Burn away that which does not serve me

It’s my new mantra, but with it comes a certain amount of trepidation. Often personal and spiritual growth comes as a result of upheaval or drastic change. I can honestly say that my own ‘growth trajectory’ always shot up after first having various circumstances of my life plummet or fall apart. A loss, a break-up, a breakdown, an injury, a realization of a long-standing denial, suffering the consequences of shameful behaviors, uncertainty around work or income, catastrophe, tragedy, etc. Why is this? Why must we suffer so much before having a moment of clarity? My own personal metaphor/vision is that of being in the prizefighting ring and having the living shit beaten out of me by some colossus (Mike Tyson in his prime comes to mind) – only to keep staggering to my feet to defiantly offer-up my chin for the next blow. It has taken me years to understand that this is another of my own self-imposed conceptual models that manifests itself to my unconscious bidding. Once again Abdi Assadi helped me recognize my own twisted masochism in this. Who is this person that takes, no, WILLS and even WISHES the beating in the first place?

Why not envision another way? Why not become your own proverbial phoenix and simply burn away those ideas of ‘necessary suffering’ as well? With Abdi’s help I’ve recognized in myself something that is so prevalent in Western society – self-loathing. It permeates our being (and society) to the very core and we have been force-fed this idea that we must suffer in order to ‘get somewhere’ – in order to break free – in order to become a ‘better’ person – in order to finally accept ourselves as who we truly are. No pain, no gain. Bullshit.

It’s fear. We hold onto even our ‘suffering’ in the midst of the mystery or possibility of something else – something different – something unknown. Sometimes I feel that I would rather hold onto something ‘bad’ as opposed to not having that something to hold onto at all. Fear of the unknown is a very fundamental thing. Fear of the possibility of even more suffering – but unfortunately it’s that very fear that keeps us trapped and ultimately keeps us from the possibilities of true freedom.

I have been living in fear for most my life. This has been a very recent realization. I had often thought that I was a fearless man. I’ve faced harrowing circumstances, often just to ‘test’ myself – to face my fears, but I now know that these were distractions for the ego. Smoke and mirrors. My most harrowing ordeals simply stare back at me from the bathroom mirror every day. They lurk at the base of every breath I take and reside in the tension I carry in my hips and shoulders. What would it mean to really live in the moment without fear? What would it mean to not continually grasp at the future with greedy, clawing fingers hoping to ‘get something’ that will satisfy us to the extent that we’re at peace with ourselves in our lives?

Sometimes it is in the letting go that we actually gain the most. For me it’s the letting go of the fear of being alone, the fear of never having enough, the fear of never being able to take care of myself, the fear that I’m not good enough, the fear that I’m in the wrong place, the wrong time, for the wrong reasons, the fear that my decisions are all crap - all ultimately based upon the fear of dying. As Abdi told me, it’s like you’re holding onto something so hot it’s burning you – but you refuse to drop it because you’re afraid to. And for what? So burn me then. Burn me until I drop you. Burn me clean. Forge me anew. Cleanse me. Heal me. Free me!

We can’t have a conditional relationship with God. We can’t pray for healing, clarity, peace, abundance, love, etc. and yet have the conscious (or unconscious) desire to hold onto the things that keep us from having all that in the first place - blindly hanging onto some dysfunctional status quo. Just as the prayer in the last posting says, we must surrender our fears – we must surrender EVERYTHING to God and the universe. Offer-up yourself to the fire (or the light if that’s easier for you) of purification so that you can finally live a life without fear.

To live such a life would be a wondrous thing.

OM Shantih,


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