Every change of season brings new opportunities for growth based upon the work done in the seasons before. As Autumn rolls around, leaving behind the haze of summer, the harvest of wisdom begins in earnest. From successes and failures both, the chance to learn the meaning of our existence edges a wee bit closer come fall. This can become a glorious summation of our efforts just like the rich harvest of crops or the brilliant display of fall foliage. What have we learned from summer's many activities? How can we use our intentions for those activities and the results of those intentions to enhance our lives and our futures?
In our culture, it is expected that the end of summer brings a return to school. Even though, in the adult world, our formal education is all but ended, we have a natural response to our early training and experience. We have, most of us, an increased desire to learn, to study and to understand more about the world around us as Autumn begins. Try as we might to insulate ourselves from the natural world with concrete and steel, the human animal is still moved by the flow of nature. Come fall, we tend to gather our experiences in our minds and look for wisdom, meaning and understanding.
Let's consider some of the attitudes we can foster that might make this learning curve smoother and more effective. Take detachment for instance. Wisdom is the direct result of seeing through our illusions and accepting the truth of ourselves. Detachment allows us to accomplish this painlessly. If we stand apart from our actions, feelings and intentions and look at them as though they belonged to another person entirely, we can see them in more wholeness. We have, then, less resistance to seeing them accurately. We judge them less harshly. Attached as we are to how we look to others and how others feel about us, we can unconsciously miss aspects of our experience that conflict with how we want to define ourselves, how we want to look. We can also resist looking at such aspects on a conscious level. We may not see what we did to muddy up a relationship with a neighbour. We may be so quick to blame another for a mess at work that we miss how we created our own experience of the problem. We are often unclear about our own motives and intentions when we want different results from the same actions. For instance, we may want to demand a raise while we are fighting with the boss. Why would we shoot ourselves in the foot like that? Why do we sometimes ignore or insult our partners when we really want to make love?
By standing aside from our personal feelings about such situations, we can see these conflicting desires a little more accurately. Then we can make more sense of them and perhaps choose a new direction.
Genuine detachment is not so much an intellectual approach to viewing ourselves and our lives as it is a compassionate approach. It results from an attitude of self-acceptance, unconditional and open. From such simple love applied to ourselves, the chance to openly and willingly look at our experience, inner and outer, bears fruit. This is the true harvest, exploring the meaning of our life experience. Our willingness to look at ourselves without judgement creates the opportunity to acquire true wisdom. A truly open heart, applied to ourselves, heals, resolves, releases and understands.
How can we foster such an open-hearted self-acceptance? We all have doubts about our worth. Old messages careen through our minds saying, "Bad Boy!" or "You can't do that." How can we see reality through such a fog of self-talk? Aspire! Let's make real self-love a goal in life. There is so much to explore, so many attributes of self-love to try on. How does it feel to assume that we deserve the very best in life that we can imagine? Can we imagine accepting even those parts of ourselves that we have defined as flawed or weak or wrong? We can use the wonderful swells of Autumn to learn about unconditional love, what it means, how it feels and why it is safe to live it in our daily lives. Every piece of the puzzle will increase our trust and wisdom and love.
As we merrily go about learning to apply unconditional love to ourselves, we begin to find it possible to accept our own mistakes. In an atmosphere of acceptance, we can look reasonably at what choices we have made and how they worked out. While we are busy kicking ourselves or blaming others, we are not in a position to understand those choices or to resolve to make new ones next time. In an atmosphere of true self-acceptance, we can peek at our self-defined flaws and conflicting desires and begin to make new decisions about ourselves that will change our lives for the better.
Personally, I have found it very difficult to acknowledge or accept what I define as weakness in myself. Learning to be vulnerable has been a distinct challenge. I discovered that this set of choices about myself conflicted with my desire to love and be loved. I was insulating myself from real intimacy so as not to appear weak or vulnerable. I did this, not because such an appearance was disliked by others, but because it was disliked by me. I refused to be seen as weak and vulnerable. No one could get close to me until I took that barrier down. Until I had gained enough detachment to see and redefine my "weakness," I could not be free to experience intimacy and love with others or myself. Now, being vulnerable and self-revealing has proven to be the very best way to learn to live in love and safety in the world.
Each new insight, such as this one, creates a moment of choice in which what we aspire to be can become a central focus. Each time that we can look at ourselves with detachment, we have the chance to replace what we find with who we want to be now. Growing up is all about redefining who we are. It is not a process that ends at 21 or some other "magical" age. We are constantly choosing who to be. Why not choose to be happy and loving and wise?
Doorways to the Soul
Timothy N Finley
This experiential guide to a vast new way of looking at life and our place in it will lead you to the power of your spiritual self.
Life is Nothing Personal:
The View From the Soul
Timothy N Finley
One of the most practical books ever!
Learn to Create Your Own Reality
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