deeply okay

“Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”
― Lao Tzu

A few months ago something minor triggered the sense experience that there was something deeply wrong with me. It was a familiar feeling, one I’ve encountered enough times to know how much I don’t like it.

Being the self-improvement junkie that I am, I dove into the experience, employing every tool I had to help it release. I knew that the only way out was through, so I felt the feeling as fully as I could without thoughts, tried to understand what was asking to be loved, slowed my breath, let myself cry, and basically tried to find a way out of feeling like my existence was against the will of God and nature.

It didn’t work.

Fortunately, the next day I attended an event with one of my teachers, Matt Kahn, and was able to present my dilemma of being a blight on the Earth. His response shifted my experience forever.

He said, “Yes, you are so wrong it’s criminal.” I burst into laughter.

The laughter was relief. His voice held no judgment or criticism, only love. He communicated that my feeling experience was accepted and I didn’t have to try and change it to please anyone, including myself. He spent 5 – 10 minutes repeating the message that I was wrong, allowing me to revel in the joy of recognition. The result was I realized that even this feeling is okay.

Perhaps the greatest driving force in the human psyche is the belief that there is something horribly wrong with us to make up for. At some level, we live our lives on the defensive, trying to create the illusion of having it together so no one will see how weird and not okay we are.

Relationships, money, and activities can become about putting together a strong enough facade to fool ourselves into believing we’re acceptable so we can then trick others into liking us. This creates an unreasonable amount of pressure on what are truly avenues for enjoying life more fully. Then anything we struggle with becomes evidence that there is something wrong with us rather than just a needed learning curve.

For myself, once I realized that it’s okay if I’m wrong on a core level, the fear of it released, and with it the feeling. Basically, if it’s okay to be wrong, then how can it be wrong?

The mistake I made at first was trying to accept the feeling on the condition that it go away. Now that the feeling is fully allowed and accepted, when it shows up I’m not disturbed by it. Moments of embarrassment still occur, as do times when I feel like an idiot or the only person in the room who doesn’t get it, but my orientation to the feeling has changed. It no longer means anything about me and I don’t have to fear it, fight it, or change it. It’s just a feeling, it will come, it will go.

The sense experience of being deeply okay that comes with this awareness is what lasts.