It’s Not Out There

By Nicola Albini, J.D., M.A.

I’ve just returned from a 5-day Enneagram retreat led by my friend and mentor, Robert Holden.

It was so amazing to be reminded that life really loves us. Life is really “for” us, rather than “against” us.  The purpose of life is to fulfill itself. When life is allowed to truly be lived, failure is never a possibility.

In fact, we are the origin of all that blocks the good things in life.  There is nothing outside of us doing that.

But why?  Why do we thwart our own happiness, success, and wellness?  Why do we struggle with the illusion that there is something outside of ourselves that is working against us?  Why do we still believe (in varying degrees) that we are incapable of influencing the direction our lives take?  

The answer is… because we are scared to be who we really are. 

But who are we?

In truth, we are the individualization of Source itself. Contained within us is divine intelligence, divine purpose, unlimited abundance, infinite love, and unfailing light. Contained within us is pure Presence.

Yet, most of us, most of the time are – to varying degrees – not coming from Source.  We are coming from Ego.

Ego is afraid. Ego is at the effect of life. Ego tries to pretend it’s God by imitating the qualities of the divine.  For example, instead of the polarity of light and love, the Ego creates good and evil.  Instead of infinite abundance and eternal “enoughness,” it creates consumerism and greed. Instead of essence, it creates personality.

Indeed, the Enneagram teaches us that we have nine different ways in which we fall out of Presence and we forget who we are, in an attempt to soothe our egos and play out our personalities in the world.

This wise and ancient model for self-awareness also invites us to examine where we get in our own way and become the biggest obstacle to all of that which we truly desire to experience.

What the Enneagram points out is that we try so hard to be good, we try so hard to be liked, we try so hard to shine and outshine the rest, we try so hard to be special and unique, to understand everything, we try so hard to be safe, we try so hard to find happiness, we try so hard to be in charge… and meanwhile, we try so hard to avoid conflicts at all costs.

Oh my, isn’t that exhausting?

So much trying, so much “efforting.” (And, by the way, we’ll never get there, wherever that place might be, that our minds tell us will FINALLY allow us to feel happy or safe or whatever we think we are missing.)

The path of the ego feels it is never enough. It procrastinates letting in love, and it constantly feels the need to improve the places it can’t accept.  It judges relentlessly. No matter how hard it tries, things don’t work out for long until the next self-improvement project becomes imminent.  

The way of Presence is to connect to our souls, to the essence of who really are, to our true nature. This is not a theoretical hypothesis; it’s an invitation to practice and experience living a different paradigm.

SO…what if we become willing to let go of all of that trying and searching and “efforting", and instead, relax into a state of allowing ourselves to be who we ARE, despite our strongest inner criticism?

What if we surrendered to this moment and lived as if we know life really loves us?

What if we simply practice these ideas, rather than preaching and “efforting” them in order to satisfy the constant need of the ego to demonstrate worthiness?

What if our worthiness is inherent, regardless of our achievements?

These ideas and principles truly work… IF we practice them and live in the questions, rather than satisfying the ego’s need to try to find all the answers.

Marianne Williamson once said: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.

I believe that to be so true and so eye opening.

My friend, today I invite you to reflect on the self-inquiries I just shared and start looking deeply at all the ways you are blocking your success, your love, your happiness, your light.

And this is the commitment I would love for you to embrace:
“Today I commit to seeing that I have plenty of everything, that I am loved, and that my success, joy, and fulfillment is truly a matter of perspective.

We can become our own best friends with the simple awareness of the ways we are not. This is the work of a lifetime, and it is the work that will set us free from suffering, and help others to set themselves free too.

And isn’t that truly the point of all of it?