You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.
I walked into a used bookshop at 11:42am on a Friday morning, half-hoping I would stumble across a book I’d been looking for for the past week. Just coming from the tyrannical hugeness of Barnes & Noble where I had spotted the last inanely unaffordable copy on a back shelf, I was sure I wouldn’t find it here at this tiny shop. I perused for the self-help or spiritually section anyway, but found only a dubious two shelves labelled “Esoteric”. The “T” slot was empty, so I accepted failure and turned to leave. But a strange whim whipped me around to the uninterested clerk whom I asked where the self-help section was, and he directed me back to the “Esoteric” shelves. For some reason I returned and skimmed the books on the higher shelf. There, leaning alone in the “B” slot, vibrating with potential, was A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.
As I left the shop a woman walked right past me, whom I recognized instantly. She was the person who inspired it all, who set me on the path of discovering my “enoughness”, who inspired me to question the entire purpose of my Purpose. (If you haven’t read about what this woman did for me, you should read it now.)
I don’t dare analyze the meaning of all this, just simply allow it to be meaningful. And when I cracked open this spotty, yellowing book, it clarified the knowledge that had been sinking down on me like a warm fog: I am not what I do, what I want, or what I think. I simply am. That is the stuff that makes up the divine. God is God, because God is. That is how, in the Christian sense, we are made in His likeness. We are.
I tell this story because of my last post. What I wrote there is some of the most confusing yet important stuff I’ve ever gotten down. People sting when they hear that stuff. (And I know this because I’m basically just parroting what those far wiser than me have taught, and what I felt when I learned it.) It feels accusatory, and it feeds right into that old stereotype I described of the “yogi” who’s out of touch with reality. Who’s (too appropriately) esoteric. My own struggle began when I was 13, my eyes glued to Joseph Campbell on my TV as he uttered: “Life is without meaning. . . . Being alive is the meaning.” My heart swelled with an indescribable connection to his message, but my head had to dismiss it.
He meant the meaning to be discovered in life is the glory that is resting, right now, in your heart. Everything we experience, we think, we believe we must do is created inside your head (by your ego). Like my Purpose. I believed in it with the sort of vehemence you see in movies. I was willing—I was ready—to die for it. I wanted to die without it. But really, seeking my Purpose was seeking what I already was. I was seeking glory and success, because that’s my natural state, disguised and hidden by all the contraptions of my mind.
What my head said to me was that this slow realization was esoteric, spiritual, non-functioning nonsense. It wasn’t real life. I didn’t want to stop actually living: stop singing, writing, being a partner. But as this message settled into me regardless, I realized that now I can do those things with more passion and excitement than I could before. Because now I do them to express what I already am. My successes and failures in those sides of my life have no bearing on my worthiness to live, and live happily. They do not add or subtract from me, but they do bring me closer everyday to uniting with bliss. Basically, if you stop whatever you are doing, right now, and just sit, you are still meaningful. You are still worthy of life. You still have glory. You are completely enough.
But that complex stinging feeling is still there. When I first felt it, I thought it was protecting me. On one side it hurt deep inside, which affirmed its truth; on the other it was defensive in nature. I realized essentially that’s denial. The heart cannot be defensive, angry, frustrated. Those qualities belong to the self-preserving mind.
Still, take peace that, as always, these are lessons from my own journey, which could never be yours. And I don’t claim to be the yogi in a white robe, I’m a woman struggling to find herself like everyone else, messing it up and trying again. I’ve learned the freeing power in unbridled honesty, but I’ve also learned my own ego is always discovering newer and stronger ways to survive. I challenge myself, here, so that others may find the courage to challenge themselves, too. In the end, your soul will bring you where you need to be in its own time, in its own way. I only hope to share and help in the way I can.
Photo by Quinn Dombrowski