This is the final episode of the LIGHT WORK series, so I’d like to begin with some gratitude, and then: a poem.
First, the gratitude… Thank you for listening. For downloading, subscribing. For clicking. For saying beautiful things on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter. For telling your friends. Thank you for being open to the Light I’m trying to dish out. Thank you for showing up. Thank you for the work that I know you are doing in the world. This first poetic offering is for you. Let’s open it up…
For God, and My Other Close Friends
You told me I was
And I closed my eyes to dream on that.
You told me I was
part of The Plan
that was being written.
I lit more candles to see.
You said, “You are Nourished. You are Protected. You are Loved.”
And I spoke my vows.
It’s true, your greatness is ineffable,
but I know You Word for Word:
My True Love.
So… about Devotion.
I know that countless mystics throughout time agree that the reason for our spiritual endeavoring—our devotion—is liberation, and only liberation. The “work” in our light work creates a freedom from afflictive states: anxiety, selfishness, shallowness, insecurity, always comparing ourselves to other people, restlessness, fear… If the whole point of our devotion is liberation, then here’s the question:
Do your beliefs liberate you?
Do you believe in original sin? Do you believe that you have to earn your keep on this planet? Do you believe in luck, mercy, genetics? Do you believe in fate, or destiny, or in free will? What about angels? Aliens? The inherent goodness of humanity?
Are the beliefs that you invest your faith in helping you to be more of you? Are they giving you more peace or are they making you behave? Here’s another question:
What did you once believe that you now think is silly or ridiculous?
I can go first on this one… So, in my early 20’s, I believed—with every cell of my body—in soulmates. That there was one person out of billions that was perfect for me. Unbreakable destiny. All of my cosmic crew was working around the clock to unite us. I no longer believe that. And that’s not coming from a place of heartbreak or cynicism but from a stronger belief that we have free will. I believe that the one is the one because you make a conscious, full-hearted, hot body decision to say, They are the one.
One of the common beliefs that drags us down instead of lifts us up, is that in our devotion we must be disciplined. In order to make real last change: we’ve got to be measured, and rigid, and 100% on point. Well… here’s what Krishnamurti (my forever philosopher love) has to say about that: “Discipline is a tool that numbs the mind.”
I’ll say it again: Discipline is a tool that numbs the mind. That concept bloomed me open. So… fuck time management because so many time management practices are about time tyranny instead of time magic. And fuck diets. And behavioral tracking apps. I do not need to have my steps measured, my breaths counted. I do not need to know from a device how well I slept or not. I just want have medicine dreams and wake up rested. Anyway: goodbye soul-dulling metrics and mind-numbing discipline.
We can make big dramatic changes. We can lose the weight, we can make the money, we can do the yoga, we can even become a better time manager. But if we don’t feel free… what’s the point?
How do we let go of the constricting beliefs in favour of the liberating ones?
I start with this: your Truth will set you free. I think we all know this. So if, we can all agree that your truth will set you free, then it is best to know what your Truth is. You have to look into your beliefs. You have to consider unbelieving more than a few lies that have been holding you back. The ones that make you work too hard to try and get what you want. It’s so simple. You can just say, I’m choosing to not believe that anymore. You are in charge of your belief system. Erase-erase… or double down on the devotion. It’s up to you.
How do you tell a poser from a true spiritual teacher?
I’m always listening for someone’s real story. A spiritual teacher with spiritual integrity, they tend to speak really honestly, and fairly frequently about their personal and genuine pain and struggle. And they’re not just reorganizing, repackaging, or re-purposing other people’s ideas and philosophies into a new shiny brand and shouting very loudly about it. They took their own path, into deep inner knowing. And when they got inside, they found… the universe.
Even though a true teacher is going to stand on other mystical ideas, methodologies, and teachings, their own teaching comes from their lived experience of applying it and getting some, for lack of a better word, results. And they are certainly not solely driven by clicks or cash.
Here’s the bottom line: I think the true teacher isn’t all about preaching. They’re practicing.
What if you’ve been painfully duped by a poser? How do you make sure that doesn’t happen again? And how do you get over it?
Here’s the call, the invitation… the demand: You must learn to see with both your heart and your intellect. Follow the cues of your body. Listen to the doubt. And as you move through all of the people who are here to support you—the spiritualist and the frauds—you are going to be cultivating faith AND you must question ceaselessly.
If you want to be in a place of higher consciousness, you’re going to have to tangle with the dark. To be a whole person of light, you are going to get initiated. Being a fool, being blinded, being seduced… is all part of building your strength. It is part of the divine exercise of clarification and discernment. No light worker can bypass that. So, if you’ve been a fool: don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s part of wisdom school.
Let’s close this section with a poem about the beauty of being shameless in your devotion…
I saw a Muslim man roll out his prayer carpet in Union Square Park
to prostrate to his god,
people, dogs, pigeons were passing by his intimacy.
“I wish I had that kind of pride in my faith”, I thought
I don’t carry a prayer rug with me anywhere.
I left my religion. I gave away so many keepsakes
and I boiled down my vows so that
I am the only one who knows who I really am.
But I told all of you yesterday and the day before that,
that I believe in Light.
I said it without thinking twice
And tomorrow, I will get up with a sun
to say it over and over and over again:
I live for the Light
Here’s my final point…
Our fulfillment and our liberation stems from our motives behind all that devotion and seeking. Some of us are going to live according to our spirit guides and our priest, the shaman, the kabbalah, or ecstatic poetry. Some of us are going to sweat and go to spin class. We’re gonna study scripture. We’re gonna sit and load us on the cushion. We’re gonna drink green juice. We’re gonna make love. We’ll make millions. We will marathon, we will mother. That means many things. We may fire breathe our way to the Higher Love.
It’s not how we seek spiritual growth, it’s why we seek it. We need to examine what we believe, why we believe it, where it came from, and figure out what we’re going to burn down, renovate, and give our deepest devotion to. And here’s the good news (at least I think it’s good news): this is the work of a lifetime… and we should never stop questioning.
Listen to me
I am one of you
desirous broken open perpetual
1. Name your god, before the night comes.
2. Sing out the name of your God.
Sing now and sing loud, while you can recognize the sound of your voice.
3. Bring your holy mouth to Love and ask for what you want.
She was born for that sound of your desire.
My people, you are heartbreakingly beautiful. Go do right by Love. Keep doing the LIGHT WORK.
Listen to LIGHT WORK Episode #6 on iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher.
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- charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries.
- V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against all women and girls (cisgender, transgender, and gender non-conforming).