ASK ABDI: HOW TO DEAL WITH RIGIDITY AND JUDGMENT ON THE PATH?
QUESTION: I have a great longing for connection with Source energy, and have been on a journey for the past 10 years to find my way there. I have had experiences that have helped me understand something of what you mean when you say, “words are lies”, and in general that the material world we live in is just one section of a much wider continuum.
My struggle is that I have been working really hard to stay grounded: to make sure I take care of my daily life - pay bills, get sleep, be super aware of my emotional behaviors and the way I interact with other people, and the like. This is work I needed to do in order to learn how to exist on multiple levels at the same time, so to speak. But I feel like I’ve gotten a little too rigid, that the container I was trying to build has kind of taken over the process, and now I'm having a hard time letting myself go. Mixed in with all of this is a healthy dose of anxiety around life-long questions of who I am, am I making the right decisions? I know I sometimes drive myself a little batty trying to tune in so closely to “the way”. What scares me is that I also find myself becoming cynical and really judgmental about people who are also on the path and say things like “I know I’m a healer”, “I want to be a shaman”, etc. This judgment feels bitter and can’t be good for anyone.
I know I need to shift something, but I don’t know what. Any advice would be much appreciated.
ANSWER: Lovely how you put it: “the material world we live in is just one section of a much wider continuum”. Of course, as you realize the remembrance of that truth, as powerful as it is, it does not necessarily translate into taking care of one’s daily life. It certainly can help take a level of anxiety out, but we still have to chop wood and carry water.
The "rigidity" bit, which many of us suffer from, is a reaction to managing existential, as well as, repressed childhood fear and anxiety. Similar to a wall, it can define and put things in some sort of order, but also keeps things out. Awareness of it alone will start shifting it, since one starts to witness how stifling it can be. Your job is to encourage the loosening of that tight knot. And be aware of the emotions that are being kept at bay by being too rigid.
In my own work with that issue, I started by taking one area of my life and stepping back from being on top of every aspect of it. In my home, I started not putting every thing in order every free minute on weekends. I stopped making my bed every time I got up. I didn’t take a shower or shave first thing in the morning. I didn’t wash the dishes the second I was done eating. I set up a lab where instead of everything being in tiptop shape (i.e. being in control), I let things be messy. And I observed my reaction to not being on top of things: anxiety and unease at first, and relief gradually. After some time, I went back to my orderly way, but with the awareness of not using it as a way to ease anxiety. Any time I caught myself doing that, I backed off and sat with the feeling.
The judgment of others can be aspects of ourselves that we have not accepted. Or overwork/control and lack of joy in our own lives. Look into both and feel what holds true. You are correct in your assumption that judgment is not good for anyone. It intensifies disconnection and the feeling of separation in us. The judged party also feels the energy being thrown at them, even if it is on an unconscious level. We don’t have to like everyone that comes our way or agree with what comes out of their mouth. We certainly have to love them though, even if we don’t want to keep their company.
Remember that after the work you have done, “the way” takes over. Allow “it” to do so. Our job is not to work so hard to keep being aware of it; we just need to make some room by not numbing ourselves to “its” loud voice. And never underestimate our attachment to the pain and unease of our habitual forgetfulness/sense of separation. Know what poisons and what nourishes. Be gentle and firm while knowing when to yield and when to hold fast. All else will follow.