The Myth of Heavenly Perfection

When we embarked upon the spiritual journey it was undeniably a part of our goal to attain perfection.  We have been indoctrinated, proselytized, and programmed to desire perfection.  That’s why advertising works.  It tells us that we are not perfect, BUT we could be perfect if we only use a certain product, drive a certain type of car, own the right house, and discover the right job.  Everyone wants to help us by selling us something- self-help books, talismans, prayer beads, amulets, potions, therapies, and workshops.  So why are we all still unhappy with ourselves?

Maybe it’s because we believe in the myth of Heavenly Attainment.  heavenThis myth says- One day we will arrive at a blessed and blissful land where everything will be well, happy, and forever wonderful.   Some of us are content to wait until we die hoping that will take care of the suffering of our lives and we will join the angels for an eternity of song and holy delight.  Some of us are always in process, striving to do what is right, be as perfect as possible, perform every action recommended by our spiritual path, studying each new idea that seems promising- hoping that somehow our life will turn out the way we hoped, planned, and intended.  When our life still doesn’t make us happy, wealthy, and wise, we blame ourselves, or the path, or the spiritual teacher, our parents, our culture, our gender, or anything else that seems to be amiss in the world.

But what if things just are what they are?  What if life will never be safe, no matter how many insurance policies we own?  What if failure is enviable and we will continue to make mistakes no matter how many college degrees we earn?  Or how good we get at controlling ourselves or others? What if we are OK just like we are?  What if suffering will continue to exist in our life even if we are OK being who and how we are?

Most of us are constantly looking for what’s wrong, and creating new crises so we can rise to the occasion.  To the little self-ego that’s survival.  It’s very important that something is wrong so we can continue to survive it.  self-hateOver and over we say, “I’m responsible… I need to do it right…I must be perfect!”  This internal pressure leads to stress.  Stress leads to developing a coping skill (eating, drinking, smoking, drugs, yelling, hitting, etc.) which relieves our stress but makes us feel awful about ourselves.  So- we resolve to be responsible, correct our behaviors, get it right, and make sure we are perfect next time!  Which leads to stress…so…

Could you love someone who doesn’t meet the standards you were taught must be met in order to be lovable?  What happens when you don’t meet those standards?  And most of us never meet those standards. Remember not wanting to be how you are is the most significant factor of SELF-HATE.

When we accept ourselves how we are- when we know and accept our less desirable qualities and also accept our benefactor qualities we might grow to love ourselves.  Most of us think that loving ourselves will make us selfish.  But those who feel completely loved and lovable are not selfish- THEY ARE LOVING!

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“Come to the edge,” he said.
They said: “We are afraid.”
“Come to the edge,” he said.
They came.
He pushed them,
And they flew…

– Guillaume Apollinaire

 

Beginner’s Mind

It appears easy for children to learn. One of the advantages they have that an adult loses is the knowledge of, and expectation that, they will make mistakes before learning what they wish to master.children-learning

What do you wish to master?
Can you allow yourself to try again and again and get it wrong?
What is the time frame in which you expect to experience this mastery?
Is that really do-able?
How teachable do you think you are?

Almost every day we have the opportunity to learn something new.  This can be very simple such as  tasting  a food we’ve not tried before, driving to work down a different street, or getting new software for our electronic devices.   Life in the physical world is a process of growing, changing, and learning. When we cease to learn we cease to be truly alive.  dogAs we grow older some individuals find it hard to learn. This is because true learning means practicing a skill until we make it our own.  It means making mistakes and trying again. An old dog can be taught new tricks because an old dog is willing. A human, no matter what age, can’t be taught anything they are unwilling to learn.

True ignorance is believing we already know all of the answers.  Many times we might feel stupid, ignorant, or slow because we cannot put into practice the truths of spirit, or some spiritual teaching we’ve received in meditation. What this lack of understanding means is that we are still teachable.

Our cultural and religious belief systems tell us that we must strive to be perfect in all ways, mentally, emotionally, and physically.   It behooves a person to attain such a state or at least pretend to attain perfection in order to be thought of as spiritual. What all the great masters and saints have known, however, is that they were ignorant and in need of Divine Guidance. Let us joyfully accept that we do not know so that we may continue to learn, to grow, and to become more.

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I open myself to Great Spirit’s Purpose
Let the dust and mud of painful thoughts be washed away in the joyful grace of love
I will remember that nothing can be totally eliminated
If I melt something, it just becomes something else.
Let me melt into something else!
I am open to melting into love
I am obedient to Spirit’s grace
I am clay with your hands, Beloved!
Make me into something you will be proud to call your own.

Being Your Authentic Self

What is Equanimity?
A dictionary will say: equa·nim·i·ty  noun \ˌē-kwə-ˈni-mə-tē, ˌe-kwə-\ : calm emotions when dealing with problems or pressure

But perhaps we can describe equanimity as the ability to compassionately accept where we are and be okay with that – even if we are still crying, shaking or overwhelmed with pain. We become able to say “Yes, this is what I’m feeling.”equanimity

This is not what most of us are taught. We are more likely to hear- “if I do this I will be punished” or “don’t be such a baby!”  or “What’s wrong with you?”  Equanimity is “Oh well, I was overwhelmed with…”  Equanimity_webWith equanimity we’re not living from the point of how much guilt our emotions cause in us, but how we show up in life and navigate all the unpleasant things that happen.

“I know who I am and I am authentic in my being.” If we are questioning and denying the legitimacy of our experiences we are denying the expression of our true self.  It is our experiences that makes us uniquely who we are, that and our ability to decide how we will respond to those experiences.  Animals respond to life by seeking to survive.  They have all the same emotions we do, but they can’t decide to laugh instead of cry or share a blessing instead of biting someone.

Pain, anger, and grief are a natural part of life therefore all beings experience mental/emotional/ physical pain sometimes. Feeling what we feel does not make us spiritual cripples, it allows us to practice compassion.

A Buddhist StoryGolden buddha hands

There once was a woman who lost her son. She was very sad. She went door to door seeking healers of all sorts. We cannot help you they said, “He’s dead.”
“He should not be dead” she cried!
Finally the woman came upon the Buddha and weeping told her sad story begging for the return of her son. The Buddha agreed to help her, “All you have to do,” he said, “is bring me a grain of rice from a household that has escaped the curse of grief.” With great hope, she went through the village, door by door, and through the neighboring villages, only to hear story upon story of suffering and loss. Finally she returned to the Buddha, no less in pain, but far wiser, more compassionate, and willing to accept her human lot. Life holds pain. There is suffering and it is caused by “This should not happen.”

This woman became enlightened by understanding these facts.  When we are flattened by the things life can do to us- let’s remember that there is suffering- we are not going to get a spiritual ticket stamped “Saved from Life”.  But remembering to realign ourselves to the Higher Power and enter the state of equanimity might be enough.  Try it and see!

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Great Spirit,
May I find joy in each moment.
May I find humor in my difficulties and laughter at my mistakes.
Often, Great Spirit, I am striving, trying, seeking, learning,
grasping, working to be good, to be loving, to be kind, to be successful, to be abundant.  Life is exhausting for me when I fall
into those places where I don’t really believe
you can, or will help me.

Teach me to have faith, Great Spirit.
Help me to know that you are there for me.
Help me to stop striving and let you take care of me,
the way you do the birds of the air and the lilies of the field.
I accept your abundant, loving care in my life now.


 

Life is a Journey

Humans seem very attached to struggling and striving.  We strive to be perfect, and struggle to succeed.  When we’re not struggling or striving for a goal we quickly become bored.  But there is no one in control of our existence- but ourselves!

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Many times it seems that others actions and word or certain difficult circumstances control us, or we feel we have been pushed out of Spirit Truth by the uncooperative attitudes of the people around us.  It’s easy to feel powerless and victimized.  We are surrounded by stories of abuse, pain, and hatred.  Sometimes  these things happen to us, or to someone we know.

In times of great stress, pain, sorrow, or anger we can empower ourselves by validating and accepting what we feel.  These feelings are not wrong and the feeling themselves don’t mean there is something wrong with us.  It means we are feeling- sad, stressed, hurt, or angry.  Assigning a judgment to our feelings- or the feelings of others- means we believe there is a right way to feel and a wrong way to feel.  All humans, at some time, will experience anger, fear, pain, and grief.  Just as all of us will experience love, joy, peace, and enlightenment sometimes.

theStruggle

So when we are finished being angry, frustrated, worried, sad, and depressed- it’s perfectly possible to move into more pleasant emotions.  But this doesn’t happen easily if we are unwilling to practice compassion for the self that is suffering.  We want to give away compassion and healing to others in pain what if we practice giving that same forgiveness and support to ourselves when we are suffering?

The reason we keep falling into suffering is that we expect our outer world to mirror back to us Great Spirit’s Truths of love, joy, and peace.  But what the world mirrors back to us is our own frustration, challenges and depression.  So what if-  what if we allowed ourselves to laugh more often?  What if we appreciated the small joys of each day?  What if we see life with the eyes of compassionate understanding?  What if we make other people more important then ourselves- once in a while?  What if this was your last day on earth?

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Great Spirit, I step into Your light and Your song.
I surrender into peace.
I am held and filled with joy.
I open my heart
And reach out to embrace my brothers and sisters.
May our dreams shine forth
like a rainbow’s of promise.

May the winds of time blow me into the arms of Wisdom.
May the days and nights of my earthly life
blend into an eternal experience of Your grace.
May the swiftly flowing years
of my existence bring me
to the practice of loving compassion.
May the turning of the seasons teach me
to be patient and wait for the changes
that will bring me joy.

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The Path

The path of spirit is something that you are; not something that you do.

Forgiveness

We were born to walk the path of spirit because we are spirit. Everyone has a destiny because we are born with a unique spark of the Great Spirit Life.  We only need to take a journey inside to find it.  The Path of Spirit is such a journey. Our destiny is to be the beloved children of Great Spirit…and to act like it.

Are you a child of love?
Are you an entity of peace?
Are you a person of joy?
Is enthusiasm, and abundance a part of your life?
Do you seek knowledge in order to know things or do you seek the wisdom to experience things?

This is the core of Beingness.  It is our destiny. To live out this destiny it is necessary to question our motives, to make new beginnings, to end outworn ideas, to transform ourselves until we become an expression of our heroic possibilities. Walking the path of spirit requires questioning, judgment, change, transformations, and deaths.  In order to truly do these things we need a teacher, a mentor, a guide who has traveled this path before us.  How will we know the questions to ask, the discernments that are real, the changes  and transformation that will be necessary, or what truly needs to die in order for us to live more fully. Reading a book won’t do it.  Reading this blog won’t do it.  In order to have Wisdom we must have true and personal experiences guided by one who has been there before us.

The formula for walking the path of spirit is determination, commitment, and responsibility.  Determination is the ability to continue when continuing requires death and sacrifice.  Commitment is an attitude of sharing, of willing cooperation with the needs of the many and not just the needs of the few or the One.
Responsibility means being accountable for our every thought, word, feeling, and deed.

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The Journey of Spirit

The first lesson, the on-going lesson, of the journey is what to take and what to leave behind. When we begin a trip of any kind we usually try to imagine what we will experience, and what we will need for those experiences and so we begin our spiritual journey with an amazing amount of baggage.  As we travel the inward road we have to either lighten the load or give up on the journey.  Whenever the demands of life seems to interfere with commitment Spirit, it is time to lighten our load.  Whenever we are overburdened with pain or stress it is time to lighten our load.

Great Spirit help me to have a willing heart.
May I be willing to accept the joy of commitment,
The peace of determination,
And the love of responsibility.
I wish to heroically become Your worker of Light.

Great Spirit, it often seems that I am striving,
Trying, seeking, learning, grasping, and working
To be good, loving, kind, successful, and abundant.
Life seems exhausting when I fall into places
Where I don’t really believe you can,
or will help me.

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Teach me to have Faith, Beloved!
Help me to know you are there for me.
Help me to cease striving and let you take care of me,
the way you do the birds of the air
and the lilies of the field.
I surrender to you now!
There is nothing for me to control!

Trust

“Ambition and goal-setting are essential to the path of life, but they will get you in trouble on the Path of Spirit.”  

The Path of Spirit is surrender.  It is trust that Great Spirit will help, guide, guard, and protect us.  When our faith in these truths is smaller than a mustard seed we feel the need to problem solve, set goals, strive, and evaluate ourselves and others. When our desires do not unfold in the way we want, in the way we feel is needed, we may lose faith in Spirit.  But, a trust that happens only when things go our own way is not trust.

Often we believe that Spirit is promising us things and then not delivering those promises.  We hear that if we follow certain rules, work on certain processes, and practice certain disciplines then Spirit will reward us.  One has only to read the lives of the Saints to discover that Spirit did not save them from the pain, grief, fear, and anger of the world.
So, why follow Spirit at all?

We can choose Spirit and the spiritual path because it teaches us to hold, and know, the possibilities of love, peace, kindness, and generosity regardless of what is happening around us or to us. 

This is what the Saints understood; that when we surrender to Spirit we are surrounded with peace even when nothing in the outer world has changed.

Queen of All Saints 3

 Humans are very attached to struggling.
We strive to be perfect.
We try to succeed.
When we are not struggling and striving we quickly become bored.

  • What if we allowed ourselves to laugh more often?
  • What if we appreciated the small joys of each day?
  • What if we saw life with spirit eyes?
  • What if today we make other people more important than we are?
  • What if today was your last day on earth?

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As I awaken this day to Great Spirit’s Dream,
As I walk in the light of truth,
May I remember that I don’t have to be perfect.
Teach me to accept my personal challenges
and minimize their effects
in the lives of the people around me.

Teach me to live as though my only job
Was to create love, laughter, kindness
and joy in the world.
Help me to accept myself
And all others as who they are.
Assist me to make my life story
into an Angel’s Life Story.