Thursday, November 3, 2011
To Be or Not to Be--Is This The Question?
Who am I? What matters? What is my gift? What do I need to hear? What on Earth am I doing? --Gregg Levoy
This week-end I had the priviledge of attending a workshop presented by Gregg Levoy, author of "Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life," who posed at least 80 questions to us; questions that allowed each participant to dig deep into their soul-well to listen to the haunting call of what they're passionate about, what they're REALLY passionate about. I continue to take this type of workshop to glean tidbits,chunks and mountains of information, nuances of presentation and to allow my soul a place to re-sing my passions.
"Questioning is at the heart of spiritual journeying, of leaving home for a time to go on a retreat, pilgrimage, or vision quest, of removing ourselves from the duties and dramas, the relationships and roles that bombard us with messsages that may be distracting or irrelevant or even destructive to our emerging sense of self and that interfere with our asking for responses to our burning questions," Gregg writes.
Though answers to questions help us, the very fact that we're asking questions is the key ingredient to this recipe. As I stir this pot of soup--reminds me of alphabet letters swirling around as I heated some Campbell's Alphabet Soup for my kids--I envision questions in an upheaval as I pour the soup into the bowl, letting it settle--pausing--creating a space for the questions to appear, and later for the answers to float to the surface. If I force an answer--from my egoic control place--I'm stirring the pot more; if I quiet my being, an authentic and empowering answer fills my spoon and I become nourished. This might take minutes, hours, days, possibly years.
You must slow down to speed up your spiritual energy. --Wayne W. Dyer
Maybe a good practice is to begin each day with a question. If you journal, I suggest you put a question at the top of each page as a prompt. It might be a different question each day, or the same question for several days or weeks. I find that I am prone to find different answers depending on my mood and what's occcuring in my life and one answer leads me up the spiral where I have a new view. Lately I've been asking Archangel Michael, "What do I need to know today?" then I draw an Angel Card (sometimes I draw two or three and pick the one that resonates with my inner, intuitive being). Uncannily, over the last two months the same cards are turning up: Change Directions, Go For It and Entrepreneur.
Speaking of big questions, how does one recognize the difference between ego questions and answers and soul ones? Although the energetic frequency of soul and spirit are faster moving than those of ego, writes Wayne Dyer, the feeling that comes to me is more like molasses; thick and juicy. In There's A Spiritual Solution To Every Problem, Mr. Dyer tells us, "By slowing your mind and freeing it from the endless chatter of thoughts competing against other thoughts, you allow the fastest vibrations of spirit to enter."
The year, 1987, me, new in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction looking for additional support to the Traditions and Principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, perusing books in a book store when the obvious happens, Gary Zukav's The Seat of the Soul, falls off the shelf into my hands. Gary's work became a companion to The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, both of them within eye and arm distance at all times. Gary launched my journey, my pilgrimage to soul with:
Your soul is that part of you that is immortal.....In time, it learns to value and to identify with those currents that generate creativity, healing and love, and to challenge and release those currents that create negativity, disharmony and violence. In this way a personality comes to experience the energy of its soul... It is a positive, purposeful force at the core of your being. It is that part of you that understands the impersonal nature of the energy dynamics in which you are involved, that loves without restirction and accepts without judgment.
Soul came in, baby-step by baby-step, as I unwound my fractured being through the preeminent question, Who am I? It took giving her a lot of attention, allowing time and space. Another tome about the search for soul that stirred me was Care of The Soul by Thomas Moore, where he writes,
Care of the soul sees another reality altogether. It appreciates the mystery of human suffering and does not offer the illusion of a problem-free life....The uniqueness of a person is made up of the insane and the twisted as much as it is of the rational and normal.
Such comforting words to someone who thought they were the only one with the kinds of problems I experienced; such comfort to find out that I didn't need to be perfect, that I could accept all my parts: the insane, the twisted, the rational and the normal. A breaking open was necessary, with the first step being acceptance; acceptance of ALL the nuances of my personality, a fairly simple command, not always easy to embrace. Acceptance became the key to the portal of soul.
Bringing our attention back to the difference between soul-filled and ego-filled, David Hawkins,
explains in Power Versus Force,
"Power is always associated with that which supports the significance of life itself. It appeals to that in human nature which we call noble, in contrast to force, which appeals to that which we call crass. Power appeals to that which uplifts and dignifies--enobles. Force must always be justified, whereas power requires no justification. Force is associated with the partial, power with the whole."
I interpret this to mean that power is of the soul, force of the ego. The feeling is often indescribable, yet through my paying attention to it, allowing the answer to "float to the surface," not force it, I frequently and instantly feel when soul is anwering. Other ways soul appears is in my dreams, journaling, music lyrics that grip me, or maybe a word, a poem, phrase or passage in a book that hits me viscerally--again, a feeling. She has often nudged me while I'm taking a shower. As the water flows from the shower spout, my attention is lackadaisical, allowing an opening for her to swim by. Water is a meaty place for soul to braise you, after all, it represents birth, emotions, and cleansing.
It is a journey, a pilgrimage, to discover how your soul calls you. Pay attention, nurture your quiet, shy soul and she'll pop her head out to engage with you. Once she feels safe, she'll come to visit frequently. If your life has any similarities to mine--that of not giving soul much heed--she may need an invitation, request a practice to allow trust. I've done this and now she engages me of her own volition. I've named her Blackbird after one hovered outside my bedroom window as if introducing herself to me several years ago. I've collaged this Soulbird as an act of homage, to welcome her and burn her into my consciousness. We're quite good friends now having built a foundation of understanding, with all questions allowed.
Questions are big hits with meditation. Ask a question, sit quietly, focusing on your breathing, and see where you are lead. You might be led in many directions, there may be many detours--you can take them all, but take ONE AT A TIME like a snail crawling a single path. Keep a notepad and pencil handy, or a recording device, and capture these elusive butterflies.
What are your questions? Ask and you shall receive. Until next time.
Believing my experience, strength and hope may shine a light on your parade.
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