By Debbie Lynn
Dogmas and beliefs tend to trip us up and keep us in a closed-minded space, they also keep us away from a bigger view.
And although the view is expansive, we will never be able to fully see it when we are bound to one opinion—one dimension, in time and space.
It took me a long time to understand that it was my own attitude that was holding me back from real happiness, and that I had only scratched the surface of misunderstandings about what it truly meant to be free. Free from fears, free from judgments, free from fear of being judged and so on. I fell into a world that had all these rules and stipulations, and try as I might to refute them, I had to play. So, I drank the poison in small doses and ran with the wolves. I questioned my resolve over and over and it seemed logical (at the time) to stand just outside the lines of acceptance while slamming the so-called “normal” into the abyss.
Well, I have to tell you, that didn’t work out very well.
My system of beliefs never stopped spinning and the realization that attaching myself to any sort of precepts before I had actually lived them, caused a lot of internal aggravation. It wasn’t until I saw this light of my truth unfold in technicolor. I found that “my truth” was completely fabricated in my head and I was only deceiving my heart. I found, I was missing the basic art of compliance.
“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
― Pema Chödrön
What happened in my resistance was the ego/pride of righteousness began to inflate. As it got bigger, I got cold, ugly and turned into the very thing I was fighting; ergo, we can’t fight hate with hate. I sometimes think this attitude was wrapped up in spiritual immaturity, but I also know with the tendency to rise up against the establishment and “do the right thing” I can get caught up in a war of words laced in ethics.
Another thing I discovered and I witnessed was: The happiest, most well-adjusted and complete people I know do not have hard beliefs (as agendas) that are attached to their lives. They are free. These people have nothing in their way to get all twisted and worried about. They sit in quiet reverence and allow others to have opinions. I saw their patience and felt their peace and I decided I wanted more of that in my life. The trick was however, to dissolve my hardened views in the lens of my understanding no matter how “open” they appeared to be on the surface. Unfolding the layers, I found conflict but, it didn’t mean I disagreed with everything; it meant I would have to dig deeper into an allowance of ideals outside my own (i.e. shut up and learn something). And I can tell you now, that digging in the dirt is a beautiful thing.
“You are the sky. Everything else—it’s just the weather.”
― Pema Chödrön
This channel to the sky is caring enough to honor the way other people see things that seem impossible to fathom, and perhaps considering an alternative to the unthinkable. When we do, it quells the storms inside/out and expands the mind (without drugs). My right may very well be someone else’s wrong and once this melted into my body, the change in my life was huge. Everything, everything, had some new-found serenity.
But it didn’t happen overnight and discovering peace and love—as sappy as it sounds—made dealing and coping with life less stressful. The chaos never leaves, but it is easier to come to calmness, come to my senses and come to meet an ego-adjustment faster than before. I found, I didn’t have to be so damn rigid. And the softness? It just felt better, I could wear it, own it, and I wrote:
I can be powerful without being confrontational,
Compelled without being pushy,
And committed without being arrogant.
Stepping away from conventional dogma, rights and wrongs, political non-sense and materialism is hard to do unless you hide in a cave (which I could actually do in heart beat) but in the ease of hiding, I have to ask, would I gain anything? Admittedly I like a little bit of disruption; it keeps me on my toes, questions my convictions, and tests my patience a lot. But as age mellows me, some things are just not worth the energy spent in irritation. And I even surprise myself every now and then about my lack of reactionary, dramatic emotion.
Exercising my resolve has been, and will continue to be a challenge—a good one at that—and I can say at the tender age of 56, I am in in a constant state of change. As I change, so do “my truths” and if I can see this about myself and embrace it… why wouldn’t I do the same for everyone?
My unsolicited observation: Let your solid beliefs liquefy. There is so much more than what we really think we know and being unattached to the absolute means freedom.
And freedom is where we find home.
Editor: Dana Gornall
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