

The first time he saw her, he didn’t actually see her. He was facing me, and his back was turned to her as she walked quietly past our group. He nearly fell off his chair, swiveling to see who it was that possessed such a powerfully tranquil vibration of stillness and peace. Screw the workshop. He wanted more of that.

I didn’t like it a bit. And I wasn’t entirely sure why. What possible threat was it to me—I mean really? I did quite a lot of conscious spiritual work around it while it was all going on. But I admit it, I was not crazy about Stillness Girl’s effect on my darling spouse.

It wasn’t until days after we’d left the monastery behind that I realized why. Steve and I were playing hooky that day, relaxing on beach chairs beside the Sea of Galilee while everybody else was being carted around on a tour of the area. I was deep in thought on my beach chair, sitting with crossed legs as I often do, one foot swinging rhythmically in tempo with the noise in my head. Steve gently put a hand on my leg to stop its incessant motion, before sitting down on his own beach chair. And as he did it, a flash of insight showed me what the hell my problem was. What it had always been.

I am not still. I don’t exude profound tranquility. If I walked behind you, trust me, no swiveling would occur—not for that reason, anyway. So it seemed to me that the Lady in White had something I lacked. And that’s the part that felt so threatening. That’s the part that felt like a rebuke, a judgment, an accusation, whenever the spouse admired a quality in somebody that I believe I lack.

Stillness. Straight hair. A lyrical recording voice.

Whatever it might be that I think I lack, his innocent admiration or love of it in another felt like abandonment, betrayal and finger-wagging all at once. And that made it the worst possible kind of identity theft—it threatened my identity as the one who is loved. But that’s the black hole that was doing the talking. Not Steve.

Steve actually has never agreed with my troll-self in its unloving assessment of me. So he couldn’t figure out why I would find such a thing threatening. The way he sees it, his open-hearted admiration of the Lady in White (or anyone else) did not in any way take away from his love and admiration for me. And you know what? He’s right.

But I didn’t truly know he was right until the Black Hole Troll gave up its post a week or two after our return from Israel. I’m not 100% free of dark misperceptions about myself yet, but I am truthfully beginning to recognize myself as the Beloved. Yes, the Beloved, with a great big gorgeous capital ‘B.’ And that recognition is a breathtakingly short hop away from seeing everybody and everything else as that, too.

Case in point: The other day in the car on the way to the post office, I suddenly choked up and cried a little. Because the English countryside in bloom is just so fucking lovely, I became overwhelmed with joy.

It—and I!—were indescribably beautiful and perfect and whole. So much tenderly magnificent Belovedness all around, my lumpy little emotional system couldn’t cope.

In those brief moments of authentic Belovedness, I know without a doubt that inside where it counts, I am approved of to an unimaginable degree. And because of this, I now know my safety and my true identity can never be withdrawn. External events can’t touch it.

 

•          •          •

 

So how does all this Belovedness change things, in the neediness/jealousy/control department? I’m not sure yet what the changes will look like, but I’m guessing it will shift the landscape profoundly.

I still observe myself wanting to clip Steve’s wings, to limit his freedom, as a knee-jerk response to perceived threat. But I know it isn’t the way forward. I know it doesn’t lead to safety or happiness. So I immediately bring a “sun of illumination” into that dark desire for constriction. And as this gently brilliant searchlight streams its loving rays into every shadowy corner, I allow for the (terrifying? unthinkable?) possibility that my husband can actually be free to give and receive love as he wishes without it harming or stealing anything at all from me personally.

Gasp.

Is this really true? Am I safe whether Steve’s love is kept for me alone or extended freely like blown dandelion seeds? It’s mighty scary territory, even with the newfound knowledge that the Beloved is within. Because letting love out of the cage is just about the most frightening step imaginable for this tiny little ego self. And once love is out of its cage, I’m pretty sure there’ll be no stuffing it back in.

But I do know this: I have thoroughly clung to the alternative throughout my entire life. And for fifty-something years, my futile attempts to contain and control love have brought me only pain. So I’m setting aside the books and the teachings of theoretical unconditional love, and am finally taking my own shaky steps onto the diving board.

I hope to God I can swim.

 

PS, if it interests you, I have a free e-book that touches on some of these same topics. It’s called I AM THE LOVE OF MY LIFE (a field guide to unconditional love for self and others). Download it from my website or from Kobo.com

A Year Without Fear: I AM $600,000. (AND SO ARE YOU.)

prosperityAt the end of my previous post, The $600,000 Gatekeeper, I reported that the internal arbiter standing between me and limitless creative expression seemed to have permanently abandoned its mission.

Afterward, a friend asked, “So if the gatekeeper is gone, are you now able to feel you deserve $600,000?” I didn’t know. I said I’d get back to him.

When I first met the gatekeeper, it showed itself to me as a frightened figure trying singlehandedly to hold back all of creation. It didn’t seem terribly interested in whether or not I deserved a randomly large amount of money. The outsized request itself was the threat.

In general, I would say the gatekeeper didn’t much like or approve of me. But there wasn’t much it did like or approve of, frankly. It was a very tired and cranky young sentinel, and I didn’t know whether judging deservedness was even part of its job description. Now that the gatekeeper had left the building, did all disapproval go with it? I grabbed my lamp and merged with my highest wisdom self, to find out.

We went within to have another good look around. I made the same exploratory statement as before: I’m in the mood to receive $600,000. Then my highest wisdom self and I watched carefully, taking note of all feelings that arose in response.

The answer to the deservedness question wasn’t entirely obvious at first. Where a sense of constriction or limitation used to be, I found only silently peaceful expansiveness. Nothing inside there cared about $600,000 one way or the other. But if I wanted to have it, there seemed no clear, self-generated reason why I shouldn’t.

I shone my lamp more deeply into the question of what I deserve, or what I am worth. I wasn’t prepared for what I found.

A fundamental sea change had taken place. A shift so profound, I can barely find words to describe it. And I hadn’t even noticed it happening.

•          •          •

I need to back up a bit here, to put this astonishing transformation into perspective for you. Throughout this lifetime, in my deepest unconscious core I always believed I was a hatefully unlovable troll. An abnormal, unforgivable blight on the universe.

No amount of spiritual work has ever convinced me otherwise. Not down there, in the deepest slumbering places where the sun don’t shine. This fixed core belief in my desperate unworthiness and unacceptability seemed forever out of reach and beyond help.

Until this week. Until I got to experience myself as creation itself. The higher wisdom self and I brought our light of conscious illumination into that great internal vastness for the very first time. It became a wonderful, softly welcoming experience, very beautiful to witness, as our light made tracers in the darkness and gently awakened bits of my comatose creative self.

Apparently the hate-filled unconscious core thing had been watching this whole event. After it witnessed the spectacular movement of universal creation flowing through me, AS me—well, this core thing seems to have radically revised its opinion.

It’s actually starting to think I’m pretty damn cool.

•          •          •

Do I deserve $600,000? What a goofy, charmingly irrelevant question. How can I not deserve the limitless creation that I already am? I am $600,000, for God’s sake. And I’m Buckingham Palace and the Taj Mahal thrown in. Which kind of makes me want to start singing a Cole Porter song to myself:

I’m the top

I’m the Coliseum

I’m the top

I’m the Louvre Museum…

 

I haven’t mentioned it much yet, but it was fully clear to me as I witnessed myself in my spectacular universal function of creation, that you are that same identical thing too. You are every bit as vast, as grand, and as unstoppably limitless. (I know people say that kind of thing to you all the time. Books are full of it. But I’m reporting my own eyewitness account, here. And I’m telling you: Really. No shit. YOU ARE ALL THAT. And a bag of chips.)

•          •          •

But here’s the fine print on that contract:

If you want to know yourself as the limitless creation you truly are, you don’t get to cherrypick only the parts you like.

Yep, I’m the Mona Lisa and the Tower of Pisa (to go back to Cole Porter for a minute). But I’m also the slums of Rio. I’m the gas chambers of Auschwitz, and I’m every guy who ever drowned a sackful of unwanted kittens.

Write a song about that. I dare ya.

As I sat merged in meditation with the highest wisdom self and our lamp of illumination, I recognized I am responsible for all of creation. And my responsibility is to stop turning away from the creation that I am. I don’t have to like it all. But I must accept the whole package without resorting to the sort of schizophrenic denial I’ve been using since time began. I am required to know myself consciously and willingly as I truly am, in other words, or not at all.

The contract is to love without judgment. To help where I can. To step in and intervene if called to, but to do so without employing rejection or denial or a wish to find anyone or anything guilty–for those I would condemn are all very clearly parts of my own creation. Parts of my own creative self.

That’s what my creative self actually is. Its only function, its sole identity is constant, nonjudging, impartial creation. It couldn’t pause, take a breather from 100% neutral creating, even if it wanted to. And it doesn’t want to. In fact it doesn’t want anything. It already is everything. And it makes no judgment whatsoever about the unholy unconscious purposes you and I put our creative function to. It just endlessly creates, creates, creates whatever we ask of it.

So that’s what my larger self is. It refuses to judge its own constant creations. I know–I’ve seen it, felt it as me. Do I go on denying that nonjudging creative self? Running away from it? Being terrified of it? Blaming others for it? Hating others? There are no others.

And I’m done with that whole self-hatred business, really. The self-hating unconscious core and the vast creative self are the same self. There’s only one, you know.

I’m inclined to stop fighting City Hall. So I agreed to the contract as wholeheartedly as I could. And as I did it, I felt my spine gently slip out of alignment. All by itself. (Ow.)

Not all parts of me are equally on board with this, it seems. I literally do not have my own support. At least not yet.

How does this contractual agreement change things? Does it change things?

My chiropractor and I haven’t a clue. I’ll keep you posted.

 

WHEN IS A BACKLASH NOT A BACKLASH?


Rooster Crowing at Dawn --- Image by © G. Baden/zefa/CorbisBack in the day – say, 5 or 6 years ago – it seemed that every time I got on a spiritual roll, every time I felt big breakthroughs in wisdom, trust, love or peace, I knew this wonderful sense of expansion would come only as the first half of a 2-part cycle: I could expect an inevitable ego crash shortly afterward. You could set your clocks by it; a dreadfully fuzzed-out period of lethargic contraction that would arrive right on the heels of all that glory, every time, as night follows day.

2 weeks of confusion, stagnation, depression and/or ‘spiritual amnesia,’ of the sort where one actually forgets both the original breakthrough and the beautiful clarity that accompanied it. I’d watch that slo-mo wave of sickly ego backlash rising up to engulf me, and feel utterly powerless to stop it. After all, what goes up must come down, right? And who am I to mess with Newtonian physics?

•          •          •

Thankfully, after several years of deepening spiritual maturity, the 2-week ego crashes are no more. These days it’s more like a very occasional few hours of temporary insanity. But regardless of the duration or frequency, I see these egoic backlashes in a very different light, nowadays.

Now, they’re interesting opportunities.

•          •          •

Lately, as I’ve traveled the world and stayed in homes and accommodations not my own, I’ve noticed how very narrow my tolerances are when it comes to bodily comfort: Heat vs cold; light vs darkness. Too dirty or too clean (oh yes, there is such a thing as excessive cleanliness.)

How just a few degrees one way or the other can make or ruin my experience. How European daylight at 4am is so much harder than Californian daybreak at 6.

And don’t even get me started on the topic of plumbing. Talk about narrow comfort preferences! I really had no idea just how high-maintenance I really am.

So I’m noticing very keenly how much energy and effort are spent trying to keep the body comfortable and the personal preferences satisfied. Full time job, really. And the reason I’m noticing it so acutely is because lately these tolerances and preferences of mine have been taking a beating. Bigtime.

All of this observation of my own brittle needs and preferences occurs against a backdrop of huge recent leaps toward spiritual freedom: I’ve been happily getting my mind blown and perceptions shattered – yes, again! – by the Way of Mastery series of books and videos. They’re a pointblank invitation to ‘stop being a spiritual seeker, and start being a spiritual finder.’

They present a stark challenge to just get on with it: You say you want the fully awakened, 100% embodied experience of knowing yourself as One with Heaven? Then start right now. This minute. And here’s how to do it.

Because our Creative power is unlimited (even if we don’t yet recognize or believe that fact) it turns out we can actually just decide to reach out and start creating a bridge between our current state of limited egoic perception, and the limitless vastness of perfect Reality. Just like that. We can start that bridge-building process anytime we want, just with the power of fully committed choice.

(In my last post I talked about relinquishing the quest for enlightenment, releasing the identity of the perpetual spiritual seeker. It’s one of those paradoxical things; it seems it was a necessary prerequisite for me to release the “goal” of future enlightenment, before I could seriously entertain this next exploration – right now — into that which is already here.)

So in my exploration, I discovered that right now I’m just exactly strong enough and sane enough at this point to sincerely give bridge-building a try; not just theoretically, but actually.

But not actually sane or strong enough to ease into that practice gracefully. Because of course it includes a vow of 100% commitment to want the peace of God instead of all else. In every circumstance, in every moment of every day, no matter what.

I was only sane enough to go for the committed vow. And that’s pretty darn good all things considered – even a couple of months ago I doubt I’d have been able to get that far.

But honestly, between you and me, my follow through leaves quite a bit to be desired.

Speaking of follow through – and ego backlashes – a mere couple of days after making this electrifying leap into active bridge-building, Steve and I left England (where scarves and woolens had been the order of the day) and headed for California, Land of the Record-Breaking Heat Wave. Along with the blistering temperatures came a change of habitat so uncomfortable, so opposite my preferences in nearly every way that it gave my ego permission to do its worst.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m incredibly grateful to have this house for the next couple of weeks. The home’s owner very generously bailed me out of a jam, an awkward period of time where I needed to be available locally for business but had nowhere to stay. This is peak tourist season, so there was, quite literally, no room at the inn.

This lovely friend has been remarkably patient, kind and accommodating. In fact, she cleared her family out of this house and went on vacation so that the place would be available for me to rent during the days of my visit. I’m incredibly blessed, all in all, and I know it.

But. (Ready for some churlish ingratitude? Here goes…)

The heat and jet lag threw a party and invited the rooster that lives next door. The one that crows nearly every hour of the day and night. And added to all this, the caretaking duties of this temporary rental include looking after a gaggle of willfully incontinent pets. Willfully. Incontinent. Pets.

Are you starting to get the picture? After 24 hours of this, my ego was feeling really, really justified in letting it rip.

 

Virtually everybody has that tipping point. That moment where it seems fully justified and natural to unleash the hounds and let the ego run roughshod as it chooses. For some the tipping point can be a very small big deal; like maybe when the waiter screws up the coffee order and brings caf instead of decaf.

For others with far deeper reserves of peace and tranquility, it might take a tsunami or other epic disaster to rock their boat and give the ego mind an excuse to take over and reinterpret the story for awhile.

Regardless of where a person falls on that scale, nearly everybody has a point where the story is no longer neutral; where it isn’t merely difficult to want to forgive…it’s more like the event is so jarringly unpleasant that all ideas of forgiveness fly right out the window.

External events decree that it’s time to misbehave, the ego says. And as it’s decreed, then so it is.

In my case, that means it’s time to wallow in unhappiness, to muck around in spiritual amnesia and get utterly lost inside the story of my own discomfort and unmet needs.

And that’s where I was for a good 8 hours, the other day.

•          •          •

In the old days, I’d have called this an ego crash, an inevitable ‘course correction’ that I was powerless to stop. And I’d have waited it out, feebly offering snippets of helplessly unfocused prayer and meditation. And then eventually the momentum would shift and a more comfortable, more recognizable degree of sanity would return.

But I recognize something quite different is afoot now.

Here I am, vowing to start consciously choosing the reality of Heaven above all else. And what do I get as an immediate response?

Not an ego crash – unless I choose to see it that way…in which case that’ll be exactly what it is: a 2 week diversion steeped in pain and lethargy. But no, this is no ego crash. It’s not my ego mind devising a punishment, nor is it an attempt to stall my momentum. This circumstance has been presented to me as an act of purest Love.

My vow to want Heaven above all else has been duly noted. And my own highest Self has helpfully, lovingly arranged the perfect mix of off-kilter circumstances designed to push me off my foundation and press all buttons at once, so I can see firsthand where my weakness lies. The places where I’m still hanging onto those pesky blocks to Love.

Because I won’t be living the 24/7 experience of Heaven anytime soon, if I get rattled when a cat knocks a lamp on my head at 2am – twice – and then a rooster crows me awake an hour later. Because if I’m rattled, that means I’m choosing that story instead of the peace of God.

A 100% vow means the willing relinquishment of ALL tipping points.

Even the really big ones. Even the really petty ones. That vow is a specific request to set in motion the necessary training to be able to view all worldly events as equally neutral; equally meaningless in the face of perfect Heavenly joy.

And I want that training. I really do.

So actually, I’m pretty damned incredibly lucky for the customized curriculum. And I’ve been walking around with an odd feeling of tingly joy and unspeakable gratitude, mixed, of course, with clammy sweat and general sleep deprivation.

Life, my friends, is good. It’s just the 3-D living of it that sometimes sucks.

God, I’m dripping. Is it too early, do you think, for another shower?