I’ve hesitated talking about it for a number of reasons. Concern over what people might think wasn’t one of them. After all, I’ve never lived that way before, and now is no time to start.
So for all you who are prone to judgment, think what you like.
Rather, my reticence is based more on the impact it might have on others. For here I am recommending people turn more inward and listen to their inner guidance to get the experiences they came for. But in doing so myself that voice has led me not toward the light, but deeper into the darkness.
And I didn’t want my story to dissuade them from undertaking their own journey to the light.
The time, though, has come to allow you to hear it and take from it what you will — if only to learn from my mistakes what not to do.
Exploring the World Within
Maybe it was the explorer in me who always tested himself by choosing the hard way. Maybe it was just part of my own initiation to new levels of knowing myself.
But deep inside I know that it wasn’t about me at all that I chose to go this route. It was as much about you, and all the others who hesitate to step out onto the path of their own self-knowing.
Maybe it’s a needless self-sacrifice. And if so, it’s a lesson I’m learning the hard way, because despite the challenges it brings to me, I still haven’t been able to give it up.
Much of my venture into the darkness has been to perfect my own inner connections, to recognize the vibrations of my own inner aspects, as well as the aspects of my outer life that align — and don’t — with the direction it bids me to go.
I was told by a Buddhist monk almost a decade ago that I would have a period of preparation before assuming the spiritual leadership mantle she predicted I’d wear, though leading who to where and how was never revealed.
Boy, was that a joke. Or so it seemed. That was the last thing I’d have ever guessed I wanted for myself. Then a strange thing happened. I was led on an inner journey that hasn’t stopped to this day, leading me to see how life’s vibrant undercurrent played out in our earthly affairs.
Still, knowing my “destiny” was a heavy burden, setting another expectation to live up to, even while not knowing much if anything about it. It
That preparation wasn’t just working on the inner me. It restructured my outer life as well. A lifelong law practice fell by the wayside as I wrote my first book and embarked on a speaking tour to “spread the message.” Yet for every step forward, that voice instead had me take one back, each simply for the purpose of what they would bring without taking me anywhere in particular.
It continued to bring me new insights and understandings into what was going on within me, as well as showing me the many unseen factors at play in my outer world as well. But every time I went to apply them in a particular way, I was reminded my preparation wasn’t done, and to be patient.
Patient, mind you, while my identity and relationship with my life continued to shift, often to a place where I didn’t recognize myself and struggled to stay clear on the intentions that were at work within.
Yet always I kept honing my inner connection, gathering the many varied perspectives of others around me, testing concepts of community, and considering ways I might share the many things that were flowing into me in ever-accelerating fashion. And then, putting them into a comprehensive framework to better use the situations playing out in people’s lives and world.
No where, though, did though shifts stroke my self-image. Rather than experience the success I’d found at most every stop in my life, now I began to know what felt like failure, at least in translating my inner advances to anything resembling a contribution to my outer life.
It certainly didn’t show up in my income. Instead, my soul’s model was free, free, and more free. Give. Then give some more. It wasn’t for me to monetize my efforts, at least not then. The idea was simply to hone the message, and leave open the possibility for some sort of exchange to come down the road.
Nevertheless, somehow throughout that process, I was led to new friends and new situations that allowed me to help them along, all the while feeling that in my own mission I was treading in place.
And with every frustrating effort to break out, I had to face more and more of my own inner demons, and confront the many expectations I’d heaped upon myself trying to live up to the impossible standards set by my teachers over the many lifetimes of my experience.
Yet something inside compelled me to go on — not just for me, but for the contribution it could offer to the whole if I could just man up and complete my self-prescribed course of preparation.
So as you can see, traveling the spiritual path isn’t always a bed of roses, as many would have you believe.
I am living proof that every step into the light can be tested by one or more that can take you deeper into the darkness, challenging your resolve and ability to reflect what you know yourself to be in an outer world that often doesn’t want to see it — but so desperately needs.
But as these struggles have brought me the opportunity for great strides in my own evolutionary journey, I suspect the ones in your life are offering similar growth in yours.
Even so, our inner growth is only part of the battle. Because the second part of the equation is learning to put it to use.
So, if you will permit me, let’s start our move out of the darkness and back into the light. And maybe, just maybe, together we can move our lives and world to a better place.
For a long time now I’ve talked about the first step — knowing ourselves and becoming whole. It starts with hearing our inner voice, something made much easier when we see the influence of fear and desire in our lives and how we use our wills to carve a path that works for us.
The problem is, asserting our wills hasn’t necessarily brought us what we want, much less peace. Yet still we find ourselves pitted against each other in these death matches where everyone loses, even when we win.
We can do something about it, but first we have to stop letting the problems that get us down keep us down.
It will take every last ounce of strength that we’ve got. It will take every bit of determination that we can muster. And it will test all of what we think we know and how we go about demonstrating it through the lives that we live.
Even within the deepest depths there is light. But we must adjust our eyes and find it, and realize there is life there, waiting to find its way upward.
So let us use this chance to look not only at what’s going on in us and our lives, but also in the world around us.
Many of you will note that over the last year I have turned my attention to our economic and political affairs, especially the conflicts that tear us apart. For it is essential that you — the awakening soul that is moving ever-closer to your light — realize how you create and hold those affairs in place, and what you can do to change them.
That outer world is not separate from your own spiritual journey. Rather, it is the expression of it through the wholeness of the human experience and world in which we live.
The problems that are bubbling to the surface are simply allowing you to see its hold over you, and what you did (or did not do) to make them that way. Unfortunately, in the process many people’s outer lives are falling apart with job loss/business failures, health problems, family breakups and more.
From the darkness and despair of these difficult times can come a new dawn, but only if we allow our evolution to be about more than ourselves. Rather, we must see that evolution in terms of its place within the whole and contribution to all of creation. It is this view I try to share and contribution I work to empower you to add.
But to make that contribution, first you need to know who you are and your relationship to all that is. Only then can you find your place within the whole, and weave your way through the egoic minefield to add your piece to the divine mosaic now under construction.
Once that is underway, the next step is to challenge your perspectives and perceptions and loosen the hold of the beliefs that keep you where you are — even those about traveling the spiritual path.
Until then, you risk carrying forward into that new world the very problems you’re trying to leave behind. Because their seed lives within you, sustained by the way you see the world around you and the way you go about your affairs.
As you go about this process, you may feel called to add some contribution to the effort. That’s because for many of us, it is not just about moving upward into the light, but also offering others the chance to come along, too., And through it, to make fundamental changes in our world so that future generations can reap the fruits of labors long ago started by others and us.
Whether your path calls you to take part in that effort or simply to ride out the storm doesn’t matter. What does is that you make it with your eyes open and heart connected to the source from which you came.
You will get there. And if you stumble, I promise I’ll try to help you get back on your feet and point you in the right direction so you can continue onward.
Then again, maybe I’m delusional and I should just concentrate on myself and my own life.
It probably would make things a whole lot easier for me. And I suspect you’d get along fine without me. But I’m not sure I could live with myself if I did.
So for now, let me find my flashlight. I think I need it.