Monday, 4 May 2015

Know thyself .. Accept yourself, including your limitations

One of the potential traps of spirituality or religion or any other path, is that it's easy to see it as a solution to all our issues, that it will change us forever, that we'll be free from struggle.

You have probably heard of the Serenity Prayer, the one that goes:
Image via Creative Commons

I sometimes ask myself - what can I change and what can I not change? The honest answer is that I don't really know. One thing I do know, though, is that if I force myself to change, or if I think there's something in me that *should* change, that change doesn't tend to happen :) It's easy to think that we should ignore our personality traits because 'the ego is not real' - but I do think that some of our genetic make up is not there to be changed - however much of a spiritual awakening we have.

In fact, trying to fight parts of our personality can be, at best, frustrating, and at worst, dangerous. This is particularly evident in cases like when someone feels their sexuality should change because their religion says it's wrong to be gay. I myself have been aware for a little while that I don't want children, and my mind has said things like:
- It will be hard to find a woman who doesn't want children.
- Spiritual people should like children.
- Why do I not feel the desire for children when so many people do?

But, I can't bring myself to want children. I'm beginning to finally realise that I am perfectly okay to feel this way, that it doesn't mean I am any less enlightened (smile).

Our likes and dislikes are neither right nor wrong - in most cases at least - if we like something that is harmful to humanity, then we probably need to take a long, hard look at ourselves.

I have had a lot of 'limited thinking' over the years, and I'm finally beginning to work with it rather than against it. So often, we try to deny our thought patterns and think that, because we're spiritual or moral people, these thoughts shouldn't be here. But it's quite hard to push thoughts away. I just came across a wonderful quote by the outstanding Jeff Foster, which says:

Everything you push away in yourself pushes back against you; pushing for your love, like a baby in the womb, pushing, pushing, ready to be born, ready to come into the light of consciousness, wanting to be seen. So if you feel something pushing, kicking, aching, a tension, a fear, a moment of profound doubt, a sorrow, a pain, see it not as a mistake, or an enemy, or a punishment, something 'against' your body, a sign that you're far from healing; but see it as your own child, your own flesh and blood, your own body, in fact, an actual movement of you, itself longing for acceptance, love, inclusion, kind attention.

It is not easy to say whether something can be changed or not. But by doing as Jeff Foster says here, we can trust that, if something is meant to change, it will. There's nothing wrong with recognizing your limitations. No-one is capable of everything. It's better to be aware of your weaknesses rather than get into trouble because of them.

At the moment, I am trying to integrate my spiritual side with my human side. I have been blessed with some excellent teachers and books, and learnt a lot. I think it's wonderful to have a spiritual awakening and become aware of who you truly are and also what you are not. But I want to embrace all the parts of me, including my supposed limitations.

Maybe there will be more on this topic to follow.

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