Posts tagged #cheap life coaching

How to Enter the Aether with a Poem

I'm trying to network on the interwebs, which is stealing some of my writing mojo away from this blog and putting it on... other blogs.

To get your dose of awesoming-your-lifeness this week, I invite you to check out my post on the fabulous Sources of Insight.  I've written about how anyone– and I mean anyone – can read poetry better-than-a-pro with a simple contemplative exercise that I've perfected and tested over the years with my students at the University of Pittsburgh.

In the post, you'll learn

  • how poetry expands your heart and intuition
  • how to "enter the aether" with a poem to understand it deeply

Here it is: How to Read Poetry to Expand Your Heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fear is a lack of gratitude

Fear is a lack of gratitude. Low-cost life coaching.  

 

There's a line in one of my favorite books: "fear is a lack of faith."  Fear is also a lack of gratitude.

 

Every time we feel threatened by an actual or possible situation, we're forgetting both to be grateful for all the wonders we've received in the past, and all the wonders inherent in what we think may be threatening us.

 

It's not possible to simultaneously be in a state of deep gratitude and a state of fear.  Why? Because fear is a condition of being closed down, of clenching up in order to protect oneself from anticipated blows.

 

Gratitude is a condition of softness and openness. It's receptive and allowing.  That's why every New Thought prosperity guru on the planet will tell you that if you want to increase the flow of goodness into your life, you need to increase your gratitude.  Gratitude is expansive: it makes room, it invites in.  It's the precursor of all gifts.

 

There's lots of folks who like to say "experience the fear and go on ahead." That can be an empowering message if you feel chronically paralyzed by fear and unable to take action.  Most people I know, though, aren't so much paralyzed by fear as blinded by it.

I prefer the ethos of "soften into gratitude and do it wisely." Why? Because when I take action while I'm in a fearful mode, that action tends to be a little desperate, and it tends to promote alienation and division rather than unity and love.

 

Here's an example: the department is sending a professor to supervise my class this week and evaluate my work.  Fear comes up.  It says: "He's going to grill you about why you're allowing your students to assign themselves their own grade; he's going to disapprove of and insult your woo-woo teaching style; you'll probably be fired by Friday and not allowed to graduate with your degree."

 

This is a string of alienating thoughts that appears from the part of my mind that believes in separateness, in subject-objectness, in the possibility of attack.

 

Under the basic "feel the fear and do it anyway" ethos, I'd show up to class on the scheduled day of the supervision, but I'd still be in my fear.  I'd probably be brusque, evasive, or overly solicitous (3 favorite defense mechanisms) when talking to the supervising professor.

 

Under the "soften into gratitude and do it wisely" commitment, here's what I'm doing instead: feeling grateful for all my time as a teacher; for my students; for my own bravery in designing a class that fits what I believe is true rather than what's conventional; for this professor who has his own humanness and thoughts and feelings and who may having something insightful to show me.

 

I practice holding the awareness that I don't need to defend myself-- I can just love instead.  I don't need to be right and I don't need to make myself safe.  That's just not my job.  My only job is to offer love freely and without condition.

 

My experience is that when I make unconditional love my highest priority (putting it on the list way above shoring up my ego and position) I receive an illumination.  I may not get what I think I want (to avoid criticism; to avoid discomfort) but I get what I need-- which is usually a lot more valuable (a clearer picture of who I am; a more honest connection to others).

 

I can easily prevent myself from receiving those gifts of clarity and honest connection by choosing to act while fearful and allowing fear to make me defensive and manipulative in my efforts to protect myself.

 

When I choose not to protect myself, but to simply surrender to my duty to love, I can move forward without fear into greater union with myself and the very people I first imagine are threatening me.

 

Love! Carolyn

 

Image by my love for you, used under Creative Commons license; borrowed from Flickr.

Gravity and Grace + Raw Blues + Bad Lip Reading

(Every time I send out a new letter, a post one from the archives on the blog. If you'd like my interweb gems hot and fresh in your inbox, sign up here.)  

Hello certain someone,

Today we've got a severe French theologian, an album of piquant bluesy songs recorded in a bedroom, and the most surreal and hilarious political humor a girl could ever ask for.

 

The Gems

Gravity and Grace by Simone Weil

Low cost life coaching, gravity and grace, Simone Weil

 

It's not that I agree with the great French philosopher and theologian Simone Weil on most points: she was much more severe and ascetic than I would ever hope to be. But her stark, unromantic and completely unsentimental thinking about the nature of divinity and the forces of habit and competition that govern everyday life (which she called "gravity") is so rigorous that it's breath-taking. This book is basically a compilation of aphorisms. Though it's pithy, it's dense. I've read it about 10 times now, and I think I'm close to understanding it. My very favorite part is in the first chapter on page 3, where Weil offers the insight that there is truly only one fault possible in human nature: the incapacity to take energy directly from divine light. All other faults, all "sins"-- greed, lust, gluttony, etc. are merely the ways that humans seek to gain energy from things other than divinity and in doing so hurt themselves and others. Whoah. In my experience, this is totally true. I become more free from my shortcomings the more I'm able to tune in and gain energy directly from love rather than from stuff out in the world.

 

The Room Demos - Raw Guru

Room demos, raw guru, low cost life coaching, surrender gravity and grace

Having recently recorded my own little lo-fi album, I've gotten more interested in the genre. And this is a wonder of it: intense, hot, menacing blues. Raw Guru sounds a like Jim Morrison holed up in a desert motel with a microphone and a guitar. Love.

 

Bad Lip Reading

 

I'm inclined to think that Bad Lip Reading should just be called Spot-on Brilliance, but I guess that's a less-descriptive title. The geniuses behind these pop and political spoof videos take real footage of our nation's idols speaking or singing, watch them without sound, and make up what it looks like the idols could be saying. The result: dazzling videos like the one which has kept me cracked up for days, wherein it looks for all the world like Herman Cain is really saying stuff like, "Maximus holds the patent on rice cream and you have to go make it-- it's gooooooood" and "Women have a special feelin' though-- they have an extra fatal lady shimmer of no maximum strength-." The surreal words of the videos just serve to highlight the actual meaninglessness of what politicians and pop musicians habitually jabber. It's. So. Grand.

 

The Update

On the blog, there's an insightful guest post from Samuca Love on Occupying Your Heart.

 

I haven't been posting as much as usual because I've been wearing out my clicking fingers trying to get my book, Awesome Your Life: The Artist's Antidote to Suffering Genius up and ready for sale on in Amazon's Kindle Store! Almost there... click click click. ;)

 

As always, feel free to shoot me an email at sweetsongofjoy at gmail dot com about how you like the stuff in this letter or anything else under the sun.

 

Love! Carolyn

Love is What Makes Life Awesome / "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone"

What is an awesomed life? It has more to do with love than coconut oil.

 

I'm aware that the title of this blog and of my book can sound a little ridiculously upbeat.  "Awesome Your Life" -- like, hmmmm? What's that supposed to mean?

 

Does it mean living on a beach, working 4 hours a week, being regularly massaged with coconut oil by sultry servants?

 

In my experience -- not so much.

 

To me, an awesomed life isn't a life that's brimming with luxury and prestige.  It isn't the inflated capitalist magazine-gloss dream that's only available to people who make massive amounts of money.

 

Instead, it's...

 

A life that's burgeoning with radically all-embracing love, community and creativity.

 

Somedays, I forget this.  I look at my tiny (but adequate) bank account, tiny apartment, and think "I must be doing this wrong."

 

But other days something happens that snaps me out of my negative trance and shows me-- no, I'm doing it pretty darn right and my life is indeed incredibly awesomed.

 

Just this kind of snapping happened on my birthday this year.  My friends gathered together and surprised me with their rendition of "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone" -- in reference to the month I spent away from them in India when everyday in our hometown of Pittsburgh (so they tell me) was grey.

 

They met in secret to practice the song complete with accordion, guitar, voice and tambourine parts.

 

It sounded amazing. They gave me the best birthday present ever by performing it to me in the very same tiny, cramped apartment that the mean and incorrect part of me sometimes uses as evidence that I'm a loser. Check it out:

 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bt-RzLiM07Q&feature=BFa&list=UURgQm6XbQSl01KLvxXBDoxg&lf=plcp

 

I mention this not to brag (I'm so adored! Look at ME!) but because my ability as a life coach is tied to my own personal experience and accomplishment. I can't guide you on how to set up a trouble-free existence with mad cash in a tropical paradise because I haven't done that.

 

I can, however, help you work through what holds you back from forming deep connections with others and enjoying a life filled with art and meaning. You might want to check out the stuff people say about me to see what that entails.

 

Love!

Carolyn

A Sufi anarchist sage + Share or Die + Glasgow Corpse Pop

Hello wonder,  

These are intense times we're living in. The Occupy Oakland encounters with police and their General Strike yesterday, the foggy weirdness of All Saint's Day and the tanking economy have got me in a funny mood. I go from exuberance to sadness back and forth. Here's whats helping me think:

 

THE GEMS

 

Hakim Bey on the idea of Temporary Autonomous Zones 

 

 

 

Hakim Bey is a stunningly original thinker. Wikipedia notes "his ideas evolved from a kind of Guénonist neo-traditionalism to a synthesis of anarchism and Situationist ideas with heterodox Sufism and Neopaganism" -- in other words, not your average bear. I've been thinking about Sufism a lot lately (perhaps because the most-read poet in America and one of my own personal favorites is Rumi, a Sufi mystic) and in conjunction with the Occupy movement, I've also been thinking about a phenomenon that Bey identified: the Temporary Autonomous Zone-- a space of magical communion that can emerge under certain conditions and undermine political oppression. You'll have to watch the video to learn more. ;)

 

Share or Die - Ebook from Shareable.net 

 

 

 

Shareable.net is an incredible gathering place for ideas about gift economy and other warm, conscious ways of dealing with the cold economic realities at hand. Their free ebook (also available in hardcopy for $15), offers essays gathered from the site. Some of the essays gesture to solutions-- some just describe the present hardship with the compassion and tenderness wrought of first- hand experience. Both are healing and vital.

 

Corpsing - by How to Swim - free music download

 

 

You may have noticed by now-- I love to play on bandcamp. So much incredible, free music! My selection for you this week is gleefully dark. When the singer crows, "I drag your body / out on the dance floor" he's not necessarily talking about your living body. It's a morbidly wicked incredibly bouncy dance track and (die-hard Morrissey fan that I am) I can hardly resist it.

 

UPDATES

 

The wonderful Andrew Long of the compelling Excellence Blog interviewed me. You can check it out right here.

 

My latest essay is In Defense of Dirty Hippies.

 

I'd like to send a big Thank You out to Sam Wise, who came and performed his super-fun magic show for the weary campers at Occupy Pittsburgh to the delight of all.

 

If you're in the Pittsburgh area, I highly recommend that you hire him for any children's parties you may have. Check out his site.

 

Remember to feel free to drop me a line about anything on your mind. I also invite you to sign up for llow-cost life coaching sessions with me.

 

Love!

Carolyn

The Arcana - Chapter 1 - Laney Mitchell's Life Sucks

 

 

So, I wrote a first draft of a novel for NaNoWriMo this year.  It's a metaphysical farce, which I know is not as popular these days as bodice-ripping supernatural teen romance-- but, what the hell, it's what I got.

 

The plot has a few dozen holes and logical inconsistencies-- but there's stuff in it that's really amusing and compelling, in my humble estimation.

 

I realized that with my ever-mounting to-do list related to making a living, I might never get around to revising this novel into something that fits neatly together and makes sense.  Then I remembered that some of my favorite 19th century novels appeared first as serials in magazines. So, in the hopes that having a bit of an audience might prompt me to do the nitty-gritty fictional work of cleaning this thing up, I've decided to start publishing it in bits here on this blog.

 

You'll find the work deals with themes I'm generally obsessed with: addiction, romance, mystery. If you feel so moved, please comment on it-- I need all the encouragement I can get.

 

Love!

Carolyn

 

The Arcana - Chapter 1 - Laney Mitchell's Life Sucks

 

The Arcana are the mysteries of sex and death, masculine and feminine, transmutation and evolution.  They’re movements in the dance of love and power that pervades all space and time.  They’re the major figures of the Tarot. No one on the deep journey escapes the Arcana. They visit you, they change you, and they either call forth from you your deepest gifts or they rush you into complete despair. The outcome depends on you, but the visits themselves are fated.  They commence the moment you step out of your coded, familiar world and into the vast unknown.  Each mystery has its own initiation and crisis; its own secret and trial.  You are always The Fool. - John Dee, blog post March 2011

 

Laney Mitchell’s life sucked.  Not sucked a little, as in, “Oh, some things haven’t happened that I would have liked to have happened” but sucked a lot, as in “Nothing about my life is going well at all.”

 

Growing up, Laney passionately fell in love all the time.  Falling in love, excessively and madly was her major forte.  Her first romantic relationship was with a young man ostensibly named Draco, who lived in Vermont, whom she met in an AOL horror movie fans chat room.  Laney did not at all like horror movies.  Except for A Clockwork Orange, which the world in general did not count as a horror movie, but which Laney did because the violence in it terrified her.  She liked Alex in A Clockwork Orange.  She loved his one eye, with false eyelashes on the bottom and upper lid, the way it made his one eye seem so lurid and alert and menacing while his other eye looked so normal and fresh.  While she hated the violent scenes, she loved the threat of violence in Alex’s eye, the mad look in it.

 

The young man in Vermont whom she met in the horror fans chatroom called himself Draco and identified with dragons.  By regular mail he sent her pictures of himself, and a lock of his chestnut-flat brown hair which he sprayed with his cologne.  When Laney opened, alone in her bedroom, the envelope that he had sent with his hair in it she swooned with joy.  Other things that made Laney swoon with joy were bees and hunger.  Laney loved bees not only because they threatened to sting her, but because they made honey, which seemed like an excessively generous thing for them to do.  She knew that theoretically the bees made honey for themselves, but she never saw pictures of them eating the honey, only making it, so it seemed to her that the honey-making enterprise of bees was exclusively altruistic.  Laney loved hunger because she liked the gnawing, empty pain in her stomach to match the gnawing, empty pain that she carried with her in her heart most of the time, when not presented with cologne-doused locks or bees.

 

At twenty, Laney had no advantages. She wasn’t pretty. In the least.  In fact, she was the kind of awkward-chubby-and-pimply that you’re supposed to out grow at age thirteen. On top of this, she was intensely, acutely, insanely sensitive.  The kind of sensitive that you’re supposed to out grow at age four.

 

She lived with her alcoholic mother in a small rent-subsidized apartment in the Highland Park neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  Laney’s mother, Joan, wasn’t just alcoholic— she was a mean alcoholic, and obese. Her meanness focussed mostly on Laney, who was the only one around to take it.  Joan had never married Laney’s father, Mickey, a day laborer and glam rocker who now lived in New York City.  Joan hated herself and she hated her daughter and she didn’t care much who knew it. Joan got a tiny disability check each month (bad back) and used it  to buy cheap gin, rolling tobacco, and frozen Hungry Man Sports Bar dinners.

 

Laney’s meals came from the neighborhood Thai restaurant, the Happy Turtle,  where she worked as a waitress.  That part of her life wasn’t so bad.  The owner of the store, Mai, was a good-natured middle-aged lady who felt compassion for Laney and didn’t get upset with her even when she was discombobulated and slow.  Which she often was.  She wasn’t a very good waitress.  Waitressing is a far more demanding profession than most people like to acknowledge, a job which makes all sorts of demands on one’s social skills, short-term memory and co-ordination, none of which Laney had in ample abundance.  She spilled soup while trying to serve it, forgot to refill people’s waters, and out of shyness sometimes waited so long to approach a newly-seated group at a table that the group would just get up and leave.  Still, Mai was kind about it and when Laney cried as she went home at the end of every shift, part of what made her cry was how touched she was by Mai’s patience.

 

Very vivid dreams

 

Though Laney had little to offer by way of physical charms (well, maybe we’re being too quick about this— she did have some notable features that could be potentially engaging to a very singular type of taste, namely: large, watery blue eyes,  a snub nose, plump knees, and wealth of red hair that went all the way to her waist), she did have a great deal to offer in terms of soaring, throbbing, obsessive adulation.

 

Also, she suffered from very intense dreams.

 

Some people have boring dreams.  They dream that they go to the grocery store and buy furry kiwis, or that they forget to send an important email, or that they’re having sex with a porn star.  These kinds of dreams are just the ordinary human mind coping with its routine pleasures, anxieties, desires.  They’re mild kind of dreams, at just the surface of the unconscious.  They happen at a kind of low volume, and they’re pastel-colored.  Nothing smells too strongly in these kinds of dreams, not the kiwis or the porn stars.  Everything at this level of the mind is a little plastic and a little lame.

 

Laney never dreamt at a low volume.  She often awoke to her alarm in a sweat, feeling fatigued as if she’d been physically carrying out the work of her night’s journey.  Her dreams were overwhelming, loud, tidal.  They ensnared her in epic expeditions, bullied her into tremendous sagas, and rode her through scenes of pulsing, riveting emotional intensity.  In the morning she’d often sob and moan with grief, still suffering the pain of seeing one of her dream comrades die.

 

The most brilliant and shocking dream Laney ever had concerned a geode.

 

Laney dreamt that she was the pageant director for religious plays inside a giant cathedral.  She lived in the attic of this giant cathedral— she had a small moppet of a dog and a rusty red tea kettle there on a little wood stove — but it wasn’t a normal Christian cathedral.  It was something else, something pagan.  The stain glass windows depicted Dionysus instead of Christ— lots and lots of grapes, barrels of wine.  Her mission, as pageant director, was to put on plays that would inspire the audience and remind them of their faith, of the miracles in everyday life.  Accordingly, Laney designed a little presentation in which a geode stood on a tall pedestal.

 

A young boy would throw a rock at the geode, thus knocking it off its pedestal and onto the floor.  In its fall to the floor from its pedestal, Laney estimated, the geode would break open and the ordinary-appearing stone would reveal its magical wealth of crystals inside.  Laney reasoned that this breaking-open of the geode would be a thrilling sight for the crowd, and a reminder of divinity’s sometimes-hidden but ever-present splendor.  Yet when the time came to present the pageant and all the congregation assembled in the cathedral attic to see Laney’s show, the little boy threw the rock at the geode and the geode fell and broke open, but when it broke open, it didn’t just reveal its internal amethyst.

 

No, instead, a very fat and tender green shoot, about the width of an arm, unfurled rather lewdly from the center of the broken geode.  The shoot swelled into a bud.  The bud plumped and gradually, luxuriously, opened up into a light-blue lotus flower the size of a kiddie pool, which proceeded to revolve very slowly in the air.  Then, adding perplexity to perplexion, another tender green shoot emerged from the center of the lotus.  This shoot turned into a long, tall stem and then eventually bloomed into the cup-like form of a lily.  Out of the open mouth of the lilly spouted a fine mist of glitter and it also began to revolve.  The glitter hung motionless in the air surrounding the revolving flowers.

 

The cathedral audience in Laney’s dream stood up and gawked.  They pointed at the spinning floral shimmering affair and began to shout at her: “Mirablis! Mirablis!” until Laney’s guts shook with fear.  She realized that they were accusing her of being a miracle-worker.  “I didn’t do it!” she cried back at them, “I didn’t plan for those flowers to pop out! They weren’t supposed to!” but the crowd rushed at her and lifted her up on their shoulders, carrying her downstairs to the cathedral altar in order to annoint her.  Laney woke from that dream in a cold sweat.  She had a sense that the dream meant something deeply significant, but she wouldn’t allow her conscious self to know just what that significance might be.  Something inside her heart, though, said that the dazzling appearance of the flowers signaled a tremendous birth of magic in her own soul, and that the dream meant that she could complete the great work of self-realization in this lifetime, that she could succeed in becoming unconditionally loving.

 

Laney secretly longed to heal the whole world but didn’t dare believe that she could be someone capable of achieving that healing.  She hated the greed and injury she saw everywhere, but she felt too weak and too small to combat it.  The only way she could understand all the hard-heartedness she saw around her was to imagine that people who behaved cruelly had themselves somehow been treated very badly somewhere along the way.  She suspected that the world could be a shining and delightful place to live if only this cycle of cruelty could be broken, if only no one ever had to have her heart stomped upon.

 

The stomped-on heart

 

Laney’s own heart had been stomped upon when she was seven years old.  That was when Mickey, her father, left the small apartment that he shared with Laney and Joan.  When Laney was a very little girl, Mickey had seemed to her the most loveable and thrilling creature in existence.  He took her for long walks in the woods and taught her how to tell regular grass apart from onion grass, which was greener and taller and tasted like garlic when you chewed on it.  He showed her how to find daddy long legs in piles of rocks, and told her that she was a princess.  That’s ordinary stuff that fathers do, but Laney wasn’t an ordinary girl.  She was a girl extraordinarily capable of imagination and love, and she fully believed Mickey when he said she was really a princess and he was a king, even though no one else knew it.  This secret knowledge that Mickey and Laney shared of their underground nobility colored all of Laney’s childhood world and made the nonsensical pain of living make sense.  When the other kids in the neighborhood teased her for not liking to play rough games or for being bad at sports, Laney just had to remember that she was a princess, therefore different from the rabble, and didn’t have to feel bad that she was so different from the others.  She could go home and have her father sing to her before bed and feel magnificent and adored in his eyes.

 

When Mickey left because the screaming fights he was having with Joan got to be too bad, he made efforts to stay connected with Laney.  He tried to get custody of her, but Joan prevented him, showing the court photos she had of Mickey cross-dressing in eyeliner and high-heels for glam rock shows and doing cocaine with his buddies.   Every time Mickey showed up to pick up Laney for a weekend visit to the zoo or an ice cream shop, Joan would make sure than she and Laney weren’t at home.   Mickey would sit outside waiting on the stoop of the apartment building until the landlord would make him leave.  The sad thing about Mickey was that he didn’t have much perseverance.  He could have fought harder for Laney, but he didn’t.  After months of struggling with a resentful and drunk Joan to get a chance to see his daughter, he gave up.  He got more into drugs and more into music.  He moved to New York City.  He sent letters to Laney which Joan burned.  Whenever Laney asked Joan about her father, Joan just told her that her father was a creep and didn’t care about her.

 

Laney’s very large, very sensitive, and very delicate heart was dealt a near-fatal blow by her father’s departure.  Without Mickey in her life, Laney couldn’t maintain the make-believe that she was a princess.  She succumbed to thinking she must really be what all the other kids said she was: a loser, a weirdo, a freak.

 

The magical power

 

Laney’s dreams were right, though.

 

She had magical power and potential.

 

Laney’s power wasn’t anything flashy or dramatic.  It was something that all of us have, but which very few of us are aware of.

 

Laney could heal things and people and situations with the love inside her.  And this kind of healing wasn’t just the kind that fixes something that’s broken— it was the kind that could actually evolve beings into higher versions of themselves.

 

Stay tuned for our next installment...

 

Love!

Carolyn

Surrender Your Addiction to Suffering - Part 3

 

This is the third post in a series on Surrendering Your Addiction to Suffering.  You can read the first post here (wherein I give an overview of the nine commitments necessary to the process) about the and the second post (about the first commitment) here. Today we're talking about the second commitment in surrendering your addiction to suffering:

 

2) Understand that these judgments, though voiced by your own internal monologue, represent the distorted perceptions of a spiritual dis-ease and not “the truth”

 

The Buddha (one of my favorite dudes, along with Jesus, Byron Katie and Lao Tse) said that ignorance is the primary affliction of the human mind.  The two other afflictions he noted, desire and hate, are secondary manifestations of that ignorance.  The ignorance that makes us suffer isn't a lack of knowledge in the conventional sense -- instead, it's a fundamental misperception about the nature of who we are and how reality works.

 

Our misperception leads us to think that we're discrete, solitary individuals separate from the whole of existence.  We identify with the contents of our mind and emotion and mistake the aggregate of those contents to be "me." Once we've made that basic mistake, we have the sense, at a fundamental level, that it's "me against the world." Even if we're generally happy-go-lucky people, the moment something goes not-according-to-plan in a big way (we lose a job we depended on for our security; a relationship goes sour; a loved one dies; we get ill; we get old... on and on) we feel attacked.

 

This feeling of being attacked by things not matching up with our internal picture of how life should treat us is a symptom of our misperception that we're basically separate from the rest of life. We resent the people and situations that appear to be battling us (i.e., we experience hate) and we long for whatever circumstances we think would make it all better (i.e., we desire).

 

In the absence of the fundamental mistake of thinking we're a separate "me" we would be unable to see anything as going against us (because there would be no "us" for "it" to go "against") and we'd be unable to wish for anything other than what's already present in our lives (because we wouldn't be able to perceive ourselves as lacking anything -- you can't lack something if you are everything).

 

Ignorance, desire and hate are the dangerous trio that make up the spiritual disease of addiction to suffering, which we ordinary humans are all afflicted with to some extent or another.

 

Sometimes I think that Jesus said we must become as little children in order to reach the Kingdom of Heaven because very little children don't yet have a sense of themselves as discrete individuals; they don't hate; and while they sure make a fuss about getting fed and having their diapers changed, they don't desire in the sense that they don't mentally attach themselves to specific stories about what life should look like.

 

Enlightenment (or "entering the Kingdom of Heaven" in the Christian tradition-- a Kingdom which, by the way, Jesus adamantly stated could be found here on earth) is the state of consciousness in which one is totally free from the disease of addiction.  It's the condition of being free from ignorance, hate and desire.  Far from being a boring condition (some folks imagine desire-less-ness as a kind of numbness) it's actually a profoundly vivid state of joy, abounding love, and deep fulfillment.

 

I've long been putting in my petition to get hit with the enlightenment bolt, but until that happens in order to stay remotely sane I have to focus on letting go of my ignorance, hate and desire to the best of my ability. The second commitment in this process reminds me that my mind's stream of negative judgments just aren't the truth.  They're the product of my fundamental confusion about who I am and what life is doing. This commitment represents my willingness to be humble and to be aware.

 

When I keep this commitment at the forefront of my awareness I find that a bit of air and spaciousness comes into the dark, foetid chambers of my mind and makes room for truth and love to come in.

 

If you'd like some help on getting to spaciousness around your suffering, you might want to check out my low-cost life coaching.

 

Love!

Carolyn

 

Image by Dalbera. Borrowed from Flickr under Creative Commons licensing.