Many moons ago, I ran to my spiritual teacher in a panic. “This path isn’t working! I’m getting worse.”
I was distraught because as I used all the tools he offered to bring more happiness and peace into my life, I became more and more aware of all my pain and suffering. All my limiting thoughts, old beliefs, stories were up. They were talking LOUD and clear. I was convinced that the more I travelled through this journey of awareness, the bigger and bad-er these thoughts were becoming.
My head was like Grand Central Station, when I wanted a still forest in the mountains.
Mio chuckled and congratulated me. “Sweetheart,” he said, “Your beliefs aren’t getting bigger. You awareness of them is.”
He proceeded to explain that these beliefs had been in place for years, but I was too busy and distracted to notice them. As I started meditating and tracking my previously unconscious agreements, they came to the forefront of my awareness instead of lurking in the shadows. He pointed out that without awareness of these beliefs, I would be powerless to transform them. So I was doing great – despite the discomfort.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been sitting in stillness more and more. Even though my life and my awareness is exponentially greater than all those moons ago, I’ve been watching so much self-doubt and fear come up around career, purpose, money. Underneath this whole process has been a lurking sense of what the heck is going on with me? The doubt seems so big and action so unclear.
Then this morning I caught myself. It’s not that the doubt has gotten bigger, but rather the stillness around it has causing me to be able to see it more clearly.
As Dawna Markova writes in I Will Not Die an Unlived Life, “An Aikido teacher once told me, ‘Calm your mind until it is like water settling. The waves will disappear and the surface will be smooth as glass.’ What he forgot to tell me is that when the water of your mind calms down, it doesn’t feel anything like peace. What you find is all the junk settled on the bottom where you can see it clearly. If, instead, you keep the water stirred up, everything hides beneath the murk where you don’t have to respond to it at all.”
I closed my eyes after reading that passage and sat with my murk. It’s a funny, niggling vibration inside. I’ve desperately wanted to know what it is, where it came from, and how I could make it go away. But instead, I sat with this sensation. I breathed with it. I envisioned my love surrounding it gently.
My mind skittled this way and that. I dropped into a semi-slumber, semi-awake state. I kept returning to the sensation, letting go of my need to define or listen to my stories about it.
When I came out of my meditation, I felt more expanded. A little calmer and clearer.
I remembered that if I want to be of service to the world, then the place to start is transforming my own discomfort.
So I am going to keep dropping into the murk. And remember to pull my awareness up high enough to see the clear stillness that’s surrounding it.
That’s love. Radical acceptance. Awareness. And yes, not so much comfort.
Onward Shaman Girls.