Saturday, September 21, 2013
My Sense of Attachment/Possessiveness Kills My Spiritual Growth
A recent morning, waiting for the dew to burn off the grass so I could mow, I was watching all the activity on a blooming Sedum (or “Lives Forever” as my aunt calls them). I was fascinated because last year the blossoms were a dark, ruddy brown. This summer they are pink. Not only pink, but covered in all sorts of flying insects: bumble bees, honey bees, waspy-looking things, small bugs, larger bugs, and some really strange looking flying ants or flies. All were simply poking around for nectar or pollen and oblivious to what was going on around them. Their concentration reminded me of shoppers at special one-day bargain basement sale. Sort of.
The shoppers I’ve seen will elbow, grab, hide “finds” in other racks, and hoard items in their basket – not wanting to lose them – until they can be sure of a fit. In short, these bargain shoppers seem to operate on their unwavering belief in lack. Other shoppers therefore are viewed as potential “enemies” to be thwarted, stymied, and held-at-bay. Given their belief, their strategy is impeccable.
Unlike our shoppers, these Sedum-visiting insects would simply move over and around each other and keep on keepin’ on. Yum. Yum. There was no sense of “This is mine!” “Keep away until I’m done.” “I want that – it’s meant for me!” “Look at that BBB (bloated bumble bee, in insect speak)! Why is she hoarding the whole bloom? She’s never going to be able to fly away with all that pollen stuck to her. I hope a spider gets her. Harumph!”
I try not to think of Lack. Lack is simply another face of attachment or possessiveness. Abundance/Possessiveness/Lack is a facet of dualistic thinking, what my ego calls “reality:” good/bad; positive/negative; light/dark; holy/profane; win/lose; rich/poor; victor/victim; empowered/dependent; success/failure. Unfortunately, I find myself still thinking that way at times and it always disrupts my sense of Grace, which I define as “all is as it should be – right now – for me.”
With my spiritual life disrupted, I begin to feel out-of-sorts. I find myself beginning to compare myself or my perceived situation to others or their situations. In AA-Speak: I compare my insides to another’s outsides. In ACIM-Speak: I attack others by judging them (which is all a “comparison” is) when all I’m really judging is myself. “To obtain [the rewards of my ego’s thought system] you are willing to attack the Divinity of your brothers, and thus lose sight of your own.” ACIM T-10: III.5.2.
This comparing process increases my out-of-sortness. Soon I’m beginning to feel a wee bit sorry for myself: “Why don’t I win the lottery? Someone has to. Why can’t it be me?” “If I could only be more like ____, I’d be much happier.” “If I only had ___, my life would be more complete.”
By the time I get to these kinds of places I’m generally miserable and down in the dumps. Then, I’ll start beating myself up: “Don, you know better, stop! Why’d you let your spiritual life get so out of whack? What’s the matter with you? Haven’t you learned anything?”
By now, in my journey to my spiritual backwoods, I’m a mess – a total, confused, self-absorbed mess. All because I began – once again – believing in lack and enjoying my self-pity pot.
So, what now? What do I do to get out of this and get back on my path? It’s rather simple, actually. Simple to say, that is. Not so simple for me to do.
I get through this by going through this. I get through this by remembering that my feelings of inadequacy or lack are just that – feelings. Feelings are indicators, not dictators. I do not have to do anything but acknowledge that I’m frustrated or bored or irritated at my apparent inability to move forward. Unfortunately, however, it always seems to take a 2x4 up against the side of my head to get my attention and force me to look honestly at what is happening inside me. Once that occurs, I can begin moving forward – being honest with myself, sharing my feelings with others (whether it’s in an AA meeting, an ACIM gathering, or sharing myself via in these messages). Being honest gets this “poison” out of my insides and into the open air where I can hear others laugh (with – not at me), acknowledge they have similar feelings, offer their experience, strength and hope.
Rather than focusing on my perceived answers to my perceived problems – i.e., the lottery, being more like ___, obtaining a - I begin to focus on my frustration. I find I’m never frustrated at what I think I’m frustrated about. I’m frustrated because I’ve relinquished my life to my ego, which only knows frustration, conflict, anxiety, hurt, misery, etc. So, I just stop and acknowledge that. “OK. This is my “now” me: frustrated. Oh! Now this is my “now” me: angry. Aha! This is my “now” me: disappointed.” And I begin interjecting observational thoughts – “This is my “now” me: flitting from feeling to feeling.” Once out in the open, my feelings and spiritual paralysis begins quickly to dissipate, and a small sense of calm begins to grow.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#3 September, 2013