Monday, July 10, 2006

Watching Carefully

I've been watching myself lately, a bit in horror, and all sorts of feelings and emotions move through me. I've rejected so many aspects of myself as being non-spiritual or incompatible with my spiritual life and goals. But it's simply not possible to continue to reject the self in any way, and embrace love at the same time.

So I'm trying to be very aware in the midst of what I'm experiencing. I'm working hard to breathe and stay calm and stay present with myself. And when I can do that, I can see that whatever I'm feeling is a balloon at the end of a string that goes way, way back to something else - something old and deep.

I'm not trying to dig things up. I'm not going looking for old habits or feelings. But they keep appearing in my life. They keep appearing as helium balloons, so bright and big that I cannot hope to ignore them. And I can't just pop them and make them disappear. They are demanding attention, filling my field of vision so that I can't see anything else anyway.

So - I've been looking to see where the string holding these balloons is anchored. And it's deep, deep, deep. But there's nothing to do but continue this process. I don't know if at some point these balloons will delight me or if they, as a collective helium balloon bouquet, will lift me up and away from some present reality. Maybe there's some gift here - that what looks like unavoidable pain is ultimately what elevates the soul.

I don't know. But I have to follow this for now and see where it's going. Every time before these balloons have appeared I have disappeared. I have removed myself further and further from my own life, squeezing myself out to make room for them. And I always thought they were brought to me by someone else cluttering up my space and complicating my life. So, of course, I did what I could to distance myself from the person bringing all that clutter with them.

But they have appeared on their own this time. And I think they've actually been invited by me. I've asked them to return and make their presence known. It's time for everything hidden to become visible and clear, no matter how I feel about it, no matter how much it seems incompatible with who I have wanted to be, no matter what it requires to acknowledge it and stay present and not run away.

This is where any spiritual practice starts to be relevant. Not in what I have to share with others, but in the way I live, in the way I breathe, in who I am.

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