On my internet explorations I found THE BEST ADVICE from an American Priestess named Carolina Amor at What Should a Priestess Do. Here is what she says, while listening to a chap called Stuart Wilde on audiobook:
Stuart kept saying that we need to let go of our ego self and just do life. For example, if you wake up one morning and your car is not there, just say to yourself “Today I am doing walking.” If you are stuck in a traffic jam, just say “Today I am doing traffic.” Just do life! Whatever it is put in our way, don´t react, just observe and let go of your expectation of what you need for that particular moment because it is usually our ego that had determined what the ego needs and whatever does not follow those needs is bad and creates emotions.
This is freaking awesome! I love how looking at the world so simply changes everything. It turns a world full of complication and resistance into one of acceptance and compassion. Soppy but true.
I’ve been trying to use this advice for the last couple of days and today I have written Today I am doing… on my hand so that I remember to use it more because I LOVE IT and it FREAKIN’ ROCKS.
So here it is. I was in bed, well past bedtime, and I was a little upset by something superman said. (I’d asked him a question and the answer wasn’t romantic enough, so I felt all put out in that weird I-should-be-offended way you get sometimes.) So I was sitting there, knackard as no-ones business (workin hard-lotta late nights) and suddenly my brain, stewing over my slight says;
It doesn’t matter, it happened out there, not in here.
And I felt super aware of my me-ness in my mind, in my body, and felt this wonderful sense of peace throughout the whole soft, sleepy space of my body, because what happened outside my mind and body didn’t have any control of who and what I am and what i feel inside it. It was like body-knowing a truth rather than mind-knowing it.
And I was like: woah! Stealth Buddha brain! And I popped off to sleep quite happily.
Here’s an interesting thought. I lifted this from the Pagan Restoration column by Sam Webster on Pantheos:
“I focus on worship in this discussion because worship is the living act of religion. Belief is just thinking about religion, and in healthy persons it changes with their development. Only in Christianity is belief central. If you are focused on what you believe, not what you do, you are thinking like a Christian.”
I’m not a Christian, and I never have been one, so my experience there is pretty limited I’ll admit. And I’m in England, home of the Church of England, which is a very laid back and plain kinda sect, so I don’t know how it works in the more flamboyant ones. But from every pamphlet I have ever read (and I read them, all of them) and books I’ve picked up at the library, a big focus is admitting that Jesus is Awesome and God is the Bestest, having that belief and attitude in your head, and being nice to people, and that’s basically what the religion seems to want from you most. Praying is good too, but you don’t have to do much more if you don’t want to – I know plenty of nice people who identify as Christians, and just pop along to church twice a year at Christmas and Easter. And a couple who even don’t do that.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with that really. Not everyone wants to spend ages doing practical religious stuff. Some people just like having a safe place to operate from, and want to feel a part of something. And I think if you believe in something, it’s going to affect how you operate in the world, which means there’s a kinda greater meaning behind what you do, which is nice.
I feel you can be pagan and not do a lot of practical stuff based on what I have said above – I feel it’s a given you will be into recycling whatever you can, picking up crisp packets and supporting environmental causes. And that’s enough. It’s about how you see the world, which influences how you are gonna interact with it. You are gonna take at least a little action, spesh if you are a pagan, because it’s obvious what actions you take. Nature good. Treat nature good.
I think the idea of belonging to a religion but not personally doing much action about it does come from the Christian idea of the important thing being about believing, not action, because in Christianity, you’ve got more people taking action for you – ministers and priests and of course, the big J himself – and you just have to go around having your beliefs influence your actions. But being a Witch is more like being a minister or a priest than a believer – it’s about taking that action, whether you are a spiritual witch or a practical witch. That’s the whole point.
So I’m banging my Witches Have To Do Stuff drum again. There is nothing wrong with not doing stuff, and making a difference in the world through your eco attitude, but if you are a witch, you have to do at least a little witchcraft regularly. Thems the rules.
I’m reading lotsa books right now, as ever – half out of one and half in the other. I’m also reading a lot of stuff about the Higher Self.
The Higher Self is meant to be the Ultimate You really – the part of you hiding out under all the personality and ego and whatnot that is totally, always connected to God, because that’s what it’s made of. My hero Franchesca de Grandis calls it the GodSelf in some of her writings, which totally makes sense.
I really don’t like the name Higher Self. It makes me think of hierarchy, it makes me think of trying to escape life and your body (because it’s higher, right, it sounds like it’s floating above you), it makes me think of snootiness and shoulds.
I prefer the name Deep Self. I think it makes more sense.
It’s the foundation of our selves – it’s always there. All our thoughts, fears and happenings are clouds chasing around on top of it, distorting it, keeping it from view, but it’s always there, just beneath, at the core of us. It’s our base of being. To get into our deep selves, all we have to do is surrender and sink back into it – a lot easier than stretching and reaching for a higher self, no?
Deep is timeless, still, ancient, wise, without judgement, mysterious, within. (And it makes me think of the ocean – no wonder I like it.) Higher is better-than, judgey, clouds and regular-Old-Man-god nonsense, striving and outside of ourselves.
I see the world as having an undercurrent of the divine, of wonder, of magic, just below the surface of what we can see and are used to. I think it makes sense that we’d work that way too.
This morning, since I am no longer a locationally-bound hermit, I started a (free!) course at the Brahma Kumari centre on Positive Thinking.
I was really surprised how much this course has pressed my buttons, especially as I think of myself as a pretty tolerant non-button-pushed person.
The teacher lady spoke a lot about desire, and how desire is the root of all sadness and suffering – how desires trap us into being obsessional and ignoring all the good stuff.
Maybe because I am a witch, maybe because I am a bit of a messed-up feminst with women issues, but I’m really not very good at hearing that I shouldn’t have desires.
I asked the lady about it afterwards: “Do you mean, Fleecy Lady (she was wearing a white fleecey jumper, like all the other Brahma Kumari’s I’ve met – suspicious) that all desire must be subliminated? That all desire is suffering?”
She replied: “Not exactly – I think of it that there are regular desires that leave us longing and obsessing and wanting, and there are pure desires, like the desire for an end to world hunger.”
“So,” I reply, “Only selfless desires that “good” people have are allowed?” I’m thinking, I am not a noble person, definately not a “good” person. While I think it’s a great idea, I have never been personally comitted to desiring an end to world hunger other than in passing. I’m more concerned about rising CO2 levels in the oceans and being able to pay my rent next month. As I say this, I’m trying not to sound agressive (I know it’s an agressive sentence) because I don’t mean to be, but I’m not great when I feel that I’m being guided towards the persuit of somthing impossibly unlike me.
“Sort of – yes – not really” was her answer, or near enough. “How about for now you think about getting rid of all desire for a bit, and see if that works for you?”
In my head, there is good desire – you want stuff, but it feels good wanting it rather than desperate, and if it doesn’t happen you just accept it and are cool with it. Then there is dogdy desire, putting masses of effort into wanting and needing and focusing on how you don’t have something when you need it so bad, and when it doesn’t happen or you don’t get it it’s the stressiest crappest thing ever. That’s a very Abraham-Hickish way of looking at it, I know.
But I am going to do what the Brahma Kumari lady said, and try and keep an eye on where my wanting-energy is going and how it’s hanging.
I’ve been thinking about change.
On my quest to wake up earlier, to commit to a dance and devotional spiritual practice, I am meeting so much resistance to changing the simplest things about myself.
Surely change doesn’t have to be as hard as it is.
I think I focus on the now-resist-feeling more than the future-fun-feeling. For example, “Noooo I’m tired, I don’t want to get up extra early, press the snooze button!” instead of “If I just get out of bed, I do some dance practice and become a super awesome dancer, woohoo!”
On the Nooooo rather than the Cool Stuff.
So I’m gonna change it, and flip my perspective, and think about the awesome outcome to change rather than my perceived difficulty to get there.
These last few months I’ve been spending a lot of time in the house on my own, and I’ve been going a bit stir-crazy. It’s not the house itself. It’s being stuck in my head.
I’m sure like a lot of people, my default thoughts are ones that undermine me and talk down to me. For some reason it feels safer to think bad things about myself than it does to think good things.
I’ve read lots of places that joy is a choice. In response, I’d usually go “Huh, alright for you, you new age hippy,” then continue grumping through my day.
You know when you learn something, and you understand it in your brain, but don’t understand it practically? That was me.
The number one thing that affects how you feel are your thoughts, because they are with you almost all the time. So the number one pathway to choosing joy would be choosing your thoughts more carefully, right?
I don’t know about you, but I will explain how my grumpy, pessimistic and abusive thoughts feel.I feel like I have no control over them, as if I am powerless to prevent them, and since they come from somewhere that is not me and are unchangeable by me, they must be right and they must be the truth.
I forget that they are just thoughts, and they turn into something bigger and scarier.
I forget that nothing can get in my brain without me putting it there.
And if I put it there, I can take it out of there.
I’m finally realising that I have control of my brain, and it’s the biggest aha-moment ever. I make my thoughts – all my thoughts. There doesn’t need to be any judgement or insecurity in my brain, because no-one else can get in there and see what I am thinking. There is no-one to judge me, and I don’t need to judge myself. It’s OK, I’m safe.
Really, my thoughts are just another environment. Like my study I am in right now typing this is an environment. My brain-environment either helps me do stuff (nice neat filing cabinet, laptop, comfy chair) or hinders me doing stuff (crap on the floor so I can’t move my chair, no laptop, nails sticking out of the floorboards). There is nothing wrong in cleaning up your brain environment. It’s not a big deal. By choosing more encouraging thoughts, I’m just creating an environment that lets me get on with what I am meant to be doing, living the best life I can.
(And the best life is always the happiest one!)
Becuase what you think creates your world. Not necessarily in a New Age manifesting-ish way, but in a common sense way. By choosing joyful thoughts, you choose a joyful experience and a joyful life. and even though it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, we always, always control what is going on in our brains.
I want to choose Joy, and right now, I feel so empowered and able to do it.