Trusting the sickness, trusting life

The idea that life has an inherent impulse to live and that we are just forms of life being driven by this impulse, is perhaps obvious. Although simple and self-evident, it does have its radical implications for the ego self, the self that has a million illusions of what it is. Looking at the bare truth of yourself as just another life form stands against all concepts that you are somehow more important than other life forms or that you are not so important to let yourself live out your desires. It is an obvious truth that may be easy to understand, but not so easy to live.

I respect the different spiritual traditions that point to the same thing with different language, they have both guided me and misguided me in all the right ways. However, the clearest guide I have found to being human is nature itself. I have discovered nature to be the purest, deepest, and most direct reflection of my true self. It is after all, where we come from and where we return. At the end of the day, after all ideas, philosophies and dogmas, we are just a form of life. We are nature. The most eloquent and evident depiction of this truth is that when we die, when we no longer have a mind to separate us, our bodies become part of the earth, water, worms, animals, and trees. We are not exempt from this ecosystem, no matter how much we try to control, no matter how far we have removed ourselves from the rhythms of life.

For me, the language I have chosen to point at this basic truth also helps me to thrash any human-made concepts of enlightenment or reality. “We are life, and life wants to live,” feels all-inclusive to me. Life wanting to live does not identify as Buddhist, Atheist, Hindu or Christian. It isn’t even human or non-human. It does not have a practice that takes any specific form, because the practice is allowing your unique life form to live as it desires. There have been times when religious and spiritual teachings have lead me to feel more separate from life. Practices like vegetarianism or meditation retreats, which use a sense of restriction or control to arrive to or embody this understanding, have taken me to feel like I have to do something to connect with my spiritual nature. But the truth is, life is inherently spiritual, and life wants to live. I have found that by allowing my life to live, I uncover deeper spiritual understandings naturally. It is a human invention to restrict ourselves from food, shelter, talking, or sex in order to arrive to spiritual truths. There is nothing wrong with these practices; I have found that my heart will instinctually take me towards moments of retreat, meditation, or fasting without any effort. However, when they become a concept, a rule or a dogma, I believe they go against the natural rhythms of life. Life wants to live! There is nothing wrong with any part of our existence. In the most painful and dark times of humanity, life still fights to live, and it has done so in beautiful ways. Wherever we are on our evolutionary path, whatever our situation is, we are still just life; moment by moment presented with the opportunity to hear the rain, feel the wind, or enjoy the pleasure of our taste buds responding to delicious food. This is a gift! And for me, the most honorable way of receiving this gift is to practice the rhythms of life itself and find pleasure in each moment. In my experience, the guide for following these rhythms is placed directly in the human heart. There is nothing to do but listen.

In my understanding of the Sacred Feminine, this is a major difference that it offers which I have not found in other spiritual traditions coming from patriarchal cultures. For me, the Sacred Feminine is about listening, softening and falling in. There is nothing to do, no restrictions to make, just to enjoy yourself in all of your wisdom and ignorance in each moment that you take a breath. It was a huge revolution for me to begin to allow pleasure into my life as a spiritual practice, because pleasure is one of those things that often gets a bad reputation in the “spiritual” sphere. But for me, finding pleasure in each moment is the greatest gift you could give back to life. There is no reason to live but for life itself.

The healing path, just like spiritual practices, can also forget its connection with all life. There is a sneaky idea of healing as “fixing problems” that is insidious in many therapeutic approaches. As humans, beyond our personal issues, I think what we are really being challenged to heal here is our notion of separateness with nature. For me, healing from a place of trust in life has instinctively brought me to be more aware of my part in the whole. I think true healing naturally integrates a spiritual awareness. My healing path has made me more sensitive to all life, and through this I have connected with a deeper desire to live in harmony with nature, which is not separate from me. I have not had to do anything to arrive to this desire but follow my heart and allow myself to be who I am. On my healing path, just as with the spiritual practices I have encountered, I have followed strands of myself that come from feelings of lack; looking to fix or change who I am. In these moments, I have encountered therapists and healers who reflected this attitude back to me, and I always ended up more damaged than healed. These were moments of learning what does not feel natural, true or loving to me. It always took me a long time to return to a place of trust after these experiences, but every time I have come to the same conclusion: If I am approaching healing from a place of “something missing, something wrong,” I am perpetuating the wound. I have been more and more convinced that healing occurs from a place of trust in who I already am; my shadow, light, childhood, wound, and defenses are all perfectly designed and okay just as they are. If I really want to allow my life to live, it only takes deep listening and acceptance for all of these parts of myself to give rise to my beauty nature.

I think a lot of human rights and environmental activist also get stuck in this paradigm of trying to fix a problem. They fight patriarchy and capitalism so furiously that they create a huge shadow, disowning or rejecting those parts of themselves that they hate in the system. This ultimately just creates more concepts of the self that separates, and it can be a trap. I think that everything serves a purpose, and perhaps those who are stuck in the vibration of fighting the “external beast,” are maintaining a balance on some level, for others to do deeper work. We are all at different points in our evolution, and this is also perfectly designed. However, on my individual path, I have found that the more I heal—the more I set aside concepts of myself in order to listen and follow my heart—the less I have to fight outside. The patriarchy and capitalist system still breaks my heart; but the more I let my heart break, the more compassion I can find for this human sickness that we have created. Everything is just as it needs to be. This radical trust in life is to see that we too are life. The sickness of the system is a part of life, and a part of us. It is just a great opportunity to find our medicine and discover what it really means to be human on this beautiful planet. Fighting the system is exhausting and unsustainable, loving the parts of ourselves that the system has touched is the natural rhythm that life wants to take, and it restores balance and energy rather than leave us angry, bitter and depleted.

Nature has reaffirmed this perspective for me on numerous occasions. I remember a talk I had with my parents over lunch about the state of the world and the damage we are causing to the environment. I was so depressed after our conversation that I decided to take a walk outside. I remember looking out onto a beautiful lake with tears, asking for forgiveness to all of nature for our ignorance and greed. The response was immediate and transformative. I was suddenly filled with love, and could feel nature smiling back at me. I have had many moments when I hear nature speaking so clearly. It doesn’t speak in a language I know, but the clarity is like nothing else I have heard before. If I were to translate the clarity I heard that day into words, it would sound something like this: “I am always here to love you. The damage you are causing is not to me but to yourself. Guilt and shame don’t help you to see me. I will still be here when you are gone; I do not depend on you to know my worth or even to exist. If you want to live in harmony with me, that is your choice.” There it is, plain and simple, the balance of love and freedom that humans are striving to understanding. The irony is that it is lying dormant at the core of who we are. We already know how to love; we already know how to be free. Our beauty nature knows this, and the secret is in the authentic expression of our heart. Living aligned with the truths in our heart brings us closer to nature, closer to ourselves. When we choose this path, there is nothing to fight.

The sickness of humanity comes from a basic distrust in life. Our current system looks to put power over “the other,” but life is inherently powerful. Think of a tiny seed that grows into a huge tree, or salmon swimming up river to lay eggs. Life wants to live! When we are removed from this basic nature that drives us, we forget about our power and we look for it outside of ourselves, from a place of control or manipulation. You want to fight the patriarchy? Stop controlling and manipulating, stop living to appease concepts that you have of yourself or that other’s have of you. Allow your life to live, surrender to your heart’s desire. Occupying the place of the victim within the system is another way of denying this power. Holding onto Donald Trump to change his ways is exhausting! Let him go, he is sick. Let the sickness get so sick it either dies or looks for healing. Who knows the path that life will take humanity on if we really begin to trust it and let it do its work. Part of trusting life is not worrying so much about the outcome. We may end up wiping out our species with war, global warming, or artificial intelligence. Whatever happens, there is no doubt that we will learn a lot in the process; because we are life, and no matter how much we try to deny or control our life, our nature is to grow. Without fearing the outcome, we have the option to surrender to the process. We are here now with a choice of fighting or trusting life, of denying our heart’s desire or simply living.

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