Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Self Betrayal & the Path to Enlightenment


You can look at Holy Week like a map to human enlightenment. Of course, it's a map that is not followed once but time after time. There is no final treasure to be found at the end of the trail but rather bits of lost or forgotten treasure collected along the way.

For a couple of days now, I have been contemplating this:

When we come to the words ‘Night had fallen,’ we know that the darkness which envelops us is within as well as without. There are many varieties of betrayal, not all of them as easy to identify as that of Judas. The ‘white lie’, the covert act of selfishness, the shabby evasion of responsibility, even the unconvincing ‘justifications’ we concoct in our pathetic attempts to excuse ourselves to ourselves, they are all a betrayal of what we know to be true.

You can read the rest of the quote here.

First, I have to say...wow. Just wow. I think you could easily use these couple of sentences for at least a year of journaling and contemplative work. At least. Moving on...

It struck me that if we look at how we behave in movement/body based work, we will learn a ton about this self-betrayal.  Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do you follow along because it feels right and good for you in that moment or because you think you "should?"
  • In ALL of my classes, I encourage students to ignore me at any given moment and do what they need or want to do. Would you ever be able to break from the group structure and take care of yourself this way? (I have only ever had one or two people take me up on this. Though my classes are very free at their core, so that might be in large part why no one feels this need.
  • Do you attempt to mimic the teacher or other students rather than following instructions within your own, unique body?
  • Do you ignore signals from your body? That little twinge in the left ankle? That deep pull in your low back? Do you take a moment to decipher the signal or do you just move through it, past it, and wonder later why you are hurt?
  • Do you prioritize your own needs and actually get to class regularly? Do you respect your commitment to the process even when it's difficult to do so?

All of these things are really about personal integrity, of course.
Can you trust yourself?
  • On a personal level, do you respect your own boundaries? Do you respect others' boundaries?
  • Do you say yes to people when you really want to say no? Or vice versa?
On a spiritual level, this comes down to mistaking our small selves for our True Selves.
  • Do you function in the world from this small self? Do you ignore your True You, opting for the lesser  you that gets caught up in identifying with pain, shame, doubt, mistrust, stucky-osity, powerlessness?
We must have courage to face our internal tombs, our dark spaces, our shadows.

But I think we need even more courage to face our light, our truth, our big.

Or we betray the very divinity within and without. We deny our gifts. We say "no" to this experience.

We die. And we don't make room for the resurrection of the Brilliant and the Beautiful.