For decades I believed that if I found the right book, teaching, or belief system my suffering would end, and I would be free.
It came as a great shock when I had the realization that freedom was not the result of what was added to what I believed was missing. Freedom comes when you realize that the spiritual journey is not an adventure in adding to. Spiritual freedom is the life-long process of releasing and of taking away.
Let me reframe that slightly.
Spiritual freedom is the life-long process of having what is extraneous taken away from you.
The illustration of Michelangelo’s David comes to mind. When asked how he could possibly sculpt something so perfect out of a raw block of marble the artist explained that he saw the completed sculpture in the block and simply carved away what was in the way of David.
Subtraction, not addition. Removing, not adding. Not trying to make perfect. Taking away what blocks the inherent perfection.
I so relate.
I instinctively know that underneath all my beliefs, perceptions, pretenses, winning formulas, defenses, and personality traits there is a perfect Taylor.
An already perfect Taylor, as is.
Knowing this makes me privy to the reality that there is a perfect you as well.
My job is to see that perfect reality in both of us. To accept us exactly as we are, even as I know what is not essential and necessary is being whittled away moment by moment and day by day.
We are each being sculpted by a masterful creator who already knows our perfection. It isn’t removing what It thinks is wrong or faulty. It is allowing a process by which what causes our self-imposed suffering is removed and released. This is a huge portion of the Soul function. The Soul knows the Absolute and it knows the relative. It knows the essential, and it knows the ego. It knows the masterpiece, and it knows the extraneous.
If we pay attention and listen to our interior this process of sculpting can be gentle and easy.
The attentive listening part is why it took me decades of trying to find additives.
When we do not listen, or when we do not like what we hear the process becomes more and more aggressive. The whittling becomes less gentle and more painful. Chunks of marble feel as if they are being torn from us. The tender nudging to let go and release goes unheeded and so the message, which is always for our highest good, becomes louder and less gentle. It feels as if things and relationships are being torn from us.
But only because of our fearful clinging and lack of wisdom-based cooperation.
While the perfect Taylor is likely many chunks of marble away, I have grown increasingly willing to listen, to let be, and to let go when I feel the inner nudging of my own Soul. I no longer live under the illusion that there is anything to add or to put on. My natural state needs no additives. As I release more and more of what doesn’t serve my emergence, I feel a lightening up that is freeing and joyful. Though I still may need to grieve some losses I trust that only the things that no longer belong are being sculpted away. My tendency to hang onto unhealthy habits, perceptions, and relationships is undergoing a liberating transformation. I relish the knowing that only in becoming less do I in actuality become more.
And so, as we approach a new decade and a new calendar year, I feel a great expectancy around what I may release to the great Sculptor within my Soul. I fear no loss as I contemplate the something greater that is happening within me. I know that at this point I can face and withstand any level of unmasking and reshaping that life seeks to put me through.
So, bring it on and take it off.
I want nothing more than to enter a new decade simplifying and releasing my grip on anything that stands before me and the masterpiece that is seeking to be revealed. I welcome the necessary goodbyes. I lean into the seeming losses. I watch for signs of hanging on, and I relax into the gentle chipping away.
The perfect Taylor is a work in progress. It is happening in and to me. There are no additives needed. I stand ready to be perfected just as I am.