Monday, March 16, 2009

Going Within

I have been having a difficult time lately as a lot of us have. (Part of the reason it’s been so long since my last post.) Uncertain times. Poor economy. Financial challenges. Personal upsets. Change. Change. More change. What I’ve come to realize however is that it’s of even greater importance to look within when our life becomes a challenge.

It seems our first impulse is to run to the comfort of someone or something familiar. Be it a loved one, a job, or a diversion. We tend to want to wrap ourselves up in whatever provides a sense of security and comfort. We long to retreat to the loving embrace of a spouse. Bury our self in work. Distract our self with our business. Keep our self busy at all costs.

But what does one do when the very person or thing one cherishes is the “thing” that is falling apart or falling away? The reality is that many things are falling apart or falling away right now. From marriages, to careers, to life plans. Yes, change is in the air. But it doesn’t mean that we have to fall apart too. But it does mean that we might have to make some changes of our own - starting with our dependence on outside influences. Deepak Chopra called it “self referral,” verses “object referral,” in his 1994 book titled The Spiritual Laws of Success. Loosely translated, self referral is defined as looking within to what is unchanging and eternal, ie: our soul, our spiritual essence - who we are at our deepest level. Looking to anything outside of that; our spouse, our loved ones, career, our ego identity, is object referral. When we practice object referral we make a challenging situation even worse because we are looking to influences and events that are not only outside of us, but also out of our control. This is the realm of the ego. It attempts to dominate and control, be right, gain approval, look good and conform at all times. But all of those things are impossible - at least some of the time. And that leads us to fear. Fear of losing control. Fear of looking stupid. Fear of losing support. Fear of financial loss, emotional loss, personal loss… you get the idea. It’s never ending.

That’s when it’s time to break the cycle by looking within. Within we find stillness. Peace. Oneness. Sanity in a world of insanity. We find that we - the real us - is none of what we were referring to. We are not the career, the image, the material possessions, even our relationships. We are exactly who we are supposed to be - without all the fanfare. Without all of the conditions. Without all the pretense. We are perfect.

If you are uncertain about how to go within and connect with your inner being, start small. Allow a little bit of time each day (or multiple times - even better!) to simply be quiet and listen to your higher self. Take a walk in nature. Sit in the garden. Take a long hot bath. Choose whatever feels best but know that the main objective is to turn off the internal mind chatter - which may take some practice. In the beginning of my quest I used a repetitive sound such as a ticking clock to focus my attention on. Focusing on the body can also work quite well. Sometimes I simply enjoy the weight of my body feeling heavier and heavier. Whatever the method, going within connects us to our true source - pure raw energy. And nothing feels better than experiencing yourself in this pure form, with no beginning and no end. And it is in this state that we realize that we are not our problems. Nor are we are our environment, our compulsions, our conditions, or our addictions. We are not even our preferences. For in this state we have none! We are simply who we were meant to be. We are love. We are peace. We are joy. We are One with All That Is.


Anonymous said...

Hi Laura,
I agree with most of your post, however, I also believe that we can go too far "within." It can become a mental hermitage - a place to escape challenge. Challenge is the meat and potatoes of self-growth. Introspection and meditation are valuable elements of challenge because they help us overcome self-deceits and false visions of reality. At some point, however, we must emerge from our "self" cocoons and face our "object" challenges with hope bolstered by wisdom gained from our internal journeys. Love must be practiced and shared in the "object" world.

Laura Mika Benton said...

Very well put!

suZen said...

Hi Laura - A new visitor/follower here - great blog!

I find that I need reminders to be still and go within as you say, practicing meditation. Usually I find staying in the present moment, even if I just breathe deeply and really get into the moment for several minutes, most of my perceived "problems" cease entirely.

Laura Mika Benton said...

Hi Susan!

Thanks for sharing. Isn't that the most beautiful thing!

Flik said...

I found your article interesting. We do tend to linger on relationships and other things which prevent us separating from our material existence.
What I have found most interesting is your article is when you say that without pretense, conditions and fanfare, we are perfect.