The first year I came to Burning Man (2004) in the Nevada desert, I was in awe. Of everything and everyone. To see and experience everyone’s weirdness and uniqueness, which opened up a deep longing to express my own weird and to be true, all of which came to have a major impact on my life. In 2006, my third year at Burning Man, the patina had worn a bit thin. I could see that despite the beliefs and proclamations of radical self-expression, everyone looked the same.
One truth about us human beings is that despite our longing to be different, we also have a deep biological yearning to accommodate. Even “burners” accommodate to be radically self-expressed, ‘the Burning-Man way’. If we enter the business world, we discover that everyone dresses the same, even though there are subcultures with slightly different dress codes. It takes a lot to break the norm and to follow what’s true for us.
The Spiritual Journey
Some say that the spiritual journey is increasingly about surrendering ourselves and our ego structures. While that resonates deeply with me, I would say that the spiritual journey is to an equal amount the deepening process to stand in our truth. Which is multi-layered in itself, since our ability to handle difficult truths, especially about ourselves, unfolds, at a frustratingly slow pace.
A pre-requisite for any truth-traction to take place is to stop accommodating. Which is WAY easier to write and say than to do. Despite being more aware of how I do it, I would say that I accommodate at least 100 times a day when in social settings. It’s the small stuff. I smile back because someone smiles at me. The neurological mirroring knee-jerk reflex. I see someone walking towards me on the pavement engulfed by the parallel dimension that is our i-Phones, and I move slightly aside to avoid a head-on collision. Someone says something nice to me when entering the office doors and I feel compelled to answer in kind. Etc. While you could call all of these small accommodations social lubrication or just plain old courtesy and not a big deal, it adds up, and these actions are to 99% unconscious.
We start seeing how our accommodation affects our ability to express our opinions at a meeting, to have a different view-point, or world-view, political opinion, religious or spiritual expression, and maybe the most difficult of all, to be emotionally true. To be able to say to a colleague that we don’t feel safe in their presence, or to express to our boss that we get a knot in our bellies when she or he walks into the room, or to tell our partner that we no longer are turned on by him or her, which makes our hearts pump so fast that we can’t breathe. Yet it’s only when we become aware of our accommodation that we can start connecting with our bodies and and sense the the toll it takes on us to accommodate.
Even conscious bullshit is bullshit
Yet, someone now might protest, how can we even function in society if we don’t accommodate? It’s part of being human, right? Maybe. Or maybe not? Maybe we are reaching a place and time in history, at least for us who live in a privileged democratic setting with people who are conscious, where we need to start being more truthful? If for no other reason then that our bodies ALWAYS know when we bullshit. We can override our feelings and sensations, but the body records everything. Like the infinite naughty or nice-list that Disney taught us was held at Santa’s place. The difference being that the body actually does register everything.
Truth and the Spiritual Journey
Each truth we express, each time we don’t accommodate automatically, each painful and pleasure-filled emotional truth that we acknowledge, especially to ourselves, starts cracking us open. From that rises more of our infinite capacity. Our extraordinary potential starts to blossom. We begin the journey of coming home to ourselves. To our highest selves.
We become radically truthful, which on a clothing-level might look like a Burner, a suit, or a sexy dress, or all at the same time:), yet since we live from the inside out, it’s not about following external cues. Instead we dress in whatever feels true to us, and that we are fully owning and enjoying our expression of this truth. There is nothing that spells healing for the world than people who own their stuff and strut it good. Real good.
Have a truth-saturated, expansive and non-accommodating week,
Love and Truth,