Our souls are inherently free and joyful, our life purpose is to express our authentic beingness. As well as experiencing the joy and freedom within life, our soul wants to take us to all those challenging places where we get stuck and tight. Why? So that we can work through and be free of our old patterns, conditioning and karma, that which no longer serves us and prevents us from being free. These things cause us to forget who we truly are and in working to release them, we return to lightness, liberation and joy again.
Acceptance of what is
In life we are presented with a vast array of experiences, some we perceive as good and others bad. Though ultimately they are all wonderful opportunities for learning and evolving at a soul level. We have a tendency to go towards that which brings us comfort and ease, and avoid that which we find disagreeable. The Buddha saw craving and attachment as the root of all suffering. We often swing from either craving something or trying to avoid something else. This keeps us from the present moment, rather than accepting and experiencing what is, as it is. Ultimately our circumstances are neither good or bad, they just are.
Rather than denying, suppressing or resisting your experiences, why not become curious. Explore what is being presented to you in life and what feelings or emotions are arising no matter how awful they appear to be. Awareness is an invaluable tool, as Eric Hoffer stated that “To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.” If we travel through our life without questioning or exploring, nothing will ever change. Simply observing and bringing attention to our distortions, old patterns and behaviours that no longer serve us, we enhance the possibilities for transformation.
“So your darkness, rather than being a mistake, is Life coming to you in a form that will show you the power of being curious about what is rather that the unconsciousness of fixing, changing, getting rid of or rising above. Your challenges are here to show you that healing isn’t about stopping the game of struggle; healing is about exploring it.” ~ Mary O Malley
Be totally honest with yourself
Witnessing and exploring our shadow sides and discomfort is not easy. It may seem less onerous to turn away and put our attention elsewhere. It is for this reason that the world is full of distractions, addictions and things that enable us to become numb to our true feelings — technology and dense foods for example. However these things don’t work in the long run, at least not if we want to develop and grow. Here is another poem from Rumi where he invites us to welcome all our experiences.
“Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honourably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” ~ Rumi
The only way out is through
It’s important that we fully embrace all our experiences, and be totally open and honest with how we are feeling. If we don’t acknowledge our pain, it remains hidden and playing out in the background of our lives. For example we may have a challenge with a colleague at work that is causing us stress, if we ignore or deny it, it may be that it comes out sideways in that we take it out on our family or it slowly builds until one day we inappropriately explode with our colleague. Or perhaps it expresses itself physically in the form of illness or dis-ease.
By going to the heart of our pain and feeling it deeply, we enable it to shift and release. Openhand’s 9 Step Process can be really helpful in navigating our way through such experiences. It is also helpful to remain mindful of the breath to assist in keeping us centre and grounded. Be with what is in all it’s fullness, while remembering that it’s all okay exactly as it is. When you get to the depth of your pain, it can dissolve all by itself and soul can infuse through you. It’s not always easy or straightforward, so if it becomes too intense and/or prolonged, take some time out and find some joy and lightness again. It may be that there may be a overspill initially if you have stored emotions or trauma over a long period of time. Seek the support of a trusted friend or therapist if you need to or call on the benevolent guidance of the Universe. You will come out the other side lighter and freer, what else is there to do?
There is always something to learn from every experience, in fact perhaps the only “mistake” we can make is not learning from our experiences – “You live, You learn!”
I wish you the very best with the challenges you meet in your life, remember the only way out is through. It’s not easy, yet undoubtedly you can do it!