Thursday, March 26, 2015

When does a Faux-Pas become a Bad Omen?

We have all experienced these Freudian Slips; the misspelling of names, the mixing up of words; or the so-called "accidents" that clearly show the opposite of what we intend to accomplish. If you are a spiritual traveler like me, you most certainly have received nudges from the universe to lean in a certain direction. Only these tend to unfold more in form of blessings that we receive at special moments; a sign from the universe when the clock strikes 11:11 just at the time as we hit the send button of an important email would be one such example that many spiritual travelers have observed for themselves. 

So if a moment is not so blessed, how do we know whether it was nothing but a faux-pas, an internal resistance that has to be overcome, or a "bad omen", a divine message that encourages us to change direction? My personal observation, you just never know when it comes to these negative nudges. When your intention and reality clash, you simply have to keep monitoring how life's feed-back mechanism evolves as you embark on what you set out to do. If the resistance only gets stronger as you progress, chances are you have to reposition your goals a little; if the resistance fades on the other hand, chances are that the observed "bad omen" was nothing but your nerves temporarily gaining the upper hand. So never mind a faux-pas here or there, just keep on moving; chances are you are on the right track.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ego Versus Spirit: Who Exactly is Speaking?

Why do many of us experience a so-called mid-life crisis? Is there a divine spark that finally pops up saying, 'Hey, I have always been here waiting for you and finally you are ready to listen!" Or is it perhaps the subconscious realization in us that one day death awaits us and we want to do something meaningful before we die? Does it really matter which voice is speaking up, Spirit or ego? Of course, you will say; after all, you want to know whether God, or the divine Voice inside you is for real, or if you just fooling yourself. Yet, from the perspective of your action to be pursued, it doesn't matter at all. Do something meaningful, feel the love and passion as you do what you do, and rest assure afterwards that it was good!

Personally I think there is way too much ego bashing going on in our spiritual community. It is counter-productive because the institution doing the bashing is the ego itself, wrapped up in holy clothes. No, a spiritual path is all about adjusting the ego's tunnel vision which is present as long as you are around. But you can define the direction, so move the tunnel vision into a direction where the Angel and the demon on your shoulders are both cheering you on. The ego and Spirit don't have to be in conflict at all; they can be rooting for the same thing. Just make love your guiding principle and you will always know that you are headed in the right direction.

EGO Versus GOD: (E)nlightened to sees the (D)ao where you GO

Friday, March 20, 2015

Never mind a little dirt and a little ego

If you need Me, call Me,
no matter where you are, no matter how far.
Just call My Name, I'll be there in a hurry.
On that you can depend and never worry.

I know you must follow the sun, wherever it leads.
But remember, if you ever fall short of your desires,
life holds for you one guarantee, you always have Me.
(Diana Ross, Ain't no Mountain High Enough; my edits)

I remember a story from East Germany just after the wall came down. The people in East Germany didn't really suffer much from allergies in the Communist days, but once all these polluting plants had been shut off, allergies in East Germany caught up pretty quickly with the Western German levels. Why was that? Our body has been build for a little dirt and disease; it gives our body something to do. Just as the warrior needs a battle, and the ego something to fight for, we are built to be on the move and to be exposed to a little dirt and a few germs to function. Without germs, the idle immune system starts attacking itself, and without an earthly mission, our mind soon becomes the devil's workshop.

We spiritual folks spend so much time beating up on the ego, yet we somehow forget that our ego is there for a reason. Fantasizing how spiritual life would be without it is as useful as wishing away all germs and the pollution. We are on a journey to somewhere, driven by our soul longings and our nature. But while we are at it, we can be mindful of our driving force, our longings and the divine Spirit all at the same time. Just as with the immune system analogy, our ego needs to be entertained, so embrace life to keep the fellow happy.

The ego seeks opportunity, life gives us an opportunity to serve others.
The ego seeks outwards, God provides us with a journey Home.
The ego is drawn to lust; God wraps Herself around somebody who will heal us.
The ego loves gold, life sends us diamonds if it is meaningful to us.

We are healthy even though our immune system battles scary invaders all the time. Our body separates the nutrients from the food to provide us with energy while it throws out all the rest. Life presents us with this moment to discover the divine in our mission, in our thoughts, and in our feelings. We don't need to seek God, we can just look up and find Her standing next to us. Never mind a little dirt and a little ego as long as we travel the Way.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Writing the Story of Your Life

I once told my family my theory that children choose their parents, and when my brother mentioned this idea to my sister-in-law, she only replied, "Well, I think this is a beautiful theory." I was a little taken aback when I heard her response; so there was no right or wrong, but instead her assessment was that the idea itself is a beautiful one!

This was many years ago, and my opinions on right and wrong have in the meantime shifted quite a lot. "Right" is what you perceive to be right. If you believe in the randomness of the universe, it will be exactly that. And if you belief in Angels instead, they will visibly walk with you. You are the Creator and it is in your power to write the story you believe in.

There is so much wisdom and insight slumbering inside of you. Let life dig it out for you. Your mind can only write so much, while the heart should provide the overriding theme. Every creative writer knows that "you" only own the initial idea; the creative work takes over from there and you have only so much influence over it. The red threat through the story of your life are your soul longings that have to be expressed and that make you so unique.

I was born and raised in Europe, but lived half my life in the New World. So I spent many years pondering over the tension between the Classic Greek tragedy and the Hollywood ending; today, I am actually quite relaxed about it. Of course we aim for an Hollywood ending, that's what God's Co-Creators do. But if we hit stretches when we have to face meaningful suffering, then so be it. Our soul has demands that may have to grow on us. Every good story will tell you why stuff happens the way it does. 

 But in all that, always remember this is your story. And you are its producer, creative writer and main actor all at the same time. Make it a good one!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Don't Shoot the Messenger

A compulsive habit is nothing but a message that you send to yourself that something is somehow off. You certainly don't help yourself if you attack yourself over it, or that you bemoan your lack of will-power, or your irrationality. Instead, ask yourself what exactly triggered your reaction? And what can you do differently next time around? 

Consider this example that Caroline Knapp quotes in her book, Appetites - Why Women Want: "Not long ago I heard a story about a woman who went to visit her mother for a weekend. Their relationship was, and still is, stormy and complicated, but she got through it with relative serenity - counted to ten under her breath a lot, recounted like mantras lesson learned in decades of therapy, kept her cool. But then, on her way to the airport, this grown, self-aware woman - a paragon of reason and maturity - was overcome with the compulsion to pull her rental car into the parking lot of a 7-Eleven, walk in, and steal a bottle of water. She could not resist; she snagged eight ounces of Evian and fled, embarrassed and confused."

What would you do if you were in her shoes? Along a spiritual path we want to understand why we react the way we do. Fact of the matter is that all of us carry pain bodies around and particular circumstances and people can trigger them for us, which in turn is quite painful. So the compulsive action is nothing but an instinctive reaction to run away from or rebel against these aroused painful memories. 

So we would be asking ourselves what exactly we could do to deal with that shattered self, and we would face our mother next time around with even more commitment to heal our relationship and our past somehow. Perhaps we would use less escape mechanisms when we deal with her, and would take in the pain just as it hits us. Maybe, just maybe we would figure out a thing or two about ourself with every visit. And if in this process and we end up stealing a few more bottles of water or candy bars to get to this point, so be it. 

Shadow work is all about identifying what unresolved issues we have and how we can reposition ourself to do things a little differently next time around. Whatever you do to heal the past, please don't shoot the messenger.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

On Sharing Spiritual Wisdom along the Way

Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else ... Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.” 
― Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

In the Spiritual Networks community I am part of there is one woman in particular who spends half her time telling everyone that she is love impersonated and the happiest person alive, and half of the time describing how she has to tell others that they haven't discovered the light and how she has the duty to lecture them, and how upset they get with her.

I can resonate with her because I used to do the same when I was a bit younger. Yet spirituality isn't that way at all. The Way will tell you what you need to know when you are ready. There never is any violence or tension along the Way. I now wait patiently for my opportunity to say something, and if this opportunity never comes along, so be it.

Something else has changed in me. Now I perceive no urgency whatsoever to share what I feel works for my friend. When I say what I feel I have to say I of course hope that my friend will see it that way too, but if he for some reason gets mad with me then so be it too. I somehow feel indifferent about the whole thing. I am just Her instrument; the Way always knows what works best for everyone. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Life Heals

I am part of a spiritual community in which we often discuss the world's problems and the ruthlessness, aggressiveness and selfishness in the so-called "real" world. Yet, enlightened as we supposedly are, can we really keep the rascal called ego in check? After all, when we sit there and feel happy with ourselves, looking down on all the greedy, competitive and unloving people, isn't that yet another ingenious way to feel special?

I don't mind dealing with the so-called "real" world. As a matter of fact, I feel at home there. True, for every desire, plan and action, I have both Angel and demon sitting on my shoulder like  every other ordinary mortal. But whatever our initial agenda is, it actually doesn't matter as long as we allow the Tao to heal us in the process. The Tao will always turn all events and circumstances in such a way that we end up going with Her vision; yet, the demon will not feel cheated either; everything unfolds in a manner that he also agrees with.

Life heals, and that is potentially true for everyone, spiritual or not. For the CEO who makes the spiritually right decision because a trusted employee tells him to; the womanizer who finally marries the woman who conquers him; the criminal who finally settles down because he wants his children to grow up in a better neighborhood. Stop judging your previous mistakes and quit criticizing others. Just keep your eyes and ears open for the next step along the Way, and Angels will walk next to you.