My sister sent me this quote last week and it really struck a cord with me. It was like a beam of light shining through the fog of my depression and confusion:
Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier.
Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense.
It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true. –Adyashanti
So often I have judged things in my life (emotions, events, situations) as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and inevitably, I get it wrong.
I mean surely unhappiness, depression and confusion are bad, right?
I’m not saying they are a badge of honor, or even things everyone must experience in order to grow spiritually, but through my interactions with my fellow humans on this planet so far, it seems like often these things which we judge to be bad are actually vitally necessary to our growth.
And that, friends, can only be good.
For instance, the challenges we have faced here in Guatemala with Tyrhone’s flight training have always presented themselves as ‘bad.’ Plans halted, extra money spent, our trust in people pulled into question, and our relationship placed under a lot of strain. Anger, frustration, arguments, melt-downs, fear – we have certainly had a ‘colourful’ time, and I’m not just talking about the beautiful painted buildings.
But although our time here has not been what I expected or even wanted, it has been so good, I hardly have the words to explain just how good.
This is where I thank God for being a recovering alcoholic. Yes, the thing which I have always judged to be so bad, has actually saved my life and enriched my journey in more ways than I could ever imagine.
At the height of my misery, I was able to walk into a recovery meeting with a few people I hardly knew personally but knew very well spiritually due to the nature of our shared journeys and be honest about where I was at.
This is not as easy as you might think. Even in recovery meetings there is often a desire to cover up how we really are in order to avoid being judged for ‘doing recovery’ poorly, but for some reason, I got it pretty early on that it is better for me to be honest about where I am at. Even if where I am at is a sobbing mess on the table.
Because of this, and only because of this, I was offered some help from someone who had walked the path before me and I can hardly express my gratitude for the lessons I have learned and the things I have been able to let go of as a result.
I have experienced another ‘leveling’ of all I thought to be true about myself and of life. It really hurt. Even as I began to get back to basics with my recovery program, I felt as though a veritable war was being waged within me.
Because it was; a war between the self which I was identifying so strongly with (my ego; thoughts, feelings) and my true self (divine love).
My thoughts raced and my emotions went into overdrive while I ‘did the next right thing’ and followed the caring direction of someone who I trusted.
Then, came a light-bulb moment (or ten) from talking through all those crazy thoughts and feelings through with that kind, trusted person.
I hope to share more about my break through with you at some point, but for now I am simply standing back in awe as all of the confusion, fear, anger and frustration has been removed from me and replaced with a deeper peace than I have ever before experienced.
I no longer feel responsible for any other human being on this planet, or in any way in control of their happiness or sadness, even though I love them.
I am no longer worried about or afraid of the future nor regretful of the past.
I am aware that my true nature of Pure Love exists within me and not in any thing outside of me whatsoever, not where I go or what I do for a living or what I have.
I have returned to the present moment, and it actually feels like the first time I have ever been here! (Because it is!)
The work isn’t over by any stretch, it is ongoing and am not ‘better’ than I was a week ago, merely less attached to the things I was judging as bad. Nothing about my external circumstances has changed and yet internally I am exploring a new frontier and it feels more exciting than any physical place I have ever been.
All this to say, if you are going through hell, keep going. If you know someone who is going through hell, just love them. And try not to judge where they, or you, or anyone happens to be at along the path. I have done this; judging others and wondering why the hell I was being judged myself!
It’s a completely pointless and damaging exercise, for what may appear to be bad, is actually preparing us to discover our true nature.
The ‘bad’ is just a ruse, to distract us from the fact that underneath it all exists everything we have ever wanted, in the last place most of us thought to look – within ourselves.
“We’re all just walking each other home.” – Ram Dass
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