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?

 

 

 

9 Replies to “WHEN IS A BACKLASH NOT A BACKLASH?”

  1. Hi Carrie – I am loving your blog. I have a rooster too – and I love the noise he makes. It represents a more bucolic,back to nature lifestyle for me I guess, illusion that it may be. I will tell you that it is crowing all hours of the night because of all the ambient light around – a sleep deprived chicken indeed. Maybe you could join with him and explain gently that no noise until 6 am would be just right! Wish I could succeed in joining with mine and explaining that biting me is not good manners LOL. (They do not peck – they bite and hang on!!!)

    Love, laughs and blessings

    Shelley

    1. Hi Shelley! Thanks for the tip about ambient light; unfortunately there isn’t much to be done about it — these houses are in the center of town, half a block off the main drag. There’s ambient light all around. But good to know, anyway, thank you!

      The funny thing about joining: it requires being attached to absolutely no desired outcome. So I can join with him and love him exactly as he is, or else I can’t actually join with him at all…no in-between. and then after he joins with me if I’m VERY lucky, he may decide, out of the goodness of his heart, to adjust his schedule on my behalf. Or not. But only if I no longer care about it one way or the other! 🙂

      And I confess it’s been too damn hot for much in the way of authentic joining. (that’s my excuse, anyway.) So we dealt with it by shutting the windows and buying an oscillating fan, which drowns out the noise instead.
      xox

  2. Was reading this post to a dear friend of mine and laughing hard. Churlish is a great word, even if i don’t know what it means (but I will look it up)! She commented that you could be my sister.
    Your style of writing, as well as the gratitude I feel for your sharing , resonates with me thoroughly. I commented back to her that you are a teacher, student and sister to me. Love love, love your honesty about how easily is our peace disturbed; when we are sleep deprived or its too hot or the dog poops for the second time on the carpet I just cleaned. I often resort to dropping the “f” bomb! And , oh yes, I’m in the “too clean” category . . . laughed hard about that. Since I walk dogs part time for my daughters business and occasionally do overnights (where the bodily comforts and sleeping with strangers with names like Sprinkles and Sparkles, uncomfortable lumpy beds, etc., often comes into play. . . .well, need I say more. I believe you already did! For me the best part of the post, though, was your reflection that these opportunities are chosen by me ONLY for the purpose of healing. I can step back in each and every circumstance that seems to be unpleasant or upsetting and choose to see it differently. I can remember to laugh. Thank you for helping me laugh, Carrie. Say hello to Steve.
    Love, Kathy Smith

  3. Hi Carrie,
    Some nudge of inspiration moved me to pass by your blog despite being rather out of communication on so many sides due to full absorption in my own life of forgiveness opportunities. I rejoiced to see that you’re reading Way of Mastery and getting into it. I downloaded the mp3 version recently (Way of the Heart) and can’t quite describe the fullness of connection I’m making every day….listening over and over, absorbing deeper and deeper, and feeling inspired beyond any previous experience. It’s affirming to sense it’s impact on you as well. Wow. It was time to open the door!

    Hope you are well on the journey. Greetings to Steve,
    Love, Julie Oswald (NMex and Colorado retreats)

    1. Hi, Julie! It’s nice to hear from you. And so great to hear of your connection to the Way of Mastery material; there seems to be something really profound going on with this right now. (I know the WoM material has been out there for years, but right now among this connected group of people it seems like something previously dormant has started to emerge, and Way of Mastery is the catalyst.)

      I’m so happy you’ve reached out to tell me about it. I’m just starting the 2nd book, Way of Transformation, but am also continuing to do all the exercises from the first book at the same time. And like you, I could reread and relisten forever, it all contains so much infinite depth! I’d love to stay in contact to compare notes and progress on this stuff…
      lots of love,
      Carrie

  4. When I read this first time round I enjoyed it, thought yes, I know exactly what she’s talking about, very interesting …

    This morning, after the most ridiculous night’s sleep where I wake feeling like I’ve been in an extended physical fight, headache (excruciating, familiar), such exhaustion, total fedupness of having been here over and over I am writing my rage (when I finally get round to it) and the Voice says, read Carrie’s Backlash post.

    Oh why should I, I say, I know what it says? Go on, read, it continues. And so obediently I did and it seemed entirely differently. Did I actually hear any of it last time I read? Well I did hear some because I started looking at, listening to WoM which was entirely new to me. But being ‘in’ an apparent backlash things are far more pertinent when I read what you’ve written here. And this bit most particularly ….
    “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.”

    Last night I had shared some significant insights I’ve been having on Nouk’s teleclass. Afterwards I’d felt good. Light. And then came the night. And yes, I have been looking at it as a punishment devised by my ego. No wonder I’m exhausted. Physically, emotionally, mentally. But I too have made that vow – I want Heaven more than anything else.

    So this bit is perfect for me to read right now …
    “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.”

    “The perfect mix of off-kilter circumstances – pressing all buttons at once.” That couldn’t be more spot on. My most favourite discomforts and sufferings. My most familiar and ‘acceptable’ ones.

    Thanks Carrie, my rage has calmed, it could even be gone because I can’t seem to find it right now …. still exhausted but something’s shifted. Perfect customised curriculum – I did ask for it 🙂

    1. that’s fabulous to hear, Anne, thank you! Sometimes these writings and the insights they hold function as “time release” medicine — not just for the reader, but for the writer too. Your response about your second reading helps me to go back and feel the insight all over again myself…and it’s even more beautiful the second time, I agree. 😉 Thanks so much for your role in that. And so glad to hear you found it helpful too. xx Carrie

  5. Hi Anne,

    Reading your comment above yesterday, I finally came to understand *today* why I spend time looking through various ACIM blogs/writers and also try to read comments to those blogs.

    Your experience with Carrie’s post and your excerpting the parts that resonated with you are now resonating in my mind.

    Thanks for writing !
    Anil

    ps. Carrie – hope you’re well. I love your News section on the home page “No news is good news !” (:

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