Tag Archives: Acceptance

Gnōthi Seauton (Know Thyself)

In all honesty, my spiritual journey has brought me further away from knowing my true self than I ever could have possibly imagined. Since discovering that this incredible dimension exists I have adapted so many more labels that simply hamper the entire process. Labels like:

I should be non-reactive

I should be calm

I should just be

I should be forgiving of everyone

I should be wise

I should not be superficial

I should not judge others

I should be accepting

I should allow others to be as they are

I should be deep

I should not be anxious

So when any feeling should arise that was on contrast to the “rules” above I would use spiritual techniques to try and defeat that feeling. I would struggle to be transparent to negativity, to ignore those anxious feelings and be present, to always look beneath the surface of the person who was annoying the shit out of me, and to be uncaring that my favourite sports team got eliminated from the playoffs.

The experience of being spiritual became another prison. I went all-in on a way of life that was supposed to lead to freedom but I was sadly mistaken.

I have found that any behaviour, or thought, that denies my true nature is as harmful as an act of hatred. It is a poison that seeps into every corner of my body. It is this image of the spiritual person that is the problem. Sitting cross legged, with their hands resting on their knees, holding a steady mood no matter what comes their way, repeating some mantra meant to clear the mind.

I want to foster a new attitude. An attitude that accepts everything about me. An attitude that says that I don’t ever need to change. Truthfully, the spiritual person is every person. As they are. It is not about denying your form. It is about knowing it, and honouring it.

Pay attention. Be aware. Get to know yourself.

But don’t you dare apply any self-knowledge as another means to create change! As if you need to improve? Upon whose authority will you deny the billions of years of evolution that led to who, and where, you are right now. The real spiritual life, as I see it, is to carry-on fully engaged in this world of form, but with an added intense awareness of the mind-body form.

The mind-body has likes, desires, skills, a sense of humour, fears, emotions, faults, loves. Really it has the entire spectrum of what it means to be alive.

In spiritual circles they often speak of transcendence. Transcendence is not the achievement of an enlightened state where this roller coaster of experience doesn’t happen anymore.

It is surrendering to the ride.

Love with all of your heart. Acknowledge your fears. Use your skills. Have a good laugh. Let this form run the show, because really you’re not in charge anyways.

Is Your Permission The Only Obstacle To Bliss?

I had a thought on the weekend that they only thing in the way of the peace I desire is my own’permission’ to be at peace. Do I truly think I deserve to be at peace, or do I believe I need to overcome a pile of fictional obstacles that I have placed in my own way?

What if it was as simple as the recognition that I am allowed to be everything I’ve always wanted to be RIGHT NOW!

I am not talking about anything from the physical world like getting that new job, or being a scratch golfer, or even a successful blogger. But rather it is the feeling that I assumes comes with each of those. Those feelings of success, achievement, of being important, and of validation of my own existence. And after each of those feelings I believe inner peace will finally be realized as I can finally stop trying to prove that I deserve to be here.

There’s also a certain resistance I had to this idea because spiritual enlightenment seems to revolve almost entirely around transcending the mind, and this particular approach utilizes the mind, particularly the concept of permission.

But can the mind be a gateway to it’s own transcendence?

At the surface the concept of permission and acceptance seem quite similar. But the key difference in my interpretation is that acceptance is directed more at external conditions, whereas permission is related to my internal way of being, at my relationship with the world.

In my spiritual practice of acceptance my focus has never been on my inner feelings but rather an attempt at quiet observation of the physical world. When I add the idea of permission to the mix it is like adding a degree of freedom. That I am giving my inner world the freedom to be entirely separate from my external conditions.

A deeply held belief of mine was that if I was quiet enough, and saw the world rightly, all of the good feelings would come streaming in. But permission goes both ways, I must give myself permission to feel both the good and bad. Honestly though, we are pretty much all experts already at giving ourselves permission to feel crappy!

I guess in some ways it is a rebellion against the relationship between the inner and outer. Do I not still deserve to be at peace if I lose my job? Can I not still experience bliss if my pipes freeze and the basement floods? Can I still be calm if someone belittles and insults me? It feels like the answer could be yes.

Is that insanity, or is that enlightenment?

And when I give myself this permission to be at peace no matter what, I am not ‘trying’ to be happy, it just seems to come easily when I let it. Like it’s closer to my natural state.

 

 

Integrate into Wholeness

I have been on an authentic living kick lately and I came across this blog, rebelled society, that outlines a 12 step program for living an authentic life. The whole article was great but what stood out for me especially was step 8. It was called integrate into wholeness and you can find it below:

Step #8 – Integrate into wholeness.

Accept all parts of your life. All parts. This is one of the deepest healing elixirs you can ever offer yourself. Allow it all to integrate — your mind with body, your body with spirit and your entire being with all of the experiences of your life. Accept your irrevocable wholeness. When you accept what has been, what you thought was and what is, you loosen your grip on delusions, limitations and stale beliefs that hold you back. What’s left? Space. Space and room to expand into the shape you are naturally, wholly and fully with a deeper sense of truth, wisdom and compassion.

http://www.rebellesociety.com/2013/07/25/a-self-made-12-step-program-for-living-an-authentic-life/

The Relationship Between our Individual and Collective Spiritual Journeys

Our spiritual journey is unique. It will be different than anyone in history who has ever undergone this transformation before. Such a realization can be incredibly lonely and frightening.

When we start down this path we find our first guru and we read about the circumstances of their enlightenment. We understand their suffering deeply and believe that we feel exactly as they did prior to their shift. We read about their dark night of the soul, or their dramatic shift in perception, and helplessly try to recreate it for ourselves.

We start out treating enlightenment as if it comes with a manual. Sometimes even the most profound spiritual texts initially sound like this. We all know the instructions. You must surrender. You must accept the present moment. You must be still. You must be the witness. It’s almost like a to do list that we need to scratch off to become enlightened.

And after numerous attempts at mimicking the transformation of spiritual gurus I came to the realization that my journey is completely my own. I don’t know if, or how, I will become enlightened so I can not walk on the path as if I know where it’s going. I can not do something and know if it is helpful or a hindrance to my transformation.

It’s at this point out of sheer desperation that we reach out to the collective. We share our experiences and listen to the experiences of others. We scour the internet for wisdom and then share it with those like minded souls. We meditate, do yoga, have a realization, and then have this powerful instinct to communicate with those undergoing the same struggle.

It is this desire to share with the collective that fuels my individual journey.

What if I couldn’t blog? What if there was no YouTube? No Twitter or Facebook? Many of us may think that the world would be a much better place, and to a large degree I believe they may be right. But from another perspective social media has enabled me to create this huge community from which I find wisdom, and hopefully to which I contribute some myself.

The simple existence of this community has kept me moving forward. It has propelled me deeper into spirituality than I ever would have gone without them. Through my community I find encouragement, compassion, empathy, guidance and knowledge.

However, there is most certainly an element of sharing that strengthens the egoic “I”. It is the part that feels good when a post gets a lot of likes, or the part that feels excited when an original quote gets retweeted. The irony can get quite thick when you get a large response on some wisdom you had shared about not being your thoughts, and as a result start thinking how clever you are.

But perhaps the ego has a vitally important role to play in my personal journey. That as my ego seeks validation through a increasingly larger spiritual community I am also pulled deeper into the realm of spiritual seeking. As I surround myself with vast amounts of spiritual texts, lectures, and gurus, I increase the chance that I will ignite my transformation through encountering the right person, or hearing the right bit of wisdom.

Or maybe, and this is what I believe now, the greatest lesson I will learn through immersing myself into all things spiritual as a means to enlightenment will be its complete and undeniable failure. Perhaps this is where I will finally learn what surrender, acceptance, and stillness truly is.

There is no “I” in Self

For many years I had been attempting to follow the teachings of several spiritual gurus and, honestly speaking, I had experienced very limited progress. The teachings are similar throughout the spiritual realm and they primarily focus on these approaches:

  • Presence
  • Acceptance
  • Surrender
  • Stillness

I had attempted to practice each one of these many times. I had practiced presence by focusing on my senses and attempting not to interpret what I perceive. I had practiced acceptance by trying not to resist my current situation no matter what it may be at the time. I had practiced surrender through utter frustration by lack of progress and to a certain degree giving up. And I had practiced stillness through meditation and daily long walks in a local park.

But yet I wasn’t making the kind of progress that I wanted. I was most definitely going through a healing process but there were still plenty of moments of suffering. Then I noticed one major flaw in how I had practiced those spiritual techniques.

They were all practiced from the place of “I”

I cannot be present. I cannot accept. I cannot surrender. I cannot be still. It is the “I” that subsides in order for any of the above to genuinely occur.

“I” is a concept. It is a vast collection of thoughts, often contradictory, that one accesses relentlessly in maintaining their false identity. Each one of the approaches above demands an absence of thought. No “I” can coexist within them. Instead, the techniques all act as gateways from the “I” to the real self.

What they offer to the seeker is a taste of the true self. A hint of truth. Evidence that there is a self that exists beyond that limited “I”. If for only a moment you experience true presence, acceptance, surrender, or stillness you will see for the first time a separation from the “I”. You will step back from the life you have always known and become it’s witness. If only for a moment. And you will have awakened.