In ‘Arkie’s Pilgrimage to the Next Big Thing’ by Lisa Walker there’s a woman who has a job that doesn’t quite fit into a box.
I read another book about a woman like that. A book by Iain Banks – The Business. It was more sinister and yet grounded in Reality – yes, with a big ‘R’ – all the same. A reality that tells you the story is what makes life good, bad or unbearable, and that there’s no gap between what you tell yourself and what is Real; between what it looks like and how it is.
So much so, for example, that when you and an other person want different things, you have to go to a judge to figure out who deserves to have what. Meanwhile, everyone is telling the story of how they’re being hard done by, no matter what, because they have to give the decision over to someone else AND life is not what they thought they signed up for. Hmmm.
Back to the unusual job for a minute.
From a safe distance, it looks like some people find their niche while others bumble around in the darkness of self doubt and distress around lack of acknowledgement. But what’s really going on?
What’s going on when you can’t see what you do as valuable?
What’s going on when you don’t acknowledge your value, especially when you can’t put a finger on exactly what it is that’s valuable about what you do?
What does that label do for our sense of self?
How does it make valuable what we already have meaning for?
Or are we still confusing acknowledgement with meaning?
According to the book, the next big thing is the pilgrimage. We’re asking, “what makes transformation of the self so appealing?” and “how does the pilgrimage of transformation correlate between Catholic purgatory and Shinto reward in this life?” Hmmm.
Catholic Pilgrimage of Transformation
Cleansed. Forgiven. Redeemed.
Transition. Penance. Sacred. Journey.
You balance out your sins before you enter heaven.
Shinto Pilgrimage of Transformation
For Japanese, pilgrimage is about reward in this life…we ask for practical help.
You come back changed – healed or maybe you find love.
The essential aspect is that you leave one world and enter another. Everyone wants that?
I want my self back. I want that flow of ideas, connectedness, to return.
Yes, I recognise that statement in the want of those around me. I recognise the want for flow as if it defines the self (and a rejection of all other experiences as non-self, as a corruption of our essence). Where does this idea work for us? What is it’s job?
For many spiritual and psychoanalytic approaches, the question is ‘where does this idea come from?’ or ‘how can we fix it?’ But for me, for a Heart Alchemist, a Living Master who sees life through Spirit’s eyes, the question is never about cause-and-effect or making this wrong. It’s always about how this energy is here for a reason and knowing it is our job to decide how it shows up.
Do you find yourself analysing portents and symbols for hidden significance?
The world seems deeply mysterious to me in a way that it isn’t to others. A crow outside my window, a dog following me home, a dream of a shipwreck, any of these things can set my mind off on a tangent from which it may take some time to return.
We are forever making sense of the world, putting it into categories, into little boxes that help us tell the story of whose fault it is or how we might put the world back into balance. And there are a lot of products you can buy to help with that battle, to keep you awake when you’re naturally tired, to support your perspective when you see opposition, to finance your project when the flow is in short supply.
We have learnt many tricks to move the conditions of life around as if they were chess pieces, as if we’re playing in opposition to some invisible force trying to beat us at our own game. Much energy is expended playing the role that earns us the points, the right to get the gold. And how many alliances are made in an effort to create what we believe to be a life well lived? Even our relationships have an agenda. We can’t be unconditionally loving because there are rules about what we expect of other people when we love them!
I can’t help thinking there is a reason – a reason beyond the obvious.
A reason even when life seems unreasonable. That’s why we trust scientific methods, spiritual sentiment or religious canon, right? That’s why we look for evidence – to find reason for the unreasonable.
It’s why we go to court and tell the story of contributing factors when someone commits a ‘crime’. It’s why we label adolescence a ‘phase’ and attribute many ‘irrational’ behaviours to an over-active hormonal system controlled by an under-developed brain. It’s why we turn to experts and gurus when life seems unbearable, confusing or unclear. It’s why we put philosophical aphorisms on our fridge, and why we turn to the seven steps of serenity when we want to avoid another ‘bad relationship’, ‘unhelpful pattern’ or a trajectory of choice set to ‘self-sabotage’.
My whole life has been based on acceptance of whatever the cosmos may throw at me.
If this was true, you would be in acceptance, but you’re not.
If this was true, you would not ask “why me?” and want for a different life, for a simpler way, for an easier purpose, for a better world, for a clearer sense of who you are and why you’re here.
And if it’s not true, then how do you make sense of what you believed to be true and now discover was just an ideal of what you’d like to be true? More importantly, how do you make sense of this revelation without making yourself right, wrong or incomplete? In other words, without judgement.
Everything you need, you already have.
Does that grind you? Are you ready to growl and yawp feverishly at the screen?
Great! You just found your Loudest Point.
Your Loudest Point
[the Japanese rock garden] I think the garden is like one of those Rorschach tests. Everyone sees something different. It depends on what you’ve known and on what you want. It is nothing but a stimulus for your mind to fly free…
Life is like that. A Rorschach ‘test’ that becomes Real according to what you’ve experienced and what you desire. It is not an objective out there waiting for you to encounter it’s truth. It is not a figment of your imagination either.
Depending on your filters – perceptual and cultural – the real is constructed and deconstructed in a particular language. In other words, you sense through one filter, then you give meaning to what you sense through another filter.
The first is not separate from the second, we just like to understand the nature of things in parts when we’re in duality. Once you see life through Spirit’s eyes say as a Heart Alchemist, a Living master, or a point of Oneness, then there is no separation. I digress.
Your Loudest Point
Your Loudest Point is the experience of your filtered reality in this moment. It’s telling you what to pay attention to. How you decipher that invitation is going to depend upon where you focus.
Are you focused on, ‘why is this happening to me?’
Or perhaps, ‘how can I get this to stop hurting?’
Is it more important to know if this a sign of confirmation or reprimand?
How you interpret (your filtered) reality is up to you
The how is not the what. The what is not the directive. The directive is not the goal. The goal is not the outcome. The outcome is not the reason. The reason is not the result. The result is not the evidence. The evidence is not truth. The truth is not the purpose. The purpose is not the effect. The effect is not the reward. The reward is not the experience. The experience is not the story. The story is not the problem. The problem is not focus. The focus is not action. The action is not the meaning. The meaning is not the method.
It is what it is, until it’s not.
You’re either being or becoming. You’re either present or you’re not. There’s no working toward becoming present. There’s no waiting for all your ducks in a row before you can love yourself. There’s no making a commitment to being a better person starting sometime in the future unless I’m late for work or the kids are making me crazy. You’re either in or you’re out.
And if you’re out, where are you?
You must be somewhere?
Spirit doesn’t put you out. Only you see yourself in terms of what you’re not doing. Spirit sees where you are, what you are doing, how you are on purpose, and how you are perfect right now.
How you interpret your filtered reality is up to you. This does not mean it’s your fault, or that you need to fix something. Stop trying to take it somewhere else and just be with what it is – how you interpret your filtered reality is up to you.
Without all the extra meanings and significances, what does this tell you? Just read the words in the sentence again. What do the actual words say. Can you see how hard it is to stay with the words just as they are? This is your filter.
Your filter tells you where to go with what you see-hear-feel.
It re-stories everything to suit your picture of the world. It tells you what is a problem and what is a blessing. It divides the world into enemies and allies. It makes other people responsible for how you feel, what you get, and where you are. It justifies your mood, your energy levels, your needs. It also plays a bit part in formulating all of your lists – your wish list(s), your to-do list, your road to recovery list, your being a good person list, your how to identify a good friend list, your sings of a happy and successful life list. Your filter is everywhere.
Your filter is a powerful protector ensuring you keep all of your rules about the world in place. Any information that contradicts that picture is shot down immediately. You will never even know it existed. Your filter is the perfect soldier.
Which means that it takes orders.
Your filter takes orders from your sensibilities.
It is a dutiful servant to all the rules and explanations that you have put in place (and made Reality, with a big ‘R’). It is doing a great job. If it’s doing a great job and it takes orders from your sensibilities, then what about your sensibilities? Are they the problem?
There is no problem!
Your sensibilities are the rules and explanations themselves. They are your picture of the world, your dictionary of everyday experience. If you’re looking for a reason for what’s going on, for a big picture reason, then you’re asking your sensibilities to answer for a job they don’t have. It is not your rules that determine the significance of Reality.
Your rules keep you safe, give you a sense of belonging and a meaningful life. They tell you how to feel when it rains, what to do when you’re sitting in the car among other cars at 7:46am knowing work starts in less time than you have to get from A to B, and they tell you when someone else is being unreasonable. Your sensibilities will ask the question ‘why me?’ but they are not responsible for the Real answer, they are only responsible for the answer that keeps your rules in place.
The significance of what is occurring, the Real answer, is what Spirit sees and it will never make you or anybody else right, wrong or incomplete. If you can see-find the answer to any question, the reason for why things are happening in a language that does not make anyone right, wrong or incomplete, then you have accessed the real beyond your filter. Congratulations!
If you cannot see-find the answer beyond your filter, then there is a reason and you are with your Loudest Point. How can you be with your Loudest Point without making it right, wrong or incomplete? How can you be present to your rules, explanations, reasons and anything else that pops up for attention, in a way that allows them all to be dutiful aspects doing a great job? How can you let them do their job AND become aware of what Spirit sees without comparison or desire for change?
How can you value who you are right now – sensibilities included – and see your desire for ‘change’ as your Loudest Point (instead of an actual goal)? In this place, you are present. In this space, you are making visible all the stories and filters in place as you simultaneously accept whatever’s in your field of vision as a conversation with the cosmos. Being here allows what Spirit sees to exist as what’s really going on…