Sunday, May 16, 2010
(HuffPost) Sacrifice: Choosing The Sacred Over the Profane
Not too long ago I tweeted, "When I know what I'm saying 'Yes' to, it's easy to say no."
Sacred. Profane. What do these words really mean? Is it about standing on some moral higher ground that assures belonging, safety, and the necessities of life? Paying homage to some being or group's values out of fear of being on the wrong side of the law?
What if there's a point of view that's not peering out from the bowels of some dank cave of insufficiency and insecurity built by ego's fear of future suffering rooted in the pain of the past?
What if there are no such absolutes as 'right' and 'wrong'?
Sacrifice at its root is about recognizing something as sacred and acting in accord with that recognition. Sacred isn't set in stone, and it certainly isn't about feeble attempts at self-deprivation. Self-deprivation is just an insecure ego's attempt to feel better about itself by being extreme.
What's sacred for you may be completely different from what's most aligned with my inner compass. They don't have to agree to both be of immense value.
Recently I had occasion to be in a private meeting with a teacher who embodies a kind of unfettered freedom and liberation I've always sensed as possible, but had never met face-to-face. I was given fifteen minutes to use in any way I wished, with the intention of bringing this liberated perspective to pressing concerns or questions.
Knowing about the meeting nearly two months in advance gave me plenty of time to obsess about coming up with questions that would really matter, make some long-term impact on my walk through life.
It wasn't until the final five minutes of the meeting that the most core concern I've lugged unknowingly through every corridor of my life surfaced.
"I have this irrational fear that I could do something which would irrevocably land me in eternal damnation, and it's at the back of every place where I have fear and get controlling. It makes no sense to me logically that I even have it. No amount of logic seems to make any real difference in releasing it's hold," I said, both surprised and supremely grateful that it revealed itself.
It's these kinds of not-yet-recognized fears that create factions, power struggles, wars, inner division, and separation from the very love we seek with each other, and ultimately within.
It's likely that this core fear is a teacher for me. It will reveal itself in various forms and circumstances, giving me the opportunity to hone my clarity, self-awareness, confidence, and trust. Versions of it are likely to be faithful companions, becoming the weights I use in the gym of my life to build the muscles of discrimination, detachment, focus, and Awareness of Truth that transcend morals and survival.
So as I willingly grow through the days, weeks, and beyond with the help of this ancient form of resistance, knowing why I walk ahead, what I'm saying 'Yes' to, is fuel for the walk.
I'm saying yes to freedom from any form of suffering.
I'm saying yes to that same freedom for anyone in the circles of my life.
I'm saying yes to being unshakably rooted in the clear and embodied knowing of What I am.
When the mind starts to get agitated, looking to control some situation or person to assure my safety and survival, simply taking a long pause to breathe and recognize that I am safe, whole, and free (to refocus my attention on what I'm saying 'Yes' to) is enough to create some space in my experience. It's enough to relax my body. It's a choice to feel that peace is more valuable (sacred) than control.
Know what's most valuable to you.
Know what can distract you from what you most value. This, for you, is the profane, and to be released.
Align your attention with what you most value and cherish.
Forgive yourself when you forget, and realign your attention with what you hold sacred.
Let the seeming wins and losses guide you into deeper core strength with the practice rather than being defining moments of your worth or lack thereof.
Let it be simple.
(art by Trey Speegle from an installation for the Manifest Quality Gallery in Hollywood, Spring 2010)