There is a natural tendency to try to resolve this life once and for all, to wrap it up in some sort of neat and tidy package, where we’ll never have to suffer, know conflict, feel fear, have an "ego," be too vulnerable, fall apart, crumble in heartbreak, and all the rest of the things that a “divine” or “enlightened” person would never have to experience. In so many of the notes and messages I receive – through my blog, facebook, twitter, and Sounds True – I feel this burning inside my friends’ hearts, to finally come to some respite from the raging unbearable groundlessness that appears as the underlying reality of this precious human experience: to learn the right formula, to discover The Secret, to be validated and told we’re okay, to be given permission to rest, to have all the yuckies taken away forever, to construct the idea that we’ve “finally made it,” to align with the right magical guru or teachings du jour, to finally be given that cosmic free pass which guarantees a life of safety, surety, security, meaningful identity, packed with lots of yummies only.
Some have written lately to tell me how they are finally free of it all, that they have broken through, that they have become “fully” awakened, that they have been “given” a “permanent” condition of this or that wonderfulness, explaining how “their” “ego” was “shredded” forever and into eternity, and that they’ll never again know conflict, suffering, pain, confusion, bewilderment, or whatever other yuckies they’ve been conditioned to believe are unspiritual or otherwise a sign of a non-awakened life. It’s touching, actually – that very sweet longing for Home, that deep wish to finally be finished with the raging, out-of-control, unknown, groundless life that is ours when we somehow choose to organize our lives around love.
But lurking just underneath the surface, in my experience, there is often a fair amount of fear present (which is usually unconscious or otherwise outside awareness). Of course this fear is almost never seen or allowed in, and in fact is defended against quite vigorously; to truly embrace this would bring the whole game of me and my spiritual achievements/ identities crashing to the ground. It is not love which drives such a journey away from that which is unwanted or unspiritual, in my experience, but fear. Love has no concern with any of us experiencing this versus that, or never again feeling certain things or remaining in a safe pre-programmed divinely spiritual cocoon forever. Life is unresolvable, love will never be contained in our packages of awakening, spiritual formulas, or in our frenetic search for more for me – more love, more groovy spiritual and altered experiences, more awakening, more adoration, more validation, more deepening, a groovier identity, more recognition, more confirmation.
What is it that we’re really and truly after? What are we so scared of? Really, what is it? Are we able to just take a moment and look? Promise, no one’s watching. Just one moment, and then we can reassemble the show if we must. What do our most precious hearts long for at the deepest levels, beyond all of the gobbledygook half-baked awakening theories and ideas that are peddled in the spiritual marketplace, wrapped around the multiple thousand dollar spiritual sales pitches, magical prophecies, and downright embarrassing superstitions and predictions? What are we really scared of?
Love is terrifying for it requires that all of this be set aside – all of the ideas about ourselves (including that we “no longer have a self”), that we’re now “gone” or “no longer here,” how we’ll never experience this or that again (aka the movement of fear), how our “ego” has been once and forever destroyed by this or that exotic spiritual teacher, and all the other conditioned and constructed ideas and promises of salvation for a better, more awakened me. We want to know we’re special, we’re safe, we’ve made it forever, finally we’ve aligned with the great ones who have come to save humanity. And then once we’ve reached our constructed goal, we must then expend all the energy it takes to maintain our new identity, as the awakened one, as the one who will never know conflict, suffering, ego, separation, and so forth. Everyone's watching. Can we do it? And then we’re told we need to go out and “give” all of this to those around us. How exhausting. Given the difficult early environments that so many of us grew up in – and the profoundly challenging experiences we’ve had in intimate relationship - it is so understandable, though. And there is a certain sweetness that is woven into the great story. That precious longing for Home. The greatest story ever told, the most compelling story there ever could be.
But here we are, it’s just us, after all - ordinary human beings, longing to love and be loved in the most precious ways, opening our hearts as wide as the world. May we be flooded with discernment, eyes wide open, heart fully exposed, standing/ crumbling in our own vulnerability, willing to take the risk that love demands of us. To give ourselves to love requires the most unbearable surrender. There is no room in this raging field of love for the “me” who has “awakened,” for the “me” who has permanently arrived in some safe, special, secure, known landing place. All such concepts, constructions, and identities are, for better or worse, taken by love and recycled into humility, kindness, ordinariness, and compassion; exchanged for the need for power, control, protection, unmetabolized narcissism and unseen messianic tendencies.
May we be bathed in kindness, self-care, and a burning compassion for those around us, and by some unknown grace able to meet and hold even those most shameful, anxious, scary, “unspiritual” places within ourselves and others. May we somehow open to their gifts, cutting through the habitual tendency to dishonor them with our superegoic relationship to a conditioned spirituality which tells us (often in subtle ways) that they shouldn't be there. Let us fall into the ocean of love together, willing to totally fall apart, resisting the ancient mesmerizing pull to reassemble this life with that which is known.
Can we allow the unknown to be the architect of what is next?