A Voice in Darkness

Something wonderful is happening when you’re no longer looking at ‘problems’ as something painful that needs solving and instead start realizing they’re a beacon, a calling of the darkness to the light.

Within it comes a voice. “Can you see me here?”, it asks.

When the answer is yes, you see the Light and what you thought was a problem disappears from sight completely.

Subtle Lessons in Awareness

The thing with Awareness, you can’t search for it. It just finds you when you stop looking.

I used to start the music, set the timer, and begin the meditation. My eyes would close, I would open the door to my mind and, instead of welcoming in Awareness, I walked right past it into the forest of mind to find what I thought it was.

I went in search of Awareness but found madness instead.

The timer would ring signalling the end of my meditation. I’d feel frustration, sometimes more than when I’d started, at the obvious failure of my hunt.

Yet, I’ve now been taught that Awareness brings to me only what I need in any particular moment.

I didn’t think the light that I saw shining was the Great Awareness I was searching but I now know there are no levels to the magnitude of Awareness. It just is and will show itself to me when I give myself to It.

As I give, so shall I receive.

Lost

I got lost for a while. Real lost!

I don’t even know how it happened and didn’t realize quite how lost I was until I was alone again.

These past few months have seen some crazy shit come and go. I went from being an almost-40, married female to being an almost-40, separated female who, for the first time ever in her life, is doing absolutely everything on her own. But then I made a new friend and I allowed myself to get lost in that friendship. And I probably would have let it keep going but I got dropped. I still don’t understand it completely but here I am alone again, without friend whom I thought was more of a friend than apparently was, and trying to figure out who the hell I am, why I’m doing the things I’m doing, and how I’m going to keep moving forward.

This friendship I speak of has had a profound impact on my life but, in hindsight, my fertile mind took ideas that I loved and that resonated deeply with me, and turned them all into rules, rules that I believed only someone else knew how to act in accordance with. Every decision I was about to make I found myself checking in to make sure I was making the right choice. And most often I wasn’t. I started to become the second-guessing ninny that lies deep within me, petrified of being wrong, fearful that every wrong choice I make will leave me alone.

Being dropped as a friend, quite abruptly, was really painful for me, but looking back, it’s only made me stronger.

There isn’t one other person on this planet who can make my choices for me. I really have to sink into singularity and know that deep within I have an innate ability to choose the right things for me.

And what is most clear to me now is that there are no right ways or wrong ways, only different ways. I can search for someone to tell me how to do something only to turn around and find someone else who will tell me to do it the completely opposite way. Who’s right? Well, I guess we all are so long as we are choosing with our heart and doing what feels right. But beyond that, I also have to stand behind what I choose and I know I can confidently do that when there isn’t guilt, questioning, or condemnation.

Equally important to me is understanding that the choices I make aren’t concrete. If I make a choice and then learn something more about the choice I’m making and decide I should be doing something differently, well I can damn well change my mind. I just need to be aware and present in the faculty of my own mind when I decide. I need to ask myself why I’m making a choice and why it feels right to me. I need to strip away all the external factors and voices surrounding the choice I make and if, while alone, I can still, with all my heart, know that that is the choice I want and need to make, then I will.

I cannot make sense of so much that is taking shape right now. My life feels very messy and haphazard right now. I’m up and down. I’m good and bad. I’m vibrant and energetic and then I’m exhausted and done in. But overall, I have a very concrete image of who I am and where I want to be and as long as the image is there then that is what I see and rely on when I choose the direction of every aspect of my life. Is this action in alignment with who I am? If so, then I can accept that direction. If not, then I can just as easily reject that direction and move on.

I was lost. I’m still lost. But with each day, and with repetition, practice and fierce tenacity, I become a little more me and little less lost.

Rest is Within

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.                   ~ Matthew 11:28

At the center of the labyrinth, I paused. In that moment of silence the Light, the Energy Source, the God Almighty, spoke this verse to me.

The presence and power of this truth coursed deeply through my body. I swelled with relief and tears came to rest on the rim of my eyes.

At any time, the Light is within us. Turn into the Heart Center when you need rest and the vortex of light and energy will pull you in and you will be restored.

Meditate, be still, and know that I am God.

Me and My Ant

In my never-ending quest to find myself I feel sometimes like I just end up walking further away.

I’m trying to understand meditation and I know I don’t fully grasp it because I’m not entering any other dimension of myself – I only seem to be doing more thinking. I’m trying to will myself into a state of peace but, nope, that’s not meditation. Don’t get me wrong – an inner calm and peace, I believe, are side effects of meditation, but that’s not something you can will. Again, I go back to Being. This is what it’s about – it’s NOT about trying – yet that’s all I seem to do. Dammit – why do I have to be such a determined and willful person?

Meditation is a process through which one becomes aware. And it is in this awareness – full and open awareness – where the peace and knowledge of self resides.

But how do I get there?

It suddenly became a little bit clearer to me the other night when reading Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. In it, it states:

Meditation consists of two simultaneous processes: One is insight – paying attention to what is arising. The other is surrender – letting go of attachment to arising thoughts. This is how you cut free of the mind.

I think I’ve been stuck on step one and not fully understanding step two. I’m pretty good at paying attention to arising thoughts and feelings. But once they come, I’m not surrendering to them. I’ve been shutting them off. I shut them off because I don’t believe they should be there. All the mess and commotion and unhappiness – those aren’t peaceful, meditative thoughts! So that’s when I start trying. I start trying to turn the bad stuff off and begin trying to will myself into peace and light.

What a fool I’ve been!

know. I inherently know all that I need to know. But I haven’t been surrendering to what I am trying to tell myself. I’ve stopped listening.

I liken my inner voice/inner self to the tiniest of ants on the ground. It’s so small and far away that most times I don’t even see it standing at my feet. But it’s down there, jumping up and down, trying to get my attention. It’s screaming at full throttle but it’s too small, too far away, I continue to ignore it.

But then all of a sudden I start paying attention. I am aware of the ant. I still can’t hear it – but I see it. Yet at least I am aware. Then I notice the little ant talking – it’s trying to tell me something. Its voice is too small, I don’t know what it’s saying. And here’s where step two of the meditation process comes into play – rather than ignoring it because I can’t hear, I surrender to this tiny ant. I get down on my hands and knees and push my head as far down toward the ant as I can get it. Its tiny voice is still almost inaudible but I hear murmurings. And now I know I have to stay – stay still and stay quiet until my ears adjust and are able to hear.

I haven’t been hearing much these days. But now I know that when I become aware of something, rather than trying to fight it off, I need to stay still and surrender to it. Eventually I will come to hear and understand.

Core Workout

I’m human. Really human. And so, I’m easily distracted. I’m starting to use my distraction now though instead of it using me. It’s becoming my “weight” that I’m using to strengthen my core. And I’m not talking about my abs. No, I’m talking about my core Being.

What I’m starting to understand is that being present isn’t about being blissfully happy and peaceful 24/7. Well, let me re-phrase – being present isn’t about making myself be blissfully happy and peaceful 24/7.

Therein lies my foundational problem. I’m trying too hard. And in all my effort to find this happiness and peace, I’ve been missing it entirely.

In trying to be present I’ve been, in stark opposition, practicing mindlessness. I’ve been attempting to reach a future state of Being – but anything that has yet to be is anything but presence.

I started to bear witness to my ignorance yesterday. My morning cup of Eckhart taught me that there are three modalities of awakened doing:

  1. Acceptance
  2. Enjoyment
  3. Enthusiasm

I focus on the first one for now because that is what is resonating with me. Eckhart says about Acceptance:

Whatever you cannot enjoy doing, you can at least accept that it is what you have to do. Acceptance means: For now, this is what this situation, this moment, requires me to do, and so I do it willingly…Performing an act in the state of acceptance means you are at peace while you do it. That peace is a subtle energy vibration which then flows into what you do.

I realize I have not been very accepting of very much in my world:

  • When sitting at work doing repetitive, boring tasks my mind wanders and I start to look for the distraction. I search the Internet for something interesting, I go talk to someone, I reach for the Blackberry. Total avoidance!
  • When driving home in traffic, I turn on the music, I watch other people. I start to fall into self and judgement. Why can’t this guy drive? What will I eat for dinner? What am I going to do tonight?
  • What am I going to do tonight? (this thought carries on from the previous one) I guess I’ll eat dinner and have a glass of wine. I’ll watch TV. I’ll clean a bit and then maybe I’ll go for a walk. Everything is focused on future events yet when I get to that time – that time to eat, to watch, to walk – I’m already a million steps ahead of it – and so, I may perform the acts but I’m lost in yonder and never enjoying the state of present Being.

Everything is sheer distraction!

Yesterday, I made a concerted effort to focus. And, lo and behold, things started to fall into place. I had hundreds of contracts at work I had to get through and I went through each one  as though it was the first one I was seeing. And that was the whole jist of my day. When I started to look forward I brought myself back and I truly found that acceptance of the now was more peaceful than the hope of the unknown future.

Now that I know what my weight load is, I can make use of it to strengthen my core.

Lost and Found

Again and again and again. I keep losing myself and finding myself. Over and over and over.

To understand the power of presence and how I relate to life – my being ONE with it – it’s not easy for my fully egoic and human mind.

But I continue to practice.

I’ve had several emotional breakdowns over the last few weeks. They’ve been piercing, seething pains that sink me to my knees. And when they’ve happened I’ve felt alone beyond expression. I’ve wanted to yell and curse and blame – blame anyone who is in the way of my hurt. I’ve wanted to reach out to people and say some pretty harsh and irrational things. But I haven’t. I start to and then I realize that the only honest response is that my pain is a story generated by my thoughts and emotions.

Why do I instinctively want to hurt and blame others when it is me who is hurting? Because I’m detached – I’m lost in the world of form and thought. It’s cold and lonely there.

In these moments of disorientation I have allowed the pain to come. It hurts like hell and I don’t, at the time, think it will ever go away. But, lo and behold, the next day I walk out of the abyss with a greater understanding.

Slowly, slowly, slowly the layers are being peeled away and the oneness that I AM is being exposed.

With practice I will be found more often than I am lost.