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#1866 - Thursday, July 22, 2004 - Editor: Jerry
This issue of The Highlights features selections from the book Remembering Who You Really Are: The Journey of Awakening to the Soul, by Ronda Ackles LaRue. These selections are exclusive to The Highlights.
Remembering Who You Really Are: The Journey of Awakening to the Soul by Ronda Ackles LaRue.
Ronda tells her story of awakening in a style that is very appealing. It's like sitting down with her. She speaks respectfully of her teacher Richard Moss, includes entries from her journal, and suggests exercises the reader might engage in order to face the castle (the particular dream world) that's been constructed and to go beyond fixing a crack or two everytime it shows up (in the same place.) This book is an extension of the spirit and everydayness of Jed McKenna's books (minus his grating albeit lovable arrogance). Though Jed is not mentioned nor is there an affiliation with him, Ronda could have been one of his successful students. What follows are a few selections which are intended to reveal the voice, point of view, style, and structural elements of the book.
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from the Foreward, by Richard Moss, M.D.
To discover the mysterious language in which our souls speak to us, we must first begin to deconstruct the illusion of who we have come to believe we are and allow ourselves to arrive at unknowing. Said in another way, we will run into ourselves and fall on our faces again and again until we finally learn to let go and trust what is. In speaking of this surrender process, Ronda comments, "stepping down from that with which we are identified without ever being able to 'know' (in the conventional sense) much less control, that which simply arises as spontaneous creation -- is the foundation on which the awakening journey rests."
...this book is about the nitty gritty of awakening by a woman who has carved her own path through an eclectic, non-traditional approach and tells it like it is. For example, I love it when Ronda writes, "The truth of who we really are is not found in the sensational, nor is it achieved through dead-ication to the mastery of a spiritual practice." In my observation, too many spiritual teachings emphasize a practice, until the practice becomes "the way" and self-realization becomes confused with the states of awareness such practices tend to cultivate. Meanwhile, as Ronda shows, the real work is anything but sensational. I believe women intrinsically respect nitty-gritty; they have spent millennia persecuted, disenfranchised, but always expected to pick up the pieces. As I look out at the world of "spirituality", it is still too much a man's world, articulated in a manner more accommodating to how men are enculturated and where women who follow these paths risk burying something of an innate feminine wisdom. That wisdom fills the pages of this book to the benefit of all of us.
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from the Introduction
So here is the journey of remembering. Here, with my prayer, is a light shining along the trail of the story of why we are here. It is a trail that leads through odd twists and turns, coming at last to the remembering of who you really are and always have been. The book is organized into three main sections. Part I presents the key ideas and elements in awakening to who we really are. It is not just a matter of "be here now" and "Voila! I'm alive in the moment!" There is something that first needs to seen, undone, and surrendered. This first section is a kind of prologue of the ground to come. It is like a blanket set out at the trailhead to the Journey of the Soul, where you may sit, contemplate the journey, pull together a few supplies, stretch your legs.
Part II is an account of the awakening process. In this section I share my personal encounters and experiences during the descent of my undoing, and the reformation of my being as grounded in remembering who I am. This section shows by way of travelogue, the common terrain and pitfills encountered on this sacred journey. Here you can put your head on the pillow of my storytelling, and be ushered into the sacred land of awakening. In my experience, there is valuable insight that may be gained by hearing and contemplating a frank expose of the awaking process that simply cannot be transmitted any other way except through one's own deep journey (and that's next).
In Part III, I summarize what I have found to be the keys to initiating and traversing the mystic's quest. While my friends and family know me to be inherently anti-technique and disdainful of "how to's" of almost any sort, I discovered for myself in my own journey into the mystic, some basic inner truths about this process of re-membering who we really are. There are a couple of keys that are especially helpful in some of the confusing dark places as well a some of the glorious ones. Rather than being tools per se, they are more like a conceptual map offering an orientation for keeping in sight the expression of faith and the claiming of your own sacred story.
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Part I from Chapter 2: The Great and Godly Game of Hide and Seek For me, realizing the role of dissatisfaction as inherent to the process of God (Consciousness) knowing Itself through us (as individuation) takes us out of the box. It relieves us from the burden of trying to fix ourselves through all the myriad modifications of circumstance that we try, and opens us instead to the potential of an entirely new relationship to dissatisfaction: one that, rather than try and fix it (a.k.a. heal ourselves, change ourselves) sees dissatisfaction for what it is, sees it in the larger context of what it serves, and therefore moves with it as part of the flow of a vibrant living current.
This requires a fundamental change in perspective. No longer is the goal to get rid of the dissatisfaction in my life. No longer do I cling to the idea that there is something in myself or in my life that needs fixing, healing, changing. No longer is dissatisfaction considered the symptom of an underlying problem at all. Rather, I accept this thing we call and feel as "dissatisfaction" as a form of dynamic tension that is inherent to the Current of Life. I accept that it is part of the momentum that brings a separate "me" back into relization of Oneness: "I Am That I Am."
This perspective for me lives closer to truth. It is looking at life from a space that is bigger than the box of my own identity, my own separateness, or my own life circumstances. This perspective doesn't deny these things, it simply derives understanding and response from a larger viewpoint: one that embraces my separateness within a larger context of Oneness. It is a fundamental reorganization of being. It is the place mystics call realization, it is the realization of Life breathing me -- and that I Am the Breathing.
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from Chapter 3: Getting Lost in Ourselves
How shall we live? Are you ready to recognize the castle you have constructed in order to protect (and block) you from the fullness of life that exists outside of those walls, or do you prefer to stay behind the (seeming) safety of these self-created structures of reality? Do you wish to know that which freely lives and grows in fields and vast open spaces, or do you prefer to stay within that which closes out, protects and holds away, letting in only that which the ego-king deems safe and controlled? The choice is yours (and mine) each moment of each day. And you and I are called, sooner or later, to make that choice, consciously.
These are very serious questions. Your answer to these questions is your living prayer. By your answer you are creating (right now) your destiny...
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from Chapter 5: At the Pillars of Descent
The path of Remembering ultimately requires a descent into the realms of unknowing. It is a process of being so thoroughly undone by a continual onslaught of unpredictable twists and turns in understanding, as to put one on the very razor's edge of sanity. And even there, you can't tell if you've finally fallen over the edge from one moment to the next. And actually, this is exactly the place you have to come to with-stand: The precipice of unknowing is where Truth is found. Again and again, the paradox!
"Treacherous" as a word does not do the journey justice. It has to be so. In no other way will the many-headed dragon give up its protective masks so that we can stand in the light of True Self. In no other way will the ego-self-identity surrender its position or purpose.... It is like giving an actor the role of king, only he forgets it's a role; believes he indeed is king and therefore (of course) refuses to be persuaded, cajoled, begged, or bribed off his kingly seat. (He's king for heaven sakes -- "off with your head" for trying!) It's like that, the journey to Remembering. It takes an overthrow with real finesse to dethrone someone who believes he's king! From time to time as I wrestled with myself over matters of ego and control, surrender and soul, I found myself spontaneously singing these two lines of a Don Henley song:
"I will not lie down. I will not go quietly."
(...Ain't it the truth!)
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The introduction to Part II This is a difficult section of this book, difficult because the path to Self-Remembering is such a universal part of the spiritual journey and yet so very personal and utterly devastating. I find no suitable way to hold up a light in this dark terrain than to offer up some of the tormented pieces and part of myself as I was devoured and crushed. I hope that by sharing some of the confusion, rawness, and blindness that occurred to me along the way, I might offer those in the depths of their own journey into the dark night of the soul some modicum of comfort: a small night light along the slippery footpath.
My story is not offered as a template for you to follow. There are no templates to follow in a journey such as this. Only is there the example of casting the seed of intent (of offering a living prayer) and of the surrendering (over and over again) into the unexpected, uncontrollable movements of Soul as the prayer is made manifest withing the Fullness of Being.
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from Chapter 8: Coming Undone
I make one keystone here, having come to some vantage point on my path: I am absolutely sure that the only thing that "saves" any of us from the powerful grasp of fear, ego, and the illusion of separateness, is living prayer.
It was not by prowess of my clever mind, nor the help of friends, family, teachers, yoga, deep breathing, saints or sages that I was led by grace to meet mySelf in Source. It was by the thread of my sincere prayer for the mystic that my faith was strengthened to follow (even without hope) the hands of Grace that were all the while holding me.
It is only now, in hindsight, that I've come to know this truth. The prayer is the seed of your redemption into Wholeness. The prayer is "the Word" cast upon a fertile soil. ("And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us.") Without the willing surrender that is implicit in offering up a sincere living prayer, the quest is futile and incomplete (I might even dare say "fraudulent").
What do I mean by a living prayer? I mean one that is imbued with your deepest intent; one that is infused by the willing worship of your living. To offer a true living prayer, one must contemplate deeply what matters in life -- to what one is in service. And from that contemplation, will arise a true living prayer, what I sometimes call the original prayer; that which reverberates into the void of infinite potential (as Deepak Chopra puts it), and calls you to Remembering. It is a sacred pact, a fulfillment of destiny.
Am I saying, "I've arrived; I was undone and now I'm done -- complete?" No, I surely am not. I don't believe there is any such "arrived" in that sense. There is only a continual opportunity for choice in renewing and surrendering into the Original Prayer. It is a life-long (eternity-long?) process of surrendering into unknowing, so that Truth can be known. Now how's that for something the mind can never really get?
Can you live within a Wisdom that the mind cannot fully grasp? This is what is asked of you in the process of Remembering.
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from Chapter 8: Coming Undone
JOURNAL ENTRY (DESPAIR AND FORMLESSNESS)
I'm still hoping for a "breakthrough" but Steve says I'm getting just what I've asked and prayed for...it just doesn't come the way any of us think it would or should. All I know is, I feel like I'm too old to start anything (like life's over in a weird way). Can't find any reason to start anything anyway. I'm stuck here in "no man's land." I guess I'm experiencing some degree of death of the ego (or at least perhaps a light is shining on its ever-present masquerade). I do sense that "IT's" all about awareness -- not changing anything...or at least not "trying to."
I also see that I am still always running to beliefs out of fear. Even surrendering to life is motivated by fear -- like: "If I can surrender now, perhaps I'll be spared some horrendous crisis forcing me to surrender later." God, it goes on and on!
I've been living for months, within each day (and within each hour of the day) with the question, "what shall I do now? And what shall I do now?"
...So few diversions, that those of my mind-making are filling the screen!
The passage above depicts the circling layers on which the dance between individual identity and formless movement meet and vie for resolve.
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Part III: A Companion Guide
from Chapter 10: Living Your Destiny
THE DREADED GIVE-UP QUESTIONS
How much are you willing to give up (if you had to) in order to know and live your soul's purpose?...Are you willing to give up your home? Your relationships? Your family? Your health? Are you willing to give up financial security? Career identity? Are you willing to give up your various comforts and attachments? Are you willing to give up your various addictions or distractions (caffeine, alcohol, TV, sex, sports, sleep)?
I know I know! You're saying, "This is stupid. Why should I have to give up these things to find my soul's purpose? That's ridiculous." Ask the questions anyway!
You know why? Because right here, in all of these things we don't want to give up, is where we find the deep-seated fears that are continually sending out the message of "no", and drowning out our appeals for "yes" in the yearning desire to remember and live our soul's intent.
Right here, in these exact questions, will you find your contradictions of intent. You will be led (as I was) to question the depth of your desire for soul; you will start to meet and discover the fear of non-being, and the ceaseless antics of the "ego-king" with his various masks and clever tricks to try and keep you away from the threatening region of Soul.
Asking these questions, and following the course of your answering, will unravel the whole intricate maze that forever seeks to keep us contained (safe and sound) within the structures of self-identity. We don't want to ask ourselves these questions. ... Ask these questions anyway. I tell you, this is the very seed of awakening.
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from Chapter 10: Living Your Destiny SUMMARY OF PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS
1. Initiate the Soul Quest: "To what do I dedicate my life's meaning?
2. Pose the Quest as a meditation mantra, and follow the thoughts and feelings that arise.
3. Discover and acknowledge your contradictory desires (your "no's" to Soul) by asking "The Dreaded Give-Up Questions."
4. Offer up a conscious living prayer -- i.e., one that comes as close as you can possibly get to expressing the clarity and depth of your understanding, and of your intent (including acknowledgment of "the good, the bad, and the ugly.").
5. Consecrate your Prayer by making it a living mantra (a living focus) around which your life is blessed and your awareness attuned.
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Read more about the author and her work, and order the book at http://rondalarue.com/
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