Your identity is who you feel you are. If you feel you are a corporate executive, you will act very differently than if you feel you are infinite light. Who you feel yourself as is your identity. Spiritual growth involves deepening your identity, feeling more deeply who you are.
But after you have discovered a certain level of depth, then you must conform your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors to this depth of openness—otherwise, your life-practice lags behind your identity-practice. Suppose, for example, you realize that at heart you are love. You realize that although you might function as a mother, a politician, or a baker, at depth you actually are love.
This realization is half of your spiritual practice. The other half is to live true to your newly realized identity, in spite of old habits to the contrary. You can now practice to do love. When you walk, how can you let go of your old habits of tension and move as an expression of the love you feel you are at depth? At your job, how can you work as the love you truly are? What changes do you need to make in your daily life-rituals so that love can radiate through your every breath, action, and relationship?
Most people find it much easier to grow deeper in identity (“Who am I?”) than to express this depth through daily life. They discover they are love, for instance, and still spend hours gossiping or watching TV. They self-justify by thinking they can be love while also lazing around, and this is true. But if they were really sensitive and honest with themselves, they would feel that certain behaviors conduct love more than others do. Singing with a relaxed throat is more conducive to expressing love than singing with a tense throat, although you can love and also be tense. You can make love with a hard belly or a soft belly, but love flows more fully through a soft belly.
“Am I receiving love from others fully into my body? Is love flowing through my body outward to others fully?” You learn to feel the flow of love as feedback. Before, you were able to bad-mouth others with a laugh and a sneer. Now that you have opened more deeply, you can feel how such gossip creates a subtle closure, a tension in yourself and in the friends you are speaking with. So you practice living more true to the depth of love you are, which in this case may mean gossiping less so love can flow more fully through your body and your friends.
You can notice how your diet affects the openness in yourself and others. True, you can be open as love and eat anything. Nevertheless, certain foods may contribute to a subtle closure in your body, emotions, and mind, and therefore instigate closure in your relationships.
Love, or openness, is. You can practice opening just as you are. As you grow in your capacity to be openness, you can also grow in your capacity to do openness. Your body, mind, and actions—whether in dreams or while awake—can live more or less true to the love-openness that is their source.
Whatever appears in any moment, including right now—your thoughts, the room, other people—is the given medium for love’s emergence. You don’t have much control over what appears, but you can practice true to your realized depth—or not. You can choose to gift the world and all others with the deepest love or openness that you can open as. You can practice to think as openness, to act as openness, to breathe as openness, now and in any moment. You can feel the texture of every moment of every relationship and act to align your words and touch and gaze so the openness of love prevails.
You can practice living as the deepest openness that you know you are. One enemy of this practice is laziness, or the misconception that knowing you are love is sufficient. Knowing or feeling the deep openness who you are is fairly easy; living as this openness, and serving all others to live as this love, in every moment through all appearances, is where the art is.
Usually, there is substantial lag time between the realization of depth and your capacity to live it. Your emotions, sex, and relationships tend to be much less open than who you feel you are at depth. True art requires practice. Living as an artful expression of openness—so even the tone of your voice, the grace of your gestures, and the play of your sexing are exquisite expressions of the love who you are—requires years of spontaneous gifting and rigorous practice.
If knowing the truth is sufficient for you, then practice the art of philosophy. If only living the truth will suffice, then practice the art of love through your mind, your emotions, and your body. Do your best to breathe love, in and out.
Receive the presence of the entire moment deep into your body—into your heart, into your belly, into your loins—as a lover would open deeply to receive her trusted beloved. Give your deepest love, pressing your love into the moment’s openness without holding anything back, as a lover would press his love gently and deeply into his trusting beloved. Soften your belly as love. Speak so that listeners open. Prepare food and arrange your house as love’s radiant gifts of enchantment.
Even in your nighttime dreams, your daydreams, and your secret moments of private time, practice the art of doing love through whatever medium appears. When you notice your mind wandering to a sexual fantasy, consciously guide the imagery toward love’s fullness, so that all the characters in the fantasy are heartfully served by your sexual gifts and opened as love’s unbound ecstasy. If you find yourself lonely, raiding the refrigerator at night, suck the fullness of the moment deep into your heart with each swallow, and allow each mouthful’s joy to radiate outward, breathing your secret pleasure as a gift freely offered from your heart through your whole body to all.
In this way, every place that comes and goes also opens as love fully offered.
From Blue Truth by David Deida, Chapter 15