Just as we must properly digest the food we eat to absorb its nutrients, we must also metabolize our experience, as it enters by way of our senses, nervous systems, hearts, and minds.
Each time we have a conversation, engage our daily activities, dialogue with a friend, cook a meal, spend time in nature. Each time we open to this world, allow another to matter, lead with our vulnerability, or an emotion surges within us, we are invited into the temple.
But to what degree are we actually experiencing all of this?
Are we present in a way where it penetrates us, where it can become true experience and not just an unconsciously recorded event? To what degree are we on auto-pilot as we journey through the miracle of a here and now moment?
Just because we “have” an experience does not mean it is properly metabolized. If our rage, grief, disappointment, and joy remain partly processed, we become leaky and unable to access the fuel required for a life of intimacy, connection, and flow.
If we do not properly chew and digest the food that we eat, we are not able to mine the energy our bodies need to function optimally. Without embodied experience our souls remain unnourished and we find ourselves missing life.
While the longing for transformation is noble, if we are not careful it can serve to reinforce the realities of materialism and self-abandonment. One of the shadow sides of spiritual seeking and the (seemingly) endless project of self-improvement is that we never slow down enough to digest what we have already been given, which is often much more than we consciously realize. Which, in some sense, is everything.
Not the “everything” the mind thinks it needs to be happy, found by way of a journey of internal and external consumerism. Not the “everything” that conforms to our demand that we always feel safe and invulnerable, or free from the raging implications of what it means to have a human heart.
But the “everything” that is already here as part of our true nature, the raw materials for a life of inner abundance, revealed through humility and compassion, not by way of unconscious acquisition.
Photo by Anja Osenberg
The next book, The Unfolding Heart, will be published by Sounds True in early 2020, details to come
My next event:
The Great Befriending: A Five-Day Journey of Self-Love, Deep Rest, and Coming Alive (with Jeff Foster), September 21-26 in Loveland, Colorado