Friday, May 11, 2012

Moving Into Stillness: The Power of Presence

Eventually as all the old lies burn off, you move into stillness. This doesn't mean that you sit around and do nothing all the time. This means that your internal state is still. It may not always stay quiet there, but for the most part, you are still. Emotions come and go. Things may become intense. Your state of consciousness may shift. You may be excited or sad, but that center point is always there. You can go back to it when you need to. You are securely grounded to it. It's a beautiful space, and it's where this awakening process both ends and starts anew. Because once you are fully connected to yourself--because that's ultimately what you are connecting to--then you can step back into the world in a new way.

The Last Lies Burn Up and Evaporate
One of the big lies in Western Culture is that you must define yourself by what you do. It's a crock of shit. There's no truth to it, and the reality is that people are frantically running around and exhausting themselves. They are doing too much to try and get somewhere. They don't even know where that somewhere is, but they're afraid to stop moving. Perhaps you're afraid to stop moving. If you're in the awakening process, you will run out of steam very soon, or you have already been forced to stop. You just don't have any energy for anything but the internal shift. This is actually a very wise part of ourselves. We know that if we have too much energy that we'll waste it like a kid with five extra dollars going into a candy store. We are still learning how to truly nourish ourselves, and so in some ways, having no energy is a kind of self-protection that will allow us to be with the shift fully. I've written about awakening fatigue, and I often describe the process as running 3 marathons simultaneously. So on that level, there simply is no more energy for anything else. Which means you end up lying on your couch or yoga mat for long periods of time doing absolutely nothing.

Doing Gives Way to Being
There is another thing happening as well; your desire to do things is being destroyed. You will notice how much stuff that you do is really superfluous. People already know that they work way too much in this culture, and yet, even in some of our recreation times, we are busy "doing" something. People sometimes come back from their vacations more exhausted than before them because of all the stuff that they did. Is that not strange? If this didn't seem strange to you before, it does now.

Additionally, you can see how many things that you have done that no longer have any integrity for you. Consider all the drinking and partying saying meaningless things and doing harmful things to your body. Is that really fun to your true self? No. Not even a little bit. Heck, I don't even like eating too much ice cream anymore. It is kind of sickening to me now. That's a far cry from where I once was, but the inner intelligence that I have is very alive and awake. It becomes clearer and clearer what things need to be done and what actions actually serve spirit.


Taking Stock of Your Doings
Wherever you are on your path, I encourage you to take stock of your doings. What are you doing? Why are you doing it? How does that feel to you? Start to look into what is coming from a heart-space or sense of service, and then look at what things you think you have to do. Now, there's a naive element that thinks it can just flake out and lie on the beach all the time. That's not how this sense of integrity works. You'll be very clear about what things you need to do. You'll be very clear about needing to dedicate time to help your kids with their homework or spend time with your partner. You'll be very clear about how much work you actually need to do to meet your needs, and you will suddenly see the ridiculousness of constantly trying to earn more or do more. It's just going to get crystal clear.

But that clarity will also bring changes in your behavior, which will change the types of interactions you select and the types of people who will be in your life. In general, this seems to be a sticking point for people. We all seem to have the most attachments to other people and how they are supposed to make us feel or participate in our lives. But all attachments have to go, and as you see how you used to do things, you'll see where others in your life are still caught up in the hamster wheel, going round and round. Have compassion when you see this. You were once there too.

Dropping Into the Depths of Stillness
This all leads up into the relaxation that is stillness. Many teachers talk about sitting on park benches for hours and hours. It's not because of lack of initiative or laziness. Those are ego ideas bred by this culture to keep us in a panic and constantly running. What those of us who have awakened realize is that there is no where to go. We can see the hamster wheel for what it is. If we choose to get into it, it comes from a place of clarity and because we simply decide to do so. But usually that doesn't last long, and more and more, all you really want is stillness. Just to be. Just to be with what is around you. The concept of forcing places and people into molds that you once desired goes away. The concept of needing to define yourself by what you do goes away. I may say that I am a spiritual teacher, healer, and a writer, but that's really just what I do. Those are clothes that I choose to where from time to time. I can take them off. I can just be, and in that place, there is so much beautiful ease and lightness that it becomes easier and easier to let go of any remaining ideas and illusions about needing to do something.


The Urge to Action Arises and Even The Mountain Moves
Even for a mountain, there are times when it will move if there's a strong enough urge from the Earth to do so. Otherwise, it simply sits in its space. In this way, many of us become like mountains. A profound presence just exudes out of grounded awakened people. At the end of the transition, you simply are. And in that space, you can choose to act when an urge comes to do so, or you can choose not to. It's that simple.

Every urge is different and has different force behind it. The more tuned into yourself that you are, the more clear you are about the urge and any remaining story behind it. A long time ago I wrote about the differences between desires and urges. Desire wants something and thinks a particular action or thing will make it happy. It's bound up in attachment. An urge is much more basic. We all have urges to eat. A desire would say, "I want a fast-food hamburger." The desire thinks that will satisfy the underlying urge to eat, and of course, many of us will eat something like that and then feel bad because it ultimately didn't satisfy the urge. Perhaps the urge wanted broccoli. It will come back, however, and you'll have another chance to tune in more deeply to yourself.

Letting Go of Action
Once again, I am writing about letting go. Letting go is one of the ultimate tools on the spiritual path. It underlies most of the tools that I talk about. Most of the tools (journaling, energy healing, etc.) are about allowing you to face something so that you can let it go and clear your inner space. Because the world is getting lost in "doing," it's important to remind you that at some point, you need to let go of action. As I said, this isn't going to make you lazy or totally laissez-faire. For some of you, letting go of some actions will lead you to realize the need to take immediate action in other ways. Many actions in our lives are often reactions to the need to do things that we don't want to do. It can get intense when you start taking conscious actions, but I've found that over time, things settle. Once you've got onto the path you need to be on, the road gets significantly less rocky and requires fewer adjustments. This leaves you with plenty of time to pause and just be. And in that being, you will more greatly shift the world with love and peace than you can possibly imagine.

Today's wonderful picture is from my student, Jenn.
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