Acceptance, exploring the nuances of willpower, and celebrating those who are beside us... (April 23rd circle)

Dear Monday Morning Beauties,

Oh, how I love the freedom to explore what arises in our circle!  Thank-you ladies for a contemplative and powerful gathering yesterday!  I learned a lot from each of you and appreciated how our conversation flowed into our practice. 

Here is the reading that stimulated a great conversation on tolerance, will and acceptance:

The Wisdom of No Escape

The central question of a warrior’s training is not how we avoid uncertainty and fear but how we relate to discomfort. How do we practice with difficulty, with our emotions, with the unpredictable encounters of an ordinary day? For those of us with a hunger to know the truth, painful emotions are like flags going up to say, “You’re stuck!” We regard disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, jealousy, and fear as moments that show us where we’re holding back, how we’re shutting down. Such uncomfortable feelings are messages that tell us to perk up and lean into a situation when we’d rather cave in and back away.

When the flag goes up, we have an opportunity: we can stay with our painful emotion instead of spinning out. Staying is how we get the hang of gently catching ourselves when we’re about to let resentment harden into blame, righteousness, or alienation. It’s also how we keep from smoothing things over by talking ourselves into a sense of relief or inspiration. This is easier said than done.

Ordinarily we are swept away by habitual momentum. We don’t interrupt our patterns even slightly. With practice, however, we learn to stay with a broken heart, with a nameless fear, with the desire for revenge. Sticking with uncertainty is how we learn to relax in the midst of chaos, how we learn to be cool when the ground beneath us suddenly disappears. We can bring ourselves back to the spiritual path countless times each day simply by exercising our willingness to rest in uncertainty of the present moment - over and over again.

— Pema Chodron, "Comfortable with Uncertainty, 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion"

Our conversation on tolerance, acceptance and willpower inspired me to revisit the teachings of Michael Singer and his book "The Untethered Soul", which I have paraphrased below:

What is it inside of us that even has the ability to resist the reality of life? It is called willpower.
The power of Self, when it is concentrated and directed into the physical, mental, or emotional realm, creates a force, and we call that force “will”. Will is a real force that emanates from your being.

Amazingly, we often assert our will in opposition to the flow of life. If something happens that we don’t like, we resist it. It is understandable that we don’t like it, but since it already happened what good does it do to resist it?

When you resist, the energy has no place to go and it causes serious problems. Because you don’t let the energy of the personal event pass through you, it leaves an impression on your mind and heart. Those impressions become the basis for asserting your will to either resist or cling to current events, creating ongoing tension, turmoil, struggle and suffering.

The alternative is to use life to let go of these impressions and the stress they create. Let your spiritual path become the willingness to let whatever happens make it through you, rather than carrying it into the next moment.

Begin dealing with every situation with acceptance. Acceptance means that events can make it through you without resistance. Don’t think that because you accept reality it means you don’t deal with things. You do deal with them. You just deal with them as events, and not as personal problems. First, you let the energy make it through you. If you don’t, you will not actually be dealing with the current event, you will be dealing with your own blocked energies from the past.

Once the personal energies pass through you, the world becomes a different place. You bring awareness and clarity to everything you do.

Open and expand your heart and mind to encompass reality, and what used to look like stressful problems will begin to look like the stepping-stones of your spiritual journey.
— Michael Singer, "The Untethered Soul", chapter 16: The Spiritual Path of Nonresistance

As we discussed there are many gifts from being in a circle such as ours. Here is the prophecy I was drawn to share with you  spontaneously during class:

To my fellow swimmers:
here is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift,
that there are those who will be afraid,
who will try to hold on to the shore,
they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.
Know that the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore,
push off into the middle of the river,
and keep our heads above water.
And I say see who is there with you and celebrate.
At this time in history we are to take nothing personally,
least of all ourselves, for the moment we do,
our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over.
Gather yourselves.
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
For we are the ones we have been waiting for.
— From the Elders of the Hopi Nation Oraibi, Arizona, June 8, 2000

And, finally, here is the closing Kuan Yin passage and prayer that I shared at the end of our class:

The only wish of the Divine Mother Goddess is that all beings be spiritually free. The Divine Goddess calls us to realize our true nature, to fall in love with our own divinity. Enlightenment is a culmination of many small steps, each one as a drop of water forming a divine ocean of peace, realization, love and unity within us, an ocean that washes away fear, separation and scarcity and bathes us in abundance and bliss. You carry the torch of enlightenment within you, beloved. Let it shine each day.

Beloved Kuan Yin, Green Tara, Mazue, Goddesses of the Great Divine Mother, please help me to live my light, to live my enlightenment in each day, to know my own Self and to live the beauty and bliss with peace in my heart. Thank you for your help. Om Shanti. I feel your Peace in my heart now. May all beings feel and know this peace within. Om Shanti. Om Mani Padme Hum.
— "Dynasty of the Divine Mother", Kuan Yin Oracles by Alana Fairchild

Thank-you for this particularly rich morning. I look forward to seeing you all next week and to welcoming Michelena into our circle!!