Personal Renewal: How to Find and Re-connect with Your True Self
(A CONTEMPLATIVE WRITING TO ENGAGE WITH A HOME PRACTICE)
As many of you know, my life work is dedicated to helping a person to find and live according to his or her own inner wisdom and unique genius of soul - during every day, real life. Many of the emails I receive are from people who have become dismayed by the externalized and often hypocritical dogma of traditional religion; the endless looping of traditional “talk therapy”; the fad books full of ”expert how to” promises and new age practices.
I hear from people who are tired and who know that something essential is missing from their lives but don’t have any idea what it is …or how to regain it.
I receive many hopeful emails from people who sense that the answers they seek must come from within themselves; that they somehow sense that they themselves hold the key to their condition, but cannot find where that key has been misplaced — or how to use it — if they can even find the right door!
I ask you, what has happened? How did we get this far away from our own inner wellspring of wisdom and well-being? What do you see when you look inside (and outside) yourself and contemplate this question:
Why are we as a culture becoming more and more disenfranchised from our heart, soul and from true connection with each other? Why have we become so depressedly stuck “not knowing” who we are, or how to find meaning and purpose in our lives?
Very simply, as I see into this question, I see it is because we’ve lost touch with the very nature of nature! We have lost touch with how life actually works. We’ve lost touch with what the nature of life truly requires and asks of us if we are to know our true self and live a life of meaningful communion and connection.
We’ve become so disengaged from our own nature, and so hypnotized to seek answers outside of ourselves, that we’ve lost our inner sonar – and along with it – our innate confidence in what it means to lead a good life of character, creative renewal and love.
We try spiritual practices, meditation techniques, how to books, but something is still missing inside…
What is missing inside? What word can you give it? (See what you notice when you look…)
We can blame society; our culture; the workforce; responsibilities of home; financial struggles etc. …but fact is (when you really look) we have created, and continue to create, these imprisoning conditions moment-by-moment through what we give ourselves to…
If I were to try and pinpoint the one key kingpin that stands in the way of the peace and purpose and harmony that people seek, it is this:
We have become trapped in a circular fixation with the fear-driven, “ego-thinker-mind” …And then we go about trying to use this very mechanism that has separated us from our true nature to try and restore our true nature! …Can’t happen!
The “ego-mind” is fundamentally the wrong tool and the mistaken method for the heart of what we truly seek.
We’ve become so aligned and attentive to our rational “problem solving mind” as the only way through life’s hurdles and questions and puzzles, that we don’t even realize where and how we have lost touch with our heart and soul — nor have we retained connection with how to follow that inner guiding source of profound inner wisdom.
We as a culture have lost the roundness of life and the integral wholeness expressed in nature’s ways. And as a result, we’ve become like myopic surgeons cutting away at the symptom to try and fix a disease that starts with our fragmented lives.
We’ve become microscopic in the detailed survey of our lives minutia – and, as a result, have lost the larger storyline and gracious perspective of our own mysterious life tapestry in the works.
In the private one-one-one apprenticeships I offer, I generate an experiential discovery of how to move through the circular gatekeepers of the thinking-calculating-mind, and into the enchanting and mysterious gardens of the soul.
In the gardens of the soul, one quickly realizes a way of tending one’s own estate that is outrageously more natural and real and spunky and “right on” than the linear problem-solving mindset of “rational thought” (which is the tool most of us almost exclusively use when trying to fix and solve life’s problems and questions)!
In each of the people with whom I have been honored to work, the answers sought have been revealed through a very simple process of re-engaging with their own nature and reclaiming their own inner knowing, through a creatively-playful commitment of self-discovery.
It’s all about stepping outside of the confusing prison walls of the rational mind (with its well-rationalized fears, anxieties, “what if’s” and paralyzing riddles) ...and then creatively courting the frontier of one’s aliveness.
Here at the frontier of one’s aliveness and in the natural forces of life, there is immediate access to the language of soul; to the provocation of inner wisdom; and to the wellspring of one’s own unique genius.
As I said before, this is the kingpin: When the rational mind is removed from the way, the Way is simply and splendidly present!
For those of you right now, finding yourself trying to “get” what I’m saying through your thinking mind: …look if you will, from an expansive inner “regarding”, and see what you notice when you ask this question:
“What is thought? Where does it come from? What is its genesis?”…
Rational thought is a protective coating that we overlay onto life in order to try and find and fix ourselves to a place in time and space …It comes “after the fact” as an attempt to create position, identity, security…place.
Nothing wrong with these functions of thought …except when you are trying to find your true nature and hoping to break free into a living love affair with life! Then these constellated thought-forms become that which blocks the very thing you seek!
We try and try to marshal and use thoughts to help figure out our direction and our path of true purpose. Problem with this strategy, is this: Thoughts are not at the frontier of what is alive… so they can’t be “the finder”! (I am reminded of former President Bush: “I’m the decider” ..ha! our minds are like that! They are arrogantly incorrect).
We’re so stuck in the rational scientific paradigm and (relatively infantile) historical context of today’s cultural perspective, that we don’t even understand that there exists another - more intelligent - language. The language of soul”… (Say-what?)
What is being pointed to here cannot be understood through the mindset of rationalism.
Aliveness offers a far richer and deeper form of intelligence than that of the rational mind. This aliveness cannot be understood until it is directly, deeply, viscerally experienced in and through the whole body intelligence.
Direct full body-mind-soul engaged experience brings you back into your life. It is the portal to your wisdom, your peace, your balance …and your genius.
Anything that you “think about” but do not directly experience, is already a few steps removed from the immediate genesis and clear intelligence of aliveness.
Aliveness happens. Thoughts come after the aliveness has already occurred and then seeks to interpret or explain what has already happened …But it does so in the only way available to it: through the lens of past experience, belief systems and early conditioning.
… And then we wonder what has happened to wonder…
Thought is meant to support the courageous movements of living by offering little moments-of-light that help fix consciousness in time and space for a moment, and then letting go again into the vast unknown movement of creation as it evolves.
…A breath and a pause; another breath and a pause.
This is the dynamic of living.
We run into depression, confusion and paralysis because we have shunned true radical aliveness and artistry for a canned replica that is merely fabricated out of the ruminants of what was once living and has since moved on.
…We hold our breath and forget we are the Breathing!
The thinking mind has its right time and place. But, as I say in my work with clients, its time and place is not in the areas of solving The Big Life Questions: “Who am I, what am I here for, what is my special genius in the world, how do I mine the gold of my life, what is my purpose, how should I be with the people in my life?”
These Big Life Questions (and their many secondary offshoots: “should I move, or marry, or quit, or stay”, etc.) can only be truly answered through learning the special language of soul and the living artistry of an engaged relationship with your life and it’s own special genius.
Most people look at me askew when I first tell them that their way of thinking IS the problem standing in the way of the answers they seek. But it’s true.
Rationalism has become our false god. We have mistaken that which is supposed to stand in support of our creative artistry and radical aliveness, for “the thing” itself. We’ve got it “bass awkward!”
The thinking-mind is not meant to be seated as master of your life, it is meant to be a servant to your true authority of being.
What is your true authority? Where is the True Self?
… Reflect on this living question:
What really “authors” life? How does life “author” itself? Look around at nature and see.
Consciousness is authored and has its actual genesis from something way beyond and before the overlay of thought. In fact, your true authority springs up before thought can even rise to think itself here. It’s one step late: The “it” already was…
Thought’s job is to serve your true authority by helping to temporarily give it form.
Rational-mind-thinking belongs as an organizational servant to the greater alive intelligence that rides on the waves of each living moment as: inquiry, inspiration, intuition, revelation, spontaneous creativity. These are the voices of soul… And this is where your real life is: Inquiry, inspiration, intuition, revelation, and spontaneous creativity exist at the very frontier of living.
What I have found after a lifetime of attachment to the intellect, trying to “understand” with the mind, reading literally many thousands of books…and then finally, falling into the Grace of a vibrant relationship with each living moment, is this:
To answer life’s questions, to find your own truth and way, and to being at peace with your life, is an artistry that must be tended rather than a question to be solved.
Heck! Look: Real Living demands being really alive! Sounds obvious, but that’s the part most of us are missing!
We seek and cry out and slip into dark despair because we are actually looking in the wrong way, with the wrong tool, and then missing the gift that is forever right here, springing forth in the garden of soul that ever surrounds us.
To be really alive, means learning how to cultivate a very active listening engagement with Life itself. We ask (and we ask and we ask…) but we don’t really understand how to actively engage in a responsive listening. We wrestle with and work out new life directions, but we miss the essential secret of life’s actual alchemy to transform our life into wholeness that is at play!
True listening requires entering into a whole new level of relationship with your life, one that is not merely seeking a useful answer.
True listening is learning the art of being engaged in your life as an ongoing relationship and journey toward greater wholeness, expressed through your unique genius without knowing where it is leading next. Everything you seek at the core of your longing for inner peace, true happiness, abiding love, and meaningful life purpose, resides in how well you are able to actively engage in responsive listening.
True listening requires an immense awareness of self in relation to what is here now in your life. In the Zen tradition, it is said that the master can only truly hear the seeker’s heart when he is so deeply listening within himself that all else is cleared of the path. I find this to be utterly true in working with my clients! It takes a great awareness of self and surrounding to not miss a slightest whispering from the other’s heart…
To live on the frontier of your life, where the voice of soul leads the way through life’s “big questions”, you must in fact become the Listening.
What do I mean by “becoming the listening”? What I mean is this:
To actually hear the voice of soul, to sort out your life questions and to find and live your heart’s deepest longing for harmony, service, meaning and peace, requires that you learn the art of being intimately engaged and responsive with the truth of where you are right now in life: All. Of. It: “the good, the bad and the ugly”.
To find the answers to the life you seek, requires more than asking and seeking and meditating and discovering… It means pouring yourself into (giving yourself over to) each impetus to step - and without ability to see the whole trail. It is faith in action. Not not mind in need.
Some call this soul-responsive stepping: "ceremony"; some call it "practicing the power of now"; others, "sacred attention"; "mindfulness"; "presence". These words are all a bit amorphous and often misconstrued. It’s really very simple:
Ask a question of Life… and then engage the question with your very life and by means of creative (reverently playful) exploration and honoring acts that show your listening/responsive dedication. In other words, become an artist of your life and step into your quest as if you were entering into a relationship with a lover (which you are!)
What does it mean to be an artist of your life? Here’s a good way of seeing what I am pointing toward:
How would you go about your life if, instead of struggling to find solutions to the various problems and confusions, you entered into a conscious relationship and honoring rapport with the questions themselves (just as the artist picks up and uses the materials of her/his art?) What if “the materials of your life” – all of them, “the good, the bad and the ugly” were curiously picked up and honored in a process of creating from them a work of art that reflects your closest truth and your soul’s deepest longing? — At. That. Moment. Fully!
We gain true wisdom and peace by consciously coming into the artistry of our living; by choosing the courageous call to character and weaving our storyline in a pattern that reflects our greatest offering of self — within each moment - on the go!
We don’t find ultimate peace by manipulating our lives to suit a particular desired goal, but by falling into a love affair with life itself… and offering ourselves to that re-union with all our heart and soul!
Here’s a closing contemplative zinger:
It’s not life’s job to make us whole, solve our problems, make our way clear. It is our responsibility to Life to offer back the whole of ourselves to Life’s natural evolutionary creative impulse within each moment.
It’s an amazing relief. …When we meet the truth of who we are right here (right now) and offer it up to Life with self-proclaimed authenticity. Then, have we just reflected our true nature and our true self.
Our humility and our humanity, when it is consciously honored as an offering to our love affair with life, IS the amazing expression of our innate wholeness, our unique genius, and our reflection of Life’s very Divinity.
When we give ourselves to life in this way, everything is an act of worship and a playful genius. Everything becomes a curious delighting in the lovemaking with Life on the move.
When we learn to tend the garden of soul and express our life as a work of art, the old dark questions cease. And in their place springs love.
May you dive into the wellspring of your heart’s deep pools of longing. And there, see through the eyes of one who gives everything to Life, and so receives All…
Blessings of Renewal!
Suggested Home Study
1) After reading this issue, and as you contemplate what you’ve read, see what one “seed word” or “quality” comes up as something calling to your attention.
2) Let that word or quality become your own inner quest (or personal inquiry) for the next couple of months. Research it, meditate on it, observe your thoughts, words, and actions in the context of this inquiry as you go about your daily living… Make it a living quest!
3) And then honor what you are seeing and sensing and realizing through some kind of conscious act that reflects your truth of “seeing” at this time. **Not "truth" as you WISH IT; but rather the raw truth that is showing up at various portions along the trail of your living quest. The very strongest awakening occurs by following these "threads" of "RAW TRUTH" and letting them heal and shine a light on the next clearing. A next clearing that only can and only will be able to reveal itself from first having honored and seen the Raw Truth's of the previous station or moment. Be creative, spontaneous, “out of your mind” …and courageously curiously playful ...And see what your creative vibrant soul wishes to freely offer to Life!…
I look forward to hearing what you discover!
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copyright ronda larue, 2006
renewal and true self