Thursday, 28 February 2013

On the Road

I give pause to the journey of a lifetime.

Echoing through time I hear each foot fall.

Sureness and trepidation both, Mark the rhythm of dissonant harmony.

Innocence fed conviction and unearned confidence, Forged a path.

 Wielding the blade of self will and disconnection Triumphantly I seized the horizon.

The spoils of “victory,” Upon the banquet table.

 A feast I anticipated!

Instead bewilderment, disillusion, discontent!

What of this?

Would not a mirror have served me sooner?

If I have found the door to humility, It has come through fluency in arrogance.

 Whom perhaps one day, I will call friend.

 I now turn and face the temple, Overgrown and obscured, The reflection of neglect.

If time is the illusion, Perhaps from rubble and ash, Can still be coaxed the rising Phoenix.

 Creator upon bended knee, I offer the golden chalice within.

 I labour to remove the tarnish, To yield a worthy vessel.

Divine love is my request, Not to keep – not to hold. But to serve, My true soul’s longing.

 I am coming home!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Truth Revealed or Revealed by Truth?

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ― Rumi As I continue on my path of spiritual inquiry in this case along "the road less traveled" called the investigation of shame, the above quote came to mind. What do the words of an ancient Persian muslim poet and Sufi mystic have to do with my exploration one might ask? My answer at this point would be that I have for quite sometime been drawn to the words and wisdom of a wide variety of sources. I think that there is a widely held presumption that "we" in the twenty first century are so far advanced that there is little value "looking backward" for answers. I happen to believe that there have been many "advancements" that can be attributed to the great minds of the current century - but I wouldn't go so far as to say that means "we" are more advanced on all fronts. For example rapid technological progress has harnessed the enormous collective power of intellect and rational thought, however, if that were allowed to entirely be the driving force it could be argued that decisions and "reality" are shaped without the contribution of heart and soul which leads to a detrimental lack of love and compassion. The end result, many decisions that ultimately don't revere life - which means the planet, the land, the water, the animals and humanity itself, take a backseat to some misguided notion of progress. Having had enough "evidence" in my own life that convinces me a life entirely ensconced in the material world and aligned with corresponding dictates of hierarchy, divide and conquer, survival of the fittest and unbridled consumption is doomed, to leave one continually clambering to stay one step ahead of the gaping maw of a yearning that simply refuses to be satiated by such beliefs, thinking or behaviour. Is it then necessary to renounce this paradigm and way of life entirely - I have certainly considered it and as of this moment I'm not prepared to provide "my final answer" I suppose I could conclude for now I'm saying no, or I would have done it. As I continue to consider such questions, I agree to subject my life to the scrutiny of deepening expanding mindfulness and discover that one certainly can participate in varying degrees to the storyline of the collective. Not however, without encountering friction and resistance which begins to appear in the form of others suggesting though you live in the "land of the free and the brave" or whatever maxim we tout here in Canada - perhaps something that embodies "freedom-lite" let's say - as our "marching orders" (no wait that doesn't suggest freedom does it? - how about "dancing orders?") despite our insistence that we are "different than the U.S." continually one encounters the forces of conformity creeping into the freedom. This conformity is "regulated" at varying levels of society therefore resistance can be experienced in various forms, depending on how one chooses to "express themselves," ranging from the discomforts of "peer pressure" to the indignity and inhumanity of torture and incarceration (and everything in between). As it happens this begins to bring me back to a place where I can make this phenomenon of conformity relevant to my ongoing exploration of shame. One of the many forms by which violence manifests is conformity - one possible outcome of this is shame. Of course this isn't always the conscious intent of the those acting out this way - chances are they have in turn been shamed. Add to this a single-sighted agenda with only one acceptable outcome and one can then readily justify any form of violence as means to that end. Make no mistake shame is a form of violence a direct attack upon the fabric of another's being. Probably a useful at this time to distinguish shame/guilt the feeling (emotion) from identifying personally with shame. The former could just alert me to the fact that I've made a mistake, which is in need of my correction, the latter is indicative that at depth I believe I am a mistake. Of course I don't necessarily go about my life telling everyone "I'm a mistake" - upon examination though, it can become visible (implied) in various patterns,belief systems and behaviour. There can exist no end of "cover stories" which might look like compulsive over-achieving (compensatory behaviour) "if I look really good on the surface you won't know how deeply flawed I feel inside." Relationships are very challenging, as trust me, intimacy/authenticity take a backseat to people-pleasing, chameleon-like (tell them what they want to hear), peace at all costs tactics, all employed trying to cover up and avoid the impending, inevitable rejection that the person affected by shame is certain is coming once the "truth" of who they are is revealed. Though personally I haven't utilized the "geographical cure" I can relate to the not allowing anyone too close which through my life, often necessitated creating cause for relationships to end (either something "they did" or through some form of sabotage like simply allowing the connection to die on the vine through no further contact) - so this had the same effect of needing to "stay on the move." A dance of sorts could be observed "come closer".... oh shit.... not that close...... get away!" The other thing about underlying shame is that it seems to invariably bring about more actions and behaviours that continually feed the shame. So back to Rumi, the premise in his statement to me implies that love is ever present, that it is not necessary to search far and wide for this elusive entity. Even the old country song "Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places" seems to suggest that a great deal of energy can be directed erroneously to this search. I don't know if I looked in "all" the wrong places but perhaps I can mitigate my suffering by not choosing to search under every last stone. So then what if love is everywhere and always present? Then as Rumi suggests: it's up to me to "seek and find all the barriers within" (that I have built). My search has revealed a great many layers (and this was before I had any awareness that love was what I'm seeking) and that shame existed. This presents an interesting conundrum because what I came to realize was that as I examined the various "shadow aspects" of my being - I suppose if it were quantifiable there would be a brief lessening of my experience of pain - however the yet to be revealed shame, subsequently took the discovery that I understood to be empowering and freeing once identified, and used it as a great big stick to beat the crap out of myself with, which then lead to more pain and fed the shame. I can hear some now upon reading this - well just stop doing that then "dumb-ass" (and some indeed might actually say that) it's equally true that even the generation of the idea comes through the filter of my existing shame and reveals vestiges of contempt for self within me. Either way, the point is that before I come to know of this shame - I'm in it, doing it, living it, seeing the world through it. It would not occur to me to "stop it" I would be operating from my own personal bubble of "this is how it is." Stop what? I might stop if I knew what it was I was doing, then again examining what I'm doing might only give me more evidence to reinforce the idea that I'm flawed - must be, "everyone else is out there "winning" all I know is that I frequently feel like shit and not only am I not winning,often it's beyond me even what the hell the game is! Truth be known I'm not so sure I'm the only one confused however there is minimal solace in "misery likes company" and it is short lived. I believe love to be the source of all healing (and for me God to be that source) it follows then that perceived separation from the source would create a significant degree of suffering. This becomes at least some of my motivation to remove "these blocks to love." So goes the process then of bringing the unconscious to conscious. I therefore search within myself - without question I look at the various ways that these beliefs came into being. Many are formed very early in life, so such places as home environment, school, culture,religious institutions, gender role stereotypes, even ancestral inheritance - all can potentially play a part in the taking on of this shame. The purpose of this search is not for me to assign "blame" outside myself - it provides the opportunity to see "this is what happened" - "this is what I made that mean." It becomes a process of deepening accountability for my choices (i.e. continuing to uphold certain beliefs) a willingness to let them go and an allowing of healing to take place (with no real knowing of how that is going to unfold) - therein lies my "active" participation. My experience is the personal accountability is a vital part of the healing journey - I suppose where shame is concerned there is an inherent resistance to the admission/acknowledgment phase of the process. Shame thrives in secrecy after all who wants to talk about it? I know it's not been high on my list of conversation topics - admittedly the discomfort of going there has provided for itself the insulation of denial. As I've heard time and time again:"you can run but you can't hide" apparently that can't be indefinitely selectively applied, eventually it all comes home to roost. It's interesting to me that even as I write this I am aware of such principals as: "the truth will set you free" and "bring the shadow to the light" even still an underlying sense of mild foreboding - from which is born such ideas as:"never expose your underbelly" or "never let them see you sweat." I suspect the widespread and pervasive presence of shame which is woven into the fabric of humanity and even though these ideas may have some basis in very basic survival consideration and that is of value in as much as our evolution while still incarnate in human form relies on it - soul evolution seems to demand the more "counterintuitive" presence of vulnerability.

Friday, 1 February 2013

I Would have Told You Sooner.... But.......

I'm going to follow some guidance I received in the past couple of days and embark on a written odyssey that won't necessarily be the sole focus of my writing but from my perspective, certainly will constitute "soul-focus." I have been peeling the onion for over a quarter of a century now which has encompassed a wide variety of modalities and introduced me to a myriad of paths one might consider while exploring their spirituality. The quest it would seem, is not to end anytime soon - but before you conclude that is evidence of futility, I wish to declare that the impetus to continue is a deepening and enriching experience of life and a deep commitment to continued evolution. Having said that some of the discovery (territory if you will) along the journey does at times present as cause to "call it quits!"Such is the case at this time - as I continue with my intention to make the unconscious - conscious, what should be revealed to me but: SHAME. I'm not talking about some mild discomfort I feel over some recent over-sight, or lack of grace (though certainly I can lay claim to such things. I am referring to the presence of shame as a part of the fabric of my being, a way through which I have viewed the world and myself within it. It is very pervasive and "self"perpetuating and thrives in darkness and secrecy. It is in response to the previous reference to the container (the environment) within which shame is allowed to proliferate that I believe I have been guided to make "public" my healing journey. Journaling has long been touted as a tool through which one can explore their inner world - possibly more often than not the contents remain the guarded property of the writer. In this case I believe the cure is (as often is the case) inherent in the cause, therefore the healing of shame will not be found in examining, recognizing and embracing the various nuances of shame in my life and then keeping the discovery to myself - that would be succumbing to the continued dictates of that which I desire to completely heal and transform. Therefore it must be shared. Is this a unique undertaking - am I introducing into the field of consciousness a cutting-edge revelatory finding? I actually don't know! Certainly there are other individuals who have researched and written quite extensively on the subject. Has anyone in effect, taken their personal journal of discovery and subsequently made it available for public consumption - again I don't know, I know it is unique to me, as such you can be assured you will get my unique journey and presentation of same, through my unique writing style. Of course there is bound to be things that resonate with the presentation of others, I am after all no more or less human than they are (though for example, I am aware that aspects of my persona/personality have been shaped by the shame I speak of, to keep it from being revealed - so I can present as considerably greater than those I encounter or behave in ways that serve the perspective that I am significantly less than. It is my hope that while embracing and expressing my humanity and challenges with my humanity and the human condition, I will not only blaze the trail for my own healing and spiritual development but inspire others along the way. Isolation is a significant thread woven into the blanket of shame - consider, that even if you are one that is frequently in the company of others, whereby one could insist loneliness is seldom if ever an issue, if no one is speaking of the presence of shame then those that are experiencing it are alone with it. Therefore it is my experience that even if one has "dealt with" a reality in their life - something that has a external,visible manifestation (i.e. in my case addiction) could be any number of other circumstances/realities for others (as shame is associated with a broad spectrum of outward presentation- without necessarily being the cause) it doesn't necessarily disappear just because the issue has been "laid to rest" so one can (to continue with my addiction example) get and remain sober - still shame lives on. As "self-sabotage" is another way in which shame can be perpetuated I ask myself, by laying my soul open am I inviting a whole lotta hurt? I know the journey itself will involve some pain but I also believe that though I hope others will be touched by this journey I have no intention of martyring myself. Accounts subsequent to this will contain the authentic insight into the experience - if that necessitates a "breather"for me then so be it. I am not alone on this journey though the (entity if you will) of shame, is comprised of non-loving energy - it will be addressed within a container of unconditional love (which must include that which I direct toward myself). Part of the journey from darkness to light entails further connection with myself and subsequently those that accompany me on the journey as I share it - I no longer believe I'm to be alone during discovery nor be possessive with that which I find along the way. So I am not "taking one for the team" but I recognize I am looking at something that extends far beyond myself. Given the focus of this topic, it won't illicit universal appeal, interest or acceptance, I would invite anyone to give it consideration before being too quick to dismiss it - might be that to do so, would be to have succumbed to the very thing that I speak of and that - would be a "shame."