What does it mean to know ourselves, to become self-realized? It means we’re tapped into a core power that is available to us 24/7. But for the most part, we remain oblivious to the very existence of this power. This is a real tragedy, for there’s a truckload of power smack dab in the center of our beings, people.
This is a two-pronged power source. First, it infinitely revitalizes with a self-perpetuating aliveness. It’s a bottomless cup that just keeps refilling. And it marches to the beat of its own drummer. It’s not personal to us. If conditions are right, it’s gonna flow. That’s just the way it rolls.
We’ve got everything we could ever need right there inside ourselves. Problem is, we block it.
Part two of this power source is its freestanding intelligence. This means we have to clear out all that unconscious material we fear and flee from, and become freethinkers. Our dire need for an authority figure outside ourselves is crippling. And also nuts, since we’ve got everything we could ever need right there inside ourselves.
Problem is, we block it.
If we want to be compatible with this universal power, we have to have a state of mind that is totally chill—inner and outer relaxation. This relaxation is rhythmic and effortless, expanding and contracting as though it were breathing. It’s poised and calm, peaceful and yet dynamic. This is not indifference, passivity or laxness. Those are for chumps. Needless to say, this is not a state that many are in the habit of inhabiting.
No, our typical state is more or less to be intense, which is totally incompatible with the universal power. Our intensity, pulled taut as a piano wire, has the overall effect of making us immobile, paralyzed and passive. This we must learn to work out of our souls.
In our black-and-white way of seeing the world, we, as usual, have a misunderstanding about these things. We think that the more intense we are, the more serious, responsible and focused we will be. In the reverse direction, we think the less intense we are, the more irresponsible, frivolous and distraught we’ll be. Spoiler alert: this isn’t true. In fact, as these things tend to go, just the opposite is actually true.
Our normal state of mind is so wound up and intense, it’s become our second nature.
If we want to give our total attention to what’s in front of us, our psyches need to be fluid and not taut; we need to have undivided attention, clear motives, wholeness and integrity. None of this can happen when there are opposing forces inside us dividing us in two, and fears hiding behind our inner corners.
So there needs to be a certain lightness to the way our psychic material flows. This is what will make more energy available for us to invest into our lives.
Instead, we’ve gotten to where our normal state of mind is so wound up and intense, it’s become our second nature. But this is not natural. Topping this is the fact we now view intensity as a desirable state, giving it all the wonderful spiritual qualities we are aspiring to—yepper, all those qualities we can only realize if we are not intense. Go fish.
All our cute little neurotic ways are the result of—and result in—our artificial intensity, which we are half-consciously nursing along. We do this because the immature parts of ourselves want to be special, better than the rest, self-important. We try to draw attention to ourselves by making everything seem so very damned important. Drama, drama, drama.
This is one of those things we have to believe to see. But if we focus our attention on it, we’ll find it. With some exposure, our intensity will start to feel foreign and unnatural. But what’s always the first step to letting something go? Awareness.
This soul dent is made up of too-tightly-held convictions, exaggerated emotions, overreactions and tight muscles.
It’s going to feel like we are stepping out of an internal straightjacket. Danger, Will Robinson! We’re also going to feel very exposed without it. Then we’ll figure out that all we’re exposing ourselves to is the revitalizing life stream. The weight of that constricting jacket has been causing a dent in our soul substance, which can now spring back. This soul dent is made up of too-tightly-held convictions, exaggerated emotions, overreactions and tight muscles. How can the life force flow in the face of all that?
Tightness on any level—mental, emotional or physical—gradually leads to illness, decay and death. So resiliency must be restored, starting from any direction, any level.
We halfway think that intensity is needed for experiencing pleasure. Don’t be deceived. Intensity is an attitude of the ego, and it stops the ego from letting go. Pleasure, on the other hand, requires that our involuntary processes let go, which can’t happen to the extent the ego is holding on.
We need to stop taking ourselves so seriously. We need to not be confused with thinking this means we are then inconsequential. Lightness is desirable and relates to a greater influx of universal power. This brings heightened pleasure, humor and laughter. The divine then lives in us and we live in it. That’s what being self-realized is all about.
Adapted from Chapter 10 in Finding Gold, Intensity: An Obstacle to Self-Realization.