Sunday, November 29, 2009

Remembering Our True Nature

Right now I’m in Chicago, sitting on the bed in my hotel room. This past week has been hectic for me because I started off in Boston, trotted up to Ithaca, and then ended up here in the Windy City. When my life starts to get crazy it’s easy for me to lose sight of myself. To become engrossed in getting from point A to point B, finding something to eat, and accomplishing everything on my to-do list. My mind gets wrapped up in the mundane and I forget who I am.

Tonight I passed by the Holy Name Cathedral on North State St. and I felt compelled to walk in. Even though I’m Jewish I love Cathedrals and feel no compunction about attending other people’s religious services. (Even if I have no idea what’s going on.) I sat in the very last row and soaked in my surroundings. The high arched ceiling, the wooden pews, the stained glass windows, the maroon robes of the choir. I allowed all my cares and worries of the day to ebb out of me as I looked at the magnificence that lay before me.

As I sat in the last pew wearing my bulky lavender winter coat, my shopping bag next to me, the choir sang the introit:

Ad te levavi animam meam: Deus meus in te confide, non eru bes cam: neque irrideant me inimici mei: etenim universi qui te exspectant, non condundenttur. Ps. Vias tuas, Domine, demonstra mihi: et semitas tuas edoceme.

Which translates into:

Unto you have I lifted up my soul. O God, I trust in you, let me not be put to shame; do not allow my enemies to laugh at me; for none of those who are awaiting you will be disappointed. V. Make your ways known unto me, O Lord, and teach me your paths.

At the end of the introit, the choir at Holy Name just kept repeating the word “animam” over and over again. Animam is a Latin derivative of the word for soul. The closest I can come to sharing my experience with you all is this YouTube video from some other place:

As I listened to the choir chant “animam” again and again I was reminded of my true nature, of who I really am. I remembered I am more than this body, I am more than this mind, I am more than this life. I remembered I am that. I am that song, that music, that person, that feeling of expansiveness, that indescribable spiritual something that separates the mundane from the celestial. I am that.

It was such an awesome and lovely reminder and I sincerely hope when others are entrenched in the hustle and bustle they too will gravitate toward something that gives them a feeling of expansion, whether it’s a sunset or a gorgeous piece of music. It’s easy to get caught up in it all but we are so much more than we give ourselves credit for. It’s just a matter of remembering.

I dream of a world where people know who they truly are, know they are more than flesh and blood and bones. Where people know they are magnificent, divine creatures capable of anything. Where people sprout metaphorical wings and soar above the clouds coasting on a spiritual high. A world where people see magic in the everyday and feel expansive and uplifted at all times.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Truth Is Within Me

There is a quote (and I can’t for the life of me find it) that says something like, “If a child speaks the truth accept it immediately. If even a great teacher proclaims a falsehood, reject it at once.”

Before this week I really wanted to follow someone blindly. I really wanted to be shrouded in ignorance and let someone else discern the truth for me. I wanted to be led and not have to worry about anything. I wanted someone else to know all the answers and to just tell them to me.

As a child the people I followed blindly were my parents. It was painful when I learned my parents are indeed human and thus make mistakes. After I learned I couldn’t follow my parents blindly I turned to spiritual teachers. Spiritual teachers must know everything and thus I can accept whatever they say, right? Except the spiritual teachers who encourage blind faith, who encourage their followers to never question anything, have a tendency to be the drink-the-Kool-aid variety. Yet, a part of me really wanted that. Really wanted someone else to come along and fill my brain so I didn’t have to think at all.

I don’t know for sure why people join cults but I think it might be so they don’t have to discern anything for themselves. It’s so tempting to surround one’s self with someone who speaks with conviction and confidence. Someone who claims to know all the answers. Someone who talks about the future and seems to know things. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of, “So and so said” to give authority to a statement. “Well if so and so said it, it must be true!” I think most people long for an ultimate authority, an ultimate truth, and that’s why Christians quote Bible verses and Jews the Torah and Muslims the Qua’ran. People are looking for a lasting and inarguable Truth. A truth above all other Truths.

I am no different. But this week I painfully learned no person speaks the Truth for all people at all times. The guiding principle I must rely on is my own higher self. The divinity within me. The only voice I must listen to is my intuition. If I think something is wrong, then it’s wrong for me. No one else has all the answers because everybody is just trying to figure out things for themselves. Beside the fact, as far as I know, all spiritual faiths say divinity resides within. We don’t need to go outside ourselves looking for answers. How can I truly honor that notion if I think someone else will be able to tell me how to run my life? Or that someone else knows better than I do what’s in my best interest?

The entire point of the spiritual path is to find God within me, and that means looking to myself for answers. Tapping into my higher power to learn my own Truth. It means living awake, it means discerning for myself what is in my best interest and what is not. It means trusting myself.

And so while learning the lesson of self-discernment was painful, I see now I am walking toward enlightenment. And enlightenment means knowing truth resides within me.

I dream of a world where we honor the God within us. Where we trust in ourselves and our intuitive ability. Where we seek within for the answers to our questions. Where we become self-discerning and autonomous knowing the truth within us is authority enough. I dream of a world where we allow for multiple truths, realizing the truth looks different from person to person. I dream of a world where we wake up our minds and bring our God-hood to the surface.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shower Love So The Flowers Can Bloom

“Why didn’t she dedicate a song to me? Why didn’t he mention me in the thank you’s? Pay attention to me! Why aren’t you showing how much you care???”

For the past month these thoughts have flickered through my mind. I’ve wanted people to pay attention to me, to love me, to show they cared. And when I didn’t get the attention I wanted I felt dejected.

Last weekend I went to a reiki workshop a friend of mine led. He said whenever we have those thoughts, that neediness, the craving for attention from others, it’s a red-flag. It’s a message to us we’re not giving ourselves the love we so desperately need. If I’ve learned anything in the past few months it’s that everything comes from within. So when I want others to pay attention to me that really just means I want to pay attention to myself. The outside world is a reflection of my inner world, a projection if you will.

My friend reminded me I can give myself all the love I need. I have an endless supply ready and waiting at all times. He told me, “You are the love of your life.” That sentence really struck me because I am the love of my life! I don’t need to find someone else to give me love because it's already within me! The more love I give to myself, the more it’s reflected in the outer world. The more I treat myself with love the more others do the same. When I’m feeling needy and clingy I can shower the deserted spots of my soul with love so the flowers can bloom.

I guess I just want to say it’s so easy to fall into the trap of seeking outside for the things I need. I’ve been conditioned that way – the entire capitalistic system of the U.S. is predicated on the idea. But I don't have to buy into it. I can deeply and completely love and approve and accept myself exactly as I am right now. I can treat myself with love. I can give myself the love I need. I can shift around the love in my heart so it waters the dry parts of my soul. I can take care of me and love me and pay attention to myself. Everything I need I already have.

“In the infinity of life where I am all is perfect, whole and complete. I live in harmony and balance with everyone I know. Deep at the center of my being, there is an infinite well of love. I now allow this love to flow to the surface. It fills my heart, my body, my mind, my consciousness, my very being, and radiates out from me in all directions and returns to me multiplied. The more love I use and give, the more I have to give. The supply is endless. The use of love makes me feel good; it is an expression of my inner joy.

I love myself; therefore, I take loving care of my body. I lovingly feed it nourishing foods and beverages, I lovingly groom it and dress it, and my body lovingly responds to me with vibrant health and energy.

I love myself; therefore, I provide for myself a comfortable home, one that fills all my needs and is a pleasure to be in. I fill the rooms with the vibration of love so that all who enter, myself included, will feel this love and be nourished by it.

I love myself; therefore, I work at a job I truly enjoy doing, one that uses my creative talents and abilities, working with and for people I love and who love me, and earning a good income.

I love myself; therefore, I behave and think in a loving way to all people for I know that which I give out returns to me multiplied. I only attract loving people in my world, for they are a mirror of what I am.

I love myself; therefore, I live totally in the now, experiencing each moment as good and knowing that my future is bright and joyous and secure, for I am a beloved child of the Universe, and the Universe lovingly takes care of me now and forever more. All is well in my world.” – an affirmation from You Can Heal Your Life.

I dream of a world where the above affirmation is true for everyone. Where we experience all of those things. A world where we all deeply and completely love and approve and accept ourselves unconditionally.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Let Other People Think What They May

On Halloween I sat in the car with my friend and remarked how I loved her baby’s outfit. He wore an orange and white onesie that said, “I want my mummy.”

I remarked, “Little kids and old people can wear anything. I sure couldn’t pull off his outfit.”

“Yes you could,” you said.

“I guess you’re right.”

“You just wouldn’t be buying into social conformity,” she added.

That one comment got me thinking about conformity and what’s “appropriate” for people to wear. What is appropriate and who gets to define it? I understand dressing for the weather, but other than that, why is some clothing more “appropriate” than others? Why do we have a corporate culture that dictates men and women have to wear suits? Why can’t I wear an orange and white jumpsuit into the office? As long as I’m not harming myself or others what does it matter? I also realized I have such admiration and respect for people who wear whatever the heck they want with total confidence. I realized I want to be one of those people too. With more than just clothes.

I realized from my friend’s comment how much I let what other people might think of me dictate my behavior. For instance, as I walk home from work I end telephone conversations with my parents by reciting affirmations. When I get to crosswalks or too close to people I furtively mumble my affirmations or pause while I wait for the light to change. Because, ohmygod what would people think?!? Honestly they probably wouldn’t think anything. And if they did does it really matter?

I’m coming to a place where I realize what other people think is really none of my business. When I get caught up in how others might be judging me it only causes stress and misery. A few months ago I wrote a post about being home alone on a Saturday night and how I choose what I feel. Part of my angst about it stemmed from this notion I’ve carried with me since high school. The idea if I stay home on the weekend I’m unlovable or pathetic or a friendless loser. Guess what? No one has ever said that to me. In fact, I’d wager people aren’t thinking about me and my weekend plans at all; they are too busy living their lives and worrying about their own weekend plans.

The flip side of worrying about what other people think is so what if they are judging me? If people think I’m a pathetic loser freak for staying home on a Saturday, so what? If people think I look ridiculous wearing an orange and white jumpsuit that says, “I want my mummy,” so what? What does it matter and who cares? Why should I let other people’s perceptions (or fear of their perceptions) limit me? My joy and my happiness is the most important thing in my world. Life is too short to spend it worrying about what’s going in my neighbor’s head.

I dream of a world where we move beyond limitation and lack. A world where we do what makes us happy, what brings us joy. I dream of a world where we realize our perception of ourselves is what matters the most. A world where we realize we are free to do whatever we want. A world where we are loved and accepted as we are unconditionally. A world where we love ourselves so deeply what other people think of us doesn’t even enter our minds. A world where we all march to the beat of our own drummer knowing we are in complete alignment with our highest selves and our highest good. A world where we allow ourselves to be who we are in every conceivable way.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.