As I look at all the ways we humans numb or distract ourselves, I see very clearly that we are simply trying to get relief from our minds.
For the past decade of my life, I have been actively helping others unlock the cages of their mind, prisons of our own making that we have the keys to, but our minds convince us we don’t.
In AA, they call it stinking thinking. Which was helpful – for a while. Until the alcohol had cleared out enough to have a clear mind and a NEW cage of thinking developed.
A cage of self-help, of personal development. When we believe the mind - or more accurately that we ARE the mind, we are on a slippery slope into very deep water.
Awareness is the only true tool to use with the mind. When we observe our thoughts, we KNOW we are not our thoughts – we are something other than our minds.
See, cognitively, I know that all of the challenges that I’ve been experiencing in October - along with all the beautiful synchronicities and smooth times are all of my own making. I am fully aware that I am the ‘first cause’ and that everything I experience is a result of that being-ness.
Still, my mind feels compelled to narrate everything, to create meaning that matches my past patterns. Stories that paint me as the hero, the villain, or the victim (all are true), and when I identify with all of these stories, these meaning-makings, I have disconnected from my highest self, my soul. I have been taken over by the mind as Eckhart Tolle describes it.
I am not my stories. And, literally, everything is a story, a way of making meaning of this life experience.
Our minds distract us with confusion, infer that we are incapable of dealing with our circumstances, and entice us to live for the future, hopeful of its rewards. These are not correct or true.
Ego and mind identification get a bad rap. They are often villainized because they feel uncontrollable and unwanted.
Or, we will coddle and baby them, make them out to be the victim of the big, bad, world.
They are neither and they are both.
The only way to separate ourSelf from this is to disidentify with it.
For me, it’s always seeking the observer who has no desire to make sense of anything – because it is all perfectly ‘right’ in this moment.
This ‘observer’ has been many things, usually one that felt disconnected from me. It took me time to practice it and mature into what that ‘observer’ is for me now - heart, love, peace, oneness. I now understand that the disconnected feeling is detachment.
Before you recoil because of everything we’ve learned about attachment theory and our childhood and the dangers of a detached parent, let me put you at ease; detachment within the ‘observer’ is loving, it is fully present and attentive, it is the opposite of neglect.
When you cultivate your relationship with yourself, it’s magic. The observer is your highest self knowing that nothing is going wrong, everything (including the suck) is perfectly Divine. She is not attached to a belief about how things ‘should’ be.
As every spiritual teacher reminds us – just because something unwanted is part of the Divine does not mean you are suggested to stay in a painful or abusive situation – absolutely not. You must care for your physical existence and safety – no amount of spiritual alignment will change those circumstances without your participation. Taking action to secure your safety, create a community outside your current circumstances, and seek help – these actions are also Divine and will present themselves to you if you ask for them.
My past couple of months have taken my relationship with myself and this beautiful observer to a whole new level. September felt very expansive and enlarging, October has brought me more awareness of some additional cleaning that I have become ready to clear out of my life field. It has felt more contracted and emotionally vulnerable. I used to make that mean I was failing. I was backsliding and therefore losing.
I used to play this game of life as a brutal competition of winners and losers, separation and competition. I’m starting to really FEEL a new truth for myself – this life is exquisite and complicated, endlessly fascinating and interesting. The game is to be aware of it. The playfulness of nature, not merely its brutality. The joy and magnificence in humanity, not only its destructiveness.
When we choose to see only one side of the coin, we’re missing the complete picture – we cannot feel the love in the sorrow if we separate it.
The mind is a big part of that separation. We have allowed our minds to run amok, to go un-checked and unobserved for generations now.
We have allowed ourselves to be suppressed by our minds – and the minds of others. And when those minds become untenable, impossible to bear; we numb. We escape. We check out. We self-care (the escape version).
The mind is a fabulous tool. It is an incredibly powerful force for navigating our lives. Identifying with everything it says – whether we agree or disagree, we are identifying – is where it shifts from being a powerful PART of us to being the ALL-MIGHTY. It is not a good ruler - we have only to observe our world to see the imbalance of it.
So, when we get to the evening and need to check out or wake in the morning feeling incapable of facing our day, this is identifying with the mind. We BELIEVE the narrative it is feeding us.
See if you are able to pick up the tool of awareness. See if you can breathe and feel your feet-on-the-ground and observe the narrative. Is it telling the truth or just an interpretation of the facts?
Can you find an alternative interpretation? Another truth?
Checking out, numbing, distractions, and taking the edge off are not sustainable. They are destructive paths of separation from self. I invite all of us to practice taking the path toward ourselves. To start choosing love over fear, even just a little.
The light and fire in our souls do not require more than the smallest of cracks and willingness to start pouring into our lives, providing bright beacons along the path to help clear our vision.
Ah, I’ve gotten preachy again. Apologies, please. I deeply wish you all could see your brilliance, your shininess, and the way your soul radiates from you. So I guess I will accept when my preachiness comes out – while remaining unattached to whether you receive or resonate with it.
In love and service.