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The Moment of Initiation

“The man who sweats under his mask, whose role makes him itch with discomfort, who hates the division in himself, is already beginning to be free” – Thomas Merton


I remember it like it was yesterday. It was December 11th, 2019, and all of my best thinking, all of my best ideas, the full exertion of my formidable self-will and all my “best attempts to fix” my situation had landed me in a place of complete and utter despair. That was the moment I completely surrendered and let go of the insane notion that that same thinking that brought me to this cul-de-sac of destitute, was going to be the thinking that would get me out.  In that moment, I let go of the belief that I had any viable path forward. I stopped analyzing, criticizing, judging, scheming, evaluating, planning, blaming and I fully and absolutely admitted absolute and unconditional defeat.


That was my moment of initiation. That was my moment of radical grace. I experienced unconditional love.


In that moment, there was someone there that loved me more than I knew how to love myself. There was someone there that had been holding me all this time and I could feel their timeless embrace. It was the moment I discovered that they had always been there, all of this time, hidden within me. A metaphysical Self that existed since the moment of conception. Not created but surrendered to. This was my discovery of the true Self, and a momentary experience of the true Self is sometimes all one needs. Once I had a taste of it, I knew I could never get enough of it, and this moment of initiation radically changed the course of my life. This was my moment of transformation from a life run on self-propulsion to a life surrendered to something much deeper, eternal and grounded . The beginnings of a lifelong commitment to surrendering and letting go.


“All the way to heaven is heaven and all the way to hell is hell”- Catherine of Siena


If you have not been gifted a moment of surrender, and if you are not practiced at letting go, you will try to hold onto the false self and never discover who you really are. How could you? It’s all you know.  We all start out suffering from a case of mistaken identity. We think we are what was created by our culture, our society and our religion. We think we are these personas that were forged by our mistakes, by our successes, and by our circumstances. And of course, you are that, but you are always, and have always been, so much more than that. You are who you were before you did anything right or wrong. You are timeless and eternal and beyond observation or reflection. And that is the paradox. The true self feels like nothingness because it is not of this material plane. It is ineffable and indescribable, so how can we let go of what feels like it is real and “every-thing” (false self) to what feels unreal because it is “no-thing” (true Self). I think it is radical grace, it is dying before we die.


The false Self is not the bad self, it only becomes a problem if you think that is all you are, and that is how most of us start out. We think we are our reputations, our moral achievements, our money, our possessions and we see ourselves through the mirror the world provides us. It is all “out there” but that all disappears and vanishes when we pass away. Spirituality in all of the world’s religions is simply how to die before you die and get to heaven well still on this earthly plane. When we find the true Self, we can go back to playing the old roles but you stop taking them so seriously as you have touched an eternal reality so the old roles become more of a game. In fact, you are likely to do them better and have far more fun with them because you are not attached to them anymore. I suppose it is being human and divine at the same time – this is finding heaven.


The Way

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