The more we go into personal development and spiritual growth, the more we are called to develop every single virtue there is.
Be loving with tenderness- and know how to set boundaries, be clear and strong. Be a sovereign being- and live in synergy. Be light and playful- and focused, present, committed. Stay humble- yet confident and assertive.
We can cook someone dinner and cover them in presents, ask them for a massage, back off for days to give them space, and call them out in full – all for love. We get it; life is complex and different situations ask for different things. Yet, it is easy to over-question ourselves and to work on developing all kinds of qualities.
I need to be more patient, more proactive, more loving, stronger, a better listener and communicate better. More this, more that.
We Are Everything
Deep in our spiritual essence, we are all one, we are all Gods, and we are multi-conscious beings. We ARE everything. We can all have glimpses of this here and there, but that is not exactly how we feel most of the time.
In fact, what we do most of the time is quite the opposite: we simplify things a bit too much. Design intuitive things that do not require explanation. Selling something online? Make sure to have a one-click process. Don’t overcomplicate your message: teach things in three steps. Develop your own brand, and remember: always be consistent! Always show the same side of you to your audience, otherwise, you will confuse them! Who needs more complexity in life anyway?
So, how does a society that is used to making everything so accessible (a.k.a. dumbing all down) deal with our complexity of being?
How to be everything at once
One way to go around it is to continue our over-mental tendencies: I should be loving, I should be tough, I should be humble, I should be confident, I should trust, I should question, I should work hard, I should, I should, I should. AHHHHHHH. Are you feeling anxious yet just by reading this? Clearly, this path isn’t sustainable.
Here is the thing. Energetically speaking, we cannot hold the state of being everything for too long, not in this material dimension. Glimpses of it, sure. Hold it? No, can’t do.
Energy cannot be held. All these attributes of being are energies, frequencies, states. Even staying within the same state (e.g. joy) in a truly sustainable manner can be a challenge of its own- let alone to be everything.
Everything moves. Energy needs to flow- that is the only thing it needs to do, really. Try to hold it, you will lose it. Merely because we cannot hold anything. We can only circulate things. Let them come in and come out.
Want more life energy force, more pleasure, more creativity? Then learn to circulate more within yourself. Learn to let go to empty yourself more, to receive more, and let it go more again.
How? Work on your mental beliefs around scarcity, and work on your energy channels, your nadis, so that the energy can circulate — the 8 limbs of yoga are great for that. Align your physical, emotional, and mental bodies. That’s the work.
I am writing all of this just to write this:
The only way to be everything is by being nothing.
Only what is empty can receive so much and shift that fast. Empty yourself, and you have a chance to be everything, giving to each situation what it calls.
Remember what I said about our social tendency of oversimplifying everything? Turns out we are not that wrong about it. The execution of being nothing might not be easy — but conceptually it is. As we say in design development, it takes a lot of complex deep work to get to a great simple solution. As above, so below.
“Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. And between the two my life flows” Nisargadatta Maharaj
The thing is, until we grasp being nothing, we are either stuck in mental constructs of who we think we are or should be (personality, which dictates how we act within a limited arrow of beliefs we see as “me”), or are thinking there’s more to heal and to be.
“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.” Pema Chödrön
If we are present and empty, what is needed from us at that time can emerge, because there is space within us for that. It emerges out of connection with ourselves, with other people, with Spirit. Not out of being mental asking ourselves “what should I do now?”.
Release that thought. Empty yourself, and surrender to connection through total presence. That is Being. That’s freedom.
“Why is life so full of contradictions? It serves to break down mental pride. We must realize how poor and powerless we are. As long as we delude ourselves by what we imagine ourselves to be, to know, to have, to do, we are in a sad plight indeed. Only in complete self-negation is there a chance to discover our real being.” Nisargadatta Maharaj
I challenge you to start on any spiritual path or personal development practice and not hear about the importance of presence. This is a foundational piece, one that allows many other things to come: connection, discernment, joy, and clarity.
That is also why presence is one of the five pillars of my work as a spiritual guide — one of the building blocks of spiritual growth. If we can master presence, we have gone a long way in our spiritual journey. If we can stay present and empty, we can connect and allow what is to come and to go.
A simple way to see if we are present is by noticing how deeply we are breathing. Normally when we go to our heads we automatically breathe more shallowly. If we are not breathing deeply, then we are in our heads.
Developing presence is a massive work. It requires us to let go of distractions, and develop self-mastery over our minds.
We come to this life with nothing. We will leave it with nothing. There is nothing to hold on to, and there is everything to be when we are fully here.
We become everything by unbecoming all we think we are. Clearing ourselves from any expectation of what we are to be.
“No sane person fears nothingness.” Robert A.F. Thurman, The Tibetan Book of the Dead
One of my favorite meditations is the classic Soham, in which we repeat silently over and over again Soham, coordinating it with our breathing. Soham means “I am that”. What is this I am that? I am God, I am everything. Not I am patient, I am love, I am an engineer, I am Aline or whatever limitation we tend to impose on ourselves. I am. That’s all. If you are everything that is all we can say. I am (empty). I am nothing.
“Refuse all thoughts except one: the thought “I am”. The mind will rebel in the beginning, but with patience and perseverance it will yield and keep quiet. Once you are quiet, things will begin to happen spontaneously and quite normally, without any interference on your part.” Nisargadatta Maharaj
More than letting go: learn to receive
People are often scared of this approach because they fear losing all they are holding on to so tightly. The thing is, this is only one side of the coin. The other side is about having space to receive everything. This is the perspective shift that can make it go from a burden to the ability to expect the unexpected.
“We carry around an image of ourselves, an image we hold in our minds. One way to describe this is “small mind”. It can also be described as sem. In Tibetan there are several words for mind, but two that are particularly helpful to know are sem and rikpa. Sem is what we experience as discourse thoughts, a stream of chatter that’s always reinforcing an image of ourselves. Rikpa literally means “intelligence” or “brightness”. Behind all the planning and worrying, behind all the wishing and wanting, picking and choosing, the unfabricated, wisdom mind of rikpa is always here. Whenever we stop talking to ourselves, rikpa is continuously here.” Pema Chödrön
Being nothing is about learning to circulate. This means not only letting go, but receiving more than you ever thought imaginable — and let it all go again, making space to receive more next time. No, it is not always amazing, sometimes it sucks- but I am sure that the things you hold on to also suck here and there. Big deal.
Empty, we are nothing. Then the second later we embody something. Then we let it go again. Then the next minute we embody something else. In and out, in and out, in and out. That’s how we can embody anything and everything: by having space with no personal judgments of who we think we are and how we think we are to act.
That’s how we stop overidentifying ourselves with illusions of who we are.
“When everyone is trying to be something, be nothing. Range with emptiness. Human should be like a pot. As the pot is hold by its emptiness inside, human is hold by the awareness of his nothingness.” Shams Tabrizi
Presence with emptiness is a sign of trust. The trust of receiving as needed, of letting go as needed, of not needing to worry. Trust and connection walk hand in hand.
What parts of you are you willing to release, to make space for other parts of your being to come in and show themselves?
“I am” is enough to heal your mind and take you beyond. Just have some trust.”Nisargadatta Maharaj
Work with Me
Release from blockages, and heal what is holding you back. Let yourself free.