This title is problematic. It reflects a paradox that is worth exploring. So much of our lives are taken up with the pursuit of becoming something. The ongoing self-improvement project. This effort may take us away from our current experience, it may be an avoidance tactic, driving ourselves forward, always wanting to be somewhere other than where we are. A way of distracting us from the present moment, which is after all, the only time or place where anything actually happens. In our pursuit to become something other than who we are, we leave parts of ourselves behind. These are usually parts that we deem undesirable. Aspects that we’d prefer to disown. Places within, where there is discomfort. They can become subconscious drivers of our actions.
Uncomfortable, scary and downright painful!
Turning around to get acquainted with these aspects of self can be confronting. For sure, it is easier to keep striving away. To be able to live in the present, in presence, requires us to be with whatever is arising. Sometimes that is uncomfortable, scary and downright painful! Why on earth would we want to experience any of that? Far better to keep running.
But, is it?
Being able to be present with the full spectrum of our human experience is liberating. To no longer feel the need to run, but to embrace the discomfort, is to return to wholeness and freedom. Our preference to always feel emotions that we deem ‘good’ or ‘positive’ means that we don’t know the fullness of who we are. The discomfort, darkness within, our shadow, is where we retrieve our wholeness.
The path less travelled
Our striving is hard work, and it takes us away from the truth of the present moment, from all of who we are. The path less travelled requires effort of a different nature. The effort of coming face to face with aspects of ourselves that we don’t like. However, we remain in control of our experience and do this in our own time and on our own terms. There isn’t any point in diving into the ‘icky’ places within if it will create a stress response in our body/mind. We need to travel this route with gentleness and kindness towards ourselves. Little by little turning over every stone to see what we find. An internal exploration and adventure, a sacred journey.
A travelling companion
A travelling companion to ease the way is useful. We can all cultivate this. It is completely self-sourced. A salve to help us manage whatever challenges we may encounter. We don’t need any particular external circumstances to be ready to commence this inner quest. The planets don’t need to be aligned, people we’re in relationship with don’t need to change, we don’t need anyone’s approval. We all have within us an innate sense of ease, of simply being, it is our true nature. We can tap into this in a myriad of ways and find our own way to it. It could be through memory; of loved ones, special experiences, or by simply using our imagination to conjure up something that helps us feel ease. And then, taking the time to really feel the sensations of this, knowing what it feels like in our bodies. Using all of our senses to bring it into the present moment. Textures, sounds, tastes, colours. Becoming familiar so that we can call on it at any time. Having this inner resource, the felt sense of calm and ease, will serve us well on our inner journey. It will provide a container for anything that might be difficult.
Calling us home to peace and wholeness
Sometimes running away just gets too tiring and something tugs at us that we know we can’t deny. The truth within is always calling us home to peace and wholeness, if we stop long enough to hear its call. We can find our own way to do this. Perhaps it is taking time in the garden, walking in nature, lying down to rest or something much more dynamic that calls us into the present moment. More formally it could be a meditation practice. Finding a way to regularly stop to just listen, to be present. It is there for all of us and no one else knows the best way for us to find our own inner alignment. The teacher we need is already within us.
This sacred journey home to your Self
This alternate route, this sacred journey home to your Self, can be confronting and hard, but in integrating parts of ourselves that we don’t like, we expand, we grow. We come to know that we can be with anything that may arise. Then, there is no longer any fleeing, no more running away. We can be present with everything as it is, we are no longer somewhere else. We are available to be all of who we are and embrace the uniqueness of our life journey/story and come to know the unique contribution that we bring to life through it. Not through comparison with anyone else, under no one else’s authority but our own. Shining in our absolute uniqueness unlike anyone else – a precious, unique expression of life.
The paradox is that we are already all of who we are. We don’t find it in the future, we find it in the present moment, here and now.