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Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Conversation About G*d

The conversation about G*d is not the same as relationship with G*d.  The conversation about meaning is not the same as meaning.  The conversation about purpose and significance is not the same thing as purpose and significance.  The conversation about love is not love.

Words are important.  They can get us to agreed upon meaning.  They can open up symbols and ideas that we have no access to otherwise.  But they can also be barriers.  They can also be walls.  The loudness of the words, the power and strength of the stories we're so convinced are truth, can stand in the way of the real truth revealed only through silence or love or relationship.

The conversation about a thing is not the thing itself.  No matter how smart the conversation is.  A review of a movie isn't a movie.  A recipe isn't a meal.  A romance novel isn't a relationship.  Beware the very human temptation to conflate words and ideas with the thing itself.  

Go beyond words and into the depth of real meaning, to the place of pure soundless energy, to the experience itself, not the description of the experience.  It might take some time to get used to this approach, but we're actually pretty well designed for it.  The need for constant distraction is mostly habit anyway.  Give yourself some time and see if it doesn't start getting easier.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Waking Up...

Have the feeling of waking up from a dream after a very long time...and that sense that everything that was very real in the dream is receding faster than my memory can hold on to it.

Hitting the Wall

There are moments along the spiritual journey when you feel you've hit an absolute wall,  you're certain you can go no further, and that perhaps your journey so far has been in vain.  It's that moment when your energy reserves are non-existent, and you are tired and discouraged and your heart and mind and body hurt, and you simply want to stop and rest and find a way out.

But it's right at this point that you have to keep moving forward, that you can't simply stop and rest and put aside all the work you've done.  Because it is right at that moment, when the old isn't working but you haven't yet discovered the new, that the very thing you need most becomes available.

There is something sort of chemical about the change that we encounter at certain critical junctures.  We have to immerse ourselves in experience and stay there until, like a good soup, the ingredients come together with depth and richness and flavor.  If you stop the cooking early, the goodness you were working towards cannot be reached.  And, on the spiritual journey, if you halt the process because you're gotten to a place of discomfort, and you let the discomfort define you, then you've just missed the opportunity to move through and then beyond that discomfort.

Don't overestimate discomfort as an indicator of success or failure.  Don't get stuck on discomfort as the only measure of progress.  Go deeper, beneath and below the discomfort, and see if the seeds of newness haven't begun to take root, if there isn't something new and wonderful emerging in the midst of the overwhelm.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Arrogance of Being Humble

It's easy to get arrogant on the spiritual journey, to think that your efforts and attempts at self-improvement and intentional growth put you in some special category, and confer upon you some special wisdom.

It's easy to think that the humility you've acquired makes you more special than those paying no attention, that those with no personal insight or value for self-reflection aren't working hard enough.  It's easy to set yourself apart, to see your work as worth more than the mundane stuff others are doing all around you.

But you can be absolutely certain that if you feel this kind of self-satisfaction, that you have been waylaid upon the spiritual journey, and taken an alluring but deceptive detour.  Because real satisfaction on the spiritual journey doesn't come from comparing yourself to anyone else.  It comes from contentment, the internal sense of being satisfied, not with your efforts, but with yourself, not with how you are trying to change, but with how you are.

Work hard on your journey.  Don't get lazy and complacent.  But if your spiritual journey is as full of ambition and competition and judgement as your daily life, then you're just pretending at being on the spiritual journey.  The rewards of the spiritual journey are invisible, at least for a while, and almost always impossible to describe until you get some maturity around them.  The rewards that you want to scream and shout about aren't the true rewards; the significance of the spiritual journey is better communicated in silence than screaming.

So relax and recognize who you are - who you really are - and stop fighting it all the time.  Judgement, anger, contempt, irritation, disgust, sorrow - so much of this is the shadow of us rejecting ourselves, wishing we were someone or something else, using the spiritual journey as a way to gain peace at the expense of self-acceptance.