Moving it into the nervous system

Work Zone

Work Zone

It’s one thing to understand non-duality or spirituality with the mind.  My thoughts heard about awareness and read a hundred spiritual teachers in this lifetime, so often nodding and saying yes, yes, yes.  I understand.  Yes, I get it.  I grok this, I know–well, sort of–what teachers are saying with their fingers pointing toward the moon.  Or at least I THINK I know.

Enough to write a hundred blogs attempting to explain what I think I know about what can’t be put into words.

Thoughts love to lasso possible concepts and make sense of the world.  We like to order our concepts into a giant interlocking jigsaw puzzle.  We sometimes think if we find that last missing piece–we’ll finally get it.  We will have arrived at some understanding.  We’ll know.

Of course, eventually, it sometimes starts to dawn that what the spiritual teachers (and maybe even our own thoughts) say is true.

It’s a journey of un-knowing.  It’s a relaxing into not knowing anything.  Literally not knowing where to turn next.  Not depending on thoughts as a lifeline.

Our nervous systems have been operating since birth with thoughts as King.  We think thoughts are “ours”; we often blindly obey them; they form our sense of identity.

When identity with thoughts and personality loosens, our nervous systems literally often do not know how to respond. They must rebuild circuitry with the un-knowing trust at the center, instead of thoughts.  (Thoughts still carry on, it seems, but more as advisors rather than autocrats.)

The nervous system can feel very frightened during this time.  It literally has not learned to trust “nothing”.  It feels Spirit is too insubstantial, too flimsy.  It often thinks it’s going to die without control at the helm.

So much of my spiritual work in the last eight years has been allowing awareness to move deeply into the nervous system where real change can occur.  Moving into tight, closed, clutched places in the gut, liver, knees, heart.  Awareness itself opens, releases, allows.

One of the litmus tests of the nervous system seems to be:  can we meet feelings of fear without going unconscious into a story?  Can we meet sensations of pain without resurrecting a self who is suffering?  Are we still craving food, alcohol, activities to fill our days?  Do we sense life is not enough?

If so, our realization often hasn’t sunk deep enough into our nervous system.  It’s a continuing journey of meeting whatever hasn’t relaxed in our bones, our blood, our organs, our skin.  Of learning to trust in an embodied way.

The mind can’t think its way into this.  Every time the body contracts it’s another opportunity to allow awareness to move inward and sit with the sensations without a story, without an explanation.

And slowly, usually slowly (although sometimes immediately) the body relaxes even more and kinesthetically realizes trust in the unknown is an amazing gift…

 

Pursuing versus allowing

Joy

Joy

The following excerpt, which resonated so strongly with me yesterday, is from the book “Dying to be Me:  My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing” by Anita Moorjani.

If you’re so inspired, you might also enjoy reading her story.

“Previously, I used to pursue, feeling as though I had to do, get, and achieve.  However, the very act of going after something stems from fear–we’re afraid of not having what we truly want.  It keeps us stuck in duality, because the focus in on the inherent separation between the hunter the quarry.  Now, however, I no longer chase anything.  Instead, I allow.

For example, when I feel an incredible desire for where I want my life to go, I know that if I were to pursue it aggressively, this would only cause me to fight against universal energy.  The more effort I have to put into trying to attain it, the more I know that I am doing something wrong.  Allowing, on the other hand, doesn’t require effort.  It feels more like a release, because it means realizing that since everything is One, that which I intend to get is already mine.

The process of allowing happens by first trusting, and then by always being true to who I am.  In this way, I will attract that which is truly mine, and it all happens at the rate I’m comfortable with.  I can keep focusing on what worries me or what I think I need or find lacking, and my life won’t move toward what I’d like to experience.  It will just stay the way it is now, because I am paying attention to my fears and what upsets me or leaves me feeling unfulfilled, instead of expanding my awareness by trusting and allowing new experiences.  So I can let the picture materialize slower or faster, depending on how quickly I want to let go of my worries and relax into the process.  The more attached I am to certain ways of thinking or outcomes or the more fearful I am of new adventures, the slower the development will be, because I’m not open to the process.  I’m not allowing the universal energy to flow through me naturally.

Having said all that, I don’t actually sit and ponder every choice or possibility.  All I really do within each moment is to consciously live in that space, which is done internally, not externally.  Outside, there’s nothing to pursue and nothing to attract.  And since the universe is within, whatever I experience inside myself affects the Whole.”

At the altar of our weakness

At the altar of our failed intentions, we kneel.

At the altar of our weakness, tears pool in the iris of failed dreams.

In the windowless attic of our intentions we prayed.  We schemed, we planned.  We embraced ideals of ourselves.  We gathered words and will to create a perfect self, a self dazzling like a rainbow from the heavens.

We resolved.  We shall no longer do this, and that, and this!  We shall no longer stumble and fall.  We shall instead approach our desires and fears with common sense.  We shall cut a knife through our weakness.  We shall start anew, afresh. 

We shall not smoke, we shall not drink, we shall not gamble, we shall not fall in love so recklessly with the wrong ones, we shall not think negative thoughts, we shall not judge, we shall not, we shall not, we shall not…

We shall do everything right, instead!  We shall dance with our hearts!  We shall worship the divine in every ant, every snub, every blow.  We shall think so positively that we attract only the positive, only glowing life, only delighted song.  We shall swim in the oceans of life, free, without hesitation.  We shall embody what we glimpse in the attic of our intention so fully that Life itself thanks us for getting it all right, for our altars to the heart, the body, the mind!

Yet here we are again, on our knees at the altar of our weakness.  Our intentions lie scattered like wind-blown scraps of dreams around our feet.  We’ve reached again for the cigarette of our shame.  We’ve grasped where our fist should have opened.  We’ve fallen where we might stand straight.  We’ve suckled pleasure, we’ve turned from pain, even when the little inner voice whispered, “The moon lies this way–”

Tears fall on our empty altar.  Our knees ache with failed dreams.

At the altar of our weakness we rest our forehead on emptiness.  There is nothing left to utter.  We know ourselves too well.  We know we cannot be saved by intention alone.

We cannot be saved by intention alone.

We cannot be saved by intention alone.

As this mantra chants, the heart flutters like a chrysalis.  In our self-pronouned failure, in our shame, a great love kindles.  We feel humanity in our bones, our cells, our organs.  We begin to sense patterns larger than ourselves forming intentions larger than ourselves…

We discover a great love for humanity kindling in our breast, a love which includes everything imperfect we’ve subtly shunned.  Our judgments fall away, like waterfalls racing down an open river. 

We surrender at the altar, surrender anew, to something bigger than ourselves, something shining from the altar.  The divine pulses.  It encompasses All.

We still make intentions.  We still aim our canoe down the river.  Yet the intentions feel lighter, fuller now.  We carry surrender in our craft, as well as desire.  We carry trust, as well as fear.

We embrace the depths of our weakness, as well as the eagle soaring effortlessly in the cloudless sky above.

Grace joins us as we fly in all our imperfect perfection.