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Monday, July 20, 2009


What have you been looking for that is so much more rewarding than what is here right now? Is it a dream of accomplishment you seek - affirmation that you are valuable and needed? Is it for the world to love you more, this time enough for you to actually feel lovable? Do you need the roar of the crowd to feel it, or is even that not enough? Is it the security and freedom that you believe more money will buy? Is it the promised impenetrable bliss that enlightenment is said to provide?

Are your distractions from your present moment experience more of the variety of entertainments or defenses? Are you grasping or pushing to get away from here -- to get away from "right now?"

I ask these questions because I see myself in all of them. As I sat in meditation at the Buddhist center yesterday, all these questions kept arising in my mind. In short, "Why exactly is it that I keep chasing after something in my mind instead of appreciating what is here within my experience right now?"

I am a smart woman. I know full well that happiness can only be had as an experience. The thought of happiness is the basis of hope, but actual happiness is better than the hope for future happiness. Unless there is dread of future suffering that is stronger than anything else within one's awareness. And I think that is the root of the issue for me. You should look within yourself, within the lessons of your life, and see what the root is for you. I share more on mine now, in case we are alike in this way.

Having identified this root, I next seek out the genesis of the root so that I know how to uproot it and make sure it never takes hold again. Seeking this, I recognize the programming of my childhood and early adulthood. I was programmed for self-hatred. The world often tried to convince me that I had no value -- because I was a girl, because I was black, because I was poor, because... fill in the blank. Society rarely comes right up to your face and speaks those words, though sometimes some of us have even experienced that.

Actually it is easier to be defended against it when it does say it plain. It's when the lesson comes from people's behaviors and the situations they thereby create, that the programming is particularly effective. You never even realize a lesson is being learned. You simply embody and then repeatedly re-create the beliefs that are carried by the lesson. There is more that is taught like this than merely self-attack, but that is the lesson I particularly want to focus on now. It is the one that leads to this ever-present anxiety about what lies behind the next corner.

Within us all is a sense of justice. I believe this in an inescapable human trait. That is why criminals always do stupid things that eventually get them caught. A part of them wants to get away with it, but another part wants to be punished, because they are convinced they deserve it. I tend to agree with the criminals that they deserved to face the legal consequences of their behavior, but what about you? You have never shot, stabbed, robbed, beaten, swindled or otherwise preyed upon those around you. Why do you deserve to be punished?

If you protest, "No, I know I don't deserve to be punished," then go back to the start of this article and begin again. Now, tell me, why is it that you believe you deserve to be punished? What is it about you that is so bad it must face pain and suffering in order for all to be right in the world?

Yes, and there is the pain, is it not? There is the tear, and the agony, and the why, and the not fair. There is that wounded child, a little bird that was ripped from its shell too soon. And I cry with you. And I cry for you. And I cry out to you, "Please stop."

Stop punishing yourself for the crime you never committed. Stop accepting your programming as truth. Recognize that all you believe is something you were taught, and that now, as an adult, it is your responsibility alone to conduct your reprogramming.

You must program yourself for love, or you will not be able to settle into the peace that is here within this moment. You will not be able to surrender the future to the future until you no longer believe that assuredly some great harm awaits you there -- a harm you must take action or expend thought to ward off now, instead of simply being present with what is.

Breathing in, think, "I love myself." Breathing out, think, "I embrace what is." Breathing in and breathing out, over and over, we proclaim and attend to the truth, and thereby create a new mental habit, one that works in harmony with our peace instead of obscuring it.

Notice that I say, "obscure," not "prevent" or "interrupt." There is nothing that ever prevents or interrupts your peace. Your peace is eternal, ever-present, and unshakable. Your peace is right here right now, as it always is. But are you present with it? Do you take it for granted, or do you worship it with the full holy awe to which it is due?

If there has ever been a small infraction by you that might warrant any suffering, I would say it is this. That you do not exhibit the proper gratitude for the sacredness of your life. You fritter away the moments thinking about the past or the future, regretting this, wanting that, warding off some other thing, and meanwhile moment after moment of life comes and goes unacknowledged by you with so much as a nod. You should be on your knees.

The greatness of who you are in this very moment is so awesome, so beautiful and radiant and powerful, you should be on your knees.

I bow to you. I salute you. I embrace you. I thank you for coming to Earth. And I do it all, now.

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