If I have a central message; a single thing that I want to shout from the rooftops and for every human alive to understand; it is this one.
The message that you are stardust and life, and that there is nothing more required of you than to answer your soul’s calling to express itself in the unique manifestion of Divine Energy and Consciousness that is you.
There is no higher purpose.
Like so many of the most profound truths, this soul-shuddering teaching has been reduced to a hashtag…. #liveyourdreams. It’s right up there with #letitgo. The most extraordinary lessons that simply cannot be expressed with our human clumsiness of words; and so we spout them like bumper sticker fluff and then go on with our shackled existences, most definitely not actually living our dreams, much less letting anything go.
These words can only point to the ultimate reality that they try to convey. Not the moon, but a finger pointing to the moon. If someone actually recognises the Truth signposted by them, if they actually come to that catastrophic absorption in a moment of Self-realisation, they don’t just wear these words on a t-shirt and go about their limited existence unchanged. Because if someone actually grasps the message, nothing is ever the same again. And that’s terrifying. And extraordinary. And yes, catastrophic. Because once they’ve seen through the bullshit, if even only for a moment, they can never unsee it. And then what?
Spiritual awakenings are not glitter and unicorns. They’re a cosmic fucking car-crash.
(I’d like to make clear at this point that I am not in any way whatsoever trying to imply that I have achieved some sort of enlightenment. Christ, the more I go down this path, the more I wonder if I’ve actually learnt anything at all. Talk about naked in the fucking wilderness. Waking up even a tiny bit, for me at least, is a process. A reaaaally looooong car crash. Alone. But with witnesses. Horrified witnesses.)
And it is undoubtedly, catastrophically, magnificently, worth it.
Because despite the occasional horror of the onlookers, every fibre of my being feels alive to a reality that feels so completely me that it frequently moves me to tears. (No, not the solitary, wistful tear whilst gazing at a sunset kind. The snorting, gulping, face down on the bathroom floor, ‘what the hell is wrong?’ kind. With snot. A looooooot of snot.) And before we get all ‘easy for you to say’, I’m not just lucky to live this way.
I mean, I am lucky, obviously – I won the lottery at birth when I found myself in a healthy body, in an affluent country, in the relatively comfortable circumstances that many westerners enjoy.
But the life that feels so outrageously true to my soul’s calling didn’t just land in my lap – I worked my ass off for decades, walked willingly into ridiculous situations, made huge sacrifices, put myself through anguish and shock and terror, and never, ever, turned back from the pursuit of what sets my soul on fire.
What feels true for me wouldn’t be a remotely reasonable or desirable life for a lot of people. It might look fun from the outside, but the reality of what it takes has to be worth it for you. Your dharma – your soul’s calling – is as unique as your fingerprint. What’s more, you can’t tell from the outside if someone is living theirs (unless they’re totally miserable for years on end – that’s a pretty good sign that they’re not), because often these kind of realisations don’t mean you have to alter the circumstances of your life, you just have to utterly change the way you live it. And that’s an inside job, no passengers allowed.
But sometimes it does mean shaking things up and horrifying the onlookers.
And it means saying no, a lot, to the things that move you further away from your alignment, in order to come closer to it. Only you can decide the sacrifices that you’re willing to make. You have to decide what kind of pain you’re willing to live with.
You have to get reeeeeaaally comfortable with being uncomfortable. And you have to make friends with fear; because as long as you have a human psyche, fear is always going to come to the party. You just have to welcome it in, then sit it in a corner and turn the music up. You sure as hell can’t let it be the DJ. Because the records that fear wants to play are not the tunes that will propel you out of your seat and onto the dancefloor, eyes wild and hair whirling and all inhibitions cast to the wind. Fear plays repetitive plinky-plonky crap that will keep you shackled inside your ever-shrinking comfort zone.
It took me over forty years to understand my dharma. But the thing to understand is that you don’t need to understand yet; you just have to keep following the clues. You have to wake up enough to start noticing the moments when you feel most alive, and ask them what they’re trying to tell you, and then amplify them and dare to go a step, then another, beyond them. You have to ‘follow the strange pull of what you really love; it will not lead you astray’. You have to learn your own dark corners well enough to recognise your stories and erroneous self-beliefs and call them out as the imposters that they are; because they will try – oh they will try! – to disguise themselves as the pull of what you really want. But they are social conditioning, and people-pleasing, and fears, so many freaking fears, about rejection, and uncertainty, and all the monsters under the bed that whisper that you’re not good enough, were never good enough, and that people like you don’t get to have lives like that, and who the hell do you think you are anyway?
Don’t listen to them. Get quiet. ‘There is a voice that doesn’t use words: listen.’ Stop limiting yourself. Welcome fear in, but stop letting it be the DJ. Unshackle yourself, you glorious unlimited embodiment of the Universe.
Who the hell do you think you are?
I know who you are.
‘You are the Universe, in ecstatic motion.’
All quotes by 13th Century Sufi mystic, Rumi