How often do you find yourself in the midst of a tension between two forces? Maybe it’s between you and someone else, or between two choices, or between what you want and what others want.
Being there, in that space in-between two divergent forces can be stressful. Our soul stretched being pulled in opposite directions.
A client once gave me a beautiful metaphor for these situations.
It’s like being the ball in a pendulum, swinging left and right.
Pushed and pulled by both sides.
Typically, what we do is to find some kind of equilibrium in the middle. What we call a compromise. But, with forces on both sides pulling us, to stay still takes a considerable effort. It consumes our energy.
If you take a look at the picture of the pendulum, there is a point that doesn’t move; the one at the top from which the ball is hanging; the pivot. It just stays there, being itself unchanged no matter where the ball is.
Anytime I feel I am in the middle of tension, with opposite forces pulling me in different diversion I asked myself a simple question.
What does it mean, in this situation to be the pivot?
Most of the time, this question leads me to the source of the matter, where the key questions lay.
Next time you find yourself between two forces, instead of looking for a compromise, try to look at it from the pivot’s perspective.
Who do I serve?
Last week, during a compelling conversation with a dear friend, this question came up for me.
This is not an easy question yet I feel it is a fundamental one.
We all live and work in this tension between our inner purpose, needs, desire and the purpose, needs and desire of the world outside.
At the beginning I thought that I should be able to sacrifice my own needs for a greater good; to move from ego to eco. But then I realised that the answer was coming from my desire of feeling one of the good ones.
My second stage of this self-inquiry brought me back to the self. To serve others, I must serve myself first. So, through serving myself, I will be able to serve others.
Still, I wasn’t satisfied. Why does it have to be either/or? What if it’s an and? What if I can serve both myself and others at the same time? But how is this possible? What does it mean when my purpose and the purpose of others is different? Should I dedicate myself only to causes that are aligned with my own needs and desires?
Something was missing so I kept exploring, and then I read this sentence from Rupert Spira: “If we understand and feel that every animal, person and object is our very own self, we cannot go wrong.”
If I remove the boundaries between myself and others, that tension disappear. It’s no more about helping one or another. It’s about serving a higher vision. One the goes beyond this tension.
Rupert Spira wrote that “love is the experience of that oneness of being.”
Then the way forward is through love. Or, as Saint Augustine said:
‘Love, and do whatever you want!’
We all have lights and shadows.
I always found almost impossible to use my own light to explore my dark side. It is as if our light is cast outwards so we can’t use it to illuminate our inner shadows. Or maybe it is just fear.
But when I’m in a circle of trust with a group of people, something magical happens. The lights of others shred through my shadows, and I can look without fear in the darkest corners of my soul.
I had this experience one year ago, during a walk with a group of man on the Italian hills. We had a long and tough day. I, in particular, had an emotional breakthrough midway and I was facing my own demons. I had opened a door I’d always feared, and there I was, staring before the darkness behind that door. But that evening, while we were all together standing in a circle to close the day with gratitude, I felt the intensity of their light, and my own darkness became less scary.
“We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.” —Ben Sweetland
Tough morning this one.
I struggled to get my mind starting, and my routine didn’t help this time.
My mind is still foggy, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to write anything meaningful.
Luckily for me, I have the BeTheChange cards to help me in this small daily practice. This morning I picked two cards for no reason, it just felt right.
One card says “I inspire people”.
I’m not sure I do, but this card gave the boost to start writing despite my slow mind.
The second one says “Truth is desperately important”.
In this historic moment when every topic is so divisive, this message feels so important.
The time for this practice is almost gone – I told you my mind is very slow this morning – so I’ll use the word of someone else to share my feelings about truth.
“If we really want to speak the absolute truth we should remain silent.” —Rupert Spira
A few days ago, a friend reminded me that if we compress the 4.6 billion years of Earth history into a single year, Homo erectus will show up only one before the New Year’s Eve party. Civilisation would begin only 5 minutes before the countdown. Jesus would join the party about 1 minute and 17 seconds before midnight, but a nanosecond later it would be already gone. Americans would sign the Declaration of Independence 3 seconds within the countdown.
Then yesterday, I had a fascinating conversation about infinity that made me think that no matter how much you take away from something if that something is infinite it will keep being infinite. So any finite number, compare to infinity is not distinguishable from zero.
Anytime I’m reminded of the infinity of the universe and time; it’s as if a weight is removed from my shoulders. Whatever we do in the present moment, it’s nothing compared to the infinity of the universe.
So, why are we so stressed?
“Our longing for love comes from the intuition of our shared being.” — Rupert Spira
What is the shape of love?
What is its form?
What objective qualities does it have?
Because, if we want to hold or own something, then that thing must have a form in time or space, some objective or material qualities.
Only when something can be objectively defined, we can perceive it as a separate entity. Something separated from ourselves and everything else. Something that we can observe.
Love has no shape.
Love is transparent and non-objective.
Love is formless.
How can you observe it? How can recognise it as different from something else? How can you say what it yours and what not?
So, if love is formless, then it can’t be divided into pieces.
The love I experience is the same love you experience.
Our experiences are different, but love is the same.
This is why our mind can not grasp it.
Our thoughts are objective and limited.
Words are limited.
So, we ask artists to describe something that cannot be explained but only felt.
We all are immersed in the same love.
But sometimes, layers or resistances and obstacles keep us away from feeling it.
The quest for love is not a journey to something.
It’s not about doing something.
It’s about sinking in our own being.
“The experience of love is precisely that experience, the experience of our shared being.” — Rupert Spira
Every morning I do this small ritual using the Be The Change cards.
I sit down with my eyes closed, and I shuffle the cards.
The intent for this ritual changes every day; an inspiration for my writing, a new perspective about something that it’s stuck in mind, or just an idea to kick off the day meaningfully. Then I pick a card, and I let it sink in my awareness for a few seconds.
This morning I went through my ritual as usual with the intent to find inspiration for this post.
But I while I was observing the card that I picked — Deepening into own wisdom — I realised that I chose two cards. There was another one stuck behind.
As you can see in the picture above, the second card has the word “Soul”.
The invitation from the cards is so vivid and compelling that I don’t think there is much I can add.
More and more in the last months, I’m becoming aware that my path to wisdom is taking me beyond my mind, my knowledge or my understanding.
It is a journey of the soul and into the soul.
“It’s the heart that knows the path. The mind is just there to organise the steps.” — Jeff Brown
This morning I decided to surrender to the Be The Change cards fully.
Usually, when I sit down to write the apple of day, I already have some running in my head. I still pick a card most of the time. It helps me spark my writing in the direction of what I want to share.
But this morning I woke up only with some vague thoughts.
So, when I set up for the writing practice, I decided to let the cards determine the topic. And they did. A card dropped out of the deck when I started shuffling.
I had to sit in silence for a good minute to let this invitation to sink in.
“Step aside & make space for others.”
What does it mean for me to step aside? Is it about work? Or my relationships? Who are the others I can make space for?
One of my guiding principles is “kindness”. I firmly believe in the power of being kind.
Today, this card made me realise a sort of a paradox.
My way of being kind has always been to help and support others. I am kind to others, and they are the objects of my kindness.
But that put me right in the middle of the stage.
What if being kind is not about me giving help or support, but it’s about me stepping aside and making space for them?
So they can help themselves.
So they are the protagonists of their stories.
Like this card today.
According to the dictionary, something authentic is “something of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine.”
I feel authentic anytime my words, and my actions originate from who I am.
Even when I make mistakes.
Even when words don’t come out easily.
Because being authentic means being human.
And accept that I am perfect in my imperfection.
In his book Do the Work, Steven Pressfield says that “The universe is not indifferent. It is actively hostile.” He called this hostility Resistance but he also explains that we can transform this Resistance into Assistance if we act.
My experience is that the universe is not a positive or negative force in itself. The real resistance is within us.
The universe just follows our action. It doesn’t drive them.
If you sit waiting for things to happen, the universe will sit over you.
It will squash you down with its infinite weight. Like the force of gravity, it creates a resistance making hard for you to stand up and move.
After a while, your muscles will shrink, your energy will fade and you will crumble.
But when you take action and you move, then the universe becomes an amplifier. Like a wind blowing on your tail. Step by step the force of the universe compounds and grows until you get momentum and you become unstoppable.
If you want abundance in your life, don’t sit waiting for the universe to serve it to you. Stand up and begin something. Act toward your dreams and draw the force of the universe on your side.
“Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute:
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
Only engage and then the mind grows heated;
Begin and then the work will be completed.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe