25 years ago I embarked on my spiritual journey by taking refuge in the Tibetan Buddhist Kagyu lineage. I was 19 years old. If I had known then that I would still be going through such tremendous struggle to illuminate my baloney a quarter century later, I probably would have refused to believe it. Partly because I had yet to become even remotely acquainted with the extent to which my baloney would drive me in certain situations and partly because I believed so strongly that if only I would meditate and pray enough, all life long, then it would all turn out ok. It's cleverly designed, really, just how one's baloney is only revealed to the conscious mind in little, or sometimes not so little, drops. It's counter intuitive actually, the longer I have been at this inner-work-business, the more baloney I encounter within. Probably because it would be totally overwhelming, early on, to come face to face with the total picture of how unevolved we, well I, can be when the right person comes along and pushes the tender buttons that activate the hidden baloney.
What do I mean by baloney? Well, it's actually a word I just learned. I am not American and English is not my first language so I had to look it up when this word was used by someone very special to me to describe my way of handling myself, "your high consciousness is total baloney" -- and after looking up the word, 'baloney', and then sitting with that heavy message for a several painful hours of self-reflection, I had to surrender and just own the painful truth: My high consciousness is total baloney -- because my higher consciousness has so not penetrated all areas of my being. There are some really dark and bratty rooms left in my inner castle and, as promised 25 years ago, these really dark areas would be revealed (and healed, oh, please be healed) one by one -- and it might well take many, many life times to do the work of transforming the darkness and the fear. And as long as there are still baloney rooms left, I will continue to attract just the people and situations who will lovingly, or shamingly, hold up a mirror so that I can see the error of my ways. Basically, there is no where to run and no where to hide. The inner work must be done and it is humiliating, scary and just really, really painful.
We have a saying in Danish: "Aben flytter med" - it means, the monkey moves with you -- as in you can change all your outer circumstances, leave your lover, move to the other side of the world, fire all your friends and your entire family if you must but whatever your baloney is, it will show up again and again until you own it as just that: your baloney. And you will be magically drawn to the people and circumstances that will trigger it so you can become acquainted with it and then what? Heal it? Integrate it? Not be so quick to react outwardly? Realize in some deep way that these visceral reactions are pointing to where the work is? That the churning, anxious discomfort in the gut is the work? That numbing this almost intolerable discomfort short circuits the process of bringing Light into the darkness, Light into the pain, Light into the fear.
It so easy to despise the baloney that arises, what's not to despise? In my case it shows up as extreme bodily and emotional discomfort seemingly caused by someone else's actions and then there is the real baloney, that is, the almost irresistible urge to correct the baloney activator so that he or she won't cause discomfort in my inner being any longer. That's when the reaction comes and the drama begins because now I am no longer alone with my inner baloney. I have officially rung the bell and now we have stepped into the baloney boxing ring and the internal struggle has now become a full-on physical experience played out like a scripted play where everyone is sure to suffer because no one is able to identify whose baloney is whose but everyone is certain it's not theirs.
Then comes the shame. The heavy, debilitating shame that deflates my energy from the inside out. And all that is left is an empty boxing ring and anxious certainty that until all this baloney has been cleared out, lasting love isn't really possible. That's when the question and the hope arise. Can we love ourselves and even each other while we move through the slow and arduous process of downloading more Light into more darkness? Can we love our own and each other's high minded selves while also loving and even honoring our own and each other's total baloney? Is baloney little more than a fear ridden and immature child who needs holding more than shaming, who needs attention more than rejection? Truthfully, I have no clue. What I do know is that blessed be the friends who love me in spite of my baloney. Here is to them on this Labor Day of 2015.