Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Conceptualization Verses Realization

I watched part of a documentary on PBS last night called The Buddha. It was a bit of history as well as touching on the teachings of the Buddha. I find the history of various movements to be quite fascinating really. I often wonder how we got to where we are from where things started. As with all religions, philosophies and movements of various kinds the further from source it gets the more distorted it is. Kind of like our own memories, they are rarely if ever truly accurate because they are coloured with our interpretations and feelings.

One of the things that most attracts me to the Buddha is the teachings on suffering and compassion. My own process has certainly led me to a level of compassion for myself and others that I would not have known otherwise. It was the process of realizing that what I was telling myself about life was not the truth that actually led me to compassion however, it was not a teaching about compassion.

I suspect the reason so many beautiful teachings have been lost and distorted is because people follow the teachings rather than exploring them internally and coming to their own realizations. When we simply take concepts others have perhaps experienced or want to experience and try to adopt them they always fall short, sometimes disastrously so. The gap between what is conceptualized and what is realized is filled with beliefs that are not in alignment with those ideals and that is often how suffering is maintained.

I don't say created because the very thing that leads us to ideals and philosophies usually has to do with some kind of suffering we are already experiencing. I liked what they said in last night's documentary about suffering as well. It isn't what we usually think of as suffering but rather more akin to discontent. It is discontent (suffering) that sends us looking for relief. The question is, does just believing what some else says about a thing bring that sought after relief or does it tend to eventually exacerbate the suffering even if it did bring temporary relief?

The Buddha and I are in agreement about many things but one thing for sure, you have to do your own investigating, you have to see for yourself what is making you unhappy and you have to find your own way through. The teachings of others can point the way but we each have to walk the path. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say be still and know.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Wearing Beliefs Lightly

It seems I so rarely visit my blog page these days. The good news is that it's because I've been busy and thoroughly enjoying what I am doing which has been mainly work but then I love my work so isn't that a great thing?

Today is a hang around at home day thanks to lots of rain which has been pretty spectacular. I was so grateful yesterday when the rains waited until early evening to arrive since I was officiating at two weddings outside. The weather was fabulous for both and I was so happy for the young couples who didn't have their parades rained on.

I've been so focused on the ceremony side of my business I don't even know what to say here. OK, here goes.

One thing I love about working with couples and families to provide weddings, celebrations of life, baby namings, etc is that it is really all about providing them with something that will have meaning for them, no matter what their beliefs may be. I'm happy to meet them where they are because quite frankly as far as I'm concerned beliefs are the structures through which we experience life not because they're the truth but rather because that is where we are in the moment. It's all OK. I don't have to convince anyone of anything, I just want to be there with them where they are and do what I can to make whatever event I am facilitating good for them.

I've noticed that the less investment I have in what anyone believes, including myself by the way, the happier I am. I know I too operate within a set of beliefs, what's wonderful about the way it is for me now is that I don't think they are true either. So I can wear them lightly and see through the cracks and even shed them when the time is right which enables me to do what I do with compassion and acceptance. I can assure you it was not always so and the contrast is what makes it all so wonderful and remarkable for me.

It's that nymph to dragonfly thing again. I love it and I am so grateful!


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Something New or SOS?

I had a great time at The Journey Home to Essence book launch and celebration the other night. I so appreciate everyone who came out to play with me.

There was a particular comment/question from a fellow traveler that I wanted to talk about a bit in today's blog post. This individual brought up something that I know many of us have thought and felt over the years, especially those of us on a path of inquiry who are always looking for the truth or peace or happiness or whatever word you use to describe that which keeps calling you forward.

The sentiment expressed was about working with certain teachings and doing really well, having this awesome experience, kind of feeling like you've 'arrived'. There is peace, there is bliss, there is a rightness about everything in life; ah at last, this is it.

Then slowly but surely the peace starts to erode, the bliss is not so blissful, the awe gets tarnished and then before you know it you've left Nirvana. Irritability, frustration, unhappiness, inner and/or outer conflict arises. How can this be? I've done all the work, I've faithfully followed all the steps, it was going so well...

Why is this happening? What's going on? What has come into my life and disturbed my peace? It must be something new, surely it can't be the Some Old Stuff (SOS). I thought I dealt with my childhood issues. I thought I was past all that reactive stuff. Darn, all that work and it didn't work!

Take a breath, relax, it's OK. There isn't anything wrong and there isn't anything new. Doing the work whether it is the Liberation Process, the Work, meditation, yoga, prayer, therapy, affirmations or what have you doesn't mean that the patterns of our discontent, which seem to be embedded in our DNA, aren't going to come up again; these are tools to use for when they do.  The very idea that says 'I've already dealt with that so it can't be the some old stuff' is a falsehood that can bring up all kinds of resistance. It's ok that it's the same old stuff, the good news is that you don't have to figure it all out again and you probably have the tools you need to deal with it when it does come up, again.

I've noticed that when the SOS comes up for me it doesn't take long anymore to recognize it for the old pattern it really is and bring a compassionate and understanding energy to it so that it doesn't take over my life (at least not for long if it does get away on me a bit). As I said, it's ok, you're ok, this is life being life.

As the Masters of the Far East reminded us long ago, 'Before enlightenment, chop wood carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood carry water.'