Friday, January 30, 2009

Paths to Awakening: Part One

There are as many paths to awakening as there are humans who follow them. This blog is about the path I have taken. Your Path will no doubt differ slightly, or terrifically, and it will be defined by its singularity. No matter the differences or contradictions, we are of the same essence. The differences that appear to distinguish us are only a reflection of the roles we have chosen to play in Maya's Magical Theatre that we call life. So I simply offer you my experience as a guide-not a new set of rules-to the choices that may still await you.

Your life is your play. It is your personal production, therefore, only you can decide in the deepest place of truth what is needed and what is not. To begin your discovery, you must honestly determine if you have cast yourself in a lesser role than the one you came to play. More than likely you have answered yes. This is not the time for despair, the truth is liberating! Knowing you are the power behind your choices, also means you have the ability to change it all any time you choose.

For a long time I was disconnected from my choices and I assumed that everyone—at least those that mattered—thought and felt as I did. I had no idea what projection meant, but if I had, I’d have been sure it had nothing to do with me. I was certain that reality was concrete and indisputable, unrelated to my personal point of view. I was proud to be a perfectionist, happy to maintain control over all situations, and delighted to rescue friends while ignoring or unaware of the part they played in creating their own dramatic predicaments.

As it has turned out, my idea of truth was a limited, sugarcoated version of my opinion, unconsciously contrived to keep me safe while supporting my favorite self-image. Politically, I was interested in human rights; socially, I railed against the injustices of my girlfriends’ romantic relationships. Personally, I saw bad luck and bad karma at the core of my discontent. Frankly, I was reactionary and entertaining perceptions tainted by my past experiences. I was proud to be a victim of life, for it implied that I lived in an unfair world and was not a bad person. I didn’t know I was living my life on autopilot. I was proud of what I called my discernment and mortified when I encountered the pain and fear that fed its existence.

I distinctly remember the first time I realized that my so-called powers of discernment were a cover up for the way I denied my judgment. I was walking through the local grocery store when I suddenly caught the voices in my head red-handed! They were busily engaged in their usual commentary concerning the dress code of my fellow shoppers, the size and look of their bodies and how their children were behaving. I was mortified when I saw the extent of the chatter in my mind.

I finally gave up when a particularly unclean woman with rollers in her hair stepped up to a nearby line. I had to drop my gaze to the floor to get a grip on my toxic reactions. For a long time after that, whenever I went to the grocery store I would have to look at my feet just to keep from judging. Strange as it may seem, that grocery store was where I drew my first line in the sand.

I spent many years with ever-increasing awareness trying to change my habits, grumbling about my judgments, judging my judgments and condemning myself for making what I judged at the time to be very slow progress. The one day, in fact years later, the most peculiar thing happened; I realized I had, for all intents and purposes stopped my judgments. My realization was not preceded by the sound of one single trumpet. There was nary an angel and no burning bushes. I was steady on my feet, not levitating, not in a state of bliss.

I was mystified. The voices that had dominated my mind throughout most of my life had somehow slipped away so quietly I had missed their exit. More than this, they were replaced with a growing awareness that things simply are. It was a great unburdening to accept that I no longer needed to measure events or people against the yardstick of what or how I wanted them to be. To be continued…

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