No human is born “bad.” We are made to believe (and act out) that we are, by our attachment to mistaken beliefs about who we are and what is real.
We are born lit from within, every single one of us. The torch of Awareness burns in us, eternally, even when it is unnoticed, hidden from view by layer upon layer of beliefs that cause us only suffering.
Turn towards that light within you. Fan the flame of your own Self Awareness and witness the incineration of all the layers of limiting beliefs that bind you. When all else has burned, all that remains is who you truly are: the light of the world.
The weight of expectations is incredibly heavy. I’ve discovered that how I feel has absolutely nothing to do with anything other than a belief in what I think of as ‘my’ perceptions of things, interpretations of events, expectations. It is challenging to see through, or beyond these beliefs, past the veil of conditioning that I’ve come to think of as ‘how things should be’. I wasn’t born with them! I inherited them and added to them over the years. But, in truth, the only ‘thing’ that matters is how things ARE. Now. Not how I think they should be or want them to be based on expectations (and assumptions) that have built up over years.
I can still have expectations, of course, but if I think those wants and needs are based on anything other than my ‘own’ beliefs (the beliefs I ‘own’ because I believe them), then I am deceiving myself. If I can see and know that I have those expectations while realizing they are just ideas, then I am seeing the truth of those wants or needs as ideas—nothing more.
In this way I stop deceiving myself and trying to manipulate others to live up to my expectations, or to ‘please’ me, and the weight of all those expectations just falls away.
(This is not meant to imply that chemical imbalances do not impact one’s “state of mind” and, therefore, their expectations and assumptions about the world. But even beyond those imbalances, whether seen or not, there is something ineffable, a weightlessness that is very real; more real than any belief or idea.)
It doesn’t take a lifetime of performing a special practice, meditating on a mantra bestowed upon us by a holy person, severe austerities, or a bucket of cold water thrown on the face to wake up. It takes one moment–the moment awakeness is noticed. That shift is instantaneous–from sleep to awakeness, now. Yes, we may seem to shift back to sleep again… and again… and again, until we are fully awake. But the moment of awakening does not last longer than the instant that the shift from ‘sleep’ to ‘awake’ is noticed.
It is easy for humans to envision this when they imagine this as a description of the process they are so familiar with–waking up every morning from their nightly slumber. And it is an accurate portrait of that process. However, much more important than our daily awakening into what we call our ‘normal’ life, is the profound awakening into the truth of our being–the understanding of our entire reason for being, here, now, in human form on this Earth. It is this awakening that frees us from the (perceived!) need to ever fall asleep and dream again. For the slumber of Consciousness–the dream of being a person who sleeps and dreams, and ‘wakes up’ to carry on in a ‘normal’ life–ceases to exist upon awakening. That dream falls away and leaves only this moment of pure awakeness, in need of no sleep, desiring no dream, at complete rest and peace with what is.
Some discover this through no effort. Others invest in a lot of effort (performing a special practice, meditating on a mantra bestowed upon them by a holy person, undergoing severe austerities, etc.) with this goal in mind: to wake up. But if/when they do–wake up–they discover, in that moment, that they have always been awake. They just dreamed that they weren’t.
“How can this be?” the mind asks. It is a mind-blowing paradox that can never be understood by the mind that asks. It is blown away, and so, dissolves… falling silent.
A year ago today, we said goodbye to our beloved Lucy. And although she is still here with us in spirit–and we feel her presence with us always–we do miss seeing her beautiful body every day, with its amazing variety of earth tones that seemed lit from within. We miss her penetrating and unflinching gaze, her willingness to walk with us–anytime, anywhere–and her instantaneous and consistent response to an invitation to play, even when she was barely able to rise off the ground in her later years.
More than all that, though, we miss the solidity of her form here with us… the utter blessing of laying on the floor next to her, burying our face or our fingers in her fur, inhaling her smell, rubbing her amazingly strong body, hearing her steady heart beating inside that deep and powerful chest. We miss the soft, moisture of her black nose and her tender tongue, the whiteness of her massive wolf teeth and the freshness of her breath, the rough texture of her foot pads and the perfection of those massive feet. We miss her scrabbling toenails on the dresser as she ran after rabbits in her sleep, the little yelps she made when she caught one, and the occasional primal howl that arose from her throat in the middle of the night.
Dear Lucy, we still feel deep gratitude to have been blessed with your temporary presence in our lives. Our dreams are still filled with you, even as we move on in life, living it to the fullest–Now–just as you would do.
~Steve & Grace
When all thoughts are set aside, there is only one thing left. It is unspeakable… it cannot be described or shared in words. It is a felt sense of oneness with all that is. To experience that is to know, to feel the end of–no, the absence of–any sense of right or wrong, good or bad. There is, here, in this space that exists behind and beyond all ideas and comparisons, only an indescribable feeling that knows no bounds nor boundaries. Find that. Lose all the rest; it isn’t worth holding on to.
Spiritual teachers consistently point to what cannot be spoken of, and to that which obscures it, including our deep-seated resistance. Where we are, right now, is exactly where we are… and that space (or place, we could say) can’t be wrong or ‘not needed’, even though the mind will tell that story. And so if where we are is listening to or reading words written by a spiritual teacher (or not…) it’s perfect just as it is. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be. We could say what is is ‘needed’ because if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t … be. This includes, of course, resistance–which is what is in the moment it arises.
When the profound truth of this is recognized within, a huge weight is lifted off our shoulders as we no longer feel that what is isn’t as it should be (in whatever way we believe or view that–it can be incredibly subtle). We see that what is, is–and we finally rest in that recognition, no longer seeking and striving to change… ourselves, our life situation, others, something, anything… everything.
It is quite an experience to sleep in awareness. To be fully aware that the form is sleeping. This is not a common occurrence for me, but has happened. Dreams lose much of their seeming significance when sleep and dreaming is being observed, much as daily mind-chatter loses significance and simply subsides as attention shifts from the content of the dream (or mental noise) to itself. This is not to say that dreams or thoughts are meaningless… only that it behooves us to recognize that it is the mind that attaches significance to them. Awareness just watches.