True knowledge comes from experience. It’s easy to give advice without really listening, without really knowing where that thought or advice is coming from, because we’re unaware of something inside of us that’s simply projecting our own wounding or unmet needs. Something to ask ourselves when we’re looking outside ourselves to place blame on another, to judge another, to think we have the answers: Are you also doing “THE WORK?” are you sitting with yourself, learning to watch your thoughts, to question your beliefs, to feel your feelings in your body, to tolerate and allow those thoughts and feelings? Are you breathing through and into discomfort as it comes up when we really face life? Are you learning about your family, your childhood, about the things that formed you and your outlook on life? Are you working on opening your mind? Questioning the things you think and believe so as to live from the healthiest place you can?
Anything other than this is living a life of complacency, and it’s the same as being asleep. Sometimes we have to be woken up by some tragedy or external circumstance or maybe we were lucky enough to be born into a family that encouraged this kind of questioning and self-observation. Or perhaps we’re just tired of suffering, tired of feeling unfulfilled, wandering around life, doing the things we were told were “normal” or “good” or “appropriate.” Whatever way you wake up, wake up and really look at yourself. It can be the most beautiful, difficult, rewarding work of your life.
I know these things because I’ve been on both sides, and have done all the above: screwed up, been asleep, acted from a place of ignorance and suffering. I’ve experienced tragedy, loss and a lot of suffering that have helped me wake up more and more. Subsequently, I looked deeply at myself, worked through the discomfort of the results of my actions. Every time we choose to try to be awake, our eyes open a little more, our minds open up and we can receive the Truth. And there will be times we fall back into the slumber, into an ignorant sleep. It’s okay - it’s just like meditation - as soon as you notice you’ve wandered, compassionately bring yourself back.
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