Updated: Oct 7
Many years ago at a retreat, I ran into the head of the event during a break and suddenly had an overwhelming desire to cry. I fell in his arms and he hugged me. I had no idea why I was crying but in that moment I felt a deep sadness and grief. I had already been unlayering aspects of my previous life for many years, but this felt different. He (his name is Padre Paul) understood I was in a deep growth process and stayed with me for a few minutes to let me share some things in my heart. This all happened in the bathroom. Slightly embarrassing at the time, but it was what it was. :)
A day later, at the same retreat, Padre Paul asked me if I wanted to be a novice for the monk program. I had no idea beforehand this would happen, nor did he. It was a spontaneous movement of the spirit, one might say. I said yes and cried again. (I had no idea why that was happening again!). Although I had been part of this community for a few years, I didn't completely know what a novice or a monk was, nor how they were connected. (Being a novice is the preparation stage to becoming a monk). I learned this after I said yes. :) Yet, throughout that whole experience, I still had an inner knowing that this was the right path.
At the time there were so many stories I noticed I could hook onto about what was unfolding and unraveling. But something in me knew to simply experience the moment and stay connected to my inner being. I knew I was saying yes to something I didn't yet fully understand. And I knew on some level my life would be different. There was already a kind of grieving of the past (even before I knew what was happening) –– of who I was, of the plans I had for myself, and of what I thought I would be doing with my life.
I was stepping into the unknown.
What felt like a liminal space –– stepping through one door but not yet through another –– was extremely uncomfortable for my mind. Yet any attempt to understand its meaning and significance prematurely would have only kept me from fully experiencing something profound in that moment and something later that was much more transformative.
Over the years I've had similar experiences of unlayering the chrysalis so to speak – being in that in-between stage. We often avoid stepping through these spaces into unknown territory. Or at least resist them with some amount of effort, unconscious or not. Its common to feel anxious, exposed, or intimidated when we don't know what lies next – in relationship, with our health or that of a loved one, in a job, or with the state of the world. Or, it could be when relating with others and not knowing how someone might respond or react – when sharing our heart or a simple truth about ourselves with a colleague, loved one, or a larger community; having a conversation with someone who has an entirely different point of view; or even just smiling at a complete stranger who appears to be having a bad day.
Our minds will do anything to avoid uncertainty and our hearts will often want to close. We'll create stories, projections, justifications, distractions (God only knows I've created a million different ways) and avoid life in its full rawness. Life can be intense in its most intimate moments. Yet the body makes room for something bigger to land within us if we allow ourselves to be patient. If we can become intimate with the space of not knowing (not needing to know, be right, or have all the answers right away), we can develop a heart that is truly open to what the Universe is drawing us towards and calling forth within us on how to respond to life, and to others. In essence, a heart that is able to connect to a higher dimension of our Being is one where grace has an entrypoint into our lives.
Keeping an open mind & heart, even in the midst of life's uncertainty, can open the doorway to profound healing, inner transformation, and deep inner knowing. When a wave of grief, sadness, or other intense emotion comes up, we can simply know that there is simultaneously an invitation to step through a doorway for our next area of growth, expansion, and inner freedom. Deep down we know that this kind of freedom is our birthright, our natural state of being.
My intention and prayer is that as we all walk through these infinite doorways of growth, we are blessed with great courage, compassion, and profound grace. And that our willingness to be present with the unknown, heart wide open to the moment, can be of great service to each other and to our world.
With profound respect for the unique presence you are,
-–––––– www.ryanrigoli.com Spiritual Guidance | Leadership Coaching | Healing Music
Note: 'The Unknown is our Doorway' is a chapter in Adyashanti's book "Falling into Grace."
Spiritual Guidance and Leadership Coaching Support
As a Spiritual Coach, Leadership Coach, and Musician, I support people as they awaken and deepen in their spiritual growth. This includes helping them to enhance their intuition, strengthen their relationships (personal & with colleagues), align to their purpose, and experience more inner stillness & Presence in their daily life. The awakening of our mind and heart are two important energy centers within us that support our ability to hear our deepest wisdom and follow our own path. The awakening of the heart & mind are key elements of my work.
If you are interested in Spiritual Guidance and/or Leadership Coaching, contact me directly to let me know what kind of support you’re interested in, and I’ll send you more details. OR, you can click on one of the links below to learn more and sign up for a session.
My work brings in elements of multiple traditions and modalities. I am a Professed Monk in the Spirit of Peace Monastic Community within Celebrating Life Ministries and offer Spiritual Direction for those in our community and beyond. I am also a Spiritual Teacher at the Foundation for Spiritual Development in San Rafael, CA; a Oneness Deeksha Giver, and was trained as an Integral Coach® with the New Ventures West Integral Coaching® Program in San Francisco, CA. Additionally, I am trained as a True Purpose® Coach and studied Internal Family Systems Therapy and Voice Dialogue. I also bring in elements of the Enneagram as well as spiritual teachings and meditations from multiple wisdom traditions to take people deeper into their own true nature.
You can learn more about my full path and bio here.
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