“Rich” has come to mean more and more to me over the years that I have meditated on the meaning of this teaching. Rich is not just about material goods, nor is it just about money. Rich is the texture of our entire lives. It is how many things we hold onto and refuse to let go. It is not just how simple your life may seem on the surface. It is how clear, clean, and open your energy is on all the levels of your being.
How rich are you?
I have come to see, slowly, through a life filled with trial and error, that one of the primary ways I stash all kinds of hidden energy away in the pockets of my being is through self betrayal.
It is very easy to self betray. It is infinitely more difficult to find the courage to stop the pattern of self betrayal. Self betrayal is comfortable; it is the ultimate sleeping pill.
It is particularly difficult to not self betray in relationships, especially intimate ones. I think back on a love story of mine, to a most beautiful man. He was very deeply awake, spiritually alive, intelligent. I never tired of talking to him. Our conversations were profound and often tumbled into deep laughter. His friends felt immediately like they were my friends, too. He had a wonderful family. I loved him very much.
And yet, one day, actually during a yoga practice, it hit me, as clear as day. He was not in love with me. He was not even attracted to me. I had sensed this in him, times when he would take a long call or work on his computer to avoid a moment that could have otherwise been spent kissing. But I was a spacious girlfriend, eager to accommodate his needs and “go with the flow”.
When I saw this I had no choice but to tell him what I knew in my gut to be true.
Well, let me rewind. We all have a choice to tell the truth, or not. I had a lot invested in the relationship at this stage. I loved him deeply. Everything else was great between us, so why not let a sleeping dog lie? I wanted to keep him. I wanted to keep the long bike rides on Sunday afternoons. I wanted to keep the dinners we cooked together. I wanted to keep the long, juicy, open conversations.
But once you see, you can never unsee. So I told him what I had seen, and to his credit, he immediately admitted it was true. I felt my heart break, and watched the entire backbone of an intimate relationship incinerate in a second of time.
Then I had a second choice. He asked me to stay with him. He told me that he thought maybe the energy could change, maybe he would find attraction for me. Like someday in the future.
I could not see my way clearly through that choice at first. To peel back to the truth, sometimes it is important to just hold the door open and see what comes through.
What began to come through the door was the part of me that was unclear. I saw the lower feminine walk through the door. At first I saw parts of myself that were just damn mad that it had to be this way, a million strategies to try to fix it. Did I have bad breath? Was it my fault? Could I make it better with breath mints?
I let that go.
Right underneath, I saw the immense need of the lower feminine. The parts of myself that were suffocatingly needy, that wanted to be taken care of, that wanted to be loved, that wanted to be met. Well, hello there dark side. Let me tell you, that part of me wanted to stay. I wanted to give him a hug and say, “Of course I will stay with you, we can figure this out.”
Could I stay with a man who did not even welcome my kiss, without entering into some serious self betrayal?
And that is how we find the truth- by telling the deeper and deeper truths to ourselves moment to moment to moment. It’s the constant practice of a lifetime.
Radical self honesty will strip you. It will take you to places you most certainly did not anticipate. It is likely that your life will not look anything at all like what you expected because expectations are the art work of the ego and have nothing to do with the flow of the divine. If you begin to tell the truth, one radical moment at a time, your life begins to follow grace. Your life begins to unfold as service to love, not as the prisoner of your plans.
But it takes some guts. It takes some guts to let go.
I won’t tell you what ultimately happened between this man and I, that is a story for another time and another day. But I will tell you that it took me looking into how “rich” I was. I had to be honest about all the places fear wanted me to hold on, all the places I wanted to be safe and held and loved and kept and protected. I had to let it all go, all of it, really every single attachment. I had to Unrich myself.
Only then was I tiny enough to slip through the eye of the needle and surrender to the divine. Turns out the dinner plans of the divine were far more delicious than any I could have cooked up on my own.