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We Do What We Must

What stands between you and your own liberation? Usually, the answer is some sort of fear. Not the fear that tells you something or someone is a danger to your physical body and emotional well being, but the fear that something might change you.

We give up too easily. We worry about what other people think of us, or we push our energy in ways that set out to prove we don’t care what they think of us. Same thing. We don’t comprehend that, in fully committing to ourselves and the discipline required to show up in loving contact with our lives on a daily basis, we will increase our power, our presence, and liberate ourselves to do the best work we possibly can, the work the world is calling for us to do.

The formula is simple: we do what we must. We don’t tie ourselves up in constant knots about it. This, though simple, is not easy, because the knots are already there. So we train ourselves to slowly untie them, then we train ourselves to meet the influx of energy that arises when the knots are loosened. We train ourselves to grow stronger, more resilient, more faithful, more trustworthy. Who do we do this for? For ourselves. For our own souls. We might at first do this because a teacher suggests it, or because it will help us feel better connected to the green earth, or to our Gods. But even these are temporary props. In becoming spiritual adults, we end up doing things because we must. It feeds relationships: to self, to earth, to the cosmos, to God Herself. More than that, our soul’s know this: It is simply the right thing to do.

I remember when I was first learning non-violent intervention. This was done in the field, so to speak. I had a little theory, but not much. Mostly, I watched others in action. I recall the struggle inside of me: this part wanted to run away, that part wanted to move to help, and this other part wanted to stay very, very still. The latter parts were those most strongly trained in my childhood: I could be quickly fierce to defend another, but my own defense felt too dangerous – rightfully so – and my best recourse was to be small and quiet. In the study of non-violent intervention, I had to stay with myself, and then find the moment when, with a little push, I could move toward danger with consistency. I trained myself to run toward a fight instead of away. Something at my core knew that I must. This was not about heroics, not in any situation I could enumerate. It was about my relationship with the world around me knowing in my full being that I must do this thing. Simple. Right.

The process of training for meditation, prayer, physical exercise, love, intimacy, and health are the same. We have resistance. We fear something. We avoid. We long. We want this thing. We have a list of “shoulds”. We observe. We try to gather information. We make excuses. We forget. One day though, something in us has to decide to do this thing. We have to decide to change our eating habits. We have to decide to sit at our altars for twenty minutes every morning. We have to decide to risk rejection in order to be more fully loved and loving. Something in us has to run toward the fight.

Once we reach that point, we have access to more help. An energy begins to stabilize within us, that allows us to take on the teaching our decision is offering. We fail three days out of seven, but the other four days give us something that we didn’t have before. We keep learning. We sense ourselves in a fresh way. Our parts learn to work together. We keep trying.

Eventually, via some mysterious process, some titration, a sea change occurs. We can’t go back to living in our fear. Too much of us has awakened to be lulled back into slumber. We begin to live in an entirely different way. Because we must.

Don’t give up. Your life is waiting.

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