All Loving Presence

Hello Scott, I find myself wanting to ask for your help concerning the relationship between what I take to be my own insight into life, awareness, etc. on the one hand, and my actual conduct and experience of life on the other. The gap between these two has consistently been the most painful thorn digging into my side for a number of years. On a verbal level I can “talk the talk,” spiritually speaking, probably as well as (and often better than) most of the people I know, and yet I still find myself longing for a deeper conscious *experience* of oneness with everything than I have hitherto known. I am also consistently disappointed with my own emotional and physical reactions to the events and situations in my life, and with the choices that I sometimes find myself making when I know good and well that they are not for the best. Any practical pointers you can offer me will be greatly appreciated. For the most part I seem to be able to answer my own questions; in fact, a part of me feels that it’s silly to be asking you. My own internal guru is telling me right now that it’s not about *experiences* at all, that if I find myself in this present moment having an experience of perceived separateness, then that’s what needs to be happening. Perhaps I am just realizing more completely the reality of my own individual perspective, and through this will come a still deeper realization of the absolute awareness that underlies this. My inner guru is telling me that even if this understanding is flawed, don’t worry about it, because the problem isn’t solved by thinking anyway. Just bring more “presence” to it, just abide in the here and now (which is the only place and time that it’s possible to be anyway) and the perceived problem will dissolve of its own accord when it’s good and ready, in its own proper time. But having said that, I’m glad I’m still going ahead with this e-mail to you, because it is so helpful sometimes to reconfirm that my inner guru, my own highest self, is identical with you, and with everyone else.

Thanks so much for the continued light and love over the years.

Thank you for your letter. I apologize for taking so long to respond — our computer has been in the shop for quite some time. We’re back up now, however, so thank all of you for your patience and support.

This question and variations on it come up more than any other. Another close friend recently wrote:

To my perception, I am like a guy trying to fly by pulling on his shoelaces – there are moments when I am flying, but I am very well aware that the flight only persists while I am strenuously tugging my bootstraps. I can go into spaces of wonder and delight sitting in my room alone or being alone, spaces in which there is great clarity about the awakeness that is here, spaces in which there is great obviousness that there is just this moment, but as soon as I am with others, my habitual ways of hating myself and hurting myself make it obvious that I am not in flight. I can’t pretend any more that these habitual ways are just minor obscurations of ‘the view’: They are a source of pain for me and they affect my life negatively over and over again. I’m not kind to others because I’m not kind to myself. I don’t really know what ‘loving myself’ means in any kind of visceral way and it seems vital to me that I do know.

All this has taken me back to therapy lately. I’ve been working with a therapist who I like a lot & who I feel very supported by. He points me to my heart, over and over, saying that if I will just use the great resource that I have there, my self-hating could evaporate. I’ve tried, Scott, Lord knows I’ve tried to jump over this piece and so move beyond it, around it, through it, but so far no good.

I’ve always felt drawn to your open-hearted kindness, yet don’t access it in myself, particularly once I am away from your company. I have the story that you broke through into your own heart one day in desperation and that one day, I will too, or perhaps if I just plug away at being kind to myself, it will happen. In back of myself the voice says, “he [ie Scott] must not be seeing that I am such a mess”. [My therapist] says that I’ve been practicing this way of being for so long that it’s become second nature and that if I will practice something else [like being kind to me], I would find that I am OK as I am. Funny, in another corner of my being it’s clear that I am fine.

Concerning ancient neurotic habits and identities, don’t worry about what arises in thought and feeling. Just don’t dwell on them. We are, in effect, what we give our attention to, what we think is important, what we love. I have never been a particularly good or moral person — historically quite to the contrary. What makes life different these days, however, is that I am in love with kindness. I am in love with awareness. I am in love with truth. I am in love with generosity. I am in love with wisdom. I meditate on them. I think about them. Many times during the day and evening, I explore creative ways to give myself to them. Why? Because I am in love with them. I want to share them with everyone. They are such joy, happiness, and peace — for this body, that body, for just about every body. I just bought a keyboard. I am going to write poems and songs to them. That happens when you are in love. It’s not so much that I’m disciplined (I’m not). It’s just that I am in love. Be in love. That’s all.

-Your own Self-
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