28 May 2011

Releasing Guilt in Knowing Self

I am a spiritual pilgrim seeking my personal truth. Many have come before me for this quest is as old as consciousness itself. I surround myself with those who are on a similar journey. I seek my truth at the edges of wilderness away from urban noise because I find the television to be as distracting as it can be entertaining and I want to create my own images, see my own stories set to life. I want to saturate my senses in the palatable, the physical sensations, touch that which is real, solid materials that breath and bend and can be built with human hands, smell the earth, taste life, listen to the stories in every place and hear the echo in my own pilgrimage, my own knowing of myself as soul, seeing ancient beauty in every footstep. I question where I have come from, what I have learned, what I have been taught, not to cause problems, but to seek the real meaning behind rules and social conduct, to reach the essence of what it means to be human. I ask the Universe to show me who I am, why am I here, what have I come to learn, to share, to create. I am learning to release judgment, especially of myself, and to respect the diverse paths that humans take, the unique pilgrimages we each pursue consciously and unconsciously.

In my journey I have found love to be abundant, the Universe receptive to intention, the only limits to happiness being our fears and our attitude, both of which we are capable of changing or of letting go of at any moment of our choosing. We are water and we must flow to purify, to heal and to stay healthy. Dwelling too long in fear, in self-criticism, in anger destroys the body. Laughter alleviates suffering. What I write here may read like the babble of a fortune cookie, but truth has always inhabited the most unlikely of places. Once you make the conscious decision to seek truth, messages arrive from everywhere. You can doubt or believe or test truth in your own life, and if you have the patience to see the wider experience you may find that everything does happen for a reason and that the Universe never makes a mistake. I am a spiritual pilgrim and these are some of the truths which I have found in my journey.

I live comfortably and accompanied, with daily chores as well as creative endeavors. I have neither too much nor too little. I have received many gifts in life, have been blessed with many opportunities. Yet, I struggle with self-judgment and guilt for the decisions that I have made in pursuing my own happiness in life so different from even my own expectation. Why? Seeking truth, meaning and happiness is soul’s ultimate journey on earth as memorialized in the Buddha’s image, in Siddhartha’s quest of self-knowing and self-reflection. That I should take even one step in the direction of truth-seeking and find happiness is cause for celebration, with no place for shame and sadness. Acknowledging the Catholic influence in my Buddhist up-bringing may aid explanation, but it is a tired trajectory to blame the Church for my emotions. How to come to lasting peace with oneself, shedding guilt, welcoming pleasure and laughter and satisfaction? Receiving love is difficult because one must admit without shame that we are deserving of love. And the release of shameful feelings and guilt comes from the honest knowing of self, full-acceptance of who we are, every aspect. It is a decision that I have been long in the choosing. So many years I have sought approval for the color of my skin, my professional pursuits, my political alliances, my love relationships. Knowing that once I commit to shedding guilt all the judgment form inside and out will slip away does not make the actual release any easier. It feels like standing on an edge of a dark pool of water, anticipating cold and sinking sensations when in reality one floats and the body generates the heat to counteract the shock of the plunge.

I am a spiritual pilgrim in search of my personal truth and that is nothing to be ashamed of. I have travelled far from where I was born and raised, and have built a life on different values, finding support from diverse relationships. I spend my days and nights in creative dreaming and observation, causing no harm to those around me, learning to live more harmoniously with my surroundings. I do everything to the best of my ability and am careful in my work. I have much to learn and absorb, many truths to seek, but my guilt, my shame, my judging of self and in relation to others, have no place in my journey. I have carried these feelings a long distance for many years and to continue sheltering shame will only make me sick and sad. This is a pattern of emotional reaction that I want to end. I am responsible for how I act and where I choose to emotionally dwell. I choose happiness here and now, leave my suffering behind.