Afraid of Fire

“None can teach you, none can make you spiritual.   There is no other teacher but your own soul.” Swami Vivekananda

The power of uncertainty is flowing through and around us.  Some days we breathe deeply, relax and float with it; other times we stiffen up, grab onto whatever is close with a tight fist, and rigidly watch through squinty eyes as life passes us by.  It is our choice.  Sometimes we forget we have a choice and become victims of the happenings of our lives.  We lose our center and then fall in the mud.

We get so tied up in not trusting the process of life.  Within wholeness is the duality of dark and light.   In our core, we are light.  Being human invites us to both celebrate the light and to integrate the dark.  Well, the first part is great, the second not so much, we say to ourselves.  We are afraid of the fire of transformation.

Watching American Idol, yes, that is true!  I am reminded of Crystal Bowersox……MamaSox.  Here she comes from a small town to millions of people watching her every move and listening and judging her every note. She dresses and wears her hair as she likes, speaks thoughtfully as she transitions into a new lifestyle…..expressing the uniqueness of her Being.   Her boyfriend and she decide to not continue their relationship and he goes home on the day of the  final performance!    Her response?  It gives her ‘fire in her belly.”  And if you saw her perform that night…….she was not afraid of the fire……she faced it, made it her own and sang beautifully.

From 12 Step programs we hear the statement……there are no victims,  just volunteers.   Our soul brings us experiences for us to integrate.  They are gifts in their teachings to us.  As we move through the darkness, the clouds lift and the light shines from our hearts.  It’s not easy because we are human and full of emotions; it does not have to be difficult and scary.  We are always surrounded in love; we are never alone.  We are guided on our path to integration.  We pray, meditate, contemplate that all loving energies around us surround us with wisdom and compassion for ourselves so that we may love ourselves deeply as we transform the clouds of doubt about who we really are…….into the heart knowing that we are love.   May we all experience ‘fire in our belly’ when we are challenged to move more deeply  into wholeness.

copyright 2010 Andrea Avari, Ph.D.

Spiritual Bypass

“One of the great dangers of transformational work is that the ego attempts to sidestep deep psychological work by leaping into the transcendent too soon. This is because the ego always fancies itself much more ‘advanced’ than it actually is.”

— Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson

I took a seminar on awakening not too long ago.  One concept that the leader shared was that it was not necessary to learn to love oneself before awakening. The definitions of the words ‘love oneself’ and ‘awakening’ are dependent upon each person’s perception.  Who knows exactly what that phrase means to someone else? However, this leader seemed to think that awakening was all that was needed.

I do know the intent of that thought runs counter to how I have been experiencing my lessons.  The more transformative work that I do with my inner process, the more clear I am about the love of who I truly am.  It just seems to me that removing the blockages produced by the ego’s energy of fear would lend itself to opening up the awakening process more clearly.

“We have no need to teach pure motives to the mind. All that is necessary to make the mind pure is to undo the negative conditioning to which it has been subjected; then we will be left with pure, unconditioned awareness.”

— Eknath Easwaran

It seems sometimes that there is a tendency to skip over psychological work in the search for a spiritual identity. This new identity, some with a different name change, is old cake with new frosting.  The same old beliefs about self, others, and the world are there chugging along.  But now the focus is on the new ‘spiritual’ self as the old self just bubbles along underneath.

If you have listened to one of these ‘teachers’ very carefully, at times you may hear the judgment and defensiveness creep into their voices when they are challenged.  Awakening by itself without the ‘soulwork’ of dealing with negative conditioning from our lives, seems to be a shaky house of cards.  It is tempting to believe that ignoring our stinky old baggage is as easy as a cat covering its poop in the box…but it just doesn’t seem to work that way.

Stinky is as stinky does.  We are all called to clear old conditioning that no longer serves us.  It means feeling the feelings, holding them in the compassionate light of the unconditional love that burns incessantly in our hearts…….that spark of the Divine that is always with us.  And some of us just don’t want to do the work.  We want to believe that we can leap-frog it over into the land of Enlightenment and forever wear the Buddha smile.  I just don’t buy it.

My experience shows me that my life is my path.  Everything I need to clear is within me.  I don’t need to go anywhere to find it.  No one else has the answer.  I am my path.  I just need to work it.  I am both the teacher and the student.

©2010 Andrea Avari Stevens, Ph.D.

Nothing Outside of Ourselves

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“As we grow in higher consciousness,
we discover that it is more important to be the right person
than to find the right person.”

good reminder for all of us who might entertain the thought that peace and happiness exist anywhere but inside ourselves………self-inquiry is a process that can bring us to a deeper degree of self-awareness in being the right person for ourselves.  A great book to read on the self-inquiry process is Richard Moss’s…….”The Mandala of Being”……love it!  Give extra nurturing to that person in the mirror this week.    Andrea

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