“Don’t tell me how awakened you are, how free you are from ego. I want to know you beneath the words. I want to know what you’re like when troubles befall you. If you can fully allow your pain and not pretend to be invulnerable. If you can feel your anger yet not step into violence. If you can grant safe passage to your sorrow yet not be its slave.” — Jeff Foster, spiritual teacher; excerpt from the poem Who Are You Without Your Spiritual Story? (originally posted on SAND)
As January 1st approached and I started considering the year ahead, thoughts about the year just finishing kept coming to mind; it’s been a doozy. Against the backdrop of eyebrow-raising political headlines and other far-reaching news, my year was largely spent first learning about consciousness and then blogging about consciousness, which is not at all what I thought I would be doing at this point in my life. And after a year spent living the unexpected, I questioned the wisdom of setting a goal for the new year, as I usually do; seems like I would just be teeing up another one of life’s little lessons. (Still think you are in charge? Ha!)
Then I started coming across a bunch of content about ’embodiment’, the practice of living as an awakened being; it’s the difference between studying the transformation and living as the transformed. And despite the blissful nirvana that awaits the quieted mind, living as a quieted mind as you sit in stalled traffic, sit in workplace meetings, interact with busy strangers – this is the real practice because, as Sartre wrote and everyone else quotes, “Hell is other people”.
As I completed my first post-awakening year, I looked back on a mountain of information now in my awareness that was completely unknown to me a year ago (most! of which is still in the blog queue). And after this year of intensive learning, the words of many teachers counseled me to now focus my intention on embodying what I have learned, lest I get stuck just becoming a very good meditator and thinker of thoughts. I’m sure this intention is going to present all sorts of new challenges and discoveries as the year unfolds; I’m definitely looking forward to the continued search for insight and understanding.
And more blogging! The new year brought an almost overwhelming number of new ideas for blog content: video clip libraries, animation clips, content on music, gaming – so many ideas are running through mah brain! Realizing some housekeeping was needed to keep all the new content organized, I’ve spent the first few weeks of the year making several changes to the blog to help keep it all hanging together well.
So here’s to a year spent embodying change, to being taught by ‘others’ how to live more truly in my own nature.