Tag Archives: letting go

The Paradox of Awakened Beings

I learned a hard lesson a few years ago that, by simply being around people, I could either inspire great joy and laughter – or utter anger and disdain. I make many people uncomfortable.

I didn’t understand what was happening at first. Later, I learned that – in a way – I am “radioactive.” Not literally, of course. But there is something about my current configuration that acts as a mirror and an ignition switch. Because all people have the potential to awaken, they resonate with that thing, and those who don’t want to feel that possibility of awakening violently shut down. I wouldn’t say anything – just walk by, but the reactions are strong nonetheless.

People are dynamic processes – not objects – who must have a certain arrangement of their systems to receive whatever I (and others who woke up) “emit.”

As weird as it seems, most people didn’t come here to wake up at this time. They still need certain life experiences before they can move on. My teacher used to say that people need to love themselves and be able to surrender. Many need a strong identity before they can let it go. Surrender to what? To whatever is this mystery that lives us all. Surrender is expressed as care and devotion – and it is not a loss in some battle, or a giving up of oneself (like Westerners typically think). Neither is it worshipping another person, but expressing devotion to a living being who serves as a key. We cannot unlock the ego box by ourselves while inside the box!

Seekers often come to a fork in the road – they can either let go or cling to their identity. I remember my fork. I was riding a train home and felt myself shift into a new awareness. What matters is that I distinctly shut it off. I wasn’t ready – there were things I still needed to address in my life. It wasn’t until 12 years later that I finally transformed.

Over the years, I’ve seen a number of people leave my meditation teacher angry, bitter, and disappointed. Why weren’t they transforming, but others were? Some students just lost interest and wanted a “normal life” again. Those who know, can quickly nod that a path to awakening with a real teacher is far from easy.

Over the centuries there were many teachers with different styles of relating to their students. If you read books about famous teachers, you may think some of them were downright abusive. However, you may need to understand the ego better to see the teacher-student relationship in perspective.

In the presence of an awakened being, something catalyzes everything deepseated in a person to rise up. The process is rhythmic, pulsing in intensity – like a wave beating against a rock wall. When a student’s ego goes on the defensive or aggressive, or hides (to protect the “I”), the teacher may get beligerent and downright scary. For the teacher, it is a kind of act – evoked by the egoic presence. My teacher used to call it “blasting” the ego.

The more evolved the teacher, the more intense the blasting. Those on the receiving end must literally fight to hear the insight, and also fight the intense tendency to collapse into despair. The few who can withstand such confrontation of their limited condition go further, while the rest give up.

Yes, on the surface this may look like verbal abuse to those who are not trying to transform. However, looking deeper, the teacher literally tsunami-waves the ego to break its hold on the student’s consciousness. It takes a great deal of energy for the teacher and the student to maintain this dynamic relationship. And, at some point, the student may say “I had enough.”

While some walk away quietly, others walk away vocally bitter and angry. They literally forget that, at one point, they asked for help to become enlightened. They may even start badmouthing the teacher, diagnose the teacher as a narcissist or sociopath (common), and direct all of their anger at the teacher. While not all teachers are awakened, those who are awakened may still take the risk of a violent “breakup” anyway. They know that a seed was planted and will sprout when the soil is ready. There is no drama on the teacher’s part about something so simple.

I remember times when my teacher would cast me aside and say I wasn’t ready. I remember how aweful and discarded I felt. But I tried harder to find my way back. I felt like there was no other way but through. And, I spent very little time in-person with my teacher…. Such a bond transcends space and time. I mostly knew he was there, I read his unpublished writings, and I studied myself in response to various life experiences in the context of surrendering my life to the Divine. Almost everything I clung to had dissolved since then, and – on the surface – it didn’t look like I was doing anything but living my life.

The whole situation was between me and the Divine, and I knew I could not stop what I started. That was my path, my devotion, and my surrender – guided by whatever my teacher “radiated.” Others took different paths. It didn’t matter because it was not a race. We all got what we needed and were prepared to hold.

Those who leave a real teacher with bitterness and have forgotten why they sought out the teacher in the first place – they may trash what they received and are in a tough spot. While they are no threat to the teacher, their anger will need to be let go – or it will turn inward and feed on them until they realize that they are hurting themselves.

I consciously avoid being a spiritual teacher in any shape or form. I am learning how to move in a way that does not activate those who don’t need it yet. However, there are people who come out of the blue and ask me to help them wake up. Some, I take in. I am simply their friend.

We will do the dance and go as far as the person is willing. There is no fee, no contract, and no requirements but to stand strong in oneself to move beyond oneself. Such beings are still few, but teachers have always walked the Earth just for them – without expectations. The mystery still lives us all.

Solitude

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered how much I enjoy solitude.

What a stark contrast to the time when I was a child and into most of my adult life, when I still felt that I could not be alone. It was an old habit to feel like I needed company. The belief that I could not be alone sat there, in the body, untested and unchallenged.

Now when I am alone, I enjoy being alone. I daily interact with a few good friends, colleagues, and many students, but I recharge and come alive when all is quiet around me. I relax. I do not feel lonely or lacking. I can create, be aware, feel, perceive – in solitude I can listen to life uninterrupted.

Sometimes the past is sticky and people become entangled in odd ways – even when they are ready to part ways. Such entanglements are much like illness, which sits in the body and must run its course.

One could say that illness is bad, sad, or painful. But if it is there – even after everything has been tried to heal it, then it is there. It is part of life. Another lens to see through or past.

Lingering relationships are not unlike an unavoidable illness, and it is easy to view these ties as irritants. But whatever cannot be controlled must be lived through. Even though I feel ready to be free of such relationships, a couple remain tethered. So, they must run their course and must be embraced.

I used to think that it was important for me to be understood. Today I learned that I no longer care about that. If someone caused me pain, it turned out not to matter to me if they get it. It is liberating to not want or wait for sincere apologies or accountability.

Why do some people irritate us? Hurt us? Hate us? Blame us? Why do we do the same? I challenge myself to see if I hold grudges. I challenge my beliefs about old ways of relating to people. I’ve found that there is no hatred or bitterness in me anymore. The fact that I choose to not spend time or exchange pleasantries with certain people is not a sign of hatred or bitterness – just a wish to be free of whatever wants to see me as someone other than I am. Such interactions feel needlessly draining.

When we have a talent, it is not always necessary for us to use it. When there are certain people near us, it is not always necessary to let them in.

It may seem cold and heartless – even strange – to cut off certain people. Isn’t all relationship welcome? Of course not. We are not all here to get along – at least, not in the way we imagine getting along. While neediness and insecurity persists, it is impossible to be oneself in the company of certain people. And, it is impossible for me to artificially stroke someone’s need for validation, which is a bottomless sinkhole.

I won’t sacrifice whatever time I have left here to false idols. I realized that I no longer care if I am liked because I know who I am. Perhaps that just comes with age. My understanding about friendship and family is evolving beyond the usual definitions that involve us getting something. I see relationships as being about giving without sacrificing who we are, which is not possible with all or most people at this time.

I feel an unwavering resolve to allow others to live their life as they must. People come here to do very specific things, but they get caught up in experiences and stay past their time in relationships that ended long ago. Then, it takes a lot of force to push them out of complacency and onto their rightful track. They see it as cruelty, but it is a gift that makes it easier for them to move on. If they cannot bring themselves to move forward, then what is left to do but to give them a strong push.

If you are in a dead-end relationship, consider how much of yourself you can pull back. Find out if solitude frightens you. If it does, that is a sign that you are clinging to the world for something that you don’t believe you already have.

Meanwhile, be mindful of your responsibilities. Most tend to feel that they owe people much less than they really do – especially at the end of a relationship.

My children come before everything else. They are the priority because I accepted that responsibility. If you have children, then your divorce is not a complete and final separation until your children have fully grown. You are tied to the situation, until it has run its course. So, buckle in and own as much of what is yours as possible.

I do not know whether I will be alive in a decade or what I will be doing. It surprises me that I do not dwell on it. So much change occurs in my life constantly as I follow Life’s lead. I’ve surrendered my life. This surrender has only made it more clear that I have outgrown most things I thought I needed or wanted. It is OK – whatever comes, I will see it through. Either in solitude or among good friends who can be themselves and allow me to be myself. Often, the price of company, companionship, and so-called love is too steep, as it masks the need to hide or to escape the moment that was meant for us alone.