Words of wisdom from real (and fictional) characters that speak to the value of being instead of doing, trying, and trying to BE better.
"The reason you want to be better is the reason why you aren’t, shall I put it like that? We aren’t better because we want to be. Because the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Because all the do-gooders in the world whether they’re doing good for others or doing it for themselves are troublemakers: on the basis of “kindly let me help you or you will drown,” said the monkey putting the fish safely up a tree. Sometimes doing good to others and even doing good to oneself is amazingly destructive because it’s full of conceit. How do you know what’s good for other people? How do you know what’s good for you? If you say you want to improve then you ought to know what’s good for you, but obviously you don’t because if you did then you would be improved. So, we don’t know. We do not really know how to interfere with the way the world is."
"Do. Or do not. There is no try."
It it looks like home, go deep into that scene.
If it sounds like home, sing along.
If it tastes like home, savor the flavors.
If it smells like home, close your eyes.
If it feels like home, caress it with the interior of your being.
Home is within. Take up all the space you need stretching out until you burst through and bring home to others.
I heard a phrase today that made me chuckle, "The mind eats psychology for breakfast." At this moment it's not important who said it. What's important is this may also mean that the mind eats all our attempts at organizing and modeling our behavior for breakfast. The mind is sophisticated, yet singular--avoid death (death of the ego), keep status quo.
The mind also eats self-help, personal development, and platitudes for breakfast.
There are so many modalities, behavior modifications, and practices that people endure in hopes of reaching that elusive place where we finally love and accept ourselves . . . and along the way we secretly we hope it makes our lives easier by way of earning the approval of others.
Even when we turn off our consumption of information, advice and entertainment, we are left with the mind. When it gets intolerable, we try to reel it in. We might even reach for affirmations. We are addicted to fixing, searching, and consuming.
So, how do we resolve this without fixing it? The mind will only allow so much. Even the part of you that wants to "fix" you will only allow for the parts deemed unwanted to be fixed. It will not allow the mirror to be turned on the part that is rejecting and fixing.
Enter yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and contemplation. Does it matter which one you do if your goal is to discover the truth of your being? Maybe not. What all these activities can create is a SPACE in which to observe, listen, and receive. I don't think it really matters which modality you do. Of course, some could argue that with the asana-based yoga you get flexibility and strength of the body as well--which is true. But why choose only one?
In our day-to-day life this space isn't readily available because we are reacting to circumstances and our environment. Simplifying one's life can cut down on some of these derailing factors, but no one can cut them out completely because wherever we go, there we are. We easily create our own kind of chaotic, shit show--even on deserted island.
A contemplative life includes the activities that bring us back to our center where we can receive. We get to receive peace, love, freedom, truth, and beauty. This is the well of our own being. It feeds us and once we visit regularly we find hard to understand why we denied ourselves in the first place. But going down the path of regrets and "should haves" is more ammunition for the mind.
I say all this as an invitation to find the thing for you that cultivates the SPACE you need to receive. It's okay to be fierce in pursuit of this space because for many of us it feels like our life depends on it. We can accept no less.
A little reminder that living a satisfying spiritual life doesn't come from a loud booming wake up call (at least not for most).
We often hear stories about seemingly overnight spiritual transformations. It's easy to get the impression that it happens . . . all at once! Whether you recall stories from the Bible or Siddhartha under the bodhi tree, you would think that enlightenment comes in an instant.
Most spiritual journeys occur differently. I know this because I don't meet a lot of pious, holy people. Do you?
It isn't that we are either spiritually awake or asleep. We just spend most of our time in the in-between place I refer to as Spiritual Hynagogia.
Hypnagogia is the transitional state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep. I would call it a spiritual "twilight" but that has connotations of decline.
The State of being "spiritual"
What does this mean? You might say it means feeling connected to something larger than (beyond) oneself. The Earth, Heaven, God, Spirit, Source, the Great Mystery, your ancestors, etc..
Spirituality also includes a lot of quality characteristics, like being charitable, honest, compassionate, and patient (to name a few).
For me, feeling "spiritual" is a state of being comprised of peace, compassion, and acceptance. I don't spend a lot of time basking in this. Unfortunately, the events of the day toss me around. I find constant pressures hard to accept and I spend more time in judgment than I would like to admit. This is my creation.
5 Ways to spend more time being awake
1. Put down your devices
Taking from the Gospel of Thomas
27. "If you do not fast from the world, you will not find the (Father's) kingdom."
Taking a break from news, media, gossip, and busyness can make space for the great mystery.
You can either sit quietly and do nothing but watch your thoughts float by like clouds, or participate in a guided mediation. There are many different types of meditations on YouTube. Some have music like manta chanting, and some are verbal guidance as with yoga nidra, etc. I am drawn to ones that are Hindu, Shamanic, and Buddhist in nature, but any relaxing music or words can be meditative.
Any activity you do (even washing the dishes) can be meditative if done intentionally with a peaceful heart.
3. Take daydream breaks
I used to get in trouble for this as a kid. I would just look out the window and it felt satisfying to stare off into space. Letting your mind wander is a great way to make space for intuition and the unexpected.
4. Go outside
We need the earth as much as it needs us. Connecting with nature IS connecting with yourself. It's one giant book of metaphors and allegories teaching us all we need to know to live in harmony.
5. Stay in possibility and welcome evidence for heaven on earth
What if the "kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it." How would you see it? Paradise is within each of us. Even when we think living in physical paradise is the answer, we can easily see how our internal state could squander the opportunity to be fully be present and appreciate all we have. Creating a paradise within is equally important as creating one in our external environment.
These are very simple things intended to open you up to being more present to life. These tips for living a more spiritual life are not about consuming MORE, doing MORE, or even being MORE. It's about slowing down and savoring life.
The abundance you seek is located in the slow.
Of all the things we make up. words and worlds; constructs and contexts; what is something we can make up that matters for us personally? Something we don't need agreement over and can source for ourselves?
We can make up that we matter. We can make up that we make a difference and live our life from that place.
How, or what, does the latter group attribute this worth to without having an outside "authority" grant them this?
They make it up.
If that sounds invalid to you consider that everything is made up, but we live in an agreement-reality that gives things power. For example, money is a made up story we encounter everyday that has a lot of agreement power.
Can you make up that you matter (regardless of what your deity does or doesn't do)? Of course you can! This is called creating a context. It's part of living a self-led life.
You'll hear me talk about this 'self-led' life from time to time. This talk comes from my understanding of process-healing which states that we are all made up of "parts" and these parts either work in concert with the Self (the wise part of us that is connected to Source/Spirit/God) or they don't work. We often experience these parts not working together as egoism, insecurity and, of course, emotional pain.
Making up that you matter is the ultimate act of self-authoring.
Is the Self made up as well? Some eastern philosophies suggest that there is no Self. Just a perception of separateness. We rely on this separateness to function is the world. We know where we end and another begins, or least we think we do. Newborns have to learn where they begin and where their mother begins.
I don't know if the Self is an absolute reality or not. I am fine making it up because I don't think there's a way to prove that is NOT real. We rely on these self-created contexts to live in a world that makes sense. We rely on the agreement-reality to play world games that have structure, rules, and boundaries.
What we call "truth" is a complex net of agreements on overlapping subject matters. We also call our personal experiences "truth". But these two don't always agree.
Can we walk in both worlds? One where we know truth through the experiential and one where we conjure it from the agreement-realty and approval of others? I think we already do.
A new reality can be invented, even a personal one that includes a belief that you matter. Plant the seeds by telling yourself a new story so it takes root.
I write about wellness, spirituality, psychology, and metaphysics so others have a home to explore these topics.