“We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Sometimes I find myself sitting sorrowfully on my yoga mat, sweaty and tear-stained after losing it for the third or fourth time in a day, fed up with the circular, relentless process that I find myself embroiled in.
Can’t I just get on with being one thing or the other?
Make me a sparkling, virtuous and serene Goddess already! And if not, then let me be a feisty, earthly and rapacious human who is blissfully ignorant, chasing my tail.
Being both is just confusing and exhausting.
I’ve just finished reading Polishing the Mirror by Ram Dass, the gentle, witty and very pragmatic explorer of human consciousness who is now in his eighties. The book is a collection of experiences encountered during his journey toward enlightenment and is peppered with amusing tales of “losing it” as well as poignant instances that describe the perpetual nature of realization.
For every time we lose ourselves, we can find ourselves again.
We can deepen the understanding of our condition, the triggers that send us into a spin and the areas of work that are still there—unfinished. My despondency stems from being not even halfway through my life (I hope) and realizing this is a lifelong process.
We will get caught.
We will come undone, time after time after time. There’s no doubt about it.
Mastering the path of spirituality without tripping up every now and again is a fable—we can’t reach perfection while we’re still being a human. (This means I will always be, at some level, a beginner. This pisses me off.)
“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” ~ Gloria Steinem
So, in order to assimilate and somehow cope with this heavy information, to make my own journey bearable—here’s my take on reconciling the nature of being human with the true nature of all humans which is God-like or Goddess-like if you’re a girl, like me. With thanks to all my teachers so far.
1. Let’s stop taking ourselves so seriously.
Really—let’s lighten up. Let’s smile at our predicament, and give ourselves a little pat on the head. It’s going to be okay, really—it is.
2. Let’s get some perspective.
Take a walk outside, go for a swim, run, breathe, do yoga, go help someone else. Let’s take our body and mind somewhere else and watch as our internal landscape begins to transform. Changing our body changes our mind and therefore our emotions—it’s a simple fact. We’ll feel different.
Whatever the chosen method, be it yoga, qi gong, tai chi, or meditation, of tuning into our beings and quieting the surrounding chaos.
Let us be present, be wholehearted and stop when we feel spacious enough to receive the learning.
Accessing the internal space from where we can observe our own dramas in safety and without prejudice is an essential tool for spiritual growth. Each time we practice we will turn up a little bit different: it’s always relevant. Each time we learn something new that can help sustain our equilibrium for a longer period of time and in different ways.
4. “The presenting problem is never the problem.” We need to delve deeper.
Whatever we think the situation is about—it’s probably not that. I stress here that I don’t wish to disparage any onerous feelings that accompany very real circumstances, I only mean to allow a breath of relief and a moment of solace in which you can gather your wits about you again and return to your journey.
If we are spiritual at heart, then our ultimate home and peace is the reunion of ourselves with that which is larger than us—the Universe, the Absolute, God or the Divine.
Everything that keeps us from that place is simply a distraction, often a painful one too.
Every desire, anger, upset, frustration or sadness is, at its root, a feeling of incompleteness and separation. (Figuring out how to find peace with this takes a whole lot more of number 3.)
5. Be kind to ourselves.
It’s easy to see how we can get swamped, feel inadequate or silly. We need to do ourselves a favor and ease up.
Notice what we notice with calmness, curiosity and sometimes confusion. “Oh look, here I go again—being human…”
When we notice instead of judging, instead of being compelled to label things as good, bad, nice, nasty, right or wrong, we start accepting things as they actually are and guess what? We’re back on the path…
So, I’m a human Goddess.
I feel a lot. I love crazily.
I get lost in flashes of enlightenment—some quick, some long—and I forget everyone around me. I fly really high and then get burned and have to start over, scraped knees, bruised ego and singed wings.
We all do.
We can struggle and bitch about it or we can be amazed and enraptured by our experience.
If you’re like me, you’ll probably do both.
“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves stronger. The amount of work is the same.” ~ Carlos Castaneda
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor Apprentice: Emma Ruffin / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Plastic Beauty/Flickr