Thursday, October 22, 2020

Feel the Radiance

     Check in with yourself first thing in the morning - HOW DO I FEEL? Is it:
'Shit, I'm tired. I don't know if I can handle all this #@><* today.'
'Yes! A brand new day awaits me! I wonder what new adventures I'm going to experience?'
      Your felt sense is probably somewhere along the continuum between:
• closed, up-tight, afraid/anxious/angry/pessimistic, and
• open, relaxed, kind/warm/realistic/gentle.
     NOTICE how the mood you choose to stay with, powerfully impacts the quality of your day, and ultimately, the emotional tone of your life.

     "My research has convinced me that we all have extraordinary creative, humanitarian, and spiritual possibilities but are often alienated from them because we are so focused on a very narrow slice of who we are. As a result, we aren’t fulfilling our full potential. We spend so much time looking outward for validation that we don’t develop the incredible strengths that already lie within ..."
      Scott Barry Kaufman. “Transcend. The New Science of Self-Actualization.” A TarcherPerigee Book, 2020.

“One way or another, we all have to find
what best fosters the flowering of our
in this contemporary life, and
dedicate ourselves to that.” Joseph Campbell

      According to Abraham Maslow, most of us are partially alienated from our full potential, even after our basic needs for physical health, safety, belonging, & esteem have more or less been met.

     One of the author’s clients “was able to identify a core belief that had plagued him his whole life. Despite being raised by loving parents, he did not think or feel that he was lovable enough, and he felt compelled to compensate for this apparent lack. As a result, he could never rest as he was. He was always trying to be a different and better self. This is the self-improvement project that few of us are immune to.
     Almost everyone struggles or has struggled with an underlying sense of lack, of not being enough in some way. This belief can take various forms. Instead of thinking that we aren’t lovable enough, we may feel that we are not worthy enough. Have you ever secretly believed this? If we are honest with ourselves, we almost always feel like we aren’t ____ enough. You can fill in the blank.”
      John J. Prendergast. “The Deep Heart – Our Portal to Presence.” Sounds True, 2019

     It's easiest to see the paradox when others appear blind to how much they have: a billionaire acting as if penniless; a thin person being convinced they're fat; a strikingly attractive person being sure they're ugly. Their perspective, their capacity to see reality, is distorted or even blocked, by past ± ongoing traumatic conditioning.

     Much of our attention is absorbed by the repetitive, self-centered STORIES we keep telling ourselves - "the story of me." We habitually dissociate ( into "self-talk," and too often neglect to directly engage with what's actually taking place in real time. We're so worried about ourselves (based on past traumas & other aversive conditioning), that we find it difficult relating & responding wisely to reality.

     At the same time, the advertising industry so expertly conditions us to believe that buying & owning more & more of the latest stuff is the only path to happiness, that we distrust & ignore all other options. A lot of us become perfectionists & workaholics, since working harder & better + achieving more & more + buying bigger & better is the only current socially-sanctioned path to happiness. But noticing that we're no happier, we double-down to work even harder & better + achieve even more + buy even bigger & better.

      “In an age of great material excess, we suffer dislocations from the energies of our deepest being and, in return, suffer emptiness, anomie, aimlessness ... (And) our culture’s treatment plans ... are materialism, hedonism, narcissism and nationalism, as well as a coursing nostalgia for a world that never really existed.”
     James Hollis. “Living Between Worlds. Finding Personal Resilience in Changing Times.” Sounds True, 2020

     Surprisingly slowly, we start realizing that no matter how many widgets we crank out per hour, no matter how "perfect" each widget, no matter the recognition at work, no matter how huge our house, no matter how fancy our cars, and no matter how extravagant our vacations, we STILL feel that gnawing "lack"

     Some sadly will nevertheless ride this train to the bitter end: cynicism, bitterness, burn-out, heart attack, stroke, death. 

     Some, however, try to understand & investigate - "lean into" this unpleasant persistent lack and realize that all of us have qualitatively higher needs than more money, recognition, & material possessions.

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and
the joy will burn out the pain.” Joseph Campbell 

      What if we directed attention towards the subtle feel of our own life energy? What if our deepest desire was authenticity to who/what we (all) basically are?

     “There is a light in the core of our being that calls us home – one that can only be seen with closed eyes. We can feel it as a radiance in the center of our chest. This light of loving awareness is always here, regardless of our conditioning. It does not matter how many dark paths we have traveled or how many wounds we have inflicted or sustained as we have unknowingly stumbled toward this inner radiance. It does not matter how long we have sleepwalked, seduced by our desires and fears. This call persists until it is answered, until we surrender to who we really are. When we do, we feel ourselves at home wherever we are. A hidden beauty reveals itself in our ordinary life. As the true nature of our Deep Heart is unveiled, we feel increasingly grateful for no reason – grateful to simply be.”
       John J. Prendergast. “The Deep Heart – Our Portal to Presence.” Sounds True, 2019

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