The real self is not an object of the sum of a narrative. The real self is a being.
In the late eighties, our daughters were two and four. David and I were in the thick of parenting and finding our footing as young professionals. It was a busy and challenging time.
Nonetheless, we took what was for us a BIG leap. We loaded ourselves and our wee ones up, hopped on a plane to Akumal, Mexico and spent 2 weeks with my mentor, Dick Olney. This was WAY beyond our budget and well, we were traveling with 2 small children.
One evening, David took the girls while Dick and I sat at a beachside bar discussing the wounds embedded in the human experience – the wounds of mental body, emotional body, physical body and spiritual body. The greatest of these being the wound of the spiritual body – the illusion of separation, the illusion that we are separate from our real self, each other and life.
I thought that I intuitively understood what he meant, but not enough to be able to really grasp it. This was the single reason I began to study with Dick, I wanted to understand this better, the illusion of separation.
Dick had a way of walking you into an experience that was pretty magical. Soon, I was transported into a long forgotten memory, telling him the story.
Whenever I got in trouble with my grandmother, and it was rare, because I was identified with being a VERY good girl — Anyway, when I got in trouble, my grandmother would tell me to go stand in front of her mirror and look into my eyes until I saw God peeking back, THEN we would talk about whatever it was I had done.
I told Dick about I how stood in front of that mirror and gazed into my own eyes, first wrapped in the tensions and fears associated with my wrongdoing. Gradually, I relaxed and noticed dust motes all around me lit up with the golden light of the setting southern sun. In some eternity, the golden dust motes didn’t seem any different than me, looking into my own eyes, I dropped into a kind of beingness that didn’t feel separate from the golden dust. It seemed like everything was made of the same golden dust.
After some eternity, I walked stupefied to my grandmother who also seemed to be made of the same golden dust. It was an open awareness of transcendent being. Of course I didn’t have words for this state of awareness. I just remember thinking, “I see God peeking back.”
As dusk fell, Dick smiled. In that moment with the mirror, I KNEW I was so much more than a good girl who had done something wrong. In that moment, the wound of the spiritual body, the illusion of separation melted away. In that moment, I was awake to who I really am.
Now, all these years later, what is remarkable to me is that we can address not only the mental and emotional wounds of our clients, but also the spiritual wound, the illusion of separation. We have the means to heal these wounds.
Now, I no longer see the illusion of separation as a wound, but a game. Moreover, as our clients begin to take responsibility for themselves and engage in mental hygiene through home practice, they too begin to experience the game of the illusion.
My time with Dick informed the BIG WHY that drives AAIT. He often said that Self Acceptance Training is about helping people wake up from the bad dream of who they think they are. AAIT aims to carry that mission forward.
We’ve all had moments of PURE BEING, moments of being awake. Some of these are memorable and transcendent, others are mundane but full nonetheless, moments when we feel most like our REAL self. I told you one of my moments, how about you introduce yourself and share one of yours?