Listening to Life: A Lesson in Attachment | GAIAM Life

By Don Miguel Ruiz Jr 

I began my apprenticeship into my family’s tradition in San Diego, California, when I was fourteen years old. My 79-year-old grandmother, Madre Sarita, was my teacher and the spiritual head of our family. She was a curandera, a faith healer who helped people in her small temple in Barrio Logan, a neighborhood in San Diego, with the power of her faith in God and love. Since my father was a medical doctor, the juxtaposition of the two forms of healing allowed me to see our tradition through different points of view.

Though she spoke no English, my grandmother gave sermons and lectures across the country. My apprenticeship began with translating my grandmother’s lectures from Spanish to English. For many years, I awkwardly stumbled over her words, and my grandmother would just look at me and laugh.

One day, she asked me if I knew why I stumbled. I had all sorts of answers: you are speaking too quickly, you don’t give me a chance to catch up, some words don’t have a direct translation ... She just looked at me silently for a few moments and then asked, “Are you using knowledge, or is knowledge using you?”

I looked at her blankly. She continued, “When you translate, you try to express my words through what you already know, what you think is true. You do not hear me; you hear yourself. Imagine doing the same thing every single moment in life. If you are looking through life and translating it as it goes along, you will miss out on living it. But if you learn to listen to life, you will always be able to express the words as they come. Your knowledge has to become a tool that you will use to guide you through life but that can also be put aside. Do not let knowledge translate everything you experience.”

I nodded in response, but it didn’t dawn on me until many years later what my grandmother was truly talking about. Throughout life, we constantly narrate, or commentate on, everything we do, say, see, touch, smell, taste, and hear. Asnatural storytellers, we continuously keep the plot moving forward, sometimes missing millions of subplots that are developing on their own. It is like taking a sip of wine and saying, “It’s a bit dry; it has definitely aged well, but I can taste the bark. I’ve had better.” Instead of simply experiencing the joy and flavors of the wine, we are analyzing the flavor, trying to break it down and fit it into a context and language we already know. In doing this, we miss out on much of the actual experience.

This is a simple example of how we narrate life — explaining it, but, more importantly, justifying and judging it. Instead of taking an experience for what it is, we create a story to make it fit our beliefs. During Madre Sarita’s talks, I had to completely shut down my thoughts, because if my mind’s commentary got in the way, I would miss out on her message. With this simple process, my grandmother showed me that if we only see the world through the filters of our preconceptions, we are going to miss out on actually living. After much practice, I eventually learned to close my eyes, shut out the world that existed outside my head, and translate every single word she said accurately.

Seeing beyond our filters — our accumulated knowledge and beliefs — does not always come naturally. We have spent years growing attached to them in various degrees, and they feel safe. Whatever we become attached to can begin to shape our future experiences and limit our perception of what exists outside our vocabulary. Like blinders on a horse, our attached beliefs limit our vision, and this in turn limits our perceived direction in life. The stronger our level of attachment, the less we can see.

Think about your set of attached beliefs as a unique melody repeating itself in your mind. In a way, we are constantly trying to force our melody — the one we have become accustomed to hearing — onto other melodies, without realizing that often the melody is not our own, and perhaps it’s not even the one we want to be playing. If we continue playing only what we know, never opening ourselves to listen to the other songs flowing around us, we are letting our attachment to our particular melody control us. Instead, choose to listen to other melodies playing. Perhaps you will contribute to them, adding a harmony or a bass line and just seeing where the music takes you.

By letting go of your attachment to what you think the melody should be, you open yourself to the potential to create a unique and beautiful song of your own composition or a collaboration that can be shared with others.


The Five Levels of AttachmentExcerpted from The Five Levels of Attachment: Toltec Wisdom for a Modern World by don Miguel Ruiz , Jr. © 2013 Hierophant Publishing, distributed by Red Wheel/Weiser. Now available on Amazon.com and BN.com.


don Miguel Ruiz, Jr.

don Miguel Ruiz, Jr., is a Nagual, or a Toltec Master of Transformation. He is a direct descendant of the Toltecs of the Eagle Night lineage, and is the son of don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements. He lives in Sacramento, California with his wife and two children.

Views: 104

Comment

You need to be a member of Sedona Source Center to add comments!

Join Sedona Source Center

Sedona & Northern Arizona News

Why We Stay Asleep When Covid-19 Is Trying to Wake Us Up | Kelly Brogan MD

We’ve heard it from citizen journalists, from hospital and police force whistleblowers, and from otherwise compliant and law abiding self-quarantiners whose personal, lived experience simply isn’t adding up to what they are being told is happening by mainstream media. So what is it that doesn’t make sense?

Governor Ducey Announces Next Phase Of Arizona Recovery | Office of the Arizona Governor

Governor Doug Ducey today announced that the Stay At Home order in Arizona will be ending on May 15 and replaced by new guidance for the next stage of economic recovery. The new guidance aligns with gating criteria issued by the White House and Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and aims to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 resurgence, protect vulnerable populations, and guide the reopening of businesses with enhanced physical distancing and safety measures in place.

Trump unveils three-phase plan for states to reopen amid coronavirus pandemic | NBC News

Under the plan, restaurants, movie theaters and large sporting venues will be allowed to reopen under certain conditions.

Hidden Cave At The End Of Fossil Springs Trail In Arizona | Only in Your State

Arizona has quite a few caves, but not many also boast crystal-clear, sapphire waters. This hidden alcove can be found at the end of Fossil Springs Trail, and it truly belongs on everyone’s bucket list.

Consciousness News

Allegory of the Cave by Plato - Summary and Meaning | Philosophyzer

The ‘Allegory Of The Cave’ is a theory put forward by Plato, concerning human perception. Plato claimed that knowledge gained through the senses is no more than opinion and that, in order to have real knowledge, we must gain it through philosophical reasoning.

New Humanity

As Earth’s ecosystems collapse, species disappear and disasters ravage entire regions… As we witness a worldwide descent into fear, depression, and anti-life… A passionate global New Humanity tribe is igniting a potent Field of Possibilities to break free of fear and imprisoning emotions. Are you ready to fully commit to a journey to evolve? To ignite the largest movement in human history and transform the way we live and thrive on Earth?

The Hippies Were Right: It's All about Vibrations, Man! | Scientific American Blog Network

Did the hippies actually solve this problem? My colleague Jonathan Schooler of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and I think they effectively did, with the radical intuition that it’s all about vibrations … man. Over the past decade, we have developed a “resonance theory of consciousness” that suggests that resonance—another word for synchronized vibrations—is at the heart of not only human consciousness but of physical reality more generally.

© 2020   Created by Sedona Source Center.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service