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The Story We Live By

One of the things I do is study mythology. I study mythology because it helps me understand my place in this vast, mysterious world. I look to the stars and study astrology in the same way. I study the plants, nature, and the patterns all around me. They help me to "see" what and who I am, as I find pieces of myself everywhere I look. The cosmic clues embedded in every part of Nature, from the largest galaxy to the tiniest atom, are all pointers for me to understand myself. And then I get into my mind and think about the stories I am telling myself. They don't fit any particular mold or pattern -- they are fabrications of my imagination and somehow, I believe them and they influence me, who I am being, and where I end up. Instead of being an empty mirror for life to reflect Its own Greatness, I end up with all sorts of distortions and identities which I cling to and assume that THIS is surely the truth. I believe in these self-created stories so adamantly that I am willing to defend myself, be aggressive or even violent in my thoughts and judgments towards self (and ultimately others) instead of relaxing into the perfect peace that Nature so beautifully demonstrates. I find it strange that this is the predicament I am in, for I don't inherently believe that Nature is a bad or dangerous place, but sometimes I act as if I am alone and I need to fight to survive. Maybe this is in our hardwiring -- I don't know. However, what I do know is that the deeper my spiritual journey has taken me, the more I see past the illusion of my own deception, and I start to understand or perhaps "innerstand" this Great Mystery that I'm living out. Yes, it is indeed a Great Mystery. I don't know how I ended up here, how any of us ended up here, how any of THIS ended up here, and I don't think I will ever "know". Not with my rationality and cognitively processing mind. Not a chance. My brain is limited and my capacity for reasoning is maxed out when I try to comprehend the Infinity that I appear to exist inside of. But a spiritual force inside of me, a spiritual... being, you might say, is becoming more and more "online" so to speak as I dedicate more and more of my life to understanding or "innerstanding" this Mystery.

What I am learning doesn't come through books; it hasn't come through the triumphant achievements of my ego.

"The whispering of the leaves and the rustle of the trees, the crash of the waterfall and the silent call of the breeze: these are the stories which bring me peace."

Creativity has been my greatest teacher. The discovery of meaning and the re-telling of the story. I'm in a constant discovery process -- what am I really here to do? Is the whirlpool activity of the mind all that I am ever going to experience? Am I doomed to pursue my fleeting desires until this body grows old and weak, and I pass on into the next life like a whisper of leaves? Or is there something everlasting, like an eternal nectar flowing from somewhere beyond?

When I create I tap into that Eternal Well. Something from beyond from somewhere beyond comes through me and into the world around me. The generosity and creativity that I feel when I am not feeding my doubts, fears, or self-importance but instead allowing the pure waters of Spirit to flow into and through me ... there is a remembrance. The Teaching arrives as I allow and surrender to this process. All the books and stories and methods and techniques disappear before this vast current, dissolving into the flowing rivers of life. I could not put this into words but I can open myself to receive the songs, poetry, and stories which transmit the essence of what I speak. I think that this is what inspires me, and also where I draw inspiration from in others. When I see and feel the open heart that is required to allow this spiritual force to move through, I quench my thirst like a weary traveller in the driest desert. Everywhere I go and everywhere I look, I am searching for this one ingredient that is essential for my well-being -- the generosity of true, inspired creativity. I don't care how it comes, I don't care in which form this "art" takes. There is no way around it and it cannot come in any artificial, strategic way. I simply open myself to its presence when it is there and feed on the current that comes through.

I used to be looking for answers. I was strategizing, planning, and attempting to control my life so much that I would overlook and miss the very thing I was looking for. I tried so hard in so many ways to fulfill myself and be satisfied with life. This was a dead-end. I never really got anywhere, except for further down the rabbit hole of my own "stuff", buying more deeply into my stories and illusions and never quite able to see beyond the "I, me, mine". It was exhausting. I ended up sick, weak, and confused. Despair and sadness -- existential sadness, really -- set in. Worse than depression, more like... emptiness, colorlessness: a life void of meaning. The more looked for the answers and solutions, the more I cemented habits and patterns in my being of running away and distracting myself from the only real "solution". Which was to STOP, listen, feel, and allow. Instead of using concepts or labels to be the temporary band-aid to my pain, I welcomed the messages of my pain and invited it closer to me. There was wisdom there for me, but I was not able to listen to it before. I was not able to be empty enough to NOT resist. I was fighting, and I kept losing.

When I started to empty myself, I began to feel something emerge from within. A sort of creative force, a living, breathing being that wanted to become. My authentic voice and expression started to emerge, at first quietly and then gradually picking up momentum the more I fed it with allowance and surrender. This process was years-long, and involved a good amount of sadhana which provided the platform through which I could empty and purify. I was purging all the unnecessary psychic gunk in my system that was distorting my vision of the world, preventing me from seeing anything clearly. Although I could hear the birds singing, I couldn't actually hear them, if you know what I mean. And although I could see the beautiful sunset, my heart was not open enough, yet, to receive that sunset inside of myself as part of me. It simply existed "out there" as another event of life.

Eventually, I don't know exactly when, the noise of my mind started to quiet down. It's still there, the constant mental chatter, but a silence and a spaciousness that is the backdrop of mental activity became much more apparent to me. This was like the blank canvas out of which my life was being woven. I discovered the colors of my expression and the tools that were my paintbrush, or the instruments that were my body and voice. I looked at the "blank" canvas and realized there were things superimposed on there that were never intended to be part of the "art" that was my life. The purification process I was going through was like an eraser, to clean of the smudges and to get back to a place of emptiness so that something new could come through.

For awhile I just did this: empty, empty, empty, purify, listen... my self-identity was being whittled down to nothing as the desires & ambitions I thought were mine vanished. Nothing was important to me anymore.... but some thing started to emerge. A movement. A song. A new story. I felt the pull of this force and surrendered to it. I began to follow its guidance and flow. I was led onto a very interesting path, a sort of pathless path, where none of what I "knew" could help me. Every time I was caught in my "knowledge" I would end up landing at another plateau without any further progress, or so it seemed. Every time I "tried" to be creative, I simply repeated what I'd learned and nothing new would happen. So I went back to the teaching: empty... empty... empty... listen.

My breath deepened. The relaxation in my body. The openness in my mind and heart. A peace that was beyond my knowing arrived. I couldn't find it elsewhere, or anywhere for that matter, except for in the final release of my seeking. Creativity of the highest frequency and vibration, a pure channel of light from somewhere else, crept into and through me. I was "doing" but I was also "being", and by Being some thing was being done. Life started to surprise me. It felt like the visions I had at the innermost levels of my heart were coming true. Before this, I couldn't even "see" these visions -- they were clouded by my ambitions and desires, keeping me in the endless pursuit of what I thought I wanted. Now, I was tapping into a far more interesting "reality". The reality of Spirit, I suppose.

I don't know where any of this is going, but I continue to empty myself, to forgive and let go, to purify, to do my best to SEE life without judgment, filter or expectation. And as I do so, creativity comes alive in me... and something becomes.... through me, for me, for life.

It's fun, it's terrifying, it's exciting, it's overwhelming... it's all of these things. So I just do my best to relax and observe as It all unfolds in the mysterious way that It does.


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