I was talking to my Zen mentor last week on the phone; he lives in the Chicago area, when I mentioned that one can not hide from their own self. He laughed at this but did not disagree. I was relating to him how tough the road out here in Colorado has been for me over the past two years. The internal spiritual journey is one of brutal honesty with oneself-the feelings and emotions buried beneath the surface of life and reality at the time. This mentor has said to me time and time again that life itself is the best teacher. That sitting and meditating with a group, doing yoga are all like doing experiments in a laboratory. The lab prepares one to go out into the world. The changes one has within the lab one then must translate into their own life. This is of course the trickier part.
Times are tough for many of us during this tough economic spiral. I just so happened to make my move right when the economy bottomed out. Talk about awkward timing. But what is done is done and there is no going back. So here I have been facing life against the wind earning my way the hard way.
Learning to live and be in the present moment is such a complex process. I mentioned to my mentor how lonely and frustrated I feel at times. It seems that I can not get a break no matter how hard I try. I even practice the art of not trying-to just go with the flow and allow things to develop. There is a fine line between getting oneself out there and forcing the issue. It is a delicate type rope to walk for sure.
So many of us are looking for relief during these tough times, but constantly looking outward does not seem to help. Looking inward, meditating, focusing on the internal process-this is the only way for me that I have been able to keep the stress of life from overwhelming me. Out in this land where I have had to make my own mark, find my own way, it is through the anchor of my faith, the faith with no particular name, that I have held on for dear life and somehow survived the poor economy by the skin of my teeth.
For the spiritual aspirant being in touch with the deeper vibrations of emotions and their physical manifestations is the goal to keep in mind. That is where do thoughts connect into the body? For example if I am stressed out I feel my shoulders tighten up. Another example is if I worry my stomach and back ache.
Moving out here has forced me to confront myself at levels I had not previously been aware of. Being in the present moment is the challenge at all times. Getting back into being in the moment is the focus to always keep in view.
My main goal has been to help others help themselves just as people such as my mentor have helped me to do over the years. Passing on the knowledge I have gained over the past twelve years is to me a great honor. I know I have a lot yet to learn but if I can help others even in small ways than I feel I am doing what I feel my calling is. Unfortunately calling the training Zen limits the appeal. The spiritual process should not be confined to labels and terms. The experience of knowing oneself internally is beyond all words and descriptions.
We build up layers within to hide the emotional scars and scabs that life gives us. We are so very rough on each other, upon the planet that gives us life, yet we want others to show us kindness and mercy. We point the finger of blame and responsibility upon others in the blink of an eye, yet we shield ourselves from a similar fate. Yet we are all one, we all come from the same source and even if we reject or deny this, the truth is the truth and our destiny is what it will be. We either hide our heads in the sand or we follow the path we are meant to go down asking questions such as “what is the meaning of life?”
We often bury our hurts and emotional losses deeply within and live life on the surface this is like staying in the shallow end of the pool. We pretend that all is all right, that all is ok so we don’t have to face our own personal raw realities. But underneath the internal masks, tricks and false walls we can not hide from our own self.
No matter what barriers we put up the pain of life remains. This is the duality of life. Bringing down these barriers, dismantling the excuses we use for the many miscues in life are deeper levels of the spiritual path. Our true nature calls at us, tugs at us, at various times and in various ways. Do we listen or just shrug our shoulders and bury our internal awareness some more?
At the end of the day we are left alone to confront ourselves. We either hide within the shadows of our egos or we step into the healing light of living and being in the moment. Underneath the initial glow of being in the moment there is much work to be done. The work never ends. Confronting oneself never ends. No matter your disposition in life, wealthy or poor, one can not hide from what is within. One can not hide from their own self. One either has the focus to dive into one’s own internal junk yard to bring order into the chaos or one just keeps piling more karma onto the heaps that are already there. There is not much, if any, in-between.