We’ve been conditioned to think our happiness lies in our ability to find ourselves, our tribe, our way in the world. I voyaged to Dharam Sala, India to understand the meaning of kindness and study the 4 noble truths with the Dalai Lama. I followed my ancestral roots back through the Caribbean and Kenya, Tanzania, Liberia and South Africa in search of my ethnic identity. I walked through the Ancient Coptic Churches of Lalaibella, Ethiopia and prayed for guidance with orthodox priests. I witnessed the constant fluctuations of the mind while sitting in silence at a vipasana meditation retreat center in Calistoga, California to discover my true self and aspired to find myself through selfless service to others. I studied the ancient yoga traditions, practiced meditation and kirtan, and bared my soul to 100’s of people at Byron Katie’s annual mental cleanse.
Throughout it all, I experienced the stagnation that came with solidifying aspects of my personality. How limiting the confines of identity and personality felt. How quickly my sense of identity shifted in the face of adversity – when a loved one died, a lover left unexpectedly, or I was fired from a job. In those moments I began to discover the impermanence of the world and develop trust in the flexible, transitory and transformative nature of the universe.
I am realizing the freedom inherent in the exploration, the beauty that comes with completely losing myself in the dance of life and the possibilities within radical curiousity.
I invite you to untether from your sense of knowing, the concepts you have cemented in your mind and the beliefs you’ve adopted to make sense of the unexplainable. Can you treat every statement as a question and each thought as a theory? Are you willing to be lost? What do you have to lose?
“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves. – Henry David Thoreau
“This moving away from comfort and security, this stepping out into what is unknown, uncharted and shaky-that’s liberation.”
Reflections as a Practice of Peace