Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Shine Light on the Darkness

Enlightenment is not the byproduct of avoiding the darkness in favor of the light. It is the byproduct of taking the light of consciousness and diving deep into the darkness with it. To make the darkness conscious, is to turn the shadow into light.
Teal Scott

Dealing with temptations is a curious thing for us spiritual travelers. Saying no to indulgence and exuberance to protect the integrity of our spiritual path is naturally part of the process. Yet, if the 'sweetness of life' keeps knocking on our door, we will have to find out whether we have been negating a soul longing in the name of spirituality.

I remember a story when the traveling monk Vivekananda refused to meet with a singing woman on the grounds that he was a monk. She refused to go, and standing outside of his door she started singing to him that she too was GOD's embodiment. Immediately realizing his mistake, Vivekananda came out to meet her.

Shadow work is a dance, and occasionally we stumble. Yet, like with every other activity, when we keep practicing in good faith we eventually will become quite skilled at it. No one says that you should willingly deviate from the WAY, but dare to look in the dark corners of your being. The demon always has a present in hand for you. Let the light shine in - darkness be gone!

Life's Calling

The two most important days are when you are born and when you find out why. (Mark Twain)

James Hillman presented the idea of an acorn slumbering inside of us that one day opens up and plants a massive tree. At one point in our life we simply awaken to our Soul's mission. 'Life' and our subconscious point us in the right direction, as they in fact have done since we were born. One day our mission hits us, a new vision to discover our life purpose. A new interpretation of what our life has been all about thus far. Purpose and passion finally intersect. At this blessed moment life suddenly makes perfect sense and we diligently follow our path until we find meaning in our accomplishments. The fire of passion transforms over time into a serene and joyful energy.

Spiritual writing and coaching is my calling. I don't have to do a thing but to follow the WAY and share my observations. I realized today that 'showing up' is all that is required of life. What is your calling?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Wired for Perfection

"Many people excuse their own faults but judge other persons harshly. We should reverse this attitude by excusing others’ shortcomings and by harshly examining our own."
( Paramahansa Yogananda)

Have you observed how different we all are. When it comes to gender, you must surely have noticed that women come from Venus while men come from Mars. But then, all of us, men and women alike, are wired differently. I had the most amazing insight at work as a financial strategist where we do get on average only some 60 percent of our calls right; for some reason I always tended to zoom only into the mistakes and beat myself up over them, even when they happened because of some changed circumstances outside of my control. Over the years I noticed that I was much unhappier than many of my colleagues who only had an eye for the overall portfolio and who naturally were quite happy as long as the overall portfolio was ahead.

I even met some colleagues who had no ability to find flaws with them; their brain somehow always overwrote their own accountability and only found fault with changed circumstances or the mistakes of others. I couldn't figure out in the beginning whether they were merely obnoxious or simply insane until I realized that they are neither. They are simply wired differently.

Why would I be the 'rational' one if I live in self-imposed hell? The upside of my style is that I remember mistakes that happened years ago, and am consequently a better investor. In contrast, I don't do so well in marketing and sales whereas my friends with a faulty self-accountability shine there.

Thanks to my extreme risk-reversion I woke up to the realization that the punishing voice inside was neither rational nor me. An observer of sorts kicked in. In my case, the relentless nagging voice in my head has brought me in touch with what lies beyond the ego. Sometimes we have to go through hell in order to touch Heaven.

Monday, August 21, 2017

It is all about the ride

We can only escape from the world by outgrowing the world. Death may take man out of the world but only wisdom can take the world out of the man. As long as the human being is obsessed by worldliness, he will suffer from the karmic consequences of false allegiances. When, however, worldliness is transmuted into spiritual integrity he is free, even though he still dwells physically among worldly things.
(Manly P. Hall)

In the investment business I am in there are few heroes. The ones who spectacularly beat their benchmarks and their competition over the decades are the exceptions and merely there to show the rest the mission impossible. Most forget that for every success story there are hundreds of people and processes that tried hard but eventually failed. I have realized after years of trying my best as a financial strategist that the success or failure of my endeavor is out of my hands. All I can do is to build the best investment process there is and leave the rest in the capable hands of a higher authority.

We spiritual travelers are here for the ride. We are here to let go. What my stressful - but also exhilarating - job taught me is that everything somehow just is. People win, people lose; they stumble, catch themselves and they charge ahead before they stumble again. They sometimes look smart and occasionally they look incredibly stupid. I have stopped counting how often I got hammered sticking my neck out. Investment cases I would have bet my house on completely disintegrated by forces that were simply over my head. The reason why I am still around is only because I also got a few breaks when I succeeded despite myself. I can promise you, the day when I walk out of this building I shall be so done with all this competing and strategizing stuff for good.

The point of our spiritual path is not to 'succeed'; the point is to get stuff out of our system. Sure, when we fail the resentment will stay with us. On the other side of the coin, though, success breeds arrogance. For us spiritual travelers too much winning is also not good. No, our mission is just to get the stuff completely out of our system. No hard feelings and no lingering arrogance. Just done with. Rumor has it that when one of our outgoing CEOs left the building on his last day of work he jumped into the air full of joy and excitement when he thought that no-one was watching. That's the way to go!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Spiritual Meaning of my Job

We are afraid of not knowing what comes next, and so we make our lives predictable. Don't be afraid of what comes next. You'll be ok. (@PeacefulMindPeacefulLife)

I wish I could explain the spiritual significance of the confusing situation I am in. I work in the financial industry, a profession that is often viewed as greedy and heartless in our spiritual community. I also 'hate' my job as this high pressure environment has given me several nervous breakdowns and turned my hair prematurely gray. My spiritual partner and I nearly broke up over it as she is tired of my endless complaining that I can't take it anymore. Yet, I have a mission to complete here, and strange as it sounds, it has catapulted me into GOD's arms.

I am an introvert so I am naturally shy of meeting others. I also happen to be extremely risk averse. It is only thanks to my job that I understand how different we all are. No one views this world the same, and there is no 'wrong' or 'right' in our perceptions. I work with 'player natures' and realize how happy they are taking on risk why I nearly die facing this uncertainty. It is because of my stressful job that I now understand that my mind is wired to somehow 'protect' itself against the holy NOW.

Life is wild, life is ever-changing, but it is also protective and kind. To experience life's spiritual meaning you have to be open to it 100 percent. I thank my job for having ripped off my protective gear and my blinder. Today I still have qualms taking off my clothes on a public beach when everyone else there is dressed and jump naked into the waters. Yet today I will do it if life asks me to whether I like it or not. Life is a ride encouraging us to set us free of our ego moment by moment. I am living for the NOW and will do whatever it takes to stay next to HER.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Give the Soul what it Wants

Every Soul that incarnates carries with it negativity or it would not take birth all.

My brother asked his wife what she thought of my theory that children choose their parents before they are born. Without thinking she responded, "this is a beautiful theory", perhaps inspired by the recent birth of their son. There was almost something Einsteinesque about her statement. Yes, simple, logical and fair, that's how GOD's laws typically work.

I have always been suspicious of religious doctrines that only a select few are chosen to be with GOD. Sure, everything is possible but that is not where my conjecture would start. Spirituality might be an improvement over religion but there is even exclusiveness and arrogance in the New Age claim that some are somehow more awakened and special than others. 

I hope you see the beauty in Emmanuel's quote from above: no one embodiment on earth is more special than the other. Everyone comes here with a homework. The businessman who retires after 30 years of struggle with greed and ethics might be closer to being done with the rainbow color red than the monk who suppresses sexual temptation in GOD's name.

The self versus SELF tension is real but it doesn't have to be a source of struggle. The Soul has longings and karmic obligations that life reminds us of. Our spiritual path allows us to express our self without cutting our GOD connection. Let's be loving and pure but also flexible and smart. Let life teach us what our Soul really wants and let's live a little.

Showing our Different Faces

The Japanese say you have three faces. The first face, you show to the world. The second face, you show to your close friends and your family. The third face you never show to anyone. It is the truest reflection of who you are.

I will be honest with you, I fear that there is a lot of projecting going on in the 'business of spirituality'. The readers need someone to look up to, a modern-day guru so to speak, and the publishers have little choice but to feed the wishes of their readership in order to stay in business. We 'amateurs' don't have that problem, but there is unfortunately also some escapism in our community. We have a hard time admitting our sometimes lackluster performance in the real world so we compensate by blaming the greedy, evil and egotistic world out there. Unbeknown to us, we inflate our spiritual image to compensate for the fact  that the average Joe apparently doesn't get us.

I probably risk falling in the same trap hence the need for this note. I still experiment how to best communicate and interact in our network of spiritual travelers. I published one book in 2012 - The Magnificent Experiment -  and have been shy to follow it up with a second one for the very reason that I want to keep the divinity of the WAY fresh and real. When I am finally ready to publish another book I want to have 'divine approval' for my work so to speak. We spiritual travelers might not always have the POWER, but when we do, we are 100 percent authentic in sharing IT.

I earn my living in the real world so my spiritual belief-sets are battle-tested. I hardly walk on water there but my colleagues and friends in the financial industry will probably tell you that I do have my moments. And only those I share with you, as well as my lessons learned along the WAY. I live for this divine CONNECTION, and I am grateful for every moment I experience and can share with my readers. No one gets a 100 percent hit ratio in the spiritual realm, but when I do share my insights, I know that they are as authentic as can be. 

Keeping the Japanese proverb in mind, while I try my best to keep all my different faces authentic, in terms of projected power they differ a lot:

spiritual writings and mentorship  (highest)

work  (somewhere in-between)

family and interactions with my soul siblings  (lowest)

I can be a messenger of a higher POWER and thus can appear larger than life now and then. In my day-to-day job as a financial strategist I put up a different face from home as well. I want to demonstrate for everyone that we don't need to be an ego in order to advance professionally. I also want to show that we can overcome our littleness and selfishness as we travel the WAY. Sometimes the more depressed I am beneath the surface, the more extroverted and forceful  I become in my professional interactions. You can call this compensation or projection, but this is what I have signed up for. As one friend in our community put it, I am here to give others hope! At home and when I interact with my soul siblings, on the other hand, I have no qualms telling them when I feel depressed. More than that, I am often at the receiving end to receive their love to get my energy back.

I believe the Japanese are on to something. We have a mission to perform, before GOD, at work and with our friends and family. It is our spiritual mission to use the complexity of this world and our human interaction as a tool for finding out who we truly are beneath the different masks. Authenticity is what we strive for, always. No worries though, GOD keeps us humble and upright. HE has his messengers to tell us when we put up a face that is not us at all.