Reflections

Questioning my Self…

If I inhabit a reality of my own creation, which I truly believe I do (at least intellectually), why have I not created a more beautiful place to live?

Where is the love? The justice? The sense of equality that I would expect from me?  Why are we all still suffering?  In misery?

Do I truly need continuing lessons on compassion?  Or is it detachment I’m working on?

I feel sad…  So sad.  I’m not depressed; just sad.  I look around me every day and take note of all the suffering taking place, my own included.  I acknowledge that life isn’t fair, and changes are upon us, and that each and every being I encounter these days is struggling with something of significance to them.  We are facing our deepest “issues,” whatever they might be – financial, health, purpose, faith, loss, grief, codependency, addiction, relationships, career, etc…  And it is no longer enough to compare apples and oranges to find “relief”…

I take no comfort in saying “at least I’m not dealing with [that] today!”  Or “thank Goodness my crisis is only financial!”  I don’t need to compare my suffering to others to find gratitude today; I am well aware of how loved and lucky I am…

But that does not diminish my “suffering” today, for my financial insecurity is the one “issue” which I have never satisfactorily resolved; it has always haunted me, and it continues to do so.  To minimize its impact on me, and the way I live my life is a disservice to my Self…

But yes, there are many, many others who are suffering much more than I am, within their own personal hells…  And I don’t need to minimize or overstate their suffering, either, in an attempt to balance scales.  I simply accept that we are all suffering, and this world we share truly is hell!

So…

Why?  I ask my Self, “why?!”  For when I cannot “solve” a problem, I seek to understand instead.  My powerful Self could create a “happier” place, at least for me.  Why haven’t I done so?

I need to know…

Advertisements
Standard
Essay, Reflections

A Question of Competence… or is it Commitment?

I notice these days that there are a lot of people out there “selling” belief.  I get inundated every day with emails and ads, suggestions for how to improve every aspect of my life through holistic healing, energy work, prayer, divination, spirit guidance, contemplation practices and fitness regimes.  Everyone has an angle that they guarantee will work for me.

But I’m not sure I agree…  Why?

Why can’t I embrace any of these techniques?  Why can’t I even bring myself to try them out?  Clearly my life needs healing in so many ways, and I’ve always been open to both mainstream and alternative means.  Non-judgmental.  Yep, that’s me…

Or is it?  Because I find myself discounting these believers and teachers without even attempting to test their theories.  I find myself hitting “delete” without even listening to their spiel.  Is it just a question of competency?

To be sure, times have definitely changed.  I remember, not so long ago, when “experts” in any field were judged by the length of time they had invested in an area of study, as well as by the efficacy of their results.  Anyone new to a particular field had to “earn” their stripes, so to speak.

But in this digital era of instant gratification, and You Tube, everyone becomes an “expert” by saying they are, and by earning a “following.”  An interested party does an internet search on their topic, then chooses what site(s) to visit, or what videos to watch, not so much by researching qualifications, but by the number of “hits” or “followers” that “teacher” has.  “Mob rules” defined and practiced…

But I’ve never really been a follower type, preferring to take someone’s idea or theory and research it on my own.  Always looking for flaws in reasoning or data, critical in my assessments, judging what part(s) appear to work, or not, for me.  Self-defined reality…

And I can’t honestly state which path is “better” or makes more sense in the end, because both ways have their pros and cons.  Self-definition provides flexibility and adaptability to any path or belief system, but it also prevents any commitment or benefits of dedicated practice; you basically believe or do what you want, while discarding the rest, and that rarely leads to deep knowledge or wisdom.  But mob rule, while clearly directing your practice and belief, without requiring deep contemplation, also requires you to accept a whole lot of stuff you might not normally agree with; much harm has been perpetrated by those following a path too strictly, without regard for how it may affect the lives of others…

Hmm…

I know that in these tumultuous times people are desperate for something hopeful to believe in.  I know everyone wants to feel empowered, capable and competent.  We no longer believe in the “system” to provide for our needs consistently and competently, and we are correct in questioning it; the society we knew and trusted is collapsing around us.  So spirituality has become big business, and gurus are hawking every corner.  And many are providing (and feeling) some relief.  That’s good, right?

Too bad it doesn’t feel that way.  At least to me…

I have been asked twice in the last week or so, to offer my advice/guidance in a public setting; to “teach” on topics I used to be well versed in and confident to teach.  I have refused both opportunities, claiming “incompetence” as my excuse.  I no longer feel “qualified” to offer advice, even on those topics in which I was formerly an “expert,” recognized by both “time in” and “results of.”  And I find the whole situation rather amusing; but then, I’ve always had a twisted perception of reality, and a great appreciation for irony.

The bottom line for me today is that I no longer know what is “real” or not, or what is worthy of believing anymore.  My daily life is so overrun with time inconsistencies, and “bleed-through” from other realities, that I feel like it’s one continuous, unsubstantial, channel surfing adventure.  It’s like being on one of those rides at Disney World, where you sit in a little car that takes you through different scenes, changing rapidly, each trying to capture your imagination and “feel” real, while a part of you remains focused on the hard plastic seat you’re sitting on, and the wealth of darkness framing every scene.  You want to throw yourself into it, to wholly embrace the vision before you, but that seat is so uncomfortable, and the people behind you won’t stop talking, and your stomach is growling (oh, did I forget to eat again today?), and…  well, you get the drift.

I had a dream recently…

In the dream I was one of a half dozen people or so invited to attend a special retreat.  At that retreat we were to be trained on how to “pray” for others, and to teach them how to pray for themselves.  In this case, though, “prayer” referred to the actual practice of miracles; in other words, we would be taught how to manifest real change in the world, and how to pass that skill to others.

At first, I was excited, but then the doubt set in.  I knew that these prayers (this technique) came from a tradition I was familiar with, but not a follower of.  I began questioning whether I had a “right” to attend, coming as I was from curiosity rather than belief.  I found myself speaking about my concerns to a friend I know in real life.  We do not “believe” the same, but we share a mutual respect for each other that often allows us to discuss ethical or moral concerns, and actually learn from each others’ perspective.  When I finished explaining the situation to him (in the dream), he grew very stern, pointed his finger at me accusingly, and said, quite seriously, “you better make damn sure you can commit to this, Lisa, before you go; otherwise, don’t go!”  His whole demeanor spoke of dire warning, as though this were not some trifling matter, which is very unlike him in real life.  I woke, telling myself I’d better test my commitment to this path before attending the retreat…

When I shared this dream with him in real life, he pointed out my use of present tense in the waking world (as in “I’d better be sure before attending…”).  I started to say that it was just a grammar/language error, then stopped myself.  He laughed, quick to catch that, as we both know how careful I am with words in the real world.  I believe our language affects our reality, so I am meticulous about saying what I mean, and meaning what I say.  So there is no room for such a “slip of the tongue” in my world, especially when speaking to him; he will call me on any bullshit he hears…

So…

It’s not really a question of competency plaguing me, I think, but one of commitment.  I know I could learn these “techniques,” whatever they are; I’m basically intelligent, well studied, and own a long tradition of learning and practicing competently.  I am a born teacher.  But I am hesitating, even knowing that such “techniques” may bring actual relief…  Why?

Because I am reluctant to commit to any particular path these days.  I am thoroughly enjoying the free flowing nature of my reality these days.  Because I do not want to be restricted by rules or expectations if something new and more appealing reveals itself to me.  Because I do not want to accept responsibility…

Ahh…  That’s it, then, isn’t it?

Commitment comes with responsibility, and I do not want that in my life.  I do not want to be responsible for others, to be held accountable for what they do with any knowledge (complete or not) they may gain from our interaction.  And that’s what’s missing in the wealth of big business based spirituality, too.  No one wants to be responsible.  No one wants to be held accountable for the “wrongs” committed by their beliefs and believers.  And while I have always believed that people should be held accountable for their own actions, rather than blaming their past or their preacher/teacher, I recognize that there is a line marking where such independence becomes hypocrisy. Because some people truly do influence others who want to be influenced, and we do become at least partially responsible for anything they do “in our name”…

Could I actually learn to change the world?  Could I make it a better place? Could I then competently teach others to do the same?

Can I wholeheartedly commit to finding out?

That is the question, isn’t it?

 

Standard
Reflections, Visions

Detachment…?

The clock on the wall keeps ticking, but the hands no longer move…

Because Time no longer motivates me.

Voices argue down the street, louder and louder, but the words no longer mean…

Because language never truly captured or communicated what was real.

Sadness, sorrow, grief wash over me, but tears no longer fall…

Because acceptance of what is, is, and my heart does not resist.

Peace wraps itself around me, as my eyes begin to lose their focus…

Because clarity comes to the Observer, relieved of earthly pleasures.

And I see…

That I am not alone, nor disconnected here from Others; rather we are joined in spirit, thought, and understanding.  Holding “hands” as all we’ve known drops out beneath us.  Free floating in a place without gravity to hold us, without severity to sink us.  Gently holding on to what is real for each of us… in a space with no time, no boundaries, no real limitations.  Just us.  And what each has chosen to live with…

I will not judge you on your choices, for I have made my own.  And each will be responsible for whatever seeds we’ve sown.  There is no “right” or “wrong” here, and “fairness” does not exist.  A redefinition is occurring of what we once called Justice.

The truth, as I see it (little “t” intended), is that choices surround us All. Depending on your perspective, belief and expectation, you alone can choose what path calls loudest to you…

Some may face a fork ahead, choosing left or right; envisioning a world where all is black or white…

Some may face a crossroads, where many paths may merge; joining forces, they move on to where their spirits urge…

Some may find themselves at the center of a wheel; all paths entering, even circling, but never truly leaving…

Whatever path awaits you, friends, I trust you will choose well.  At least you will decide your fate, as only you can for yourself.  And if you feel helpless, drowning in the chaos, chained to time and space…?  Try letting go completely, before it drags you down…

Detachment…?  Or apathy?

Surrender…? Or acceptance?

Cowardice…?  Or conscience?

The choice is always yours…

 

Standard
Dreams, Reflections, Visions

“If you want to lead…”

Interesting dreams and experiences this week, summed up by my dreams last night.  I don’t remember details so much, but the message was clear…

“If you want to lead… lead.

If you want to teach… teach.

If you want to heal… heal.

If you want to speak… speak.”

***

For months now, the messages I’ve gotten have been consistently about stepping back and allowing Others the space they need to decide their own course of development.  I’ve actually become quite proficient at minding my own business.  Not perfect, by any means, as there are always times and situations that create a compelling urge to react, but much better than I previously did.

And now that energy has shifted.  Now, I’m told, we may begin act-ing again, though perhaps not in the traditional sense.  For example, if we envisioned our selves as leaders in this “new” world we wish to co-create, we will not achieve that end by handing down orders or controlling others, as leaders did in the old world; rather, we shall lead by example only.  Get your hands dirty, or get out of the garden!

Likewise, if we fancied our selves as teachers, then we must live our truths rather than preach them.  Words mean nothing today without action.

If we imagined our selves as healers, then the work must begin within.  It is not enough to use words like “should” and “ought to” to describe the path to wholeness.  We must become whole ourselves, and guide others by those actions…

And if we have something to say, we must take responsibility for both the words and the tone of our messages.  Communication is a two-way street, and while we cannot take responsibility for how another interprets our words, we must endeavor at all times to say what we mean, and mean what we say.  Freedom of speech is not a free-for-all arena anymore, by which anyone can justify and legitimize whatever stray thoughts may leak out; consequences will occur…

That being said, I feel lighter and more energized than I have in months.  Obviously, these have always been goals, but now they are imperatives.  And with that comfort of certainty, that awareness that rightful action can once again lead to just outcomes, I feel relief as well as a tightening of the reins of self-discipline.

We are, as always, who we choose to be, and we are free now to reclaim the power of becoming who we’ve always wanted to be.  Be brave.  Be wise.  Be responsible, my friends.  And be free!

Standard
Reflections

Chasing the Light…

Rainbows, and fairy tales, bright sunlight on water, we humans are drawn to the light.  Where thoughts are clear and edges (read limits) are clearly defined.  “Hard” reality comforts us, even when it is as harsh as the light that reveals it…

And when the sun sets, threatening those certainties, we reach for switches and plugs to prop up our beliefs.  Neon, fluorescent or LED, our artificial lights carry us steadily through the morass of other possibilities…

But there is beauty in the dappled light of a forest path, as well, where shadows soften the edges and soothe the soul.  Whole communities exist in the dark beneath the soil.  And life “under a rock” is more vital and vibrant than we light-chasers have been led to believe…

Why, then, do we villify the Shadow, and avoid it at all cost?

I will suggest one possibility, and that is purely personal…

Responsibility.

Yep.  That simple.  And yet far-reaching are the implications…

For how easy it is to point at someone, something, anything else and say, “that isn’t how it should be.”  But so long as we stand firmly in the light, “that” is exactly how it will likely remain.  Because what we see so clearly in the light, those sharp edges and strongly defined boundaries, are reinforced by our witnessing.  There is little room for change, unless you can physically manipulate those boundaries.  Think about that for a minute, and consider what that means…

Are you prepared to stand against a consensus-based reality?

But in the shadowed places, more flexibility exists, to create whatever you choose to witness…

“Wait!  What is that over there, hiding behind that tree?  Is that a [fill in the blank]?”

“No, I don’t think so,” an’Other responds.  “It kinda looks like a [blank] to me.”

Ahhh… The possibilities are endless, the potential for true creativity.  The darker the shadows, the greater the opportunity to create our own, unique reality.  But with that power comes true responsibility.

You cannot truthfully blame another if your fears come alive in the dark.  You might claim they planted the seed, but only you can breathe life into what haunts you.  Your thoughts, your feelings, your needs will shape the shadows into whatever your imagination sees.  So who then is ultimately responsible?

Responsibility requires discipline, and only I can provide what I need.  These last few days of free-form living have shown me that; stray thoughts are just as likely (maybe even more so) to manifest, as those I focus on.  Maybe because it is the “stray” nature of them that allows me to let them go.  Whatever the reasoning, I have discovered a need to discipline my self while traversing this place of potentiality…

And there is no-one, no-thing, out here to blame for what I am witnessing.  For everyone out here must take credit (and blame) for what they choose to create.  Empowering…

And sometimes terrifying…

Ahh…  The sun is risen now in full, the light returns to chase away the shadows of dawn.  Time to go live among the truths I only imagined a few moments ago.  I wonder where they will lead today…?

The only certainty this dawn brings me, is that wherever I wind up today, I must claim responsibility.  And dusk will bring relief, and the chance to dream anew, creating new truths to chase in an’Other brightly lit day…

 

Standard