You want to be happy, to forget yourself, and yet the more you try to forget yourself, the more you remember the self you want to forget. You want to escape from pain, but the more you struggle to escape, the more you inflame the agony. You are afraid and want to be brave, but the effort to be brave is fear trying to run away from itself. You want peace of mind, but the attempt to pacify it is like trying to calm the waves with a flat-iron.
We are all familiar with this kind of vicious cycle in the form of worry. We know that worrying is futile, but we go on doing it because calling it futile does not stop it. We worry because we feel unsafe, and want to be safe. Yet it is perfectly useless to say that we should not want to be safe. Calling a desire bad names doesn’t get rid of it. What we have to discover is that there is no safety, that seeking it is painful, and that when we imagine that we have found it, we don’t like it. In other words, if we can really understand what we are looking for-that safety is isolation, and what we do to ourselves when we look for it-we shall see that we do not want it at all. No one has to tell you that you should not hold your breath for ten minutes. You know that you can’t do it, and that the attempt is most uncomfortable.
The principal thing is to understand that there is no safety or security.
One of the most basic keys to battling any fear of intimacy is a willingness to accept uncertainty.
Doesn’t that look nice and simple on paper (er, the screen)? In reality, we all know that’s quite something to overcome, especially when our hearts have been banged around and hurt. Many times these past wounds cause us to build up neat little walls without even realizing it.
How do we even begin?
I can tell you that it does NOT begin with finding a romantic partner you hope will save you or make you happy or reassure you or give promises or fix the mistakes others have made. Instead, it starts with loving and developing a relationship with Self. Can you look yourself square in the eyes in the mirror and tell yourself (out loud), ‘I love you.’ Go try! Can you do it? Does it feel silly? Why?
Once we can really see and believe in our own value, rejection and uncertainty are not as frightening. When we know we are beautiful and smart and worthy and complete and whole, everything else is simply someone’s opinion. Realizing that we have everything we need within ourselves, we are able to create healthy, energetic boundaries in our personal relationships and, as a result, be more open with giving our Love freely to others – because we aren’t looking to others to GIVE us our worth. (!!!)
That doesn’t mean it’s always easy. For me, it’s been more of a ‘two steps forward and one step back’ kind of dance, but I’m getting there. :)
Oftentimes these fears and insecurities were developed long ago; perhaps in childhood, or in one of our earliest intimate relationships that ended badly and left a scar. I encourage you to sit in meditation and explore these fears…challenge yourself and ask, ‘Why….’ It takes some digging but when I’ve uncovered something I was previously afraid to look at, it suddenly becomes so clear: Of COURSE I felt that way when X,Y, or Z happened! But now that I am older and wiser I know better, and I can let go of that false belief because it no longer serves me.
Explore explore explore. I know it’s scary. And some days I just don’t have the energy to work at it either. But I keep coming back, because the payoffs are tremendous. That wall is crumbling down, one chip at a time. My new favorite word is ‘Why.’ When I feel tense, when I feel defensive. When I feel afraid, when I feel aggravated. When I feel triggered in some way. Why? It’s amazing how deep that tiny little word can take you. Most of the time it’s the ego needing to be fed, and when we question it, we disarm it.
As we clear the old misbeliefs, negative self-talk and falsehoods from our lives and allow ourselves to really see our intrinsic goodness, our auras begin to expand. We attract more positive people and experiences into our lives – and when we radiate Love, there is no room for anything less.
“….emotions are something we can’t see, we can’t touch, we can’t recognize…but at the same time, emotions change the world. And the most important one being Love…if you could make Love be…not understood, but felt by people, accepted by people…probably we would forget to ask questions like ‘Who am I?’ and instead of asking questions and trying to get answers, you will understand that you are a manifestation of Love, and a manifestation of Love cannot be understood. It can only be felt…”
“…From the moment that I was not scared of manifesting my Love, my life changed. I had bad moments – yes. I was hurt – yes. I was sad – yes. But still, this Love…goes beyond the fact that I like or dislike something. Just Love. It is more powerful than anything else…”
“…There are moments of ecstasy, where you sit down and you feel everything. I cry at these moments. I have this urge of crying. But not crying for joy, not crying for sadness, no reason for crying but being amazed for being alive. And let us allow these things to happen to us, accepting and respecting the mystery. We don’t need explanations for everything. We need to fill our lives with Love, and as Love does not have an explanation, okay – let’s simply enjoy.”
Do you ever feel completely filled up with Love in the way Coelho describes? Sometimes I feel as though I’m vibrating with it. Not romantic love, not parental love or friendly love. I mean the Love that tethers us to each and every living thing in the Universe. The Love that allows me to, at times, literally feel what another in my vicinity feels, whether I know them or not. I sometimes imagine myself as a magnet, picking up stray emotions that exist in the ether that surrounds me. Sometimes I wish I could stop feeling so much because I feel exhausted and sore – my insides bruised with a build up of raw emotion that I don’t even understand. During these times I may cry during a particularly cleansing asana practice or in the middle of a massage as it is all released from my physical body.
Perhaps this is why I feel much clearer and calmer when I honor my need for solitude, where I can recharge and regain perspective – meditating and focusing on nothing more than ‘inhaling Love, exhaling Peace.’ Letting go…
I hope you have time to listen to the podcast (linked above) and enjoy Coelho’s tremendous wisdom.
“Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence.” – Eckhart Tolle
We can all tell when we’re really being listened to, probably because it doesn’t actually happen all that often. I know that I interrupt – a LOT. I’m incredibly energized by stimulating conversation and get SO excited when the topic is something I relate to! I want to interject, ‘Oh! Yes! I read about/experienced/heard about/have thoughts about that too!’ Or I want to understand better so I’ll ask, ‘Okay, so wait, who/when/why/where was that…’ Regardless of my good intention or desire to understand better, interrupting or looking away or just not being fully present doesn’t make the speaker feel good. So, for me, it’s a work in progress.
To really turn off the mental chatter, look into another’s eyes, and hear what is being said – without any interjecting, mind wandering or phone checking – can be such a beautiful exchange of energy and, the wonderful thing is, words do not have to be spoken in order to convey that you understand. That you relate. That you care.
Whether we realize it or not, being the field of conscious presence Eckhart Tolle is talking about gives whomever is speaking permission to be honest. It is such a gift, this simple act of being present. Not only in our personal relationships, but at the store. At work. Every day.
“Far more important than what you are listening to is the act of listening itself, the space of conscious presence that arises as you listen. That space is a unifying field of awareness in which you meet the other person without the separative barriers created by conceptual thinking. And now the other person is no longer “other.” In that space, you are joined together as one awareness, one consciousness.” – Eckhart Tolle
Once you have started moving inward …it is very, very dark. Because for lives together you have never been inside, your eyes have been focused on the outside world…
…So when you suddenly come in from the outside, your own house looks dark. But if you sit a little while, by and by the darkness disappears. There is more light; your eyes are settling. For many lives together you have been outside in the hot sun,k in the world, so when you go in you have completely forgotten how to enter and how to readjust your eyes. Meditation is nothing but a readjustment of your vision, a readjustment of your seeing faculty, of your eyes…By and by, when you have adjusted to the inside light, you will see that you are the very source. The seeker is sought. Then you will see that the treasure is within you, and the whole problem was that you were seeking for it outside.
…You are rich, infinitely rich – as rich as nature itself. But you are looking in the wrong direction. The direction is wrong. That’s why you go on missing. And it is not that you will not succeed in life – you can succeed. But still you will be a failure. Nothing is going to satisfy you because nothing can be attained in the outside world that can be comparable to the inner treasure, to the inner light, to the inner bliss.
Your life should not be okay.
Your life should be sparkling.
Happy, contented, complete.
A Buddha’s life is not okay.
Krishna’s life is not okay.
Ramana is not okay.
They are K.O.
They knocked out the nonsense out of themselves.
An ‘OK’ life should not be accepted by any intelligent being.
You have to discover, or unclothe your own Buddha Self,
your own Christ Consciousness, your own Shiva Being.
If you wish to know how, come to Satsang.
“Satsang is the invitation to step into the fire of self-discovery. This fire will not burn you, it will burn only what you are not.”
Lately I’ve been feeling like a worker bee within a giant hive – I wake with a start, no time for anything but rushing around. I work a full day and feel exhausted by the time I leave to come home. Once home, I take care of children, pets, dinner, laundry, shopping and whatever else needs ‘doing’ and fall into bed late…only to get up and repeat the very same scene the next day. I feel like I’m on autopilot and it drains me.
It’s easy to give myself excuses and say, “Oh this is just a busy time. This is just temporary. I’ll get back into yoga and meditation and working out once everything settles down.” But then, suddenly, a month, 3 months, 6 months or more have passed and I am still spinning my wheels in the same frantic pattern.
The truth is, there is ALWAYS time once we make it a priority. And that little seed of discomfort within, when we don’t make time? That is our Higher Self whispering in our ear, ‘Time to stop existing and start living.’
We OVERemphasize trivial matters that our Ego has convinced us are important.
Joy is simple. Happiness is simple. Contentment is simple. The key word is gratitude. WE make it hard with our desires. Always wanting, suffering, bitching, moaning….
It takes nothing more than a walk in nature or star gazing to remind me of just how simple contentment can be. The key is in these four S’s:
Silence. Simplifying. Smiling, both internally and externally. Slowing down.
Ahhh…I feel calmer just reading those lovely words.
Ask yourself: What really matters? I bet it isn’t zooming through rush hour feeling aggravated, spending hours to make your house sparkling clean, or buying that new set of dishes you can’t quite afford. I imagine those trivial worries as items cluttering my counter, and with a sweep of my arm, I knock them all down and it feels sooooo good.
Spending a half hour mopping my floors every day will NOT make my life complete. But 15 minutes of meditation, and a 15-minute moonlit walk just might.
Ask yourself: what clutter can you knock down from YOUR internal countertop?
Make your life sparkle. Now, in this very moment, which is all we ever have.
“If there is peace in your mind you will find peace with everybody. If your mind is agitated you will find agitation everywhere. So first find peace within and you will see this inner peace reflected everywhere else. You are this peace! You are happiness, find out. Where else will you find peace if not within you?”
Isn’t it true? When we’re in a good mood, feeling fine – everything seems to go our way. We hit all green lights on our way to work, our kids do what’s asked of them without complaining, and we love our jobs.
When we become agitated, just the opposite is true. We notice every single annoyance and ignore the multitude of blessings that surround us. The traffic lights are all still green, we just don’t notice it. We’re too focused on all the things we DON’T like.
The ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ (for lack of better terms) are both always there. And, in fact, they are interchangeable based on our perspective! We decide. Day by day. Minute by minute. Breath by breath.
This life isn’t happening to you. You are creating it. So why not create a life filled with as much joy, peace and gratitude as possible? It’s a misconception – an EXCUSE we use – that we have to ‘look for’ and ‘find’ good things in life. It is an error to believe that joy is something that exists outside of you. Everything you need is right in front of you. Within you. All you have to do is open your (inner) eye and see it.