Recently I’ve been contemplating how and why it is that with all our spiritual maturity, self-awareness and earnest desire for true freedom, we might continue to betray ourselves for love, for money, for pleasure, for security, for image, for sex, for comfort, for success or for power?
Or why it is, if what we truly want is peace, we continue in an infatuation with drama, an attachment to there being something wrong, or a problem to fixate on? Or how it is we somehow remain subconsciously attached to being a victim of our circumstances; thus remaining powerless in our lives?
Is there any way you continually betray yourself?
Can you relate to this? Does it resonate?
And I’ve also been curious about what arises within us, if/when we are given the choice and chance to set ourselves free of these self-betraying tendencies? What excuses or reasons or defense mechanisms show up within us in the face of this dare to surrender our capacity to betray ourselves; to betray that which we most deeply want?
If I say to you: “Dear One, you can stop. However it is you are betraying yourself, your deepest, truest self — for power, for security, for comfort, for drama, for image, for love, for sex — right now: you can simply stop.” What comes up for you?
Relief and heartfelt willingness? Doubt and disbelief? Fear and anxiety? Stubborn resistance? Perhaps a story or belief that others are dependent on your self-betrayal, and if you stop, you will somehow let them down? Or maybe a feeling that you are too wounded, stuck, or otherwise unable to stop? Maybe a sense of being out of control, powerless, or addicted? That you are somehow a victim of this chronic choice; that you are trapped by it? Perhaps there is a dread of loneliness and isolation, if you were to truly stop? Or the fear of leading a loveless, joyless life? These are all places I’ve been at one point or another, and can compassionately relate to.
What is it that comes up within you? Check in with curiosity and see.
Whatever it is specifically for us individually, the common thread is a pull to comply with what we think life wants of us, or what we think we need of life, in order to be safe, happy, comfortable, successful or fulfilled; in order to feel loveable and worthy of peace and joy.
Some examples might be: “I need a relationship in order to be happy.” Or: “I need to be free of this relationship in order to be happy.” Or: “I need more money in order to feel secure.” Or: “I need to have sex in order to feel loved, beautiful, sexy or powerful.” Or: “I need to work all the time in order to be successful.” Or: “I need to feel intensely challenged or stressed out in order to feel truly alive.” Or: “I need to meditate daily in order to be spiritually awake.”
Are you willing to question any presumption you are making in this way? Are you willing to stop feeding the internal story that keeps self-betraying tendencies in place?
Dare we discover the vigilance to choose a single, one-pointed desire; to focus on the truest desire within us, that which all other desires are simply distorted versions of?
What is it you most deeply, truly want? Is it freedom, peace, truth, to know the deepest life fulfillment or divine love? What is it for you, really?
Dare we give everything to this truest desire? Dare we sit at the altar of our truest longing, refusing to move in any direction away from that flame of our truest, holiest desire? To allow that holy longing to take care of everything else? What if this is all we are given to, even if just for a day, an hour, a moment? What if even just for this instant, we turn and give everything to that desire, surrendering all the rest?
What happens then? What do you notice?
Yes, as human beings we have needs, real needs: to survive, to provide for our young, to put food on the table. As a single mama of two, I know this oh-so-very well. How do we honor the reality of our physical and economic needs, without being either paralyzed in fear or anxiety by them, nor purely led by them?
And yes, as human beings we have an inherent need for connection and love. How do we honor the vulnerability we live with, the sacred needs of the animal body — to be touched, to be held, to be intimately embraced? And how do we respectfully honor (rather than spiritually bypass) the ways in which we’ve been hurt, wounded, failed by life and love and relationship; undeniably impacted by the world around us and how our lives have unfolded until now?
As humans we are naturally drawn to evolution and expansion and participation in life. How do we honor the holy pulse of motivation, the drive to excel, to evolve, to contribute, from a place of freedom, rather than in compensation for some sense of inner deficiency? How do we respect the sacred inspiration which propels us towards ever-deepening empowerment and participation in the larger tapestry of human life, but from a place of wholeness?
How do we honor all these true human needs, wounds, desires, impulses, without being run by them? Without falling prey to the false sense that true fulfillment could ever come from food, from sex, from romance, from parenting, from money, from fame, from worldly success or power?
We pray for right relationship with all of life. We pray for truth, clarity, humility, maturity, discipline, discernment, dignity and integrity. We pray to know our own selves TO BE the very love we seek.
We pray that in our willingness to stop betraying ourselves for what we think we want, we become more fully connected with the deepest truth of what we want, and with the discovery of where this is to be found.
We pray that in our courageous handing of everything over to our truest desire, in this bold leap of faith, and by standing in the fire of knowing we want nothing more than we want this, we somehow become irresistible to Grace.
And then, by the light of Grace, we can simply see what has already, always been here: true, free and whole within us, absolutely un-needing of anything or anyone, to make it so. We might notice an emotional equanimity that is deeper than peace, and an inner light that is brighter than joy. We might notice clarity, buoyed in stillness. We might witness a compelling and mysterious force, simultaneously drawing our heart ever-more-deeply into its own majesty, while opening, ever-more widely out, into the vast capacity of its infinite callings and expressions.
We can choose, continuously, to be vigilant to this. We can choose to resist the temptation to betray ourselves; our tender beloved hearts and deep, wise, clear knowing. We can choose to give everything to our truest desire, and then see what this brings. May it be so!