Audio Transcript below - a live recording from 2017.
I wanted to focus on this topic today of real compassion for the insecurity within us all because it's one of those things that has played out in my life, that has brought me to a deeper place of compassion not only for myself but equally so for those around me and all those I meet. Of course, whenever we look in ourselves and get about our own difficulty and the perceived challenges of this human life, what we find is that really honest everybody else is doing the same thing; everyone else is playing the same game. Some of us are just better at pretending not to be that’s all.
I'm at this point where no matter what anybody tells me about their life, whatever image they put on it, or however firm their construct is I just smile because I know all these things change and the forms that it takes are just like the seasons. In some way or another we're going to experience it all. Insecurity is definitely one of these things that we all feel because it's almost like the epitome of separation. We can say this sense of insecurity, for the experience of the human being, is an inadequacy. Insecurity says that we see something about ourselves that doesn't measure up, and we feel that if it did measure up then we would somehow be more loveable, more whole, more complete. That we would fit in, that we would get what we want. I invite you to just recognize this in yourself and just be honest. For anyone who tells me, "No, it's not there," I don't believe them because somewhere, somehow it's part of the journey.
Sure, there are times when it comes and goes, but there will always be this play of a perceived separation. But the good news is: that it's only perceived. It's not the truth of your nature, it's just a part of the unfolding and this perceived sense of separation for our humanness is what draws us home; it reminds us to go deeper and ask ourselves, "What's really real?" I can see that there's the insecurity, I can see there's the fear, the inadequacy but what's really real about that? And when we get honest we start to discover something about that inadequacy - that it is actually holding space for a deeper love to emerge.
The best way to speak about this is really from my own experience, how I see the blooming of it, how it opens up doors for a deeper depth of connection, a deeper love for others, a deeper understanding and compassion. There's this space in my heart that is so incredibly thankful for the experience of inadequacy. As I remember growing up the biggest experience was of, "What the fuck?!" -- essentially not really moving from a space of clarity at all, instead moving from a space of insecurity that grew into a conditioned response. I think it's wise to note here that this is in no way wrong or bad; it's our own journey, it's our own path of unfolding. When I look back on it now even though others might not agree I just say, "Thank you." Thank you for all of that stuff that drove me into these places of being so confused and insecure that I was suicidal and trying to take my own life because it has really just allowed a deeper falling away.
I would say that one of the biggest insecurities that has played out as a teacher in my life has been related to body image. I don't know exactly what happened but somewhere around the age of 11-13 years old I started to put on a lot of extra body weight. My weight became a sense of identity for me, but not in a positive sense at all because of course there's the teasing and stuff that comes with it in school. I was always one of the bigger kids. I was the fat funny kid in class. When people made their comments I would try and put on this facade of not caring and not worrying but then going home crying and wondering why. Then of course, there's all of these movements to try and lose weight and everything just seemed to make it worse. By the time I was 25 I was almost 300 pounds.
I remember being in that space and having this total sense of inadequacy. How could I do what I really wanted to in life if I weighed so much? How could I speak about these things that were so powerful in my heart if my physical life didn’t match an image that I had of success? It was a movement of confusion because I was trying to match an image of something that I thought was worthy of sharing. So I thought, "Okay, well, I'll wait until I change. I'll wait until I figure out how I get rid of the weight so that I can have a certain appearance of somebody that's credible." And of course, you see, when you do that -- when you put your true self at a distance, when you allow your insecurity to come between life and the realness of you, you become blocked. You become paralyzed and not able to move because there's this perception that, "It's not time yet, I'm not ready." But really it's just this monumental self-judgment that is looking to be liked. It's looking to be accepted; it's looking to fit in.
What I discovered in the pain of my insecurity was that, the more I waited, the more I was killing myself. The more I put off that which resonated in my heart, the more I felt like I was dying -- which consequently made it even worse. Because when I cut myself off like that I would continue engaging in activities that weren't supportive of a healthy experience. What I started to recognize was that in some way, I didn’t really have a choice in the matter because it was what was moving inside of me. The love that I was seeing outside of me in the bigger picture that I wanted to communicate to the world had to be integrated within. I had to allow it to move through me.
In that discovery, I saw a lifetime of denying myself love. I saw this experience of growing up where I wouldn't allow myself to feel loved because the feedback I was getting from society was, "You're not good enough yet. You need to be more like this. You need to be more like that." You can see how that builds up the conditioning. At around 25, 26 years old I felt that the wisdom that was coming through was so beyond my years. Like it wasn't something that was learned so much through my experience. More so, it was received because my life had broken me down. In many ways my life was a complete failure, but a beautiful failure in the way that I couldn't really seem to get my shit together as it related to being the person that I thought everyone else wanted me to be. I couldn't really live up to people’s expectations of me and this expressed itself in a heavy depression and a difficult relationship with food and my body.
In this discovery, as I was noticing this love, I recognized, "Wow! It's all me.". I was the one denying myself love because when I'm by myself and there's no outside influence then what's the issue? If I could step back for a second and forget what everybody else was thinking, what everybody else wanted for me, I could then ask what's sincere for me? The truth of the matter was that I wanted to feel loved for what I was. I wanted to experience a merging of life because I felt so distant. I felt distant from myself, partly because I had created an image of what I wanted to be rather than connecting with the realness of what I already was. This is one of the biggest challenges we have as human beings - creating images in our mind of a more worthy individual, then trying to match that image - and during the process denying ourselves love because we’re not there yet.
I judged my body, because I judged being morbidly obese as meaning that I was worthless, like there was nothing in me of value. That recognition sparked a new direction. I began moving in a way that was sincere beyond any self-judgment. Looking fear in the face and deciding to walk forward anyway because I saw through the fear. I saw that it was all my own self-judgment. All my own insecurity, nobody else was giving it to me. I was the one that was accepting it and I was the one that was focusing on it. I was the one that was feeding it. The experience was that I opened my heart to be available to serve… and when I say serve I mean to let life move through me for the benefit of whatever life feels like the benefit would be. It was an openness of being willing to be used by life because I saw that my own ego and agenda wasn't getting me anywhere.
That space of being open is one of seeing and accepting the delusion. Not trying to change it, not trying to fix it, but just to recognize with a deep sincerity, "Yeah, I see that.” There is also still that energetic movement that wants to move towards the truth that is less prone to be overtaken by that fear. The more that I did that, the more that I opened myself up to be seen, there was more insight that came. It's like I opened myself up, so life says, "Okay, there's some more room. Here we go." I really started to recognize this and I would even look in the mirror, look in my body and there was this transformation from absolute disgust to a sweet compassion that said, "I love you anyway. You're doing the best that you can.” I recognized that the self criticism was just a reflection of denied love to myself, I had really beaten up my body, my body that was housing for the experience.
So the extra weight, in my experience, was a reflection of a withholding of love. The perception then changed to, "Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry that I didn't see your divinity. I didn't see what was really true about you." And so that opened up this deep compassion that acknowledged that I was simply doing the best that I could. Not only was I doing the best I could but it served me at the time and there's an energetic play that has built up over time and it's been denied. But it's been denied in an appropriate way, meaning that, there wasn't that space for me to go into it because it was too painful. So much so that I didn't even know that it was too painful.
I didn't even know that the energy was there, but it was still moving. And so as I've continued to kind of expand in this life and my heart continues to open and recognizes a deeper truth, I have found that the discovery of truth, of the presence of my own being, the truth of my own being has created a foundation for me to go into that pain and not be afraid of it. This has been almost an automatic process, in the way that life is clearing me out so this pain can be processed and felt, and held, and seen, and loved. This occurs only when the adequate space is there, and this was like much of my last year which is why I was so quiet. There was a lot of space for this pain to emerge and really be held, and not try and rush it, and not try and get over it. But just try to really acknowledge that child inside that was screaming out, that felt like it wanted to be seen.
There was a sense of, "Don't discard me because it's not in alignment with the idea of truth, because this is also truth." Because it is. It's showing itself, and if it's showing itself then it's true. The experience of recognizing one's divinity has created that space that says, "Okay. Yeah, I can see that, so let's hold space." And there's tremendous healing through that. Noticing also that the insecurity of my experience with body image is not like it's gone away even though I've lost some weight.My weight has fluctuated but over time I've lost a substantial amount of weight. I may fluctuate 20 pounds or so every once in a while, depending on how much beer I'm drinking. Last year I put on 20 pounds because I was going through some emotional processing and just really couldn't move much and just had to be with it.
Whether you lose a hundred pounds (45 kilos), it's not like your body's going to just snap back with an instant six-pack. So there's still this play of, "Hmm. I might never match this image. Maybe I don't think it's impossible, but I find that I don't care anymore." I don't care so much about chasing after that image because through the path of the journey, I discovered something that was so much more real and innocent.
What I've discovered is that the fear that was motivating the direction of the image, of trying to capture that image of a sexy body - was driven by looking for acceptance. It was looking for validity in the way that our conditioning has projected this image of the perfect body. The mind thinks, "Oh, okay. Well, that's what that is. So if I get there then I can finally relax. Then I can calm down. Then I can be happy and joyful." What I've realized is that I'm already that. I'm already there, and I've had experiences in my own life recognizing very clearly that my fear of rejection in that regard has actually been met with the sweetest sincerity of innocence by another, or others, in the way that my fear has been proven to be untrue multiple times.
It's like, for myself, what connects me to another in close relationships, not necessarily that they're intimate, but that sort of flavor… what connects me to that more than the image that they're portraying is the sincerity of their being, the presentness of their nature because I found that that's been so much more real rather than two images coming together and validating each others ideas of perfection. I found that I appreciate the wrongness, more so than the perfection. It's kind of like with the sharing, what I appreciate more than anything is the opportunity for me to be vulnerable. I appreciate the opportunity of authenticity because that is what I crave most, and that's me being honest. What I desire for this experience of sharing is that I may continue to open up to deeper levels of honesty that encourage others to do the same.
It really doesn't matter if it's five others or 5 million others, the experience is the same. It's just that invitation, that opens within myself that allows others to step into that space with me. Part of the thing that I love so much about connecting with others is knowing this insecurity within myself, the energy of it that plays out, and to see how silly it is. I see that in everyone, and I love it because it's like, "I see you. I see you for what you are, and I don't care about the inadequacy." Real love is to embrace the totality of the being rather than wanting this in the being, or wanting more of that in the being. Rather just seeing the overall divinity of it, that there's a rawness there, there's a humanness there -- and that's part of being here. And so it seems quite silly to, in essence, want somebody else to change so that I can feel more comfortable about myself. That just doesn't make much sense.
Let Life Make Love to You
To live joyfully requires an intimacy
A dance that depends on a willingness to rest in now, completely.
Intimacy -- wholeness of beauty
Seen in every breath with no judgment toward the inadequacy
To surrender all doubt and fall within the arms of everything
To give over the fear that somehow you're not worthy to be here
Life is making love to you, and yet you push away
Saying right now you aren't ready, as if who you are isn't okay
Life is a lover on constant standby waiting for you to love what you are
Wanting to please you to the point of ecstasy
However, you refuse to undress and stand naked with your open heart
Life doesn't fucking care about the ugly you think is you
Life isn't comparing you to some other, or the invisible distant few
Don't you see? You only judge yourself.
All the things you don't like, life wants to kiss them inside and out
Stretch marks and all, emotional scars and walls
You are so, so beautiful to life
Wake up to this and put an end to the silly withdrawal.
Fall into the joy and pleasure of making sweet innocent love to the all of all
Give up. Surrender. Live life fully while you dance your ass off.
So you see that life is this lover that accepts you completely as you are; accepts you, embraces you, allows you even through the insecurity. Life doesn't even take a second look. Do you see that how life, the truth of this moment is holding you no matter how you show up? Right? Life is the ultimate lover. Life holds you and there's a sincerity within me that says, "Oh my goodness, I want to hold space for others in the way that life holds space for me," because it's such a gift. To hold space for others is to allow them to see that life is holding space for them. Not that they need to have space held for them, but to let it be a reflection so that they might see this. The space that I'm holding is pointing to the space within you, that's always there doing what's being done right now.
No matter how you're feeling, no matter what emotions are arising, no matter how you're running, no matter what -- life is still holding you. Do you see the opportunity in this? That life invites us to do the same. There's no demand, it's an invitation to do the same for others. I find that this is real love, its when I can see you for you, and not need you to be anything other than what you are because I know you're doing the best that you can with where you've been. A good example of this is back in my crazy days I was doing some pretty hardcore drugs. A year after I changed that lifestyle someone made a judgmental comment about me smoking tobacco. At the time I thought to myself, "If you only knew. If you only knew where I was, and now you're complaining about me enjoying some tobacco." I found that really interesting because I was able to see through the judgment that was projected towards me because I knew that the person really had no idea. They had no idea where I'd come from, or the depths of disaster I had danced with…all they were worried about was my tobacco use.
We have this idea of how people should or should not be. It’s this world of social taboo that has created a restrictive playing field where we are afraid to be ourselves. That fear of being ourselves puts us into this box, that we need to do it this way, or do it that way; and if we're not doing it this way or that way then we're doing it wrong, and it will never be what it's supposed to be and blah blah blah. But yet in looking at how I've moved in this life, it's never been that way. In many ways, from an onlooker's perspective my life is a disaster in what I do, in what I talk about, and the whole movement of my being makes absolutely no fucking sense to people. People that I care about deeply. But again, somebody else's inability to see you is absolutely perfect. It's the greatest opportunity because if you see that they're not seeing you, then you see that it's not really you they're not seeing. They're not seeing themselves. It's like if somebody judges you, you see that they are expressing a reflection of how they are seeing themselves.
It looks like it's about you, but really they're opening their heart and saying, "This is how I feel about myself right now, and I'm terrible at articulating it so I'm going to project it on to you because that feels natural.” That's what I'm used to. And so when you see the mechanism of these things, even though there's still the play of it being hurtful in all of these, there's a deeper opening within myself that is totally okay with this, with the perceived non-acceptance with the journey that I'm on. Because as I see it if I were to do that to another, it would be an expression of my own insecurity. The argument that I have about them, isn't really about them - it's about something in myself. So if someone is doing that to me, there's this, "Oh, I feel you!". Sometimes, you know, that "Oh, I feel you," comes after an initial [unintelligible] reaction, so don't feel like you have to respond in a certain way. Just be natural and be open to discovering the truth of what's happening. Because you see, when you get intimate with yourself, and you see the pain that's been carried, you get intimate with the pain in others and then become a space holder - that is the ultimate healing in this life.
In one way this is what I see as the ultimate service, it’s not any action, but it's holding space so that love might be seen. Of course, that can show up in a million different ways, but it's like anytime there's this appearance of conflict that isn't super personal. Of course, if it isn't super personal it's easy to hold space. But I see this incredible healing that takes place. This healing that doesn't need words. It doesn't need people to change. It acknowledges the reality of us all. This is where the interest is for me in satsang. It's completely the opposite spectrum of matching a spiritual idea. It is releasing, even if for a moment, all idea of everything we thought we knew, and just relaxing and allowing our hearts to open. Not to see something spiritual as a concept, but to see something real. That really can't be said, but it can be felt.
In this journey, you have experiences that include both sides of the coin, because what connects you to the rawness and realness of other people, is seeing both sides and not wanting it to be more of this side or that side, but equally allowing both sides. You cannot have that blossoming, if you have not yet been through all of the seasons. This is the beautiful embrace in my own experience that is constantly falling into a deeper openness to embrace my own being, my own humanness, my own rawness and fully allow myself to be expressed -and not feel like I need to filter myself or conform but to acknowledge that there is this wildness. There's this wildness to my being that is so madly in love with the beauty in chaos. I call it "life abstracted by the beauty in chaos", to where what I see in life doesn't take any solid form. Everything is melted together, and I can't separate myself from them, I can't separate desire from them, I can't separate sincerity and emotion. It's like it's all a part of that chaos. And that's the beauty, because it's that chaos that allows for life to be. It is that chaos that allows for expansion. It is that chaos that allows for a deeper depth of exploration, of self-discovery.
Then what about difficulties? What about the difficulty of holding space for people who are close to you? In the people that are really close to us, there's a conditioned sense that we need them for the sake our own identity, for the sake of our own well-being. It's difficult to hold space for them because we are afraid that how they are moving is jeopardizing our identity. It's kind of like you're in an intimate relationship with a partner, and you have these ideas of being in a relationship forever. If they're going through a difficult time it can be hard for one to hold space because in appearance that is jeopardizing your future expectation that says, "I really can't have you feeling uncertain about our relationship right now, because I'm really holding on to this future idea where were together, and that's where my wellness is. It's in the future and if I can get there then I'll be okay."
And so whether it's an intimate partner, a parent, a child -- it's the same kind of dynamic where we have built a sense of identity that includes our idea of them. If they are operating in a way that seems to challenge our future expectation, then we will shut down. We will reject them. But really all they're doing is they are reflecting back to us elements of ourselves that are asking to be seen. If the uncertainty of another is bothering you, its actually pointing to your own uncertainty that you're not acknowledging.
If it's bothering you it's because it's unacknowledged within yourself. If you can hold presence for them and not need them to be any different, but to really allow them to be, then in that regard there's not really work to be done there. And so it's beautiful, those people who are close to us, how they show up an opportunity to recognize where we're hanging on to them -and to forgive ourselves for that. It's not really about doing much, rather its about the recognition, the acknowledgement that we see that play going on that says "Yeah, I can see how this scares me because I'm scared about the future not ending up how I think it should because if it doesn't then I'm afraid that my love will be in jeopardy." It's like, "If you don't stay and love me, I'm afraid that I'll never find anybody else to stay and love me." But the situation this puts you in, is that you can't fully love the other because you're worrying that they might leave, that they might go.
It's such a normal part of the human play, so it's not to create an expectation that we should be able to do it in a different way. I very much invite the naturalness of that experience. This is something that I've learned and has offered tremendous value in my own life - to not filter my human experience for the sake of matching an idea of truth. Because the experience that's happening, that's the truth. The image of what I think it should be is not the truth. And so the ones that are difficult to hold space for, can be the most rewarding, the most revealing. You also hold space for yourself through that too, in the way you're holding space for yourself to hold space to the best of your ability, which just comes through willingness.
Again, it's not this effort in to hold space; it's this openness. It's like when you listen to someone, there's no effort there. There's only effort if you're trying to push an agenda, if you're trying to manipulate, if you want something from them. That takes effort. But to sit there and be with them, that doesn't take any effort. To hold them - it doesn't take any effort because it's the truth of your being in a way. The nature of what you really are is a space holder for love to move, and so these are the effortless movements. In appearance it might seem difficult because it's challenging all of these pre-conceived ideas and illusions, but that's the difficult part because it's challenging a sense of identity.
The holding of space part is not difficult at all. It's your most natural being-ness. It's the most natural thing for you to do. It's the most effortless thing for you to do - to hold space for life to be life. Do you see how there's a natural progression that refines that holding of space, where life is destroying your illusions? Where life is showing you that you don't really need that. Life is showing you that, "No, that wouldn't be the best way." And so you see, our whole journey through our life has been breaking down those concepts -- those ideas of separation that say somehow you are outside of divine perfection. And when you recognize you're in the divine perfection, not you as a separate someone but as a wholeness of life, you relax into it. You relax into that perfection and give yourself over to life. You let life take you as a lover. I mean, you can imagine even that scenario: you can have so much inadequacy about yourself in whatever that it can be difficult to let someone take you. But yet, it's there.
The invitation is there to fall into this ecstasy, not like in a sustained emotional experience but in a recognition of life, the beauty of life. Life is waiting on constant standby. It's just waiting for you to love what you are. And so feel the sweetness in this. Feel it, that this is life. That life is this lover, and you will find reflections of that. You see, the more you become open… And please hear me on this because I know that there's this movement in our journey where we start feeling like, "This just isn't possible anymore, this kind of connection. Blah Blah Blah" It's like we project so much limitation about what's possible and what's not, but yet we've had all these experiences that have been fucking amazing that just came out of nowhere. And so we start thinking that that's not possible for some reason.
You know I can only speak for my own experience, but again, to me it looks like it's the same experience as everyone, that the more open I become to the truth in myself and others in life, the more life amazed me with its reflection of beauty; of the love that I am discovering within myself. The connections that I have with others match that in ways that I used to think were impossible. So much so where it just really seems like miracles are just blooming everywhere. These are miracles in connections that are beyond my own personal will. There's not a trying to make it happen; there's this incredible naturalness to it where I don't need to do anything other than to be incredibly sincere with myself. But again, this explosion or this blooming of miracles, it comes with both sides of the coin. It includes all. It's much like the four seasons.
In the autumn time, things fall. In the winter time, things freeze over. In the spring time, things renew. And in the summer time the sun touches the deepest parts of the earth. And that's the miracle. The miracle is not one season, the miracle is all seasons. And so I invite this sense of gratitude for all things. This sense of gratitude that can see every season as perfectly placed, even if I don't like the winter time. Even if I'd rather it not be raining. It's like whatever I think I might want differently then would show in itself. There's a deeper sincerity that knows that it has its place, that it's part of the miracle. And yeah, even when that's completely forgotten, it's still there. And so there isn't so much a fear of it being forgotten because that, too, is a season.
And you see, as you recognize these things, what happens is you return to right now. You return to this moment. You just take a deep breath and you relax into this perfection, where you don't need to worry about tomorrow. You can fully allow yourself to be here. You can fully allow yourself to be this miracle, or for the miracle to move through you. You surrender yourself, you give yourself over, you die to yourself so that life might live through you. I mean, I understand how terrifying that can be, but hey, the good news is I'm planning to do these recordings for a while. We can go through that journey together, which is always so much more fun.