This Sunday, Lola reminded us that the belief in separation is the foundation upon which all suffering exists. Listen, watch, or read her talk titled, “You Are Not Alone”.
This “talk” is electronically transcribed. Please excuse any errors or omissions.
Lola: Your great mistake is to act the drama as if you were alone, as if life were a progressive and cunning crime with no witness to the tiny hidden transgressions, to feel abandoned is to deny the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely even you at times have felt the grand array, the swelling presence and the chorus crowding out your solo voice. You must note the way the soap dish enables you, or the window latch grants you freedom, alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity. The stairs are your mentor of things to come, the doors have always been there to frighten you and to invite you.
Lola: And the tiny speaker in the phone is your dream ladder to divinity, put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation. The kettle is singing even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots have left their arrogant aloofness and seen the good in you at last, all the birds and creatures of the world are on utterably themselves, everything is waiting for you. Your great mistake is to act the drama as if you were alone, as if life were a progressive and cunning crime with no witness to the tiny hidden transgressions, to feel abandoned is to deny the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely even you at times have felt the grand array, the swelling presence and the chorus crowding out your solo voice.
Lola: You must note the way the soap dish enables you, or the window latch grants you freedom alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity, alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity. The stairs are your mentor of things to come, the doors have always been there to frighten you and invite you, under the tiny speaker in the phone is your dream ladder to divinity, put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into this conversation. The kettle is singing even as it pours you a drink. The cooking pots have left their arrogant aloofness and seen the good in you at last. All the birds and creatures of the world are unutterably themselves, everything is waiting for you. So that is a piece that’s by a poet named David Whyte it’s called “Everything is waiting for you”.
Lola: And I’m struck by my own experience of believing myself as separate or apart from all things, like how seductive it is to get caught in the trance of one’s separateness and to seek evidence of one’s separateness in all things, and yet the invitation is to transcend that tendency such that in fact you could sit here when the song is being sung not as an observer of something happening over there. But in fact as the creation that you are in the midst of, not as if you’re watching TV, but as steeped in the body of the universe. This is what you have created, the soap dish and its generosity.
Lola: Even the arrogant aloofness of the pots that may not prefer your cooking, give of themselves to you. The generosity that is all around us, and yet I’ve noticed in myself even the fixation on limitation, I have had … I’m noticing that something that occurring over my world is like an expansion, and I made reference to this last week but there’s something in me the most familiar time I have as a reference point was right before I met Nathan. And we had a man here by the name of Charles Hall who had a really profound impact on my life and I walked into class one night and then he said, “Lola how are you?” And I said, “I’m so good. It’s scary. There’s so much good stuff happening and I don’t know what to do.”
Lola: And he said, “Keep breathing and expand your capacity for good,” as you call in good as you call in a shift in consciousness, shift from your fixated sense of lack and limitation as you call in an expanded level of awareness. If you don’t simultaneously expand your container for good it will spill out and overrun. Bye-bye. It was such a powerful, powerful mental equivalent for me that I started to see myself, arms wide open along gated because I knew that a line has no end.
Lola: So what if this capacity or this container for good was limitless? But that requires a practice on my part, and as life has continued to expand in my experience, I can feel myself in a quickening in this moment. Something is shifting in my soul and that resulted in me at the sink, the kitchen sink this morning. And on Sunday mornings I typically wake up between 4:30 and 5:00 AM, then I did that as I typically do and I must have gotten up with a swiftness that was unfamiliar to my body. Because there I was standing at the sink and all of a sudden I didn’t feel quite right. I was washing the coffee pot to prepare my morning and the thought came to my mind that my son stays out too late.
Lola: The thought came to my mind that I suspect he enjoys mood altering substances more than I’m comfortable with, the thought came to my mind that I have a very full day I get to spend the morning in this incredible place, then I have two meetings that I’m going to a baby shower, then I’m flying out to San Antonio at 9:00 and I started to scare myself. All of that was happening very swiftly and at like a micro level. And all of a sudden I felt like I was going to faint, and I’m not sure exactly what happened thereafter, but I think what happened was I went down to the ground so that I didn’t hurt myself except that when I came to after fainting, I heard a large crash and I was on the other side of the kitchen. So I’m not quite clear what happened.
Lola: And if you’ve not fainted it’s a real trippy experience, what’s happened a few times in my life. And we were joking this morning I’m going to call this a mystical experience, like don’t let blood pressure or dehydration or mental masturbation, take away from my mystic experience, okay? It was a mystical experience I had this morning. And so I got up and I went to the couch and at this point it’s like 5:05, and I’m like, “Nathan. Nathan.” And he is not responding and so I make a distressed voice slightly louder, “Nathan.”
Lola: And he’s like, “What?!” And he comes downstairs and he just sat with me for an hour. And for me my life is always a metaphor, so I immediately texted my people here and was like, “Please know my wholeness because something is happening over here on planet Lola.” And as they would, they responded with, “I wonder what your body’s wanting to tell you.” Great question.
Lola: And as I laid on the couch with Nathan sitting there being with me, I became aware of this separate sense of self that seems so seductive, it is seductive. What was occurring was I was standing at the couch or I was standing at the sink and I was washing a coffee pot, that’s all that was happening in that moment. But over here what was happening was worry about my son what was happening was how am I going to do all of the things that I have to do today and maintain my mental well-being. A tip, stop thinking about it. Thinking about it in fact makes no difference so my practice is, “Okay, so yes the body told me sit your butt down.” I started scaring myself. My superstition of my morning routines on Sunday started to get threatened.
Lola: I actually was being invited into a practice of surrender, how available are you to surrender. My question is, “Are you mapping this onto your world right now?” So this idea of separateness is the foundation upon which all suffering exists. And look at anything that is occurring in your life or on the planet and if you whittle it down there is a big juicy lie that you are separate, you are on your own baby, sink or swim. That creates such dis-ease in the mind and the body and the spirit.
Lola: So Thích Nhất Hạnh says, “I have been able to return home to myself and realize the root of my suffering in the realm of my perceptions. I no longer blame God or human beings for my suffering. I am able to listen to the suffering of others and help them recognize that the root of their suffering lies in their perceptions. I shall use the practice of deep and compassionate listening to increase my ability to understand and love people.”
Lola: My perception of what a full day and a full life involves creates my suffering, my perception of my capacity creates me being at the effect of. So as I was on the couch this morning I had the thought, “Lola, this has occurred you have fainted because you’re up to too much.” It’s too much, it’s too much, call Galen, see maybe this would be the act of generosity for you this morning is to have someone speak for you, and to rest but it sounds good right especially in an era of self-care, very seductive thought pattern, very seductive insidious.
Lola: But here’s the catch, what that requires is that the locus of control be outside of me, what that requires is living from the outside in. The problem is I’m doing too much. The problem is I over scheduled myself, the problem is I didn’t drink enough water. Now, the water piece there might be something to that but the more interesting inquiry is what am I believing about my schedule that is causing me to experience life is happening to me? What am I believing about the limitations of my body that is having me believe because here’s the thing, I know me and maybe you know you. The very likely possibility was for me to indulge that one and lay on the couch likely cancel my trip to San Antonio so that Nathan can be there by himself with the kids and I could be at home.
Lola: That would be, do you get it? Home alone. Dogs gone, kids gone, let me manufacture something to take me out because I live from the outside in. The alternative is, pseudo Lola what would be the most gentle thing you could do right now without taking yourself out is very subtle but your perceptions create your suffering. Your belief in separation and your perceptions create your suffering, life is just occurring and then you have a filtration system, this is too much, this is too much, in fact subconsciously there are too many good things happening. Let me faint. Really? It’s called faint, freeze, fight or flee. I’m very familiar with fights today I opted for faint. Funny, very, very funny.
Lola: Your physical body is quite literally a manifestation of a realm of consciousness. Yesterday, my son who is 19 and I needed to go get his passport renewed, he is going to Namibia and to South Africa this summer and that requires a passport. So I said, “We need to get passport pictures,” we went to Walgreens. Well this machine is not working and I get on my soapbox like, “Why don’t people have their life together get your life together,” I’m like, “Really?” My son is like, “Oh my gosh what is wrong with you?” And I’m like, giving Walgreens a five point effectiveness strategy for greater experience on and on and on. So I go, “No, no it’s fine.” We’ll go to CVS, we go to CVS, “I’m sorry, ma’am our photo machine is not working.”
Lola: I’m like, “Dear God, what is happening in retail pharmacy environments?” We get in the car and my son says, “Mom, you know you always say that thing form follows consciousness right?” And I said, “Yes.” And he said, “Maybe I’m not supposed to go on this trip.” I was like, “Come on man that is so wack. That is not what’s happening here.” And he’s like, “I’m just saying,” I’m like, “Well do you want to go on the trip or not?” “Well yeah I want to go.” Well then, “Delete.” I said, “What else could be happening is we are being given by the holy nature of this vast universe an opportunity to be persistent to be perseverance. We are doing this today.”
Lola: We went to a third Walgreens, man, it turns out our photo booth is not working, I was like, “Wow.” So I was like, “I’m going to river for us because I bet they don’t let those photo booths go down in River Forest. That’s where we’re going sure not, they don’t let the photo booth go down in River Forest.” But do you see the similarity between I have this fainting experience it occurs like there’s some magical God outside of me that’s giving me wisdom from this experience, and then I’m being pulled remember those puppet strings outside of myself the photo booths aren’t working that must mean maybe I’m not supposed to go. You and I live like that.
Lola: We live like there are some Santa Claus God out there that is pulling the puppet strings of our lives. Now, here it’s a paradox because there is a power and presence for good in this vast and holy universities nearer than your breath, that is vaster than your being, it is in you as you through you and all around you. So it makes sense that we could think that something outside of ourselves is doing something to us, but that is still a very different context if the universe is in you as you through you and all around you very different context than how is this for me, very different context.
Lola: What is the lesson here, your life is a metaphor, your life as a metaphor whatever is occurring in your body, what’s the metaphor? Whatever is occurring in your finances, what’s the metaphor? Whatever is occurring in your career, your relationships, what’s the metaphor? Thich Nhat Hanh said, and I firmly know this to be true in my life. It is your realm of perception that creates your experience. It is your realm of perception. See, the illusion of this dimension of reality is the belief in separation, you and I, I would venture to say unless you two have had mystical experiences that have transcended you out of this lived experience. We really think that we are a separate self. It really does look like you are over there and I am over here.
Lola: But consciousness literally is the projection of your thoughts onto the movie screen before you. So whatever you are believing, you will be right. So if I had said this morning, the fainting, it’s a metaphor. The metaphor is lay your butt down and call Galen. Nothing wrong with that. You have to know yourself well enough to know when you’re tricking yourself.
Lola: I know myself well enough to know that had I done that it would have just been trickery over here on planet Lola. I could also tap in to the friends, the thought forms that are like maybe I’ve shared this with you before and I think my niece went to vacation Bible school which sort of freaks me out for a whole variety of reasons but she went, she had a very lovely experience and then my daughter was with her and they started dancing around singing, “If God is for me who can be against me. God is my strength,” and I was like, “You know, those are some good lyrics. If the universe is for you then who or what can be against you. The universe is your strength? It is your friend forever then what could ever be against you? How is this for me?”
Lola: So Thich Nhat Hanh goes on to say, “I know that my belief in an unchanging separate self-cut off from other people and living beings has caused me to suffer and has caused others to suffer.” Just check, where do you see yourself in this now moment as separate from another? You might bring a family member to your mind’s eye. You might bring a colleague to your mind’s eye.
Lola: This week I texted my dad. I said, “Hey dad, I’m speaking at TEDx Chicago on May 1st, I would love for you to buy a ticket.” Now my dad is a successful business man, he is 75 years old, he had no clue what TED was. So I have several pages of text exchanges with him, with his own professionalism tips for this organization that is now calling itself TED, all kinds of tips. I will let you know, I’m not sure if I can be there because if it is liberal or it is conservative I want no part of it and I was like, “It’s not even like that. Like what are you talking about?”
Lola: He’s like, “Well just let them know it’s important to create a professional experience.” I’m like, and in that moment I watched myself run the alluring seductive story of my relationship with my dad. He’s never there for me the way I wish he was. Well, I wish he would be. What is wrong with him? You know what, I don’t even know why I asked him, I can’t count on him. He is totally in it for himself and I watched it, some of it I shared with him. And I said, “I pray, I am more supportive of my kids than I experienced you as being.”
Lola: And he sent me an email the next day apologizing, he had bought his ticket but it’s always an opportunity for me to mine my mind, to notice what stories are running me. It was a step out for me to even ask my dad to come. I was already interrupting the narrative by asking him to come, because the default narrative is my dad’s not going to come. So I already put myself out there let me see if I can shake it up, let me see if I can unhook this loop the projection on my movie screen was all of the racket that he had about coming, “Lola, will you let that take you out, or will you keep standing for love? Will you keep standing for connection? Will you keep standing for that what you desire?” Which is actually to have your dad be there.
Lola: So I have to keep practicing because when I create separation I create suffering, when I see my dad as my enemy no matter how subtle, it takes me out. When I see Walgreens and CVS as my enemy, it takes me out. When I see fainting as my enemy, it takes me out. When I begin to invoke this notion that if the universe is for me who could be against me. That’s a game changer. So David Whyte turned me on to this get this, this Irish [Darwist 00:27:41] poet. Wei Wu Wei an Irishman. We’ll talk about cultural appropriation later that’s not what this morning’s talk is about, he is from Ireland, he is [Darwist 00:28:01] and he named himself so we’re going with that because guess what, it can be problematic but you can call yourself what you want to call yourself. Okay?
Lola: We’ll love you through that. Why are you unhappy? Because 99.9% of everything you think and of everything you do is for yourself, and there isn’t one. There is no separate self that’s surprise, that’s the big idea. It looks like you are separate and you spend 99.9% of your life tending to your happiness at the level of the individual and then you wonder what is happening. You were placing your attention on something that does not exist, there is no separate self. You and I are intrinsically connected one to another, nothing occurs in this dimension of reality in isolation, nothing.
Lola: So the thought patterns that you’re regurgitating, the thought patterns that you’re recycling, you’re playing with my game over here, do you understand? When I take responsibility for the interpretation of the metaphor before me, it is not only my sacred service to myself, it’s my sacred service to humanity. We are not always scrutinizing our thoughts, we are all in this together, that’s what we’re talking about this month. We have a vested interest in the thoughts that are on repeat among one another. You are not alone, you are not separate, I am not alone, I am not separate.
Lola: Life is for you, this universe has been called forward by you. And you can be sitting back and letting it pass you by, or you can get up and go, “Wow. If I am the individualized manifestation of all that is, who am I to be here this day?” The lie of separation creates great suffering, the belief that there is a God separate from you that is judging and assessing your every move keeps you stuck. Carlton Pearson talks about this sort of context of God is like an angry parent, that we live our lives navigating the temper of an angry parent. This is it. This is all we got. This now moment consciousness precedes form. So the question becomes what is the consciousness that I’m sowing.
Lola: I totally created the Dr. John Turner would be here today and he is, and so after this service I’m totally going to have a conversation with him about my fainting, I am. And what’s the metaphor, do you understand what I’m saying? Because some of you will think that what I’m saying is don’t give medical attention, get medical attention, that is not the point. But if that’s the only level at which you’re operating you’re missing the big idea. You are more than this meat suit, you are more than this.
Lola: I’ll close with this, I was at a gathering last night and I showed this on Insta stories so some of you may have already indulged me, but I was talking to a couple humans and I said, “Now, how do you identify spiritually?” I told you I’m like a terrible person to invite to a party, because it’s never like, “So you know what do you do?” Like, “It’s like, so how do you identify spiritually?” And they’re like, “Well, non-denominational Christian.” And I’m like, “Great. What does that mean to you?” And they’re like, “What do you mean?” And I’m like, “What does that mean to you when you say you identify as a thing, it has a context. There’s a narrative there’s a story line there’s a cosmology of beliefs and thoughts. What does that mean to you?”
Lola: Well, I never quite thought about it like that, there is an operating system that you inherited by virtue of your family of origin, there is an operating system that you inherited by virtue of the community that you were raised in. There is an operating system that you inherited by virtue of the nation you were born into. There is an operating system that you inherited by virtue of all kinds of identities. And then when will you say what’s true about you? When will you say? When will you say what’s true about you and what’s true about how you move on the planet?
Lola: I identify as a master practitioner of awareness. That’s the game I’m up to. I’m walking on the planet deeply curious around where my conscious awareness is. Where do I place my attention? What is the lens of perception through which I see this three-dimensional reality? I could care less what you call it. If that sounds like mystical Christianity to you, great. If it sounds like mystical Judaism to you, great. If that sounds like mystical Buddhism to you, great. That sounds probably mystical, that much we know, who are you? How do you know yourself? Have you done the soul work that tethers you to something greater than that 99.9% of focused attention on your individual needs, you will create a highly neurotic self if that’s where your attention is. Happy Sunday.