Posted by: innerpilgrimage | July 18, 2010

Sufism, Logotherapy, and A Search for an Ashram

      I started the morning reading more about Sufism. I caught a spiritual wave, an enlightenment moment that triggered some sort of high in my body. I grabbed onto the message and promptly forgot the words. But it is in there, and its message has driven me to proceed farther along the spiritual path.

      I read the Sufi texts until they began to make little sense to me and felt more like religion than a spiritual journey any longer. Something about doing what I needed to do before walking into the deeper spiritual path. I am taking that, because I do have more to do. I can’t leave this existence I have chosen to become a Sufi, not that I particularly wanted to. I have taken the core and folded it into myself gently. It has uplifted me, and it has done what it meant to do. Now comes logotherapy.
      Logotherapy is an existential therapeutic school like Freudianism which focuses on the lack of meaning in life instead of sexual issues. Having a spiritual meaning to my life is the core of my journey into my spiritual self. I do not know how far I shall get into the logotherapy book I received (in a bag of other books, brought by a fellow OA member), but what I get out of it will probably be about as priceless as anything else.
      My journey is not religious. I have taken from the religions of the world and drawn in Truths which resonate with my soul. But the mundane trappings feel like bars of a cage, and I will not trap my soul any longer in the mundane world. I did that in an effort to try to find community. Just like in OA, this is a solitary journey; while I have a community surrounding me, I cannot take anyone else along on this inner life walkabout. Just like with compulsive overeating, however, there is not just one path to recovery. OA is not the only way people find relief from food obsession. It worked for me, and I am finding that by walking in the door last September, my Higher Power has offered me the gift of seeking a greater spiritual life than I could ever imagine I could possess.
      I am having trouble, however, finding a balance between prayer and meditation. I got so much out of Eat, Pray, Love that I am inspired to find a local ashram. This started out as a desire to find yoga classes, and I considered going to the YMCA until I stopped and realized I don’t want Yoga. I want the spiritual teachings that accompany yoga when done in the right settings. I don’t want to separate the spiritual from this form of meditation. In essence, I want to learn to meditate the mundane roadblocks away so I can finally get a throughway open between my Higher Power and myself. I don’t really know how to meditate; I kind-of work on inspiration at this point and get tastes of communication between my HP and me.
      No, “God” does not speak to me as much as I am drawn to the tiny vignettes playing out in nature or the coincidences which bring me into places where I can be deeply and humbly thankful that I am not alone . . .
      . . . holy cats. I am not alone at all, am I? I mean, if I follow my thought processes that (1) I am part of “God” as is everyone else who has a soul–ie. everyone else–and (2) I am but a fragment of the Universe, a grain of sand on an eternal beach, and (3) when I walk this earth, I find teachers (and sometimes students, which seems odd to me since I don’t have my own sh–t together!) . . . if I follow those, I am eternally surrounded by anyone who is seeking enlightenment. Doesn’t matter if they went to church today or synagogue yesterday or turn toward Mecca regularly throughout each day. Doesn’t matter if they’re sitting in an Ashram in India right now meditating or doing Tai Chi or using a martial art as a meditative path. Any person who is choosing to open their eyes, to leave the waking dream of the mundane world, is part of that path for me. Anyone who seeks answers beyond themselves and what they can collect in this world. Anyone who wants to feed their souls more than eating, sleeping, screwing, and shopping.
      I want so much to have a direction to go today, to have my Higher Power walk me up to a teacher of meditation and prayer. I want so much for that, but perhaps I need to keep learning on my own before I am open for that teacher. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Perhaps this is my time to make myself ready, to absorb and find my (for lack of a better term) religion. I am not doing battle here, like I once thought. I am not preparing sword and shield to fight.
      I am carving the stick I will lean on when I am weary. I am preparing the satchel which carries my spiritual sustenance. I am wrapping myself in a wide cloth of understanding which I will use to sleep on the bare ground as I travel. I am making my shoes, whose soles must be prepared for the journey of a thousand miles. This isn’t readying myself for battle at all. This is preparing myself for the wide roads and footpaths as I traverse a landscape in a country I have longed to discover.
      What’s weird is I have the willingness to do this. I wish I had this level of willingness to do Step Eight, but I am seeing perhaps that will happen on this journey. I’ve gotten to here because I walked some. But to traverse the world and not fear being unforgivable by other (fallible) human beings for my own human failings is something I seek. I cannot change how people will perceive me when I admit to them the harm I have done. I cannot change whether or not they will allow me to make direct amends to them. I can find the courage to make indirect amends; I can find the courage to accept that some things are unforgivable to some people.
      My HP just gave me the drive to hit a meeting this afternoon. Since we’re only as sick ass our secrets, this meeting is not an OA meeting. It’s time for me to go to one. I hoped that the OA would really work this angle of addiction, but I’m having real issues with this angle, ones that being a normal BMI are not addressing.
      To put it bluntly: F**k!
      I’m smiling because I know a handful of people will understand what I mean. I wanted OA to fix this, like it fixed the drinking. I will be fine, however. I know if my Higher Power is guiding me there for spiritual nourishment, then it’s time for me to go. I will know by the end of the meeting if it’s where I need to be for a long-term commitment to this new program. I think . . . I think I am a social anorexic.
      What a mess. What a gift to recognize it. And as I stand trembling, I know that my Higher Power is moving in to comfort me as I ask for Its help to bring me to a place of serenity.
      I have a purpose. My soul’s purpose is to love and listen. My mundane self is terrified of opening myself to people because of a basic mistrust over time and the messages I have accepted as truth. But if I am closed to the world, I cannot serve my true purpose–to be a mom.
      By my definition of being a spiritual Mom, I am lacking in the gentle kindness people need. I can “act as if” I care. And, once I am out of the emotionally-charged situation, I do care. But I get cold sometimes, where I want people to freaking buck up and take responsibility and stop acting like small children. Not really the path I want.
      It’s not a big path, being a Mom. It’s a very small path, one with open arms and heart. Mom knows she’s going to be hurt sometimes, but those hurts are temporary. To grow, we need to rebel against the people we put into authority. I’m not in authority over anyone. I am not asking to be in authority over anyone. I actually do not want to be in authority over anyone.
      I just want my heart open again. I want to not fear the world outside my front door. I want to protect the souls who come to me for safe harbor, the unconditional and enduring love from my Higher Power augmenting my own feeble, frail, and imperfect love. I want to see the “invisible people”, the ones who are in agony because people rarely look beyond their own noses. But I don’t want to be eaten alive by them. I want to be a waystation to the next person with open arms and eyes and heart. I want to be one of millions of people ready to give love–but not my sexual affections or romantic intentions to. I want to be a conduit, not a wellspring. I can’t be a wellspring. I am human, despite being a piece of the Universe as well.
      I am love. I came from love. I was made by love. I cannot cease to love. Just like you.
      My name is Jess, and I am a food addict. Not sure what else I am, but my Higher Power will guide me to those answers as well. I have true faith, bound by no book but the secret, unwritten one which is all around us in this beautiful–yet often lonely–world.

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