What is not always talked about in spiritual development is the way a person can begin to feel like a stranger in the world around them. It’s a natural part of the process of deepening our inner connections, yet it’s also a challenge for us to continue to let go of those external attachments – to ultimately make the transition complete. In this way, development is a continuous action of choosing the deeper path rather than the shallower path of external life. (At the end of this post there are instructions and a link to download this recording to your computer.)
John: In my dream, I kind of have to report on what it’s like to have to be strained with kind of a focus and attention upon an innerness that one knows is important and that, until it comes through, it’s almost as if that is at the expense of an outward understanding.
Because it’s as if I’ve gotten the inkling that that is what is real so, as a result, the outer things that one would normally do and think nothing of it is no longer possible because I have come to know that it goes nowhere.
It’s not that I judge it. In fact, I find it kind of interesting as a flow, and find it interesting how the collective seems to be quite fine with all of that, but it doesn’t reach into the beyond of the beyond and, as a result, I’m somewhat estranged from it.
In my dream, I have gone back to a gathering of high school friends, and these are all guys that I’ve gone back to see, and they’re all grown up and accomplished in whatever it is that they do in the world.
And it’s as if we are getting together in a place which has a setting that’s able to be casual enough so that we can all just go about being who we are, and portraying our individual interests to each other. And what is amazing is, each of these interests, because they’re all outer interests, there’s a cohesion or a collective flow that comes together.
I’m impressed and pleased to see how easy going these guys are able to be in relationship to each other, because what they have in common is this outer linkage or, in other words, a linkage to the reflective. But I don’t have that, and so I’m feeling off, or out of place, not able to fit in.
But they don’t see life like that, that there’s something else going on in me that’s different. They see everything in an outer context, so they just accept me. They don’t see my problem. And I like what I see in terms of them and how they seem to flow nicely with each other. But I can tell, at least in terms of looking at myself – because I’m looking at something of the innerness instead of just the outerness – I can tell that I stand out because I am identifying with this innerness. Or at least am trying to.
And my identification with that has me listening within and, therefore, I am estranged energetically from them. I have lost a freedom in the outer that they still have. I am stiffer in that regard. I look and carry myself as if I have a responsibility that they do not have to relate to. I cannot help but notice that there are many things they each can casually do individually and collectively that I seem to struggle with.
The separation I carry is because I find what they are doing naturally to be awkward for me, and it’s become awkward for me because of the indulgence of my attention is somewhere else.
So the meaning is that at first glance these others, who represent the collective outer, I look at them as the way to be, or something, that there appears to be something wrong with me. And that gets accentuated as possibly so because I can’t help but note that I come across, at least in my own eyes, I mean they accept me because they don’t see this other part, but I come across in my own eyes as being too serious by comparison and not able to free flow, or casually relate, to the outer aspects in life like they do.
They collectively fit in with the physical world. This is what they know so there is no confusion for them. Each is putting forth, in a casual way, the appearance in the outer that best portrays who they are, and what they do, and that then all fits in a collective way.
It’s kind of like how it is when you go back to a class reunion or a reunion of some sort. Each person, they don’t go around complaining about how bad life has been to them, they all try to put their best foot forward. They give each other permission to all put their best foot forward; they don’t complain a lot.
It’s kind of like an ego thing a little bit but, in relationship to that, I stand out because I don’t have a best foot to put forward. I do not identify with life in this manner. I see myself as being separate from them in a way they aren’t able to perceive, and so I can’t even explain that to them. Although they know that I’m somehow in the outer so they accept me as I am, but only to a degree of how they see things in the outer on an appearance with myself; I’m trying to relate to something else.
They’re each going about doing what they do best and integrating in a collective lull. And I am touched. I’m impressed, even, by the fact that there is something sweet about that free flow. It just isn’t for me. I can’t help myself not being like that.
Even though they look at me and are ready to accept me in an outer way, I am not able to reciprocate because my attention seems to hearken to something that is another kind of pressure, or inner responsibility. They can’t see that, and where they are at collectively I must leave alone because that is for them.
In other words, I can’t tell them, I can’t explain the gap, I’m just at a point where my focus is upon an inner attention that has caused me to see myself as estranged in a world that relates only to outer appearances and mannerisms.
I’m no longer able to be temporal. I therefore lack the outer understanding which, for them, is meaningful. In that regard, I’m a bit helpless. I am distinguished from them in that I carry an inner responsibility, which affects me from within, and invokes a responsibility I am still seeking to reach.
It’s not like I’ve reached it and so, in that regard, part of the awkwardness is my bewilderment. In other words, for as long as this remains more than I’m able to access I remain a bit tense and stiff.
If I were able to live the inner aliveness, as a oneness, I would be able to fit in with the collective reflections as well of my high school cronies. I haven’t gotten there yet because I’m still trying to get there, still trying to attune to it, so I’m bewildered between this and that.
So I haven’t gotten there yet, in terms of being at home with the inner aliveness, so there is an imbalance that causes me to see myself as being out of touch in terms of everyone and everything in the outer.
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