Devoting Ourselves to Reality. ~ Kathryn Ashworth

Via on Oct 19, 2013

Photo: Mariah Wilder on Pixoto.

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.” ~ Tich Naht Hahn

In some way or another I had always been searching for something that could drag me out of a little life into pure beyond-ness. I’ve been told it was all a God complex, but I believe if this were ever true it was simply because the feelings were so huge that I couldn’t put them anywhere, so I put them everywhere, and the search became my whole life.

The biggest trip of all was what the early days of worship taught me; that a miracle was around every corner, and if the miracle hadn’t happened yet—it would.

And miracles did happen. In fact they were so huge they stopped my whole life, because I froze in a longing for them to return.

Back in the day I prayed. I thought that all my prayers had been heard by Jesus. Whenever something went right, I put it down to intervention. Then whenever things went wrong, God stepped out. I guess I could have felt upset that he left me high and dry—especially on the particularly rough days—-but he had a plan, right?

I became obsessed with the idea of heaven and hell. I tried to convert my family to Christianity, so afraid to lose them. But no matter what I ever said or did, my 13-year old self could not convince my 70-year old grandmother that Jesus was real. 

“Then why do children die all over the world?” she would say.

“I’m sorry, Kathryn, but I can’t.”

And how could a budding teenager answer a question like that? I don’t even think a minister can.

One day I decided I didn’t want to go anywhere she wouldn’t be—she was the most amazing, kindhearted woman I had ever met in my life. She still is.

So I took a chance and I very respectfully left Christianity to study various forms of spirituality.

I also became lonely, because I didn’t feel connected to anything at all; just so many things all at once. I called myself spiritual and occasionally people would ask me what that meant, but (in truth) I had no idea. Some days it would have been easier to be a part of an organized religion again, just to say I was something.

Sometimes I thought about Jesus—even missed him. I wondered if I had made the right decision. Crazy things were happening all around me, as they do in this human world. I remembered when I could run to him.

Eventually, I started to listen to living spiritual teachers. The positive aspect being that I’d finally expanded my vocabulary to include love. Sometimes I liked to put these three words together: I-love-myself.

And there was the miracle lingering in the background, so out of touch. I remember trying to penetrate the veil, to reach the other side to wherever the golden flowers grew. I entered states of sublime bliss, only to crash so hard—constantly slipping into the trance that God was a part from me, on another side of the mundane world.

I found my power animals. I communed with spirits. I still think they are an intrinsic part of my life. But I hadn’t dealt with the whole being alive part, as in skin and bones; less spirit—less ghost.

So I put one foot in front of the other and I started that slow walk through my own life.

I stepped in.

And as I started this digging into whatever it meant to be me, I realized it had never been God that occasionally came and went—it had been myself. And I began understanding that devotion was never a process of escaping into the beyond to unite with primal forces. Neither is it about getting anywhere like heaven to escape hell.

Because devotion is not about the eventually.

Devotion is about the right now. It is a process of becoming real, and so real that it crushes you, here, on earth.

They say that God is of a wordless space—well so is pain, and so is love, and there aren’t any unicorns or cotton candy in heaven. There is just this body we are living in and it experiences something called “me”; a sense of person-hood which not only enters states of sublime bliss, but remembers that bliss is an illusion as well; the reality of which self proclaims that the world within does not move an inch, no matter where the idea we have of ourselves travels.

And through this I came to see how real Spirit actually is; so much that it cannot be seen when we look up, nor when we look down. Spirit can only be seen when we stop looking towards the force as if it can be seen anywhere at all.

The vitality is simply alive, deep within the human drama that is forever and ever completely, totally, and terrifyingly here. In eastern philosophy this is called presence.

I still can’t answer why children are dying all around the world. The idea of someone ever asking me that again confounds me. I think the only people who could respond are those who harm children, daily—-and this is something I will never intentionally be a part of (thank God).

I still meet the coyote for a cup of tea; I still dream of heaven, even enter it some days.

But within a deeper sense, and within, I realize that God is in the blade of grass; even the gum stuck to my shoe.

Spirit can’t step out, or step back in. I have to be here for myself.

And I am.

That’s the real miracle: the one that never comes, nor goes.

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Ed: Sara Crolick

About Kathryn Ashworth

Kathryn Ashworth lives in Richmond, Virginia with her cat Johfrit (the littlest knight).  When she’s not writing and daydreaming, she’s grounding herself on the yoga mat. She believes in the transformative power of art and spirituality. Currently she’s studying to become a certified yoga instructor. She welcomes new friends. You can find her on Facebook.

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2 Responses to “Devoting Ourselves to Reality. ~ Kathryn Ashworth”

  1. Ashley says:

    This article could not have possibly come to me at a better moment. This was confirmation of all the universal truths I have been grappling with in a pretty hardcore, internal way for some time now. And when I say, grapple, I mean that I saw so much universal truth in so many supposedly conflicting ideas and practices (requiring more and more faith and less "proven/factual" evidence), that I felt like I must keep going until somehow they all wove together. I just got to a point of no return, where I could no longer exclude or cherry pick a method of reaching the divine or infinite, because I had found so many ways…so I was searching for information that would let it make sense, and I think I'm there. Thank you for sharing this. I not so much needed this, but rather was very glad to see that others are on this track as well. The track of LOVE. Thanks you.

    Love,
    Ashley

  2. Kathryn Ashworth says:

    Dear Ashley,

    I have written two other articles, “Life Responding to Life,” and “Dissolving into Awareness.” If you resonated with this, the other two may strike a chord with you. Please friend me on Facebook, (if you like), because you sounds lovely and it woul be great to keep in touch. Thank you for sharing. Your words inspire me. We are not alone. :-)

    Love, Kathryn

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