Finding safety in defenselessness

Image: Bram Vranckx

There’s something stewing in the back of your mind. Something you’re holding onto. Really. Really. Tight.

I say this, not because I’m peering through your webcam (creepy), but because you’re human. Like me. And we have egos. And we hold grudges. Because we think those grudges are defending us. We think they’re keeping us safe from the people and forces ‘out there’ just waiting to pounce on us as soon as we let our guard down.

Sometimes this is true. Like, if you’re being chased by rabid dogs through the streets (and in that case, I think you should stop reading this… Now).

I mean, really… Sometimes we have to put our dukes up. I get it.

But from what I’ve found, in a vast majority of cases, this urge is nothing more than a biologically-programmed flinch response that emerges out of the prehistoric part of our brain designed to help defend us against a lion hiding in the bushes.

Once biologically useful, this flinch response is mostly useless nowadays. It pays to notice this and to mindfully put those dukes to our sides, open our palms wide towards the heavens and breathe.

Wow… There’s nothing quite like finding that key in your pocket to the cage you’ve built around yourself to keep the bad guys out. Over time, we forget we built it and that we also built a way out of it for good measure.

Like A Course in Miracles says…

In my defenselessness, my safety lies.

Sometimes it just takes a little permission from someone else to do this. So there ya go. A little permission.

To let that thing go. 
And free yourself.

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Certainty: hell for the soul

Image: Seref Yucar

As much as it puffs its chest, the ego — the idea of a small, separated self — is an insecure, frightened, nervous little coward of a thought system.

It has to be. It’s the false, delusional notion that you and me could set ourselves off from Source and be the source unto ourselves— an impossibility, but nonetheless a very real-seeming impossibility.

It’s constantly being threatened by things that it’s deemed separate from itself, so it strives for some sense of security. It gauges that security by how the outside world — its self-imposed enemy — bumps up against it.

Remember, the ego is both insecure and scared. Its insecurity leads to the urge of being useful and needed, so it sets up one conflict after another. But its terror leads to it constantly running from its self-inflicted conflicts.

True peace can never be achieved through the ego’s thought system, so it replaces it with the closest thing it can find: Certainty.

Certainty is a false idol that never delivers.

To the Soul, certainty is hell. Certainty is doing the same thing, every day. Nothing changes. You’re stacking bricks for meager (but regular) income day, after day, after day.

This sounds quite nice to the ego. Sure beats running from shadows all day, doesn’t it?

But the Soul — the Soul wants to fly. The Soul needs no certainty in outside things. It knows it’s fully complete in and of itself. It just wants to play. The Soul has never had the nightmare of leaving its Source, therefore, what ever could it be frightened of?

Certainty is heaven for the ego and hell for the soul.

Yes, we live in uncertain times. We always have. But if we didn’t, that would mean we’d never see new horizons.

You — the real You — doesn’t want to stack bricks. It rejoices with living, breathing, and dancing with uncertainty because its security rests not in the shifting sands of a constantly expanding universe, but the sturdy bedrock of the living Spirit.


You need do nothing

Image: Joshua Ness

There’s an underlying fear in the human experience that goes something like this:

I can’t allow myself to feel truly fulfilled right now. Because if I was, I’d lose the motivation to live. To achieve. To get. And I’d sit here on this couch, veg out, starve, and die.

A line from A Course in Miracles that I’ve always gotten hung up on says, “I need do nothing.”

This one always got me. I knew there was something there — something palpable — but, my inner dialogue always went like this:

Like, seriously? You mean I don’t need to eat dinner tonight? You mean I don’t need to work? You mean I don’t need to pay attention to my family? You mean I don’t need to pay my taxes? (Etc. etc.)

Turns out, the ego sees this concept as a command to NEVER do anything.

But it doesn’t say that. It just says to realize we don’t need to do anything.

And check this out…

Just because we don’t need to do anything doesn’t mean we won’t do anything. Life doesn’t work that way (go ahead and try it).

We’re essentially creative beings. Because even when we decide to not do anything — that’s still doing something (making the decision to not do anything).

Ugh… You’re probably so far up in your head right now, you’re going cross-eyed. I sure am. I apologize. Let’s take a step back here and put this one to bed…

The key word here is ‘need’.

I need do nothing.

When I think I need to do something, all I do is muddy the waters of the mind, which makes it impossible to be Present in the moment. And being present in the moment — tapped into Source — is where the most delicious creative juju comes from.

When we take the pressure off of ourselves by allowing ourselves to not HAVE to do anything, we can act from a place of freedom and joy as opposed to one of obligation and stress — a much better place to live and create from, wouldn’t you say?

Here’s how it makes better sense to me:

I will do something — it’s in my creative nature — but I need do nothing.

I am fulfilled. I am whole and perfect, right here right now (a little hungry, but that’s besides the point). Knowing that makes life less of a chore and more of an experience.

And no, I won’t starve.

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Love: Receive it your way

Image: Joel DeMott

Let’s talk about love for a second... (That is, after all, what it all boils down to anyways, isn’t it?) Hang tight while I wrestle with this concept for a minute or two…

People can love us however they want. But we can only receive it the way we allow ourselves to receive it.

If I believe that you’re not sure of me, or you think I’m unworthy, or whatever horror story I tell myself about your evil intentions — it doesn’t matter what’s on your end of the story. You could love me to the ends of the earth, but on my end of the line, I’m in overwhelming turmoil.

And to thicken the plot (oh yeah, it gets better) we can only receive another’s love in the way that we give them ours.

Like A Course In Miracles says — words are just symbols of symbols. Lip-service is cheap. But if I show you through my actions that indignation, smallness, manipulation, etc. — this is my living word, the only ‘word’ that matters. And my living word is proclaiming that love doesn’t live here, so therefore I must game the system to make it so.

Our actions show where out heart truly is. And if my heart isn’t into it, then no matter how much you love me, it will only show up in my experience as the equivalent of the love that (1) I show you, and (2) I allow myself to receive from you.

Love is a divine, unfailing, untrickable feedback loop.

Love. We receive it as we give it.

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I want to see things differently

Image: Sergi Ferrete

A worthy effort, on our part, is to work on withdrawing, as much as we can, our preconceived ideas regarding our world.

Seems simple, right?

Wash the laundry... Take out the trash... And totally scrap your past stories about the world that surrounds you.

No problem…

In all seriousness, though, a huge part of our growth is in stepping outside of our past story (or at least being aware that we’re living inside of it).

We live, wake up, and go to sleep in very much the same world we saw when we were adolescents.

As long as we define our world in past terms, we’ll never see the new meaning it holds for us.

The world around us has something new to show us. Something beautiful and clean and enlivening. Something that’s so far beyond any of our past paradigms, it’ll blow our socks off. But it’s up to us to be open to seeing it that way.

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*Today’s post was inspired by A Course In Miracles, Lesson 28

There’s no such thing as idle thought

Image: Paul Green

Everything that happens to us is divided into two categories —

  1. What happens.
  2. What we think about what happens.

Most of what we base our decisions, feelings, and actions on will be determined by our thoughts about what’s happening rather than the objective reality of it.

No thought is neutral.

Every thought is coloring our experience towards either truth or illusion. These are the only two options, and each creates its own likeness.

There’s no such thing as not picking a side.

Which way are you headed right now?

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