Out of the Shadows

Shadows

As the days begin to grow longer again, and the light grows brighter, it’s an excellent time to reflect, renew and reclaim our Selves. Time to let go of all that is not True, and bring forward all that is.

Awakening is not a distant dream, something that will one day bless us, like a lightening bolt from heaven. It is the very next choice you make. It is the moment in which you choose Love – expansion – over contraction. Only Love is real – the rest is illusion. Only light is real. Darkness is simply the absence of light. Hate is simply the absence of Love.

Within each of us, lies an inexhaustible reservoir of Love. It can never be destroyed, it can never be permanently stained – it is in fact, unstainable. In a flash, you can come to, wake up, right now! It doesn’t have to be a monumental shazam! Awakening can be as small as a burst of joy at a childs smile, true appreciation of a mouthful of food, an honest sense of compassion at the plight of another being half way around the world.

Why not try it, right now. Pick a fear – any fear – and answer me this: is that fear based in this very moment, or does it live in the future? If it’s a future fear – even five minutes from now – release it. Let it go. Take a deep breath, and let it go. If its an immediate fear, something you’re in and need to face, then face it, embrace it, and look for the teaching within. For there is nothing that happens to us – not one thing – that is not an offering. It all comes down to perspective. Can you learn to feel gratitude for even that which entangles you? If you can, that gratitude itself will help to cut the bonds that hold you down.

Ah the joys of spaciousness, of boundlessness. Of letting go. Again, again, again. There is no permanence in this plane of existence. Nothing stays the same – even the very cells of your body are constantly in motion, constantly shifting. We try so desperately to fix things in time and space, and in that attempt lies our suffering. Our attempts to be secure, leave us in a desperately insecure place. We are constantly, frantically trying to shore up the structure of our self – our egoic self. Let that go, and you will find deep peace.

And when you find that deep peace, rooted in trust, then you will find that you move through the world with radiance. If you want to change this world, if you want to make this world more peaceful, then let yourself be peace.

And then, perhaps, take one more step, from being to doing….for the time has come to get active! To find out what your true gift is, to unwrap it, and share it with the world. Find out why you’re here, with this precious human life, and celebrate!

A brand new year is coming our way, filled with potential, and challenges. Can you feel the tremblings of a new humanity budding beneath the soil?

It’s a thrilling time to be alive, a time when absolutely anything can happen, a time when each of us is here to make a difference, when who we are and what we do can tip the scales, so that once again the forces of life will hold the reigns of power. True power, the power of Love.

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NEW YEARS REVOLUTION

 

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It’s solstice time, the darkest time of the year, a time of transition, of death and rebirth.  The Sufi’s have a beautiful phrase, “die before you die”, and now is the time to do that!  Die to all that is not beauty, all that is not truly you, all that is dysfunction, habit, stale energy stuffing up you’re Being.  Let it go!

Our true essence is like a sculpture buried in rock, it’s always there, we just need to remove all that it is not.  Chip away the unessential, to the heart of who we are.

This time of transition, from the old year into the new, from the short dark days, to the beginning of the longer days, is an opportunity to clear away those ancient grooves that are choking our growth.  We all have them, if we just look a little closer.  Even those of us who have spent our whole life in spiritual practice, in trying to become self aware, have got stuff to release.   Old stuff. Hidden stuff.  Subtle stuff perhaps, but stuff nonetheless.

This has definitely been a transition time for me, a time of deep reflection,and deep release.   And I think I’m getting somewhere, actually letting go of some unconscious shadow gunk that was tripping me up.

Last night I had a the kind of dream that would be a field day for a Jungian Therapist.

  There was this merry go round, and all these people were hanging from ropes, tied at the wrists, and  a jailer was at each persons foot.  I came up, and freed the tired, sad, beaten victims. The jailer was not happy about this, but in the face of my awareness, he had no choice.

Then I got into a royal carriage, with a Queen, and we rode towards the
palace, where a shadow king had taken power.  As we rode, we shouted to the people of the kingdom, “there is nothing to fear, the false king is no longer in power.”  As we approached the palace, boldy proclaiming that the reign of terror was over, we looked back to see this enormous parade behind us, and a huge army, supporting us.  The reign of the shadow king was over!

 We all have a shadow king inside us, that patriachal energy force of domination, that thinks only of himself, who enslaves and rules the kingdom like a cowboy – like a George Bush.   In becoming conscious of him, and admitting to his existence, his power if diminished, and eventually, we can free ourselves, and those around us, from his grip.

 This what is happening to our personal pysches, and it is what is happening to the collective unconscious of the world.

 For too long, we have allowed the Shadow Kings to rule this world, pretending not to see the damage they have wrought, or acting as if we were helpless to create change.

Those days are ending!  The Shadow Kings are losing their grip.  Shoes are being hurled in their faces, and their time in power is coming to an end.

Not that I condone shoe throwing as a path to change, but it was kinda satisfying.  On a side note, it is said that Padmasambhava, the man who who brought Buddhism to Tibet, became enlightened when his teacher hit him with a sandal.  George Bush no doubt missed his big chance when he ducked!

As we move from the days of darkness, into the days of light, it’s time to celebrate.  It’s time to be grateful for all the teachings of the past, the difficult ones, and the luminous blessings, and release all that is unnecessary and obsolete.  Just let it go!  It’s time to look deep within, and burn away all that is not Love.  Just let it burn!

REVOLUTIONARY LOVE

 

 “At the risk of sounding ridiculouslet me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.”- Che Guevara

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It begins and ends with love.  If there is one lesson, one key to being all you can be – and I don’t mean being a soldier, I mean being a warrior – it’s learning to love.   But just what does that word, love, mean?  It has become so fraught and loaded with double meanings and empty promises that many are justifiably cynical at the mere mention of love.   I’m not talking sentimental love, I’m not talking hallmark love, I’m not talking ‘luv.’  I’m talking about a fierce love, a revolutionary love, a true love, a love beyond illusion, a love that is not afraid to freak you out with the truth, even when it hurts like hell.  This Big Love is agape love, it’s a universal love, and it is, I believe infused in all of creation.   

When I asked Archibishop Desmond Tutu one of my favourite questions,  “what is the meaning of life”, he replied, “The God in whose image we are created, is a God of love.  We are the result of a divine loving.  Ultimately we’re meant for love…we’re meant as those who will communicate love and make this world more hospitable to love.”   

You don’t need to believe in God to feel the power of this truth – somewhere deep inside us all, is a bonfire of love, that we are here to embody, to unleash, to liberate from captivity.

Take a moment and send your awareness down to your heart, and see if you can feel a little taste of this vast love which is hidden there, like a shining diamond – your diamond heart.   Can you feel it burning within?  Or do you find constriction? A little of both?

If you’re like most of us, there is a thick armour coating around the jewel of love at the heart of your heart.  We create this  shield in  an attempt to keep the pain away, but what it really does is keep the pain in.    If you could only release  this fiery love from it’s hiding place onto the world, your every word, your every action, would be a blessing and boon to all you encounter.  And all that love would come right back at you.

How do we unleash the vast reservoir of love from inside us?   Little by little, day by day, step by step we can open the gates.  Don’t expect it to happen all at once, but if you make a conscious decision to reverse the process – from building up that armour plating, to tearing it down – it will happen.

Sounds scary?  Of course it is!  What could be more frightening than loving and allowing love in!   But, what could be more rewarding?  Nothing on earth.   The love I’m talking about is not dependent on others – it’s not something that anyone has to give you. It is already alive, inside each and every one of us.   It is always there, just waiting for you to access it.  

Opening your heart does not mean giving away your freedom, it does not mean surrendering to every person who comes along and demands a piece of you.  The kind of love I’m talking about begins with loving yourself, and then radiates outwards.  If you do not love yourself, you cannot love others effectively. And sometimes, the most effective and compassionate way to love another is to say ‘no’, especially when they are hurting you, the planet, or other people.   

Do you love you?  Really?   Chances are, if you are like most of us, there’s at least a piece of yourself that you just do not Love. Maybe it’s even the whole package. You are not alone – there is an epidemic of self hatred in our society.  Not all cultures have been trained to dislike themselves in quite the same way those of us in the west have, though the disease is spreading, with a global, all pervasive media campaign that teaches us that we lack…something.  It doesn’t matter exactly what it is we are lacking, just a vague sense of lack is good enough to make us ripe for commercial exploitation.  We might be lacking the right clothes, the right car, the right brand of cigarettes, we might be lacking youth, the right butt, a big enough penis, an HD TV.  There’s always something that we need, and we’re never quite good enough. But we could be, if we only had the right appliances, the right deodorant, another hit of viagra.   

There are  many other sources for this pervasive sense that we are not good enough – or not good period. Parents, peers, friends and relatives can all be dampers, stomping out our spark. We each have our own personal moments when this feeling may have taken root, turning points in our life that become touchstones of self loathing.   It’s important to recognize them, see them, bring them into the light of your conscious mind, and release yourself from their hold.  Because you are worth it. You deserve to be loved, by the world, and by yourself.  You deserve to be loved, simply because of who you are.  Not because of what you do, what you have, what you look like, but simply, because of who you are.  You don’t need to be anything more than yourself.  Your true self.

Tibetan culture is one of the lucky ones – as a community, they’ve largely escaped the disease of self hatred.  Some years ago an interviewer was explaining to the Dalai Lama how we in the north suffer so much from self worth issues.  He was genuinely puzzled, “really?  You hate yourself?  How strange.  Very very strange.”  In Tibet, they love each other, and they love themselves. 

 It is very difficult to truly love others, if you do not first learn to love yourself.  If we all loved ourselves, we would soon find that conflict would disappear in the world.    If every tin pot dictator learned to truly love himself, if every general, every leader, every jailer, every gang member, every would be killer, were to learn self love, this would be a very different world.   We project our self hatred outwards, onto others, and onto the planet herself.  In the feature documentary, “The Age of Stupid”, a man from the future,  looking back at the mess we made of this beautiful world,  wonders how we could have let things go so wrong.  Why did we fail to save ourselves?  Perhaps, he suggests, the answer might be that we didn’t think we were worth saving.

But we are!  We are so very worth saving, each and every one of us.  We are part of an extraordinary wave of manifestation, an incredibly rare and precious pearl of self aware consciousness in a vast expanse of silent space, and we are so very beautiful.  You are so very beautiful.  This does not mean you are perfect. Neither am I.  You’re not here to be perfect. You are here to be human.  You are here to be perfectly imperfect.  It’s how the light gets in.   This doesn’t mean  rest on your laurels – keep growing, at all costs, keep growing, but do it with self love, not out of self hate. 

WARNING:  self love does not equal narcissism.   One of the major pitfalls on the road to true self love is the trap of narcissism.  It’s an important but sometimes confusing distinction.  Narcissism means seeing only yourself, loving only yourself, to the exclusion of all others.  Perversely, many of us are self hating narcissists, obsessed with ourselves, and unable to truly see others.   Hitler was a narcissist, and projected his extreme narcissism onto a public willing to be seduced by claims that they were the chosen ones, the Aryan race.   This is not self love – this is hatred disguised as self love.   

In order to distinguish between healthy love of the self, and unhealthy narcissism, ask yourself:  am I loving myself from a place of ego, or from the authentic self?  The authentic self is Love.  It only Loves.  It does not hate.  To hate is to be inauthentic.  At the same time, the authentic self Loves in an egoless manner, as it is by definition beyond the ego.  This kind of self love is true, deep and sustaining, and will never draw you into the trap of self obsession, a sad and depressing addiction in our society.   True self love is a window to loving others, not a doorway that shuts out the world.  

To serve the world, to truly be of service, we need to be very very conscious.   We need to look at old programs, and see if they are running the show, instead of our true heart.  For women, in particular, the old models of serving others have been put in place and maintained by the patriarchy.  All of us, men and women, have to take a good look at how we go about serving this planet. We are not meant to live on our knees, we are here to stand tall on our feet, to truly shine.  We serve best from a place of power, not from a place of submission.  Not patriarchal power, but true power, a more feminine power – a generous, compassionate, loving power, that has no desire to dominate, but refuses to be dominated.

This week we interviewed Shandra Alexandre, founder of the Sha’can Tradition, for the film Redvolution.  She described how,  in Hindu mythology, the goddess Kali is shown with four arms.  On the one side, her arms hold gifts and boons.  On the other, a sword and a severed head.  The sword is for severing the head of the ego.  Painful as this may be, it is also the path to true freedom.   Terrifying as those Kali moments might be in our life, they also can be much more powerful and transformative than all the cuddling and coddling in the world.  We tend to want the gifts and boons of life, and want to avoid the fierce rewards of truth, but we do so at the expense of our growth.   

Fierce Self Love is not about denying our shadow, it’s not about being lazy and settling for less.  It’s about loving your potential, and choosing to water that seed.  Believing that no matter where you are right now, at the bottom of the barrel, or the top of the heap, inside is a divine spark that can never be extinguished, a glowing ember beyond the vagaries of fame and misfortune.     A sense of fullness, of deep, radiating satisfaction.  Beyond the power of lack.    Love is indomitable, unquenchable, unstoppable.  It can be hidden, but never destroyed.  It is at the core of who you are.   

Self Help The World

 

World Social Forum pic by Velcrow RIpper

 

 

Another world is possible, this very moment, when we choose to live it.  It begins with your very next breath.   Awakening is not something that happens in the future, someday – it happens in this moment, moment to moment.  There is nothing standing in your way, in our way.  When we begin to live another world, today, we will soon discover that new world reflected all around us.   As more and more of us choose an uncompromising life, a life that is truly lived, a life beyond sleep walking, avoidance or the numbing anaesthesia of fear, the more attainable that world is for everyone else.   The field of possibility expands exponentially each time one of us chooses to step up to the plate and  shine.

The real “secret” is not that through  our focussed intention we can get ourselves a new car, a new tv, a new lawnmower, or a new blender. That’s old news, and not very interesting.  Fortunately, since we live in a time of financial uncertainty, there is no correlation between the amount of “stuff” we have and happiness. Studies have proven, this.   Often, in fact, the reverse is true – too much stuff or focus on stuff, causes stress and worry, unhappiness and fear.  What’s worse, a tiny percentage of humanity uses the vast majority of resources, suffering because of our greed.     This is also old news.  But it bears repeating – again, and again and again.   Because we forget, again and again and again.

The truth is, when part of humanity suffers, we all suffer.   If part of me is bleeding, then all of me is bleeding.  If my heart is stuttering, my body is faltering.  We are inextricably linked, part of one vast system of interconnecting systems.   Global events are local events. Climate change, stock market collapses, environmental illness, all strike us, our families, our friends – people we know.  People we are.  It’s not just happening to “them” anymore.  We can no longer avoid the consequences of our imbalanced lives.

 I’m not suggesting we all become ascetics.  I believe we should all have our needs, and our reasonable wants met.     Every person on this planet has a right to good food, clean water, a safe environment, health care and education, at a minimum.  Plus some cool stuff.   There’s enough to go around, if we change our priorities, especially those of us from the wealthier nations.

But first we need to get our priorities straight.  Let’s put that law of attraction to it’s proper use – generating more and more Love in this world.    The real secret is that when we become Love, the world showers that Love right back at us, and around us.   The real secret is that by transforming ourselves, we transform the world.  I call it “self help the world.”  It’s a tremendous win-win situation, a pathway to true, deep, and lasting happiness.