“Dare to see that grace is right here, not as a destination that you will reach one day by means of a weary journey – not after you get “enlightened,” heal your past, meet your next partner, or “raise your vibration.” But as a lover for you to dance, play, and explore with, in the unfolding, eternal now.” Matt Licata
I loved this blog from Matt Licata a few days ago. It is completely in sync with my latest series on being driven.
Daring to experience grace in the now is quite a challenge for most of us. Accepting “what is” is the ultimate zen teaching and used by so many modern day teachers from Byron Katie to Eckhart Tolle. We know this is the way. We feel we work toward this end, but we don’t really know how.
Our personality, that mechanistic outer shell built to function in this world out of protection and need for acceptance, will go to great lengths to make us believe we have it together. We may think we are accepting but deep down we continue to judge ourselves in the most harsh way. We keep impossible standards. We set ourselves up for defeat and failure.
We may appear alright when actually below the surface there is a deep dissatisfaction of self. We navigate fear like a familiar route, avoiding the pitfalls of pain and grief.
How can we work to be able to accept what is?
I have 3 steps that will build a bridge to learning this dance.
The basis for all our personal transformation is attention. By this, I do not mean focus…I mean expanded awareness. I use several tried and true tools that develop this special kind of attention.
2) Self Observation
With this expanded awareness, one is able to begin the difficult task of Self Observation. Most will think that they already know how to observe, when actually it is the thinking center observing itself. This will never bring about objectivity, so our work is to understand what it means to be integrated in thought, feeling and body to bring about a real observation. An observation must remain neutral with no impetus to change or improve what is seen. (That is the hard part.)
3) Recognizing Identification
When we are identified with a role or a belief, our attention is captured and no longer objective. There is no observer present and thus we get mired in feelings of discontentment, inadequacy, and fear which then dictate our behavior. Developing steps one and two allow us to recognize our states of identification and accept what we are seeing.
When that part of us which is identified feels compelled to make matters better, or belittles ourselves and others for not being perfect, we suffer. Our identified self acts according to our like or dislike. When we are constantly attached to what we think should be (identified state) , we are stuck in a prison of non acceptance.
The effort here is to rest in the yes and the no of the situation until we break through.
We may not feel things are going fast enough or well enough. We may find we are unable to get motivated in a way that is “productive”. We may find we cannot connect with others in the way we want to. We may feel life can only be good if we have the right partner. We may compulsively need to make more and more money at the expense of our down time and our family time. We may feel that sense of dread each day. We may know that something is not quite right, but we can’t put our finger on it.
All of these scenarios involve identification with what we think “should be”. The more we see how our lives are dictated by our likes and dislikes, the more free we become. Working with like and dislike is one of the most important practices to catch ourselves in a state of identification. When we do things we “don’t like”, we start to see what is behind needing to drive ourselves so vehemently. When we strive to put discipline in the place of avoidance, we experience the friction.
Every one of these instances requires us to accept what is instead of judging if something is bad or good. Every judgement involves our identification with like and dislike. Every identification with like or dislike creates frustration and “lack of control”.
We cannot change someone else’s actions, beliefs or influence. We cannot stop someone’s hate from manifesting in this world. We cannot win when we hold perfection as a standard for ourselves or others.
What we can do is stay right in the yes and no of what “it” wants and notice from a place of integration where dots are connected between past and future in the glorious dance of now. In that place, we understand on an infinitely deeper level something about ourselves. We allow it to be, by watching it and not changing it. Our effort to watch this struggle with how we think things should be and how they are not that way, is the way to be here now. We learn to accept by seeing ourselves in a state of identification and not changing it but watching it with expanded awareness.
The dance of now is a special place and once we get good at it, life gets a whole lot more enjoyable. We react less. We feel balanced and whole. We see more grace in every gesture at every turn. We actually feel gratitude. We shift. We twirl.
We dance instead of going through the motions.
My writings reflect an entire system of learning presence through expanded awareness. Presence allows us to catch ourselves in the state of identification.
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