Monday, February 11, 2008

Mundane Things from Today (i.e. Lacking Spirituality)

I'm a failure. Today was my third day as a vegetarian and I failed. I made it through breakfast and lunch without any problems but when dinner rolled around I became weak and my cravings for a steak from a local restaurant overwhelmed me. If I can't do this then how am I to complete other spiritual assignments? I am not worthy of a spiritual teacher because I couldn't even accomplish this.
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Today was a very stressful day at work. When I arrived, my voice mail box was completely full and no longer accepting new messages. I had 18 messages to respond to. All day long my phone was ringing and I couldn't accomplish much paperwork. I felt worthless, as if I wasn't producing enough work to make my boss happy. I can't get over feeling this way, even though my boss has never once complained about the quality of work I produce. I suppose the feeling comes from having missed so much work due to depression, and hoping I could somehow make it up by working extra hard to impress him. At the end of the day I feel frazzled.

Tonight it snowed quite a bit. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we either have a two-hour delay in the morning or quite possibly the entire day called off. I doubt that would happen but I'd love to be away from work right now.
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Earlier last year I met someone on the Internet with the clear and expressed intention of having philosophical discussions with him. I lost touch with him for months, and tonight he writes to renew our contact. After three or four emails with him tonight, he jumps to the point that he was probably wanting to make since last year, " Do you just look for e-mail connections or do you ever seek some more intimate philosophical connections?"

Now, what could he mean by "more intimate philosophical connections"? Why can't he just come-out and say, "Would you like to have sex with me?" He didn't even spend that much time getting to know me. We had only exchanged about 10 emails each since July of last year.

And to think I had spent so much time in the beginning explaining to him how much I treasure deeply emotional and platonic relationships that transcend sex.

Oh well.

22 comments:

Mossy said...

Sophia,

It sounds like you might be a little overly suspicious. "Intimate philosophical connections" does not mean neccessarilty mean sex, though it might lead there.

You are not a failure and I wish you could see that it is harmful to say so. Your little heart thinks of you as an authority and will take what you say... well, to heart. : )

Your last dream and this post seem to suggest that your heart is experiencing a lot of anxiety about not being good enough. Most likely it is all coming from YOUR mind. Phrases like "I'm a faiure" go straight to the heart and stay there. Even if you do not think of yourself as an authority your heart does.

It is important to explain to your heart that everything is ok. You did a good job today and you did a great job of successfully completing school. The heart is like a little child. Naive and trusting, it will believe whatever you say. You, the mind, are it's only protection. And in so many cases the mind has turned againt it.

I suspect that high achievers have very high expectations for themselves and beat themselves silly whenever they do not feel heroic. It is crazy self inflicted poison that we would never indulge in if we were conscious even a small fraction of the time.

jim said...

Such people are in every field, I know artists who ONLY make art to meet sexual partners, that is the whole motive, their art sucks and is dry and dead, usually they themselves aren't worth the time and energy of getting undressed. Tell em I said so. Don't be surprised, just shrug it off and go on about your business.

Same with the so-called failure, just get back up and try again, intent is everything, may take years to accomplish something one intends with their spiritual will, that is simply a given fact, learn that and go on about your business, lol, stop worrying about these things....but do notice them, that is right to do, and even mention them is good too.

You are a wonderful young lady whom I just received something from and would return the pleasure if I could right now, but this will have to do for the moment, I will get you back though Sophia. You know how special you are to me, a treasure like no other, a gift from G-d and Jehovah, a beautiful flower that never fades yet is more real than any, a taste of heaven on earth, so....

All my love to you, and may you be blessed by G-d beyond measure and with the best life has to offer...and may you not have to wait too long to find your hopes and dreams come to you Sophia!

My best to you, thanks for the message!

Suze said...

Hi Sophia.

I am having a bad day too. I have to ask myself at these times what it is that the universe is trying to tell me. Slow down and suspend judgment, maybe. I guess I am still human. And I guess being human must be a part of perfection, I don't know.

I feel the pain within myself. I feel so undeserving. I should have done this and that. And all of those things may perhaps be true. But I think that could be said for any of us. It certainly is true for me.

Right now I am trying to slow myself down and feel what all of this self criticism is made of. How it feels physically. Hopefully I can let it pass through me.

Sophia, I said this before, but it is really important to me. Thank you for putting yourself out there and allowing this vulnerability. I see myself in you. And I realize more clearly by seeing it in you that maybe this difficulty is an important part of the lesson and challenge.

Suze

Vincent said...

As for your first paragraph, Sophia, it's as I suggested. You are flagellating yourself. Being vegetarian when you don't want to be is nothing to do with being spiritual. You weren't weak, you wanted meat.

Part of you wants to be vegetarian and part wants to eat meat. Why assume that the self-flagellating part is always right?

Sorry to confess this, but I think the longer you spend not discovering a spiritual teacher the better. You need more self-belief not less.

Christi said...

My dear friend ~

Right now, in this space and time, his journey is counterproductive to your heart. It's allowing you to continue to set yourself up for failure time and time again because you put so much into it and then your humanness steps in and you beat yourself up needlessly when it doesn't work out perfectly every time.

That is something I've pondered a lot lately - why aren't we as people able to go, "Holy cow! I made it two whole days as a vegetarian, that is awesome!" instead we are more inclined to say, "I only made it two days as a vegetarian, I suck."

Take time to just be you, stop searching for the things that may not really complete you in the grand scheme of things.

Have you ever read the book The Last Unicorn or even watched the movie? There is a quote that perhaps you should consider, if not for the short-term, than the long.

Unicorn: You are a true wizard now, as you always wished. Does it make you happy?

Schmendrick: Well, men don't always know when they're happy. (But I think so. )

I'm not 100% certain that is the exact verbiage, but it's close enough that I hope you understand what I'm attempt to (perhaps poorly) say.

With hope,
~ Christi

twyla said...

Hello Sophia. New here, but couldn't help but make a little comment right away.

I have to agree with mossy. It is hard work to retrain our mind not to indulge in self-condemnation, but it is important work, nontheless. Saying, "I am a failure" is so final. Even changing it to, "I failed" is better. But better yet is to view the spiritual path as a series of falling downs. You take a few steps, fall down, get back up and brush off, take a few steps, fall down and so on. This is the same for all of us. The falling down is part of the spriritual process, just as important as taking the steps and getting back up. In fact, the falling down can often teach us much more, bring much more growth and compassion.

This is a snippet of an old post of mine that talks about such:

"This journey I’m on is less a path than a meandering, a wandering. It’s marked by both neurosis and serenity, by foolishness as well as knowledge, by daily drudgery more often than ecstaticies of spiritual joy. But through it all, I think I’ve become deeper, more authentic in the living out of my spiritual quest in the messiness of real life. Anne Lamott says that perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people – that it will keep you insane your whole life. Oh yeah. Can you relate to that?

What I’ve been talking about is the “negative way” of the mystics, an opening into divinity only made possible by giving up the pursuit of perfection. My goal is to become ever more transparent, revealing exactly who I really am, rather than who I wish I were or who someone else expects me to be. I find that my depressions, jealousies, weaknesses and failures…oh, and my eccentricities, oddities and quirks… are not in the least at odds with the spiritual pursuit. Indeed, I think they’re essential to it."

Namaste

Siegfried said...

Sophia,
I agree completely with Jim.
There are a lot of people who use spirituality in order to get laid. I think they are the worse kind.
Rather, I would use spirituality in order to enhance my sexuality. To become a better person, lover and sexual partner.
If I were to look for sex anywhere I would not talk about spirituality, philosophy, or religion in order to get a girl to sleep with me. I would start flirting right away, using my eyes, voice, and body language and not care about "content" or what I am saying. I'd probably speak gibberish and never express deep or sublime truths. Well, this is my standpoint at the moment.

Siegfried said...

I never think of myself as a failure. It's not about succeeding, winning or failing. It's about learning. Finding out why you can't help eating meat. and how you can stop.
And you shouldn't compare yourself with others, thinking they are better than you.
Which spiritual teacher are you talking about?

goatman said...

I don't think that you are bent! Simply trying to grow out of the shadows as we all are.
Thanks for the visit.

Sophia said...

Hi Moss,

Your comment has inspired me to write a post, and while it might not be exactly on-topic, as it's about aging, it was inspired by your words.

If the mind is the heart's protection, who or what is the mind's protection? Who watches over the mind?

Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

Sophia said...

Jim,

Don't worry about returning pleasures or favors, because the gift you give to me through your magical words and your friendship is more than I could ever dream of paying back. What I did was just a very small minor thing and I did it because I wanted to at least try to be as good a friend to you as you've been to me. You're the only one who has ever thought of me as an unfading beautiful flower. :)

Much love to you. Thank you.

Sophia said...

Dear Suze,

The best compliment that anyone could pay me is to tell me that they see some of themselves in me. That makes me feel good, like we're all connected and truly are made-up of each other in ways that we can't understand right now. Makes me feel less separation between myself and others, and you. Thank you.

I wonder if this self criticism of mine is here as some sort of karma-related justice, for being narcissistic and vain when I was younger. The older I get the more I criticize myself, the more I punish myself emotionally. Maybe this is a result of my depression. After all, they say that depression makes its victims feel worthless.

Do you go through depression? I ask because I'm trying to figure out if self-criticism is related to it.

I hope, too, that you can let this pass through you, and let it come out the other side so it can disappear into the void. Let love take its place.

Sophia said...

Vincent, I just love you. :) I hope that by saying that I don't frighten you. It's just that when I read your comments, sometimes I feel that you put so much heart and care into them. Maybe you're my guardian angel. ;)

You're right, I wanted meat, and I did it again tonight. But this time I didn't beat myself up so much over it. I just enjoyed dinner, and acknowledged that I was vegetarian for breakfast and lunch and that this is an achievement. (Know anyone who enjoys lunches of just lima beans and sliced peaches?)

Thanks for all your care.

Sophia said...

Bless you, Christi, for when I read your comment earlier today I really did look at my short-term vegetarian stint as an accomplishment. I thought that even though I ate meat last night, today I made an achievement by eating vegetarian meals for breakfast and lunch, and that two meals out of three "ain't" bad. :)

Sometimes it takes a friend to see things from another perspective, and to point that perspective out to us in order to be able to see it for ourselves. Friends have our blind spots covered. Thank you.

By the way, when I was a child, one of my favorite movies was The Last Unicorn. I watched it again as an adult a couple years ago and it didn't lose much of its magic as many childhood favorites do. I have the book, sitting on my shelf, waiting to be read.

Maybe we don't know when we're happy because we become tolerant of our current level of happiness, and like a drug we're wanting more and more of it to keep its effect.

Sophia said...

Hi Twyla,

Nice to see you here.

That is such a fitting clipping that you've shared with us, right on target with the topic. Thank you.

What you've said is so graceful. It's like learning how to walk for a toddler - they fall, they get back up, they keep trying to walk. Finally, one day they're taking those steps.

Sophia said...

Siegfried,

I wonder if you've heard of tantra.

http://health.discovery.com/centers/sex/tantric/tantricsex.html

From what little I've heard or read, tantric sex is both spiritually and physically tranformational. I've never tried it myself, but I can daydream. :)

Someone I don't know very well, that I've just met on the Internet, gave me the idea that if I devote myself to vegetarianism, I might get the spiritual teacher I've been looking for. I know it sounds like fictional magic, but I've seen less possible things happen before.

Sophia said...

Goatman,

I'm glad you don't think I'm bent. I just had to entitle myself to a little bit of self-deprecation. :)

night sky said...

Hi Sophia,

Regarding the post title, "Mundane Things from Today (i.e. Lacking Spirituality)" -- might the mundane be the spiritual? Every conflicted or joyous bite of steak or tofu, every credit card transaction? Every shovelful of snow, every unexpected email? Every voice mail, every stressed reaction? Perhaps as we look for something else than what's here, we miss the all there is?

Christi said...

Maybe we don't know when we're happy because we become tolerant of our current level of happiness, and like a drug we're wanting more and more of it to keep its effect.

I don't necessarily agree with this, rather I think we don't know when we're happy because we keep searching for that next thing to complete us, whether we need it or not.

It's much easier to say, "I need X to be happy" and then once X is completed, you feel that let down because you realize that it wasn't X that you needed after all. So then you pick Y and the same cycle happens all over again.

Each time you become more and more dissatisfied because that's not doing it either.

Now that certainly isn't to say that you shouldn't ever have goals, but rather than placing your happiness on the shoulders of those goals, let those goals fulfill you without the need to throw the idea of happiness into the equation at all.

Say, "I want to do X because it's a new adventure, because I think this is interesting, because I haven't expanded myself in this way recently." Then celebrate the joy of the accomplishment or evaluate why it wasn't meant to happen if you were to "fail."

People don't always "fail" because they're not good enough. sometimes people "fail" because they're too good and as such they've learned their lesson long before the end of the learning period and they don't need to continue the path any longer.

Of course, I say this and I'm struggling with my own "failure" where my children are concerned. *shrugs* It's always easier from the outside.

Oh, and watch your soy intake. Nonfermented soy products inhibit the function of the thyroid gland so it's something that many people who are vegetarians have to deal with. Plus thyroid problems can cause fatigue, depression, lethargy, etc so you may just be feeding into one trying to remedy the other.

With hope,
~ Christi

Sophia said...

Night Sky,

You'd get along great with Goatman. Once, when I was asking people to forgive me for making non-spiritual posts on my blog, he alerted me to the fact that everything is spiritual. It's true, but so easy to forget! It's hard to think of work, for example, as being a transcedental experience. :)

Wow, I just now experienced deja vu. I like that feeling. Speaking of transcedental experiences! :D

I was wanting to mention that even extraordinary things become normal things when they happen often enough. But before I said it, I had the feeling that I had already typed it in a comment to you before. (Even though I really haven't.) The whole episode was like a flashback, but maybe it was really a flashforward.

Maybe that's why exceptional human experiences don't happen all the time. Because if they did, they wouldn't be exceptional anymore.

Hey, I like this new path of thought that I'm following. Not that I'm proud of my thought or anything, it's just I never considered this before and it's kind of interesting. It gives me new appreciation for the seemingly normal things, because if it wasn't for normality, I'd never notice extraordinary things.

Thanks for provoking these thoughts!

Sophia said...

Christi,

You're right about that, I think. We're always looking for the next thing to complete us, and all this looking is causing us to ignore that we might already have some of what completes us or makes us happy. It's like a millionaire being sad that he's not a billionaire. He's looking so hard for those billions that he ignores the fact that he's already rich to begin with!

I don't think you have failed yourself or anyone else. I'll have to explore this, and find out why you think you're a failure where your children are concerned. From what I've seen on your blog at times, you and they are both successful. You go through your rough parent/child times, and sometimes they make me glad I'm not a parent, but one thing I'm not experiencing that you are is the unconditional love of a child. That has got to be one of the greatest achievements ever!

Thanks for spreading your love, cheer and hope wherever you go. Those are the feelings I always get anytime you're present.

Ratheesh said...

Hi Sophia,

You'd posted - "If the mind is the heart's protection, who or what is the mind's protection? Who watches over the mind?"

Well, the intellect controls the mind and intellect is under the soul who is the witness and pure. Now, the interesting thing is you could identify yourself with the mind and sometimes get bewildered and taken for a ride OR you could watch all the crazy things the mind throws at you from a detached point of view and enjoy being a witness to the mundane chatter.
So, finally you who're not the mind has to watch over the mind. :)


Cheers