Yesterday, I listened to the Sounds True podcast interview with Edkhart Tolle who reminded of the spiritual truth that we are not lacking - we have everything we need within our Being. I realized how much I had been drifting toward an assumption of lack - I don't have enough wisdom or talent or skill or energy or insight. What if I started with the assumption that I am spiritually whole, that the Light of Being shines through me? What if I see others as the same - as having all that they need within their being? My job is not to fill their lack or solve their problems, but to bring out, through my witnessing, the wholeness that is already there.
There is a very strong cultural story right now, especially for women, that there is an almost unbearable tension between serving the needs of others and taking care of ourselves. Countless articles urge us to learn to say no other's requests, without guilt, so we can care for ourselves better and live some of our own dreams.
But this is a false dichotomy. We are all one. We are part of the one creation. We are the unfolding of Love, creativity, purpose in the universe. We are interconnected. We are all serving this larger movement of Spirit. So we can hold that tension a little more gently. We can support others, knowing we are all one. We can accept care from others, knowing we are all one. We can take care of ourselves, without guilt, knowing we are all one. We can let go of feeling we need to fight - ourselves and others - for the life we want. We can see ourselves as part of the divine Activity. We can be more gentle and less afraid of our lives as they are.
Today, strive less and feel the presence of Love more. Today, progress is less about trying to be and do better and more about letting of limiting beliefs and habits and feeling the Presence of Spirit.
From Buddhist teacher Tara Brach's book True Refuge:
"We are not pedaling toward some spiritual achievement. Rather meditation allows for an undoing of our controlling behavior, an undoing of limiting beliefs, an undoing of habitual physical tensing, an undoing of defensive armoring, and ultimately, an undoing of our identification with a small and threatened self. By undoing all the doings, we discover the vast heart and awareness that is beyond any small-self identity; the heart and awareness that gives us refuge in the face of any life situation. This is the gift of meditation practice - we find we can trust who we most deeply are."
Today, know that Love, Presence, or Awareness is right here, right now. No matter how far your mind or worries drift, know that Love is at the center. A Power. In the present moment. Not something you need to call forth or convince or create or aim for in the future. It is here with you now. It is Wisdom and Rest. It dwells in you and around you. Rest in it.
Like weeding our garden or keeping our house clean or staying sober, our spiritual lives take regular attentiveness. Don't be discouraged that you haven't had a spiritual revelation that changes everything - or you've has the spiritual revelation that changes everything, but keep forgetting again and again.
Do the daily work of checking in, seeing where you have drifted away from your deep values or your understanding, and make small, tender adjustments. Forgive yourself. Try again. Be humble. Be excited to participate in life, to learn--even to learn the same lessons over and over.
Mother Teresa says, " Let no one glory in their success but refer all to God in deepest thankfulness; on the other hand, no failure should dishearten them as long as they have done their best. God sees only our love. God will not ask how many books we have read, how many miracles we have worked, but whether we have done our best for the love of him. Have we played well? Slept well? Eaten well? Nothing is small for God."
Today, know that you are adored. Love adores you. Love rejoices in all that you are. Love thinks you are charming and gifted and worthy. Love sees radiant light shining through you. Love is not impressed with your arguments of all your many flaws. Love just gives you a hug and tells you to hush.
Today, let go of your busy striving after solving problems. Accept how much you don't know. Be willing to let go of assumptions about what you think you do know. In that space of unknowing, feel Love holding you. Begin there.
The book of James says, "The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy."
Today, know that Wisdom speaks to you in ways that are gentle and kind - that do not shame you or ask of you anything impossible or beyond your capacity. Listen for Wisdom's assurances and practical guidance. Reflect that gentleness with others.
Tarn Wilson is the author of the memoir The Slow Farm and numerous essays. You may read more of her work at tarnwilson.com.