Sunday, February 24, 2008

On My Own Debilitating Self

~I want to leave a lot of myself behind so that I can have less weight to carry as I travel onward.~

This is a thought I just had, inspired by a poem that Alex sent me:

O living always, always dying!
O the burials of me past and present,
O me while I stride ahead, material, visible, imperious as ever;
O me, what I was for years, now dead, (I lament not, I am content;)
O to disengage myself from those corpses of me, which I turn and
look at where I cast them,
To pass on, (O living! always living!) and leave the corpses behind.

- Walt Whitman

I have a selfish wish that I want to engage in - May I find strength in ridding myself of my debilitating self.

What is my debilitating self?

It's me, lazy, both content and discontent with my lot in life. Content in my laziness in not putting forth effort to change myself, discontent in having a self that I know needs changing. I am afraid of the work that would be required to reach higher levels of consciousness and betterment. I do not know why I am afraid. It could be because I have become so comfortable and cozy being a sloth.

"Not only does the debilitating self foster laziness and self-satisfaction, it encourages the individual to form all sorts of wrong ideas and beliefs that contribute to his ignorance and self-slavery."

I can't even begin to find a real teacher, because first of all a real teacher would find me, not the other way around, and secondly, a real teacher wouldn't accept me as a student because of my current state of laziness and inability to first make changes to myself. I know I've become hopeful that a teacher would help me change myself, but the truth is I have to change myself first before a teacher can work with me. And right now, I don't even know where to begin. It appears hopeless because it seems like the preperation alone will take years to do, and I'm so eager to jump right into the heart of the teachings.

"You have not 'found' a teacher until you approach him with the will to die to your death-dealing torpor by 'doing' whatever is required for your deliverance. Until then, you are moving away from him. You are moving away so rapidly at present that he will soon not be able to assist you."

I'm afraid because I don't know how my life is going to change once I start to receive teachings. The future is one great big looming mystery and I would prefer knowing in advance how things are going to be, but this cannot be done, and I can't go about having my wishes granted if I'm going to be a real student. I need to face the fact that everything is uncertain, especially the future. I need to face the fact that I am the creator of my own debilitating self, and that no one or no thing but me is responsible for its existence.

Regardless of how hopeless things seem, regardless of how afraid I am, or how much work needs to be done, I can't expect any real teachings until I first start to put forth effort into slaying my debilitating self and looking at things from the perspective of a student born into a new world. No real teacher is going to work with me until I first begin to work on myself. At the moment I do not know where to start. I do not know what I need to read or what I need to do. But what I can do, is look for the beginning chapter of the new story of my life.
-------

The quotes above come from the writings found on the page linked below. The writings of this man have given to me ideas of the kind of teacher I'd like to work with. Most of the things he writes about speaks to my soul and stirs within me a desire to get started taking my spiritual growth seriously.

The Debilitating Self, by Norman D. Livergood - http://www.new-enlightenment.com/debilitating_self.htm

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

If everything in every direction you look has only the insurmountable then the premise at the core is in error because the universe is full of
possibilities.

You need to discover this for yourself, being told is not adequate to owning it.

As much as you're reading and quoting spiritual texts it has become obvious you can readily sustain concentration while reading difficult topics.

All salvation is within. Physician teach thyself.

Happily_anonymous

Vincent said...

You are your own teacher. Your pace, your teaching.

Alexander M Zoltai said...

This quote is being leveled at me and my debilitation...

You may find it interesting...

"One must, then, read the book of his own self, rather than some treatise on rhetoric. Wherefore He hath said, "Read thy Book: There needeth none but thyself to make out an account against thee this day." [1]
[1 Qur'án 17:15.]

"The story is told of a mystic knower, who went on a journey with a learned grammarian as his companion. They came to the shore of the Sea of Grandeur. The knower straightway flung himself into the waves, but the grammarian stood lost in his reasonings, which were as words that are written on water. The knower called out to him, "Why dost thou not follow?" The grammarian answered, "O Brother, I dare not advance. I must needs go back again." Then the knower cried, "Forget what thou didst read in the books of Sibavayh and Qawlavayh, of Ibn-i-Hajib and Ibn-i-Malik, [1] and cross the water."
[1 Famed writers on grammar and rhetoric.] 52

"The death of self is needed here, not rhetoric:

"Be nothing, then, and walk upon the waves. "[1]
[1 The Mathnavi.]

Bahá’u’lláh, The Four Valleys, p. 51

Ascension said...

Hi Sophia,

I wrote something about discipleship and the initiation through the ascended masters on my blog. It might give you a few answers to your question regarding the teacher/student situation that you are facing.

Much love,
Vivienne

Siegfried said...

I think it's exactly these ideas that keep us from evolving constantly.
Why? Because they are based on beliefs that have no factual basis.
There's nothing wrong with self-aggrandizement as long as it is done for selfish reasons.

Sophia said...

Happily_anonymous,

Actually, concentration is something I struggle with. I tend to skim through things, looking for important secrets or things I find useful. If I could concentrate enough, I could read things in detail. It's just that I'm so excited or eager to skip through the commentary to get to the "good stuff".

I think there are many possibilities for accomplishments, it's just that I tend to keep trying to achieve things that are out of my reach. If only I had the skill to choose wisely tasks or projects within my ability. I think anything can be achieved, I just have to take things one step at a time, instead of shooting from across the court.

Sophia said...

Vincent,

The thing about finding a teacher is this.... A true teacher has worked through all the junk and gotten to the heart of the teachings. They could possibly help keep me from wasting time.

I've taken the first step. I know what it is I want to learn. I just have to find someone to teach me. It's like college - I knew I wanted to learn math but I needed someone to show me the ropes.

I think my problem is that I'm too picky. I have too many expectations.

Sophia said...

Alex,

I find it interesting that the idea of killing the ego/self is part of so many different religions.

Thanks for the quotes.

Sophia said...

Hi Vivienne,

Thank you so much. I went and read part of your writings earlier today. I am going back for more tonight.

I will put a link to your blog from mine because I enjoy the writings and they pertain to me and what I'm going through, and I'd like to see more writings. Thank you.

Sophia said...

Siegfried,

What if it turned out that these ideas actually drove forth evolution?

Mossy said...

Another great selection Alex.

The debilitating self is the one who is critizing the debilitating self who is critiziting the debilitating self who is critiziting the debilitating self who is critiziting the debilitating self who is critiziting the debilitating self who is critiziting the debilitating self who is critiziting the debilitating self who is critiziting the debilitating self...

Mossy said...

You are not that or that which wishes to eliminate it. You are that which silently observes.

Alexander M Zoltai said...

Dear Sophia,

The killing or death of self has also been referred to as a refocusing of self at a higher level or focusing the light of the higher self through the ego...

And, hey, if there's a Flood of Light from on High pouring through one's ego, it may as well be considered "dead" . . .

~ Alex

Ascension said...

Hey love,

I'll try to answer your questions regarding the astral/physical plane and glamour etc on my blog.

Just a few tips for now. Yes, the teacher does appear when the student is ready. I went through something similar I believe....and now have also become the teacher for students around me. After all, everybody is a mirror and therefore a teacher ....(I think I'll do a post on that, to explain things more clearly).

But you also have to understand that the student also has to work hard. You can't just sit and wait for the teacher to appear. Only constant self improvement will lead you towards enlightenment. A great way to get started is to read lots of books and to find your own truth in what you read, finding views that resonate with you. I started with a great book from Joshua David Stone. It's called "A Beginner's Guide to the Path of Ascension". It explains the different steps towards ascension. Of course that is mainly his view, but a great way to get started.

And yes, detachment from the ego is probably lesson number one and letting your mind take the backseat from time to time.

Meditation is also key. It will help you connect with your soul and your I Am Presence. A teacher can show you how, but the student will have to do the work and actually sit and meditate.....and shift through all the "stuff".

Hope that helps :)

Much love,
Vivienne

Sophia said...

Mossy,

Then who or what is wanting to eliminate it? The debilitating self is not wanting to rid itself of itself, so it must be something else. I don't think the self would commit suicide; something greater or higher is moved to be rid of it. Maybe my true self?

Sophia said...

Hi Alex,

I think you just answered the question that I posed to Mossy. I was asking who or what wanted to be rid of the self. It must be the higher self.

I'd like to know what the higher self is. In psychology, would this be what is called the psyche? I know that spirituality and psychology are two different things sometimes.

Sophia said...

Hi Vivienne,

Thanks for this information, too.

I think that one thing I've been doing incorrectly for a while now is I've just been sitting around waiting for a teacher to show up, as if I can't do anything on my own. I don't even have a teacher and already I've become overdependent on them!

Alexander M Zoltai said...

Dear Sophia,

I would say the soul is the higher self...

Mossy said...

"The debilitating self is not wanting to rid itself of itself"

Guess who...

That's right.

The debilitating self.

:)

Anitra said...

it seems to me you are searching too much, thereby pushing away everything that is meant to come your way...
this teacher you are talking about,
who is she...
she is yourself....
she or he is everyone around you are this present time. Your parents, your loved ones, those who cause you torment. We are always surrounded by the the greatest teachers, no need to search for them...they are there.
First thing to do for you, it seems to me, is to relax, enjoy your life, find your peace with yourself..stop analyzing so much...you are tearing away every stitch in your life in a frantic search for a teacher...when the teacher, i.e you and all those around you right now...were there all the time!
Blessings

Anitra said...

i would just like to add, if I may,
that people seeking the truth, they think they have to go for the big WOW, the big earth shattering thing that gives them enlightenment, the big moment when the teacher arrives, the sea is parting, the angels descends from heaven...If ascension was that easy, every one would be ascended and still none the wiser.
We travel through life and we must seek wisdom in the most humdrum of existences, in the most humdrum on company, because therein lies the beauty of life. In the small things, the flight of a butterfly in a summer afternoon, the dragonfly landing on your shoulder. a certain song reaching your heart from the radio of the car when you were thinking something and both these lines met up in perfect quiet understated synchronicity...these events are the true miracles of life. Imagine if we became so desensitized to miracles that not even an angel in its full glory would move us...we would just demand more angels, more miracles, bigger miracles, more circus acts...life is wise in its understatement, it never gives more than is needed, throughout millennia it has never upped the ante...because it knows the human psyche too well, a little drop here, a little drop there, God, Life the Universe, does not speak but move in the tiniest spaces, gives the tiniest flutter of signs.....the journey through life is made exciting in noticing these small hints and nudges...So believe me, there are no greater teachers than the butterfly wafting in the wind in front of your nose at the moment when you thought something that was valuable only to you and thus validated it for you. It showed you the right path.
And all these nice commentators, they were all teachers who came to show you like so many in your surroundings...still you ask for teachers?
Blessings,

Sophia said...

Hi Alex,

I would have to agree.

I think what I'm trying to figure out is just what this soul thing is. Is it individual, unique, singular? Does it have a personality that carries on after death? Does it have memories? Or is it just mystical goo that returns to the big Goo after it sheds its body, without any personality or memories to go with it? Sort of like an amoeba's tentacle going back into the main body?

Sophia said...

Mossy,

The debilitating self said that?

Sophia said...

Hi Anitra,

So glad to meet you. :) Thank you for voicing your comments tonight. You've brought-up some very deep and meaningful points, actually they're quite profound.

I agree with you that everyone and everything can be a teacher. Every circumstance in life has something to offer me, everyone, all of these wonderful commentators who come here... how could I possibly deny that they are all my teachers? The truth is, I can't deny it, and somehow inside I've known for a while that everyone, especially those that come to this blog, are my teachers.

You're right - I do tend to overanalyze things. I reflect on thoughts too deeply at times. But I don't know what I'd do if I wasn't reflecting or pondering. How could I fill the time? I've been told before that I stay in my head too much. It's true, I probably need to commune with nature more often, like I used to before I began this spiritual journey. I forget sometimes that nature is spiritual.

I guess in a way I have been expecting some WOW to come my way. I think my expectations are a little more in touch with reality than what they used to be, though. When I first started this journey, I thought that my goal was to achieve spiritual powers, like telepathy or astral projection or visions. I wanted to gain power from it, but now I just want to gain wisdom and knowledge, and if the powers come with it that would be nice, but I'm not expecting them anymore.

Last year, in February and March, I noticed synchronicity all around me. When they stopped, I became frustrated. But now I think I understand that they were supposed to stop, because if they kept happening, they wouldn't be special any longer. So the Universe just let me have a little taste to show me that there really is something special going on. But the Universe said, don't drink too much or you will become drunk.

So here I am today. Sometimes I notice synchronicities, and I truly believe they are miracles, even if they don't happen as often as they used to.

Thanks again for your visit and for your comments. Please come back and definitely speak when you have something to say, because your words carry a lot of wisdom.

Alexander M Zoltai said...

Sophia,

Try this on for size:

"Question. -- After the body is put aside and the spirit has obtained freedom, in what way will the rational soul exist? Let us suppose that the souls who are assisted by the bounty of the Holy Spirit attain to true existence and eternal life. But what becomes of the rational souls -- that is to say, the veiled spirits?[1]
[1 "Veiled spirits" here signify rational souls, souls not possessing the spirit of faith. Cf. "Soul, Spirit and Mind," p. 208.]

"Answer. -- Some think that the body is the substance and exists by itself, and that the spirit is accidental and depends upon the substance of the body, although, on the contrary, the rational soul is the substance, and the body depends upon it. If the accident -- that is to say, the body -- be destroyed, the substance, the spirit, remains.

"Second, the rational soul, meaning the human spirit, does not descend into the body -- that is to say, it does not enter it, for descent and entrance are characteristics of bodies, and the rational soul is exempt from this. The spirit never entered this body, so in quitting it, it will not be in need of an abiding-place: no, the spirit is connected with the body, as this light is with this mirror. When the mirror is clear and perfect, the light of the lamp will be apparent in it, and when the mirror becomes covered with dust or breaks, the light will disappear.

"The rational soul -- that is to say, the human spirit -- has neither entered this body nor existed through it; so after the disintegration of the composition of the body, how should it be in need of a substance through which it may exist? On the contrary, the rational soul is the substance through which the body exists. The personality of the rational soul is from its beginning; it is not due to the instrumentality of the body, but the state and the personality of the rational soul may be strengthened in this world; it will make progress and will attain to the degrees of perfection, or it will remain in the lowest abyss of ignorance, veiled and deprived from beholding the signs of God."

(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 238)

Mark said...

Sounds like you know what you want and need to do, you simply must be willing to accept the adventure and the changes which will come. There is nothing to fear. I understand the fear of losing what you believe is your self, know that what you believe your self to be is an illusion. The time to start is now, the place to start is here. You must allow yourself to spring forward from the coccoon that you now inhabit, for that coccon will rot and you will not be comfortable forever. Believe in the unknown for that is where your authentic self lives.

Mossy said...

The Higher Self is You without "I".

Just stop looking at mental pictures of yourself for a few seconds and the real self will be there, though you may not recognize it.

Sophia said...

Alex,

You are so knowledgeable and seem to have a resource for so many things that I bring up. It's amazing how you the clipping from your comment applies to the questions I asked in my comment.

This clipping gives comfort to me, just a woman with hopes and dreams that there is something special beyond this body.

Thank you.

Sophia said...

Mark,

Thank you. It takes a lot of hard work for the caterpillar to build its cocoon so that it can eventually shed it to become a butterfly. Well, I've put a lot of hard work into being who I am, but what I need to do is shed that and become who I really am, not just who I think I am.

I think I've made a little bit of progress, but I don't want to be too proud, because after all the progress I've made is only very small. I've realized that who I think I am is not who I really am, and not everyone can come to that conclusion. So I feel blessed and lucky. If I can realize that, then I can do even more!

Thanks for giving me some of your thoughts on this subject. It made me realize that this self I am right now is really only a cocoon. That is a nice analogy for it!

Sophia said...

Mossy,

If the higher self is greater than the "I", why did the higher self split-up into so many illusional "I's"? Why did it have to do that? Why not just stay the higher self?

What are your opinions on this? I like to get different perspectives sometimes.

Mossy said...

You are not a who.

Mossy said...

Spiritual evolution,
from dust to God.

Mossy said...

You are not a you.

Sophia said...

If I am not me
Who will wake up from this dream
And be who they are?

Alexander M Zoltai said...

"If I am not me
Who will wake up from this dream
And be who they are?"

SWEET !

Mossy said...

Does the character in the dream awaken?

Sophia said...

When the dreaming ends
The dream character dissolves
Into nothingness