The Hugeness of our Divinity

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Can we step into the Hugeness of Divinity that we are and meet ourselves, our relationships and our lives from the strength and totality of this embodiment. To do this we must be willing to stop believing in the movement of our minds and their story of reality, and see that there is one here who is noticing the story, one here who is outside of the story witnessing life. And this one has no age, no gender, and is not aligned with any wounds or beliefs; this one is already complete and totally free. When we step into this as ourselves, we can meet all the painful and wounded aspects of our ego, with the healing space of Love. And as the Love, that we are, touches the painful, hurt and wounded places within us, we heal.

So this is our invitation, can we align with the boundless perspective of the witness that we are and our Divinity as us.  And as we do this can we meet fear, and misperception, misrepresentation, anger, hostility, emotional vulnerability and the impermanence of life from the spacious Divinity that we are? Can we allow our pain to heal in the Hugeness of our Divinity? Can we allow ourselves to be touched by our Love?

To the degree that we meet these things in ourselves, is to the same degree that we can meet this in others; our invitation is to take care of ourselves first. Because if we do not first heal ourselves; we will not be able to be fully present to those around us and to the healing of our world.  And yet as we heal ourselves, we heal the world; because we are not separate from Life, we are not separate from anyone or anything; we are one with all of existence as this Existence. 

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How Deep Can We Surrender?

Surrender to our DivinityHow deep can we surrender beyond fear, beyond doubt, beyond the constant insanity of our minds; into the Beauty and depth of Peace that we are? This is our constant invitation, and our life gives us numerous opportunities throughout our day to live in our habitual mentality and suffer; or to step into the huge Reality of our Divinity.
Tonight at Satsang, I invited all of us to look directly into a mirror and notice the incredible Beauty and Aliveness pouring out of our eyes. Our mind may comment that we look this way or that way, but if we look directly into our own eyes, and let go of the commenting of our egoic nature, what we will find is this incredible Beauty and Mystery that we are. And this Beauty has been with us our entire life, yet we mistakenly align with the judgmental and divisive thoughts of our minds, and miss this Divinity that we are, that we have always been.

Ineffable Beauty

ImageWhat a terribly amazing, unbelievable world we live in. We never know what will happen in this crazy and unpredictable world. One minute we are in love the next, we are acting like an idiot and fighting over what means nothing to us. We sabotage, and lie and cheat, all because we are afraid of giving ourselves totally. We constantly look for other options and miss the Ineffable Beauty that is right here within in and in front of us. We forget that we are staring at the Beauty of Heaven right in front of us, in our partner, in ourselves. We compare and contrast the world and each other, into little bits, and belittle the Divinity that pours out of every form. We tear apart those who are close to us; those who are also afraid of Love and of being Love. We beat each other up and yell and scream and shout, we do this because we think we somehow need to defend ourselves from each other. We are only keeping ourselves from Ourselves, by this nonsense that we participate in. Again and again we fail to trust in Love, we fail to realize that what we are is Ineffable and cannot be destroyed.

When will we just love and be Love, without all the nonsense of dividing and separating ourselves from the overwhelming Beauty that is everywhere?

It is no wonder why we don’t do this. None of us know how to live in this crazy impermanent world. A world that we are shown is safe and unsafe, full of love and stability, and chaos and unpredictability. It is no wonder we have no idea what to do, or which way to go. It is no wonder we make such a mess of things. And yet, somehow we are expected to trust even though nothing in Life seems trustworthy. We never know when our final breath will come, when our last kiss will be, we never know who will be with us tomorrow. Our closest partners love us deeply; and harm and hurt us, and in turn we do the same. What madness we create, through our hopes and fears, through our humanity. And what Beauty we create and share through our hearts, through our Divinity. What an unimaginable paradox it is to be Human.

The very machinery we use to decide how to live, is at its best a practical instrument for guessing which way to go; how to proceed, based on what we might guess will happen or assume has happened. At its worst, our minds are a psychological mess, deeply wounded, impaired, cracked, divided, broken and have so many voices within them, that we have no way of telling which direction we should go. Being a human is a total mess, and yet there is something here that inhabits our human form. There is a wonderful aliveness, a mysterious Divinity, an Ineffable Beauty; that despite our humanity, shines through. This Divinity is that which outlasts the totality of our life.

 No matter how far off the cliff, we fall into the chaos of our minds, this Divinity is here; silent, radiant and clear, waiting for us to come back home to ourselves. Waiting for us to come back to our innate Beauty and Love.  The only question is when will be open again and come Home?

If we are lucky this Divinity Guides us. If we are lucky, we listen to it. If we are unlucky we listen to the hopes and fears of our minds, which will undoubtedly cause unbelievable chaos in our lives. When we do listen to this part of ourselves, we miss the unfathomable Beauty which is right before our eyes.

For those close to me and all around me, I apologize for my humanity, for fearing Love, for mistrusting the Beauty of Life, for mistrusting my Self, for seeing you as my enemy, when you are my very Love, my very Self. I apologize for looking at God in the eyes and running and turning my back on you. My prayer for all of us is to know ourselves as Divine, to see and act as Divinity, to stop defending, fighting and withdrawing ourselves from each other and to forgive each other when we fail, and to forgive each other for again getting confused by our insanity and mistaking it for the truth. My Prayer is that we know our Divinity and the Ineffable Beauty that is right in front of us, in the form of You.  My prayer is that we again open to each other and Love the Ineffable Beauty that we are.

Who needs to be Enlightened?

MonkIt occurred to me when I was quite young that I must know what Enlightenment was. From deep within this aspiration arose. It was a totally irrational and impersonal impulse toward freedom. This type of deep yearning for Truth, for Freedom can come from no other place. Enlightenment, in the end, takes everything from our ego, it is a total stripping down of the narcissistic self. No ego could ever want this, to want this, would be wanting one’s own death.

But what I found somewhere along the way, was that my ego also, wanted freedom, because it thought that there was something to be gained. I thought enlightenment meant to be free from suffering and that I would finally get to rest. As I inquired more and more into this, I saw that this is what the ego wants; to rest, and that this was a very innocent request. In a sense, we all want to stop fighting against the movement of Life. And there is a tremendous relief when we finally let go. But ironically, our ego will only let go for a period of time, before it reasserts its drama. Because our narcissistic sense of self, maintains itself from creating drama. So even after we fully surrender, and deeply let go into our freedom, our mind will rise again; this is normal. Yet, we remain free as long as we resist the temptation to engage in our ego’s neurotic dance.

But as I was inquiring into this seeking for enlightenment, what I also found was a part of me that wanted to be able to claim enlightenment for my own self validation. As I looked deeply at this I saw there was still a part of me that did not feel whole, and felt that if I could claim enlightenment or hold onto to it, that somehow I would be saved. That somehow I would be a better, fuller version of myself. This is again, another dance of the narcissistic ego, it is always trying to improve upon itself as a way of fully feeling better about oneself, yet it never gets there.

It is almost as if, I were enlightened, then everyone would know how lovable I am. But again this is another dance of ego. If we truly wake up, then we know we are lovable. We know that we are complete, right here, right now, even with all of our deficiencies. And we have some work to do. What begins to dawn on us, is that we are perfect; that we all are the living embodiment of the Divine just as we are. The thought that we are less than, comes from our ego which operates out of deficiency. In a sense without deficiency, the ego may not exist. But as long as we believe that we are deficient, then our ego has plenty of room to struggle against life, and recreate itself again and again. When we are seeking to be free, it may be helpful to ask, who needs to be Free? Am I following a deep impulse for Truth from within, or am I following and my ego’s need to be somebody important? Who needs to claim Enlightenment? If we are truly free, we do not need to claim anything, because we know who we Are, and we can rest in our Divinity, and we relax in relationship to our shortcomings. As we do this, miraculously many, not all, of our short comings begin to fall away.

 

 

 

Letting Go into the Mystery We Are

To be awake, it is necessary to investigate the various parts of our self that make up our humanity; because our humanity is often where we become deluded into believing we are something, that we are not. Our will is one of the major areas where we quickly become unconscious or lost in egoic identification. Yet, our personal will is a fundamental building block of our ego. Our will is most basically, the psychological force or program within us that wants to survive, maintain, assert itself, fight against, or fundamentally separate itself in order to create a separate sense of identity. In a healthy way, our will is what makes us want to have a career or have a family or be a part of a political party; our will is what drives us to succeed at sports or want to be right. From a psychological perspective, having a good strong will, creates a healthy sense of self from which an individual operates in the world.

Yet if we believe too much in our will, and mistake it for who and what we truly are, this will lead to more delusion within ourselves. We all have known times when we have fought persistently to be right, and as a result experienced intense separation. If we give our will too much power or authority over ourselves, then we will end up believing in it’s point of view exclusively. This point of view is generally some version of me against the world. And if we see the world from this perspective we will not be seeing Life from the perspective of Unity, of Oneness.

Naturally our relationship with our will must be investigated if we are going to be free. There are many spiritual practices and ascetic techniques that work to break down our will such as hours and hours of meditation, difficult yogic asanas; many spiritual traditions prescribe difficult labor without purpose or aim, such as racking gravel in one direction and then the other. These may be helpful if done with sincerity, but if they are done from the perspective of the will, they can actually reinforce the will, not exhaust it. But a wonderful space opens when the will is exhausted, and we become so open and raw that we have no choice but to surrender. This is where most spiritual practices try to bring us, to this point of exhaustion and eventual surrender. Although, we are welcome at any point, to fully surrender our will and to let go; right here, right now. This is the direct path; to step onto the direct path, we must be deeply sincere; and be more sincere than our attachment to our own will. Sincere surrender is by far the most direct way to let go of the will and to step into this huge Mystery that we are.

Working with Difficult Emotions through Compassion

 

It is common for individuals to protect themselves against mental, emotional and physical pain by armoring ourselves, in a psychosomatic way in our physical and emotional bodies.  This tends to happen at a moment of a real or perceived crisis, when our bodies instinctively go tense in an effort to brace oneself from being overwhelmed by feelings. As therapist and teacher, I have worked with many individuals throughout the years that hold heavy layers of protection around themselves; sometimes decades after an experience of pain or trauma took place.  I learned how to work with others, from years of working with and healing my own armoring. To this day, I continue to work with liberating myself from years of holding my body tight from trying to shield myself from being hurt, by often imagined fears. Of course there are times when these fears are real and in the present moment. If this is the case, it is wise to take action, such as leaving the situation or getting whatever help we need.

 But what I find amazing is that often, for years, we hold ourselves tense to protect ourselves from a person who is no longer in our lives or who we might only see 1% of the time.  Maybe we will never see the person who originally hurt us again, and yet unconsciously we still armor ourselves against a one day chance encounter.  We may continue to hold this protection simply out of habit, even though there is no longer a threat. It may even be that be that our body was once shocked by a sudden accident and that it habitually holds itself tight for years. Whatever the case, this unconscious psychosomatic phenomena can hold us back from fully experiencing the wonder of Life in the affected parts of our being. To be awake, means that we open and include all of our being in our experience of life. But if there are parts of ourselves that are unconsciously resisting life, it will be difficult to experience beauty in these parts of ourselves. After we discover this in ourselves, we can invite our body to open and relax.  But for our body to relax, we must first be in a safe environment and feel emotionally and mentally safe.  This might mean a change of relationship, or environment, or simply realize that we are perfectly safe right here, right now; that this moment is not the past.    

After we have established a feeling of safety in ourselves, we can talk to our bodies or the various parts of ourselves that are in pain; and let them know that it is safe to relax.  It is safe to put the shield down.    We no longer have to hold tension in our bodies.  If we speak in a way that our body can hear, then it will hear us and begin to relax. Although, if we speak to ourselves in harsh or judgmental ways, we will not feel safe and we might become more scared and become more tense.   I like to think of talking to the places within us that are still hurting, like a good parent would talk to a child.  This might be a soft reassuring voice or a voice that is calm and clear; when we talk in this way, it becomes easy for our pain to hear us.  And our body may start to relax in a very gentle and natural way. Although if we have been through deep trauma and pain, much more work will be necessary.  

After my divorce, I can remember the intense pain that I experienced and held in my body.  I sat intentionally with this pain for over a year, and I did this each day.  I used a very specific mediation practice for helping to release this pain.  I sat down and relaxed my body.  I became open and spacious inside.  From this quiet, open and spacious place, I would locate the pain in my body, often this was quite easy to find. The wonderful thing about pain is that it is loud and undeniable.  The practice was to fully sit with the pain and fully allow it to be in my body. The key words here are to fully allow it to be.    When we first do this, our minds habitually, turn and run in the opposite direction.  They do this by thinking of something very important that needs to be done right now. Or it fantasizes about some other place or person.  Or it starts planning the day.  The mind will try to do anything but sit with pain.    It can be humorous to watch how quickly our minds go somewhere else when pain is in the room.  It can find something else to do in a fraction of a second.  Our minds will avoid pain at all costs, so it is quite a task to just get ourselves to sit with pain and allow it to be.    

After we have opened and allowed the pain to be here fully, we might imagine that the pain is a child and it is sitting in our lap.  As a father, I love this image.  I can think of any time my daughter even got hurt, the first thing I wanted to do was to pick up her and hold her.  We must cultivate this type of love for ourselves and the pain that lives within us.  We have to want to hold it. Although most of us, want to get rid of this pain as soon as we feel it. But if we want to get rid of it, we miss our chance to be free.  We miss our chance to know love. We miss our chance to transform pain into peace.     

For this process to be truly healing, we have to totally be open and to want to sit with it. Another image that I like comes from the ancient Zen teachings on the angry bull.  If we have an angry bull, and want it to calm down, then we let it run around in a big open field.  We work with pain in the same way; as we open to the pain and allow it to fully be within us, it may even become louder, it may need to run around for awhile. What is helpful is for us to notice all the space in our mind and our bodies, in our awareness and to notice that this space has no end. From this spacious openeness we can allow the pain to spread out and unravel in our spacious awareness. This also, helps our ego to relax, once it knows that there is so much space for all this pain, and that we no longer have to contain it. As we open to our already spacious nature, which is always here, we may notice that our pain might make a fuss; it might send awful memories through our minds.  To fully let go and heal, these memories must be seen, heard and acknowledged; but not believed.  By this I mean, that we see in the present moment that it (the experience that is feared) is not actually happening any longer, it happened in the past and now that it is the present and we are safe, we do not need these thoughts and stories anymore.  

If we continue to believe in the stories and thoughts, then we get stuck in the past and the mind is again successful in distracting us from sitting fully with the pain. And we don’t heal. Sometimes, we need to allow for these thoughts to go on and on until they wear themselves out.  But it is very dangerous, if we believe in our stories and add to them in the present. We will continue the story and never free the pain from ourselves until, we go back and fully allow it to release. 

If we can be this open, this willing, the pain will release, in a very powerful way, when it’s ready.  And this is up to it, not us; the only thing we can do is fully accept what’s here and surrender.  This is a very important point. The pain must feel safe and fully accepted and not denied in any way and then it will release.   And as it releases we may experience a wonderful power or energy running through our body, or a terrify energy or emotions.  Most people when they experience this terror or overwhelming sensations, get scared and quit this work. It is as if a wonderful dam broke inside and began to release and it was too much for the individual, so a person closes the gates, and stopped the whole process of letting go. 

If this happens, and it almost always does in the beginning, we don’t have to be discouraged, there will be another chance. When we are willing to again open to the pain, sit with it fully and allow for its release, there will be this wonderful and terrible feeling of being out of control.  And our invitation is to allow ourselves to experience this fully; to fully embrace feeling out of control. This is what it feels like to let go of deeply held emotions; it will feel as if uncontrollable sensations are moving through our body. Any time we are deeply emotional it feels uncontrollable, this is very much normal and ok. It might be the scariest experience of our life; we may turn red or pale, and feel sick to our stomachs. This is all a part of the process of conscious letting go.  Can we allow ourselves to turn pale, and to be terrified; in the end we probably will not die from this experience of letting go, although our minds may think that. As we fully allow the emotions and overwhelming sensations to fully be here, these very emotions will most often turn to pure energy and a rush of energy will run out of our body.  And this movement, may last for a second, a minute and hour a day or longer. But when we open to the movement of emotions and see that it is just energy; and do not believe the thoughts that say we are going to die; we become free.  This is what it viscerally feels like to consciously let go. We see that it is just energy running through our body and we allow for it to move in whatever way it needs.    And depending on the depth of the pain, it may take just one meditation on pain or a hundred to heal.  If we become comfortable with working with ourselves in this way, this fearlessness will become a way of life and we will come to love going into the unconscious parts of ourselves that are hurting.  And we will find that the majority of the pain we experience, is nothing more than energy stuck in our body from the past.