A Rejection of the ‘Reactionary Self’

Uncertain and quiet, I still just don’t know.

Lately I feel like I have no authority to be espousing my opinion on the internet, to post blogs, or even to write privately because I feel contaminated.

A deep-seated feeling of perpetuating something that’s not genuine. Of creating something that’s not bore of myself but merely a reaction of external and incongruous things. Something that in the end is just word garbage.

(And as I pointed out in my first blog post here, this was one of my prominent reservations that held me back when I started blogging.)

We all know that pure and unadulterated “reactions” are not always virtuous or the right idea/thought/feeling to hold onto or to emulate.

Perhaps this explains my relative lack of blogging and writing, perhaps not. But it does explain why I have started and stopped MANY different essays, none of which are posted here, and helps to explain why I never felt comfortable doing so.

A lot of my thoughts lately have resembled ‘rants’ of some kind and have been rather depressing and deflating to re-read (even to myself).

In a large sense, they are pure reactions to the pain and grief and anxiety and frustration of the people and situations that surround me and share this life. I’m mixed up in them and these myriad worlds of feeling right now, and therefore do not feel a ‘divinity’ or true connection to my writing space as of late.

The other ‘Me’ that catches words – not creates them.

When I’m writing for myself, I’m elated – because this means I have no agenda but to push my own buttons. But when the world is constantly pushing my buttons for me, I am stuck reacting to them and not my own. I have no thought energy or emotion left for the good stuff: The personal and inner journey.

This one takes effort, too. Much more effort than off-the-cuff reactionary thought.

And after crying and fretting at the news all day, sometimes I don’t want to delve down to the inner recesses of my being. I don’t relish opening up a crisp notebook with empty, white pages staring back at me.

Instead I just want distraction.

I think many of us are feeling this right now. Like a suffocation under chaotic clouds. Disbelief and bewilderment of the swirling, vaudevillian world we are suddenly witness to, manifesting before our eyes and before our children’s eyes.

But my inner voice keeps telling me that my reaction to all this is my choice – and that it is so, so, so important. I’m not sure how, but it is.

My heart swells and whispers to stop reacting and start Being. To stop getting caught in the swirl around me, and to create my own swirl. My own message. My own energy.

To connect to the message and energy that reside at the heart.

This or that tragedy. This or that anarchy. This or that doomsday proclamation of pressure and sadness. This is not you. It is not me. It is not Us.

This isn’t what we truly want. It’s energy gone wild. And I’m reminding myself – and maybe you – not to fall into it.

Be the rock in the swirl. The loving rock that observes and sees all things, accepts them as they are, and lifts them up to know the love that you feel so deeply. The love that exists so infinitely and without condition or borders or feelings or thought.

We are all so cataclysmically loved that we feel torn apart sometimes. But maybe that is ok.

The seams are coming undone. Power for power’s sake is getting ripped with cracks and slivers of truth, and is buckling under the weight.

We crave honesty. We crave connection and spirit. No more fakery. No more facades.

Feel the seams rip and love them all the same. Whether apart in pieces or together as a whole, we need to cover it all in love and fly.

What is “Enlightenment?”

What does it mean to be enlightened? My husband and I were arguing about it the other day.

Okay – after writing that down and looking at that statement again, I laughed to myself out loud. What an absolute JOY to be arguing about enlightenment! Of all the trivial things we could be discussing, we have a heated argument about the credentials of transcendence.

Back to the subject at hand: What is enlightenment? What does it mean to have this label or state of being?

Is it the long, painstaking acquisition of some mysterious body of knowledge?

Is it the emptying of yourself to transcend this ordinary life?

Is it necessary to spend years “in the wilderness” or temples in order to achieve it?

Is it necessary to swear off your family, friends, life possessions and trivial pursuits in order to claim it?

I don’t feel that detachment from reality or the act of “acquisition” is the real answer.

As my honorary grandfather Mel (over at Melting-Pot Dharma) might perhaps say, it is recognizing the Buddha within. It is seeing the connection, rather than the detachment, of the world around you.

Some of us need the temples and wilderness to know this, and others do not. But in recognizing the divine that is already there, and working to keep it top of mind, THAT is enlightenment in my opinion.

I was discussing this with my husband, who (I think) holds in the back of his mind that “enlightened” ones of high regard will have physically worked and put time into developing this title. But do they? Where do we get this assumption? And why do we demand these qualifications to this kind of title? Is it because we have such high expectations of this level of “achievement?”

I think my husband might think this, in part, because he has spent years studying Shaolin Kung Fu. He has put in his time. Almost 13 years of time.

To him, the discipline and practice is what makes you the master, the teacher – and in a lot of ways, we see other “enlightened” ones as teachers, or expect them to be. Masters of some kind. In Kung Fu, if you put in the time, effort, and dedication you are rewarded with opportunity to teach others and to be an example to others. This comes with – and is expected of – the titles and degrees.

So it goes with our modern society. We like to see teachers, self-proclaimed “experts” and masters as having the necessary credentials in order to lay claim to the designation (i.e. licenses, graduate school, years in the wilderness, years in the temples, etc.).

But when applied to spirituality, and awakened-ness, I think this is slightly a flawed assumption.

Credentials are conditional, and the state of so-called enlightenment is not conditional. It is like an unconditional love. It exists without any presumption or prerequisite.

It exists because life exists.

Recognizing it does not take work and time in the human sense; it only takes desire and openness to see beyond the material and spiritual borders we ourselves have drawn. Whether that takes years or minutes should not affect your “enlightened-ness.”

You do not need credentials to know divinity; to know God.

But I do agree with my husband that in order to teach this “knowledge” you need to find your proper credentials, the ones that speak to you. You need time to sift this out. Find your footing. Relax into the role if that is what you are after. Build trust with the world on your viewpoint.

But to be an “enlightened” person doesn’t mean you are going to teach, and it certainly doesn’t mean you claim to be an expert or a master. You just are, and are eternally becoming.

To me, to be awakened is to realize the interconnected-ness of all. That separation is an illusion. That there is a divinity within us that we don’t have to strive for or work to achieve – only to yield. Because it’s already there in its imperfect perfectness.

After discussing this with my husband, and tearing up a bit (as I usually do when talking about interconnected-ness), we both ended the discussion with a thoughtful “Hmm.” The best way to end a discussion…a little open-ended.

Do you really need to empty yourself to transcend this fleshy existence? Enter into the void that is above and beyond humanity?

I don’t believe there is some magical transcendence of reality, or the emptying of the Self. I don’t think there is some divine void above humanity.

It is within humanity.

Love it with all your heart.

*

In the end, isn’t Enlightenment just another label, another set of constructs that we set upon a preconceived notion of our most ideal selves?

What is your ideal state of being? Mine is love;  infinite love, and I try to always keep it at the forefront.

Husband, thank you for discussing these themes with me. I love you to the cosmos and back ❤

Fear: Shutter of The Heart

Is Fear the most dangerous thing of all? Does it really serve a good purpose, or is it hiding the true reality? The thing I find myself fearing is fear itself, and what it’s doing to us as a culture, as human beings.

What do we do when we live in fear? We shut down. When we act from fear, we literally process information in ‘life or death’ terms and activate our ‘fight or flight’ response in the body. This mechanism exists to keep us safe and keep us alive. But in doing so, our immune system shuts down. Our brains turn off. Creativity drains away. Infinite possibilities evaporate. Open arms and hearts close up, barring entrance from anything or anyone suspicious. We process only that information which benefits the situation and the final ‘fight or flight’ decision. Only that and nothing else. Why would your brain waste precious energy in a life and death situation trying to be creative and open-minded? Doing so might cost our life!

Yet even with all the life-saving functions, we were not meant to live in fear ALL of our lives – only for small instances where we needed to outrun someone with a club, think fast on the road, survive an encounter with a bear, or save a loved one from scary situation. But the fear response, and what it creates and does to us, cannot possibly benefit us if we are living it every moment of every day. A dark cloud looming overhead. This emotional force was designed to save our lives in short bursts, not to be endured for an extended period.

What a toll this fear is taking on our health and our hearts. Constant fear certainly will not nurture our souls so we may grow and evolve as humans.

It seems to me that fear cannot inherently exist where there is love. Real, infinite love. If you are operating out of love, you have no fear, only confidence of the moment and the person or situation in front of you. Fear accomplishes nothing; Love accomplishes everything.

Without fear, I really do think we can see things as they really are – and not through the lens of darkness that fear creates. What illusions might we be seeing that we are interpreting as real? That are only shadows from a deep fear in our mind?

Who plants the seeds of those shadows? How can we remove them, shine the light to reveal their true nature and source? Will an open heart reveal them, lift them from our shoulders?

Fear puts words into our mouths that are not our own. Fear ignites motivations that stem from false truths. Fear paralyzes us, but tricks us into thinking we are doing great things and protecting the common good. Fear does not encourage us to think outside ourselves and our own interest. Fear shutters our hearts and minds from infinite love.

Belief in God… the three-letter-word

I’ve recently been trying to define my belief in God, or map it in some way, but it’s hard to describe. I’ll cut to the chase:

I think the subconscious is a direct line to God. I think the subconscious IS God.

I don’t think this is a sensational thought. In fact, I thought this to myself today and sighed in relief, as I think this is where I’ve been headed on my spiritual journey; finally, a destination of some sort has been sighted!

My own belief in God has been greatly enhanced and catapulted by recent readings from neuroscience and psychology, and also by physicists and other scientists who are trying to figure out what is this “cosmic background” that we are living in; what is “Consciousness.” And I naturally then start to wonder where the consciousness, raw emotion, ideas and imagination comes from. Within us? Without us? I personally don’t think these things originate only within ourselves… this only seems part of the equation.

I think it is entirely plausible that we are all receptors of God-consciousness and that every time we engage our imagination, feel emotions, and ideate, we are connecting to the ‘Cosmic Source’ – a divine source. I find that I am coming to the conclusion that ideas do not originate inside the bony, squishy skulls our thoughts call home: they originate through the subconscious, through the heart.

And that the heart – the spiritual, subconscious heart – is the receiver, the direct line within us of God’s divine force and intelligence.

I keep going back to the idea that the subconscious activity – as opposed to the conscious activity – is what is really driving the bus, and scientists agree. But we aren’t consciously aware of this. Why? Because we don’t have to be. We live in a biological world that has no biological need to.

Our brains are evolutionary wired to only tell us what we need to know to survive and pro-create, no more, no less. In this sense, it makes zero sense for us to know and feel all the subconscious activity that is going on in our brain. If we did, we would not function! Think about all the automatic processes that your brain is doing right now for you, and that you are not even aware: your brain is filling in holes in your vision in order to read this, your brain is automatically regulating your breathing to get your body it’s needed oxygen, your brain is creating quick, rapid-fire first impressions on my writing as you are reading this, most likely based on all your past memories and emotions in order to sort out if you should feel happy, sad, or upset – or whether or not to activate some kind of fight or flight response.

ALL of these things, and many, many more, are happening right now without you having conscious knowledge. And we do not need to know about these things, because if we had to consciously focus on them we would not have the brain function left to focus on other things, like building things, imagining things, thinking things, dreaming things….

We don’t know where our ideas or emotions come from because we don’t need to. We just feel them and think them, and they propel our lives.

I often think of ourselves as being suspended in a cosmic “soup,” within our machine-like, bio-computer bodies, and are permeable to the God-consciousness – the “God Soup” – that surrounds us. And this God-consciousness, or source, or the Infinite, or the cosmic background, or just God – whatever you would like to call it – is everything and nothing, all at the same time, continuing on into infinity, forever and ever and ever. This is how I think about God. And I think it possible we can access Him with our subconscious; that our subconscious can access infinity. A crazy thought.

When I think about God being ‘permeable’ it increases my relationship with Him (– or It, She, You, Me, whatever pronoun you prefer). God being permeable means He is more accessible – He is no longer “distant” or disconnected or omnipresent and omnipotent; what we think of when we think of an ‘infinite unyielding God.’ No – this is a God that we are co-creating with. This is a God that we are in intimate relationship with every day of our lives. This is a God that we are connected to. Permeable.

When I pray, meditate, journal, write, or do stream of consciousness writing, I feel like I’m connecting with something beyond myself. Outside of myself. And if I ‘go with the flow’ in this reflective state, I often activate my imagination. Here, in these creative thoughts or imaginative prayers, I find true passion, peace and ultimate love. God is not somewhere else; He is here.

And what is God but love – infinite, undefinable, no-restrictions love. The love that comes no-strings-attached. Feel it? Feel that love? God is within you.

***

When I define my belief in general terms, it comes down to two main thoughts that guide me:

  1. Separation is an illusion. This applies to all things: material, spiritual, God.  To tear down walls is to remove the “Us vs. Them” psychological prison so we may be more present and observant of our true connectedness.
  2. Live in love. Everything in love.

I’m not perfect, but I’m making strides. These two principles might come and go on my journey, but they strike me as the best guides that I have in this moment.

If I get a sense of “Us vs. Them” I know that the situation has been built on lies or untruths. If I am feeling that something is not being said or done in true, no-strings-attached love, I know it has been built on lies or untruths.

I am a seeker, and I will continue digging and seeking if I find untruths in my life and in others’ lives. Because we are all One in the Heart. Because I am You. Because You are Me. Because this is important. And the only way I think we can find these untruths is through the two steps above – nothing more, nothing less.

This is my obligation as a piece of humanity – my obligation as a piece of God.

In this way, I do not simply have a belief in God; I have a knowingness of God.

***

Thank you fellow heart-led blogger Mel at Mel’s Mouth, for inspiring me to write and think deeply about my belief in more distinct terms… Pushing me further down the rabbit hole 🙂