In listening to a beautiful piece of music there is this effortless alignment of my infinitely tangled inner experience such that a part of me that was so mixed up in everything else is finally freed up to be felt and expressed as was always intended. It is a brief taste of freedom.
I had a thought on the weekend that they only thing in the way of the peace I desire is my own’permission’ to be at peace. Do I truly think I deserve to be at peace, or do I believe I need to overcome a pile of fictional obstacles that I have placed in my own way?
What if it was as simple as the recognition that I am allowed to be everything I’ve always wanted to be RIGHT NOW!
I am not talking about anything from the physical world like getting that new job, or being a scratch golfer, or even a successful blogger. But rather it is the feeling that I assumes comes with each of those. Those feelings of success, achievement, of being important, and of validation of my own existence. And after each of those feelings I believe inner peace will finally be realized as I can finally stop trying to prove that I deserve to be here.
There’s also a certain resistance I had to this idea because spiritual enlightenment seems to revolve almost entirely around transcending the mind, and this particular approach utilizes the mind, particularly the concept of permission.
But can the mind be a gateway to it’s own transcendence?
At the surface the concept of permission and acceptance seem quite similar. But the key difference in my interpretation is that acceptance is directed more at external conditions, whereas permission is related to my internal way of being, at my relationship with the world.
In my spiritual practice of acceptance my focus has never been on my inner feelings but rather an attempt at quiet observation of the physical world. When I add the idea of permission to the mix it is like adding a degree of freedom. That I am giving my inner world the freedom to be entirely separate from my external conditions.
A deeply held belief of mine was that if I was quiet enough, and saw the world rightly, all of the good feelings would come streaming in. But permission goes both ways, I must give myself permission to feel both the good and bad. Honestly though, we are pretty much all experts already at giving ourselves permission to feel crappy!
I guess in some ways it is a rebellion against the relationship between the inner and outer. Do I not still deserve to be at peace if I lose my job? Can I not still experience bliss if my pipes freeze and the basement floods? Can I still be calm if someone belittles and insults me? It feels like the answer could be yes.
Is that insanity, or is that enlightenment?
And when I give myself this permission to be at peace no matter what, I am not ‘trying’ to be happy, it just seems to come easily when I let it. Like it’s closer to my natural state.
Everything in my world felt like noise.
Every day and every experience just seemed to be adding layers of noise. They were adding complexity to the already complex. Whether it is thoughts about money, relationships, my job, my purpose and even spirituality, it all still felt like noise distracting me from me real self. My problems were all layers, and even the solutions to those problems became a layer on top of that.
Peace was a layer.
Fulfillment was a layer.
Freedom was a layer.
Love was a layer.
Maybe not experientially, but as long as I only knew them conceptually they were layers. I was overflowing with content as I got more and more lost in this ever increasing pile of things. I was hidden beneath it all and the only way to access it was to become completely silent. And to listen. But actually, even the idea of listening became another layer. I was thus forced to surrender and let go. But I could only think about surrender conceptually and it became another ‘thing’ to let go of. Eventually I fell back in my chair and just stopped. Suddenly and mercifully.
My mind can not narrate this spiritual journey. I must go alone.
Leading up to this moment I had been desperately searching for my purpose. Digging deep into my past. Looking at all of the things that I love doing, things that I hate doing, things that seem to come naturally, and things I have to work to make happen. I have read Start With Why, The Secret, A New Earth, & Steve Jobs’ Biography to name a few. These are all books that deal with purpose to some extent. And after all of that, and hours of contemplation, I came to one stark realization:
Life has no purpose. We are simply here because we are here.
This is not a depressing revelation. It is only the ego that must have a reason for being. Purpose, as grand and wonderful as it seems is just another limitation. As is everything that you use to try and define yourself. My only freedom is to become purposeless.
I am here. That is all I know. That is all that matters.
The moment you find your courage you begin to live the life of your dreams.
I feel like I am at a fork in the road.
The road on the left leads to the realization of all of my dreams. It is the complete synchronization of mind, body and spirit. It is total freedom and total peace. It is full of excitement and love and all things new and wondrous.
The road on the right leads to submission. A withdrawing from any attempt at change. A resignation to my current fate. A commitment to walk over and over on the same path, knowing where it will go. Knowing where it will end.
The entrance in front of the road on the left is full of flashing red lights, warning signs, detour road blocks, and it is unpaved and unworn. It is uphill and rocky. I can hear wild animals howling and night is falling.
On the right side I see a well-travelled road. It is paved and full of service stations. There are signs saying exactly how far to every destination. There are many drivers on this road and there are strict rules about how you are to allowed to drive. And the roads always lead to the same place. The journey is familiar, predictable and safe.
Where should I go? Where would you go?
A freedom that depends on circumstance is not true freedom. Thus the only way you can be free is realizing you’ve ALWAYS been free.
if your freedom can be threatened, then you are not free.