My weekly article for Malibu Quietude 😌🙏
Climbing the Mountain: One Conscious Breath at a Time
Today, I have no idea what I am going to write, which presents the perfect opportunity to discuss letting go of control. What are we going to do? What will happen next? What lies on the path ahead? The spiritual dogma of the day will tell you that there is no “you,” and that what happens next is entirely in the hands of a higher Fate. And this is absolutely true. Your body and mind are not separate from the Universe. Every thought and feeling comes from a higher Source, and every action is inspired by a sacred Oneness. Your true Self thrives beneath it all, like a quiet light shining on Creation.
But even once we grasp the metaphysical nature of our being, we are still left with the overwhelming illusion of separateness, and the anxiety that comes from being “a person” on a place called “Earth.” Yes, death is an illusion, and our Essence belongs to a collective Consciousness that transcends individual lives. But we cannot shake the illusion of our mortality. It is intrinsic to our senses, and we’ll always be a human being struggling to survive.
And so this is not Me writing to You. You and I transcend the grand illusion of “life.” This is one human being writing to another, out of commiseration for the struggle we share.
You want to know how to improve the quality of your life, and to lighten the burden of emotion that floods your being. I could try to sell you “six steps to enlightenment” or some other quick-fix to your suffering. But I know better, and I care too much to mislead you. There is no easy way. There is no shortcut around the obstacle in front of you. There’s no tunnel through the looming mountain of your memories, and the emotional weight they carry.
Accepting the difficulty of the path ahead is the most difficult part of the path ahead. Foregoing “quick-fixes” and “instant transformations,” which only serve to prolong our suffering, is the greatest obstacle we face. Once we accept the reality of the long road ahead, we can put one foot in front of the other and actually start to get somewhere.
We can’t keep ignoring the dark yet sacred energies that lurk in the shadows of our life. We can’t keep turning our back to them, in the hope that they’ll magically disappear. Our shadows aren’t really as scary as we think. They are just vestiges of childhood trauma, which haven’t been given the time and space they need to heal. They are tears which need to be shed. They are screams which need to be uttered. They are feelings which needs to be felt. They are children which need to be held.
I didn’t know what I was going to write. And so I “let go” and the words were free to express themselves. We don’t know what to think, or feel, or do. In the same way, we can let go and allow our thoughts, feelings, and actions to express themselves freely. It is frightening to open the floodgates of our past, and to allow fear and sadness and anger to inundate our life. It feels like our whole world will be destroyed by a tsunami of our feelings. But this is an illusion. There is no world beyond our feelings, and bottling them up is just as destructive as letting them flow. The only difference is that when we let them flow, they are allowed to heal, so we can build a new life in the absence of shadows, in the light of our loving heart.
Close your eyes and come to terms with the difficulty of the path ahead. Accept that there’s no easy way, that there’s no downhill slope to self-healing. Visualize a steep and stubbly mountain, as daunting as the Himalayas, and as immense as the Alps. Now take a breath of relief. You have just taken the most difficult step to a better future: the first one.
The only way to make space for lighter feelings in the future, is to make space for the darker feelings of the present. This is the path, and any thought or feeling allowed is a step in the right direction. Choose to feel sad over pursuing the “end of sadness.” Choose to feel angry over chasing the “end of anger.” Choose to feel “lonely” over seeking the “end of loneliness.” Make space for the darkness, and you will soon be filled with light.
Treat each breath as an exploration. Approach each moment with loving curiosity. Climbing a mountain is never easy, but it is often rewarding. Every breath in is a step forward, as you consciously explore your being. Every breath out is a deeply deserved relief, as you rest in the space of your awakened Presence.