SURRENDER

We are often living like characters in a TV show.  We play a role.  We play many roles.  We get attached to the many identities we have.  So are any of these identities real?  When are we actually being ourselves?

The ego is always busy protecting the self-image we have constructed.  We want to appear confident, cool, smart, strong and in control.  But it can get exhausting and even boring playing a role;  especially in relationships.  And the closer we are to someone, the more our ego tries to defend its precious self-image.

As humans, one of our deepest fears is that we will be rejected and left alone.  In our relationships, the stakes are high.  If I do something my partner doesn’t like or isn’t comfortable with, will he leave me?

We are constantly in the mode of trying to control situations.  We think–If I do A, then probably B will happen. I don’t want B to happen so I won’t do A.  We try to guess results.  We make assumptions.  We try to read each others minds.  We predict how others might respond.  It’s all really a waste of time and energy.

What if instead of striving to defend ourselves and control our circumstances, we used our energy to be radically open and honest and vulnerable with the people we love the most?  What if we let go of outcomes and just made our best effort every day to live according to our own truth?  What if we could share what we were thinking and feeling without the fear of rejection hanging over us?  What if we could express our desires, our dreams and fears with vulnerability and graciousness?

Of course, these are questions I am actually asking myself these days.  I could probably change each “we” to “I”.

We will never break free from fear when we are pretending, defending, acting and controlling.  To break free, we must be completely true to ourselves, radically honest with ourselves and others, totally open and transparent and graciously vulnerable.  This is not to say that we share absolutely everything that we are thinking all the time but it does mean freely exposing our true nature–not unlike being naked.

There are people who say they want more intimacy in their relationship but they have not yet developed intimacy with themselves.  Once a person becomes intimate with their own inner world, then they are ready to explore real closeness with another.

To be intimate with yourself it takes courage to surrender.  It’s letting go of who you think you are in order to discover what you truly are.  Letting go of old and comfortable identities is not easy.  Even if they are not serving their purpose anymore we fear that if we let go, we might destroy ourselves…or others.

I’ve been pondering the concept of surrender and I think I am finally getting a tiny peak into its meaning.  To many, the word surrender equates with being passive or giving up.  But spiritually, surrender simply means being completely yourself, being whole and true and then allowing the universe to work its magic (or let the chips fall where they may, as some say) This is what will ultimately bring us deep peace in our hearts.

Surrendering is letting go of outcomes and it is a difficult process.  How do I “simply” be myself and surrender, trusting that all will work out perfectly, beautifully, divinely?  How do I let go of all of those roles I have been playing for decades? How do I allow myself to be emptied so that the universe can fill me?  These are questions I have yet to answer.

I went to my first choir practice this week and uncannily, the song we started out singing was called, “I surrender” The lyrics went like this:

I step into the flow and then I let it go

I open my mind, my heart and my soul.

I surrender, I surrender, I surrender…

I open my mind, my heart and my soul.

Trust, openness, surrender.

As I took a bath, I looked into the water to see the reflection of my face.  I couldn’t see my features, just the shape of my head.  And a ray of light made it look like there was a crack going down the centre of my head.  Perhaps this was an analogy for how I’ve been living–showing half of myself while keeping the other half hidden.

I read Nepo’s excerpt that morning that he titled, “The Lazy Susan Self”.  He wrote:

The God in us in not half-presence.

There is no screening who we are.

For years, I lived this way:  turning the side of me to others that they could understand, spinning the aspects of myself like a lazy Susan, offering only what others wanted or needed or felt most comfortable with.

What I didn’t realize was that more and more of who I truly am was being hidden, and that only showing the part of me that others found acceptable was not being true to myself.

Fear of conflict.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of not being loved.  Fear of showing what I believed no one else could possibly understand.  A lack of trust and faith that the flower inside me could survive the elements out here….

I thought–Wow, this is how I feel.  His analogy so eloquently describes this inner spinning, this attempt to control and please.  The only way to stop this spinning is to surrender to the truth of who I am.

WAVES OF BRAVE…It’s funny because when I feel most terrified is when I feel the most brave.  It feels like a wave of brave that suddenly is carrying me, lifting me…I get this strong urge and I think–this is my chance to tell the truth and if I don’t, this wave will crash and I will have to wait until the next big wave of brave comes along.

There is nothing scarier or more liberating than being and sharing your true self.  It’s the feeling of being really ALIVE!!  When we can be brave enough to surrender and trust that we will be carried, the inner conflict and resistance will dissipate.   We will truly be free and life will become an effortless flow.

AWAKENING

What is awakening and why does it happen?  Awakening is the process of seeing what is real and what is true.  For me, the truth has come in bits and pieces.  I call them glimpses of truth.  These realizations come to me and say—Open your eyes!  Awakening is a journey which leads us to drop all of our ego attachments and avoidances.  Awakening is not some easy path covered with roses.  In Adyashanti’s words, it is “gritty”.  It pushes us out of our comfortable delusions and into stark reality.

What holds most people back from awakening are what I call the 3 D’s–deception, denial and delusion.  The first one, deception is when we tell ourselves little lies or fool ourselves into believing something that is untrue.  The second one is denial–something we all do in order to survive.  For some, denial runs deep. The definition of denial is–a refusal to see reality or admit the truth.  The third is delusion–false beliefs that are held despite strong evidence against them.

So why do we tell ourselves lies, hide in denial or totally delude ourselves? Why would anyone tell themselves that they are not enough or that they don’t have what it takes.  Why would anyone pretend that a situation or relationship is perfectly okay when really it isn’t?  Why would anyone live their lives behind a veil so they can only see what they want to see? Because it keeps us comfortable–well, supposedly comfortable.  The scary truth is that we are not that comfortable at all.  Our true inner self is screaming to us–Wake up and smell reality!!!

We all think that we want the truth.  We think that we want to really want to grow and improve and finally really love ourselves.  But Jack Nicolson probably had it right when he said–The truth?  You can’t handle the truth!  Because when you do start to see the truth of who you are, what you are doing and who you are with you will likely want to run back into that cozy cave you came from.  That is certainly how I’ve felt at times lately.

Kierkegaard said–“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.”  I love this quote.  If you are feeling any anxiety it is a sure thing that you are exploring new territory and that’s a GOOD thing.  Yet how many people are taking pills so they can avoid the uncomfortable feeling of anxiety?  It’s moving through the anxious discomfort that will lead you to where you so desperately want to go.  Ahh, but then there’s that critical voice in your head saying–“Stay where you are.  It’s safer.  It’s known.  Don’t rock the boat by being more authentic.  That will surely bring disaster!  Your world will fall apart!!”

And the truth is, your world might seem like it’s falling apart and you might feel like you are going to break into pieces or go crazy.  But once you know the truth, there is no going back.  Oh, you might slip back into the comfort of denial again but your heart will pound when you try to go against what you now know to be true.

As I was walking towards the bus stop the other day, one of those fundraisers tried to talk to me but to escape, I said–Sorry, I gotta grab the bus.  He replied–“Why grab it when you can just ride it?”  And what a profound truth this is.  My ego has been trying to grab onto some kind of certainty in the future.  It wants to know that I will become somebody ‘important’ or that I will do ‘important’ things.  It wants to know that I am always going to be secure.  Perhaps I am sounding like a broken record but the truth is it is the grabbing and holding on that makes us miserable.  It’s the desperate attempt to avoid pain that blocks us.

I need to just ride it.  Ride the waves of life.  Let things in and let them go.  Be in the moment.  Pay attention to the guidance that is all around me.  Keep following my intuition.  And maybe the thing that is still hardest for me–TRUST!!  There will be joy and wonderful times and undoubtedly there will be pain and confusion.  The key is NOT to get get caught in these nets worrying that things won’t change or hoping that they will.  Things are always changing!!

The big lie I tell myself is–You are failing.  You are not living up to your potential.  You are not fulfilling your soul’s purpose. And these are the lies that keep me stuck because I say to myself–What’s the point…I’ll never actually get to this ideal I’m imagining.  And then of course I don’t even try.  And then I feel sorry for myself for being in such a difficult predicament.  What a crazy mind I have!!  My 3 W’s whir around my brain–feel unworthy, worry and then it’s–oh, woe is me!!

But now that I am awakening, I realize more and more that it’s really about staying open.  It’s about trusting rather than worrying.  It’s about being receptive rather than controlling.  It’s about surrendering rather than striving.

I only wish to stay awake and know the truth.  This is the way.  This is how I unfold.

You Are Already There

Last night I had a dream that I was on top of a big grassy hill.  I was afraid of heights and it was scary trying to come down.  I looked it up in the dream dictionary which said–you are striving for goals which seem out of reach. –Then I read from Nepo’s day book and he was also talking about how he had wanted to “climb hills” in his life.  These hills represent our aspirations, our ideals, our dreams and goals.  We are striving to get somewhere, to be someone.  But the truth is, we are already there.

I think it comes from that feeling of not being enough, of never measuring up to the perfection we have imagined in our minds.  That is perhaps the blessing and the curse of being human.  We have the ability to imagine, to dream.  Unfortunately, we get caught in the false belief that there is a future.  But there really is no future, there is nothing but today–this moment.  Think about it–have you ever experienced anything in the future?  No.  (Unless you have a time machine!) We only experience life in the present.  That is really all there is.  So there is really no where to get to, no one to become.

As I was returning from my morning walk, I looked at a U-Haul truck which had printed on the side–Where will you go next?–Ha, ha!  I laughed to myself.  That is precisely the question that has been nagging at me.  The uncertain future lies before me.–Who I will become and what I will do remains a mystery.  I dream of being a healer, a motivator, a mentor, an inspiration.  But then the truth hits me–I already AM a healer, a motivator, a mentor, an inspiration.  I already have been a teacher, a dancer, a nurturer, a leader.  You already are who you ARE!

So instead of distracting myself and frankly depressing myself by thinking about some perfect self I become in the future, I am going to focus on today, right now.  Every time my head slips into worry, I am missing out on the magic of the moment.  Every time I start to question what’s going to happen in six months or six years,  I’m blind to what is right in front of me. To experience life to its fullest, I need into the present.  It’s all happening NOW.  All I need to be is here.  All I need to ask myself is what is the next best step?