I spent the morning in the company of some very lovely ladies and Richard Rohr learning about contemplative living – Richard of course was via DVD but still powerful and still wise and still ‘present’.
I was reminded once again about ‘beingness’ vs ‘doingness’ and how nothing I ‘do’, is going to make me any happier, calmer, peace’fuller’ or more content. That the essence of the spiritual journey is about learning how to be fully me, fully present, fully human in this moment. At the centre of this kind of teaching about beingness and stillness is the idea of the self or the ego. More specifically the false self and the true self. The false self being who the world tells me to be and who I have been conditioned to think I am, versus the true self which is who I am in God and which is … wait for it … nothing and yet, everything…
Only when I recognise that I am nothing, (poured out) can I recognise that I am no-thing and in that knowledge remember that I am everything, I am at essence, enough. In this state I can stop feeling victimized and powerless and aggressive and grudging, I can stop feeling wounded and small and frustrated and belittled. Because I am pure essence, pure spirit, a child of God and of course safe, well and loved. In that knowledge I can let go of the need to make myself feel safe, well and loved, by just remembering that I AM safe, well and loved.
And so as I drove away from my friends house ‘contemplating’ what Richard had just taught I thought, ok, so I need to go home and get rid of and sort out and get ready to and, and, and… hang on, hold the phone – isn’t that just more of the doingness trying to control the beingness? The message is simple and powerful but as I have already discovered not so easy to incorporate – moving into a new super consciousness and being a perfect light filled being, free from angst and hurt and pain, is far from easy. I know!
Yesterday I had a little ego-centred whinge to my friend. I lamented my ‘fallow’ state – I am restless and bored. I am half living out of boxes and after 5 years of … waiting … to be accepted into full time ministry I feel like I am about to start my journey – only I am not there yet and I am not here either. I am no place. I am in limbo – no freakin wonder I am so restless and anxious, I am not living in the present, because the present is quite a scary place for me to be – it feels like it doesn’t really exist. Even allowing the thought process ‘I have been waiting 5 years’ is powerful enough to cause an adverse emotional reaction in my body. It is also not strictly true. I have not been waiting – I have been living, I have been breathing, I have been growing, I have been learning, I have been BEING … but my ego, my false self, tells me I have been waiting and that I deserve (dammit, foot stamp) to be happy and so I look to the future to ensure that that little fantasy of happily ever after will take care of itself – look to the next best thing to help me cope with the nothingness of the now part. SIGH, sigh, sigh, sigh…
Not to be too hard on myself because I recognise that this is a time of change and so of course it won’t be completely stress-free and I have much to be getting on with, I am just looking for excuses to not have to deal with my feelings of discomfort in this present moment – but recognizing that my angst is rooted in my inability to accept the quietness of the ‘now’ is half a step to helping me accept and acknowledge the gift of the now and the lessons that I am being shown if I would but just be present to them. If I breathe in that knowledge, that it is my resistance to discomfort which is causing me pain and anxiety, then I can seek to let go of the feelings of boredom and restlessness and allow the journey to unfold at the right speed.
This process is the beginning of consciousness transformation and the beginning of the return to my true self, my God-self, my peaceful self, but it takes work and the work is the work of the letting go, letting it be, centering myself in God and moving to a contemplative state which reminds me that I am not the centre of the world, (oops, I think my little ego just passed out) that I am not in control and that surrender into this place will bring me the peace I am looking for, it doesn’t exist in the future – security exists in the now, in the knowledge that I am ok in myself, in God, in this present moment.
So, with a deep, lung filled breath in and a gentle releasing sigh out, I say thank you God, for reminding me that all is as it should be, that in my transformation from small and anxious to full and alive You receive Your full measure of glory. As I learn how to die, so I learn how to live, as I learn to let go, to surrender to ‘be’, so I give you permission to complete your work in me and in so doing allow a little more of You to shine out into the world.