For consciousness to evolve, we must commit ourselves to living a conscious life. To know ourselves, to go deep into ourselves, awakens the mind."Knowledge and theories about wisdom are like carrying books on the back of a donkey. We may carry around many ideas of worth-while changes that we would like to make in our life. To evolve, we must put those ideas into practice or they will become a weight for us." Oh God do I know this one on an intimate level! For many years I struggled under the weight of theoretical knowledge. I understood what I needed to do, I just couldn't pull off doing it. And the pain of this burden was immense. I sometimes thought how much easier it would be to function in ignorance is bliss mode. But I knew too much of the truth to set it aside. I was committed to living this so called conscious life but damn if I was able to maintain a worth-while daily practice. The juxtaposition of intellectually understanding the truth along with my inability to live it drove me fairly nuts. Simply put, I was overwhelmed.
What made the difference? What was the tipping point? I don't know except to say that bit by bit, one tiny step at a time, I put those ideas into practice and eventually I noticed that a shift had occurred. Truthfully, one thing that happened is that my kids grew up. And it embarrasses me to say that. But on one level it's just simply true. Raising my children was an overwhelming job for me. I definitely bit off more than I could gracefully chew. I committed to the job and then was either late for work or just didn't bother to show up. I was a very confused woman, a very unhappy person who was searching for self, searching for love in all the wrong places and my children seemed like a big distraction in that pursuit. I've written a little about this immense shame I carry in regards to my children. And this was something I was aware of throughout the years I was raising them. I avoided my children and I knew I was avoiding them. It broke my heart while I was in the midst of doing it. This is a confusing story to tell because my focus was also totally on my children. There was nothing more important to me that being a good mother and I read all the right books and did a lot of the "right" things. I offered my children a lot of love and attention too. A lot of it was karma I think. What's that saying...My karma ran over my dogma. It was something like that. It's difficult to explain and that's not what this post is about.
I was just talking with some clients, a couple the other, day about Beginner's Mind. I was explaining to them how imperative it is to see each moment, to see each other, with fresh new eyes, with an open mind. Another gets old for us, we think we know them and we get so used to our routine with them that we take them for granted and this can serve to be the downfall of our relationship with them.
There are several themes running through this chapter that are all related but they take my mind into diverging paths with all my personal stories and experiences and I'm finding it difficult to not make a discursive post.
Perhaps we carry around problems because we have got it all wrong. We think things are one way and they are not. If we sleepwalk through life, we keep bumping into walls. To awaken is to change all of that."The world presents itself here and now as it comes through our senses to meet our mind. Through this contact with what's around us, we create a world of likes and dislikes. We accept one thing and reject something else." We create so many so called problems because our perceptions are so skewed. What comes to mind here is a great lesson from one of my teachers, Abraham. Abraham uses the analogy of life being like a huge buffet table with an incredible number of choices. The only problem really is that our stomachs, along with our plates, are only so big. The good thing is that we have preferences. As we walk the buffet table filling up our plate, we are careful to make discerning choices. There is so much available that we want to accept the offerings that will give us the most pleasure, or be most valuable. When we see some the dishes that we don't prefer, we don't yell out No! Oh yuck, why is that here? I hate that food!, we simply pass it by, giving it little notice and move on to take a spoonful of something else that we do prefer. The table is really a variety of incredible opportunities to say Yes! to. There are really no problems at the buffet table of life although we often interpret life as one problem after another.
Meeting ourselves, meeting others, meeting our moments with beginner's mind offers us a new perspective on life. "Mindfulness and insight would be essential features to ending habits and old conclusions that burden daily life." This is really about dropping old prejudices and seeing everything afresh in each and every moment. It's about allowing the miracle of each moment to unfold. It's about releasing the need to have others behave in any particular way and so we stop making demands on others and on life. We become less judgmental and invasive to Another's choices. We simply accept and say Yes! to what is.
In the circus of life we learn to ride two horses named Self and Other. If we can't we have problems.
We have a remarkable capacity to wake up, to meet life fully without riding on the back of hopes and fears. Nobody can make this journey to awakening for us. we have to take a good hard look at our life for authentic change.