Welcome to week five of this free series. Go ahead and settle into your own comfy chair, grab a mug of something nice to drink, and read on.
(The following content is excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, by Carrie Triffet © Copyright 2019.)
Earlier I was sure of so many things, now I am sure of nothing.
But I feel that I have lost nothing by not knowing, because all my
knowledge was false.
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
My tiny guru
One day last summer, fresh out of the shower I sat down to
meditate. I began by asking the question: What it would take
for me to Love humanity? Not in the intellectual abstract, but,
y’know, for real.
Because let’s face it. We suck, right? We’re a tough bunch
to Love. And yet many times in meditation, I had experienced
firsthand the God-self-ness of human beings, individually and
collectively. I had felt our divine Light, our timeless innocence.
Where’s the disconnect, I wondered? How do I experience this
purity of self and other in my daily life?
Just then an incredibly persistent housefly began buzzing
and buzzing around me, landing periodically to tickle its way
across my bare arms or zip back and forth around my wet
hair. I smiled and acknowledged its God self, which of course
meant nothing at all to the fly. He knew what he was. He was
also thirsty and I was a bountiful fountain of recently showered moisture.
No amount of shooing had any effect at all. I tried slip-
ping into conscious Awareness and meditating on the in-
convenience of his behavior, seeing the behavior itself as
God. Seeing my own mild annoyance as God. It’s all true of
course, but the buzz-tickle-stop, buzz-buzz-stop-tickle was
so random it would have taken a meditator far more master-
ful than I to manage it.
And yet I had long since realized everything arises as an op-
portunity to shepherd me along my path of awakening. So I
checked in with my higher self: Is there a lesson here? Does this
fly have something to teach me?
As if in answer, the fly turned and flew straight at the tip of
my nose—bop!—with a force that startled both of us. Okay, I’ll
take that as a yes. What am I missing? What’s the lesson?
I paused to allow an answer to arise from the depths of divine
I was invited to notice that greater vision, greater Light and
greater Love are automatically limited by the habitual action
of seeing through the lens of the personal self. I was viewing
things from my own perspective. (Of course! Who wouldn’t?)
That perspective naturally included my own needs and wants:
I wanted to meditate. Meditation was important to me. It’s
what I do, it’s who I am.
Yet this fly, this outsider, was ruining my meditation because
its own needs and wants were, of course, its primary concern.
Were my needs and wants actually more important? Or were
they just more important to me?
I wasn’t really wondering whether flies should be accorded
equal rights. I was asking this question to investigate my own
egoic assumptions about life. I was beginning to notice my
own agenda was not necessarily more important than any-
body else’s. It just felt more important because it was mine.
This was a question I’d pondered before, most recently while
tending my garden. I was the one growing the veg at great effort
and expense. What was the right attitude to take toward the
beings who were busy decimating my lettuce crop? I couldn’t
bear the thought of waging war; that was the complete antith-
esis of where I wanted to be in my life. It was just too damn
painful to cultivate enemies anymore.
I decided I valued inner peace more than I did my lettuce.
I also valued peace more than I valued my ingrained assump-
tion that my lettuce belongs to me. So I blessed these slimy
little creatures, then plucked them off my leafy greens (ick)
and repatriated them to the other end of the garden. They
came back, and back, and back again of course, until no let-
Bugs, birds, rodents, slugs. I was sort of willing to entertain
the idea that I was not automatically entitled to harvest what
I grew. And since all of Nature seemed to passionately and
emphatically agree with that conclusion, I figured there must
have been a lesson in there somewhere. But that was as far as
I’d gotten on this particular question.
So this new bit of wisdom was highly pertinent to my daily
life at this time. Although I had already been experimentally
looking outside my me-centric ideas about life, it was still me
doing the looking. The ‘me’ self was chewing over the idea of
stepping outside the viewpoint of the ‘me’ self, in other words.
I hadn’t thought to examine the fact that the ‘me’ lens itself is
the limiter of wisdom.
The higher self ’s implied suggestion was a delicate one: Why
not play around with viewing the situation from beyond the
limiting lens of the personal self?
I realized this exploration
would offer not only an answer to the housefly-meditation
thing and even the garden pest conundrum, but an answer to
the question I had posed at the start of the meditation. Where
was the disconnect between the recognition of God in human-
ity I experienced during meditation, and the ability to apply
that knowing to the actual human beings we are?
I immediately checked in with the personal ‘me’ self. Gone
are the days when I would take a unilateral battering ram to
its defenses in the name of spiritual progress. I was only too
aware this suggestion of stepping outside the personal local-
ized viewpoint, would strike at the very heart and purpose of
the personal self. If I wasn’t viewing the world through its sub-
terranean lens, then what exactly was its job description?
What do you think, I asked. Would you be willing to allow this
exploration, to help me understand better?
The fly’s buzz-tickle-buzz-buzz antics had become too much
at this point. I moved into the bedroom and closed the door.
When I checked in again for the subterranean self ’s response,
I realized I was feeling no inner resistance of any kind. It had
quietly backed away, leaving me free to explore outside its usu-
al boundaries. I was overcome with a wave of deep admiration
and gratitude for the subterranean self ’s bravery and (ironi-
cally) its selflessness.
I’d been working patiently and steadfastly with the subterra-
nean self for several months by this point. It had taken quite
a while to build mutual trust and respect between us. Even
though I had dropped all my jaundiced ideas about the intrin-
sically destructive motivations of the subterranean self before
I approached it, I found myself unable at first to extend it my
authentic trust, affection or respect. Even though I wanted
Heartbreakingly, for its part, the subterranean self seemed
far more eager to trust in me, far more willing to give me the
benefit of the doubt than I could offer it in return. Progress,
genuinely desired on both sides, was steady but painfully slow
and awkward at first.
I’ll include here a representative example of my early at-
tempts to reach out humbly and sincerely to this aspect of the
self, just to give you some idea of the collaboration’s rocky be-
ginnings. I was not in the general habit of writing letters to the
subterranean self, but I found myself doing so as I sat down to
pen this diary entry.
January 5, 2018
Oh, sweetheart. Can I call you that? I so want to be able to offer
you my love. But when I try it feels fake, to you and me both.
And I want to trust you deeply and completely, because I know
you deserve it. But no matter how hard I try, something within
us (within me) just won’t go there.
It’s tricky. On the one hand I know in my heart the teachings
about you are correct. You do block out true peace. And that
hurts. How can I trust deeply in anything that blocks out God?
But I also know you’re not to be blamed for that. I know you’re
not evil. I don’t know how I know, but I do.
Maybe my feelings will change as I get to know you better. In
the meantime, instead of love or trust, I’ll offer you everything I
can right now. My honesty. My loyalty. I’m here no matter what.
I want to learn what you truly are. I don’t know why you do the
things you do, but I’m interested. Whatever you want to share
with me, I’d be honored to learn. So let’s start with that and see
where it takes us. Okay?
On this sunny summer day six months later, as I found myself
preparing to meditate from outside the personal viewpoint,
my relationship with the subterranean self was already one of
ever-deepening trust and mutual respect. By this time we were
routinely working together with the divine Light of Aware-
ness, and could clearly feel the rapidly growing inner illumi-
nation, clarity and wisdom that is a natural hallmark of such a
Having taken refuge from the persistent fly behind the closed
door of the bedroom, I sat and prepared for meditation. Sinking
deeply into present moment Awareness, I marveled at how re-
markably easy it felt to step completely away from any sense of
personal viewpoint. For the first time I could ever recall (other
than during awakenings), the ‘me’ point of consciousness held
no gravitational pull.
Since the ‘me’ perspective was temporarily deactivated, I
took advantage of this gift by focusing on the truth of what
is. What does truth feel like? I wondered. How does it feel to see
humanity as the Creator sees us?
I tuned into the human collective. Without a personal point
of view I found I was automatically free of my own assump-
tions, opinions, beliefs, judgments and even my innate prefer-
ences. None of that was relevant. None of it held any kind of
energetic charge. I could sense my vision had become far less
restricted than usual; I was seeing from a higher perspective.
As I brought the Light of Awareness inside the collective sea of
humanity, I first felt it as a surging, clashing, chaotic sea of move-
ment and change. Yet there was nothing alarming or negative
about it. Resting here, I was startled to discover this turbulent
sea was actually made of ecstatic joy. I was made of ecstatic joy.
I sank in deeper, beyond the surface level of constant move-
ment, and settled at last into deep stillness. And in this hushed
and holy stillness, this sacred foundation of our shared
humanity, I felt our true nature. It was made of ecstatic peace.
That was it. That’s what I had been missing. God is the col-
lective perfection of all-that-is, exactly as it is. It’s the ecstasy of
our human perfection, exactly as we are right now.
I just wasn’t on a high enough wavelength to experience it, until I stepped
outside the localized viewpoint of the individual self. Until,
you might say, my heartfelt desire to know God became (tem-
porarily) stronger than the desire to see things my own way.
And yes. This new knowing of our collective perfection was
still happening only in meditation, not in daily life. What can
I tell you. Mine has been a gradual ascension; so gradual, my
ears don’t even pop.
~ Carrie Triffet, excerpted from The Fricken Map is Upside Down: Notes from a spiritual journey, © Copyright 2019