Diane Sermon 03042017

Self-gratification is not the same as self-nurturing, self-love or self-acceptance. As I have said repeatedly, the mind is often like a toddler in charge of a super computer. It is trying to feel something. It is trying to get something. It is telling us where to look and what to see. It also tells us what we will see. If the mind believes in abandonment, it will see abandonment everywhere. If is believes in power struggles, it will only see power struggles. Add to this story the unbelievable ability of the mind to hide truth in plain sight. The mind actually diverts our attention onto and away from subjects according to its endless quest for gratifications. This ability of denial is how we can engage in self-destructive behaviors all the while believing that we are just having fun or that what we are doing is not that bad. It is the story that we only had one glass of wine when it was one bottle or that we didn’t eat that much and it was like five thousand calories.

The mind is so powerful that it sees what it believes in others even when inside the head of the others that it sees there isn’t even remotely anything related to its self created sight as when I asked my husband, “Honey are you ignoring me?” and he responded, “Diane I would never ignore you.” Hmmm and now what? I can argue my point or believe him. I had a dog named Lady and sometimes when I would say do you want to go outside would sigh and look at me like, “Did I say I wanted to go outside?” It is funny that it is easier to believe a dog than a person. However, we are usually not raised by dogs with energy dramas that we learn. By the way the belief of abandonment I have carried into this life as a lesson has colored many of my opinions about people and caused me to not only to start problems by accusing people of abandonment but also to abandon others because I imagined it would happen sooner or later. Fortunately, I learned early on in communication to ask, to listen and to accept what the mind of another would call what they are doing other than my definition of abandonment.

Trying to gratify my need to avoid abandonment caused me to see it everywhere, to imagine it when it did not exist, to draw it to me from those who abandon and to get caught up in creations that can never gratify me in the long run. How can you gratify an illusion that does not exist? You will die trying if you keep the belief. Abandonment does not exist just like power struggles are illusions along with beliefs that one cigarette will satisfy you. It is actually the belief that causes this trip down self-gratification lane and becomes an endless chain smoking hell of never being able to quit.

It is a funny to think of abandonment as self-gratification isn’t it? It is the seeking to avoid it as the gratification part. Start with anything you believe and watch how you try to fulfill it. Cheryl talks about her “need to know” and watches how it completely becomes a trip to nowhere but always searching to know. Seriously, self-gratification can be endlessly seeking and never finding information, food, money, men, approval, love, sex, whatever belief you might want to escape and the list goes on and on.

The bottomless pit of need can be easily identified by the fact that it never goes away. Oh it may change forms, morphing into a new need but the neediness remains. It feels so strong. It hates so strong. It needs so much. It wants so much. Intensity of longing and blame are hallmarks of its control over you.

Turning our attention to mindfulness can uncover these intense longings, identify these pitfalls or perhaps more appropriately called lessons we are doing in life. Through participating fully in the present moment, you begin to see the hamster wheels of your mind, emotions, feelings and activities. The first step is identification. The next step is to expand your view, or expanded states of consciousness, which can be obtain just by entertaining the thought that there is more than meets the eye and mind of the beholder. In others words, if something like abandonment or alcohol or cigarettes or power struggles or approval are all illusions, then what is underneath those illusions? Imagine a life without the need to endlessly seek for gratification.

Self-acceptance, self-love and especially self-nurturing are the next step. A void will occur as soon as you remove the illusion of seeking gratification. It can feel extremely uncomfortable and for a moment you have no idea where you are and what to do. Unfortunately, it can feel so uncomfortable that one will return to the gratification wheel to avoid the unfamiliar state of being. If you wait in the void until it sort of settles, surrendering to the unknown, you can glimpse an opening into self-acceptance, self-love and self-nurturing. You will find your Self in connection to everything.

Sometimes another step is required before you can move out of the illusion and into the light. This step is self-forgiveness. It is impossible to love someone you do not forgive. If you hate yourself or your life, God or others, then forgiveness may help. Who are you to judge yourself or anyone else? If you think this is your job, then forgive yourself for believing you have this right. Being human with these lessons we come here to learn with no remembrance or knowledge of how or what we are doing is brave. Remember you have been embroiled in these lessons for as long as you’ve been here. Look at all your attempts to find satisfaction as the path to remember enlightenment. Once you surrender your belief that you know where to find satisfaction, when you open up to that void, then you can be filled with love.

The lesson for today from The Buddha is Still Teaching (Selected and Edited by Jack Kornfield) is tilted “The Human Gate” and it adapted from A Path with Heart: A Guide through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life by Jack Kornfield.

Kornfield said, “The greatest lesson I have learned is that the universal must be wedded to our immediate personal circumstances to be fulfilled in spiritual life. The human gate to the sacred is our own body, heart, and mind, our history and the closest relationships and circumstances of our life. If not here, where else could we bring alive compassion, justice, and liberation?

“We must first begin with ourselves. The universal truths of spiritual life can come alive only in our personal circumstance. This personal approach of practice honors the timeless and mysterious dance of birth and death, and also our particular body, our particular family and community, the personal history and joys and sorrows that have been given to us. In this way, our awakening is a very personal matter that also affects all other creatures on earth.”

Let’s practice.

Close your eyes and take deep connected breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Relax every time you exhale. Feel your life force expanding every time you inhale. Place your attention inside your chest, deep inside your soul and observe your self.

From this safe and loving distance, observe how you have tried to gratify yourself. Notice the pain of never finding the so-called cure for your angst in this life, the remaining feelings of emptiness from the search. Look at your seeking as lessons you have been learning and as a pathway to rediscover the truth of who and what you really are.
Now, ask yourself to release your belief that you know who, what, where, when, why and how to find gratification. Release the search and relax into your true self deep inside, the one who is connected to everything else in the universe. How can find anything, when you lack nothing? Imagine love, peace, compassion, joy and brilliant light filling every space you imagined existed inside you. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.