One day, not long ago, I woke in a tender mood. At once humbled and heartened by my own personal insignificance, I became aware of a subtle exhaustion welling up within me regarding any drive to succeed, to share, or to shine.
I could suddenly feel the long-honed impulse within me to speak, to write, to articulate my heart’s seeing, and a way it was very subtly entangled in shame. And let me tell you, this discovery took me by surprise!
Like so many of us, for some time I’ve been mysteriously compelled to bring forth my greatest gifts — with genuine care, and surrendered service to the heart of our world.
There is grace and humility in knowing that even if I give everything I came to give with this life — boldly, bravely, and with immense beauty — it will be but a single stroke of light across the sky of life: fleeting, impermanent, gone in a heartbeat.
Even in my most grandiose moments of self-imagining, I’ve always been aware that in the face of the glorious grandness of our universe, I am but a tiny speck of dust on fire. Yet in spite of this humbling perspective of relative insignificance, I’ve been truly called to serve.
At a certain point along the path of awakening and homecoming, many of us discover the secret of service. We discover that to generously share what is within us — to allow our unique voice, offering, and presence to somehow become medicine for the world — is in itself a kind of “saving grace,” alongside the very actualization we are most craving. As we surrender more and more to our authentic shining, we discover that this light we most deeply love? It becomes us.
And yet in these racing times, and particularly in this Western world, when it comes to sharing one’s gifts, there is so much attention given to the widely-desired phenomena of FAME, and the incessant connection between success and popularity; as in—How many “likes” did you get? How many “hits” to your site? Have you ever “gone viral?” How many “followers” do you have? What are your “ratings?” This is the realm of air-brushed “selfies”, of name-dropping, of coveted connections, best-sellers; where bigger is better, and more is always more.
And, while we can feel the underlying delusion and wounded presumption of scarcity inherent in this image-driven consciousness; the implication that we could never actually be enough — beautiful, popular, famous, wealthy, or successful enough— we might still feel in moments the conditioned urge to comply.
It is a tempting ladder to climb, following some promise of ultimate spiritual/cultural validation. To the cultural ego, we sense this level of worldly “success” could be the key to financial freedom and happiness. To the spiritual ego, it seems if we were to truly “make a difference” in the world, and be publically recognized for this, then our lives would really matter, right? And then perhaps we would finally be truly worthy and loveable.
On the other hand, when we realize the deepest truth of who we are, in being essentially free and untouched by any of this; when we can see from our “eagle vision” perspective the tiny, sacred blip of our lives playing upon the eternal screen of life, and know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our true worth, value and love-ability exists continuously and regardless of any form of expression, then the game changes, at once evolving our motive and our motivation.
From a place of innocently desiring to serve and offer our shining gifts to the world, it is genuinely inspiring to imagine engaging a much larger audience! There is nothing more gratifying to the cracked-open, awakened heart, than to be well-used by life. Personally I look forward to the possibility of one day being a published author of widely known books; a speaker who speaks to big crowds; humbly allowing this tiny life of “mine” to be fully used by Love in as big and bright a way as Love desires.
But as I was saying, the other day I woke in a tender mood, mysteriously aware of how my “drive to shine”, as it were, was still somehow entangled in shame.
What a surprise to see this: supposedly free and selfless shining — intertwined with shame?! As I tracked it I saw it was almost as if at a certain, subtle level I felt: I must speak, must write, and must do it well, so as to truly be worthy of this life. I must say what’s within me to be said, so as to become even more valuable to life.
I suddenly remembered an email I got from my beloved spiritual mother, Gangaji, last October, while I sat, haggard and hopeful by the bedside of my young daughter, intensely ill in the ICU. The email said simply: “Dearest Daughter, Please don’t try to be perfect. Just your being is enough.”
Just my being is enough. Really? You mean I don’t need to do it right? I don’t need to make some great “mark” on the world? I don’t need to win anyone’s approval? Just my being is enough? Wow — what a concept.
And so, on this recent tender morning, I sat with the question: What if nothing more needs to be said? What if it’s done; already more than enough? And I don’t need to utter another word? Don’t need to share another insight or revelation?
I could feel the terror around this possibility give way to deeper relaxation, to the beauty of stillness and silence that I love with all my heart and soul. I could feel the simple, holy truth and freedom in this — that truly, nothing more needs to ever be said.
I then had the thought: What if I only touched one other heart with this entire lifetime? Only one. Would it be any less significant, valuable, or beautiful a life, if I only touched one other heart?
What if our offering doesn’t need to be grand, in order to be true? What if it doesn’t need to speak to millions, or make us millionaires? Doesn’t need to be popular; or loved, or even liked?
What if it is never even seen or acknowledged by another soul? Would that make it less sacred somehow? Less true?
How would it feel if it was enough to simply let your heart, as it is — a glorious and fleeting work in progress— shine what it must, regardless of who else might be touched by the shining?
If our shining doesn’t validate our existence, nor make us feel useful or special, appreciated or loved; if it doesn’t give us fame or riches, power or security, romance or sex appeal? Then what? Would we still shine if shining didn’t give us anything in return?
What if simply BEING, in and of itself, is more than enough?
I believe it is, dear ones.
I believe you, as you are, are more than enough.
I believe that when not another word needs to be spoken, and then we speak, it is LOVE that speaks on our behalf.
I believe that when we let go of needing our shining, our true sharing of ourselves with life, to bring us anything in return, we become as the SUN, and everywhere we turn, we see life blooming.