The Long Hot Mess of Summer

I haven’t been blogging of late as July turned out to be a rather difficult month. Five planetary retrogrades, Chiron in retrograde (the Wounded Healer is strong in my natal chart), and a solar and lunar eclipse – oh my! You could say that this month was full of important lessons and growth. You could also say it was like getting hit with a meteorite traveling at the speed of light and you’d be right as well.

I wish it were this benign!

 Last year on this date, the universe gave me an important lesson. You can read about it in my first blog post. And up until a few months ago, I thought I learned it. I did actually learn it, but we don’t always follow the lessons we learn, do we? Intellectual knowledge requires life experience to truly drive home the point and transmute itself into Wisdom. Obtaining Wisdom is often done through challenges, obstacles and pain. During this eclipse/retrograde season, the Universe sent another loud message to get my head out of my ass and to stop falling for all of the shinies. All that glitters is not gold and all that.

Touché, Universe.

I am living through a financial scare right now. This summer I lost a good portion of my income temporarily as a number of my courses were canceled due to low enrollment. I started sending out application to schools all over the state. I stopped working on my new projects, the ones I love, the ones I believe will lead me to a better, more authentic life. I abandoned my pursuit of my Personal Legend, as Paulo Coelho called it in The Alchemist. I did this out of fear. I retreated back to what was old and familiar. To a place I already know no longer serves me.

Double punch!

The Universe sent me another big fat HELL NO! And then rerouted me to where I need to be again. Last year it was wrapped in a massive hail storm. This year, I was left with a much longer lingering affect which won’t be lost on me anytime soon. It’s been said that stupidity should be painful. This was physically and mentally painful. It left me sick, beat-up, worn-out and drained of energy.

This time around, however, I was able to reap the benefits of the growth I experienced over the past year. I’m not wallowing in this mistake as I would have before. I’ve been able to forgive myself. It wasn’t immediate, but it wasn’t months longs either as it would be in the past. I gave myself a few days to recover from the blow and nurse my wounds. Then I started a routine to get myself reoriented and back on track.

Here’s the gist of my lesson. Self-transformation cannot begin with giving in to old patterns, old ways of thinking, old jobs, and old thoughts about self. That will only breed more of the old. Self-transformation begins with deep self-reflection and taking steps in new directions. It’s far more than applying intellectual knowledge. In some ways, intellectual knowledge can get in the way. It’s about developing intuition and applying the lessons of lived experience. In other words, cultivating Wisdom. How often have I written in this blog, Know Thyself?

Fear, Doubt, Uncertainty, Anxiety, these negative thought patterns that ego clings too, need to be ejected. Easier said then done, right? But not impossible. Meditation helps quite a bit. It lead me to the realization that I had to realign my goals to place personal transformation at the center of everything. When I placed my income and financial prosperity as my stated outcome for my transformation — out of fear and a sense of lack in my life — what I got back was more fear and lack in my life.

I tell my students, don’t focus on the grade, focus on the learning. If you focus on the learning, the grades will follow. They resist this. I often hear, “I need to get an A in this class! How do I get an A?” I tell them to focus on learning and understanding the content. Read my feedback on your assignments. Apply that feedback. Ask questions if you don’t understand. There is no other magic pill for getting an A in the class.

What I learned was that I was doing the same thing as my students: I focused on the financial outcome rather than the personal transformation required to live an authentic life.

But this set back isn’t without it’s gains. For one, I have much more empathy with my students. I can get very frustrated with them when they don’t heed my words. What I learned is that it’s quite hard to do when there is so much at stake. Fear, Doubt, Uncertainty and Anxiety rear their hydra heads and scared the bejesus out of me! It is the same for my students when the fear a bad grade will keep them out of a certain program or that they will lose financial funding. Or they won’t meet the impossibly high goals they set for themselves. I understand that one more as well.

I also learned to trust in my instincts and the synchronicities around me. Everything within and around me told me that I was going backwards. I convinced myself otherwise. I convinced myself that it was just a temporary setback to my ultimate goal until I got back on my feet. When ego is scared, ego lies. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but an important one.

The most important lesson, was that once I released the death-grip I had on controlling my finances, opportunities started to flow towards me. Ideas that I previously found elusive started to flow from me. I feel like for the first time in my life, I know what I want to do and how to get there. What it took was a realignment of priorities. Focus on the personal transformation, let go of my attachment to results, and the results that I need in my life will manifest.

It’s been a long, hot mess of a summer. But it’s also been quite productive. I know what I need to do and I’m getting on track with how to do it. The witch has finally awakened, let the magick begin!

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The Fine Art of Detachment

One of the most difficult skills for me to develop as I work on increasing my magical abilities is detachment from the results of spells. It’s a skill one must master to receive the desired results, and with good reason. If one is constantly worried that a spell will not work, it sets up a resistance to it and the synchronicities required to deliver the results fail. It makes a lot of sense. Doing magic requires a faith in the deity or entities invoked, a faith in one’s own ability, and the knowledge that the universe is looking out for us because the universe is awesome like that. The worry does nothing to help that along and it causes suffering.

Unfortunately, I have a learning disability that causes me to overthink everything and it sets my mind in a feedback loop similar to obsessive compulsive disorder. I needed a little help with this issue and found it quite by accident with the planetary deity, Venus.

Lemme explain.

I started working with Venus in April to help me with issues of lack. A lack of prosperity, a lack of self-confidence, a lack of deep understanding of myself, a lack of all the good things in life that are causing hardship. She’s been a brilliant and supportive ally in my quest and I am grateful for all of her guidance and help! Last week, during our Friday chat session, she offered me tremendous insight into the art of detachment.

I’ve studied detachment – or non-attachment as it is also called – for years as applied to Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Jainism. Annnnd what I actually found out is that I only thought I understood it. Intellectually, I understood it as best I could and I taught it in my Comparative Religion classes. But what I discovered, was that an intellectual understanding of it and the practice of it are not the same thing. Not. Even. Close. In fact, I now believe that detachment can’t be truly understood unless one practices it and lives it daily. 

For the purpose of this blog post, I’ll give a brief definition. Detachment is the release of all desires from this world. One ceases to cling to people, objects, and ideas. The clinging attachment to things of the world creates suffering in a person as their focus is on having what is always in the process of changing. Consider falling in love with an idea you have of someone. What happens if they change and no longer meet that idea? What happens if they decide to leave you or if they die? By remaining detached, you are able to experience the wholeness of that person rather than the small idea you may have built up around that person. All things in this world are ephemeral. A detached person desires nothing and lives entirely in the moment. They don’t concern themselves with the past or the future. They achieve a heightened state of awareness which allows them to live a more complete and fulfilling life.

Easy enough, right?

I couldn’t get my brain to release the whole living in poverty thing. So, I found that every time I even read about the need to become detached from the results of my spell, my mind would enter a feedback loop on how desperate I need it to work.  I’ve done powerful magic before that worked. It worked because I wasn’t in a desperate situation, so my mind was able to release its hold on the consequences and I had beautiful results.

My altar to Venus during one of our chats

Venus, the Goddess of Love, Beauty, Sexuality, Art, Prosperity and Desire itself — and the last deity I would think to invoke for learning detachment — gave me an up-close, personal, direct, ineffable understanding of what it is to release all desires.

Perhaps she knows a few things about the destructive nature of clinging to what we want and desire. She can offer a far more constructive way for us to experience the fullness of life, when we let go of the choke-hold we have over the little things we’re able to cobble together and cling to for dear life.

When a gardener loves a flower, do they pluck it from the ground, or grow and nurture it in a garden? Do they weep bitter tears when it dies when the season is over or when it’s destroyed by bad weather or do they simply wait for it to rise from the ground again next year?  What is gained by obsessing over the dead flower? Isn’t there more gained by embracing a love of all plants and flowers? By doing so, doesn’t the gardener learn better ways to nurture what they dearly love?

Remember the rose from the Little Prince and all the fretting, drama and suffering that occurred around her?

No? Then what a delight! You get to read it for the first time!

Read The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

It is difficult to put into words the experience of immediate, undeniable understanding of detachment. These experiences are called ineffable for a reason. But I can say that I understood that I had a choice with the thoughts and emotions I had on the issue of my intention for prosperity. I could see my thoughts and emotions laid out before me. I could choose to be sad, upset, and filled with anxiety over something I didn’t have much control over, or I could feel a sense of serenity that Venus and the Universe had my back. Whatever would come my way was good, because I needed it.

Even with this experience, it’s not something I’ve internalized quite yet. I’m getting there. And I understand it in a way I never have before. I am grateful for what the Goddess granted me and I work at growing that understanding every day. It’s not easy, but I no longer think it’s unattainable.

Money and the Subconscious

It’s been a while since I posted to this blog. Again. This time due to grading finals and then getting lost in thought on what I want to do with the rest of my life. I’ve concluded that I do not want to grade for the rest of my life, as that is self-torture. For the past two weeks, I’ve engaged in a shitload of shadow work to find out why it’s taking me so long to get out of my present occupation and into one that allows me the freedom to stand in my own power and love it! The problem as I see it is that I still have a divided will.

ShadowWork DrknessConsciousA divided will occurs when on the surface one wants all the good things in life, like a fabulous job that pays well with incredible perks, but deep down inside there is a subconscious need to fail. That need to fail can come from a variety of different forces, such as a deep seeded idea that money is evil, or the belief that one doesn’t deserve a good life with a stable income because of a past misdeed or trauma. Or maybe one wants a healthy relationship with a romantic partner, but subconsciously they feel unworthy of one so the unconscious mind desires a less than ideal relationship, even an abusive one. The problem is that we often don’t realize we have a divided will, because our subconscious wishes are buried under feelings that acknowledgement of them in the light of day is completely unacceptable. To acknowledge I want a crappy job because it lets me off the hook from dealing with all that evil money that I don’t deserve anyway, isn’t something most of us find suitable for our conscious mind to ruminate over. However, digging in the dirt to bring those desires up to the conscious level is exactly what needs to happen if one wants to transcend and transmute those shadowy desires into something more productive.

What I’ve found over the past few weeks is that I have profound problems with money and how to make it ethically. Through targeted meditation, I brought up childhood issues with money that stem from my parents always worried about household finances and arguing about it. I was already primed to think it was evil because it was a negative force in my life ever since I could remember. This began my life long cognitive bias that money is truly the root of all evil. People will exploit others to get more of it. They will lie and cheat to gather money to them.  And I looked for this to play out in every scenario. I was never disappointed. When you look for something everywhere, you will find it! And I was able to feel self righteous and superior in my lack of money. Subconsciously, I was reveling in it!

MoneyEvil

“I’ll eat your soul!”

 My meditation didn’t lead me to some great understanding that money is actually neutral and can be used for benefic purposes. That would make things easier, but that’s not what I found. What I discovered is that money is simply something one must have to live in this world. It’s a necessary survival tool. Money is not good, it’s necessary. One can do good things with money, I don’t deny that. But the history of money is abysmal. It’s a tool of enslavement.

However, not having it doesn’t make the world a better place, it just makes me completely miserable and unable to take care of my family. By meditating, I was able to bring up the unhealthy attitude I cultivated about money at a young age. I could see that much of it stemmed from the anger and fear my parents displayed as they worried about it daily. I could see that little eight-year-old girl terrified that her family would have no money and end up living on the streets without food or clean shelter. While the situation was never that dire, it was to a young girl who internalized the fear and anger her parents projected.

Moneygoodevil

Money shoulder angel, show me the right path!

Both my sister and I have the exact same fear of money and success. I thought it strange when I first made the connection a few weeks ago, but now it seems more impossible that we wouldn’t have the same neurotic issues around them.

For now, the shadow work continues, but I’m working to unite my will, transmute my money hang-up, and put myself in a better place financially. I’m learning to let go of the fears I developed and find myself worthy of financial stability and a happier life. I’m learning to get out of my own way so that I can experience the happiness and magic that is all around me!

(Well, this certainly helps my anxiety over money!)

Hi. I’m Stephanie, and I’m an addict (of depression).

I wasn’t going to write tonight. I woke up with a sinus headache and I felt sick most of the day. I decided instead to do a little shadow boxing to work out some internal problems, call it an early night and go to bed. Then I pulled out my tarot deck and asked it if I should write or go to bed. The deck handed me my ass and told me to get to work. I’ve been procrastinating since January, it’s time to get back to writing in the damned blog!

4 of Cups

I’m looking at you, Four of Cups! (Revelations Deck, by Zach Wong)

It’s in moments like these that I know I’m on the right path and that I need to stick to it. The past several days have been a series of synchronicities. Whatever is on my mind, I come across blogs, videos, articles, books, movies, and incidents when I’m out and about, all screaming at me that I’m on the right path and now I need to take action! It’s the action part that makes me freeze up. My mind shuts down and suddenly I can’t even compose an email to a friend. Actually do something? No. Can’t do it today. So, it gets left to the next day and the next. And nothing happens.

This isn’t a temporary rut, this is depression. I learned something interesting about it today while doing shadow work that I hadn’t considered before; I’m addicted to it. I’ve suffered from Depression most of my life and I never sought help for it. There were many reasons for that, some legitimate, some not so legitimate. Part of me was afraid that the type of drugs used to treat Depression would screw me up further. I still think that is a legitimate fear given the nature of psychiatric drugs and the not-so-scrupulous pharmaceutical companies. But there are other methods to treat depression ranging from the foods I eat to different types of therapy. My greatest move to even try to treat my depression was to take a B-complex vitamin (it does help a little). Depressed Cartoon

All of this changed last year. On my birthday I had a download from the Universe. It told me that it was time to get my shit together. I’ve discussed this a few times in my blog already. The short of it is, I was a hot mess in my head and I had a sudden and painful revelation that much of my depression was the result of trauma and abuse from my childhood. I spent a good portion of last year doing shadow work and getting at the heart of what caused my deep depression, which was constantly working to undermine me in all aspects of my life. My relationships, my work life, my finances, my faith, and my enjoyment of life are all suffering because of this depression.

But since I entered my adolescence, I’ve built an identity around this depression and as I grew older, my choices and actions reinforced that depression. I not only became comfortable with it; I started to crave it and resist any attempts to cope with it in a more constructive way. As with most mental imbalances, I didn’t realize I was doing it. I didn’t wake up one day thinking, I love my misery I’m gonna keep it! It was a gradual thing which consumed me. Eventually it led me to a career I hated, financial instability, poor health, deteriorated friendships, and to nearly destroying my marriage.Monsters

The realization that I was feeding the depression beast of my own volition came to me last night while reading an article (Q&A) on Existential Kink, by Carolyn Elliott, the creator of WITCH magazine. It wasn’t the first time I had this thought, though. It’s come up before on restless nights in the small hours of the morning. And it was easily forgotten after I slept. But reading it last night, after shadow work and meditation, it hit me like a sack of bricks to the face. Yes, I do it on purpose. Yes, I sabotage myself. And I do it all the time.

The misery I’ve wrought upon myself is comfortable. I know what to do with it. I built up an identity around being an impoverished, deeply misunderstood, antisocial creature. Getting out of the mess I made for myself is intensely terrifying! All of the “what ifs” come up. What if I’m really not that smart? What if no one wants to read my blog? What if no one cares about my ideas? What if I can’t figure out how to market myself? What if I’m wrong? What if I have a successful business and I can’t figure out my taxes? (Cart before the horse, much?)

I became inert, out of fear of breaking out of an identity that only served my comfort zone.

This is not to say that one’s depression is their own fault. It’s not. I had two big things going against me; abuse and a chemical imbalance. Neither of these things were in my control. It hit fast and hard once I started puberty. Then the reinforcement cycles swamped me and pulled me under. My physical addiction became sugar, while my mental addiction was the depression itself. And boy do I ever have a sweet tooth! You know those orange circus peanuts that are basically just whipped sugar? My favorite when I was a kid. I pretend I’m better now because I haven’t had them in about 25 years. Don’t let that fool you, I still have a stash of Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs in my freezer.

Circus Peanuts

Don’t let these orange pieces of death happen to you!

When I found out that people with sugar addiction have the same chemical imbalance as alcoholics, I decided to get some help. I checked out a diet that assists people with leveling out the chemical imbalance. I bought books, read testimonials, and even gave it a good shot for a whopping month! And then slid right back into my old patterns. The sugar wasn’t just due to my chemical imbalance, it was also emotional support. I couldn’t give up that emotional boost. Especially when it was typically the only good thing that happened to me all day. Which landed me with a raging case of diabetes. You’d think THAT would have been my wake-up call, but it wasn’t. It shocked me and I got on the wagon for a bit. But then I got a new job and I hated it and the sugar became quite irresistible as I dealt with getting up early in the morning every day to go to a job I detested. It was only towards the end of that nightmare job that I started to wonder what the hell I was doing in this cycle of jobs I hated and eating myself into an early grave.

Jung FateI don’t want this anymore. The good news is, I don’t have to live with it! I’m learning to accept the things about me that I don’t like. I acknowledge them with my awareness, and let them go without judgement or shame. It’s about acknowledging, yes, I did this and I did that and those things weren’t good for me. This is what I learned from those choices. Now I move on.

It’s taken me a years’ worth of shadow work to get to this point and it culminated with the New Moon on April 5th. It’s been an exhausting, painful ride. Most days I feel like I’m trying to climb over electrified chicken wire with quicksand waiting for me on the other side. Still, I’m ready to move on and find a better place.

Accept ShadowWhat do I want? I’m still working on that. But I now know what I no longer want. I don’t want a soul crushing job. I don’t want to eat myself into an early grave. I don’t want to pass up good opportunities because I’m scared how I will be perceived by others. I don’t want to live inauthentically because I can’t figure out a better way to pay my bills.

I want my wife and I to be happy. I want us to not be afraid of when the money runs out. I want us to be free to live authentically. Whatever I end up doing when I grow up, I want to add value to the world. I’m not sure what that looks like yet, but for the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m on the right track. I feel like I’m crawling out of the hole I dug for myself. I feel like we’re going to make it!

Which Witch – Florence + The Machine

Intuition

intuitionIf I had only one message to pass on to people as we enter 2019, it would be to develop your intuition and trust it. When we are young, we’re often not taught to listen to the inner voice we have that tells us if we’re going in the right direction or not. The direction could be something as simple as whether or not what we eat will disagree with our body or more complex like whether or not we choose to trust someone. We’re taught to give someone or something the benefit of the doubt. You never know, it might just turn out for the best! However, there are many times in my life where I hear that voice in the back of my head, and I wish I would have listened to it. Does something deserve attention in our lives just because it might turn out alright? If our reservation is only due to fear of the unknown, then perhaps it needs to be re-evaluated. The benefit of the doubt may be in order. But if we’re listening to our internal voice that speaks to us from a place of inner knowledge, then we ought to listen to it. It will tell us whether or not something is right or wrong for us.

einstein-intuitionIntuition, like most things worthwhile in life, takes some time to develop. It develops out of experience, the ability to read and assess the nuances of a situation quickly, a thorough knowledge and understanding of self/mind, and the ability to trust the inner voice that tells us the low down on what’s really going on in a given situation.

I think most of us develop our intuition to a certain extent, but it stops where fear steps in and takes over the reins. In many cases in my own life, I’ve often confused fear for intuition. I’ve missed out on opportunities and jumped into bad situations because of that confusion. This didn’t happen because fear and intuition are closely related and easy to confuse, rather it happened because I did not thoroughly understand myself.

pythiaoracle

Pythia of the Oracle at Delphi, by John Collier

The words Know Thyself or Gnōthi Seauton (in Greek γνῶθι σεαυτόν), were inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Kings, statesmen, merchants, and holy men, came to Delphi to meet with the oracle, who would impart to them prophetic messages. The oracle always spoke in ambiguous language which needed to be interpreted by the person receiving the prophecy. To correctly interpret the meaning, one had to first understand their own mind. Without this self-knowledge, the prophecy was often interpreted in the favor of the receiver, what one wanted to hear, rather than more accurately how their biases and hubris would bring problems and catastrophes upon them. Just ask King Croesus of Lydia how that all worked out for him when he went to war with the Persians after visiting Delphi.

To know thyself means to be aware of everything about oneself. Even the dark, nasty things that we don’t always want to recognize in ourselves. In other blog posts I spoke of that mean, petty part of me that can lash out and cause all sorts of hardships in my own life and the lives of others. That aspect of me can even sabotage myself from moving forward and set me back further. Understanding that this aspect of me exists, means that I can put energy toward it and transmute that energy and shift it elsewhere, to a place where it is more productive and positive.

But knowing thyself is not just about recognizing the bad stuff, it also means that we can recognize a lot of the good stuff that we bury. I’ve done this quite a bit in my life. I can recall times when I was working on a project or a task, it was criticized or laughed at, and I pulled back into my shell and opted to forget I ever tried it. That’s fear. Rather than assessing the situation, I recoiled and gave up for fear of being laughed at or viewed as an idiot. In cases like this, it wasn’t intuition that was whispering in my ear, it was fear. otherside of fear

Fear is like a noxious weed if you let it into your life. It can strangle your intuition if it’s given a chance. Had I listened to my intuition, I wouldn’t have given up, I would have kept going. I would have assessed the worthiness of the criticism and made adjustments if necessary. I would have recognized the goodness in my own vision and I would have given it my love and time.

The Super Blood Wolf Moon on January 20/21 2019, ushered in a new rebirth for many of us who have been on a roller-coaster of emotional, draining energy over the past four years. July of 2018 felt like the sudden death of the old path I was on and I entered into a healing restorative period of my life for a few months. Now it’s time to rise from the ashes. To move forward, I know I must understand myself; the good, the bad and the ugly. With knowledge of myself grounded in reality, I can trust my intuition and let fear go. I can start to live authentically.

superbloodwolfmoon

Baggage

WotWA few nights ago, I had one of my reoccurring anxiety dreams. This one was embedded in a different reoccurring dream where aliens are invading and I need to move quickly to survive. In this dream, it’s night out and I can only see the spacecrafts from a distance. The night is blazing orange and red from the explosions and I can see the massive ships by silhouette. I know this is the end of the world as we know it and that my wife and I need to get out of there. We don’t have much time, so we quickly start packing what we need for the pets and us. Except in the middle of all this drama, I am suddenly overcome with fear and anxiety over my suitcase.

Yes, the world is about to end, and I can’t move because of my suitcase.

suitcaseIt’s loaded with all sorts of shit that I don’t need. I don’t remember packing it myself, I just found it in that condition. It has everything in it from dresses I wore when I was eight, to brightly colored plastic building blocks I used to play with at my grandma’s house when I was little. There were stuffed animals, tons of worn-out clothing, papers I wrote in college, books that I couldn’t open, broken jewelry, ugly hair clips, loose photographs that were bent and torn, candles, chipped mugs, old greeting cards, notebooks, and old cassettes and VHS tapes with the tape pulled out and completely useless.  All of it was old, useless, shit that would not help in the event of alien invasion. In the best of times, this would be useless shit.

In my dream, I’m paralyzed by it. For a long time, all I could do is look at it and feel despair. When I was finally able to move, I started sifting through it to see if I could find anything that would help us. But there’s nothing. Not a thing in there was worth anything. I can’t even pick up the suitcase, it’s so loaded down. I started hyperventilating, because I know we needed to get out of there, but all I can think about is how I can’t move the thing and even if I could, there’s nothing in it that we’d want.

carl-jung-quotes-on-god-and-dreamsIn the waking world, I’d just go grab a trash bag and shove a few things that we needed into it. A change of clothes, some food, water, toilet paper (never forget that), soap, some pet supplies, and BOOM, out the door! But dreams don’t work like that. My subconscious was trying to belabor a point; I’m carrying around a lot of baggage that is weighing me down. SHOCKING! It didn’t take Carl Jung to figure that one out. The life of me, my spouse and my pets are in the balance, and I can’t move because I’m carrying around a colossal accumulation of mental and physical crap I should have let go years ago.

I finally decided to not take anything and we jumped into the car. But it’s too late, we’re about to be consumed by a firestorm. I woke up after that. I received the message loud and clear; start letting that stuff go.

I’ve worked extensively over the past few months to get rid of the mental baggage. I’ve dug deep in the dirt to confront the old demons of bullies, illness, bad jobs and heartbreak. But in addition to the mental baggage, I did accumulate a lot of physical junk. These are mementos, jewelry, stuffed animals, old school notes, knickknacks, clothing – tons of clothing – and stuff I simply do not need. Over the past few decades, the stuff has added up and it’s taking over my life. Since my transformation started back in April, I’ve gotten rid of several boxes of stuff, but not nearly the amount that I need to throw away. I find I’m having a lot of trouble with the reality of it. I’m giving myself one week to clear out what I don’t need. I’ve realized that unless I give myself firm deadlines, I just don’t get it done. I don’t know if it’s fear of losing something I think I might need later or fear that I will throw something out that held meaning for me once. But it’s quite clear to me that whatever relevance these items once held for me, they are holding me back now. And it needs to end.

Anxiety Dream Comic

http://rhymeswithorange.com/comics/august-10-1999/

 

Spiritual Egotism

“Be careful not to wear spiritualism as a badge to decorate your ego” –Unknown

When I began The Great Work of self-knowledge and self-transformation, I read the Dharma the Catquote above in several different places. Many people warned that being spiritually awake was not about being superior to anyone else. One doesn’t start this process or endure it for bragging rights or to lord it over others. I saw a lot of resistance to this warning, as many other people explained that they put a lot of effort into their spiritual awakening process and getting through it was something they took pride in accomplishing.

I don’t think that there is a problem with having pride in one’s accomplishments. The Great Work is difficult and painful, so there is a sense of pride in sticking with it and working through the sweat and tears. It is a hard-fought victory to walk away with a little more knowledge of oneself or to even begin the process of transmutation. I think the problem is capital Pride, and thinking that one is better than others for having done it. It can be difficult to not get caught up with one’s own spiritual and intellectual accomplishments. When I look at others who get involved in petty disagreements or accept obvious lies from politicians or those in authority positions, I often wonder why they can’t see what is perfectly obvious to me. There is a tendency to think I’m better or more developed than they are. This is ego. It makes me feel a little better about myself, even if I’m extremely annoyed and irritated with them.

Extinguish egoOver the past few weeks, I’ve been working on this matter. From the very beginning of my journey, I knew the problem of developing a spiritual ego existed, but I didn’t understand how strong the urge would be. It is especially difficult when watching our political leaders, media personalities and people of renown who I feel should know better for whatever reason. It’s frightening to watch masses of people led astray and given horrible advice that can take a whole society down with them. I worry everyday about climate change, economic injustice, lack of decent healthcare, racism, gender inequality, LGBTQ rights, and yes, the Trump Presidency. I feel great anger when I see people mock and ridicule those who are less fortunate and blame them for circumstances beyond their control.

My anger and fear, however, isn’t doing anything to make the world a better place and it6-9 opinion certainly isn’t helping me. Feeling any sort of moral superiority to those I disagree with does nothing to help any situation. The truth as I know it is my truth, subjective truth. I study and learn what I can to arrive at what I feel is a sound, coherent, and cohesive truth. But it’s mine. I will stand by it, hold to it, and try to do my part to realize my truth in the world through my actions. But it does nothing to hold my truth over anyone else or to get angry at those who don’t share in it. Our society is already deeply polarized by factions who believe they are the keepers of capital Truth. When one thinks they own Truth, how can they possibly hear any other perspective?

We’re all on a journey and at different stages. At some point on my Soul’s journey, it was like so many others, happy enough with the illusions. At some point, the universe started to push my Soul in a different direction. I feel some pride in having heeded the call, but I have no idea how many lifetimes it took me. Nor do I know the struggles of anyone else or where they are in their journey right now. I don’t have to agree with them or accept anything about their beliefs and their truth. My job is to focus on my own thoughts and actions and not to be concerned for the thoughts and actions of anyone else or how superior my thoughts and actions are to theirs.

Ultimately, we are all part of the same Oneness. Feeling superior to others only serves a false duality that separates us from each other. In Matthew 5:44-48 of the Christian Gospel, Jesus says,

44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

This is a call for us to get off of our moral high horse. Love means that we extend it to all, even those we do not agree with or like. Duality is an illusion that causes separation: Us versus Other. God is One. One is indivisible. We are of God, therefore we are One.

As Above