Sweeping sensitivity under the carpet

Does being a man mean we have to live up to ideals?

Sweeping sensitivity under the carpet

It was the first day of April and another sunny morning. Looking for a break from her day, my wife decided there was time between online meetings to wash our living room rug. Like any furnishing in a young family home, it had started off life cream, fluffy and lovely to lie down on, only to gradually become layered with toast crumbs, fruit stains and various hairs. It was certainly due a substantial clean I agreed, but I had to head inside to attend to my work.

After my meetings finished up, I came back out to find my wife hosing down the carpet on our veranda, with our young son covered head to toe in soap suds, yelping and jumping on top of the rug. My wife was running out of puff and wasn’t quite sure how to get the carpet dry. How do professionals do it anyway?

‘Oh God no!’ I said inside my head and bent down to look closer and inspect the situation for myself. As I did, I felt a tweak inside of my back as if to say ‘hey are you sure you should be doing this?’ which I promptly ignored. Taking charge of the situation ‘as a man should’ I told my wife I’d sort it out and suggested she go inside and get our son changed.

Faced with the carpet one-on-one, suds and foam aplenty, I set to steadily drying it out and eventually got to a stage where it seemed ready to move. But where on earth to? It was sopping wet and had no hope of drying out lying flat on the ground. I swiftly decided the best approach was to hang it out over our washing line. Pleased with this new plan I set about acting it out and lifted the carpet up… ‘wooooooaaaah.... now that is heavy!’

Undaunted, I slung it over the top of my head and like a mollusc or hermit crab moving home, tottered round the outskirts of our house to face my Everest - the washing line. Here it became clear that actually launching the dripping rug onto the line was way beyond my physical capability, yet seemingly faced with no other choice I pressed on and somehow hurled it over the washing line cords, dragging it into position bit by bit. Finally - my task was complete.

As I stood in the sun getting my breath and congratulating myself on a job well done, I became aware of a dull ache in my neck and my back. ‘Uh oh’, I thought, ‘now what is that?’ It was subtle and minor at first but as I walked back to the house dripping drops of soapy water, I started to realise I was injured. Over the next few minutes, the tell-tale aches and stiffness of movement came on. I shared what I had done with my wife and she suggested I lie down.

As I lay on our bed with my hands on my aching back and head, I was stunned in disbelief - what on earth had just taken place? Had I just done what I had done? How did that even occur? How did I end up in this totally absurd and sore position once more?

At this point I should disclose that just over a year and half ago I fractured my vertebrae falling down a flight of stairs. And yet here I was using my body as a laundry rack for a carpet covered in soap. The absurdity of what had taken place was right in my face. Usually on 1st April people play jokes on other people, but here I surely played one on myself.

Unable to move I was forced to consider a lot of things - how had I found myself in that situation? Why had I continued on regardless? All the times I had injured myself before in my life resurfaced for me to recall and consider. Why had this event occurred? And what had it to teach me?

As men we tend to approach life as an obstacle course we ought to master, often it feels like we have one leg over the first bar before the challenge has even been set. We have taken on this idea that we need to be able to solve every issue that presents on our own, even though this is often at a cost to our body and health. We fling ourselves into tasks without a second thought, only for it to become clear later on that they were simply not needed. We take on jobs without asking for others help, out of a misplaced concept of duty, responsibility and kindness. We never stop flogging ourselves, hoping to get praise and a ‘thanks so much’ in return. And isn’t that the thing, that these activities we pursue are actually more for our own needs of recognition than to help others – in truth? I could see all this was at play for me, in my not so magic carpet ride that day.

Running out of things to occupy my mind as I lay prostrate on the bed, I watched a video featuring the philosopher Serge Benhayon, called ‘The difference between Spirit and Soul’. Why do human beings do what they do? In the clip Serge presents the true way we are composed – of a Soul that simply knows oneness, simplicity, harmony and wisdom and a Spirit that seeks individuality, complexity and constant recognition.

You may not have lifted a carpet on your head having broken your back or even something half as daft, but surely, we can all say we have experienced this phenomena where, despite all sense and logic we proclaim to possess, we act out decisions and behaviours that are actually against ourselves. Whether that is eating a food you know is no good, arguing with those you say you love, or indulging in alcohol or drugs that cause us harm, we can all probably relate to situations where we have done things that make no sense.

As I lay there, I could not deny that there had been this element inside, driving me to be the one to get the reward, to be well regarded or liked and to fulfil the ideals I have been sold of what my job is ‘as a man’.

We are all born tender, delicate and super aware, yet we train ourselves to deny what we feel as we grow. If I saw my son drag that carpet as I did that day, there’s no way I would say ‘hey great idea’ - so why was it ok for me to do that, that day? The simple reality is when we deny our innate sensitivity, we seek all sorts of drama and invite complexity in.

“As human beings we have discovered a way
to get through life and not live it.”

Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations Volume I, ed 1, p 250

How often do we ignore the knowing of a situation that isn’t right and lace it with beliefs and ideals so we can continue on straight ahead? What could be so simply avoided is indulged, for it gives us a story to tell and a complexity to identify with (everyone has their own version of a carpet story it seems).

Ultimately the Spirit part of us playing these games doesn’t care about what occurs, but just sees our body as a dodgem car to be driven around life to its personal delight. Any sensation, injury, offence, or reward is merely another entertainment in its ceaseless search for intensity of experience. The simplicity of us just being Love, offers none of that.

We are constantly told that we are the ‘strong’ sex, our brute force is championed at our every turn, we are applauded and eulogised for our ability to push through and drive on – but what if our true strength lives in what we sense and feel, not how much we do?

The more I consider the waywardness that has played out in my life, the more I can see it isn’t the end-game in itself. Because before I undertake the unlikely tasks that I perform, there is often something I am sensing and feeling inside that I am seeking relief from. What happened that day, before I lifted the carpet? Is it possible the whole thing took place to avoid something significant that I could sense and detect?

As I chatted with my wife about my newly acquired injury, it came to me suddenly that it was the anniversary of my father’s death. ‘Oh yes’ something clicked inside, as if to recognise what had actually been taking place throughout this carpet debacle. Though I thought I was ‘ok’ and moving on in my life since my father passed, I could sense the anniversary brought up something big to feel about our relationship, the arguments that we used to have, the cancer that he got and how I still struggled with my sensitivity just as he once did. All this was swirling round inside me, but through the convenient distraction of work and carpets that needed to be cleaned I had managed to block out that this was even a thing, with no idea it was going on inside me…until now.

“Distraction is a very important part of
our current form of intelligence because, if it were
not, we would have to be far more responsible.”

Serge Benhayon Teachings & Revelations, Volume IV, ed1, p 152

The fact is we are constantly receiving the truth about life, from all angles. The wisdom and understanding of what the universe is all about rains down on us every moment we are alive. This naturally brings awareness to what is really at play. We have to come up with a distraction it seems, to not sense the love that is constantly on offer, and in doing so the corruption begins. When we review our lives, we tend to focus on what that distraction is, but below that rug of numbness we’ve laid on top, the true beauty of who we are is always there underneath.

As I’ve begun to let go of all the ideas of what it is to be ‘a man’, I’ve stopped driving and pushing myself so hard to achieve. I’ve become kinder and gentler in what I choose and how I move. Things have got simpler and less stressful too. A feeling of tenderness and warmth has returned to my heart, and I’ve begun to notice when something I choose makes this quality depart. If I feel rigid, or like I am pushing ahead, then I know the Spirit is the part running the show and there is probably something I am trying to escape.

Making these changes has led to a ‘domino’ effect in my life - opportunities have arisen I could not have conceived of before, a beautiful flow to my day to day has started to occur, and people and situations I’ve long struggled with have started to change all by themselves. The more I have started to observe the power we have in our everyday choices, the clearer it’s become that it was never just about me and having a ‘better life’, but the impact we have on everyone else in this world.

“How we live, so too we emit.”

Serge Benhayon Teachings & Revelations, Volume IV, ed1, p 32

I have always heard caring for yourself described as a discipline or regime you need to implement, but the more I have started to understand the difference between Spirit and Soul, the clearer it’s been that identifying which of these two factors is driving me is the key to it all. Our Soul would never be harsh or mean or deprive us in any way, or do something foolish - it’s our greatest supporter and advocate. All we have to do is connect and move and the quality of our actions are guaranteed. When you live this way, I have found that the next thing that’s needed is naturally given to you without you having to look around. But when you live your life disconnected and distracted, you are lost at the mercy of a million ideas and concepts that you are fed about what is best. We can spend lifetimes like this, adding to all the complexity and mess in this world, thinking we are going somewhere or making progress.

Its’ ironic to grasp that when you lived thinking life was all about ‘you’ and the issues you had, you were hard and mean to yourself. But when it starts to sink in that the ‘I’ you have been sold is not the true you, and that you are a part of something much grander, you naturally start to care for your body and being just like that.

Looking after ourselves isn’t restricted to the functional actions that we tend to think, like washing our face or brushing our teeth. Its caring and nurturing to let our sass out, to let our playfulness shine, to celebrate the colour and flair we bring to every aspect of life. It’s vital and essential we let our joy and love out, to appreciate and honour everything that we have felt. For ultimately to truly care for ourselves is to connect to the fact that we are multi-dimensional beings first and to live our lives informed by that.

Tending and caring for our body as an instrument of God, instead of a tool of distraction, makes it irrefutably clear what our true purpose is – to live heaven on earth. For every time we move and live connected to our Soul, we naturally offer exactly what is needed for everybody to grow and evolve.

So, to men everywhere, it’s time to stop sweeping our awareness under the carpet of life. It was never our job to carry its burden, stains and mess on top of our head. Let our spunkiness shine, be an inspiration to others, let them see our true light - and that they too are equal to God.

“Note well that – in SELF-LESS-NESS –
never is self empty or lonely and
never is self nothing.

In self-less-ness, the SELF –
is the all in the all.”

Serge Benhayon Esoteric & Exoteric Philosophy, ed 1, p 388

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