I apologize for hiding from you in my mind. I was a head-tripper extraordinaire, preferring the seeming safety of my thoughts to the often savage world of feeling. Although I was frequently called ‘absent-minded’, I was actually ‘absent-bodied’, living far outside the walls of the body temple. I grew up in a hateful family, and feeling into my body meant feeling into the horrible memories held in my tissues. Surviving by my wits allowed me to think my way through challenging circumstances and shielded me from pain. But my headiness came at a price- excessive analysis perpetuates emotional paralysis. My coping strategy became my blueprint for reality, alienating me from my real life. But I want to stop watching you from afar. I want to open the gate and come back in now.
I apologize for abusing you with toxic food, over-eating, workaholism. I wanted you drained and deadened so that I couldn’t feel you. If I enlivened you, I felt my emotions more strongly and my pain emerged. If I numbed you, my memories remained buried. Yet another self-distraction technique. I am sorry for those acts of misplaced aggression. I couldn’t hold you safe because I had never been held safe. I had to first forge self-love in the fires of life.
I apologize for shaming you, loathing you, hiding you, feeling embarrassed about you. I am sorry that I judged your seeming imperfections as oddities rather than reflections of the Godself. My attitude was a direct reflection of my own self-hatred, the internalized remnants of a shamed and vilified inner world. They told me I was ugly and I believed them. Characterized as the black sheep throughout my childhood, I took that message to heart, often perpetuating the shameathon at my own expense. As I work to bring my light out from under its bushel of shame, I see the wonder that is you shining through. Such a majestic temple, a living prayer to the Godself. If we don’t honour the temple, there will be no place to pray.
I apologize for looking for my spiritual life independent from you, as though God is a disembodied construct and not a felt experience. Like a good little head-tripper, I wanted to think God, rather than feel God. And so I looked for God on the skyways of detachment, mistaking self-avoidance for enlightenment itself. I went down this path for some time, seemingly calm on the outside, but a bubbling cauldron of unresolved feelings in the deep within. In truth, the closest I ever came to an inclusive consciousness were in those moments when I surrendered to you completely, blemishes and all. It is no accident that we are here in physical form- God is IN the people. I apologize for looking for God outside the temple walls.
I apologize for weighing you down with physical and emotional armour: rigid musculature, congealed rage, shallowed breath, a hardened heart. Perfectly conditioned as a lone-wolf male warrior, I preferred solidity to fluidity, weaponry to warmth. A slave to survival, I was built to move along the path like a machine, postponing rest and pleasure for a day that seldom came. With my armour intact, nothing and no one could touch me. But I was borrowing energy from my future. I was killing myself. Even now, I am under no illusion that I will shift this way of being easily. It is deep in me, deep in my memories of overcoming. But I will try, one shedding at a time. I will try.
I apologize for subjecting you to objectified, heart-severed sexuality. You are built for intimacy that is depth-full, unifying, indistinguishable from the God-self. Anything less is a perversion of your divine nature. But I all too often wanted it shallow and Godless. I wanted no bridge between my heart and genitals, my heart and hers. Even when I was going through my ‘tantra’ phases, I was still abusing you, because I was using my genitals as a bliss seeking missile and not a bridge to the divine. I was using sexuality to escape the moment rather than to deepen in connection. I am sorry that I abused you in this way. I am committed to enheartening my sexuality. I am committed to building the heart-genital highway within.
I am grateful for the so many ways that you kept me going even when my waking consciousness was completely alienated from you. If I had been ruled by my thoughts alone, I would be long dead, bouncing as I was from one heady tree-top to another. But you never failed me, never forgot me, never lost sight of where I really lived. You kept breathing me when I acted against you, when I shamed you, when I disowned you. You kept loving me, calling me back, keeping me afloat until I could meet myself. Such devotion. Deep bows..
I am particularly grateful that you carried me through the most destructive life stages. You healed the wounds and broken bones of early life. You shielded me from violence with your fists and feet. You got me out of bed when grief was immobilizing my spirit. You pulled me out of the fires of childhood hell, even when I re-created them throughout adulthood. You warmed me up, as I knocked on thousands of doors to sell windows in Canadian winters. You kept me awake through a sleepless trial law apprenticeship. You endured 3 decades of workaholism and over-compensation, with little rest. Dearest friend, how can I best honour you?
Thank you for being my authenticity-mometer, my temple of truth. How beautifully you carried my sacred purpose until I was ready for the hand-off. You reminded me with truth-chills whenever I walked in the right direction. You tripped me up with truth-aches whenever I dared to walk in someone else’s shoes. What is so remarkable is that you never failed to communicate with me when I was living a lie. I may not have been ready to listen, but you never abandoned your faith in my possibilities. I now know that my true-path is encoded in the bones of my being. Not a temple that I visit, but one that I am.
I look forward to the day when humanity fully embraces your divinity and recognizes the unity at the heart of creation. A unified consciousness still exists outside of our habitual awareness, but it sings to us from deep within, a symphony of God-music that is calling us home. Where body, mind and spirit appear to be flowing in disparate directions, they will soon be revealed as inextricable branches of the same waterway. On the river of Essence, everything flows in the same direction—towards the ocean of wholeness.
As we move closer to a unified consciousness, may we recognize the heart of the matter- our enheartened body temple. Enlightenment is not a head trip—it’s a heart trip, gusts of God blowing through the portal of the heart, the aortic love valve merging with the love that courses through the universal vein. As it turns out, it isn’t beginner’s mind we seek. It’s beginner’s heart- the freshness of appreciation that flows through the open heart. If we want to expand our spiritual consciousness, we have to shake our heart tree often. Opening the heart unlocks the heart of the universe, and we see what is always before us. May we be committed to shedding the armour around our heart a little more with every breath.
I am writing you by the banks of a small river, watching Canadian Geese land, resting and readying for the next leg of their journey south. I watch them, settling into a body they never left, truly here. Time to surrender, sing the birds of pray. Then, when their body is ready, they rise again, rising on the wings of their love. I hear them, calling out to each other. Surrender! they cry, as they fly God home for the winter.
One day, I won’t write you as though you are independent of my waking consciousness. One day, I will pray to you, as you. One day, I too will fly to God without leaving the temple. Until then, please continue to hold me safe.
This was first published on soulshaping.com, and is the copyright of Jeff Brown.
—Photo Credit: Flickr/Justine Simon