Tag Archives: Surrender

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.

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Freedom From the Noise of Life

Everything in my world felt like noise.

Every day and every experience just seemed to be adding layers of noise. They were adding complexity to the already complex. Whether it is thoughts about money, relationships, my job, my purpose and even spirituality, it all still felt like noise distracting me from me real self. My problems were all layers, and even the solutions to those problems became a layer on top of that.

Peace was a layer.

Fulfillment was a layer.

Freedom was a layer.

Love was a layer.

Maybe not experientially, but as long as I only knew them conceptually they were layers. I was overflowing with content as I got more and more lost in this ever increasing pile of things. I was hidden beneath it all and the only way to access it was to become completely silent. And to listen. But actually, even the idea of listening became another layer. I was thus forced to surrender and let go. But I could only think about surrender conceptually and it became another ‘thing’ to let go of. Eventually I fell back in my chair and just stopped. Suddenly and mercifully.

My mind can not narrate this spiritual journey. I must go alone.

Leading up to this moment I had been desperately searching for my purpose. Digging deep into my past. Looking at all of the things that I love doing, things that I hate doing, things that seem to come naturally, and things I have to work to make happen. I have read Start With Why, The Secret, A New Earth, & Steve Jobs’ Biography to name a few. These are all books that deal with purpose to some extent. And after all of that, and hours of contemplation, I came to one stark realization:

Life has no purpose. We are simply here because we are here.

This is not a depressing revelation. It is only the ego that must have a reason for being. Purpose, as grand and wonderful as it seems is just another limitation. As is everything that you use to try and define yourself. My only freedom is to become purposeless.

I am here. That is all I know. That is all that matters.

I Need Your Help, I Need Your Grace, & I Need Your Love – An Act Of Surrender

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go.”

– Abraham Lincoln

It’s the dreaded thought that I am completely alone in the universe that leads me to take action on my own behalf. My greatest fear is that there is no hidden force in life guiding me, making decisions for me, or taking care of me. Thus I have embarked on a seemingly eternal mission to hack the purpose of life. To learn the techniques that will make me happy, bring me success, and bring me love. But having been guided by fear I was always bound to fail, and bound to suffer.

I dig deep inside myself to find the strength and courage it takes to admit that I can’t do it. That I can’t figure it out, I don’t know how to live, and I don’t know how to be happy. That even to take the next step right in front of me paralyzes me with fear. It has been such a heavy burden attempting to outsmart life. To learn the secret code of living so I can finally be at peace.

In the ruins of such a catastrophic failure I am left with no choice but to scream out to God for help. Over and over the thought repeats “I need your help!”. It feels like belief in God is secondary at this point. Desperation has made me ripe. As this phrase repeats, and softens, I begin to relax. It may be the most authentic act of surrender I have ever made.

The words in my head change. I repeat the phrases “I need your grace” & “I need your love”.

My body releases the anxiety I have been holding on to but those words in my thoughts continue. It strikes me odd as I am no longer suffering but still repeating my call to God. I recognize it through spiritual teachings as a separation between my thoughts and my self. The distinction has become much more apparent in my unusual calmness. Surrender, I am learning, is not a milestone in the spiritual journey. It is a permanent state.

This life is not my own. And it is not a riddle. I don’t need to develop the skills to figure it out some day in the distant future. This beautiful life is for everyone and it does not discriminate.

Peace & Love

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.