How to tie your shoes…

Instructions

How do you think the instructions would read? Do you think tying your shoes is a complicated task? At this stage of my life, I think it’s pretty easy, but I see toddlers trying their hand at pulling and tucking and twisting those laces with no success and I realize that not everything is easy for everyone.

Instructions on how to tie your shoes would be pages and pages long. They would have to describe what was right and what was left, how to hold the laces, wear to pull them and how to twist them. In the end, the instructions would require diagrams and footnotes and references and possibly even appendices. All for what? To teach you how to do what you will eventually learn on your own.

Instructions all share a common element. They always tell you what someone else already knows. Reading a set of instructions is essentially like reading someone else’s success story. No matter how many times you read them and how well you memorize them, instructions will never do the work for you. It doesn’t matter whether you understand the instructions because until you realize the concept as your reality, it’s still someone else’s story.

It is possible to remember something about Yourself by living vicariously through the experiences of others, but that only brings you a certain amount of the way. Someone else’s words can help us create an environment that stimulates our memories, but if we don’t have a pair of shoes on our feet, there’s not much point in reading the instructions on how to tie the laces.

All that we experience in this world is meant to remind us, not to teach us. The concept of ‘schooling’ does not apply. We have the power to create new truths and to challenge limited thinking but first we have to put down the instructions, and learn to walk without shoes.

Learning to walk

How do we learn to walk? We change our behavior. Think about it! If we’re not doing something right, why not try changing what we’re doing! Change is not scary! Change is natural! What is scary is looking at all those people desperately trying to hold on to something that no longer has a place in their lives. The Universe has a way of blowing strong winds our way to help loosen our grip on what no longer benefits us. But instead of taking the hint and letting go of precisely that which is damaging us the most, we sometimes continue to resist until the day comes when there’s no more time to play around, and we have to make a choice, one way or another. Reaching this stage isn’t always pleasant.

When change happens, it often feels like it happens all at once. It can feel unfair and overwhelming but why does something so natural and inevitable feel so uncomfortable? Well, look at it this way: Imagine a wild bull racing down a gravel road, bucking and kicking and making violent noises. All it wants to do is get away…but from what? It’s actually trying to get away from you! You see, while this wild animal is trying to shake you off, you are fervently holding on to its tail as it flails you from side to side, bashing you against the stony dirt road. You have two options. You can either hold on to the animal that you now know as your only reality, or you can let go and see what happens.

People tend to do something very amusing at this stage of the process. They often convince themselves that holding on to the bull is the right choice and rationalize that the pain and suffering they’re going through as their bones break and their body bleeds is an almighty sacrifice that only the strong-willed can endure. If you ever find yourself reasoning in this direction, get a glass of water and splash it in your face! You’ve obviously forgotten to WAKE UP and your deep sleep is making you delusional!

Pain and suffering are misinterpreted. They are not representations of your growth and development. They are rather techniques that you create to avoid dealing with what is staring you in the face. If you just let go of your false sense of safety and realize that what you believe to be your security is actually your greatest delusion, you’ll stop being thrown around by emotional ups and downs and finally give yourself the opportunity to heal and move on.

Getting a pair of shoes

Once you make the decision to learn the basics of walking, it may seem like you are walking around barefoot for years. We inevitably feel like we’re ready for the next stage of development and begin complaining about our situation. Something to remember is that at any point in our lives, we never see the whole picture and we can be sure that somewhere in the Universe, something is being affected by our actions and all we can do is to continue on our path with open eyes, paying attention to the signs of change, and being flexible when it comes time to alter our behavior. In other words, all we can do is go with the flow! If we’re not flexible when that strong wind of change blows our way, we run the risk of breaking in half.

Along your path of barefoot walking, it may also feel like you’ve read all the lessons, discussed them at length with various people who share your passion to improve, and yet you still keep encountering the same uncomfortable situations or people that never seem to go away, no matter how compassionate you try to be or how determined you are to learning whatever it is that you’re not getting. In these cases, patience is your only graceful option. Most of us aren’t capable of understanding all the intricate details of what goes on in the Universe, so all we can do is trust that when the time is right and we are truly ready, we will get a new lesson or start a new project and our interest will again be peaked. But remember, if you ever feel lost, just ask for divine guidance and listen.

Transitions are almost never obvious to the person transitioning. People around you may notice a change in you, but often they won’t be able to clearly understand the difference in you unless they’ve been through a similar process already. When you shift into a new level of understanding, you may feel empowered, but often the reaction is one of tiredness and surrender. It’s at the moment when you let go of the bull’s tail that you are rewarded for your courage to step into the unknown. The reward can come in the form of a massive shift in your understanding of how things work, but it can be so subtle that it often takes time and distance from the situation to really see what happened. The reason for the subtly is that throughout your journey to learn how to walk, you have been growing and learning to use new tools to assist you on your path. With each step that you had the courage to take, you gained a new answer to a question you did not know you had. That is why you didn’t recognize the treasure in the wisdom you were receiving at the time.

Only when we know the answer do we become aware of the question. You can be sure that all the questions you are asking yourself right now will not lead you to the truth you are ultimately seeking. That is why we spend so long on this path. We are so often distracted by the illusory 5 Earthly senses that we forget that the truth lies in that which cannot be seen, felt, tasted, touched or heard. It comes in only one way and that way is through silence.

Silencing the noise of the outside world will lead you to the silence of your inner world. In the beginning it may seem like there is more noise and distraction in your head than on a Manhattan street in midweek, but that’s just the residue of the world outside. Take some times to unplug the drain and let all the chaos flow out. You’ll be left with a glorious nothing and that’s when the answers that you never knew you wanted will start revealing themselves. It takes patience and courage to go through this draining process, but most of all, it takes discipline because each day that you live your life, you contribute more to the chaos in your head. Once you get used to draining it, you unconsciously begin filtering through it during the day too. You get used to the feeling of emptiness and peace within and you remind yourself how to maintain the environment not only in your quiet time, but also through your busy day. This is what change brings. When we are receptive and flexible to be guided through the natural flow of things rather then by what seems rational, life gets easier.

Once walking bare foot gets easy, you somehow find yourself waking one morning next to a new pair of shoes. You’ll notice that the shoes don’t look as big and complicated as you thought they would. You will also appreciate the value of various parts of the shoes like the sturdy soles that will seem so useful to you now that you have walked with exposed feet and know the hazards that may be encountered on the roads. Through your experiences, you discovered things that you wouldn’t be able to appreciate from the written word.

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