[It's time for another post by Mary Carol Moran!]
I’ve spent my life subconsciously believing in three things: money, beauty, and intelligence. Even though I knew it wasn’t accurate, I believed if I only had more money and/or greater beauty, I would somehow, magically have a better life. Intelligence, well, let’s just say I worshipped at the feet of intelligence, secure that I could think my way through anything. It’s fair to say that I’ve spent years of my life being dazzled by money, beauty, and intelligence. Not just appreciative, but blinded.
What changed everything? Three things: having children, a reversal, and a friendship. I actually let go of the dazzlement with intelligence years ago, but I remember it well. I was bewildered by my first baby – astonished when I couldn’t figure out how to help her, how to stop her from crying. I could think my way through any problem, right? Wrong!! Faced with pure emotion, my supposed intelligence withered into a useless appendage, like an extra big toe. Over the years, I learned to enjoy, but not rely blindly on, thinking.
With this potent example in my past, you’d think I’d have let go of the other two beliefs long ago, but no. Not too long ago, a beautiful, wealthy person I had thought was a best friend, didn’t turn out to be. I realize in hindsight that the problems had been there all along, but I’d been dazzled. I didn’t see the disrespectful way she treated people, didn’t notice the absorption in her own importance. The beautiful and wealthy have great lives and are exceptional people, always, aren’t they? Aren’t they? Oops. My gut, my child-heart, my need to be dazzled by wealth and beauty, had shut down my brain and my common sense. Finally, this time, I internalized the lesson I’d been offered over and over and over.
The final, decisive step to awakening was realizing that I truly valued a wonderful, also wealthy friend. I saw that my dazzlement was getting in the way. He didn’t want a dazzled friend, he wanted a real friend. I realized that I had to drop the dazzlement, fast. But I couldn’t seem to do it.
Enter Melody’s blog, stage right. Steps, ladders, shift the energy… It had all worked before, but this time it felt like it wasn’t working. And I felt worse, because I really, really, really wanted to change!
But then it happened. In the middle of a meditation that felt like it wasn’t “going anywhere,” I had one of those quantum leaps. Something inside me had been shifting, shifting, and suddenly boom – clarity. That’s when the word dazzlement came into my mind. That’s when I felt, all the way through, the difference between believing and delighting. That’s when I realized the extent of my “unwisdom”, that I’d actually made gods of intelligence, beauty, and wealth.
I can delight in intelligence without believing in it as the remedy to life’s problems. I had figured this one out thirty-five years ago.
Now – woohoo! – I can delight in money without believing in it as a balm to life’s ills.
Now – OMG! – I can delight in beauty, even seeing my own for the first time, without believing it has any innate value.
Nature offers this lesson all around us. It’s a cliché, but I’ll repeat it. The colorful flower grows right next to the weed, both drawing nourishment from the soil, the rain, and the sun, both equally valuable to the ecosystem. A lump of gold and a lump of granite are indistinguishable to a beaver who just needs something to plug a hole in his dam. The wily hare loses to the plodding tortoise every time we read Aesop’s tale.
It’s with great glee that I can finally say – I get it! Thank you children! Thank you not-so-nice ex-friend! Thank you amazing still-friend! Thank you Melody! Thank you ladder! Thank you universe!
I sincerely hope each of you is thinking, what the heck? I already knew this. If you’ve avoided buying into the tyranny of belief in false values – wow! That’s fantastic! If on the other hand, you have a lingering whiff of belief in the cosmic importance of intelligence, money, and/or beauty, I hope this tale of awakening sheds a little extra light on your own path.
Have you been bedazzled by money, intelligence or beauty? Have you been able to see past the shiny-ness to what you REALLY wanted?