On our way to finding our divine center, we’ll have to pass through all the layers that separate us from it. That only makes sense. So what are the thick crusty layers covering our juicy inner core made up of? Our confusions, misconceptions and false conclusions about life, our negative attitudes and defensive strategies, and all the feelings we haven’t been willing to experience and which therefore lie stuck in us, unassimilated. It’s gonna be slow going for a whole lot of folks.
There’s a lot to recognize and accept—stuff we’d frankly rather not know. There are blocks that must be dissolved. There are, in fact, tasks we need to accomplish as we make our way to total self-awareness, which is an absolute requirement for moving on down the yellow brick road to unification with our inner divine self. Sorry, there will be flying monkeys and poppies, but no free balloon rides.
One of our tasks as we go along is to get clearer and clearer about our feelings and attitudes—both the good and the bad—that make up our wanting and wishing and desiring. These soul movements are streams of energy that we need to learn to connect with, although doing so requires we develop the art of focusing within. This requires some ability to concentrate, and that is something we can learn through meditation.
Too often, though, we go through life not fully aware of what we are thinking or feeling in any given moment. So we’re not aware of our own faults and confusions, nor are we aware of the inner voice of the divine that’s trying to reach us. We must learn to observe the movements happening in each moment, and just as importantly, the lack of movement—the tightness.
When our soul movements are happy and open and alive, they are smooth and soft, and at the same time strong. But when the movement is obstructed, we feel dead. Or when the movement feels jagged, edgy and raw, we feel anxious and unsure. Under all these negative movements are associated thoughts and feelings that beg for our attention.
So the soul movements that are healthy will lead to positive creations. But those that are distorted and life-defeating cause only further destruction. What about the soul movement of desire—positive or negative? In and of itself, desire is neither right nor wrong. It just depends on how it is being expressed.
Eastern philosophies are big fans of the notion that desirelessness is ideal, postulating that having desires hinders ones spirituality. And this is true. But it’s only half-true. Because it’s impossible to create if there is an absence of desire. Creation requires our ability to visualize a new state of being, and for that we must have a desire to have said state. It all comes down to how we go about this.
If our desire is overly strong and too tight, there is a misconception underneath it that says ‘I must have it.’ So the desire is not really a desire, but a demand. There’s a threat hidden in it that says ‘I must have this or I’ll suffer.’ Then if life doesn’t give us our way, it is bad and unfair. Then we’ll go on to prove how unfair life is through the dismal results we create with our unfair demand. Dog, meet tail.
No, if we want to create something good, we’ll need to start with a blueprint: a positive, real desire. And the breeze that carries forward our plans for positive creation is a soft-flowing soul movement—desire without a “must.”
Embedded into the concept of desire is a paradox: the right kind of desire needs to be so relaxed, we don’t need to have it fulfilled. We will, in essence, be saying, “I can live without my wish, feeling the pain of not having it and knowing this pain will not defeat me.” The energy released when we hold a strong desire—but have an absence of fear and manipulation—is tremendous; then the power of our desire will be limitless. So in other words, we need to have a desireless desire. How can this be?
We need to come into a state where we are ready to give up what we desire. We can deeply long for something and then also accept the pain of not having it. Sounds like a tall order. But this is where all of our efforts and evolution are leading us. And our resistance to this reality is the reason we have that thick crusty layer.
We don’t want to feel any pain or any of its derivatives: frustration, disappointment and rejection. We resist. And that’s what splits us off from ourselves, fragmenting our consciousness into smaller and smaller bits. But if we can get our arms around acceptance and non-resistance in the right way, we can heal and gather ourselves. That’s what it means to walk a spiritual path such as this one. But we can’t go it alone. We all need help so we don’t veer off into the woods of our wrong ideas about what’s the truth.
If we are under the misguided belief that we should never have to feel any painful feelings, then we will have a super-strong desire to deny pain. It’s the combo-platter of: “I must have…no pain,” together with “I must not have…pain.” This creates a harsh, cramped “no,” which—no big surprise—totally blocks positive creation. Our soul movement is then rife with sharp, pointy edges that cut and are hurtful.
This notion that we must accept all our feelings and experiences could be misinterpreted to mean we should roll over and let people do whatever they want to us. Not so. Let’s say we insist on not having any pain. This will make us so tense and disconnected we won’t be able to deal with other people’s negativity or see when they are out to cause us harm. We’ll be blind to what’s happening and then react blindly—we won’t be able to assert ourselves.
But if we don’t fear feeling pain, we can stand up for ourselves and not let others be deceitful, dishonest or abusive by playing destructive games. We won’t fear confrontation if we’re willing to feel pain. We will be able to assert ourselves if our pride doesn’t keep us from possibly being wrong.
So it’s not true that accepting pain means we are weak and submissive. Just the opposite. To be truly resilient and strong, we must be able to fearlessly assert ourselves, dealing with what is and not manipulating facts and feelings into something they are not.
Instead, we insist that pain and disappointment shouldn’t exist. This demand creates a tight, pointed soul movement that says “no.” This “no” doesn’t carry harmony and strength—the kind of firmness that springs from self-value and real dignity. It comes from the weak insistence that we must always have things our way: pain-free.
So we can have a healthy “no” in which we assert ourselves and look out for our own highest good, or a weak, tight “no” in which we submit to the negativity of others. It is also possible to have an unhealthy “yes” in which we grab, insist and become self-righteous.
If we are willing to feel the pain of receiving something undesired, we can transcend the dark point and discover the light behind it. If we are willing to feel the pain of accepting the absence of something we desire, we can transcend the emptiness and discover the fullness hidden behind it. By embracing these laws of life, we set a creative soul movement into action. But we must always be mindful to do so in a spirit of trust rather than hopelessness and bitterness. The latter may result in a pushy forcing current that is hidden beneath a surface veneer of acceptance.
In the end, everything hinges on our reaction to pain. We have to learn that pain is just as trustworthy as the rest of the universe. We can’t split off certain aspects because they are painful and continue to trust all the rest. In general, we tend to deny negative feelings in ourselves, and then act them out towards others, projecting our distortions onto them and blaming them for our feelings. It almost seems impossible for us to stop doing this.
What we need to do is admit to this impulse, but not act on it. This requires an inner prayer for help, a commitment to being in truth, and the goodwill to let God fill us with right action and knowing, even before our feelings can catch up. But when we unleash our feelings on other people, we are looking for a scapegoat because we’re still too afraid to look at ourselves. We feel threatened by what we might see.
In the final analysis, our fear is always unjustified. But we’re caught in the illusion of it, fearing that the ugly traits that will gradually ooze out of us are the truth of who we are. When we see the ugliness of the temporary little ego and the big bad Lower Self, it’s hard not to lose heart.
And yet, we can’t fail to open to the beauty of our eternal being if we are willing to accept both the beauty and the beast that lives inside us right now. Then we’ll see that the good is forever-me, and the bad is for-now-me.
The very fact that we can own up to our ugliness comes from our beauty. It’s the divine in us wanting to be in truth and having the courage to do so. This act of learning our lessons deserves our self-respect, which we can pay once we stop projecting our unacceptable bits onto others and using their ugliness as a distraction from seeing our own.
When we’re tempted to accuse someone else of something, we can pause and ask, “Where’s the ugly in me, and where’s the ugly in them?” And then, “Where’s the beauty in me, and where’s the beauty in them?” Don’t just mouth the questions and move on. Become receptive enough for the answers to reveal themselves.
If we find we still want to condemn others or ourselves—even finding joy in doing so—we must own up to it; we can admit that we don’t want to see the good. Our desire is to blame. The battle is over who is right—us or the other guy. Truth is, being right is a poor substitute for seeing the good.
When we open up to desiring to see both the good and the bad in both ourselves and the other, we experience the unitive principle. Seeing how there is plenty of negativity to go around, and how there is also goodness on both sides of every fence, will eliminate hate.
In short, a desire to blame is always a desire to not see ourselves. This exposes us to the constant threat of having our ugliness revealed. So a tight, protective defense creates in us a desire to blame and to hide. Our soul movements are then harsh and jagged. If we take responsibility for this, our heart will relax and we will be able to see the truth of both and the good and bad in everyone. Seeing the truth never leads to blame.
So when we are blaming, even if what we see is partially true, we are not really in truth. The others might actually do and be all the negative things we accuse them of, but they can’t be totally bad. If they were, we wouldn’t blame them.
Same holds true the other way around. Just because we’re in truth doesn’t mean we are saints. But a truthful understanding of the negativity in ourselves is only possible when we have a good look in the mirror. And the moment we do, all our guilt and self-blame and self-rejection will disappear. This is a miracle we have to see to believe. And to boot, it often happens that we see the truth and then realize it isn’t terrible at all.
Sometimes when we see the truth, we will feel anger. But this is quite different from blame. Also, when we truly want to know the truth, we can wait for it to be revealed as a gift from our innermost self. Truth is so conciliating, it sets us free in every way. Any pain it causes is completely different from the pain we feel from a cramped inner “no.”
To create a desire for a new inner state, we need to feel all the “musts” that squash fulfillment. Even if they yield short-term results, “musts” are not our friends. Short-lived results lead to a crashing disappointment whose trigger is impossible to pinpoint. That’s the worst part about the whole mojo of a forcing current.
But as we learn to let go of our death-grip on our desires, rewards will blossom like flowers in the sun. We can trust the organic process of creation that arises from the core of our being where our deepest desires well up. Listen for them. Receive them. Let them live.
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