Wednesday, September 3, 2014

An invitation to an experiment

How much of your time and sacred life energy is spent each week on complaining about your life? On resenting another for ways they have not met your expectations or needs? On wanting your life or those in it to be different? Or in otherwise postponing full participation in your life exactly as it is right here and right now?

It is so easy for us to fall into habitual organization where we seek to make a bargain with life that we will fully step in to our own vulnerability, fully open our hearts, and fully show up in our relationships (with ourself and with others) as soon as... we are seen as we would like to be, we find the right partner, we manifest a new job, our sadness and loneliness diminish, we feel happy, we are able to accept or forgive, we heal our past, we become awakened, and so forth.

What we seem to long for more than anything is full engagement with life – a deep sense of aliveness, of connection, of participation in love and the rare opportunity we sense that is here. But until we are willing to return over and over again – and make an unconditional commitment – to staying embodied to our vulnerability in all its forms, it is unlikely, at least in my experience, that we will ever come to know this aliveness that we so naturally long for. We may come to discover that aliveness and the willingness to stay embodied to whatever is arising in our experience are intimately linked. And that the path is arising in every moment, if we will only take the risk and have the courage to stay close.

As an experiment, for the next week you might make a commitment to being as aware as possible each time you start to complain about your life and every way that you are subtly (or not so subtly) postponing full participation in it until some other person or situation shifts to meet your expectations or "needs." And as you notice this, very gently and with extreme kindness, become deeply curious, and return your attention into your immediate embodied experiencing. Ask yourself: what am I actually experiencing, right here and right now? Not, what am I thinking "about" my experience, but what is actually alive in me right now? Become fascinated. Be radically compassionate with yourself.

As you notice your attention leaking out into narrative and story, you can honor this ancient strategy for the ways it has served you in the past, touch it for a moment, and return. Be kind. You can always return to it in a few moments; it's not the story is wrong or bad or not a carrier of information in its own right. But for this moment, you might try something different. Be willing to try something different. In this way you can cut the habitual momentum to see your life as a problem which needs "fixing" or a compelling drama which must always be talked about and "worked through."

The purpose of this experiment is not to see if you can "succeed" or not – or to further shame yourself for not being some highly evolved spiritual practitioner – but a simple practice to invite awareness as to how much of your sacred attention and life energy is going into maintaining the fantasy that there is a problem, that "you" are a problem, and that you are unable to fully step into life, into love, right here and right now. You may be asked to do this simple practice (which only takes 20 or 30 seconds or so) hundreds of times each day. But each time you do so, you cut into the momentum of billions of lifetimes of abandoning embodied experience.

In this way, you make the commitment to not only think "about" your experience, but to actually have it. And this is the foundation for the fiery activity and wild movement of love in this world.