Excerpted from How to Live a Genuine Life by Ezra Bayda.
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What does a substitute life mean to you? Can you share a personal experience of a time you became aware of the smallness of your attachments? What has helped you avoid the temptation of an escape strategy when dealing with your fears?
WHO AM I ? Body-physical, external & mortal or the life force Soul-latent, inner and eternal ?Thus Substitute is for the body. Not for 'I'- Shivoham, Shivohum-Shivaswarupoham.Nityoham,Shuddhoham,Buddhoham. Advaita Ananda Rupam, Arupam.Brahmoham,Brahmoham,BrahmaSwarupoham.Chidoham,Chidoham, ChidanandRupaha.Google search for the meaning. Either decide just to meditate on 'I' or get into the debate of body substitute at all ? Cheers with love.....
From our circle of sharing - This lady went to a spiritual program , where every time teacher asked a question, she would answer immediately. Later, when teacher discussed, her answer would change and she will put this new answer in the box. Thus for each question there will be multiple answers from her end. The teacher asked her to wait and watch multiple times but this exercise made her realize that she was over-confident of herself. She was able to become aware of her ego and now can say 'I probably don't know' with comfort.
Another story: We run away from being with ourselves , from pain, from facing our disturbance. This woman would always go out or be with people - avoid being with herself until one day, she chose to meditate during a difficult situation. She burst out crying loudly during the meditation but it melted the pain away and calmed her in a permanent way on that hurt. After that she chooses to be with herself during any pain, disturbance and that gives her a clear path to go forward. During death of a close family member, she chose to mourn for 4-5 days and that helped to clear the emotions such that the pain did not disturb her with the same intensity ever again - she was able to accept.
This much I know for sure: I am in "life's womb" (a masquerade of sorts because I can't really see you and you can't totally see me) because I am confined by "the walls" I which I grow. My Life Source (God) sees me ... But no other! As long as my "life's umbilical cord remains viable, my "earthly masquerade" will continue. It's darkness WILL turn to light when God decides I be BORN to HIM.
Let us finish the race!
A substitute is a stand in that serves in place of the real thing. Personally, it's an act or role that I put on that is other than the real me, expresses something other than my truth. A person does this out of the belief that the substitute will make a better impression or be better liked or will get further ahead or will get a particular outcome or will be safe, etc. Attachment to these beliefs is small because it means to trust and accept and value a false self, an imitation, more than the real self. I started becoming aware of such attachments long ago and am still in the process of letting go of them and expressing and living my real self. What helps me avoid an escape strategy is trusting my truth, trusting what I am experiencing, and reminding myself that honesty is the best policy and the truth will set me free. Good experiences including a sense of satisfaction when I am real help me to avoid escaping to a substitute.
The one thing that has helped me avoid the temptation of an escape strategy is knowing the futility of it. No matter what one does, one still has to come face to face with one's fears sooner or later. There is no choice in this matter and life will continue to present circumstances that will force one to look at one's fears. Until one has learnt the lesson involved in the fear and comprehend it fully. It seems to me that we are born for this very reason - to understand ourselves fully. So there is no point in escaping from that. We can only not-escape from things that we are aware of. In that respect, our job becomes one of bringing into awareness the fears and attachments that we are carrying in us.
Substitute life to me means not being completely authentic or being who we were or are meant to be. There is a saying which I firmly believe and which I think is reflected here, "we become the stories we tell." The good news is we are also the author of the stories we tell so we can re-write or re-tell at any time. We can start a new chapter and allow that to become our new story. What role do we wish to play in our story? Are we the hero or victim in our story? Who are the other characters in our story? What journey are we taking? Do we wish to walk a different path? We can write that and live it.