(quite) a few things

Yesterday was filled with a lot of inspiration. I spent the morning listening to Rev. Deborah Johnson, then went off to an Ayurvedic consultation, and finally went to a sit at my favorite sangha for some meditation and Dharma.

Divine Passion, Divine Purpose

Rev. Deborah Johnson talked about how divine passion is not our divine purpose. She explained that on one hand, divine passion is what we are good at and is within our comfort zone. On the other hand, divine purpose is bigger than us, includes everything about you, will take you to uncomfortable places, and will take you back to what you are running away from.  In other words, you won’t find your purpose in your comfort zone and you will need to let go of your internal scripts as well as the things you thought you would be.  There is so much in that I could digest it for days.

EXERCISE: In the end she gave an exercise to list the top 25-35 things that you are most proud of. Then look at these experiences and identify the common thread. I’m assuming that the purpose of this exercise is to catch a glimpse of what your divine purpose  is.

5 hindrances

During the Dharma talk that evening, one of the topics touched on was that of the Five Hindrances. During this talk I made a connection with what I was dealing with earlier, that being my spiritual past. I also made a connection with this topic the next day during meditation at home.

During the talk, the teacher mentioned the five hindrances as:

  • desire
  • anger
  • sloth
  • restlessness
  • doubt

As he described them he mentioned that there was nothing wrong with these hindrances, but that they are merely a part of the human condition. To be aware of when we are experiencing them is an important first step. I remember always getting frustrated when therapists or others would tell me “It’s good that you are aware of x,y,x.” I would feel that being aware wasn’t enough. Being aware doesn’t pay off my debt or point me in the direction of a career. But like most things, the more I hear the lesson, the more I ever so slowly move towards understanding the lesson.

What I also noticed was that when I hear about something like the hindrances, my immediate reaction is to interpret them as “sins”. That’s good ‘ol Catholicism for ya’. In noticing this I was reminded of just how deep my judgment skills are ingrained in me and how I use this skill against myself, others, and towards what I perceive outside of me. But when he said that the hindrances, “are a part of the human condition. They are neither good or bad”. I began to soften a bit. These things just are. Just like everyday life things “just are”. In making this connection I remembered the story of the zen horse.

There was an old farmer in the country. One day, his stallion broke its fence and ran away. His neighbors said “that’s so bad!” The old farmer just shrugged and said “Maybe”.

The next day, wanting some oats, the stallion returned. And, it brought three wild fillies with it. His neighbors said “that’s great luck!” The old farmer just shrugged and said “Maybe”.

The farmer’s teenage son went out to break one of the new horses. It bucked him, and he broke his leg. His neighbors said “what horrible luck!” The old farmer just shrugged and said “Maybe”.

The army then came around, conscripting young men to fight in a war. Because of the broken leg, they didn’t take the farmer’s teenage son. The neighbors said “what great luck!” The old farmer just shrugged and said “Maybe….”

Anything unlike where you are trying to go

The next day I was sitting in meditation, listening to “Meditation – The Innocence of our Longing”. Early in the meditation portion, Matthew mentions that in getting attuned with the presence of longing it is not a problem if numbness, sadness, or frustration arises. That we can be gentle with ourselves and our experience moment by moment. This is so difficult for me to remember to do, yet it is so simple. That habit/reaction to judge and criticize (“I shouldn’t be feeling this”) is strong. Being gentle and kind to myself is such a foreign concept. Slowly I could feel myself opening just a bit to this.

Then I did what I didn’t think I would ever do. I prayed. “I don’t know what you are, but please help me be willing to find out. I want to love me. I want to be kind to me. I want to know me. Not the me, human me, but the spiritual me. The me that is bigger than what I know.” Yeah, it went something like that. Afterward I felt some small level of peace.

Then I went off to work and the comparisons began. The judgments began. “Well look at her. She knows exactly what she wants and she’s going for it. Look at him, doing his job just like I use to. So confident and competent.” I began to feel like crap. Familiar crap. Grrr. Why doesn’t this stuff stick???

During my therapy appointment we discussed this old habit. We explored just how harsh I am to myself. How much I don’t trust myself and how much I am resisting going outside my comfort zone. I felt shredded afterward. I was pretty much hopeless at ever being able to change my habit – my addiction. I was going to die an emotional junkie.

Later that day, I listened to  Rev. Deborah Johnson and during her talk she said, “anything unlike where you are trying to go has to come up to be healed.” So there it is again. My harsh, critical, self-judging, self hating tendencies coming up because they need to be healed. When this happens, she suggests that it is a time to get into a clarity of a vision. So what is my vision? Be kind to myself. Be loving to myself, Be patient and gentle with myself.

Easier said than done.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

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