By Adam Crosthwaite
Attempting to Avoid the Unavoidable While Trying to Look Good
The process of revelation is both relentless and subtle as those who seek the path experience the endless unfoldment of knowledge of the true self and the shadow self as different pathways to enlightenment. Revelation may be lurking around any bend; you just need to be prepared for it. My experience has shown me that while the draw of discovery has a sense of sweet and bitterness; it is the later of these two extremes that I have found myself in the past, and at times in present, avoiding. The harder I fought to insulate myself from the discomfort of accepting and dealing with my own issues in order to overcome and evolve, I would start experiencing an increase in friction in my life circumstances. In attempting to insulate myself, I created a situation where more pressure was needed to get through the layers I thought I had so cleverly set up. Somehow my misuse of energy was going to back fire on me.
For twelve years now I have been a student of Rev. David Strickler. With each year I find myself looking back at all the times I would see myself falling into the same pattern of avoidance. While the instances of this diminish in both frequency and duration, trace elements of operant conditioning linger, waiting to be picked up and transformed, or simply incinerated through action in the ongoing Alchemical process I have become aware of during the last twelve years with the Master Teacher.
Unfortunately the obvious is not always so clear while operating in the mundane world from a subjective view, so super consciousness finds avenues in which to pass along messages, each one encoded and sealed with layers of meaning and understanding that reveal themselves over time to the recipient. Providing that the recipient is ready and willing to receive, the message will be understood clearly; if not it may take time or even a more energetic form of communication. I have had Rev. Strickler explain how this processes works and yet from time to time I would hear from him comments such as, “I can’t believe how long it took you to get that message.” Or “It actually took someone having to say it out loud for you to get the message”. Learning the art of self-evaluation has been an invaluable aid in helping me to get a better grasp on this form of communication.
It has been my experience that the process of self-evaluation is not an easy course to learn at first. All the habits of avoidance tend to line themselves up in neat little rows, from the simplest and most plausible to the grandiose and obscure; once you think things have been figured and all accounted for, everything changes and the avoidance mechanisms of the past come rolling at you in full roaring glory. It is in the moments of retrospect that I recall the frustration in my parent’s eyes as I belligerently refused to do anything they tried to set in front of me, from not going to bed or eating my vegetables, to turning in my homework on time that they watched me complete night after night for school. It is like a child who refuses to do chores and can become aggravating at times to those who know. Personally I can only account for the frustration I had dealt myself throughout my course in self-discovery as I find new and interesting ways to distract and confuse situations leading myself down dead end after dead end. Yet it is in this process of self-exploration/evaluation that I realized I set the template for this course and I can reframe the same template to better serve my progress instead of sabotaging it.
One of these messages came to me a while back, about seven years ago actually, and I still keep finding myself revisiting that moment with renewed understanding. As a point of reference this very article was originally about that day and how it affected me a year later. This is about the fifth revision on the same writing since then.
I was walking around one day talking with one of my coworkers, discussing the differences between our cultures. He is a forty five year old Puerto Rican from New York City, at time I was a twenty eight year old Scotch-Irish “kid” from Denver Colorado. We had been talking about the differences between having a large family help raise children as was the case in his family and a small family around to raise children as in the case of my family.
He shared with me one thing that his grandmother told him when he was a little boy, “La lavado del gato – You bathe like a cat.” He explained to me that she was telling him he would clean everything but his rear end, just like a cat. I turned and smiled at him, “I like that!” Never did I hear a more poignant statement regarding the personal and impersonal observations about people and their many behaviors, or at time lack thereof, witnessed day to day around the world. Something inside of me grabbed on to this idea, knowing it was important to hold on to, not so much from the hygiene angle but from the angle of human behavior and attitudes. After all it was the observation of a generational persona that sparked the conversation in the first place.
Although my friend was not aware of it at the time I asked him if he could repeat that and I wrote it down as quote. At the time I was so enthralled in the greatness of my own ego that it never occurred to me the process of revelation was just starting to unfold. Later I would come to realize that the message delivered by the inner teacher was more direct and I had missed the mark as I clumsily tripped over my shadow not paying attention to the obvious clue set out in front of me.
Generally people tend to focus on their appearance a good majority of the time. I have watched people, myself included, worry about the little details of their appearance so not to give off the wrong impression or perhaps in order to give off the right impression about themselves; such regard for mundane details as are my side burns the right length? Is anyone going to notice the last remaining hairs of stubble I missed while shaving? But what about the unseen aspects of a person that go noticed by others, regardless of any physical changes which may or may not have been made?
What about the unforgiving stench that permeates through fabric of the personality with its origin somewhere in the so called hard to reach areas of the mind? I can go through the day face to face with people getting laughs and making my best performance so believable that no one would ever think there may be much more going on under the surface. The behavior presented for public disclosure and interaction may get me through the day, but at home in the darkest hours of the day when there are no witnesses but me, myself, and I, there is an undeniable truth that something stinks and it is not just the garbage at the front door I gracefully avoid grabbing on my way out the to the car eight hours ago. If I walked into a room full of people and someone said, “Adam’s here, where is the air freshener?” I would definitely take a hint. However that is not always the case when people speak up in a room full of people and someone says, “It’s getting deep in here, let me get my boots!”
People have this habit of cleaning themselves like a cat. From nose to tail a cat will stroke and polish. Every little piece of dirt and unclean hair is cleaned, polished and combed all nice and clean from tip to tip, save for one tiny little piece of real-estate that seems to go untouched by the cat’s preening and primping regime. While this may be acceptable for felines I have yet to witness a human walking around in public without cleaning that most personal area and getting away with it. I have seen people not allowed onto busses, dates cancelled, and even college students sent home for such an attempt. However, this article is not so much about physical personal hygiene as it is about the personal hygiene of the psyche.
The primping of a persona takes more effort than working on the genuine structure of a person, yet every day I watch myself and others parade around as if they were acting like little Chihuahuas pretending to be great Danes waiting for someone to give them a doggie biscuit for looking good. What seems to be socially acceptable in this case is nothing more than a defensive mechanism set out before the rest of the world. Ironically the trap is laid from the moment a person accepts the persona as their true identity and continues to elude the sincerity of what is and what is not their true self. No one is going to clean up the mess left behind as a person stumbles through life making mistakes and leaving behind a wake of chaos. No one is going to come over and pick up the laundry or vacuum the floors or take out the garbage. Mom will not come over and give junior an allowance for cleaning his room so he can have Kool-Aid money for after school.
Through the process of self-evaluation the old patterns of operant conditioning can be revealed and new forms of operation can be set in place. Active observation leads to questions and the focusing of the intent on this process aids in the opening of understanding the truth beyond the shadow of perception.
If not for the ability to question, how would one ever find a way to the truth that lies hidden with behind the dark veil of the unconscious mind? Why do things seem to not work out the way I intended? What is it that I don’t see keeping me from my goals? Why is it every time I start something, I never finish it? When did this pattern first appear? How did this become a pattern? Where did I find myself engaged in avoidance? Why is this process difficult for people to work with in the beginning? Or as Rev. Strickler keeps bringing me back to almost every time we speak in person, “Who, What, When, Where, How?”
Finally, once the veil of the persona has been lifted and the real the person is aware of the Self, the real work can begin. The questions change from what is wrong to what can be done? When will this change? Why not now?
May the subtle relentlessness of truth be ever present in your life and may you find the answers you are not yet aware you are seeking by taking the action you have yet to take.
Blessings, Adam Crosthwaite
Copyright © 2015 by Institute of Spiritual Climate LLC