I’ve been living in community now, part time, for just under three months. I come in on Friday nights, then stay till sometime Sunday morning, when I say my good-byes and am gone till the next Friday. What I noticed right away from the community was this invitation to step off the stage. This was massive for me. Stepping off the stage. Just reading those words again stirs something inside that’s very deep, fearful, and yet exhilarating. You can come down from the stage here, with us. We’re here to help you see Who you are, in Truth. My entire life have I had some awareness or sense that I was merely fulfilling a role and some made-up persona. A persona that states: I will be who I think you need me to be so that you stick around, and better yet, stick around and validate me as a someone … and dare I say it … someone special. But I’ve always had this rebellious streak – a reluctant role-taker, as it were.
Recalling a line from a poem written when I was 20: “And with contempt as the stage-man hands me my role, I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul.” That’s been my life, till recently, in a nut-shell.
And so stepping off the stage into trust has been huge. It’s invited me into a whole experience of melting – a selfhood melting, at moments gushing, all over the place. But what I’ve also learned, so far, is that the ego is extremely sneaky. Given the tiniest foot-hold, it will lure me back up onto stage using fear tactics: You need me! I’m here to protect you! These people don’t really have your back – come back with me, and I’ll show you what safety is. And that’s when I spin out, lose my frame of reference, and become ambushed with doubt. At times I have thought “I have to get out of here. I need to get away, this isn’t safe.” Other times I have just hid out: “They can’t see me like this. What if they found out? They’d throw me out!”
But sooner or later, I come back around, a glimmer of light enters my mind, a gentle voice prompting me “go talk with….(so and so)”, “go for walk” … or whatever. The spin out starts to spin back in, often ending is feelings of relief, joy, serenity, laughter, and lightness. Now I’m at a point of knowing and expecting the spinouts will happen, and just working to stay open and willing to hear the quiet Voice inside to lead me back to love. And at the heart of it, it’s my brothers who are most helpful in this regard. My “stage” self is quite suspicious and fearful about asking for help, and appearing weak and needy. But stepping off the stage, more and more, I go where my heart directs me, because this is where I MUST go, there is no other way. And each time I follow those inner pointers, I end up feeling the big Love more and more. Oh yeah! I CAN trust!!!!! Does it get any better that that???
Sometimes. Occasionally I get these stretches of what I can best describe as expansion. Like unexpectedly jumping out of an airplane and having that “wheeeeeee” sensation. They come and they go, and are amazing reminders of what Truth is, and where I’m going with my brothers. Where we are all headed. For example, last week when I went to leave the center on Sunday morning, I had such an experience. The weekend was riddled emotional releases, and I walked around a lot of the time in a dazed and confused state. For the most part, I wasn’t exactly in the joy, but knew intuitively that what was coming up needed to come up and get released. So, when I went to leave in the morning, I remember trying to leave quickly because I could feel something starting to erupt. It didn’t seem to have any specific scenario or memory or concept attached to it. I didn’t want to let it blow while I was walking out the door, and as soon as I had that thought, lo and behold, the tears started to come.
This was an explosion of emotion and sobbing and release that would not be contained despite all my best efforts. Driving home I just sobbed and sobbed, and felt like it would never end. What was striking about the experience was that it was completely joyful. I felt enormously and expansively happy and didn’t know why. There was no earthly reason, and it just had to ‘blow’ and get out. Alongside the intense joy was an unmistakable sense that I made it all up. That the whole thing – all these people, all these stories, all the cosmos, all of it – was made up. That remembering was what seemed to be the joyful thing. That there was nothing ever to feel bad about – ever. That it’s all supremely and infinitely joyful and innocent and glorious.
So as the experience of being ‘off the stage’ while in community starts to ooze into my life while outside community (at home, at my job, with my kids etc.), can I begin to really get that all of this is perfect and is for my healing, which is really for everyone. There’s no more need to try and work to define my little self in these weird terms around these stage roles of who I think I am and who I think I need to be or imagine that I need to be. The melting is a thaw of ALL of it, no matter where I seem to be or whatever I seem to be doing. There is no real distinction in form, except when I try and push to have one or make one true.
I’m just in the movie theater watching all these weird and wonderful images fly by, and my only job is to let go and Let God.