As you move along this path of remembering who you really are, it can be tempting to judge your own progress or compare yourself to others. Sometimes it can feel like you're sliding backwards in your evolution. Sometimes you might think that others are "ahead" of you, or that you've suddenly leapt forward in awareness, leaving others in the dust. This kind of comparison leads to jealousy and insecurity... or superiority, and untimely "teaching moments"... none of which is Love. And as my friend Howard likes to say, "If it's not Love, it's not me."
Your Healing is My Healing, is Everyone's Healing
Temptation Number One: Comparing Yourself to Others
Years ago, I struggled with feelings of insecurity. I had several close friends with whom I engaged in games of unspoken competition. One of us would have an epiphany, a moment of awakening to some eternal Truth. And of course, her relationships suddenly flourished... she felt happy, peaceful and alive... her creativity flowed, she moved forward with her life's purpose... and she gushed about her newfound clarity to the others. And the others felt diminished. Less than. Jealous. Not at all supportive or happy for the one who was experiencing the joy. Certainly there was no gratitude that one of us was evolving. In private, we talked to each other about how each of us rode the rollercoaster, with highs of personal success that bottomed out in feelings of resentment, separation, jealousy, longing and depression.
I remember one of these friends riding her high and saying that she was so close to enlightenment.
But there is no end point. This whole life experience is one long process. The state of enlightenment is one that may be experienced again and again and again, but there is no final moment when we have arrived. No line to cross that says we are finally "done."
And no real point in comparing ourselves to others. One of the coolest things I know is that when any one of us heals a wound or wakes up to some truth, every one of us is affected. Particularly when we're in close proximity, drawn into each others' lives, magnetized into relationship. Knowing our connectedness, there's room for compassion for a person's experience. Here, there is gratitude for a friend's awakening. They are doing that piece of work for themselves and for us. They are contributing to the whole of our shared experience. We're all connected, you see... and when I heal something in me, you will feel the effects, simply by my being. When you heal something in you and your authentic presence is offered, I too will transform.
Your Beingness is the Teacher
Temptation Number Two: Becoming the All-Knowing Preacher
You are likely to see things about others that they are not yet seeing. Maybe it's not a lesson you need to learn, or maybe you've already learned that lesson. You've been there, you've suffered, you've come out the other side, you have a moment of awakening, you have a new vantage point... and you're ready to tell your friend what they need to do in order to transform. You pause and breathe, then bestow upon your friend your vision of what they're doing wrong, what they're not seeing, and how they can fix it. It feels like a courageous, loving act to you, with the good of your friend in mind... but the point is either missed, or the interaction results in emotional distancing. Sound familiar?
You might also remember being that friend. A time when someone else tried to clue you in. And how long it took you to actually have a fully embodied aha! experience.
Our eyes open at the exact moment that they are supposed to.
No sooner, no later.
The best thing we can do for our friends is to live what we know. Be who we are. Connect with others through our compassion. Be vulnerable about our own experience, without hidden teaching motives. Simply by your being - and holding the vibration of the transcendence you have experienced - you offer your friend a hand.
It's All Forward Movement. All of It.
Temptation Number Three: Judging Yourself
Some days you feel simply amazing. You feel joyful, connected, useful... you know who you are, and you experience freedom. Some days you feel kind of dull or depressed. Not at all connected. Like a shadow has moved over your being. And you wonder... what happened? I was doing so good. I thought I was moving forward.
As your awareness grows, you're likely to notice these ups and downs more clearly than before. Life will continue to give you the very examples you need in order to continue to refine your vantage point of understanding. In other words, the plummets you feel aren't backslides; they're opportunities for awareness, healing and refinement. The darkness usually carries within it a bright light.
This morning I watched myself flow back and forth between the pure experience of Oneness, and intense moments of fear regarding my physical safety. At first, I got completely wrapped up in the fear. But breathing into it, I eventually started just noting the fear. Hm. There's that again. Ok... oh, there's that. Hello. Ok. I realized that fear is an illusion. There was nothing for me to figure out, no judging myself - only the witnessing of the waves as they rolled in and out. It felt right, and brought me again and again to who I really am.
Look what happens to the scale when Love holds it.
It stops working.
I hope this is useful to you in some way. Thank you for drawing these words out of me, and for your loving attentiveness to your own experience. Your healing is my healing, is her healing, is everyone's healing.
Blessings, Friends. May we all live with reverence and humility in the presence of deep transformation. May we each know the truth of who we are, and may we live that knowing with love, grace, acceptance and compassion.