Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Letting Go of Safety

I've written about letting go of resistance, and in general, that topic is the underlying issue for pretty much all things that we have to let go of in life. Letting go of safety is really about letting go of the idea of safety. In essence, we are holding on to an idea about what safe is and what it should feel like. This invariably puts us in resistance to what the moment is bringing us because most moments don't play out the way we want them to in our idealized version of "safety." So safety is a huge issue, and probably even more true to the point, it's hiding a fear around mortality. So let's tease this issue out because so much of our lives are lived out through this fear that we won't be okay and will otherwise be harmed somehow.

Unsafe, Unsettled, and the Unknown
The issue of safety is important to understand, especially before spiritual awakening. If you can start to understand what you're afraid of, then when the whole kit and kaboodle goes up in flames, you'll be a little more present to how safety issues are flaring up. For most people, safety and familiarity are intertwined. The two, however, are not even remotely the same. The fear of the unknown that plagues so many of us has us fooled. We react from things that we don't know as if they're the enemy. In so many ways, this is the root cause of racism and discrimination of all types. It is the simple statement being enacted over and over again of "If I don't know you, then you're not safe."

This, of course, isn't true. This is part of the core delusion of duality. In the deepest most profound way, those of you in spiritual awakening see through this. You see that all is one. Yet the old lens of dualistic sight and your old issues may not be completely cleared away. In many respects, you're going through a profound shift into the unknown. No one can tell you what's going to happen, so if you've got a lot of safety issues, all of them are being lit up simultaneously. And you may not know what to think or to do.

Take a breath. Let go.

Familiarity and the Fear of the Unknown Unwound
Here's a more grounded example. A woman stays in a relationship with a man who beats her. This most likely is part of a history of abuse starting in her family. But it's what she's used to. It's familiar. She stays. She stays despite the humiliations from the bruises and the words of advice from her friends. She stays because "he's a good man, after all." But she really stays because she's afraid of the unknown. If she leaves, everything has to change. It may be a brand new thing in her family lineage for a woman to leave an abusive husband (because these traits are often in-grained in families seven generations deep or more). She doesn't know what to do. She doesn't understand what new behaviors she should be doing, and if she doesn't understand what she's been doing to co-create these abusive situations, she'll most likely connect with another abuser before long.

Now, this situation will involve the woman letting go of her idea of what safety is to be able to actually get to real safety. She has to leave the familiar and embrace the unknown to get to the real safety that she deserves in life. And in so many ways, for people waking up right now, this is the core truth. You are not going to "feel" safe in your awakening. You are going to be wide-open and vulnerable. It's a very raw feeling. But where you are isn't safe. Most people have been living in some sort of misery, but they have accepted it because they didn't know that they could live any other way and because it seemed safe--familiar and dependable. He may beat you every Friday night when he comes home drunk, but at least you know what to expect.


Owning Your Responsibility in Creating Your Own Misery
This is hard stuff. This is some of the nit-gritty, grime that we all start to look at in the bottoms of our souls. It's the kind of stuff that when you scrape it out, you're like, "Oh my God. Have I really been carrying that around?" Yes. Yes, you have. We all have. I feel like At the time of posting this blog, I'm going through one of these very periods, and the slop looks something like runny tar coming out of me (this is an energetic visualization, mind you :). After all the awareness that's embodied in me, seeing this stuff can be stunning. I'm like "Holy mother, what the f#$%? I thought I'd cleaned out most of that stuff." But as I teach my students, we all go through multiple rounds of clean out as we get more energy, awareness, and trust to just let go. We let go deeper into the awareness, and more stuff gets pushed to the surface.

This means that you continually have to own your own misery. Life is not crapping on you. For the most part, you've been crapping on you. You've played small. You've done mean things to yourself and others. Just think about all the hours you make yourself stay in a crappy job. When you come right down to it, no one makes you go to work. You do. You can always get another job if you quit or got fired. Even in a bad economy. Heck, sometimes in a bad economy, there are more interesting options bubbling up to the surface because people are having to get creative. So you don't have too many excuses--not in this country or most modern countries. Most of us don't have the job of farming, which is directly tied to eating and providing for our families. We've been given A LOT. Sometimes, it's just about realizing this that starts to move you towards letting go of what you think you have and towards embracing what you could be.

Deeper Safety: The Still Waters of the Soul
There is no real safety in the world. We all will die. Recently, I've seen and heard about a couple sudden deaths that have caught people in my social network by surprise. One moment someone is alive, and then the next they're not. There's no warning or preparation. It just happens. It could happen to me. I could be dead after posting this blog. There are no guarantees, and there is no way to fully safety-proof life.

But most of our egos try and fail. They try to keep us emotionally safe, physically safe, financially safe (which usually plays in to the other 2), and so forth. Think about how after breaking up two people try to avoid each other (trying to be emotionally safe). I've heard some interesting ways where places and events are divided up so that they won't run into each other. But ultimately, it's all illusion. It's all an ego game, and when the ego dissolves during awakening, the true safety in the stillness of the soul can come forward. As I always say, we all have egos, but when you are re-born in this process, you have a whole other relationship to yourself and your ego--your point of view and story about yourself. It's really quite amazing. You don't have superpowers per se, but you live and see the whole world in a very different way.

Inner Stillness, Safety, and Walking Through the Unknown
A lot of you in awakening know what it's like to go back and forth. You go back to the old way of being, and suddenly, you're terrified. Then you open back up to the unknown and the stillness of awakening, and you're at peace. Nothing seems wrong anywhere. It's a beautiful place, which you see clearly and without filter. And then something--some old issue flares up again--and you're back in the fear and trying to find some semblance of safety anywhere.

In many respects, this is the inhale and exhale of spiritual awakening. It is expansion and contraction. It is the washing out of the old issues, allowing us to see them and to release them. Somehow, I think the issue of safety is always the hardest to let go. In Western society, we spend so much time trying to be safe. Being socially accepted, wealthy, and all that stuff are just elements of an expanded idea of what it means to be safe. Those concepts have to go because ultimately you can never be truly safe until you're safe within your own skin. When you come to that inner sense of safety, you'll see the world completely differently, and your fears will dissolve. It's a profound space, and it's one that we all can enjoy when we're simply ready to let go.
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