On Self Acceptance


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Imagine you’ve had a terrible argument with your nearest and most dear friend.  You’ve not spoken to each other in months.  Any encounter with this friend has met with a scornful glance that is quickly turned in another direction and a silence quite noisy with unrequited pain and anger.

Eventually your own pain and anger begin to give way to better memories of the dear one and you find yourself in a position of surrender.  You realize that all this anguish is too dear a price to pay for the separation from the friend.  So you resolve yourself to take the step to make it right.

You make the call with trembling fingers and invite your friend to come to your home.  You explain that you miss them and want to talk it out.  After a pause that seems an eternity, your friend accepts.

As you busy yourself making tea and tidying up you find your friend’s presence is very near to you even though they haven’t arrived yet.  You realize nothing, not pride, not ego, not being right is worth the loss someone and something so dear.  And the bell rings.

With heart pounding you rush to open the door.  You had thought of a million brilliant things to say at this moment, but when the door is opened and your eyes meet it all plummets into silence.  Nervous smiles are exchanged and you invite the friend to sit.

In this moment your heart is full and your head is empty.  You realize there is no fault in your friend.  There never was.  They are someone sorely missed and deeply loved and in that light fault cannot exist.  You suspect your friend is feeling the same as you both sit quietly sipping tea, waiting for that moment of reconnection and feeling the warmth of that loving union as it returns.

This little tale is a reflection of our own inner world when we aren’t in acceptance of ourselves.  And most of us aren’t.  I invite you to sit a moment and feel what is happening in your own body.  Any sensation of discomfort or tension is telling another tale.  When we accept ourselves there is no tension, not physically, mentally or emotionally.  There is only relaxed clarity.

If you are seeking self-acceptance, regardless your reasons, reflect on the story above.  When the meeting with the dear friend finally takes place, the reason for the argument is irrelevant.  You instinctively know that reconnection and the resumption of the flow of the relationship cannot take place if you place blame.  You don’t even care who was right or wrong.  The whole difficulty seems stupid and you realize that relationship was never disrupted.  It was all a painful illusion.  And so it is when meeting ourselves.  You must meet what you are resisting internally eye-to-eye, openly and quietly.  You must allow it to be what it is, undisturbed.

As with the reunion with the friend, the whys are not important.  Why is in the past, and the actuality of the past is dead.  All that remain are stories of it, written by pain and anger, a distortion of the truth that will and can never be found.

So don’t waste your energy and create even more tension by bothering with the why, or the cause of your own tension.  Instead, invite it into your home, your heart, without the need for judgement.  Whether it’s right or wrong, justified or not, is irrelevant.  It is causing you discomfort and suffering

because you’re not meeting it fairly, openly and it won’t settle until you do.  Allow your own discomfort to be what it is.

So invite it as you would your dearest friend.  Sit with it, patiently, quietly and attentively.  Let it begin the flow without the interference of your own thoughts.  This disharmony only longs for your acceptance.  And, like your dearest friend, you’ll find a tremendous love begins to bloom.  The suffering ceases in an instance.  You are complete again.  Whole.  Untouched.  Relaxed.  Natural.  Joyous.   Burn the stories and don’t revisit them.  They’re completely useless.

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Something About Fear


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I’ve noticed something very curious about fear, both in general and as it relates to writing.  It’s always there, I’m just very good at trying to look the other way.  And we all know how well that works.  It doesn’t.  Every time I sit down to write, there is  fear that starts fluttering away in my chest.  An internal dialogue starts, always self-depreciating.  Ironically, I don’t experience this when I write a post on Facebook; a place of complete exposure.  But when the fear comes, I will not write.  Anything.  I just click that little red “x” in the upper right hand corner of the empty page with the proclamation “I can’t do it,” and busy myself in something else.

At first I thought it wise to figure out the “why” but I remembered that even if I do figure out why, I just end up constructing a mental fiction about it, filled with drama and intrigue, and it just compounds and completely defeats the purpose.  So no scrutinizing whys.

I’ve managed to make friends with my other arch rival, pain, why not this unfounded and irrational fear?  So, I invited fear to come and sit awhile.  Like pain, it too came quietly.  It sat very still, not the jittery, sweaty thing I had imagined it to be.  When I looked into its eyes I didn’t see quivering terror.  I saw a luminous softness, and somewhere behind the softness there was longing.  And in the quietest of voices, barely above a whisper, it explained its loneliness.  With a childlike innocence so tender and fragile, it was feeling very isolated.  Separated.  It longed for union and that union had to begin with my acceptance of its existence.  Another dear old friend just needing a loving embrace.  Another one I had forsaken.  Stupid me.  Coward to the bone.

But fear, when you invite it without resistance or definition, is such a tender thing.  An infant, all pink and soft and helpless, wanting to be nurtured, to be accepted, to be whole.  But this wholeness it longs for is not with the outside world or anything material or with anyone else.  It has awakened into the cold light of an illusory world and has become lost in the gaudiness, mesmerized by the din, believing its fairy tales and its horror stories.  It’s utterly confused.

So, I took its wee hand and patted it.  A comforted understanding bloomed and it simply faded away.  All that remained was a grateful and radiant smile.

 

All This Pain


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In retrospect, all the pain I’ve felt in my life continues because I resist just meeting it. I have convinced myself that some terrible thing will befall me that will be irreversible. That I will somehow be destroyed. So I stuff it away, ignore it, hide from it and I suffer. I’m a coward and I’m tired. This is a war I have enough clarity to know I won’t win. It’s not possible.

So I surrendered. I let the pain come and I sit with it quietly. There is no conversation with it or judgement of it. It’s almost as if it were an entity unto itself, equally tired, and together we just want to rest silently in each other’s company. Comrades. Compatriots. So we have been sitting.

I discovered what a beautiful friendship I’ve been denying. This pain is a beautiful thing, not the ugly, gnarled, snaggle-toothed demon I thought it was. It’s delicate. As transparent as a tear drop. It doesn’t want to destroy anything. It just wants the comfort of an embrace and the embrace it longs for is my own.

When I welcome it in the most intimate place in my heart, in stillness and acceptance, it transforms. Instead of a monster it’s just a tiny flower smiling up at the sun. And I have been the biggest fool.

 

Out, Out, Brief Candle!


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“Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”


― William ShakespeareMacbeth

 

 

What Works Against You Can Work to Help You


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In places like this, in spiritual literature, in self-help media, we will encounter the word “ego” endlessly.  Every time we encounter this word, if we’re able, it’s helpful to watch the reaction that arises within us to the words surrounding it.  That is our own ego rising up and waving “hello”.  It’s likely to try and assert its control over us and our reactions, and the way it will depends on the context it’s used in.  Sometimes the reaction is self-satisfaction; a mental pat on the back.  Other times it will rise up as self-righteous anger; a defence mechanism.  It can us to draw closer to others, but will assure we remain steadfastly a separate entity.  It can also cause us to lash out at others; again assurance we remain firmly rooted in our own little box of self-identity.  Either way, it’s a self-defeating habit if we want to grow more deeply in spiritual understanding.

If we’re able to become aware of this as an observer and not an unconscious participant in the antics of the ego, we can become intimately familiar with it.  It’s through this un-attached relationship that we can begin to watch it’s influencing dissolve.  We will begin to see less of a need to react emotionally.  We gain the insight into the illusory stories the ego writes to sustain itself in its position of control.

But this is not a curse.  There’s no need to demonize it.  What the ego does when it arises is presents us with a perfect opportunity.  It shines a spotlight on hazardous and destructive mind-habits that keep us from any real understanding of who we are.  It illuminates its own illusion.

When we realize this, and learn to embrace it as our own inner guru, our inner life will begin to experience a shift.  We react less.  We suffer less.  We cling less.  We experience less conflict.  We have more clarity.  We feel more peaceful.  We experience a depth of effortlessness.  We experience life more fully.  Yes, the ego can work for us if we learn how to watch it and develop a conscious partnership with it.  Give it a try.

Change is not Something Projected by Thought – Jiddu Krishnamurti


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The mind we’ve grown up with, as we’ve learned is it, is not our friend. Busy in thoughts of self-judgement, judgement of others, societal concerns, daily worries, it keeps us chained to a world of mental illusion. We remain incapable of untouchable peace and seeing the beauty of our own existence, of the effortlessness of simply being alive, except for a small sip now and then. As we move to deepen our understanding of this thing we call “me” it’s essential to remain aware of how subtle these old mind-habits are and how they will sneak back in when we’re not looking. It takes some perseverance, but never stop inquiring into this thing called “I” and it will lead you eventually out of it.

The hope lies in the emptying out of all we hold onto, beliefs, concepts, worries, and intellectual knowledge.  The peace comes not in detaching, which implies force of will, but rather in the un-attachment which is the dissolving and surrendering of this self-imposed will.

 “It appears that man has always escaped from himself, from what he is, from where he is going, from what all this is about – the universe, our daily life, the dying and the beginning. It is strange that we never realize that however much we may escape from ourselves, however much we may wander away consciously, deliberately or unconsciously, subtly, the conflict, the pleasure, the pain, the fear and so on are always there. They ultimately dominate. You may try to suppress them, you may try to put them away deliberately with an act of will but they surface again. And pleasure is one of the factors that predominate; it too has the same conflicts, the same pain, the same boredom. The weariness of pleasure and the fret is part of this turmoil of our life. You can’t escape it, my friend. You can’t escape from this deep unfathomed turmoil unless you really give thought to it, not only thought but see by careful attention, diligent watching, the whole movement of thought and the self. You may say all this is too tiresome, perhaps unnecessary. But if you do not pay attention to this, give heed, the future is not only going to be more destructive, more intolerable but without much significance. All this is not a dampening, depressing point of view, it is actually so. What you are now is what you will be in the coming days. You can’t avoid it. It is as definite as the sun rising and setting. This is the share of all men, of all humanity, unless we all change, each one of us, change to something that is not projected by thought.”

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Who Takes a Trip to Wonderland?


10-Irina Mikhaylova - Alice in Wonderland down the rabbit hole

Many of us feel the magnetic pull of something within us we can’t quite explain.  There’s a question that looms larger and larger:  Who am I?  It’s becoming more insistent.  We can all pull quite a long list of things out of our pockets, but intuitively we know our list isn’t answering the question.

Just try it.  Ask yourself, “Who am I?”  When you’ve exhausted your list, sit quietly for a moment.  Do you feel that tug?  Something is still asking, “But, who am I?”  You can produce another list, things you may have forgotten:  a man, a woman, a human being, an Earthling, a Christian, a Hindu, a mother, a father, a son or daughter, a neighbor, a friend, an accountant, a police officer, etc.  But the tugging is still there.  The question remains.  Its inexhaustible.

Feel the pull.  It’s there for a reason.  Follow it.  Dare to answer the question.  At some point you’ll become bored or tired of creating with more adjectives.  You’ll find you’re left only with, “I am….[silence]”.

If you look at the long list you’ve produced to search for something you may have forgotten, something will happen.  You’ll realize what you’re looking at is a story.  A story of who you think you were, are, or want to be.  But the question is still tapping you on the shoulder, unanswered.  And it wants an answer.

In exhausting yourself, however, you’ve made some beautiful discoveries.  The story you’ve produced isn’t complete.  If you can be honest with yourself, you know intuitively this story isn’t true.  It was created by you.  And it’s utterly false.  You know this because You are reading the story.  Who is this reader?  Who is this You?

Welcome to the rabbit hole, Alice.  You’re about to go on the grandest journey of your life.  Without knowing it, you’ve already sipped from the bottle labelled “drink me” and you’re holding the golden key.  On this key is a tag, and it say, “I am…”.

“I am…[silence],” the last answer to your long list of who you are is the white rabbit.  Follow it.  Follow it the with ceaseless curiosity of a child.  But there’s one rule.  Regardless how tempting your experiences and discoveries, no matter how wondrous, don’t touch any of them.  Don’t sneak one into your pocket, for if you do, it will disappear into your story; the story which isn’t true.

Follow until “I am” begins to dissolve.  Don’t worry.  It won’t leave you alone and lost.  It’s taking you home.  “I am” will become “am”.  You’ll feel your Self growing and growing until no house can hold you.  Not even the house of your mind.  But don’t stop.  As long as you can see the rabbit’s tail, you’re not quite there.

Follow until “am” disappears.  Nothing at all remains.  Not even You.  There’s only the infinitude of the Truth, fully aware.  You have answered the questioned.  The pulling has ceased.  You are the living answer.

As you crawl out of the rabbit hole you’ll find that the fragrance of a vast abiding peace and love is all around you.  Look for its source and find it comes from you.  Eventually someone will ask you, “Who are you?” and you’ll find you can’t answer.  There are no words because the living answer can’t be spoken.  You can see it there in the eyes of the one who’s asking you; a curiosity ignited.  You’ll probably choose a line or two from that story you’ve written your whole life to satisfy the situation.  And that’s okay.  You know the Truth.  And we’re all a little mad here.

Confessions of an Ex-Hoarder


hoard

Yep.  That’s me.  I was a hoarder.  Not a hoarder of knick-knacks or cats.  No.  I was a hoarder of thoughts.  Sounds a bit strange, I know, but I’ll bet as you following my unburdening you will relate to it.

Ouch.  That’s uncomfortable, isn’t it?  To be likened to those horrific images of homes filled with discarded food containers, unwashed dishes, and stacks and stacks and stacks of stuff makes you squirm.  But, please don’t misunderstand.  I’m not trying to shed a judgemental light on those afflicted with hoarding.  What I am doing is identifying with how painful it is.  Stick with me here…

It’s true that I don’t fill rooms with accumulated things, but I’ve discovered that I have filled my head these past 50 years to the point where there is just no more room.  All these ideas, opinions, concepts and beliefs were practically dribbling out of my ears.  And it was more than uncomfortable.  It was painful.  Physically and emotionally painful.

It got so bad I found myself contemplating suicide often.  Now, before you shrink in horror or judgement, let me continue.  There was also something else working behind the scenes of my filled-to-bursting brain.  A magnetism, a force, that peeped over the top of and through the tiny gaps between the thoughts, and the misery, and the thoughts of misery.  Something whispering, “You’re missing something.  There’s something you’re not seeing.”

I’m driven by curiosity.  I thrive on it.  The gauntlet had been thrown down and that strange magnetic pull lit a fire inside of me.  I began digging through the mess and tangle of my crowded “house”.  At first, and for years and years, I expended a lot of energy and attention on each thing I encountered.  Crazy, right?  I mean, who in their right mind examines the garbage they’re tossing out?  Who obsesses over rotten banana peels and used tissues?  No one in their “right” mind does.

But this is what I did with every thought, every obsession, every belief I held and all the emotions associated with them.  Over and over and over.  Decade after decade.  And it was exhausting.  I gave up many times only to amass more “junk” and then start the process of garbage fondling all over again.  Yuck.  And I can tell you without hesitating this is what drove my misery to the point of breaking me.

And I celebrate that moment.  The moment where I was so fed up with whoever this train wreck of myself was that I put down the garbage, tore open my heart, and shouted to the ethers, “I give up!  I don’t want to be me anymore.  I just QUIT!”

And that’s when that strange but magnetic force reached out and touched the core of my tired mind.  It was like a cool fragrant cloth on a fevered brow.  The smell of rain after a drought.  Pure magic.  That’s when everything began to change.

I discovered that all I had to do was return that loving magnetic touch emanating from the core of me and all that junk just started to disappear.  Imagine if house work was so easy.  But it was.  I’ve stopped caring about any of the stories I had written in my mind.  Not about who I am or what I believe or what I thought about anything.  They’re all just stories.   Well, most of the stories anyway.  The emptying out is still going on.  I occasionally succumb to the old habit of fondling the garbage on its way out the door, but I quickly put it down and send it on its way.  It’s not important.

What’s truly amazing is the amount of space the removal of all this junk has left.  I can now stretch out in my mind without bumping into anything.  I can run, leap and dance without bruising myself.  It’s like my “house” is now filled with sunshine and the sweet smell of a grace I never knew existed.  It sure beats the stench of the garbage that was there before.  And what really excites me and keeps me holding hands with that wonderful force is the intuition that one day soon, not only will my “house” be swept clean, but the walls are coming down too.  I don’t need them anymore.

I know what this magnetic force is.  It’s my true self.  My completely natural state of being.  It’s what was there before my “house” was built and will remain long after it’s gone.  This is the real me.  Not all those ideas, stories and beliefs.  And this real me is so joyously spacious and so filled with unbreakable love that I can dance my way into infinity without ever suffering a bruise again.

So, yeah, I’m an ex-hoarder.  Even this story will be swept away soon.  For I am disappearing, or at least who and what I thought I was.  I am nobody and it feels so amazing.  I am nothing, yet here I am.  And I am free.