No matter what spiritual practice or tradition you follow, if you do not feel your heart area becoming softer and more open and loving, your practice or tradition is missing a vital piece of the awakening and embodiment puzzle.
I have a sense of where the missing piece lies for many people – the deficiency story. At the core of every ego there is a deficiency story in the form of “I’m not good enough,” “I’m unlovable,” “I’m unsafe” or some similar story. We unconsciously develop these false scripts earlier in life as a way of protecting ourselves from the deep somatic emotional wound that accompanies these stories. Time and time again, in my private and group sessions with people, I find that this core story runs everyone’s life. The core story is a way of surviving, of keeping ourselves from truly connecting with others, of disconnecting from the deeper essence of love and goodness found in our beingness. We are hiding, fighting, blaming, controlling and seeking love, approval and validation, all as a way to avoid meeting the profound sense of pain and fear that drives and keeps alive these stories in our minds.
I can’t tell you how many times (a lot) that I have worked or talked with spiritual teachers or people fairly far along the spiritual path who are still operating from this sense of deficiency on some level. Their hearts are closed, locked up even. They are focused on surviving and self-protecting, rather than loving unconditionally. Many of them are carrying around unresolved trauma. Worse yet, many of them say things like, “I’ll always feel not good enough on some level.” They have made excuses for it and resigned themselves to always having it around. They have stopped short of investigating this false story and its accompanying emotional wound. And the price for stopping is quite high, for stopping leaves a realization half-baked. It keeps the heart from blowing open. Therefore it keeps deep and compassionate love and intimacy from being realized in every relationship, with every other person and thing on earth. The price of this story is constant stress and anxiety in the body, which exacerbates disease.
Why are we so afraid to meet the pain of this deficiency story and why have we settled for a spirituality that keeps it in place and makes excuses for it? The answer is fear. You see, we truly don’t know who or what we would be if this story was to truly fall away. A core deficiency story is the last stand of the ego. It is the lynchpin that holds the separate identity in place. Fearing what amounts to death, our resistance keeps us from deeply inquiring into it.
Become a skillful warrior. Find the tools to investigate and dismantle this core story. Find the courage to feel and dissolve its core pain. Recognizing presence is not enough, for this story holds on like a wire tightly wound to our being. It will fight and fight for survival. But when you are a warrior, you will find the sharpest inquiry tools. You will stop at nothing less than true and pure freedom. You will not make excuses for keeping the deepest strand of unhealthy ego in place.
I have had the fortune of experiencing the complete dismantling of the core story “I’m unlovable.” This story ran my life for over three decades. The Living Inquiries were the answer to the dismantling. I can’t begin to tell you how sweet and loving life is after the dismantling. I can fall in love in any moment with intimacy with another person. I find myself in love with life, with being itself. Gone are the days when my mind would interpret virtually every word or act by another person as some sort of confirmation that I am unlovable or unlikeable. Gone are the days when I would keep score on Facebook regarding who likes my posts or what teachers are more popular than me. Gone are the days when my heart would ache when someone didn’t find me attractive or love me enough. When this particular story broke, I realized that love is for me to show and give. It is not for me to receive. Desperately seeking to receive love, approval, attention, validation or acknowledgement came from the deficiency story.
Don’t you owe it to yourself to know who you really are? Don’t you owe it to yourself to engage intimately with others, showing them love without expecting anything in return? Don’t you owe it to yourself to experience psychological safety wherever you go? Don’t you owe it to yourself to experience that you are perfect just as you are with all your unique traits and odd quirks?
If you don’t believe you owe this to yourself, you are arguing for your own suffering. You are choosing a false script as your operating system. When that script is chosen, day after day, you’re essentially “fu*cked.” There’s nothing you can do but continue to live out that script and all of the separation it brings.
Be a skillful warrior. For more information or help with this deficiency story, visit www.livinginquiries.com.
Please share this writing with anyone you know who doesn’t fully love him or herself or who has stopped short of looking at this deepest strand of ego.