In the autobiographical note at the end of her new book – There Was Once a Woman – our friend Manda Clements steered clear of the usual list of achievements and career landmarks, and instead expressed the feeling that her main job in life has been to identify what she loves. We were deeply impressed by that thought, and by Manda’s courage in writing it. Because identifying what we love can be understood in two ways, can’t it? Is it the likes and preferences of the conditioned self we are talking about? Preferences which only exist to shore up the conditioned self’s fragile defences against what it perceives as threats and sources of pain? Or are we talking about something much deeper – the aspiration towards the good, the beautiful and the true that wells up constantly from our original, divine self, drawing our highest good towards us like a magnet?
Knowing Manda as we do, we know she was talking about the deeper question: what does my pure, unconditioned self love, want and need? What will allow it to flower in me? And how can I facilitate that two-way flow between it and the magical web of creation?
How would you answer these questions? How could you give more space in your life for these deeper wants and loves? Don’t you think these are wonderful questions to ask yourself every so often, rather like a ship’s captain checking the compass to be sure the ship is still on course?
In my own case, since I’ve had cancer, these questions have become even more important to me than they were before. When your life is thrown into turmoil, whether by illness or some other unexpected circumstance, you are forced to question all your previous assumptions about who you are, what you want and where you are going. This questioning is a healthy thing, a blessing indeed, if it opens you up to a closer connection with your unconditioned self.
But maybe the biggest question of all is: how do you tell the difference between the evanescent desires of your conditioned self, and the will of your divine self? Well, answers to that would fill a book, not a paragraph, and like you, we are still learning! But here’s a starting point we find helpful: The conditioned self is a linear thing, under the illusion of past, present and future. Deluded by a false sense of incompleteness, there are all kinds of things that can cause it pain and confusion, all kinds of things that, while they may bring transient enjoyment, will not bring lasting joy. The divine self, on the other hand, is simply here and now. It does not have to strive for love or joy or peace because it is all those things, and more. And it is not far from you, as many people believe, but your most intimate, most lasting possession. If you just breathe gently and hold that awareness for a moment – even if you think you are ‘pretending’! – you’ll notice how all your senses relax and open up in a new way. Suddenly, you are receiving life on all channels, inhaling life without resistance, no longer on the outside of the wheel, getting bumped over all the stones, but at its still centre. And from that vantage point, it is oh, so much easier to feel and see what is needed, and ‘go with the flow’.
That inner certainty, of being supported and guided by the river of Life itself, is our wish for you, for 2012 and always.
With all our love,
Ann, Geoff and the Cygnus Team