When we tap into the eternal truth beyond all relative truths, there is an experience of deep peace. There is a “knowing” beyond any level of thought that transforms how we see ourselves in relation to the rest of life. If we experience that truth deep enough, all relational references merge and all that remains is the knowing itself.
But our conditioned minds do not allow us to linger in that experience very long, and we find ourselves back among mortals. That experience has changed us, however, in a very essential way. As we go about our daily activities, instead of resistance, which is a tool we have learned to use in order to guard ourselves from our deepest fear, we bring peace and joy to even the simplest chores.
Things that used to grate on our nerves now serve as openers, guiding us to ever deepening levels of peace. They provide us with opportunities to practice acceptance and discover gratitude, and in doing so, we open ever wider to life and to the truth that sustains it.
We come to trust ourselves in a whole new way. We are able to speak with more certainty because we trust our own words more completely than we did before. We are able to extend this new dimension of trust to those around us because in knowing the truth, we are no longer at the whim or mercy of another’s illusions.
And as we open to life in this way, open to receive all the gifts we have been given, we are able to ask those questions that have plagued us our whole lives: What is my purpose? Why am I here? How can I serve? What should I do? And because we are open, we are able to receive the answers. Those inspired answers not only bring peace, but they also bring a clarity and focus as they illuminate where and how we can best focus intent.
We become like a magnifying glass, and each opportunity we meet and open to helps us adjust the angle of the lens so that we can most effectively focus that pure light of consciousness in a way that it burns through the illusions that give rise to suffering. In serving in this way, we experience more joy and fulfillment than we ever imagined was possible.
And because our activities now arise from pure creative intent, we are infused with all the energy necessary to meet the challenges we face. We come away from tasks energized instead of exhausted, and we inspire others to seek the same drive and purpose within themselves.
Rather than resist the burdensome tasks in your day, use those simple tasks to practice opening to life. Take fifteen minutes a day and surrender internally to the activities that draw your attention rather than putting them off for another time. In opening to them, you will find the joy contained within them, and a healing will occur. This healing brings gratitude, and opens you wider to receive those answers you seek, often in the most unlikely of moments.
Why is it that we don’t seek to fix the things that are positive in our lives? In many ways, those things are actually more limiting than the negative things. They blind us to authentic self, our eternal nature, every bit as much as negativity does, but because they are experienced as pleasurable, we do not try to escape them.
Instead we spend so much time pursuing them with focused intensity. With our goal clearly in mind, we set about trying to figure out how to achieve it. In the process, sometimes we have to shed other goals, or at least set them aside for a while, so that we can make all our resources available for this one desire that we believe holds the ultimate experience of fulfillment.
But each time we get there, there is always something else we will feel a desire for. It takes a long time to collect enough experiences of getting what we want for us realize that having what we want will only bring us fleeting satisfaction. Or maybe we may never even get there at all.
Our minds are conditioned to seek satisfaction in the world of things. That is why even when we get what we want, we continue to seek more: because that is what our minds are trained to do. It is but one of the many paths built into the human condition designed to lead us beyond identification with the human condition to an experience of conscious awareness as consciousness ourself. This is our true destiny.
Whatever it is that you are wanting right now, bring your awareness to that feeling of lack, that feeling of looking outward for something you don’t have. The next time you get what you want, become aware of the feeling of satisfaction, then check back at a later time and see if that same level of satisfaction is still there. And then after, when you find you are wanting something else, become aware of that feeling too.
Look around your dwelling and become aware of each individual item, including perhaps the dwelling itself. Hold it for a moment, mentally or physically, and try to embody that feeling of wanting that led up to you having that particular item. Maybe certain items belongs to a spouse or partner, but your wanting of that spouse or partner is what led to your having that item, so embody that feeling of wanting that led up to you having them.
Often times, those items can begin to feel more like burdens, because there’s too many of them or there’s no room for the things that you want now or they weren’t what you expected or they just don’t “fit” anymore with your new goals or desires. Where is the satisfaction that you believed those items would provide for you? The energy that you experienced as satisfaction is the same energy that is being tied up in wanting something else. That is why you can’t feel it as deeply (or at all) anymore.
Awareness is the key to liberation, whether it be awareness of wanting pleasure or awareness of avoiding fear. They are two sides of the same coin, and regardless of how many “wants” you get, there will always be emptiness, and regardless of how much fear you avoid, there will always be more to be afraid of. One serves as contrast to the other in order to lead you to pursue an experience beyond both.
When we become aware of that feeling of wanting, that awareness is consciousness disidentifying from form. When we come to know ourselves as that, all extraneous wanting falls away, leaving us with a deep experience of being. Then, as we set about our day, we bring that experience of being to each thing we do.
That is where we experience true joy: not in having what we want but in being the awareness of the flow of energy within this play of form. In opening to that experience, our purpose is revealed beyond any want or desire of our own. In honoring that purpose, we experience the deep fulfillment and perfection contained within every action and every breath.
Fear arises out of a fundamental misconception that we are exclusively separate beings in this world and are in need of protection. From this limited perspective, we feel dependent upon the things of this world to bring us to an experience of fulfillment. This misconception has its roots in our first experiences of life when, in fact, we were dependent upon the people and things of the world for our survival.
Things that challenge our sense of security stand out much more strongly as something to be resisted than the things that make us feel secure. By chasing security, we can certainly make a comfortable enough existence for ourselves, but the chances that it will be absolutely fulfilling are slim. Those who appear to “have it all” often attest to that sense that there is still “something missing”, and often they also turn and face the fear they had been trying to insulate themselves against all that time.
In welcoming fear, we welcome awareness of that feeling of fear. In that awareness, we experience a sort of liberation: a loosening of those rigid conditioned reactions that we learned along the way that stifles our ability to experience joy.
Most feelings of fear are conditioned behaviors that may have served our needs at one time, but as adults, we no longer require that same protection anymore. Fear is just love calling us home, and each interaction with life that inspires feelings of fear are nothing more than opportunities to answer that call. As adults, we are strong enough now to withstand any discomfort that may arise, and in doing so we open to experiencing the love that was concealed within those illusive fears.
In this way, those experiences of “negative” energy are gifts, gems, treasures. It is not that we need to seek out negativity, we need only become aware of the negativity that arises organically throughout our day. This is the past conditioning presenting itself now, providing us with an opportunity to break that limiting behavior. When negative energy is experienced as love, we truly begin to heal. In healing, the light of consciousness can more easily shine through our form and illuminate the path for others to follow.
When we are lost in identification with form, the things of this world stand out as being absolutely important. We then lose our happiness in our quest to achieve or acquire those things that we believe hold our ultimate experience of happiness. Regardless of what we get, it never seems to be quite a deep enough experience for us.
Shifting our attention from the things of this world to the space which contains them puts us one step closer to an experience of authenticity. When we shift our attention to the space that surrounds the things in this experience of life, including our thoughts, we notice the space inside of us. Only by shifting our awareness to this still space will we begin to even know it is there. Because there is nothing to grab onto, the mind usually just dismisses emptiness in favor of something more “interesting”.
But in noticing the space, we begin to experience something far more interesting than anything in the world: we begin to notice a feeling of aliveness. What is that aliveness? Where does it come from? What sustains it? Why is it even important that it be here?
By noticing inner space, there is less and less room for unhappiness. This experience of aliveness is far more fulfilling than any experience we have gotten from things, and there is an endless supply that is readily available.
No longer looking to the world to provide us with fulfillment, we are free to just enjoy whatever experiences come along. We no longer derive a sense of identity from those “things”, including our thought, so we are less emotionally affected by whatever it is that is going on. Even in the most challenging situations, we can still tap into stillness and discover the fulfillment it contains.
When we can deeply experience that abundance, fear falls away. It is replaced with a deep sense of wholeness and perfection and safeness beyond anything we have ever known. No longer driven by fear, we draw our inspiration from creative intent. We become a direct portal for unfettered creative intent to express itself through us.
The feeling of joy that we experience in opening and giving so unconditionally nourishes us in a way that cannot be explained. It heals us, and all our past hurts. We recognize how those hurts arose from an essential misunderstanding which ultimately led us back to wholeness at a deeper level than we ever could have gotten without them.
Throughout your day, take conscious notice of the space around the things that you see and think. Notice how that space is holding those things in peaceful nonjudgment. The space is completely surrendered to its purpose, and because of that, it performs its function flawlessly. Know that your body is almost one hundred percent space as well, and that that flawless perfection is at work inside of and around you: supporting and sustaining the aliveness that gives rise to the perception of being alive.
And if you can get there often enough, and experience that truth deep enough, you may come to directly experience the ultimate truth: that not only is that space eternal and infinite, but the aliveness that makes up this experience of “you” is eternal and infinite as well. To get it, you need only do nothing!
What is it that keeps us waking up in the same reality day after day? And especially when that reality is one that leaves us feeling unsatisfied or stifled or suffocated: why do we continue to subject ourselves to it? What is truly stopping us from creating that experience of life that we have always dreamed of?
Fear, in some form or another, is a likely culprit. And fear has so many different faces it is impossible to list them all here. But when we get to the very root of all fear, what we find is that it is a learned behavior, and a choice we are making to be afraid. We have been led to believe that fear is real and that fear is scary. Most of us use it as a guide to avoid certain situations because avoidance gives us an illusion of safety, and an illusion of comfort.
But even beyond that, I would assert that we often choose to be limited by that fear because we are more afraid of a world without limitations. Our minds run rampant with all sorts of visions of what people would do if they were not subject to a fear of the rules and laws, both expressed and implied, of sharing this world together.
But when we come to realize that we need not fear fear, we also realize that those “Mad Max” scenarios only serve to keep us from, and ultimately guide us to, our liberation from those fears. And when released, we possess a whole different understanding of what a world without limitations and fear means. In a very real way, in letting go of fear, we experience a feeling of safeness that far surpasses any we could ever achieve through guarding ourselves from fearful things.
Is it possible that there is an altruistic purpose for fear? Yes. Fear is an essential and beautiful attribute of humanity, and our willingness to accept fear at our very core allows us to discover a treasure greater than any we could have ever wished for or dreamed of.
Ask yourself the following question, but instead of looking for an answer in words, open to experiencing the true answer that resides beyond words: What is it that allows the fear to be here to be experienced in the first place?
The answer is not in the stillness that you experienced as you awaited a response, it is the stillness that experienced you. That stillness has always been here, available to you, holding you in good times and bad without fear or judgment. That stillness is what allows this experience of life to be unfolding, and it is limitless. As an expression of that stillness, we are limitless as well. The only thing that keeps us unaware of that limitlessness is our busy mind chatter and the significance that our minds place on form over stillness.
While at this point in our evolution there are some true limitations to how quickly and easily we can shift our realities, truly we are far less limited than we have come to believe. We have far more control over our lives than we realize, and when we can wake up to that fact, we tap into the inspiration and empowerment necessary to make any changes that need to be made, or find the fulfillment that was available to us in our current situation all along.
Our life situations then become a choice, and one that we gratefully make over and over. Because each situation is an active choice, we become a portal for timeless, unfettered creativity to enter this realm of conditioned time.
Deep down we know that any experience in form will ultimately be unsatisfying. By staying in unsatisfying situations, we are able to tap into the fears that are supporting that dissatisfaction. It is when we get inside the fear that we find release from all fear, and we are welcomed home into the love that was calling to us this whole time. It was always available to us, but because it was masked as fear, we resisted it.
Welcome fear. Allow it to serve you. Realize its purpose is to lead you home. Recognize that what were once unwelcomed feelings of fear are now your greatest signposts leading you on the path to your ultimate liberation from that fear entirely. It is the key to setting your spirit free from the illusive chains that limit your experience of bliss, but you can only open to it when you are ready to be done experiencing limitation.
Growing up, our minds became conditioned to expect things from life and from others. And while on the surface we believe those expectations can and should be met, subconsciously we fear that they will not. In this way, we become unwitting participants in creating that which we fear, because the more we are attached to certain expectations, the more we will focus on them and find the ways they are not being met.
This makes us feel very unsettled, and we are compelled to make it known that certain needs and expectations are not being met, only to find there is resistance and accusations of needs and expectations that we are apparently not meeting. It can be a vicious cycle that can deteriorate our relationships.
Ultimately what we are expecting is that the other person will be able to love us in a way that no other person has before and therefore we will experience the fulfillment of true connectedness. We expect that other person to want to love us so much that they sacrifice their own needs and expectations for us, and in doing that, our fulfillment becomes their fulfillment.
But when both people are expecting the same thing, a power struggle is sure to ensue. And the most difficult thing to realize is that regardless of how hard that other person tries to meet those expectations, our fear that they won’t will continue to undermine their efforts by focusing on all the ways that they don’t, and the power struggle will persist until there is either a treaty reached or the relationship is dissolved.
But if we are able to genuinely shift our expectations of our relationships, then it is possible to find fulfillment without having to continue to fight for what we want or switch one relationship to the next. If we can realize that our relationships are here to make us conscious instead of happy, then we can tap into the fulfillment available in each relationship we have.
As long as there is some expectation or desired outcome, then we are missing the joy concealed in our interactions. When we interact with another, often judgments or unmet needs are revealed. Instead of looking to the other person to adjust their behavior, we can begin to realize that this is just the unconsciousness within ourselves surfacing. When we become aware that the only purpose of this unconsciousness is to limit ourselves and our experience of life, we are able to release those judgments and needs that keep us from finding fulfillment.
Our relationships are simply mirrors reflecting our true self back to us. Until we can get past the idea that the other person is the cause of the dissatisfaction, then we will continually be unfulfilled in our relationships to some extent or another. But when we can just open to the fact that their being in our life and offering us that reflection is an act of genuine love, then we are able to find the love available in every interaction within the healing that occurs each time any unconsciousness surfaces.
This is true connectedness: to be able to be the space for the other person without judgment or expectation. To allow each person to play out their own unconscious fears and drama without getting mixed up in it. When we can set aside our own reactions, or recognize that our reactions to their behaviors are our own unconsciousness, then we are able to find the love woven into each connection as well as each disconnection.
Our awareness that another’s drama has everything to do with their own past conditioning and nothing to do with us allows us to love them unconditionally. And when the other is able to recognize our acting as the space for their unconsciousness as the ultimate act of love rather than a disconnection, there is a healing that occurs within themselves, and a connectedness is experienced beyond anything that had been felt through any more traditional or physical acts of love.
The human mind is indeed a crowning achievement of creative intent. As with any tool, though, if certain functions are used in excess of their intended purpose and to the exclusion of other functions, the entire tool can become irreparably damaged long before its otherwise optimal lifespan.
One overused function of the human mind is its ability to isolate a situation and find something undesirable in it. To resist “what is” is to resist life. In your willingness to accept a situation, you allow life to live through you. You release identification with the limited mind-made entity that wants its way and you open to an experience of perfection.
Hope is one form of nonacceptance. It implies that there is some part of us that cannot accept the way something is in this moment, and that if it could change it would make our experience of life better in some way.
To hope that something will be different in the future makes about as much sense as hoping that something that has already happened won’t. In its overuse, hope has become a conditioned pattern of the mind. As long as we are subject to that conditioning, we are unable to recognize the perfection in this moment. This drains us of energy to respond appropriately, and instead we continue to react in this moment according to those conditioned patterns of behavior. It’s that conditioning that is the ultimate cause of our unhappiness, because it results in a limited experience of life.
The future is happening right now. As long as we are hopeful for some specific future, we are denying the future as it is presenting itself in this moment. When we hope, we reinforce that pattern of hoping, and even when we get what we had hoped for, we will not be able to fully appreciate it for very long because our mind will just find something else it is unsatisfied with that it hopes will change because that is all it is trained to do.
Another consequence of overusing hope is that it strengthens our limited, and often unhappy, mind-made self. When we stop hoping, we release the energy that is trapped inside us and instead allow it to flow through us. Hope can be an indication of limited perspective, and the thing that is truly being limited most is you.
That’s not to say we can’t ever hope for anything ever, it just means that we need to stop for a while until we have experienced the truth of the perfection of this moment as it is without needing anything to be different. Until we can realize that the consequence of hope is to support the false idea that we are an exclusively separate being, then we should instead try and use hope as our cue to awaken to the truth. It becomes like a homing signal: whenever you become aware that you are hoping, remind yourself that “all is as it should be”, and perhaps express gratitude for whatever it was that served as your cue to awaken.
It’s not wrong to hope, but until we can tap into the fact that the true purpose for hope is to help us awaken, we will continue to be blinded to the complete perfection of this moment and of ourselves within this moment. When we do awaken, we no longer live at the mercy of hoping for change, and it becomes but one function of our now fully functional mind. Life is unlimited, and as expressions of that life, we are unlimited as well. When we let go of hope, we become more fully alive. When we hope less, we are free to live more.
Typically, “self-consciousness” has a negative connotation. It describes how we become acutely aware of ourselves in relation to some judgment of that “self”. When experienced in this traditional sense, there is a contraction and an infection of old wounds.
In this experience, there is a separation between our mind-made self who we are usually identified with and some witnessing entity who judges that self as standing apart from the scene in an unfavorable way. This judge then “records” this undesired behavior, and makes adjustments in an effort to try to guard against it happening again. This becomes yet another layer of the mind-made self that further obscures our ability to recognize that our authentic self, our being as an expression of life, is also there too.
It is this judge that leads us to believe that in our authenticity, we are not acceptable. That we must modify our organic self in order to be accepted and valued by others. And with each person hosting their own illusive selves, all unconscious relationships have their root in illusion. As we enter more committed relationships, that “flawed” self that is hidden beneath layers of judgments and modifications is bound to surface, and when it does, it can be shocking.
The real issue is that this hidden self is not really who we are either, yet it is this belief that we are that “self” that is subject to judgment that gives rise to the illusion that this “self” exists. And in our efforts to conceal this flawed self, we strive to conform that self to the behaviors deemed acceptable by this inner judge, but that inner judge is just a mind-made illusion as well.
So who are we, if we are not who we think we are? Only when we become still can we experience the answer to that question. In becoming still, we stop all stories of who we are and let go of the expectations we have of ourselves and others. We experience our aliveness as we bring our awareness to all those things that happen regularly and flawlessly without any instruction from us. We begin to sense the truth of the organizing wisdom that is the foundation for all life and all experiences, and we discover that we are not separate from that.
All of a sudden, we have a deep sense that there is a purpose for all experiences, and that we are an essential piece of the puzzle. That in setting aside our mind-made illusions of separate selves, we allow the intention of the life that created us to work through its creation. No longer masked behind limited concepts and judgments, life becomes conscious of itself.
It is an awakening of life to itself as life. It is life becoming aware of itself through the form it has manifested. Much like the wonder an infant must feel when it begins to become aware of itself as “I”, creative intent also experiences this awareness of self as wondrous.
In this experience of self-consciousness, there is an expansion and a healing. It is an experience of absolute love, beyond all judgment, as we become acutely aware of our absolute wholeness and perfection. We experience the truth that we are simply an expression of this still essence of life in its efforts to experience itself in new and wonderful ways. It is the stillness in the background of all our experiences that holds us in compassion as we meet, and fail to meet, the challenges we face. It is through those limitations and judgments that we are released from the struggles of the mind-made self and find our way into the truth where life is now experienced as a celebration of self-consciousness.
As a species in this contemporary society, we are afforded many luxuries that our ancestors could have never dreamed of. In spite of these advances in quality of life, as a culture we remain largely unfulfilled, always seeking outside ourselves for an amazing experience of life.
In many ways, our quest for fulfillment is mind-made, and arises out of the luxuries we take for granted in these easy times we live in. And while they don’t seem so easy on the surface, if you take a look at centuries past you can see how so many of our apparent complications are truly man-made struggles of convenience.
Our lives are not about mere survival any more; they are very much about achievement or accumulation. And the thing we are striving to achieve more than anything is fulfillment and peace of mind. But because we have so much free time available to reflect upon our lot in life, we continually pick up on ways we are not fulfilled in this moment while completely dismissing all the ways in which we are. We pick up on feelings of dis-ease inside of us, and then we set about making up stories of why it’s there and what we need to do about it.
Rather than seeing that the solution lies within ourselves, we look to the situations we are in and the people in our lives. Though this filter of “problem seeking”, we attribute our unhappiness to those things. In this way, we often create crisis situations even where there isn’t one.
And because our bodies cannot tell the difference between a thought and an actual situation, they react as if there really is some immediate threat. In this way, energy becomes trapped inside our bodies in our constant states of tension and stress. This can often create a true crisis situation in the form of physical disease or illness.
Those more physical symptoms of crisis often serve as a wake up call, and with this new set of parameters, people often quickly and dramatically change the way they see themselves and the world around them. Some rise above all negativity and fall into the grace and beauty and wonder of the world around them. In spite of all the challenges to survive that they now face, they are in so many ways more free and alive than when they only had mental complications rather than physical complications.
Without an authentic crisis, and without someone telling us there is another alternative, there is nothing driving us to know ourselves at our deepest level. Instead, we continue to look outside ourselves for fulfillment, and we point to how others are not doing what we believe they should do, believing that is the reason why we are unsettled and unfulfilled.
Until we can tap into our being and experience our limitlessness, this feeling of dis-ease will persist. In lieu of authentic crisis, our minds create complications where there otherwise aren’t any. This is by design, because until awareness of our eternal nature becomes mainstream, we need crisis in order to disidentify from the thoughts that limit our being in this world.
In these relatively comfortable times, our lives can sometimes seem unsatisfying and shallow. This is our mind creating crisis where there isn’t one in order to wake us up to this amazing experience of life. It is nothing to fear, and through recognizing it as a gift, we are able to embrace it and discover the fulfillment that has been available inside ourselves all along.
All is as it should be.
In our various stages of growth, we strive and hope and yearn to create the life we believe will provide us with the fulfillment we feel we are deserving of. Often things do not work out as we had planned or hoped, and in our efforts to figure out what it is that went wrong, we often blame others or life or our own inexperience. We set about making changes, but eventually after enough trial and error, we can begin to believe that our apparent failings in life are nothing more than a monument to our own worthlessness.
In these darkest moments, what is it that keeps us hanging on to life? Often it is our fear of how it might affect a person in our lives: a parent or a child or another who is equally tied to us but yet unaware of our despair. These are people who, although we will suffer to live another day for them, we will not reach out to for help. Somehow, in spite of how alone and useless and pointless we may feel, if we believe that our absolute absence would be harmful to even just one person, we somehow find the strength to continue. We do this knowing they will never understand the sacrifice we have made for them in living.
And while we are hanging on to those threads of mattering at least that much to just one person, there is someone far more significant who we absolutely matter to that we have completely overlooked. That person is being masked by the story of our not mattering. That person is trapped inside a cell of expectations and desires. That person is our authentic self.
And it’s not even appropriate to say that our authentic self is masked or trapped, it is just experiencing the absolute power and limitation of thought. Regardless of how it looks and feels on the surface, this is an essential, valuable, and purposeful stage in our growth. This is a large part of why we have even come into this world of form: to experience these limitations so we can better celebrate our limitlessness. And when we can experience that limitlessness while in form by awakening from those limiting hurts of the past, this brings in a whole new dimension to the celebration.
In those moments of deepest despair, we need to open to the realization that it is not our body that has to die to be released from these stories of hurt we have collected, whether they are true or not. Those human stories of hurt have worn us thin, and that is when our being has the best opportunity to try to break free. It tells us to just let go, to stop, to die, but with only a conventional understanding of what those words mean, we lose ourselves in thoughts of mortal death.
Everything has a purpose, even darkness. The age-old saying “It’s always darkest before the dawn” takes on new meaning when you can learn that by embracing and welcoming that darkness into your heart instead of fearing or resisting it, you are able to discover the absolute beauty of the light that it conceals.
It is not you, in your essence, who is alone and useless and pointless: it is the mind-made story of who you believe you are that is all those things. And when you can get inside those limiting beliefs, you find that they were actually gifts leading you to discover the truth that in your essence, you are pure and beautiful and untouched by any of those stories or experiences of pain and hurt.
Your spirit, your authentic self, your awareness of who you are beyond all limitations of thought, is now free to be in this world as an expression of the love that it recognizes in all situations. Through expressing this love, you are able to create and experience a truly fulfilling life beyond any story of the one you believed you were deserving of.
There are many obvious advantages to belonging to the human species. One seemingly not so desirable trait is our insatiable longing. We hunger and ache for those things that seem out of our reach. They distract us from whatever else is going on, and undermine our efforts to best achieve our goals. This longing is primarily the work of our ego: our mind-made entity that we mistakenly believe is the essence of our true self.
It is part of the human conditioning that masks our being. We wish for those things we don’t have, and then because “wanting” is all our minds are trained to do, when we get those things it’s not long before we are wishing for something new. It’s just a cycle, and one that can be overcome through a practice of awareness. And in breaking free of that conditioning, extraneous longing in service to ego falls away, leaving us with a clear understanding of where we need to focus our energy on.
Certainly our purpose as humans isn’t to have every worldly thing we want. In letting go of longing, we open to the possibility of discovering our authentic purpose in life. When we are graced with this truth, honoring and serving that truth becomes our primary desire. We have a much clearer understanding of those individual wants or needs that do not serve our higher purpose, and we are able to more easily let go of those distractions to keep our energy available for more purposeful activities.
And yet even in this higher state of awareness, there can still be some element of desire that distracts us from time to time. Longing can be beautiful if it is experienced from this higher state of awareness because we are no longer lost in identification with it. When something we want is seen as a conflict with our higher purpose, we are free to indulge in this bittersweet longing from time to time. No longer at the mercy of it, we are able to see that even longing has a purpose in service to our higher self: it is the vehicle through which we are able to genuinely treasure all we have.
So it would seem that part of belonging to the human species is to be-longing. When we can open to the beauty of it, it becomes a gift instead of a burden. It drives us now to fulfillment instead of unhappiness. As long as we are feeling there is some fulfillment in the world that we haven’t yet experienced, we are rendered helpless to experience the fulfillment we already possess within ourselves. Until we can tap into that experience of fulfillment, our lives will be lived in service to unhappiness.
Rather than expend all our efforts trying to get what it is that you want, use that sense of longing as a way of tapping into the fulfillment that is available Now. It is not necessary to suspend wanting indefinitely, just long enough until you experience the truth of your purpose beyond any of those persistent worldly desires. You will know you are there when, for a time, you do not want or need anything to be different than it is in that moment.
Because wanting is a conditioned human behavior, you can rest assured that it won’t take long for those wants to surface again. Through awareness, you get better at watching them in order to make sure they are not steering you off your true path. Then, even when there is longing, there is also a deep experience of peace. After all, that is really what it is that we, as humans, genuinely hunger and ache for most.
In Yesterday’s post, “Human Being Eternal”, I wrote about how, in the process of transitioning from childhood, we begin to lose our ability to just “be” as we become more and more identified with an internal judge. This process of becoming identified with this mind-made entity, and the seeming loss of our ability to experience our innate eternity, is what we were led to believe is all just a part of becoming a mature, responsible adult.
But that eternal being is not as lost as we think: it’s simply being stifled behind this veil of a mind-made entity of what we think it means to be a human adult. Children are much more closely identified with their eternal nature yet they have no way of knowing or appreciating it. As teenagers, we begin indulging our humanity by either conforming with or railing against expectations (or some measure of both). As adults, we have the opportunity to break free of those imposing expectations in order to discover what it is we were meant to do before we were led astray by thoughts of what it is we were “supposed” to do.
The trouble is that no one told us that part, and without even knowing it’s a possibility, how can we make that choice? Instead, we get more and more rooted in our judgments and more and more unhappy. We want the world to change and adhere to those expectations that we were led to believe were the ultimate guide to happiness, but it is that “guide to happiness” that is actually the root cause of our unhappiness. In letting go of expectations, we release that judge from it’s self-imprisonment, and we set our spirits free.
We find ourselves on a mountain-top and are able to survey the landscape with clear eyes. We recognize the beauty and the ugliness, but we also see how the ugliness creates the beauty and how it’s all relative. In that moment, there is forgiveness and gratitude for all of it. A healing occurs within ourselves, and we no longer feed the world with negativity. We are one less voice of dissension, and we bring peace to each of our actions and responsibilities. We are able to know what it is we are supposed to do beyond and thought or concept of what it is we “should” do or “want” to do.
We are able to be the space for others to burn themselves out in futile protest, because without someone to fight against, they are sure to figure it out for themselves. By not resisting or supporting another’s mind-made story of hurt or frustration or pain, we no longer strengthen that mind-made judge that plagues this contemporary society we live in.
There are real issues in the world outside of the ones created by our individual “wanting” and “needing”, and without those “monkey’s on our backs” we can begin to bring healing to those more grave issues that plague humanity and threaten our existence as a whole. By serving in that way, we find more fulfillment than we ever could have found by achieving what it was we believed was the idyllic life of a human adult.
When we are identified with our internal judge, we may at times look at children and envy how oblivious they are to the rules and judgments of this “grown up” world we live in. Their lives can seem so carefree, and we know they have no way of understanding just how special this time is in their lives. Perhaps we feel a sense of sadness in our recognition that someday they too will lose that innocence in their initiation into adulthood.
When we look at those children and recognize or envy their innocence, it’s really just our own eternal being longing to be recognized and expressed. It is that essential process of “losing” our innate eternity that allows us to be able to recognize it again as adults. And because we’ve been on both sides of the coin, we are able to absolutely treasure it this time around. It’s like “returning home after a long journey and seeing it clearly for the first time”.
When we look back upon our childhood, we probably recall moments of pure simplicity where we were just “being” without any worries. We experienced freedom as we explored the world around us, and because we lacked the ability to predict the consequences of our actions, our curiosity was not stifled by fear of “what might happen”. We were more identified with our “being” aspect than we were with our “human” aspect”, and as such we had no way of truly understanding or appreciating that special quality in our lives. At best, we recall a sense of deep joy in those most eternal moments.
But slowly, gradually, that eternal freedom to just “be” was suppressed. More and more as impulses would arise, our internal judge would tell us we shouldn’t do certain things for whatever reason. That mind-made entity had been passively “collecting” ideas about ourselves as a human individual in a world of individuals, and was beginning to assert itself by pretending to be the authority on how we could best get our needs met: needs to be liked or successful or happy or whatever it was which that entity believed held an experience of fulfillment.
It is that entity that believes “if I do this-and-that and have this-and-that and avoid this-and-that, then I will be (happy, successful, liked, etc)”. This is a necessary stage in our growth and maturity, but in our complete identification with this mind-made idyllic “human”, we are unable to acknowledge and express our eternal “being”. When we can disidentify with that mind-made judge and jury, our being can shine through again, and we can begin to integrate the two through cultivating genuine balance in our lives.
As I explored in another post, “Regaining Balance“, it’s not about having enough “me-time” to offset all those other things that “judge” tells us we have to do, it’s about balancing “being” and “human”. As long as we believe that “me” is exclusively human, anything we do to try and indulge and celebrate “me” will only be partly successful. There may be some exhilarating experiences, but they will be short lived and only serve to make other things stand out as less desirable or even burdensome. In that way, any sense of aliveness will be mitigated by a sense of eventually having to return to our more deadened “reality”, and that perspective steals some of the joy we might otherwise have experienced if we knew that joy is available to us in every reality.
To achieve balance, some people try to bring in elements of yoga or meditation or worship. While this can be effective to some extent, as long as those expressions of our eternal being are isolated and seen as rewards or indulgences, they are less effective than if we are able to bring in moments of recognizing our beingness throughout our day. There are many ways of doing this, like by creating gaps in our streams of thoughts and by embodying gratitude for various things in our life, and when we can bring in enough of those moments into our everyday lives we discover a level of fulfillment we will never find through meeting our human needs alone.
Ultimately, our humanity is one aspect of this experience of life. When we believe it is the only aspect, it limits our ability to experience true fulfillment. While this human form has a clear beginning and end, it is our ability to recognize our “being” that liberates us to really explore what it means to be human. Our “being” is eternal, and as such has no beginning or end. It is not limited by concepts of “should” and “shouldn’t” or “gain” and “loss”. In rising above these mind-made judgments, we realize that nothing that matters can ever be lost. We can now know beyond any doubt what it is we have to do to best honor this experience of life, and that certainty brings with it that deep sense of peace and joy and fulfillment that we had been seeking all along.
Our children can stress us in ways no other person can. They frustrate us and interrupt our thoughts and create messes that we as parents feel an obligation and responsibility for. But really, they are just innocence personified. They are not bound by all the limiting thoughts and fears that we have as adults. They are closer to the pure source of life because they are not subject to the relentless stream of thoughts about past and future. They are “now” in a way that can at times baffle us adults.
Children naturally live their early lives in an eternal state of being. In their innocence, they are more open, and more inclined to act upon impulses with no real way to anticipate the results. But where do those impulses come from? Who am I to say which ones they should express and which ones they should stifle? They are not conditioned in the ways of society, so they act from pure inspiration.
Often times we try to bring them out of that experience of eternity in an effort to make them feel the gravity of what they have done and learn why it is “bad” or “wrong” or “inappropriate”. If the purpose for that lesson is to try to keep them safe, like teaching them not to run into the street, that’s one thing. But if the purpose is to make them conform to some personal preference or to get them to adhere to a conditioned standard of behavior, it may be best at times to let them be who they are and figure out for themselves when they are ready what works for them and what doesn‘t. Rather than stifle their spirit, allow that spirit the opportunity to experience the truth of some lessons for themselves.
Developmentally, they don’t possess the ability to look ahead and reason the consequences of their behavior, so we take that thankless job upon ourselves to try and teach them that skill. It never even occurs to us that they will learn many of those things directly when they are ready, and that trying to teach them any sooner may not only be doing them a great disservice, but it is definitely the source of so much of our own stress and frustration.
As a parent, it is also sometimes necessary to set aside our dreams for a time while we make room for our children’s dreams to take root. Sometimes those dreams of ours are big, like wanting to travel extensively, and sometimes they are small, like needing to get something finished or just sit peacefully at the end of a day. Along the journey there are also changes we are required to make in our lives in order to support their immense needs. We make those changes without pause or hesitation, or even consideration of our own needs until our children are settled once again.
As our children trigger our frustrations and disrupt our peace, we have the opportunity to either school them in the ways of judgment and etiquette or learn to open beyond our own conditioning. We can choose to exert our power and will over them, or we can take their lead and expand our awareness of all the ways our thoughts and judgments limit our being and steal our joy.
It is through these experiences of parenthood that we learn the true power and depth of unconditional love.
Our children stretch us in ways no other person can, in ways we wouldn’t do for anyone else, and we do it knowing they can’t possibly comprehend the significance of those sacrifices we make. Regardless of how many times they mess up, we continue to open our hearts to them so that they may find strength to try again. Only by becoming parents themselves will they ever be able to begin to understand the depths of our love and the sacrifices we made in celebration of their being in this world. It is through this celebration of their being that we open to the possibility of learning how to celebrate our own.
As adults, we have the opportunity to rewrite the story of the lives that we, as children, learned to expect or desire. But so often when we try, the same issues that troubled us before manifest again in our new situations. This is the case when the changes we make on based on what we have as well as what it is we perceive that we don’t have. From this place of lack, regardless of how many times we change our surroundings, we will always manifest some level of discontent.
But when we can shift our focus from what it is we have to how we are in each situation, we open to the possibility of real change. We can never find the fulfillment that we are looking for as long as we continually look to a new or different situations to provide that for us. We can only find it when we open to the fulfillment is all around us in this moment. Once there, it may not even be necessary to change our surroundings, but if changes are necessary or desired, they come from a place of inspiration and so are backed by the support of creative intent.
Seeking change by changing our surroundings holds valuable lessons for us and is a necessary part of our evolution. But until we can see that manner of thinking as simply a reflection of a limited, conditioned concept of ourselves and of the world around us, we will remain stunted, destined to repeat those same patterns. Until we can change that conditioning, we will continually recreate our unhappiness in our quest to satisfy the desires of our conceptual identity.
By opening to what is available to us now, we begin to break down those conditioned patterns. When we meet our current situation face to face and find gratitude for what we have, it becomes possible for the first time to affect real change that will support our authentic selves. No longer bound by the confines of fear and judgment, we embody a compassionate presence allowing things and people to be as they are.
Many of the changes that support our true self will unfold organically around us, though other changes may require direct action on our part. From a place of abundance and awareness, we are able to discover the lessons contained in the things we have collected to that point in our lives. As those lessons are learned, some things fall away easily back into the world, while other things continue to challenge us to grow ever deeper in our awareness.
Those things that continue to cause us some level of frustration or suffering are the true gems in this experience of life. By turning away from them, we only prolong our opportunity to finally grow beyond our need to be limited by them. And while there are instances when it is absolutely appropriate to turn away, recognizing that it is a choice of postponement rather than an escape empowers us to step boldly onto our new path. It may simply be the case that we have other lessons to learn in order to acquire the skill set necessary to face that deepest level of conditioning and limitation.
As eternal beings, we are unlimited. In our humanity, we experience all sorts of limitations. Learning the lessons contained within those limitations is a primary reason for this experience. In that way, our spirit is able to grow more deeply aware of its limitlessness. When we shift how we look at life from a quest to have desirable experiences to a desire to experience our quest, we discover the fulfillment in the lessons that are available to us in each moment.
Awakening to our eternal nature and realizing our absolute connectedness to all of life is something that must be directly experienced in order to be truly understood. Words and people can point us in the right direction, but ultimately it is a journey of one.
It is our willingness to set aside our beliefs and ideals in order to discover what is true beyond all beliefs and ideals that will deliver us from fear and the suffering it causes. It is a fear that arises from the illusion that we are exclusively separate beings in this experience of life, and when that apparent truth is revealed as being only relatively true, a healing occurs and fear is replaced with love. There is an experience of intense compassion, for ourselves as well as for others, for all the unskillful behavior that was perpetrated in service to that naïve illusion of separateness.
Gratitude then floods in for all we have and for the opportunity to experience it for the first time without judgment. There is gratitude for those who awakened before us for their service in paving the way so that we might discover the path for ourselves. And there is gratitude for the joy we find in each simple act, even if it is just breathing.
And then we settle in to the peace and perfection of this experience. Driven by love instead of fear, we bring the power of pure creative intent to each moment of our day as we reap the lessons available to us in our interactions with life. We tap into a wealth of inspired acts, and knowing beyond any doubt what it is we have to do, each task is infused with an intangible quality and effectiveness as we rise to meet the challenges we face with ease and certainty. Beyond that, the answers to so many of life’s questions that have plagued us are readily at our disposal.
From that platform, when we reach out to another in an open exchange, it is an opportunity to experience the truth of our connectedness to a new degree. We learn to trust, ourselves as well as others, in a way that we could never get to on our own. There is great power woven into the sincere offering of a clear reflection, as we listen without judgment to the words of another. In knowing another at that most intimate level, our own essential being stands more clearly revealed.
Our initial awakening is a moment that can only be experienced within ourselves, but once we have settled into that truth, it is helpful and useful to open ourselves to those around us so that we may experience that truth at the deepest level. Even those who still operate from a place of separateness can serve to expand our experience of it, as it is often they who challenge us most by highlighting conditioned patterns of judgment left over from our previous unenlightened state.
But when we can share with another who is deeply rooted in higher consciousness, our own experience of it is affirmed at an entirely different level. The exchanges that take place speak directly to those questions that continue to elude us, as sometimes we are just too close to the answer to be able to see it for ourselves. Even if no answers are offered in the exchange, just the simple act of asking out loud in the presence of another is enough to lead us to discover it for ourselves.
Awakening from the illusion of separateness is the birthright of every sentient being. It is a deeply personal experience of healing, and yet at the same time there is nothing “personal” about it. In honoring our connectedness to all life, we help others who are still suffering find their way to healing by not contaminating the field of consciousness with judgment and negativity. Their own illusions then stand unopposed, allowing them to witness the futility of their own conditioned thoughts for themselves. And when we are able to connect with other awakened beings, any lingering limitations of our own are revealed, and the extent of our healing continues to be experienced at ever deepening levels in the whole of life making it easier for others to awaken too.
When we are present, the mind-made stories stop, and past and future no longer resonate. We experience the stillness and connectedness within ourselves and all of life that holds the vibrating atoms that science tells us are the fundamental building blocks of life. It is the intangible properties of the nucleus of the atom that lend a sense of concrete reality to this dimension, but it is the unknowable stillness that pulses those particles into existence and binds them together to form those atoms that is the backdrop to this physical aspect of time within eternity.
That stillness organizes and orchestrates this ebb and flow of energy simply for the love and joy of creating. It is this stillness that is the true foundation of existence. It is our innate eternity beyond our mind-made, time-based self. When we are present to this moment, we open to the experience of our greater eternal composition. From a platform of presence, all things are realized to be as perfect as they are irrelevant. There is a strong sense of all that went into making that one moment possible, and a wave of gratitude washes over us, cleansing our minds momentarily of any thoughts of dissension.
From here, all things are seen as possible, but yet there is a sense that no changes are necessary. It is only when we fall back into thought, when we descend from that mountain top, that we become inspired to act in service to the whole of life. With a purpose beyond our own, we are infused with a sense of aliveness as we turn to face those things that have limited our beings in this experience of form.
Having shed the burden of carrying stories of individual triumphs and traumas that cluttered our minds and limited our beings, we see clearly the true issues that plague humanity and threaten our existence. In that gift of clarity, our efforts become aligned with the purposeful intent of creation. Freed from mind-made troubles, every breath and action becomes a celebration of the creative force that willed us into being.
To an eternal being, fear is recognized as just another aspect of love. It is fear that limits our experience of life, but through experiencing limitations our beings can learn to love in ways that they wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Without a fear of loss, one is limited in their ability to really appreciate the depth of all they have. Upon experiencing the truth that nothing can ever be gained or lost, fear is replaced with an undercurrent of unconditioned love.
Any limitations experienced from that point forward are recognized as conditioned thought, and as we shine the light of consciousness upon those fears, we are released ever deeper into our eternity. There is gratitude for those moments that used to tie us up in knots, as they serve to highlight the limitations that are still at work in the background of our psychology. As we unravel the stories that limit us, we find love was there with us every step of the journey. We experience the true purpose and meaning of life, as well as our own significance within the larger cosmic order, in a way that cannot be explained.
The physical quality to this dimension of our experience can seem absolute and all important. This gives rise to fear, and we exhaust immense energy in our futile attempts to guard against or escape those situations we have deemed as fearful. Upon awakening, we realize that what we have been guarding against all this time was nothing more than fearful stories of past and future. Then as fear surfaces, we turn towards it instead of running away. In opening to our fear, we tap into the love that was available to us all along.
There is so much deep unhappiness in the world’s human population. A feeling of “not enough” permeates this contemporary society in particular. If you think about early humans, living in caves and scavenging meals, we’ve made incredible strides as a species. The rate at which we are advancing in science and technology is at break-neck speeds compared to even one hundred years ago. But there is no such thing as “having” enough. Regardless of what we get, we continually experience an insatiable longing for “more” in our futile quest to honor our human form from the outside-in.
We believe we need all the latest conveniences and splurges for some reason or another, and life gets lost in the shuffle. We become slaves to our wants, and when we get them, we quickly turn our sights on to the next thing we want. We work to get money to buy newer or better things, or to afford the upkeep on those things we already have. We complain about how little time we have to really enjoy it all, but we cannot see a way out. Even our vacations are so jam packed that if there is any time to relax it’s often scheduled between other events and so is often not very relaxing
It’s as if we are afraid to stop. In some ways it never even dawns on us to challenge those things we’ve come to believe we can’t do without. We grew up with dreams and ideals, and although we’ve had to make some concessions throughout the journey in order to blend into the larger society, we often find the dreams haven’t turned out quite as fulfilling as we’d expected them to. As a result, the majority of the population is unsatisfied to some degree or another.
And there is incredible momentum to this cultural machine, so it’s not one that is easily diverged from. It seems as if one must be willing to make big sacrifices, but that rails against that insatiable longing for more: more comfort, more time, and more security among other things. What we want seemingly has to fit within the context of what this society wants as a whole, and apparently our society largely wants unhappiness and unfulfilled longing.
But there is an alternative, and when we experience the truth of it, we find it fits seamlessly within the structure we’ve spent decades cultivating. It turns out that what we have been longing for all along cannot be found on the level of form. And as long as that is where we are looking for it, we will remain unfulfilled.
In the book “A New Earth”, Eckhart Tolle wrote: “Human alone is never enough if you neglect being.” But our minds cannot comprehend “being” because it’s not something we can ever adequately point to or describe. It dismisses the term for something it can more comfortably identify and then dismiss. Until we can experience “being” directly, it will continue to elude us. Fear, then, is typically the main driver, and from that platform the only possible result is unhappiness and longing.
But an experience of “being” is available in each moment. We need only stop: not permanently, just long enough to find the present moment. Once there, we find peace waiting for us. When we can linger in that experience long enough without our minds racing in to grab hold of it, we realize that peace has been there whole time. With a deep enough experience of it, it becomes the ultimate safety net for us, and in that moment we are liberated from fear.
Realizing this truth, any changes to our lifestyle occurs organically without any sense of sacrifice. Satiated in our experience of life, we come to each moment with more than enough inspiration to share. The by-product of this individual shift then bubbles up through the culture, ultimately changing how we honor our beings in this society from the inside out.
For the first thirty-nine years of this life I call mine, there was a story of authenticity longing to get out. As it so often goes, the feelings of a life-less-lived started out innocent enough, but the longer this false story of “me” became, and the more stuff that I added to “my” life, the more I felt like a failure. As I looked towards the subsequent “chapters”, all I could see was more suffering and more failure. I finally surrendered that limited story of “me” because it seemed to create more problems than it solved, and it wasn’t doing anyone any good.
With that surrender came an internal peace. The war that had been going on inside me stopped, and I could just “be” without needing or wanting anything for myself. I started noticing everything I had, and that was shocking and brought with it a sense of humble gratitude. In this open state, I picked up on clues that I hadn’t seen before, and started following them with a sense of intrigue to see where they led.
What I found was an experience of truth beyond any concept of truth, and this truth is still being revealed to me to this day. As I embrace this truth, the authentic story of me is also being revealed. It was this story that was longing to be told, and the agony I felt while not honoring this story was the real cause of my suffering: it wasn’t the choices I had made or where I lived or the job I had, it was simply that I was living one story when all along there was a truer, more powerful story wanting to be told.
Deeply rooted in truth, I realize now how life is supporting this authentic story of me, which allows me to live courageously. This truth allows me to trust myself and life in a way I couldn’t before, and eliminates the need for second-guessing and regrets. The energy freed up from not having to look back helps me be more present and focused on the needs of the here-and-now. This brings with it an intangible level of quality that ensures a quality future, what ever that may be.
More than anything, I am just free to enjoy what it is that I am doing now, and that’s more fulfilling than anything I could ever look forward to doing or having. There is no truer story than the one that is being created right Now. At this point I have no idea what the next chapter holds, but that’s what makes it exciting. If I knew how the story was going to end, there’d be no surprises.