being human,  breath,  embodiment,  learning,  spiritual direction

Spirit vs. Ego

The concept of True Self/false self is not new to me. As a long time yogi, I’ve been working on recognizing ego vs. spirit for a long time. One would think that I’d be ‘good at it’ by now, having mastered it, even. Not so much. But I am convinced that simply understanding the fact that they both exist (and are both necessary), is the first step in working my way through them. Since finding the work of the Center for Action and Contemplation, I’ve recognized many full-circle moments, events, concepts and situations. Having spent two and a half decades dedicating my life to yoga—practice and philosophy—it was quite a moment to recognize that many of the concepts I’d learned from yogic philosophy have direct correlations within the context of Christian Mysticism (as well as mysticism within other traditions). 

The church (religion), for me, feels rigid, dogmatic and anything but free, and yet I continue to be drawn to the beauty of the mass, and the Eucharist in particular. So while organized religion feels that way, my semi-newfound relationship to God is far from all of those things, and that is the thing I carry with me to mass—deep in the quiet of my soul. The extraneous falls away; my relationship to and with the Divine is deeper than all of that.

Every time I try to write about this, it proves elusive. My feelings and the felt sense of my body are so much deeper than my thoughts. I can’t grasp the feeling and explain it the way I’d like to. What I’m learning as I observe without judgment is that I go deeper the further I go on the path. Subtle nuances are uncovered day by day. I am far from enlightened but there’s no doubt I’m also not a novice. So with that said, God draws me deeper day by day. Of course I have bad days too, days when nothing goes right and nothing makes sense. Currently I feel that I’m in this graced place, a place I didn’t earn but a place that God continues to bless me in.

My sacred self is the self that simply exists without rules and judgment, in God (and also fully human here on earth). As I began to write about how I relate to my sacred self, who I think ‘she’ is, I decided to write a ‘poem.’ It’s included on the last page here.

I am noticing that my compassion is growing through Metta practice, perhaps more for myself than anything. I am a compassionate person at my core. My heart breaks for people easily and my main work in life has been around boundaries … how not to lose myself in the other. I am a work in progress, as we all are. It’s some of the most important work I’ve ever done (and will continue to do.) 

I am thankful to be in the place I am today, diving deeper into metta, compassion and the work of spiritual direction, under the supervision of three amazing women and guides, who I trust will hold me accountable in gentle yet firm ways. I thank you, truly. I couldn’t have planned any of this; only God could. And God did. I am grateful.

SGTI Essay for Module 2/3, Part Two

Photo by Emmanuel Phaeton on Unsplash