This picture was taken two years before I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis. I was on a camping vacation in Montana with my husband. At the time, I ignored the joy in my face and saw only my physical aging. Today I understand better why I did.
A trial for all of us is knowing physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually that we are perfect. If we can embrace ourselves and all our perceived flaws, and trust that all we are, all we do comes from a place of purity and or ignorance, the results can turn out as we expected or not, without fear of criticism inside our outside of us, and we can always know our sense of integrity, our wholeness. Then our all-right-ness is not related to how well we think we are, or think we perform.
“Think” is the key word here. We identify with what our mind thinks. We are constantly judging ourselves (and others) based on childhood beliefs that we must succeed to survive in the world. And to a degree, at one time our survival did depend on how quickly we could adapt to our social and physical surroundings; our family, our neighborhood, our community. However that time is over and WE are now responsible for our well being, not our moms and dads. Now, we can recognize when we are critical of ourselves, our behaviors, and outcomes, and give ourselves some breathing room.
Recently I was rereading the book that originally sent me on my healing path three years ago, The Voice of Knowledge: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace by Don Miguel Ruiz with Janet Mills.http://www.amazon.com/Voice-Knowledge-Practical-Guide-Inner/dp/1878424548/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1450312719&sr=1-1&keywords=the+voice+of+knowledge The author was raised by parents and grandparents who practiced the Toltec Wisdom, seeing life as a pathway to remembering wholeness and respect for all beings, beginning with the self. Miguel Ruiz says that we have a voice inside us that dominates our interpretations of daily events. We know this voice and listen to it, but what we don’t understand is that this voice lies to us:
Every time we judge ourselves, find ourselves guilty, and punish ourselves, it’s because the voice in our head is telling us lies. Every time we have a conflict with our father, our mother, our children or our beloved, it’s because we believe in those lies, and they believe in them, too. But it’s not just that. When we believe in lies, we cannot see the truth, so we make thousands of assumptions and we take them as truth.
One of the biggest assumptions we make is that the lies we believe are the truth! For example, we believe that we know what we are. When we get angry we say, “Oh, that’s just the way I am.” When we get jealous: “Oh, that’s just the way I am.” When we hate: “Oh, that’s just the way I am.” But is it true? I’m not sure about that. I used to make assumptions that I was the one who was talking, that I was the one who said all those things that I didn’t want to say. It was a big surprise when I discovered that it was not me; it was the way I learned to be. And I practiced and practiced until I mastered that performance. p. 82.
If you want to know more about the nature of these lies and where they come from, please do read the book. In addition, read Richard Rohr’s excellent and precise book on the subject, Immortal Diamond. http://www.amazon.com/Immortal-Diamond-Search-True-Self/dp/1118303598/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1450912710&sr=1-4&keywords=richard+rohr.
So what do we do? We begin by asking who we are meant to be. Miguel Ruiz’s book explains the answer he found with his journey to the truth inside of him, inside all of us:
(One) night in the Sonora Desert changed the way I perceive myself and humanity, the way I perceive the entire world. In a moment of inspiration, I saw the infinite, the force of life in action. That force is always present and obvious for anyone to see, but there was no way I could see it with my attention focused on lies. What my grandfather had tried to tell me was true: “Only perfection exists.” It took a long time for me to put it into words, of course, but I finally understood what he meant when I experienced the truth for myself. I realized that I am perfect because I am inseparable from the infinite, the force of life that creates the stars and the entire universe of light. I am God’s creation. I don’t need to be what I am not. p. 52.
What do I do to experience this? Most helpful to me in distinguishing my beloved and true self from the lesser, or lying self is the time I practice stillness; sitting quietly without distractions. You can too, and will find that when you still the body, eventually the mind quiets; the thoughts come and go but you have no need to examine or remember them. They have no significance or meaning. Stillness and space within you is all you feel. This is essential to begin to distinguish the lies, the “voice of knowledge’ from the voice of inspiration, our true being at one with God, and guide. Practicing stillness, inward listening, and relaxing into the movement, or flow of energy throughout the body, daily increases this experience of love. It also allows time for healing of the body, a slow and mysterious process that you can feel physically and emotionally. When you are in this healing experience you open up to pure gratitude and humility which originates within you. Having been given to you, there is no need to imagine or remember these as concepts. They are pure because they arise within you and you notice them and receive them with joy.
How can you be who you are and not who the lying voice would have you be? With stillness practice, you will distinguish the truth from the lies inside you. You will be attracted to the truth and be more and more in action guided by this truth. Meanwhile you can remember that you were born of love and it is only the mind and it’s learned patterns of thinking that keep you from remembering this. Pursue your healing process and more will become clear and real in your life. Our autoimmunity is a gift intended to bring us to a true experience of what God would have us be, connected to the whole and delighting in every moment here on earth. Oh, and as we are in this process of trusting what is given to us, and experiencing heartfelt gratitude, our bodies, minds, and spirits heal. How perfect!
One more thing. Under all this is a deeply rooted practice all of us with autoimmunity are committed to, only we don’t know it. We insist on messaging ourselves that we are not good enough and undeserving. In so doing, we reject our true selves, our wholeness, our connection to everything in the universe which is one whole being (uni,one). Self-rejection is at the core of all disease and particularly autoimmunity. All of us with an autoimmune condition know how that works physically. Yes, our body is in constant rejection of itself, confused into acting as if our own DNA is an invading life source, a bacteria or virus. Our immune system is in tune with our deeply rooted unconscious belief: Protect yourself and reject the unworthy, the undeserving. This has got to stop and I will talk about how I have begun to heal from this practice in my next entry.
Begin by making a mental note when you are judging, rejecting, criticizing, bullying or punishing (guilting) yourself AND OTHERS. You can’t reject anyone else unless you are deeply experiencing recrimination of self. Be, stay with that recognition. Practice becoming aware of the act of self-rejection.