Resisting Love

This blog post is the last issue of The Healing Journey, the letter I send out to subscribers. You may subscribe here to receive the email.

Dearest Readers,

‘Love’ gets a lot of air time as the final solution to the world’s problems.

All you need is love. Make love not war. Whatever the question, love is the answer.

I do not disagree. In fact, I would march in any protest holding a One Love slogan high or chanting it loud and long for all to hear.

Why, then, when we are so good at touting this truth, do we still resist love? And not just on a global scale, as a peaceful solution to mass discord, but on a personal one as well?

How many people do you know who hurt themselves or reject goodness or resist love? A few? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands? Millions? Billions?

For your separation from God is the hardest work in this world.

This line from a poem by Hafez (or Hafiz) says it all. Why are we working so hard to separate ourselves from That Which We Already Are?

Lots of reasons. Trauma, addiction, mental illness, low self-esteem, self-loathing, desire for power and control, fear.

In short: because we’re human.

In evolutionary terms, it could be argued that we are still at the very beginning of our journey toward full, conscious awakening. There may be a few awakened beings walking around but most of us are still dragging our knuckles and clubbing each other.

Why?

Because we don’t realize Who We Really Are.

I think I’m Celia. And I am. I’m also the Evolving Manifestation of the Mysterious Energy Creating and Sustaining All Things at Every Conceivable Level of Physical and Non-Physical Reality.

(I know, it’s a lot easier to say ‘God’ but the word divides. You’ve heard me say it before, we need a new word. Or we at least need to come to some kind of agreement on what the word means. Until then, I’ll create variations.)

Being Celia, or human, means I am subject to human experience. Human experience includes wrestling with ‘the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.’ I am going to get hurt and rejected. I am going to suffer. Because I’ve suffered and been hurt and rejected, I’m going to identify with these experiences. Naturally. And this identification is going to lead me to believe that I am unworthy, unloved and unlovable. Hence, when love comes my way I’m going to resist it. Or even before it comes my way I’m going to make sure it doesn’t arrive. Cut it off at the pass.

This is the wound of separation, which leads to the hardest work in the world. So how do we heal?

First of all, there is no cure for being human. It is what I am. No matter how hard I try, I will not outrun my humanity and the fear that comes with it.

In the same way, I cannot outrun That Which Makes Me Human. I may be able to resist The Force Behind Human Existence but extricating myself from It? Not a chance.

This is why separation is ‘the hardest work in the world’. Because we literally cannot do it.

Resisting Love because we’re afraid of being hurt or vulnerable or rejected is the expected human reaction. Understanding that it is impossible to resist That Which We Already Are is the evolved and awakened response.

Still, resistance persists. I may know intellectually that I am the Cosmos Looking at Itself or a Child of God or Bliss Absolute or however you want to say it and yet there I go again, pressing the self-sabotage button, rejecting Love before it rejects me.

It’s okay.

We can’t annihilate our separation work any more than we can outrun our humanness. Because our separation work is our humanness. This is how we are made. If we didn’t have the veil of separation we’d be God. Or the Thing That Makes All Things Possible. That veil is what enables us to be here.

So, if you are in the resistance, if your separation work is generating or perpetuating the suffering, be gentle with yourself. We’re still evolving. We’re not getting it wrong.

I recently asked a 105 year-old woman what her secret was. “I just live,” she said.

May we all just live, as we are, trusting that Evolution or Divine Love or Cosmic Oneness is doing Its good work in all of us, even now, and even now, and now and now…

From the fires of love,

Celia

Oh My God

Dearest Readers,

One of the things I enjoy most is having meaningful discussions. Small talk is okay but I’d much rather have Deep Talk. Why chit-chat about the weather when we could be talking about the Meaning of Life?

My all-time favourite subject is God. Whether we talk about ‘God’ as a word that soothes or rankles or ‘God’ as a deity who exists or doesn’t, everybody is going to have something interesting to say on the topic.

On a recent outing with a friend, he mentioned a phone call he’d had with his mother, a spiritual person who relies on God for guidance.

“She’s always talking about God and I’m like, Mom, I don’t believe in God.”

I’d previously had all kinds of spiritual conversations with this person so I was curious as to what he really meant. Did he mean he didn’t believe in a man with a beard directing human activity? Did he mean he didn’t believe in religion? As I’ve written here before, language is key, and finding the right language can open the door.

“You don’t believe in God and yet I’m wondering if you experience the Universe as participatory,” I asked him.

He thought about it for a while and then said, “It’s my experience that sometimes it feels like I’m getting kicked around and other times I feel like I might be being guided.”

At that moment we passed a church with a banner that read, “What about God and Science?”

“I think it’s worth noting the appearance of that banner right now,” I said, pointing up at the oracular question looming above us. Hmmm…

Another conversation with a friend who identified as a ‘militant atheist’ in one breath and a ‘very spiritual person’ in the next prompted me to interview him to ask him more about his dichotomous stance. During the interview he ended up saying, “I am God. You’re God.”

I knew what he meant. He didn’t mean that he’d made the world or that I had but rather Whatever Made The World was currently operating in us, present in us. We aren’t It, per se, but we are of It. The Quakers have an apt way of putting it: “There is that of God in Everyone.”

Later, the friend who’d said he didn’t believe in God but did feel, to some extent, that the Universe is participatory, texted me his appreciation for our conversation.

“I think it’s cool that you are constantly expanding your definition for the human journey beyond any spiritual/religious lexicon,” he wrote.

He’s right about my ‘constantly expanding’. There was a time when I was positively evangelical in my views, which made having any kind of meaningful spiritual dialogue near impossible. Coming up against my own rigidity has forced me to move beyond language and labels because I’ve learned the hard way that the more I cling to my own beliefs as ‘right’ and my own labels as ‘true’ then the less any kind of real connection can take place.

And that is what I am looking for. Real Connection. Yes, it is much easier to dis-connect. To hide away and disengage. Even when I’m in the presence of others I can cut myself off. Because it takes real effort to make a Real Connection. Being Present requires a certain amount of letting go and a certain amount of waking up. Either way, it’s work. And sometimes I don’t want to do the work.

But I do it anyway. And I keep on doing it. Because if the Universe is participating in my life then I’d like to participate right back. We are still evolving here. Our current experience is just a blip in the Evolutionary Time Span. If the God conversation lands us in a debate about religion or embroiled in a dogmatic argument then we have missed out on an opportunity to find our Common Ground.

What is our Common Ground? It’s pretty simple. We all belong to one species: Homo sapiens and we are all made up of trillions of atoms. All of us. We are all made of the same stuff: Energy.

What is Energy? Why does it exist? We don’t know. But we all get to decide our own answer. We all get to interpret Energy or God or That Which is Beyond the Intellect however we darn please. And as long as we don’t get caught up in thinking we have the right answer or the best interpretation, then we should be able to unite in our Common Ground and move forward together. I can think of nothing more pressing in today’s world.

From the fires of love,

Celia

The Agony of Nothing

This blog post is the last issue of The Healing Journey, the letter I send out to subscribers. You may subscribe here to receive the email.

This past August my parents and our family suffered the loss of Maggie, our beloved Great Dane, to bone cancer. A few weeks after Maggie died my mother announced that she was getting a new puppy. I was surprised. When Maggie was deteriorating my mum had stated very clearly that she would never get another dog.

“You said you weren’t going to get another dog,” I reminded her.

“I know,” she answered, “But I can’t bear the agony of nothing.”

“The agony of nothing,” I repeated, impressed by her ability to name so aptly our existential human emptiness, “That’s it. Right there. That is what it all comes down to. If we cannot learn to bear the agony of nothing–”

“We’re doomed!” she interjected.

That wasn’t exactly what I was going to say. I was going to say that if we cannot learn to bear the agony of nothing then we are destined to get a puppy to make the pain go away. But what happens when the puppy dies and we are once again left with that “deep-down, black, bottom-of-the-well, no-hope, end-of-the-world, what’s-the-use loneliness”? (Thank you, Charlie Brown.)

Well, we can always find something else to temporarily relieve the dread. There is no shortage in today’s world: shopping, sex, TV, booze, dope, chocolate cake. On and on it goes.

Eventually those things stop working, too, and the Black Hole returns. What then? How do we bear the Agony of Nothing?

By spending time with it.

Yup. When when we stop trying to a-void the Void, when we make friends with the thing we fear most, it becomes transformed. Solitude is no longer lonely and Silence is no longer empty.

It takes great courage to do this. Exploring the foreign territory of our inner lives can be terrifying. It is the Great Unknown, after all. I myself have uncovered a hundred forms of fear living inside of me. By getting to know these fears intimately and confronting my terror head-on, their power has been massively reduced. And I’m happy to report that I have been liberated by at least eighty-seven of them. Maybe eighty-eight.

This is how healing actually happens. Interior freedom occurs when we walk through the fear rather than run from it, work with the pain rather than alter it. Entering fully into the Agony of Nothing creates, miraculously, the Possibility of Something. That Something is better than a puppy. Because it is, in fact, Everything.

Thus begins the astonishing process of living from our Everythingness instead of from the agony of our nothingness. And it is a process. And puppies are most definitely allowed.

From the fires of love,

Celia