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November 2018

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Recently I talked with a friend, who had called me up in tears. “Why do some people behave so nasty?” she asked after she had told me her heart breaking story. Haven’t you asked the same question sometimes? Why do we ruin our environment, why do some commit acts of crime, why do we betray…There is a long list of why’s in the universe and the answer remains the same. Of course I don’t want to simplify and generalize as I know too many facets of the human psyche to claim it’s just this one thing.

But, when I dive to a far deeper level, I have seen this over and over again:

When the heart is closed at the core, then love is limited and intelligence too. When the heart is open all the way you experience love, truth is felt and alive, you are in touch with others, you think in ways that are actually brilliant. Why? Because this very life that moves the ocean is flowing freely and unencumbered through you. To the degree you are open is the degree you truly know and truly live. And nobody needs to tell you then that certain actions cause harm and suffering, because you can feel in your heart what is benevolent and what is not. In the spiritual and so human heart is an innate intelligence breathing in your chest that is far greater than our little minds can ever comprehend.

But to the degree we shut down, often because we don’t want to experience pain and want to be safe emotionally, we become unkind to others, we get numb and don’t care, we cut ourselves off from what is even common sense. Honestly, how smart is it to pollute a river and then sell bottled water, then throw the bottles in the ocean and then the plastic ends up in your body and ruins your health? How intelligent is it when we shout at our partner and the world in the hopes we will be heard? It’s like our brains don’t work right anymore. We become rather stupid in the real sense.

So instead I suggest, labor a little and open up all the way to live that intelligence and love beating in your very own heart right now. You won’t regret, but you will feel life guiding you every step- through the inevitable pains and glorious joys- into what forever remains at peace, even when all else falls apart.

 

 

Spirituality, like everything else, can be used as an escape from life, each other and ourselves. From the world with all the beauty and horror. From the pain that aches in the heart, deep down. From the joy knocking at your door, unexpectedly. From the consequences of our actions and those pesky relationship troubles.

Spirituality actually calls and leads into life, as it is. Inviting us to show up, here in full for the whole enchilada- real, heartbroken sometimes, getting our hands dirty, navigating both difficulties and glorious moments with presence and wholeheartedness- and letting love live us no matter what. That is what embodied spirituality is all about.

I understand the need to escape, especially when s*** hits the fan and the fire is on. It’s ok and so very human to want to run, to hide, or to rise above to get away. Then it helps to remember why you have come. What beats in your heart that’s bigger than the fear. What holds you right now – the earth, God/Goddess, the dharma or the hand of your friend. And maybe, just maybe turn around and walk right toward what is calling out your name since forever long.

Spirituality can remain a lofty concept with high ideals, easy to talk about whilst sipping a cup of tea, but useless in the midst of life. What happens when you are under pressure and the mind turns the stress button on, how do you stop to breathe and show up present then? Or when your friend lets you down, do you react and contract or do you move toward openness and speak without blame? What about picking up the trash to embody your care and love for the earth? And that pain aching in the chest, will you turn to it with your kind attentiveness? You get the gist, I am sure of it.

Be wary of those who sell the fancy and expensive maps for the path, the three keys to ultimate happiness and such. Those folks simply made pretty pictures, while flying with a helicopter across the landscape. But only a teacher, who has walked the path on the ground, who knows what it is like to cross a river with crocodiles, can guide you safely across. Only a person, who has walked through the ups and downs in life with presence and love, can guide you to the other side.

It is easy to talk the talk, but only if you walk it through the muck and beauty in life, are you embodying love and spirituality for real. Then the flame of truth just shines forth. Leave the concepts friend, turn to yourself with honesty and find those who are masters of their craft. Learn to bake the bread for real. And soon you will feed the starving crowd and help others on the path as well.