Inside or OutsideOct 03, 2023
The invitation of this spiritual inquiry is to consider whether each of the things presented is something that's outside of you, inside of you, or both. Do you experience it outside of yourself or inside of yourself?
I want to apply this to a few things. The first of which is truth- specifically the experience of truth. So does truth happen outside of you or inside of you? Say you read or hear a spiritual teaching and you have an epiphany. What is the truth? Is the truth the teaching, or is it the thing that awakens in you?
The power of a spiritual teaching is what it awakens in you. Yet when a truth awakens in us, we tend to attribute the truth to the teaching or the teacher. The reality is that the teaching awakened something in me. So even though the teaching is outside of me, the experience of truth happened inside of me.
This is an important distinction because it really determines where we go to look for truth. There's a real tendency to look for it outside of us. We go on this journey to find the truth or have an awakening. But as long as I am looking for truth out there, it takes me away from truly awakening it in me.
So let's take another one. Where does love happen? It could be romantic love, love for a child, or for a friend. It could be a love of nature, art, or music. So when I look into the person's eyes and experience love, where's the love coming from? And when I'm in love, whose love am I feeling?
One of my favorite teachings is when we fall in love, we give ourselves permission to feel our own love. And then what do we do? We tend to project it onto the other person or onto the relationship. Then we need the other person or the relationship to feel the love, which from my perspective is a bit limiting.
Let's take another one similar to love- beauty. Beauty also tends to be very externally based in our culture. We say this person is so beautiful or the sunset is beautiful, or the piece of art is beautiful. So is it the piece of art that's beautiful or is it something in me? Or is it both?
We have a difficult time accepting her own beauty sometimes. So there's a real tendency to say, “Oh no it isn't me. It's that other person. She or he is beautiful.” And that is partially true. The person or the sunset is beautiful, but there has to be something inside of you that recognizes it as being beautiful.
And it has to be of a frequency that's of like kind. If you're experiencing something beautiful, there has to be something beautiful in you that resonates with it and recognizes it as beautiful. And yet there's a real tendency to entirely project that onto the person or thing that we see as beautiful.
So if these things are truly happening within us, it has some pretty profound implications for where we look for them. Because there's a real tendency to look for these things outside of ourselves. We look outside for the person to be in love with, the beautiful thing to see, and the truth to find.
Of course relationships, spiritual teachings, and things outside of me can help evoke these things inside myself. But it’s important to remember that they're happening inside of me. It's really good to realize that I can experience love, joy, and compassion inside myself and even by myself.
This is great for romantic relationships. If I can experience my love on my own, then when I interact with someone in a relationship, I can share my love with her, and she can share her love with me. And, I'm not dependent on her or the relationship to provide love for me because I'm already in love inside myself.
There's real freedom and power in that. If you can experience that love and joy on your own, it puts out a vibration that you have this love to share. And that's going to attract a person that wants to share that vibration of love with you.
So if I want to have a relationship or be part of a community, I'm not just intending it and going out to meet people. I'm also finding ways to love myself and discover beauty in myself. And, ironically, that can save a lot of time in finding a relationship, community, or family to share our love with.