Create the Life You Imagine ~ January 2019


The Practice

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Most of us have heard these words from the French philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, but this awareness represents a major shift in the way we live our lives. The great spiritual teachers, philosophers and poets throughout the ages have all pointed to this fundamental truth: As human beings we have a dual nature, part human and part divine, and our task is to discover our true home. You might think about these two parts as your small self and your True Self, and if we pay attention we can notice both of these selves operating in our daily lives.

We all have a small self that spends most of its time and energy with the goal of survival. It focuses on the outside world and spins around throughout the day figuring out how to please others, protect itself, avoid pain and pursue pleasure. Because the small self focuses on the outside world, it has a difficult time finding the stability it seeks because the conditions outside are always changing. This small self is prone to shame and regret about the past, anxiety about the future, worry about being alone and vulnerable, comparison with others and scarcity thinking. It tries desperately to control all the conditions of life and when hard things happen experiences feelings ranging from disappointment to despair. When it experiences disappointment and struggle, it doubles down on its usual strategies and generally experiences more of the same. Even when things in life are good, it flattens out our emotional experiences as it watches and waits for the other shoe to drop. The small self has difficulty sustaining a general sense of calm and wellbeing, much less experiencing a steady stream of happiness and joy, because it is always out of contact and connection with its true home.

Our True Self, our Soul, is grounded in our spiritual nature and is always connected to the stream of divine love and belonging which is the essential nature of the Universe. This connection is part of our divine nature and doesn’t depend upon the conditions or circumstances of our life – it is always and forever present. Our Soul doesn’t judge us or others. It doesn’t keep a score card of our shortcomings or wonder if we are measuring up. It doesn’t look anxiously into the future for it lives in the deep trust of the present moment. Its only invitation is for us to remember who we are and to find ways to live in greater and greater alignment with our divine nature and our highest possibilities. Our Soul Self holds our restless, reactive and ruminating small self and all of our life struggles with great love and compassion, knowing that we will eventually find our way home.

Most of us spend the first half of life living largely inside the world of our small self. We may have glimpses of our Soul Self or peak experiences seeing life from this more numinous perspective, but most of us find it difficult to quiet down the anxiety and reactivity of our small self for sustained periods of time. This is even more challenging in the pace and uncertainty of current times and accounts for