This Work on the Path

Pathwork in PittsburghThe point of this work on the path is to go into the dark, hidden, fear-filled heart. We are to go towards rather than away from all that we have kept ourselves blind to in order to avoid discomfort.

Life has pain, suffering, loss, death innate to itself. When we negate any of this, we negate our very lives.

No, it is not pleasant to see and feel and think about the ugly side of humanity. It is, indeed, heartbreaking to allow oneself to become deeply intimate with the worst that is in us. And, there it is, right there, if we only stop to see.

To look away, put our fingers in our ears, refuse what exists, are the actions of a child. It is true that a child would find the facts of life unbearable. It is a matter of survival that a child create an illusory universe so as to keep themselves safe from destructive forces.

Our illusions do not keep us safe in the long run. They were a temporary strategy, quite wisely devised for a tender heart. Now is the time to be willing to see these illusions for what they are, a distraction from reality. By courageously facing reality in all of its manifestations, we can untangle the web.

We can see how it is we who took the streamings and diverted them away from their natural course out of our own greed and fear. We can, if we were willing to let go, raise our arms in surrender to what life has to offer. Instead, like children, we resist and demand that it go the way we think it should. As if our small minds could possibly know what this magnificent intelligence has in store for us.

It is the child in each of us that keeps us at war, refusing to share, turning a blind eye to the suffering of another human being. As if their suffering is not our own. Only a child throws a tantrum when asked to share.

The limited thinking that has brought us to the point where we are now in our country does not allow for the intelligence that life has to offer. Life is growth, change, sharing, clearing old and making room for new. Life squanders itself unselfishly, gleefully, with aplomb.

Tap into the nature of life, in all of its true glory, and there, in those forces, the answers can be found. Not by turning away from, but rather towards what each of us contributes to the negative forces, we can alter life energy. By granting one another beingness, acceptance, the pleasure of love, we can be with, rather than against, life.

Love

child reaching out for loveTo love and to be loved is the deepest longing for every human being on this planet. This longing, and inevitable failure to fulfill this longing, is the core of all of our upsets, problems, confusions.

Our desire for love is our very nature; it is who we are. From the day we are born, we reach out, searching to be received, seen, mirrored, loved, adored. None of us are. All of us, every single one, are furious about this.

We hate because we were not loved perfectly; some of us not at all (or so we believe!). Our anger at not being loved perfectly throws us into an energetic confusion. We want, simultaneously, to be loved and to kill off those who do not fulfill our wishes.

Even at a very young age there is a deep knowing of the incongruity here. We become, at the core, afraid, ashamed, enraged, desperate and terrified. We feel that if we are not loved, we will perish

To a child, not being loved is certain death; after all, we depend on our parents for our very survival. So, we develop strategies to ensure our very lives.

We then grow into these strategies and believe them to be who we are. We consider these ways of being our personalities, and see ourselves in these false, misconceived, damaging images.

We continue to hate and we continue to develop more and more sophisticated ways of hiding our hatred as we grow into adulthood. The part of us that continues to hate, meanwhile, remains in childhood.

A part of us knows this, and is more and more desperate to hide where we know we are mere children emotionally.   This is the human dilemma.

What we each do with this is ours to recognize for what it is, a confusion, a mis-understanding, a collapsing of a system created by a child and embraced, unquestioned and unexamined, into adulthood.

Our work is to untie all of our inner knots, piece by messy piece. This painful process is lifelong and life-giving. The deeper we go into the energetic core of our beings and retrieve the part of ourselves that we cut off out of our child’s need, the more of who we really are becomes available.

When we do this work, we find it is safe to love after all. Once we know, understand, and are responsible for the fact that we may or may not be met perfectly by the other, we are free to give our best, our most natural gifts, to life.

Our Divine Nature

Divine Nature We each have a divine nature. This part of us ceaselessly whispers to us “grow, expand, connect, flow outward!” We hear this voice from deep within and interpret this as “improve, be better than, compete, get more!” Our demand of ourselves is twisted, distorted and has us at war with our very selves and one another.

We wall ourselves off from our very nature, hate ourselves for this act of aggression towards life, then project this out into the world. The outside world is a perfect mirror of the internal state of our hearts and souls.

We feel a deep guilt for this, as a part of us does recognize our sin against life. We atone for our sins by pretending a guilt which is not justifiable in reality.

We think we are guilty of not being perfect. We spend most of our energy trying desperately to improve ourselves, or alternately feeling the impossibility of this task. It is impossible, in fact, from this point of view. We can never be as perfect as our ego self demands us to be. We are so lost in this struggle to be perfect that we have lost sight of the life-giving possibility of the true struggle that life gives as its greatest gift: to find and grow into our true nature. To be one with life as it expands ceaselessly into greater consciousness.

By allowing ourselves to know this painful and temporary reality, by telling the truth to ourselves, we can begin the journey we are meant to follow. The journey towards consciousness is more joyful and blissful than we allow ourselves, in our present state, to experience.

All there is to do is tell the truth. It is I who stops life by my own selfish greed. It is I who refuses to love out of the fear that I will lose, or get hurt, or be seen as weak.

Then, remember who I really am. I am, in my deepest soul, one with the All. Who I really am cannot be hurt; I can only learn to love more deeply. By being willing to accept where I am at fault, where I am weak, where I have refused my own divine nature, I am then available to life.

Help?!?

Tangled in the WaterIt is only human to strive for more and better. Without this natural desire we would not improve or evolve.

Like any natural desire, some of us take this to the extreme and others of us ignore it all together. This does not make anyone better or worse, more evolved or less so, only in a different place on the continuum of growth.

Just notice for yourself how in some areas there is a strong desire to know more or perform with excellence, while in others there is no interest whatsoever. So it is from person to person.

We have a tendency to judge what the other deems important or worthy of attention.

We are all so self-absorbed that we do not stop to consider that the other may just have a different set of priorities.

How much more peaceful life could be if we could each recognize our own strengths and our own weaknesses, and with compassion choose where we feel growth would be most helpful. If we could each tend to our own growth and respect the ability of the other to do the same.

Those of us who identify with being on a spiritual path are sometimes the greatest offenders of the basic law of brotherhood. Our desperate striving for inner peace and enlightenment can turn into a fast moving train, wiping out everyone in its path. A firehouse of “information,” put out everywhere and anywhere, to anyone who will listen (or not, we don’t even notice!) without taking into consideration that the other may not appreciate being hosed down.

Not everyone wants our “help!” Some people really are only complaining, and that is all they are interested in doing!  And that is OK!

I am writing this for myself, by the way. If you happen to resonate, I am happy for you. I know I need to put in check my desire to solve the problems of my friends, loved ones, and dear sons. If anyone wants my insight, they can ask. Otherwise it would behoove me (perhaps you too?) to tend to my own garden.

A Parade

Orphans going to Luna Park

Of orphans
Each clamoring for my attention
No me
No me
My way
You’re stupid
No you are
Please take care of me
I’m hungry
I want more
Why
What did I do
I don’t like it here
Please
Fine then don’t
See if I care
I’ll never again
Oh please won’t you just
I promise I will never again
Why
What did I do
What can I do
I will do anything
Just please
Collapse
Nothing works
Do I bother
Trying again
Oh please
Just get over yourself
Who do you think you are
Anyhow
Numb
Nothing
That’s who
Endless cycling
Around and around
This vicious cycle
Of orphans
I think I’ll stay mad

Betrayal

betrayal of selfMost of us have an underlying feeling of betrayal. Perhaps you use a different word. This I only just discovered, buried under hurt and anger and frustration.

There has been a situation stirring for a year now, nagging at me day and night. It has to do with someone with whom I have little contact, except in the war raging in my own mind. My ability to blame the other knew no bounds. Even as I did so, the absurdity of the situation was not lost on me.  My self-judgment, demanding that I feel other than how I did, kept me from getting to the root of the root.

Betrayal finally revealed itself. I spent days dwelling in all of the many ways I had been betrayed. Mother, father, sister, partners, life, all, everyone, had done their share. It was helpful to see that the present day situation, as I had suspected, was an opportunity for me to clean out an old, dense, frozen piece of my soul.

But I was still stuck. Until I realized that the betrayal that rocked me off of my knees as I prayed this morning was my very own.

Self-betrayal. It feels like the worst possible kind. How does one escape when they are their own captor?

This is a trick question, I now realize. We are all our own captors. There is no escape. In fact, the desperate trying to escape is usually, like Chinese handcuffs, what keeps us locked in our suffering.

The key is, with help from our higher self, to go into and through the worst of the worst of ourselves. Yes, it is very painful. No, it is not all tied up with a pretty bow. It is gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, soul shattering and mind blowing at its best. Finally, it is freeing.

When I see that it is I who betrayed myself, if I am willing to have the courage to be vulnerable, I can learn to trust myself.

I can promise you I have not learned anything by blaming my feelings of betrayal on others. By having the courage to be vulnerable, feel how I was hurt, disappointed, felt as if I didn’t matter – and still hold onto myself, I can strengthen myself for the inevitable bumps on this road.

When I see that the other is simply human – doing what she learned to do, just as I do what I learned to do, in order to survive, before we knew any better – with compassion for myself and the other, the world feels whole again.

 

Taking a Breath

BreatheIt occurred to me this morning, as I was beginning my meditation, that some of the time the request for a deep breath is denied by the body.

There is a tension, a fear, some feeling that is blocking the body’s ability to relax and just breathe.

The question is, as a person who meditates, “Now what?”

The usual first response is to judge. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I breathe? The inner voice says “Oh no, this proves there is some danger, I knew it all along!”

In response to this inner voice, the body becomes rigid. Now every part of me is convinced. Death is imminent.

Then, because I have been practicing the great art of “remembering,” I go toward the tension rather than succumb to the temptation of avoiding it.

As I get closer, I recognize this part. I had disowned her many years ago. She was too much.

That was the belief then.

Now, I realize I cannot be whole without her. She has so much life to offer, life that long ago was rejected by parents who knew no better.

Tears stream down my face. Tears of sadness, then relief at my willingness and ability to feel what at one time would have surely killed me.

We cannot go around these parts, painful and fearful as this process may be. This is the process of meditation. We go into ourselves that we may find more and more of what had to be tucked away. We dismantle the wall of separation which we built out of our need to protect our broken hearts. We feel the pain still lingering there, waiting for us to remember. We welcome this pain now, knowing that this is just pain and it will go away. We no longer have to hold this against ourselves, but rather ingather.

 

In Justice

Nelson Mandela - InjusticeMany of us are suffering what feels like a great injustice in our world. We fight and cry out and complain.

We ask over and over, to anyone who will listen. “How could this have happened?!” It doesn’t make any sense. And, yet “it” did indeed happen. The question is, as always, what is my own responsibility in the matter and what is there to do now? Some are fighting harder, voicing our protests louder; some have crawled under the virtual blanket of denial and refuse to engage in the real world in its current manifestation.

It has been said thousands of times, what we resist persist. The question is not “how could they…?” The question is, what was my own contribution? Where do I hate, refuse another being based on my opinion? How do I hold myself above another, even unconsciously?

Human beings have a negative energy deep in the core of our being. None are spared. It is part of the human condition. Some say it is the purpose of our existence to see and transform this negative energy.

We all, everyone, resist our negativity. It isn’t pretty. Alternately, we exaggerate this powerful force and pridefully pretend that is all of who we are, meanwhile hiding the weakness we see in those who are afraid of their own dark side.

Under this darkness that we all share is our light. Nelson Mandela famously said that it is this light that we are truly afraid of, not the darkness. Nonetheless, we hide what we truly are. We are so afraid of being rejected, turned out, not loved, found out, etc., that we hide.

The problem is that when we hide, our light cannot shine. It makes sense, as a child, to not openly display the hate the child experienced at having been disciplined, have toys taken away, wishes unfulfilled. This makes perfect sense. As adults, however, we continue to childishly hate when our wishes are not met and then pretend that, on top of that, we are mature.

Or, we blame life, the other, our political system, point to all that is wrong “out there” as the reason for our hatred. The hatred lives within. We feel guilty and ashamed about this, so we fight against it or rationalize it. Neither works.

What there is to do, with love, compassion, and understanding of our human condition, is see where it is that we hate and why. See how it makes perfect sense that, based on the conditions in which we were raised, we came to certain conclusions, made broad assumptions about life and other people. See that, with prayer and meditation, asking, always, for help from a higher source than our own human mind, that there is a larger force at work here. We cannot allow this higher life source to work through us as long as we are committed to our present “I am right and you are wrong” position.

We cannot rid evil from the world. We cannot even rid evil from our own consciousness. We can accept what is, see that it is not in line with universal laws, and pray daily that we can see and transform and clear ourselves bit by bit, with the help of the universal life force. Not by hiding, but by exposing and understanding, again with compassion, the darkness that lies in our own hearts. Only then can a higher level of energy begin to flow through. Only then can there be true justice in our world.

I Am the One

The human conditions of greed, hate, violence, racism, bigotry, sexism and egotism are in each and every one of us. Our external world is a perfect out-picturing of our internal beliefs, conscious or unconscious.

If we are witnessing in our world energy systems that we deny, refuse, project, judge and blame, it is we who are responsible for their creation. They are to be seen, understood, recognized for what they are; part and parcel of the human condition. Then, and only then, can these qualities be transformed.

We cannot “do on top of” and expect a different outcome. Life cannot be tricked. Giving to the poor, no matter how generously, out of guilt or some need to be personally fulfilled and appreciated keeps poverty in place. Denying rage and hatred, all the while claiming to be peaceful, keeps us at war. Being blind to our internal racism perpetuates the divide of persons of color.

Refusing to accept the parts of ourselves that we do not like, allowing our inner tyrant to run our thinking, has us believe the bullies of our world. No matter how hard we try to make believe that we are true, responsible, loving and inclusive people, our external reality does not lie.

It may be time to turn inward, look deeply into our true hearts and souls. The purpose would be to take each and every evil that lives within each and every one of us and see for ourselves what lessons we have missed. For, truly, we have missed the lesson. We cannot cheat this test. The greater consciousness is not fooled by empty promises and wishful thinking.

The knowing energy systems of our universe cannot be placated. If we, honestly, want peace and harmony, acceptance and tolerance, equality and equanimity, we must begin with ourselves.

I Am The One

Feel What Is There

Digging for GoldAll that is needed is to feel whatever you may be feeling without making yourself, the other, or life wrong.

Yes, you have known these words and, on one level, understood the meaning. You, however, have yet to know deeply how constant the “make wrong” is, and will continue to be for some time.

There is a bigger part of you that still only wants a solution to a problem. The internal belief that there is a problem interferes with your natural life flow.

Picture a stream coming upon a rock. Feel into the stream; imagine the stream stopping, refusing to move because there is a rock in “its way!” This is what you do, energetically, when a feeling comes into you that you have made wrong at one time or another. Or, you have made yourself wrong for simply having this feeling.

It is, indeed, a sin to not value yourself. You cannot value yourself while making yourself wrong with every wave of emotion. This is antithetical. To honor yourself means to allow what is in you at the present moment. Do not reject anything that comes. This does not mean to let your ego run with whatever comes; that would truly be insanity. But so is rejecting what comes.

In your dualistic present state, you cannot see, hear, feel and know that if one thing exists, its opposite also exists. The two seemingly opposites are one and the same; it is just not experienced because it is rejected.

You cannot love without knowing where and why you hate. Feel into the hate so that you can better understand where it originated. Then, and only then, can you reclaim that part of you that got lost along the way.

Yes, you were hurt. As were all human beings. Painfully so. Not because you were/are innately bad and wrong, or because life is punishing. Not at all. Only because, through this pain, you are propelled towards finding yourself.

Otherwise, be honest, you would not be bothered. Motivation is hard to come by in human nature. Not everyone is blessed with a huge amount. Most people are only motivated externally. To be motivated internally requires something. This is the purpose of pain, simply to motivate you. If it hurts for you to hate so much, look into the hate rather than away.

Do not project the hate outward. It belongs to you. If you are willing to feel the pain under this hate, you will discover a deep love and resurrect this most powerful spiritual energy. It will never be handed to you, no matter how much you stomp your feet. You cannot do enough in the external world to earn this love you long for; it is already inside of you. It is buried under your own rejection of yourself. You could not help but reject what you could not understand at one time. Now, you have the tools to reconstruct your belief system. You deserve profound respect, innately.

With love and appreciation. There is gold there. Keep digging.

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