Oneing with the Sunset

Being reveals Herself in all things.

Our soul is oned to God, unchangeable goodness….(Julian of Norwich)

At a time when we are surrounded by cynicism, when we often feel there is no absolute truth, when everything from politics to religion to education seems upside-down, it’s easy to lose faith and hope in who we are, both as individuals and as a people. BUT here is an anecdote that re-inspired my belief in the goodness of beingness. Yes, it’s a small example, but perhaps it can remind us that when watch and listen for the delicate and profound essence of life, it will reveal itself.

Tonight I decided to walk westward on the promenade in Cape May to catch the sunset. As I approached the end of the walkway that opens onto the beach and reveals a view of the Cape May Lighthouse at the Point, I realized the sun was setting rapidly and I might miss it. I ran to find a spot where I could stand and video the event. And in so doing, I witnessed something wonderful: throngs of people watching and waiting for the blood-orange red orb to drop below the horizon as the lighthouse standing before it stoically shone its great rotating beacon. As the sky turned a Monet palette of red, yellow, violet, and pink and the sun slipped away, people cheered, car horns sounded, and I cried.

Why? Why did we all rally to witness this everyday event? What does this say about us?

I believe, even sometimes in spite of ourselves, we know what’s important. We know what’s truly meaningful. We inherently know what’s good, beautiful, and true (the Three Transcendentals). The sun setting occurs every night, but we know not to take it for granted. Our hearts comprehend the beauty and awe of this event.

For those of us who don’t believe in a higher power, we appreciate the beauty of the colors and the awesomeness of planetary movements.

For those of us who believe in God or Source energy, the sunset is a true manifestation of the Divine, which lives and breathes and moves in all things. It humbles and embraces us. The Divine invites our spirits to merge with Hers, into Herself, feeling a oneness with this sublime eternal energy.

Regardless of why we all gathered tonight to celebrate the sun setting on this Easter Sunday evening, I am grateful to have borne witness to the magnificent sky and to the crowd who cheered it. May this feeling linger in our hearts and inspire us to seek and appreciate all the moments in life that fill our souls with wonder.

Darkness As An Invitation to Refinement

It is in the darkness that the light breaks through and pierces us with deeper knowing and wisdom.

In his podcast, Turning to the Mystics, James Finley discusses mystic St. John of the Cross and how the Dark Night of the Soul invites us to greater depth, clarity, and enlightenment:

[What we are seeking] is not the attainment of something, but rather the love that attains us in our inability to attain it, by taking it to itself and all the unresolved matters of our heart so unexplainably, deeper, deeper, ever deeper. 

[Learning the way of the mystics] is not challenging because it’s academic. It’s challenging, because we’re not used to someone [or something] inviting us to such delicate levels of the interiority of our mind and heart, surrendered over to the presence of God. 

We’re being called to the Dark Night, this deprivation of finite consolation….[in which] we might taste the infinite consolation of God, whether that’s happening to us, or it might not be happening to us just yet. But [we] know that the transformative artistry of this love, like the Tao…rings down to the lowest places giving life to everything.

The same transformative energy is present in all the modalities of our life….in any transformative process where you’ve been accessed by a love for some deep, deep thing that asks everything of you [in the same] way as artist, the poet, the musician, teacher, healer, [and] solitary. There’s something like an expansive depth that’s opened up to you. You lean into it and it’s calling you to itself, and you can follow it but not without a price, because you have to be willing to forgo and not get caught up in the pleasures and pastimes and diversions that would water down the fidelity to the transformations that you’re being called to. This is the refinement of experiential self-knowledge and love that St. John of the Cross and all the mystics are inviting us to. Let us be sensitive to these matters.

Transformation can come to us in many ways. We can discover it through a heightened awareness of goodness, beauty, and truth (known as the Three Transcendentals), which reveals the divinity in all things, or it can come through the Dark Night, when it seems none of these exist. This is “deprivation” at such an extreme that we can only experience chaos and emptiness.

Yet, it is in this darkness, as Finley explains, that we are invited to “lean into” what appears to be nothingness, for it is here that, perhaps unbeknownst to us, the Divine resides and calls us to something deeper. Unlike the light, which is captivating and moving and alluring in its brilliance, the darkness is at once more jarring and also more subtle. As we are reeling during a trauma or in suffering, it simultaneously calls us to “delicate levels of interiority of our mind and heart.” It asks us to submit to a “refinement of experiential self-knowledge and love.” This is consciousness at such a heightened awareness that most of us are unaware of it most of the time. It is only when the darkness overtakes us, severely limiting our senses and rational mind, that we are able to obtain a greater spiritual sensitivity.

In other words, in our confusion and upset, the Divine calls us in a deep way that “asks everything” of us. Only when we become aware that nothing in the physical world, no attachments, no material things, can calm or satisfy us, will we ultimately discern that Love alone will nourish us. This energy, which is God, oneness consciousness, Source, is eternal. The Divine is always inviting us to seek Her, dwell with Her, integrate Her into our hearts.

When the darkness comes to us, may we surrender to it. May we witness it as an invitation to something more. For only in our willingness to sit in and be surrounded by it will we discover that the light is actually in us.

What is Right About This?

When we find ourselves in a situation where we have failed to voice our opinion, when we are overridden by another whose argument, at the moment, is stronger, louder, or simply seems more compelling than our own, the resulting feelings can be those of grief, shame, and regret.

But if, even in our emotional hangover, we can begin to look at this circumstance from the perspective of Source, and if we believe in Divine right action, then we can move in the direction of shifting our focus.

If we have sufficiently integrated the idea that “the Universe is rigged for our expansion” (Rob Bell), then we might ask with refreshing relief, even curiosity, “Why might this be right ? What will happen next?”

The event or the decision that at first caused our self-deprecation, doubt, and uneasiness, now ascends and merges into the atmosphere of pure potentiality and the abundance and “rightness” of what is to come. Our suffering is a result of believing that we somehow failed ourselves or others; that even though we had all the information we needed to make a decision or a choice, we dropped the proverbial ball. We fell short of the success we so wanted to achieve. But, once we humbly acknowledge that at any given time we only have some of the information, that the Universe is expanding and shifting gears in ways we cannot know, only then can we move from worry or fear or suffering to trust. We can then trust that the pure potentiality, the myriad particles of energy and information that are beyond our conception or understanding, will deliver to us the alignment we most desire.

We don’t need to understand how it will all work out. We just need to trust and know that it will. This is not a Pollyanna, head-in-the-clouds, wishful-thinking approach. No. This is a thoughtful surrendering to the “isness” of our “reality”–a reality that is ultimately shaped by how we choose to see it.

We surrender and then decide to rest in the knowing that the Universe is forging a path towards our further expansion and greatness. And it will reveal itself to us when we are ready to witness it.

A Rampage For Refocus

You’ve been barking up the wrong tree for quite a long time. It’s time for you to start being nicer to yourself and daydreaming more and being happier about things and giving yourself more leeway and going to more places where you feel good and finding more vistas where you can do more daydreaming and more just giving yourself the opportunity to let your mind be still while your vibration rises so that then you can receive the impulse to put yourself at the right place at the right time to find the things that you are looking for. Abraham Hicks

This rampage is typically full and comprehensive and breathless. It is meant to be. Feel how the energy shifts in the very first sentence, turning us from unwanted towards what is better, preferred, and then optimal.

Refocusing and moving our energy is about changing our perspective. Ultimately, the only thing we need to know is that we can. The only question we need to ask ourselves is, Am I willing to try?

Letting Go of Resistance to Gain Worthiness

This from Abraham reminds us how it works. Worthiness only comes from one place: going inward instead of looking outside ourselves for solutions, joy, and connection. Unworthiness, fear, worry, anger, anxiety all emanate from a feeling of separateness and living conditionally. As we allow ourselves to take an unconditional emotional posture towards life, we not only gain a sense of worthiness, we also become free.

Have we convinced you that the path to everything you want, which is the past of least resistance, is the path that feels the best? Do you ever hear us say, “Take the path of most resistance?” Then why do you keep taking the path of most resistance?

The path of most resistance is the action path….the trying to convince somebody else or justify. The path of least resistance is just to let it go and trust that it’s alright. It is our wish for you that you will feel and know, feel and know. Feel the worthiness that we know is you. 

It is also our knowing that a way for you to feel that worthiness is by finding a subject that you can follow out with resistance-less thought until it manifests. There’s nothing that’s going to give you the knowledge that not only are you the creator of your own reality, but that you can [also] be the deliberate creator of your own reality more than [being able to] find an interesting thought and follow it out and let it please you just because it feels good to think it. And then to witness consciously the things falling into place until it becomes a fuller and fuller manifestation. 

That’s how you get your feeling of worthiness. You get it by allowing the goodness that you deserve to flow into your experience under your conscious awareness. Because if good things happen to you not under your conscious awareness, then you call it luck or fate or something that is outside of you, when nothing is outside of you. 

But when you tend to your vibration, when you nurture it, when you find something that feels good and you milk it, when you look for positive aspects, when you praise often, when you feel the discord of criticism and so you stop it, when you wake up wanting to feel good and do, when you praise more than criticize and find fault, [this is when you are conscious of your worthiness and you align with your true self].    

Go Within To Discover True Belonging

Regarding people-pleasing, well, at a certain point, there was a time in your life that your life depended on pleasing people. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? It’s a compensation. It shouldn’t have had to [be that way]. Ideally, life would have given you circumstances where you would have been accepted and valued for exactly who you were. As a young child, that’s a need of ours. If we don’t get that, we become people-pleasers. And let me tell you….these chronic people-pleasers who suppress themselves to please others, that’s the source of so much physical illness. That pleasing of others and suppressing your own needs to please others actually undermines your immune system. This is science. Gabor Mate with Dhru Purohit

Self-care has been a buzz word for a while. In my opinion, its trendiness has actually done it a disservice. Many teachers have focused on the importance of caring for self and have found many ways of approaching and explaining this essential topic.

My perspective varies a bit from what we often hear in the mainstream. Many instruct us that caring for self is essential, because if we don’t attend to our needs, we will have nothing to offer others. We have all heard some variation of this: We can’t serve others from an empty vessel. But in my opinion, there’s more here to unpack. An ability to care for ourselves must first be predicated on the fact that we love and honor ourselves. Without this foundation and understanding, why would we believe we are worthy of self-care?

And this gets to the heart of Mate’s discussion above. Chronic people-pleasing is an addiction like any other. At a minimum, this behavior leads us to second-guess ourselves and seek approval from others. It becomes a “compensation” for our inability to discern what we want. At worst, the drive to please others becomes a compensation for a much deeper spiritual lacuna: the inability to know who we are apart from others’ affirmations or criticisms.

This addiction paralyzes us. We find it increasingly impossible to make decisions or even state how we feel without worry of judgment. As Mate explains, the suppression of our own desires and authenticity often eventually manifest as physical illness. But, as he reminds us, like all other addictions, people-pleasing isn’t itself the “disability.” Yes, it becomes a “problem”–the focus of therapy and counseling and seemingly the nexus of our own guilt and shame. But it is actually no more the root of the issue than drug addiction or alcoholism. These patterns, propensities, and addictions are always the result of something deeper and systemic: the absence of self-love and thus self-care.

So, what then? How do this acknowledgment and insight inform our greater awareness and deeper consciousness? If we feel challenged to care for ourselves and understand that we are lacking a sense of worthiness and self-love, how do we begin to change this dynamic so that we might live more fully?

This is where a greater awareness in formlessness intersects with our patterns of thoughts and behaviors in form. Only when we understand and integrate into our consciousness that our need for approval, attention, and love began early in life and taught us to seek these essential elements outside ourselves, can we then begin to shift. With greater clarity and compassion for ourselves, we can reassess and change this dynamic. Eventually, we are able to look to the only place true belonging, acceptance, worthiness, and love reside: within ourselves.

Most of us are “looking for love in all the wrong places,” Abraham tells us. We don’t know it exists in ourselves, so we seek it elsewhere. “Do you love me?” we ask others. “Am I enough?” “Are you angry with me?” “What did I do wrong?” “Why don’t you love me?” “Please love me.” Our questions and pleadings are our attempt to seek answers and affirmation out there somewhere. We are constantly looking outside ourselves.

How do we learn to go within and discover serenity and belonging there? Simply by starting. We decide to surrender to this truth: the Divine spark, which is love, resides in us even if for the moment we can’t see or feel it. We give up resistance, arguing that we are not enough, that we do not belong, that we are broken. Instead, we choose to become still and quiet and open our hearts, even just a little, to the more of who we are. We cultivate a loving and caring spirit, allow it to flow through us–through us and to us.

A true sense of worthiness, of feeling that we deserve to love and care for ourselves, only comes from one place: aligning with the truth of who we are, by connecting to beauty, joy, and appreciation, and allowing it to fill us with its energy. Vision boards, mantras, and affirmations are not enough. They are merely superficial and ultimately ineffective if we are not first connected to Source from which all high vibration originates.

It is in this state of alignment that creation expands. It is here that we shed our lack-based need for others’ approval and dwell in the outpouring of connection to self. In this state of wholeness, there is no fear or loneliness or separateness or desperation. There is only compassion and oneness. Here, we reside in the certainty that we belong to ourselves and to the love that holds us in our eternal unfolding.