You’ve made it to Round 4, congrats!
We are back to using “I” as the subject of the Guiding Thoughts. If you are new to the Journeys, please see this page for information about how the rounds change.
Everywhere Fulfillment is, I am. Fulfillment is everywhere. Fulfillment is. I am.
You know how two of the most common metaphors for experiencing yourself as a spiritual being are “waking up” and “remembering”? In fact, just this morning, I was reading a book, which used both of these metaphors in the same paragraph:
Our real self, the spirit, is ever perfect and free, but we have forgotten that. So we identify with our present experience of bondage and consequently suffer in countless ways. Our situation is like someone who is asleep and dreaming that he is being tortured and beaten…He need not placate, overpower, or escape his torturers. He needs only to wake up. (The Breath of Life: The Practice of Breath Meditation According to Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Jewish, and Christian Traditions. By: Abbot George Burke, Light of Spirit Monastery, 2012. Page 6)
I get it. We have forgotten. We need to wake up. I use these analogies myself from time to time. But at the moment, I am having a problem with them.
Let me explain it this way: Master Yoda to Luke Skywalker, “Do or do not, there is no try”.
Similarly, could we not say, “Remember or remember not” or “Wake or wake not”. The point is…there isn’t really an “in between” state. Either you do or do not, you remember or you do not, you wake or you do not. So what are we doing when we are “waking up” or “remembering”? What do these concepts even mean in a spiritual sense?
I understand the root of these metaphors is the premise or supposition that we are already enlightened. We are already what we strive to become. Our spirit-soul-Self is already perfect, already Divine, already Whole—we just need to wake up and remember who we “really” are. I conduct the Journeys on these premises, don’t I? Yes, I get it. Yet…yet… there is still a disconnect between knowing (intellectualizing) the Truth of my Being and Being it. There is no way I would make any claims about my own enlightenment, as though “I am already” …sometimes I feel “closer” than other times; sometimes I feel so clear and pure and loving that I just know I have achieved a new level of understanding; there are times when I feel so high I don’t think anything could shake me. And then I go to sleep and I wake up and it’s another day, with new things to learn. And so it goes.
So what are people really saying when they use the analogy of waking or remembering? Are these metaphors even useful? What is the concept the metaphors are trying to explain? Let’s get at that, have a new conversation, and make up some new metaphors. For now, in my humble opinion, and from my personal standpoint about life being a journey, I would say that a metaphor that encompasses both being and becoming would work better than “waking” or “remembering”. Life is a clock: we are every second, but the very next second…we’re a new one. How do you like that? Of course there is always the acorn-oak tree analogy…I’ll write that up and post it as it applies to this conversation. Do you have any ideas how we can express this? We can continue this conversation…
My second “problem” with these metaphors, particularly the metaphor of remembering, is that I feel like I can’t even remember consistently the things I think I’ve learned in this lifetime. How am I supposed to remember things I’m supposed to know innately?
For example, I know when I get to a certain emotional state, I resist speaking, because I want to work it out, and work it out myself…so I go deeper within to work it out, and continue even more not speaking. I know this can cause severe communication misunderstandings with family, because when I go too far, I act very disconnected and aloof (or as it can be perceived, uncaring, unloving, and inattentive). I have learned to modify my behavior, and catch myself before I go too far, and speak before I go too far. I know this. I’ve figured this out. But I still forget, and I can still behave aloof and distracted.
A second example is that I can sense when my emotions are tipping toward being “lower” emotions, in which I become more frustrated, more impatient, or cranky more quickly. I also know what I need to do so I never approach tipping, so that if I do tip, I can get back into balance quickly, or so I walk just “this side” of tipping, keeping myself in a delicate balance. This is of course related to the first example above. But then, sometimes I don’t do the things I need to do to keep myself within the delicate balance, walking the “higher” side of my emotions. It’s like I forget I need to do certain things to keep my balance. I think I can get away with not doing them, I forget how essential they are, how much I like myself when I am doing my practices, and how much I dislike how I feel when I am not. How can I forget that?
What is it overall that I am remembering? How does “remembering I am a spiritual being” help me, if I can’t even remember to do the things that help me be a nice, kind, focused, loving human being? Then it takes me longer, with more effort, to get back to feeling like myself. You would think that I have learned, but I still forget.
Sometimes I remember better. Sometimes I remember more quickly. Sometimes I don’t have to think about anything, and I am naturally in a state of harmony, balance, and peace. It’s this state of being in which I am “remembering”. I don’t have to think. I just am, being my highest self naturally. But then, I don’t call it “remembering”—it’s like there was nothing ever to remember because there was never forgetting. I am. Fulfillment is.