Seeking Presence, Seeking the Star

Life would be so simple for all of us if we did only one thing. Or, rather, if we were only one thing. What is that one thing? That would be who you are. Who you are is who you are.  But most people aren’t interested in being who they are. Instead, they are interested in being something else.  The entire reason why spirituality and spiritual practices exist, the entire reason why religion exists is because humanity, as a whole, feels incomplete in the way they seem to exist, somehow cut off from spirit and divinity.  But spirituality is usually a last resort. First they try other things. A person seeks a better career, more money, a relationships They do this and this makes up their life. But it never seems to be enough. The person keeps trying to make things better and better. After all, what else could be more interesting that constant improvement, constant goal chasing, a chance to be come better than the day before? Since we were kids, haven’t we been taught that self-improvement is a good thing? Isn’t there an entire section in the book store for self-improvement books?

But when the self-improvement seminars and books fail, we might turn to spiritual pursuits and teachings.  At that point, the spiritual seeker is looking to use spirituality and spiritual practice, to get the things he couldn’t get before. This is why there are countless YouTube videos on how to manifest your desires, how to attract your soul mate, how to get rich through intention and soul work. But this is not spiritual practice, this is yet another trying to get better, to improve your life, to become a better person or something better than something else. As Socrates said in the Republic, it is an example of chasing something for the sake of something else, and not for its own sake. The true philosopher – the philosopher meaning the truth seeker – is the one who seeks it for its own sake. In other words, the soul seeks itself for the sake of itself and nothing else.  The seeking part happens because we are lost. But when we are found, we realize we were never lost in the first place – that we have always been who we are. We just didn’t want to be present to ourselves.

Soul work, or true spiritual work happens when we stop chasing what we think is better than we are, and instead open up to our awareness and experience of who we are. But it takes a while to get to that point. So, in the beginning we are not doing spiritual work, but are simply seeking our spirit. It is a bit like trying to find our body in a room that is pitch black. It is present, but we can’t see it. We are present already, but our consciousness is not in the right place. In fact, it seems like this “right place” or presence has very little value compared to the better and better stuff that we have created.  After all, can presence be on TV? No it can’t. You can see presence outside of you. You can’t see who you are outside of you. What you see outside of you is never you, including what you think about yourself. Every thought, every expression through language is outside presence. But we want to see. We want proof, to show others how great we are, how beautiful, how kind, how loving. Many would rather see these things, than just be them. The world is always louder and more advantageous than presence – so it seems. We forget all the world’s a stage…

So, in seeking ourselves because we are blind, we  spend most of our time in resistance to “what is”. In that resistance, we create everything that doesn’t belong to who we are. That is why humanity never stops trying, failing, and trying again.  You, who you are, are inside what is. You are what is for you. This is totally unacceptable in any society or group, and it is an unacceptable thing that begins at a young age, when you decided, usually through someone else, that who you are is not enough in some way, that who you are is lacking – not happy enough, not clever, not beautiful, not fun enough. Something like that.  We begin to move away from what is; we begin to move our consciousness away from who we are and we direct it onto something we’d like to be – another person, a friend, a movie star, a parent – anything. Anything but us. We learn at a young age to be seek out or try to be like others. That is the basis of modern society to this day. The collective consciousness is a pooling together of individuals’ consciousness who don’t want to be present to who they are. As a result, no one is really there. That is why we easily fall for illusions and magic tricks. Very few are paying attention. For this reason, those who do manage to be present to who they are, are seen as strange, powerful beings. Some are seen as crazy or weird. Most people think they could never be like those people, the visionaries, the bold inventors, some famous and some not famous. Most people wouldn’t want to be them, or they secretly envy them, because they seem so careless and free. Socrates was killed for being himself. There are many others. Pythagoras’ legacy was destroyed. All we have left is his triangles. These are the individual pioneers who dare to be what their dreams are made of, what nature has designed them to be. They have allowed their consciousness to be directed by their soul presence. They didn’t ask permission. They didn’t ask for validation. They just saw and did the best they can.

Such human beings don’t have to be rare at all. But most of us confuse power with ego and ego with power. We think that all expressions of power are ego. No, not all expressions of power are ego. Expressions of control are ego. Mozart didn’t write his music because he was obsessed with control. No, the divine literally flowed through him and he allowed it. He couldn’t stop writing music. His music is who he is and he is his music. There is eternity in that, as we still hear him to this day, long after his body has passed away. Our souls are like that. They are eternal and they can manifest in this reality in a way that transcends time and place. But this is not ego. This is a powerful soul expressing itself.  Can you tell the difference within yourself? Do you feel something great within you, that is not ego based, but just wants to express itself, like a child dancing in the rain or playing in mud? Something you know that is magical within you, but you doubt it because it doesn’t fit into your plans or the plans others seem to have of you?  Does it frighten you because you might have to give up something that makes you comfortable? Does it frighten you because you might offend or disappoint someone? What is keeping you from being you as a magical being? How much of your life are you willing to spend on plans, goals, and activities that do not belong to you?  How long will the flower seed try to grow into a tree? When will the rabbit stop trying to behave like the wolf? How long will humanity try to pretend that, in order to be good, we have to be please each other?

Life would be so simple if we would be who we are, fearless and compassionately who we are. There is creativity in that – natural creativity. Inspiration, which means breathing in Latin, is something that is natural to us and natural to everyone, as long as our soul is free to breathe. There is no government, no person, no place that has control over who you are. You are always free, now and forever, in every way. There is no one way to express the soul – everyone ,is different and unique in their own expression. The natural way follows nature. Look to the natural planet and all the creatures on it. Is there something that we could do without? Is there are wrong animal species? No. Only human beings create wrong and unnatural, and we do it because we believe to have lost what we can’t have. We believe we are nothing when everything is what we are. We have become blind to what we are because we are obsessed with become important, better,  famous, and wealthy. So much confusion has given rise to entire movements designed to justify that confusion, the rage, the anger, the sense of injustice and failure that arises, not because of society or the world; but because, simply, we have lost sight of our own breath, our own breathing.

The Star – Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

True spiritual work begins with the will to be present, to be present and learn about who you are. This means being able to make choices between what is good for you and what is not. It means not being afraid to offend others in those choices, and to always honor the soul that you are as you are.  Being present means not requiring drama against this or for that, but simply choosing because it is what is natural to choose. It is not demanding others follow or others shun.  Life becomes a river that flows through you, that you often hold like a cup holds water, and let it go when you are ready to let it go. Your world then becomes a reflection in that water, a reflection of the being as it flows through, as it rises and falls, and as it stagnates. It doesn’t matter where in the river you stand, or what time you stand, the water continues as the rains continue to fall, refilling overflowing – all of it is still you, effortless and unencumbered even where the water meets the shore. This is the meaning of the river and the star.

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