Circuit breaker

That’s the role meditation is playing in my life right now. Breaking the continuous chatter of ‘holy wow, it’s all going to sh*t’.

And meditation also gives me the space to unpack that phrase I just wrote as ‘going to sh*t’… why is that bad? We all gotta poop and if we didn’t poop we’d die. And pooping is releasing what our bodies don’t need or toxins etc… so technically pooping is ESSENTIAL! So, if everything is ‘going to sh*t’… its being let go.

Letting go is HARD yet not really that hard at the same time. We do it, all day long. Our bodies do it. Our cells do it. Our mind is switching when we find new distractions, letting go of a previous thought – and yea, it may pop back again but in those moments we’re not in that thought, we’re not in that thought.

And we think too much, right? Because it’s a habit, an expression of energy that seems to find an output through thought, because maybe our bodies have forgotten ways to move through it. Or maybe we never had this amount of excess running through our systems because excess wasn’t so much a thing until it became the norm, celebrated even! I mean, I don’t know. I know very little. And when I pray for relief, I hear MEDITATE! And at first I was like ‘nah, that’s a lot of work doing very little’ and ignored, ignored, ignored. Until..

I had no choice.

And that’s what this pandemic has done for me. Given me zero choices other than to go deeper into my meditation practice. Now, it’s my circuit breaker. Instead of reaching for the remote control to switch out of myself by watching something, anything that feeds what I’m feeling, I sit.

Be still and know I Am God

Be still and know I Am

Be still and know

Be still

Be.

And it’s precious. Very precious indeed.

Thy will be done…

Ok, this is the hard stuff.

I’ve been saying the Lord’s Prayer for years. We said it before each class in school (catholic) and it’s kinda ingrained. School was a long time ago and it’s been bouncing around in my head ever since. Lately I’ve incorporated the prayer into my morning sadhana. And when I wanna go deep with Jesus, we join hands over this prayer.

Because it’s become habitual it’s easy to skim over what you’re actually saying. The words become a rhythm and that’s wonderful to soothe and connect BUT I’m now realising… never underestimate the power of words and what you’re actually praying for!

In meditation the other day I was just about to say ‘God, give me the courage to surrender to your will’, but wait… YOUR WILL?? What if it’s not what I want or like? And that’s where the huge question of ‘what does faith actually mean for me? slipped furiously in.

That line ‘Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven’ has been kinda thrown away by me, for years. Heaven has always been depicted as ‘someplace’ perfect and bright and immaculate. So, of course I just visualised perfection on Earth.

Yet, scratch the surface of that and concepts of perfection and how EVERY individual has a different ideal… suddenly that picture begins to muddy and I see Heaven as a projection, not a place you go. A place you are. So, thy will be done, where you are, on earth.

And let’s be honest, another’s will upon us can be scary as anything. I think I may have used God. My will over the bigger picture.

‘God, please can you give me the strength…’

‘God, please can you help with….’

‘God, please help those….’

‘God, please allow whatever feelings I’m feeling to flow through me, without attachment…’

That’s a lot please can you prayers. And God answers! The LOVE is immense… But lately there’s been a shift.

‘God, please allow me to see your will…’ and BOOM. That’s not so easy. Gods will isn’t my will. It’s not what I want or think I need. It’s whats for me, not me for it. That’s a whole new walk of unknown, right? To open your arms and say ‘I’m here, FOR YOU to be led by YOU’. I’m getting scary chills even writing it!

So, what does faith actually mean? It’s evolving everyday. And in that evolution, it gets a little scarier and unknown and leaning in to God gets deeper and deeper… and trust becomes the only constant and that’s scary too. It’s like I fell into the arms of Jesus for safety and comfort but actually there’s no safety or comfort unless you really trust what’s for you, on a soul level. No swings and whistles, no temporary fixes or fixations that may distract for long enough to ease a craving. To trust the release of the root of our cravings and attachments, that takes guts. Faith is a courage walk. It’s saying yes to what doesn’t come easy, to what’s against our conditioning.

It’s a scary walk of fire. But fudging ‘ell, doesn’t it make life rich and beautiful! (Ok, maybe I’ll feel that tomorrow, today is more of a through-clenched-teeth day).

Life is never dull when you walk it with faith.

Deep, surrendered doubt

I feel my posts are taking a rather ‘underworld’ plunge at the moment. But it doesn’t feel like a time to be sidetracking crappy feelings. Life is A LOT right now. Really it’s always been a lot but the overwhelm of information and collective chaos and confusion feels ripe.

And in that confusion comes a lot of doubt. Doubt about doing the ‘right thing’ or doubt about ‘is there anything I can do right now to ease, just ease something’. I dunno. And I’ve never known so what do I do now? I give it to God. It’s all I really know what to do.

And this is why I love the teachings and life of Jesus. The moment on the cross, before he takes his last breath, his doubt in God is vocalised and totally human. His faith punctures, for that split second, in his pain and suffering, he chooses not to beg humans for mercy but to call out to God. ‘My God, why have you forsaken me!’ (something like that anyway)

And Jesus has said of us ‘they know not what they do’

Is this true of humans, do we know not what we do? I think most of the time, we don’t. We’re on a rabbit wheel of habit and programming that we convince ourselves is true until we learn something else and adopt that as our truth. Intellectualising everything. Getting very lost in logic and control.

And I think that’s why the concept of God can be scary, there’s no logic and control – well, there’s a lot of projection onto God about what pleases and doesn’t but often these stem from traditions and human worries and fears. I went to a Catholic school so pleasing God was part and parcel. Pleasing by being ‘good’ but really that equals being easily controlled by other humans. I struggled at being controlled but I really wanted to please. It was a complex mix.

To pray to a God with no judgments, a God who doesn’t need us, but loves us can be a very weird concept. Unconditional love isn’t really in the human vocabulary and often goes ‘if you love me, what can you give me? And what must I give in return?’. But honestly, the sun shines on EVERYONE. And if you get caught in a storm, you get caught in a storm.

I’m going to Jesus and his doubt in that moment on the cross. I’m personally having moments of ‘what’s the fudging point’ but hanging on anyway. That is love isn’t it, feeling into pools of pain and expressing how that makes you feel but also knowing it makes you no less of a human or lovable or capable of love because to feel IS human. And God made us human.

So today my prayer is ‘may I find the courage to surrender more deeply and allow doubt to strengthen my faith’

Accidental monk… kinda.

In the catholic tradition I was raised in, to be a monk meant a man living with other men, praying every day and living rent free in a monastery. Maybe it’s the same now, I’ve not done much research in that department but I’m listening to a podcast about mystics and many male christian mystics were monks.
And… I 100% resonate. (Adding here, I know nuns are traditionally women but I always felt more monk like than nun. Why? Don’t ask me!)

This whole modern monk thing came as a shock to me. How the fudge am I resonating so deeply with these teachings? I don’t see myself as a highly religious person, I certainly don’t align with the whole one role for man, another for woman. But, I’m most happy when I learning about spiritual practices or diving into ancient spiritual philosophies. And there’s a lot to learn, but when I feel a little burnt out by all the information hoarding, I tend to lean into the words of christian mystics for respite.

I am totally adoring and LOVIN’ Jesus. He’s a dude, he’s the dude! I never feel he’s not with me. Ive never felt weird talking to him or acknowledging he’s by my right side, all the freaking time. I don’t tell people, I’ve kept pretty quiet about my depth of love for Jesus but, for sure, it’s gotten stronger over the last 18 months. And it’s never felt like a thing I needed to shout from the roof tops, it’s always felt a part of life, like eating or pooping. Is what it is and kinda necessary.

I didn’t choose it either, this deep love for Jesus. In fact I didn’t want it, for over a decade.

I guess we’re chosen by what will essentially deeply move us, as if we chose it ourselves, maybe it wouldn’t move us so deeply. It would be ‘ego’ driven, and as satisfying as that can be, our ego wants more of it and then more after that and more after that. I never wanted more of Jesus, in fact the less I wanted, the closer I came to resting in christian teachings. The less I wanted to know, the deeper I felt called to meditate and low and behold, there was Jesus, just hanging out, like a serendipity meeting in the subconscious.

It’s not always easy to explain but I never felt called to have a family. I knew, from a very young age there was some spiritual depth that was for exploration, not children or general life happenings that may include a house or marriage or both.

I remember being sat in the back of my dads car when I was younger, we drove past the local church and I heard ‘I’m married to God’. Those words struck me hard. WTF. Nope, how can you marry something that doesn’t physically exist?

But I’m getting it, very very slowly getting it. I can’t explain it, but that’s what mysticism is, isn’t it. The mysterious, the unexplainable. And monk life, I get it, with added luxuries obviously. I think I’m kinda morphing into some modern, punkass monk, but without the monastery and the robe and the penis.

And some days I feel like every single second I’m in prayer, nodding to God. Others I feel like a hot, steaming earthy puddle… and I used to believe these were different states, but they’re totally not. God meets us EVERY WHICH WAY. The more I recognise that, the more contemplative life becomes.

So, accidentally I’m very much living this quiet, prayerful, messy life… like a monk, kinda?! And I hated it at first, and now I’m between hate and love but I’m met by God, wherever I am.


Freedom

The last few months…who am I kidding, the last 18 months, has got me assessing what freedom actually means, to me. I’ve not thought too much about freedom before as I realise the super privilege position I’ve been in. I’ve lived a life, be it not always within mental dynamics, that’s felt on the most part, free.

I could decided upon where to go and with who. Yes, I know we can get woven into relationships that once explored can have us questioning just how free we are around certain people, but without the intensity of that exploration, we can mainly choose our people.

So much has happened during this pandemic to send our nervous systems into a spin. Control has been taken away, we’ve been told how to behave and where to go and with who (or with no-one) and death, we’re exposed to figures and realisations, every day. I know you know this, we’re ALL in this. These experiences are not individual. This trauma has not just been affecting the separate self. It never has but we’ve liked to think it was. For centuries the notion of communicating our struggles and fears was kept ‘secret’. And as the world has begun to open up, due to whatever reason (social media, global connectivity etc) about just how complex and uniting our personal struggles are, we witness many of our anxieties and human responses to environmental stressors are indeed, shared. And now this global pandemic, this shared experience of restrictions and fear and doing things we’d have shook our head to a few years ago. Not only are we all in it, but we’re talking about it, globally, and maybe this is the most exposed we’ve ever been to collective trauma as information is instant now, from all corners of the world.

But…

Within these restrictions and difficulties of feeling personal choices not being so personal anymore, something incredibly expansive has happened, personally (and probably to many others too).

My faith has strengthened, big style! My relationship with God is my favourite. My meditation practice has also lengthened (because there was literally fuck all else to do!) and I’m not sure I would have found out about my ADHD brain if I’d not had such an intense time of reflection. I live with my folks, and as a 39 year old living with both her parents, the struggle has been REAL. It’s also been super healing and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so whole and surrendered as I do now.

I can’t even explain it as I’m under no illusion, I know shit is gonna get tougher . We’re not outta the woods, and maybe we never will be. Maybe humans are supposed to be in the overgrowth. With the trees and ferns and weird bacteria that live on EVERYTHING and because we can’t see it, we forget it’s there.

I know the mystics talk about freedom being within our faith. Within our relationship with God. And boy, does it take a leap of faith to say ‘God, I know NOTHING. You do. Show me.’ And then you’re shown this shit show of ‘difficulty’ because you weren’t flipping listening and you begin to listen and then this incredible thing happens… we get dunked into unexplainable freedom for literally a few moments until it’s gone again. Yet I have more and more faith it’ll be back, when God sees fit.

So freedom, it’s a funny thing. I feel so grateful to live in a time when restrictions from government still includes access to lattes and fresh fruit and chocolate (for now, anyway). I’ve not starved and my home has been a safe haven, which I know for many is not the case. Not even sure I care that I can’t go to many places as my brain doesn’t like too much choice anyway, it’s chaotic enough without adding more decisions! So I’m lucky. I’m privileged to be able to reflect upon freedom as the act of reflection itself and the time to do so is, in my eyes, freedom.

So, maybe my freedom hadn’t been taken away at all. I got to see just how flipping lucky I am to say ‘I can’t so this right now but I will. For now, I meditate’… as I write this, I’m becoming utterly aware of just how free I actually am.