I remember all the moral stories I was read and taught as a child – I just realized that I experienced them all (if this was intentional or not – I can only guess) as telling me how to behave properly with the world. They all seemed to involve some level of personal sacrifice – which was of course rewarded with “feeling good about myself” morally. Well I am constantly realizing – that it’s not like that … nor is it the other way around.
I had a breakthrough yesterday – I still don’t feel like talking or writing about the actual event – those who were with me supported and witnessed it. The thing that most echoed in my consciousness, that I do want to share, was the feeling of acting out of complete attention to myself and not out of complete disregard for my surroundings. This is a subtle realization for me!
I feel that the morality I was brought up with (and this has a lot to do with my family history, the cultures I was brought up in, etc.) taught me to sacrifice of myself for others (as others apparently did for me). This never felt quite right – but I had a thorough education so it held up for a long time (as you can tell I am still working with it!). Then at a certain point I made a rather drastic switch – an opposite extremity (which is what you get when you wind up a person to one extreme and then release) – one that centered on myself – my wants and needs. I don’t think I ever truly ignored my surroundings – but I gave clear priority (and still do!) to myself.
As time chiseled away at my harshness I have grown towards a delicate balance between myself and the world around me. I cannot be good/supportive/helpful to those around me unless I have a firm personal base – a grounding from which I can be my best. For me this includes money, a home, people, quiet, solitude and some kind of spiritual engagement (yes money did come first and no the order is of no significance – but you are welcome to analyze it to your heart’s content).
Yesterday I realized that there are two directions of working towards that delicate balance between myself and the world around me.
- One is the path I have been on for many years – pulling away from the bonds of the world around me. I experience this as a struggle – pulling away from something that is pulling me back. It has a subtractive quality – something must be lost for something to be gained. There is a high friction experience of destruction of what is to make space for what may be.
- The second is by working outwards from my core. Though I have been on this path for some years – it is only yesterday that I truly experienced this in my body. This is a process of growth that occurs at my own pace. It is a process in which I grow closer to the world by expanding and adding new layers. It is a pleasant process of exploration.
Though I am not claiming a truth – I know which one feels better for me at this point in my life : )
Thank you Shahar for your own process of inquiry, for sharing your insight and creating the circumstances for my body do its own learning!