a few months ago

Bearing the unbearable

I was just writing an email response to someone who wrote me about their current struggles with grief and fear.

Among what I wrote, was the following few sentences, which I’d like to share with you:

Life is not trying to break you. Life is trying to break you OPEN so that you can see yourself as you are. Free to be and free to receive all as yourself.

If you struggle in life. If you struggle with anything. Big or small. If it feels like a struggle. And if that struggle feels like too much. If it feels like you’re trying to bear the unbearable…

Stop.

Look. And recognize in your DIRECT EXPERIENCE that you are already letting go. You are already so completely letting go that there is only letting go. Letting go appearing as contraction. Appearing as fear. Appearing as greed. Appearing as hunger. Appearing as frustration.

Only freedom.

Only freedom.

This is already only freedom. Nothing other than freedom. Freedom so totally free that nothing could possibly be excluded.

7 months ago

Why do you exist?

Why do you exist?

Seriously. Why?

What if you don’t give me a belief as a response? Can you respond authentically? Can you respond from the knowing of the heart rather than the knowledge of the mind?

Here’s what I think: I think that too many of us have bought into an unhelpful, life-sucking story about why we exist. And we don’t tune into the real Why We Exist often enough.

That life-sucking story about why we exist could be the “we exist to suffer” story or the “we exist to do” story (i.e. the “we exist to produce/achieve” story). It could be the “there is no reason” story. It could be the “there is nothing” story.

It could be any number of stories. But what is that story? What is its nature? Is it fresh? Spontaneous? Alive? New?

Or is it a dead belief, found by sorting though boxes of beliefs that weigh us down.

If your life feels like it is heavy…maybe you’ve been lugging around too many of these boxes.

Lighten your load.

7 months ago

Merry Christmas 2018

It’s Christmas today. Love it or not. Celebrate it or not.

Like most people (or so I imagine), I don’t care for the commercialization of Christmas. And I could gladly do without the Christmas music.

But symbolically, Christmas is a beautiful reminder. And I’d like to invite you to take a moment to reflect and inquire directly into your experience to discover what this can point to.

In the northern hemisphere, where I live, we are coming out of the darkest time of the year. We’ve just turned the corner, and is it any surprise that we’d celebrate the birth of the Sun at this time?

The light is with us always. The dark is with us always. And try as we might, we can’t find the difference other than to say that one is light and one is dark, though we know beyond doubt there appears to be a difference.

We live in a world of apparent multiplicity. This is truth. And yet it is not the whole truth.

When we imagine this world of duality and multiplicity is all there is, we suffer. We fear that the waning light and waxing darkness in our experience is a bad thing. We position the dark as bad and the light as good, and we imagine ourselves to be a victim to the whims of the universe who plays games with light and dark.

But if we inquire directly right now, we may discover that while darkness and light are always at play, the light (and the dark) is always here fully. And we are this. Our apparent darkness, confusion, and separation, is not separate from that ever-present light.

Merry Christmas.

8 months ago

Whoa! You seem *angry*!

“Whoa! You seem *angry*!”

Translation: There’s something wrong with you. You scare me. Get away from me. And don’t come back until you fix yourself.

Of course, this isn’t limited just to anger. Sadness, depression, fear, anxiety, and more. All things that I have been taught are wrong, shameful, unacceptable.

I spent the first three-quarters of my life thus far giving my all to trying to fix myself. I desperately wanted to make myself acceptable. Lovable.

And it was horrible. Deeply isolating.

And a lie.

Here’s another of my favorite quotes: “God don’t make no junk.”

Consider for a moment the immense arrogance of the belief that life is happening – a mysterious miracle that no one can comprehend – stars are being born and dying – planets are spinning around in the universe at gazillions of miles per hour – existence exists…

…but I am unacceptable.

Sounds mightly arrogant (and wrong) to me.

When Moses went to commune with God and receive the Ten Commandments, he first told the Israelites that they should remember one important thing: don’t worship false idols.

When he came back the Israelites had made a golden calf idol that they were worshipping.

Whoops!

I’m reminded of this story because it’s a great story to describe what so many of us do. Everything is happening. Creation is being created. It is utterly immense. Inconceivably boundless.

And moreover, our actual, direct, moment-to-moment experience, our most intimate experience of being, is of this boundlessness, this awe-inspiring everything-nothing.

And yet…and yet…we keep worshipping golden calves.

What golden calf am I referring to?

I’m talking about the idea that I can be unacceptable. That my experience can be unacceptable. That I need to fix myself. That I can know how things should be and that they should be other than they are.

That I have the power to know what is right and wrong, good and bad. And that I have the responsibility to manage everything. Most importantly myself.

The arrogance to believe that I know better.

Fortunately, the remedy is ever present. Just stop. And in stopping it is clear that there never was any arrogance anyway. It was just stuff happening. Noise. Color. Movement.

8 months ago

Boldly Being Yourself

One of my favorite quotes is one attributed to Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

Of course, that’s a nice quote to throw around. I’m sure it performs well on social media. Probably garners lots of likes and shares. Because it *sounds* nice.

But the *reality* of simply being oneself isn’t so glamorous.

It’s often humiliating. And that’s on a good day.

There was a time in my life – when I was just a baby – when I was unabashedly myself. I didn’t doubt myself at every turn.

But by the time puberty hit, those days were gone. Junior high school was all about trying to be *someone else*.

Not me. Because me was unacceptable. Someone else – the ideal person – was all that was acceptable. And so my task was to hide myself and do everything within my power to project an image of myself as the ideal person.

This game of hide and seek (and pretend and project) can consume an entire lifetime.

But what’s the upside of this? Relative safety? Simply avoiding some excess bullying and shaming?

That’s it.

And the cost?

The cost is the recognition and acknowledgment of the truth.

What’s the truth?

The truth that this me that is so unacceptable and that needs to be protected can’t even be found.

And please, I’m not saying that we should all trot out the “right, right, yes, I know that…there is no separate self” line.

I’m saying, let’s all pause right now and actually take a look.

What needs to be protected? What is it that is actually unacceptable?

And is this game of hide and seek (and pretend and project) really all that fun?

I will suggest to you that if you actually pause and look right now – or ever – you will see directly that the imagined problem that needs to be solved and the imagined thing that needs to be protected…can’t be found.

Don’t take my word for it, though. Be bold. Look for yourself. Really. Right now.

Even if you have looked in the past. Just humor me and look right now. Be curious.

What needs to be defended? What is in danger? What can be harmed?

Seeing this doesn’t change any of what I thought needed to be changed. It does not get rid of the unwanted, uncomfortable feelings. It does not get rid of the sense that I have referred to as being a person. It does not confer a sense of (everlasting) invulnerability. It does not offer me any greater self-concept. It does not relieve me of frightening or unpleasant thoughts.

It does something else.

It reveals that I am, always have been, and always will be absolutely, perfectly myself. There is nothing whatsoever I can do to screw this up. Neither can I escape it.

And neither can anything escape this, which I have called myself.

Utter non-separation is not something that you or I get to realize or attain in the future. It is the ever-present reality.

We just told a different story about it.

We just called it being an unacceptable me. We just called it hiding and seeking. We just called it shame, blame, humiliation, etc. We just called it separation.

Just take a look. Right now.

8 months ago

On being a complete failure

I’m a big failure. (Sometimes, at least.)

I have big failure thoughts. Big failure feelings. Big failure insecurities. Big failure behaviors. (Sometimes, at least.)

It’s nice when we get to be nice, feel nice, have nice thoughts, act in nice ways.

But what kind of hell would it be if our fundamental okayness depended upon sustaining that niceness?

That would be horrible.

Fortunately, that’s not how reality actually is. Fortunately, reality is such that we get to be exactly as we are. And we can’t screw it up. No matter how much we worry about screwing it up and no matter how much we screw up according to our ideas about how things should be.

The big joke has many facets, many punchlines. Here’s today’s punchline: big failure thoughts, big failure feelings, big failure insecurities, and big failure behaviors are included in reality without discrimination. Life does not discriminate. All is received equally.

All.

What needs to be hidden? What needs to be contrived? What needs to be altered to make you or me acceptable?

Nothing.

See? It’s such a big joke.

You don’t have to be a big failure just because I am. You get to be whatever you are. That too is received equally.

And then that which you imagine yourself to be and that which I imagine myself to be – failures or successes or anything else – it swept away and there’s nothing to grasp.

It all comes and goes. There’s nothing to possess. Nothing to claim.

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