May 29 – Giving Up What No Longer Works – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

Burning your way to centre is the loneliest fire of all. You’ll know you have arrived when nothing else will burn.

At first this sounds rather somber, but from Moses to Buddha to Jesus, the deepest among us have all shown that living is a process of constantly paring down until we carry only what is essential.

It is the same in the human journey as in the natural world. As the centre grows stronger, what once was protective turns into a covering, like tree bark or snake skin, that is now in the way, and, sooner or later, we as spirits growing in bodies are faced with burning old skins, like rags on sticks, to light our way as we move deeper and deeper into the inner world, where the forces of God makes us one.

When faced with the need to keep going inward, we are confronted with a very difficult kind of life choice: like carving up your grandmothers table for firewood to keep ¬†your loved ones warm, or leaving a job that has been safe and fulfilling in order to feel vital again or burning an old familiar sense of self because it’s gotten so thick you can’t feel the rain.

In truth, always needing to stay immediate by removing what is no longer real is the working definition of sacrifice – giving up with reverence and compassion what no longer works in order to stay close to what is sacred.

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