For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a spiritual seeker. Even as a kid, I was certain of life beyond the one we know. I experienced many dreams which then later appeared as scenes of my actual life, and the sense of Deja Vu was…overwhelming, but exciting.
I’ve always felt drawn to know more about what we are and why we are, and what the ultimate point of it all is. And other people’s explanations have always fallen short in some singular yet unavoidable fashion.
It’s only in the last few years I’ve felt a renewed spiritual connection; within myself, with other people, the world, and life in general. It took the tragic loss of our son to finally push me in the direction I needed, and even then, I didn’t set foot on that path until I first self-destructed. It was ultimately my need for meaning which nudged me forward. I had to discover some greater purpose for the suffering my family endured.
It took some time before I discovered that meaning and purpose would have to come from me. I needed to choose what I would do; the life I would live as a consequence of losing someone I love and whose death I have still to accept without taking on blame and guilt.
Over the past few years now, as I’ve tried living more mindfully and authentically, I’ve found new joy. My marriage is stronger, my relationships have less conflict, and I am more patient in general with the way things are. I still get drawn into all sorts of worldly concerns, and I’ll admit this had me both perplexed and frustrated. I stagnated, again. I saw parts of myself I still didn’t like. I saw envy and resentment and fear, and I became disappointed with myself, and that disappointment pulled me right out of feeling spiritually connected.
It finally dawned on me why I got stuck: I viewed myself as flawed, lacking.
One of the reasons I struggle with envy is because I believe others are inherently better than I am. In my heart, the person I used to be is loathsome and detestable. Instead of seeing that my younger self could only be who she was, I’ve resented her existence.
The reality is, I had to be who I was then to be who I am now. Not forgiving myself because I didn’t know better is perhaps the worst kind of violence I can visit upon myself. Moreover, it’s cruel.
And we all do this. We carry these awful burdens of guilt, disappointment, shame, and anger. We poison ourselves with it. Every day.
If I want to deepen my spiritual connection with the universe/the Divine, I have to stop doing battle with myself. I have to stop declaring war on my ego, and instead, accept these dark parts of myself as having arisen from confusion and ignorance. Ego is not what I am, but a by-product of what I do. As long as I continue to see myself as something less than whole, not perfect just as I am – just as we all are – I will also feel stalled, and life will still carry the sting of dissatisfaction.
I realize also that loving myself is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. Part of accepting and loving myself is being accountable, holding myself to a higher standard because I have learned. I know better. I must focus on being the person I want to be; to have a humble and compassionate character is to do humble and campassionate things…consistently and with no expectation of personal gain. If I do these things, there’s no need for me to envy the integrity of someone else. It’s that simple and that hard.
It is also important not to judge my own progress or lack thereof, but rather to treat this education-by-action approach with openness and patience. I must recognize that my responsibility is simply to observe, to do the good in this world of which I’m capable, and to trust that the combination of these things will impart the remaining lessons I must learn.
The world seems at odds with this simple mission; but it is so by conscious design. How else do we grow as people except by being challenged to the point of failure? Only when things go wrong, do we have an opportunity to ask and understand why, and that understanding is precisely the point of existence. It is an unlearning process: an illusion, progressively revealed.
I see now that the one best thing we can do for those around us is to live joyously, fully, and embracing all that we are. When we role model this behavior, when we can be playful and spontaneous, generous, and kind – especially, kind to ourselves – we show others a path toward peace. And when there is peace within us, there is more peace around us.
All we ever need to do is PRACTICE.
A Few Practices for Inner Peace
Tending to Physical, Mental/Emotional Health – Diet, Exercise, Sleep
Investing in Quality Time, Family and Friends
Distancing/Ending Toxic Relationships
Selectivity with Entertainment (Non-violent books, movies, etc)
Random Acts of Kindness
Volunteering & Charity Work
Have a beautiful day! xoxoxo