Sunday, September 24, 2017

Learning from the Dark Night of the Soul Episodes

Hallo darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again.
Because a vision softly creeping,
left its seeds while I was sleeping.
(Sound of Silence, Simon and Garfunkel)

There was a time when I was 'addicted' to sexual chat rooms. Exchanging steamy fantasies with other regular folks like you and me was like sugar for my brain. It was in the early in the internet days when you were always left guessing who really was typing on the other side. How far would they go downhill with  me on the road to ecstasy and darkness? When I came out of these session, covered in sweat and other stuff, I always shrugged my shoulders and justified it with the excuse that at least I never hooked up with anyone for real, not realizing that living in a fantasy world was the problem I needed to address. 


When the AOL and MSN communities closed down in the early 2000s, the gig was over for me. This may really sound strange, but at the end of the day there was a certain innocence in these communities that kept me visiting; the more targeted communities that opened up afterwards was full of people wanted real sex instead. Yet the craving and inner turmoil didn't go away. On the dark nights of the Soul episodes, I substituted porn instead to let go of the frustration and friction that needed to come out. 'Addiction' was never the expression, a compulsive behavior perhaps; a pernicious habit definitely; a dark night of the Soul episode in short.


When my spiritual awakening happened, a long process of letting go started. I had to learn what the inner tension was all about. Just standing up to this dark power with faith or willpower didn't work for me. My intellectual drive wanted to understand what the hell was going on. Then the vision came during a dream, a demon wanted to rape me.

He was full of muscles and ugly at hell. When we wrestled I was surprised to discover that despite all his apparent strength I could hold him at arm's length distance fairly easily. I was not afraid of him. What was this vision all about?


In the dark night of the Soul moments I realized that in all that craving for porn, there was a subconscious lust for power. Someone was always lying on top, and someone was submissive below. Sure, these were the symbols of the ego but why were they appealing to me so much? In the years of soul searching I realized that in all that in my kind character there was also a softness, an unmanliness of sorts that the demon alerted me to. I started hitting the gym, found my voice in all that shyness, and perhaps most importantly, learned iron-will assertion when my spiritual path asked me to put my foot down. I found my authentic power base after years of wrestling with my demon.


Painfully, I changed my life. I learned to stand up for myself in the competitive and occasionally ruthless industry I am working in. When the shy, but intrinsically competitive and assertive man found his voice, the professional success followed. When you perform in the boardroom, you don't need to fantasize about the bedroom! Dark night of the Soul moments are therapeutic. Don't wish your demon away. Find our what he wants from you. What authentic needs have you not yet granted yourself? Go after them and incorporate all aspects of your self into one magnificent masterpiece! Hallo darkness my dear friend, I have come to talk to you again.

The Intention has to be Right

Success is as dangerous as failure. Hope is as hollow as fear. 
What does it mean that success is as dangerous as failure? 
Whether you go up the ladder or down it, your position is shaky. 
When you stand with your two feet on the ground, you will always keep your balance.
(Tao Te Ching)

'Success' is never guaranteed in the endeavor of our choosing. In my line of work as a financial strategist I have seen people with good intentions 'fail' left, right and center. The Tao is beyond success and failure, beyond good and evil. However, no matter what happens to us, we spiritual travelers can always use life's outcomes as a stepping stone for advancing to the next level of spiritual consciousness.

The intention in whatever we do has to be right though, otherwise we will invite failure as we are eventually undermine our SELF. Being naive about our true intentions is ok; that's why we have been signed up for our mission in the first place, to learn what is truly going on inside of us.

I have seen a few people with dark intentions in action, and like clockwork, life took them down. Maybe a decade, sometimes two, but time and karma always get their way. Everyone can change course, though, even if the starting intention was a foul one. Yet those who don't will eventually be taken out. And in contrast to us spiritual travelers, for these shady characters failure does hurt. The Bible states, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Everyone has to realize, darkness is not the WAY.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Addiction - Climbing over the Wall

The Rock said that he was tired of his eating habits so instead of stuffing his face, he was hitting the gym instead. While few of us become wrestlers and Hollywood super stars, we all have to 'climb over a wall' in one way or another. Each and everyone who comes here to earth is born with a tension - a restlessness - that requires identifying, solving and eventually, expressing. GOD is kind, for every challenge there is an outlet to express ourself. Guys like Dwayne 'Rock' Johnson or Arnold Schwarzenegger may have been born with an inner tension, but boy did they find an impressive way to express it.

The enlightened folks tell us that we are not our body, but aren't we glad that the Rock and Arnold didn't listen to them? All of us have these outlets that eventually become our life mission that allow us to make peace with our inner restlessness. That's why we go after our career, our degrees, our life-partner, or whatever else we think we need to do or to experience in order to make peace with our situation. Addiction is an energy that gets stuck within us, waiting to be resolved. Make a change just like Dwayne Johnson did and climb over this wall.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Transformation

Sometimes we refer to philosophy as the discipline of thinking about thinking. I was always interested in it but, quite frankly, too much mental torture gives me a headache! Having insights about thinking, on the other hand, is easy. For us spiritual travelers, Spirit sends us multiple opportunities each and every day to re-evaluate what we have learned, to challenge our set beliefs and to learn to see life with new eyes.

I have been a mind-driven person all my life, and have always assumed that every 'relational' person sees the world the way I do. But then my spiritual path opened up and the presence of many synchronous events showed me that my overactive, opinionated mind may be in need of a little spiritual re-boot.

Everything we see is a symbol of sorts, and the Spirit views the meaning of life's events very differently than we would have it. Spirit shows us over and over that the premise of the mind is only one perspective, and that the perspective of the heart might have more intuition, more wisdom, and certainly offers a whole lot more love!

Our narrow-minded perspective of what's going on in our life is not something that needs to be written in stone. Our ego is also not something that we need to sufferingly ignore or even fight. Look openly at all the perspectives life has to offer, and Spirit will show you what you can to feel proud off and what you should disengage with. 

Having an insight about our ego's perspective is very transformative and can set us free from one day to the next. Looking at the picture from above, I'd rather hang out with the slightly confused crowd in the background than thinking about thinking as Rodin's popular thinker does. Let life and love transform us here and now!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Way of the Spirit

Everyone is needed in GOD's KINGDOM. Everyone fits in as a unique piece of the puzzle, making the picture complete and beautiful.

Did you ever notice how different we all are? The world as we experience is a perfect playground for everyone to express their uniqueness.

Our Soul has longings and we can express them in a spiritually kosher way. We do not need to be afraid of what makes us tick, we just need to be mindful of how to express our longings.

Our ego doesn't have to be the villain. The inner voice can be deluded but the inner Observer can recognize the SPIRIT's messages and can help us choose a path that works for the self, as well as the SELF.

The SPIRIT helps us through the ego confusion and connects us with others. The SPIRIT tells us the mission we have to embark on in order to be connected with GOD. Sign up for the Way of the Spirit!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

What Should we Strive For?

What should we strive for, success? Sure, some success and acknowledgement of our specialness is necessary, as without it, the ego would only eat us for lunch. Yet, 'success' per se is not what we are after along a spiritual path.

What should we strive for, being nice? Sure, the law of karma dictates that we end up getting what we give, so being nice to people will make us a lot happier that being grumpy. Yet, just being nice is also not a goal in itself. There are the occasions when putting our foot down is also part of the WAY.

A spiritual path is the absence of strive, while having laser-like focus when the occasion demands it. It is relaxation in action while being gritty like a bull-dog should some heavy lifting on our part be required. It is flexibly and kindness, just as determination and assertion; it is yin and yang. In short, it is the WAY!

Everything of GOD comes easy, while overriding our conditioning and set ways is hard. The WAY will tell us when to surf with our SELF, and when to let life craft our self.  Staying on track can be hard at times, but seeing the WAY in action gets easier every step of the WAY.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Capture the Magic Moment

When I first saw You, with Your smile so tender,
my heart was captured, my Soul surrendered.
I'd spend a lifetime, waiting for the right time.
Now that you are near, the time is here at last(It's Now or Never, Elvis Presley)

The elusive 'enlightenment' is within our reach, but we have to capture it here and now. The invite to capture our heart is always present, as is the mission our Soul surrenders to.
Who would have thought that there is so much spirituality in an old Elvis song! Life puts us in touch with people and missions worth our while, but we have to develop an eye for the spiritual opportunity at hand. 

Sri Ramana Maharshi always used to say, "What is missing at this moment?" When you think about it, mostly our answer happens to be, 'nothing!' Let's keep reminding ourselves that the magic moment at hand is as beautiful as it gets.