“Stay wild, moon child.” I will shine my full silver light on your path, Moon child. Trust your intuition and follow your dreams. When I go dark, go within and tend to yourself, set your goals and release what no longer serves. When I come out of the shadow Moon child, go, be brave, and to yourself stay wild and true.” ― Riitta Klint
‘Wake up’ is a familiar message in spiritual circles.
But it extends much further: we’re all told to pursue our dreams and be the best version of ourselves.
Truth is, in both senses (if we’re not careful) we end up doing things by rote and pretty soon, our ego being what it is, we’re further away from who we truly are than when we started.
Think of it this way. You find a guru or a leader you admire. You follow to the letter what you’re told and, hey presto, for a while you feel, if not enlightened, a better version of the old you.
But it never lasts. It can’t. All you’re doing is wearing a different mask.
Instead, we need to get in touch with those aspects of our lives that are getting in the way of touching reality, i.e. the light of awareness.
“Be — drop becoming.” — Osho
Yes, by having no prospect of being or becoming anything but accepting this moment fully without trying constantly to change the status quo.
I accept this message is antithetical to the ‘get better’ school of thought that advocates for rapid change, but you have to seriously consider if you’re not actually building your life around a faux totem.
I’m not suggesting you give up on life but then again, even if your immediate quip is to say “well, I’ll do nothing then”, I can guarantee that the chances of you sitting down and doing nothing is…, err…, precisely zero.
Try sitting there and doing nothing.
In no time at all (a) your mind will be busier than ever, and (b) sooner rather than later hunger or bodily functions will take over and you’ll be forced to move from your spot. It doesn’t stop there. You’ll feel the need to act and do something.
Sorry, I know that sounds churlish but all I’m saying is that you need to understand where your attention is directed. It ALWAYS arises from your deepest intention. Of course, if your intention is directed at enlightenment then no doubt you’ll be caught in the vortex of seeking but, in case it’s not already obvious, how can you seek something you already are?
“Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.” ― Alan Watts
I appreciate I’ve dialled up the volume on the woo-woo scale, but all I’m describing is a process where with love, kindness and patience you begin, not in a nihilistic way, to look at those things within you that take you out of this moment. And by this moment, and by analogy, I mean that state of non-being, also known as flow (see the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).
Please don’t think that simply undertaking the enquiry is going to achieve anything. It won’t. It will though reveal the areas of your life where you’re still caught by the exterior world:
work pi**es you off
ditto the traffic
and even those you love don’t do what they’re asked.
This is no different to classic Buddhist psychology covering the three primary areas known as Grasping, Aversion and Delusion. These terms are often used interchangeably with ‘Greed’ (grasping), ‘Hatred’ (aversion) and ‘Ignorance’ (Delusion). You might like to think of this process as self-mastery.
Now, I accept that when you’ve got a history of being caught in your emotions, it’s extraordinarily difficult to desensitize yourself from being caught again and again but it is possible to start to deconstruct the old you.
You may be familiar with the RAIN acronym.
It is a practice and tool for helping you come to terms with and change your relationship with those aspects of your life that’s stopping you from getting in touch with true self.
Recognize what is going on;
Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;
Investigate with interest and care;
Nurture with self-compassion.
It’s not the only way to get in touch with true self. Nature can be a beautiful teacher, as can spending time with your pet or being deeply connected to a loving, kind-hearted person. But of course, you’re not always in a position to access these sources.
If I can offer a personal example (which you might find helpful) as to how I’m discovering new depths to extricate myself from false self, it’s to simply say the word “soften”. It might sound cheesy, but actually, the feeling state when I’m on one is very hard, very tight and deeply unpleasant. If I can remind myself to soften — even in or more especially in my speech — then it’s amazing how much that changes the dynamic.
In the end though, as I’ve said so many times before, if you’re not drawn to understand why life feels so hard and you can’t find peace (assuming you’ve even read this far!), then nothing I say will make a jot of difference. But if you are drawn to investigate the unexamined parts of your life, then please remember, without calling on any snowflake terminology, that there is a part to you that’s most likely beyond the ken of your current understanding — i.e. a deep, transcendent presence — but if you can find a way to drop the becoming you might just find that life becomes a lot easier and you’re a nicer person to boot.