The Road Home
The last month has been one of extreme experimentation and exploration. I stripped myself of all labels that required my placement in small neat tidy little boxes and asked the universe to guide me. On the flight from Seattle to San Diego I reflected on how the weekend had played out in consideration to the whom I am now versus the whom I was then. We all suffer from internal dialogues that often provide both positive and negative chatter to our already complex lives. I am not perfect. I am a nearly 35 year old woman with grey hair, cellulite, body dysmorphia from a childhood weight problem, a propensity towards unhealthy relationships because I yearn to nurture but I attract those that are so broken…I get lost in the cross fire, and mostly, I just suffer. I know how to stew in that inner dialogue, pick it apart and suck the marrow out of each what if, why not, and if only. I have practiced and mastered the fine art of martyrdom for many years. At my worst I can feel undeserving of anything divine because I must be such a woesome horrible individual to be subjected to such horrible atrocities. .. even if I am the one who is choosing to open myself to these acts and then choosing to perceive the outcomes as such. Yet, in beating my pysche up for what I consider these huge transgressions of self, I honestly know that I am a good person with a strong moral code towards right and wrong and that I create the reality of how I relate to the world and all that transpires around me. Things are not black or white. Good or bad. To some people there are clear lines of right and wrong, so I found myself considering the 7 Deadly Sins. As a non religious but highly spiritual individual, my interpretation of them is probably a bit different than that of a more religious doctrine based individual. I found myself also remembering the Enneagram of Personality. Each particular personality has a series of archetypal characteristics such as an Ego Fixation, Holy Idea, Basic Fear, Basic Desire, Temptation, Vice/Passion, and Virtue. It has some vague non secular similarities to the 7 Deadly Sins and appealed to me from a self development stand point.
The Catholic church defines the sins as such: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. Hinduism is less about not committing the similar sins of wrath, envy, pride, covetousness, gluttony, sloth, and lechery, as it is about adhering to a path of karmic righteousness (doing one’s duty) and committing to a dharma practice (maintaining life by a code of what is correct in order to attain salvation and enlightenment. Judaism has it’s 7 Laws of Noah, Prohibition of: Idolatry, Blasphemy, Murder, Theft, Sexual Immorality, Eating the limb of a living animal, and a moral responsibility to the establishment of courts of Justice. In Islam, according to the Sahih al-Bukhari, a follower of Islam must, “Avoid the seven noxious things: associating anything with Allah, magic, killing one whom Allah has declared inviolate without a just case, consuming the property of an orphan, devouring usury, turning back when the army advances, and slandering chaste women who are believers but indiscreet” Even Atheists have their own particular code of ethics that keep them from wrong doing. Rather than using terms and reasons for their behaviour that may imply religious connection, such as sin, they state that ethics come more from societal mores and human nature or innate characteristics rather than any particular authority of religious formation. Buddhists don’t have a particular sense of sin as much as they have the Karmic belief that all living creatures have direct spiritual action/reaction as a result of our behaviors.
I am not a great Buddhist, I was a bad Catholic, I love all my Jewish friends and respect their faith and amazing customs perhaps more than most and while I was great in the kitchen at the Hindu temple, I couldn’t quite wrap myself around how unequal I felt in the faith. I do maintain some level of spiritual wonder though, and this keeps me from atheism. Because I need structure and guidance I find the Buddhist philosophies to work best for what I am able to understand and follow. To me, religion is a delicate practice in linguistics. There are striking similarities between the cores of most major religions but it comes down to an understanding and relation to the language in which it is being spoken. I don’t understand Spanish, Hindi, Mandarin, Russian, and my German is for Scheisse BUT Buddha seemed to say it all in a way that makes my dog ears go down and the deer in headlights look diminish.
My enneagram suggests that I am a 2, whose characteristic role is that of The Helper. The breakdown for a 2 is as such:
Ego Fixation is Flattery.
Holy Idea is that of Freedom
Basic Fear is Being Unworthy of Being Loved
Basic Desire is To Be Loved Unconditionally
Temptation is to Manipulate Others in order to Achieve Positive Results
Vice/Passion is that of Pride.
Virtue is Altruism
This suggestion is true in many ways. I live in a way that I hope reduces the suffering of others. I am NOT perfect…. but I am not attached to the idea of being perfect. While I know I am worthy of love and deserving, it is of course something that simmers sometimes below the surface and on occasion may rear it’s insecure head. My desire to love without expectation and be loved without expectation is a practice that shall require a lifetime of dedication. To expect myself anything more or less… is to expect perfection and set up myself and those around me for a definitive black or white failure. Life is grey. Definitive perfection in life, love, work and one’s spiritual path is unattainable. I am working on letting go of my attachment to personal suffering. The need I have to take care of others at all costs. I need to realize that sometimes it is their journey to fall and get lost, NOT my journey to keep them from experiencing. My dharma practice lays heavily on my own relation to expectations and my attachment to those. That is perhaps my greatest personal sin or ethical dilemma. Even as early as a year ago, I found myself thick in a wooded area of my own psyche, expecting expecting and growing more and more disappointed, disillusioned, and depressed. Anger, resentment, sadness, and the building of a sky high fortress of heavily walled silence to create a self imposed confinement… that was how I woke up and found myself this summer. The cleaning of my psychic house has been intriguing. Leading me in directions that have me walking in childlike wide eyed astonishment. Rather than asking why and why not, I have given in. I have allowed my karma and my dharma to climb into the front seat and guide me, rather than my struggling with a manual transmission while poking at the outdated GPS I had for my soul. While wandering blindly without a map… I feel like I found my way home.