I’m home alone. The cat is snuggled beside me. I’m wrapped up in a blanket. A couple of candles are lit. Christmas music is playing. And snow is falling down outside my window. I need this moment. Not because something is wrong with me. But, because I counselled so many teenagers today. Facing things way deeper than boy problems or school stress. My office door was revolving all day long for pressing, heartbreaking, painful issues. And almost everyone that sat down in the cozy chair beside my desk poured their heart out in tears. So, right now, I need this moment to myself. This cozy moment to settle my soul down.
Which reminds me of my meditation this early morning.
I thought I was going to write this post in the early, dark morning hours; but, after I had stretched + done a few yoga poses, I decided to sit + meditate instead. So, I sat there. On the floor. Grounded. Focused. And calm.
Meditation is a grounding act of just being. It pulls me down + into myself. And it is here that I meet the God energy. The Divine Reality. The spiritual energy of love + connection that flows within us all. It is here, in meditation, that I do not pray, but that I feel and land and sit and breathe and listen. (Which, in my opinion, is praying).
The thing is, this God energy, is everywhere + all around + within. In fact, the divine has come down to us.
And, if you are Christian, this is what Christmas is all about. If you are Jewish, or Buddhist, or Taoist, or Muslim, Native American, or even Pagan, or any other religion, the same is true for you. The divine is in all + is revealed in all; from nature to Buddha to the God of Israel to Jesus of Christianity to the Way of the Tao to Allah of Islam to the Great Spirit of Mother Earth. We do not need to do anything to access the divine. It simply is.
But, so many spiritual seekers have been taught to think that the divine is out there + up there. That the way to God, to love, to spirituality, to connection, to energy, is up. So many religious + spiritual traditions tell us that the spiritual journey is an ascent. It is a path that leads upwards.
But, that’s not it at all. The spiritual way leads downward. It is a descent, a journey that brings the mystery so much closer than way up there. In fact, it is a journey straight to our soul. The experience of the divine begins within our heart, is encompassed in our very being, and embodied in our daily life.
To find what we are seeking, the only way we need to go is down. Down into our souls. Down into our true selves. And, in any circumstance in life, we only need to respond in the same manner – taking the lower place, going lower. Serving, meeting, and humbly loving others in truth.
Let me be clear: This does not mean that we are to be doormats or not care for ourselves – quite the opposite actually. It means that everything we are, we are because we come from a grounded place. And it means that, in all we do, we do it with the heart of the divine. Our way should be humble, simple, true, mindful, and empowered.
So, to live a life of presence, a life of magic + meaning, then all I need to do is dig deep and ground down. When I live downward, then, I can handle all of the pain + suffering + heartbreak that others unburden on me. I can listen and love and care for them, easing their burden, without losing who I am. Because I am grounded.
And, I can offer support + love + non-judgement because I seek the downward way. I can mindfully work hard to be aware of the humility, service, truth, and unconditional love that is needed to meet these young people where they are, and, hopefully, help to guide them forward.
When I was just a young teacher (or preacher for that matter), the pain of others paralyzed me. I felt helpless + unhelpful. And I couldn’t let it go. I wanted to save everyone. At the expense of losing myself. And, of course, I ended up saving no one.
But, as the years passed, and as I have worked with people for 20 years now, I know how to balance it. It doesn’t mean that I do not ache on days like today. Because, even as I type this, my heart feels heavy + sad from the things I experienced today. Yet, I am not paralyzed. And I am not apathetic either. Instead, I am present. I was present with my lovely young adults one at a time today, and right now, I am present with my own soul. Healing + grounding myself so that I am ready to return again tomorrow to work on helping others move forward in their lives.
What I seek to renew + recharge + restore my soul is not something divine that is up in the heavens or far away out there somewhere. It is the energy of love that is present right here, right now. All around + in everything. And, most magically, it is within me. And you.
So, tomorrow morning, I’m gonna get back down on my mat. And then I will rise with a soul prepared for whatever may come my way.
Sending love out to you all. xoxo. liz.