GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
It’s wonderful to be with you again. Seeing masked people, I can’t tell what they are thinking…is there a smile behind the mask or a frown? Maybe even a snarl of anger! Hopefully not, but it’s possible and I would hope you would speak with me if that happened.
And the folks at home? No idea about them. Every once and again we get a message or thought. I long for responses from you all, that is my ‘Love Language,’ if you recall the book we explored a while back; conversation, discussion, that’s what I crave.
Try writing me a note in the Comment section after the Sunday Message and let me know what your thoughts are.
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”- Carl Rogers
I just couldn’t not share the quote that led into our next invitation, Profound, don’t you think?
So, today we continue our discussion of the book by Frank Ostaseski, “The Five Invitations – Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully.” We are on Invitation #2, Welcome Everything, Push Away Nothing.
Frank starts out saying, “We are like the familiar; we like certainty. We love to have our preferences met. In fact, most of us have been taught that getting what we want and avoiding what we don’t is the way to assure our happiness. Inevitably, there are unexpected experiences in our lives – an unanticipated move, a job loss, a family member’s illness, the death of a beloved pet-that we want to push away with all our might. When faced with the uncertain, our first reaction is often resistance. We attempt to evict these difficult parts of our lives as if they were unwanted houseguests. In such moments, welcoming seems impossible or even unwise.
Remember, what we resist, persists!
When I say that we should be receptive to whatever presents itself to us, do I mean that we should let life walk all over us?
Not at all.
When we are open and receptive, we have options. We are free to discover, to investigate, and to learn how to respond skillfully to anything we encounter. We can’t be free if we are rejecting any part of our lives. With welcoming comes the ability to meet and work with both pleasant and unpleasant circumstances. Gradually, with practice, we discover that our well-being is not solely dependent on what’s happening to our external reality; it comes from within.
We’ve mentioned several times here during Service about being ‘prayed up.’ What does that mean?
If you are practicing daily prayer, meditation, contemplation, etc. you are better able to handle these unexpected circumstances.
In order to experience true freedom, we need to be able to welcome everything just as it is. At the deepest level, this invitation, like life itself, asks us to cultivate a kind of fearless receptivity. Welcome everything, push away nothing cannot be done solely as an act of will. To welcome everything is an act of love. “
What perfect timing. Here we are, in the middle of a pandemic, and what are we doing? Accepting or rejecting? Welcoming with love or pushing away?
“Welcoming everything and pushing away nothing is first and foremost an invitation to openness. In the Buddhist way of thinking, openness is one of the key characteristics of an awake and curious mind. It does not determine reality, it discovers it.
I absolutely LOVE that!
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist teacher spoke of the heart Buddhist practice as that of ‘complete openness.’ He describes this openness as ‘a willingness to look into whatever arises, to work with it, and to relate to it as part of the overall process … It is a larger way of thinking, a greater way of viewing things, as opposed to being petty, finicky.’
Openness doesn’t reject or get attached to a particular experience or view. It is a spacious, undefended, non-biased allowing. A total acceptance. Openness is the nature of awareness itself, and that nature allows experience to unfold.
This openness welcomes paradox and contradiction. It permits whatever emerges to emerge. Openness means keeping our minds and hearts available to new information, experiences, and opportunities for growth. It means having tolerance for the unknown. It means welcoming the bad times and the good times as equally valid experiences.”
“Welcome everything, push away nothing is the opposite of rejecting. Denial breeds ignorance and fear. We cannot be free if we are rejecting any part of our experience.”
I our Tuesday Group, we recently completed Debbie Ford’s “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.” In the book we discussed a lot of the good and maybe uncomfortable reasons to explore our shadows, our dark side, because there are always lessons and the shadow is a part of us whether we like it, accept it or not.
Back to Frank:
“Until we know it and see through it, (our shadow side), it always will be the bane of our existence. It always will be a cause of our suffering. We must let go of our opposition to the experiences we are trying to avoid, whatever they may be-thoughts, feelings, and events included.”
What are you pushing away at this moment in your life? What are you not allowing in? What nightmare are you trying to avoid?
Welcoming what is, as it is, we move toward reality. When we argue with reality, we lose every time. We waste our energy and exhaust ourselves with the insistence that life be otherwise.
We have a great deal of choice about how we relate to and learn from the cards life has dealt to us.
Acceptance is not resignation; it is opening to possibility.
To be open is to allow things to be known, to be free of concealment, not to keep secrets from ourselves, to be all that we are and can become.
It’s about accepting life ‘as is.’ Accepting ourselves, others, our circumstances ‘as is,’ with all the beauty, imperfections, and challenges (growth opportunities) that make up this very human life of ours.
Welcome everything, push away nothing is neither a foolish nor an idealistic invitation. On the contrary, it is eminently practical. Accepting life as is means that we make peace with things as they are rather than trying to force them to be the way we want them to be. Instead of spinning a story that we then try to live into, we open to the way things are and accept that we are completely human.
One of the Tuesday Group would always say, “It is what it is.”
To be human is much more than being born, getting an education, finding the right partner, and getting a pretty good house on a nice street, just so you can sleep, wake, work, go to bed, and do it all over again.
The way we’ve always done things doesn’t work anymore. Just look at how we are experiencing Sunday Service, not to mention everyday life. But that’s a bit simplistic.
We have expanded our opportunities for the new, for real transformation, for opportunities for growth.
What have you learned through this long pause, and it is still a pause, until we are free of the virus and all its variants?
This is an invitation to feel everything, to come into direct contact with the strange, beautiful, horrible, and often perfectly ordinary thing we call life.
Love is the very human quality that allows us to welcome everything, not just what we prefer most. Love is the motivation that enables us to move toward fear—not in order to conquer it, but in order to include it so that we might learn from it.
In love, there is no separation. Caring for all things is therefore a natural action of love. Nothing remains isolated from its care.
Why is love the quality that allows us to welcome everything? When we view reality from the vantage point of our personalities—from a small, separate self—we are constantly looking for what distinguishes us from one another.
But when we live from the vantage point of boundless love, we begin to see all the points of connection that join us together.
Love breeds love.
It is an opportunity to be conscious of the fact that some of us will make love while others will make war.
This is not simple warrior’s vs lovers. We are all warriors at one time just as we are lovers. Just think about your own life.
Now is the time to lean more toward lover and away from warrior. If you need assistance into telling which is which for yourself, ask in prayer or meditation, ask me or someone you trust to sit and figure it out. I think you know….
nnow check this out