Treading a pathway devoted to spiritual enlightenment is essentially a destructive process. At least, this has been my personal experience. And, by enlightenment, I mean shining the light of awareness on myself. I mean the process of my own rising awareness, which starts with and within me.
How surprising! At one point, I remember thinking that this process was all about the potential of what I might ‘become’, somewhere along the way.
I gathered up how-to (and how-not-to) lists and tools, and libraries of information of every description, in order to give me the hints needed to perform this magic of becoming something I wasn’t.
How far away this becoming always seemed, like an impossibly beautiful dream that just kept getting farther away each moment I dared to reach for it.
It’s taken me a long, long time to figure out the Chinese finger-puzzle nature of this cosmic riddle guarding the passage to the sacred territory leading to the true nature of the enlightenment process. The more I pressed for becoming something ‘else/other’, the more I resisted my own nature, my own capacities, my own being, the tighter the pressure and frustration became, and the more impossible the solution was to grasp.
At the end of the day, I’m a practical soul. Though I’m a fan of philosophy (up to a point), liking to ponder and intellectualize the patterns I perceive, there comes a time when even I surrender to fact that something isn’t working and therefore isn’t productive. Or intelligent. Or useful. As in, it’s a massive waste of time.
There was a time, when I was much younger (and much more naive too), when I thought I could somehow ditch myself and ‘become’ whatever I wanted to. With just enough will, work, blood, sweat, tears or torture, I could do this. Enough rules adhered to, and enough flagellation, perhaps. Maybe twisting myself into a pretzel would do the trick. Of course, I tried that devotion too.
I’ve tried lots of things to ‘whip’ myself into shape. I look back on this sort of thinking now and wonder how it could be so invisible to me that at the core of this thinking was some seriously distorted beliefs in action.
Number one distortion of truth was all about my failure to appreciate that the Universe creates all this marvelous diversity on purpose. The underlying belief here was that my being wasn’t perfectly formed in its expression of Divinity, so therefore, of course, every effort needed to be made to become something other than me.
Nothing about the me which exists (without doing anything other than daring to exist) could ever be good enough under the shadow of such a distortion. Is it any wonder that my shadow had some serious self-hatred issues along the way? With it forced into such a no-win position, what did I expect?
This is only one example of many not-so-subtle distortions within me that have been destroyed over the years. I’ve found I really haven’t changed at all in who and how I am. I’m the same me as I remember from being a toddler.
What’s changed is my attitude, not my primary nature, and mostly that’s come about by the destructive process of busting up and releasing false beliefs and false images about myself I’ve collected along the way.
This sounds deceptively simple, and yet, it is simple, in that none of this dissolving stuff had anything to do with me to begin with. It never could, because it wasn’t even true.
Destroying my attachments to false beliefs, distorted storylines and personas has been the mainstay of my journey. Doing this has, over time, revealed again who I am. I was here all along.
I also find my own experiences are far less about learning anything than they are about remembering. Mostly, during the destructive process of ditching who I’m not and what isn’t true, I find I simply remember many wisdoms I’ve known all along.
Being with people I love is still the greatest thing in the world.
Being myself is not only ok, but it’s all I can do with any sincerity. Anything less is less than honest anyway, so how can this be good?
Anything good to have is made exponentially better by sharing it with a loved one. Even sharing sadness is good if it means it brings us closer.
These and many other homey wisdoms got lost along the way somehow. They got lost in the search for some artificial list of how-tos, shoulds and thou-shalt-nots. Along the way, I broke a sacred trust with myself. I didn’t realize it when it happened, but I sold myself out for false model of me to put on a pedestal out of my reach.
No need to reach for what I am. What I am is innocent of anything other than being confused. I confused my sacred self as someone unworthy of the appreciation all such expressions of Divinity deserve, by the virtue of the fact that Life has found us worthy of LIFE. This is the ultimate and obvious proof of worthiness. Unconditional and Divine.
What I’ve found is that releasing all the not-me attachments of persona, role, or storyline has revealed an authentic me that honestly doesn’t require anything other than my own heart to guide me. I can absolutely trust myself to know what to do, no whip or special binding chair required.
This is a form of self-respect that isn’t taught or encouraged in our societies. While it ought to be a primary lesson, we rarely hear it talked about at all. So suppressive and invasive is the programming against this self-love and honoring of the sacred nature of self, that it now takes raw acts of courage for most people to even consider it.
I’m grateful for the destructive process that lead me back again into trusting in myself and my inherent Divinity. While the process was often painful, when asking myself who it was feeling miserable, it’s always the me I’d betrayed and abandoned.
I’ve forgiven myself for such confusion, and repented of the harmful attitudes I carried towards myself. It’’s taken a long time, but it finally feels truly good again to be in my own skin.
Written for Gaia Scenics’ View
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