I’m always looking for the “core” belief that people carry around with them that influences their lives subconsciously. People see themselves through what I call a peephole of perception; many times that window is really very small and renders a limited and inaccurate view of them.
Today I spoke with Jason, a very spiritual man who is not only successful in his career life, but also extremely kind and generous. Very critical of himself, Jason has unfortunately identified with his personality and societal expectations, expecting himself to be more vibrant and also financially well off.
In therapy for many years, Jason was convinced that he could “cure” his unhappiness through endlessly talking about and examining his life. Today, Jason realized that in his case, he was repeating his endless angst without significant change which reinforced and increased his unhappiness.
We did a three-card reading to answer Jason’s query as to what was at the bottom of always trying to fix himself. The middle card, which is the crux of the answer, showed the Hanged Man, and on the sides were the Lovers and Hierophant, representing spiritual thought and conventional thought respectively.
The Hanged man shows a Christ figure relaxing on the cross. He has finally accepted his destiny, surrendered to his higher self. If one is to believe certain scholars, even Christ had doubts at the last minute as to whether he was willing to accept his destiny. Who could blame him? Who wants to be crucified on a cross?
And that was indeed Jason’s life. If not actually nailed to the cross, he was constantly criticized by family for the fact that he had chosen an unconventional life. The other two cards, the Lovers (spirituality) versus the Hierophant (conventionality) represented the conflict between Jason adopting a spiritual rather than conventional life. Jason’s inevitable resultant feeling from a child onwards, was== and here comes the karmic thought== “There’s something wrong with me that needs to be fixed.” This thought underlay whatever Jason did and was constantly present in an unconscious way. If Jason wanted a relationship or was about to make an important financial move, this thought was there in the background, unconsciously influencing his actions.
This is really the meaning of sabotage, your belief in that negative thought in your life. An “aha” moment for Jason.
I asked Jason how could he counter his sabotaging thought, and he told me that at one time an esteemed teacher had told him to say, “I love myself.” I marveled at the utter wisdom and simplicity of that mantra. I am beginning to believe that that is the underlying mantra we all wish to have.
We want to love and accept the whole of what we are and not continually sabotage ourselves through believing the non-loving thought that underscores our lives.
What is your sabotaging thought that keeps you from fulfilling your life?
MANY TEACHERS, BUT ONLY ONE GURU!
My teacher has said you can have many teachers but only one guru.
A friend says, “I get really “high” when I visit so-and-so and feel they help my spiritual work along. I hear that a lot from people who get “high” and “blissed out” from teachers who operate at a very high vibrational level. What I have also seen is that these students become habituated to the “high” and must, like an addict, always return for the same feelings. Just like addiction, that “high” ultimately rebounds to a low and then they go searching for another teacher or “high.”
My friend Marie travels from workshop to workshop always looking for that new high. In fact, when life or someone disappoints her, she runs off to another blissful encounter with another teacher. Fortunately for her, she has the money to continue endless treks to these workshops. It’s obvious to me that she is trying to escape feeling bad and for that, I am sad for her.
“Well,” says another friend, “Can’t the same thing happen with a guru? Don’t you also feel that same high vibrational feeling of inspiration and enlightenment and then return to the same feelings of despair, etc.?”
The honest answer is yes.
The difference is that as a committed chela or disciple, you begin to understand that there is no endless bliss in the relationship. Oh, initially, like a honeymoon, there is that feeling, but for the most part, it is similar to a marriage, happy and blissful at first, and then the work begins.
The good fortune of being a disciple to a guru is that your guru is willing to help you carry that endless burden you bear just from being born until you can be relieved of it through your efforts and grace. Lucky enough to have a guru in the flesh, you can present yourself to them time and time again, even when you do not even like yourself.
Your courage as disciples comes from your willingness to commit to present your habituated responses or ego until awareness dissolves them before unconditional love.
While feeling that unconditional love which is Guru’s gift, you still have to sustain and figure out your own work and method of showing love to yourself by your own discipline, whether it be yoga, service to others, martial arts, breath work or relationship commitment. And with any lifelong marriage or commitment, you still need to carry out the garbage, earn a living and feed the kids.
The Only Thing a Guru Wants is For Us to Love Ourselves as She Loves Us.
What does it mean to love oneself? While our personal attempts at self-discipline help, it ultimately means losing our egos by caring and serving for others as we care for ourselves. We are called to service since it is what the guru ultimately does for everybody. In fact, that’s really how you know your teacher is authentic. An imposter only serves himself.
A Big Misconception: Many people think that gurus tell you what to do and you give them your power. Au contraire. I remember one day looking at my guru with what I thought was submission in my eyes; she returned that look with a look of disdain. I got it quickly that this was not what she was looking for from me. It is her desire that I will come to love myself unconditionally and be strong enough to make my own choices. However, her inspiration, love and example enable me to make better choices in my life.
Finally, even though my guru is my guide and inspiration, I must eventually make the journey myself.
It is an ego dissolving one, stepping into the ocean of spirituality like a salt doll and disappearing. My guru Ma Jaya has always said to not be afraid of this place, because when we return from the ocean, she will be there by the shore to accompany us back to this life.
While my guru Ma Jaya is no longer in form, she continues to inspire and influence me. I am grateful for the time I have spent with her. I’m the Spiritual Explorer for Ma’s India, a fabulous gift store, where I answer questions like “What’s the best incense,” and “Who’s my guru?” Also the Resident Intuitive at Kashi Ashram, giving telephone and in person readings, you can read about me at www.umasimon.com or write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW DO I KNOW I’M FOLLOWING THE PATH OF MY SOUL?
How many of us surrender to who we really are and how many of us rail against what we call “fate,” feeling that there might have been another choice available to us. There is a card in the tarot deck that means surrender. It is a picture of Christ on a cross, and as he is being crucified, there is a slight smile on his lips. To me that means that he has surrendered to his destiny, painful though it was at that moment.
Years ago I was very in love with a man I worked for. He was an extraordinary, charismatic and well-known person and yet, when he began to return my feelings, I freaked out. Suddenly I found myself unable to physically breathe when I was around him. I didn’t understand why I was reacting that way to something I had always thought I wanted. After a time I left his employ. Even though we remained in contact, we never spoke about what could have happened. Shortly afterwards, he met and married this young woman who gave him the children I knew he had always wanted. I moved to California, knowing my life, which was very much involved with him, was over.
Even though I began a totally different kind of life, I still had loving feelings for him, and he would sometimes appear in my dreams at night, always as a protector figure. About 15 years ago, I began to have more than the usual dreams about him. My friends encouraged me to get in touch with him.
He was truly happy to hear from me, and invited me to his office where he was still working. When he opened the door to greet me, I didn’t expect to see my own love for him returned from him to me, but I saw it in his eyes. We spent many hours talking about the people we had known. His wife was there too, still working for him as a secretary. He told me that she always known he was the “one,” and when I questioned her about it, she said to me, “When I first met him, I knew I wanted him to be the father of my children.”
What an awakening her statement was to me! Suddenly I got it. Even though I had truly loved him, I was not meant not be the ‘wife.” I had never had those thoughts of having children or being married. Incidentally they had three children in all and as I learned from that meeting, she had truly wrapped her life around his. I left reassured that my love had indeed been returned and was not a figment of my imaginings. I also felt very free. My dreams of him stopped.
I also realized that even if I did not know consciously that I wasn’t to be with him, something deep within me had known and manifested in my breathing difficulty. I call it surrendering to the wishes of my soul that had known that my life would have been constricted had I married him.
Because of the loneliness of following our own paths, we doubt ourselves, because it seems strange that we might choose an “alone” life. I use the word “alone” because while sometimes I have felt lonely, my life is not lonely at all. I have called it an “alone” life. This is not to say that sometimes I have not keened for a more intimate “relationship”. However, I have become aware that not all of us are called to engage in a life that is dictated by conventional, societal ways, and it takes sometimes a brave and inspired soul to surrender to their own path. The challenge of course is to be aware when some of your personality desires don’t manifest that you are actually following the path of your soul.
How does one know that our paths are dictated by our souls? Sometimes it’s only through an honest retrospective look at who we really are and the choices we have made that gives us that awareness. Then hopefully, we can surrender with that same smile upon our lips, knowing we have followed our own unique path in alignment with the wishes of something deeper within us.
Carrying a Burden: (Why do we feel more powerless with mental pain?)
Eleanor came to see me yesterday, obviously very bogged down in her life with the burdens she was carrying: caring for an aged spouse, the death of a good friend of hers, and basically, impatience towards herself for not living up to her own expectations. She told me how she actually felt paralyzed and had fallen into her addiction of her choice, in her case drinking more than she should.
I asked her to draw three cards, and her cards showed that her pain emanated not from the so-called burdens, but from the fact that she was stuck and was unwilling to move forward. In her case, the cards showed she was ready to jump off into the “unknown,” but wasn’t doing it. The cards, as they can do, had simplified her angst. We didn’t need to go into the drama of each situation as each had presented.
Eleanor was an accomplished and adventuresome person, willing to take risks that others wouldn’t, and her pain signified that she was acting against her own nature. The middle card, which I rely upon as the focus of the reading, showed the Chariot, a card of success, bringing together the warring parts of one’s psyche. The fact that it is a powerful card showed me that she had the power at this time to move out of those difficult situations.
We add to the pain in our lives by hating or castigating ourselves for the pain we have in our lives, rather than recognizing it as a sign to move forward. When we are in physical pain, in most cases, we either go to a doctor or take an aspirin. Somehow mental pain does not receive the same attention. When mental pain arises, we think of it as something inevitable to surrender to, and then somehow indulge and increase it by falling into our addictions. Just as physical pain motivates us to move forward, we must start seeing mental pain as also a message to move forward.
When Eleanor asked how best to move out of that pain that had constricted her, she chose another card, the Hanged Man. The card shows Christ hanging upside down on a cross, but mysteriously quite content. As I have interpreted the card in the past, the esoteric meaning behind his smile was that he had let go of his burden, in his case, all of humanity, and had surrendered to being on the cross. He had in fact given the burden to, in his case, his Father. In Eleanor’s case, she too was to let go of feeling responsible for the choices she had accepted into her life; she felt weighed down by her “burden,” and taken responsibility for choices that others had made. In new age parlance, just like Christ, she needed to “let go.”
As Eleanor not only saw but also felt the truth of the card, I saw a visible sign of relief on her face as she relaxed for the first time in many days. She thanked me for the insight and laughed as she asked,” Who made me God?”
INTUITION IN ITS MOST HIGHLY DEVELOPED FORM
IS NOTHING LESS THAN THE VOICE OF GOD OR SPIRIT WITHIN.