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Our Frustrated Spirit | Letter from the Director | The June 2019 Edition

There is a particular stress which exists in western culture that is causing much of our individual and societal unhappiness. Simply put, this stress can be identified as not living life, or not being who we came here to be. It is the lack of knowing what is our individual purpose—our purpose in life and our purpose day to day, moment to moment. This stress can feel more like a deep unrest, causing us to feel frustrated at not being able to get to the things that we feel are truly important to us. This is good. We need to feel this frustration and not push it away.

We forget our frustration is a tool. It’s the internal conflict we can use as valuable information by literally asking the sensation ‘Where do you want to go?’. This requires stopping long enough to feel each sensation while listening intently. And it’s a practice that requires patience, repetition, and compassion as we re-wire our minds and brains. This is mindfulness applied to day-to-day living (or neuroplastic brain surgery).

Often we will stay in that place of stuck-ness and frustration because, for many of us, it ironically feels more comfortable than finding the courage to take action toward what we find to be of importance. Moving toward the more honest places of where we find true importance in our lives can sometimes feel like climbing an enormous mountain—one that we imagine ourselves falling off at some point.

Waking up to our unrest or frustration around not taking sincere action in our lives is grist for the mill of our practice. Our felt frustration is the surface of our deeper fear; the fear of how powerful and beautiful we actually are. Moving into our true spirit requires our giving over the attempt to handle everything and a willingness for life to scare the heck out of us. This requires courage and faith. To do otherwise is to adopt the illusion that we are in control and that we know what is going to happen in our lives.

Our bodies are generally terrified of our spirit, for spirit dissolves our structures and illusions through which we identify ourselves. If someone has a deep-seated belief that they are unLoveable, they will formulate their self-definition in a way that makes sense of the world—sadly engaging with their world on the basis of that definition. If somehow that self-definition were to suddenly dissolve, we wouldn’t know who we were in terms of our place in the world, which for most people is incredibly terrifying. We fool ourselves into believing that the pain such a self-definition causes is more comfortable and safe than moving into the mystery of spirit.

Staying within the false safety of our inauthentic self-definitions commonly shows up as the personality trait of the People Pleaser, which is another way of handling our fear of spirit; not wanting it to show up at the risk of upsetting others. Despite this being self-betrayal, we often choose this path rather than deal with the crises we create by putting others in the position of having to accept or reject the personal truth we put forward. A simple example of such a crisis is asking someone the question, ‘Will you marry me?’. The recipient is forced into the position of having to accept or reject the proposal.

In our attempt to avoid these constant crises (avoiding our true spirit), we create unclarity and confusion around our personal boundaries. We are willing to weaken or even contain our spirit in attempt to not disrupt the systems that help us survive life, rather than taking the road less traveled where we may thrive in life. The sad truth is our spirit will be much easier for the majority of people to accept if it’s not so alive.

To live an authentic life, or to truly embody our spirit is the practice of the warrior. This is the warrior who stands up to strike down their doubts, fears, and untruths. Embrace the frustration in your body. It is a precious message in each moment.

See you in the practice room,