Saturday, 3 May 2008

Be yourself, and be strong. Realization is only for the strong, the pure and the upright......

The title for this blog entry is taken from the book called 'Life stories of sixteen monastic disciples of Sri Ramakrishna'. For me the toughest part of the spiritual journey lies in the first two words 'be yourself'. This begs the question, who I am. How can I be myself if I don't know who I am. From being on this path since the age of 11 I understand that I am not who I think I am. Who I think I am is a product of the decisions I made to survive when I was a child. Every decision I made then has made me who I am now. The decision I made that I had to be generous in order to survive life in an Irish catholic boarding school with girls who were different to me. I was different because I had an English accent and they were all Irish.

The shock realization that 'I didn't belong' forced me to put in place a strategy for survival that was not who I was. I put in place a strategy of generosity. This became what I was known for. I put everyone before me, everyone was better, smarter, funnier than me. I sold out on myself in order to be generous to others. Being generous was then an identity I took on, it's not who I am. The words 'be yourself' while they sound easy are not. To establish who or what is myself takes a huge amount of work, ruthless compassion with ourselves and an acceptance that whatever the way of being that was put in place to survive in the past wasn't wrong, it just doesn't work now.

I looked closely at this trait of generosity that I had and realised how much it had limited me and how it was not who I am. I saw that generosity stopped me from being straight, and authentic. I wasn't being true to who I was because the hold that generosity had on me wouldn't allow it. I saw this, saw the impact that it has had on me all these years. I have a distance from my family because my trait of being generous meant I could never be straight because that might hurt them and that wasn't generous. The impact is that for years they have never known where they stand with me. This wasn't helped by me leaving my 2 younger brothers to go away to boarding school. For me that was an act of generosity because tension at home when I was young which I felt always revolved around me meant that I decided that my family would be happier if I wasn't there. So I put myself into the Irish Catholic boarding school when I was 11.

But my brothers don't know this. I feel that the context they have for their sister is someone who has always done what she wants. Their context for me might be that I'm selfish. From seeing how this strategy of generosity has limited me in that it has prevented me from being straight I have now created the possibility of being straight and this is now what I am. I know that it is what I was supposed to be if I didn't have to put in place a strategy for survival. I know though that this straightness I have now is going to take a while to be accepted by my family. I wouldn't blame them if their atttidue to me is now like 'where were you all those years, now you want to get involved'. I know that I have such a lot to make up for.

The purpose of writing all this is not to use this blog as some kind of cathartic relief but to demonstrate how deep the delusion is that we 'know yourselves'. I would assert that we don't. We know the product of decisions we made when we were children and think that this is 'me'. But this is not. The tough and painful task of looking beyond what we think is 'me' will reveal the source out of which the 'me' was formed. I wish that I had seen earlier in my life the impact that putting in place the generosity strategy for survival would have on my capacity to be powerful and to touch and move and inspire others. What I have leart is that generosity when it is used to cover up a weakness such as the fear of not belonging will never inspire people, only being straight and authentic will inspire.

I can and am still generous but the difference now is that it is not used to cover up a weakness. Generosity is an important trait on the spiritual path, the generosity to have the faith with or without the realization that we are all one, and all connected. This generosity is important. But one has to careful not to do what I did for so many years and that is to use what are spiritual traits to cover up human weaknesses. When we see where we are doing this, we give it up and create a new possibility from the space of the nothingness then we are authentic and with authenticity comes power.......

Yesterday I returned back to the gym and did 2 hrs of Astanga yoga. I have had a difficult relationship to yoga over the years. Every so often I get a thought in my head 'I must do some yoga'. I will go off and find a class and then usually half way through the class will get bored. My body is quite stiff and with the 2 operations on my foot, I have no balance' so I experience quite high levels of frustration when I can't stand still without wobbling and everyone else can. The usual result is that I give up. Yesterday though, even though I still wobbled and had difficulty with some of the Asanas my mind was calm. The result afterwards though was what amazed me I felt so light and expanded. I was walking along in the bright sunshine and suddenly my consciousness expanded to such an extent that I felt the absence of all physical boundaries. When this happens there is no doubt in my mind about the connection of all to all by THE ALL.....

No comments: