Our stickiest habits are our biggest teachers. The things that really get us annoyed or angry, those are the awakenings. We seek clarity, joy, happiness, searching and searching for the thing that’ll give us peace. We go to teachers, read books, move to a different place, find another job, we’re like a dog chasing our own tails. All of the awakening is here. You’ve heard that, right? All that you seek is within you said many people many times. And yet, we don’t truly believe it. We stay in this small minded, self identified, limited viewpoint that keeps us in the suffering. We’re looking to avoid suffering and yet, we forget to look at the suffering that is staring at us straight in the eyes. How can we find a way to suffer less if we don’t spend time exploring how it is that we suffer? Every aspect in our lives where we turn off, that moment when we numb out, when we blame, point fingers, close down, those are the gold mines! This is the awakening process – to become aware of unconscious behaviors so that it, we, can become conscious. If we don’t go through this process, over and over again, we remain reactive, habitual, impulsive creatures. We are, in a way, out of control. Or that’s what it can feel like.
One way that I “turn off” is through binge eating. Some people grab for tobacco, some people switch on the tv, some people make a cocktail, I grab for food. Of course wrapped in this is tons of shame – about how weak I feel when I do it, how it affects my weight and self image. It brings so much suffering. I harass myself for this behavior, which really just becomes part of the self deprecating shame cycle, angrily demanding myself to stop, stop this addictive behavior! But the truth is, when it happens, it’s as if I’m on auto-pilot. For awhile, I’d only realize what was happening half-way through the binge. I’m now in a process of awakening to it. I see that this sticky, sticky habit causes so much of my suffering. I’m dedicated to learning the patterns and grooves, the triggers and textures, of this unconscious behavior. I am bringing it into the light, even though it is incredibly difficult and upsetting to reveal the parts of myself that have tried so hard to hide. But what I’ve realized is that I have to bring this into the light. This is one of my golden teachers, it can reveal so much, teach me so much, about the ways that I create and perpetuate my own suffering. This impulsive behavior that walks around within me, is my guru!
We really don’t have to go far to wake up; all we need to do is pay attention to when it is that we fall asleep. There are so many opportunities for awakening in our every day life. The question is really, “Are you willing to wake up?” It’s up to us. It’s each of our own responsibilities to decide that we want to be able to respond, rather than react! So many teachers have told us that awakening can happen to anyone, that’s why they keep teaching, to show us…US! It is the dedication of a spiritual warrior to walk towards the darkness and decide to see. Are you coming?