When I turned thirty I experienced a spiritual crisis. I didn't know that was what was happening. I only knew that I was experiencing deep emotional pain and confusion. The confusion was not easily recognizable amongst all the sadness, and beneath that, anger and fear. Thankfully, the universe organized on my behalf, and the right person asked the right question at the right time. She also kindly made a referral to a therapist. The thing that drove me to act on the referral was that I could no longer manage my emotional distress. I had found ways to organize it, reason with it, and deny it. But, truth be told, I am not good at looking away. It's part of my experience this lifetime. I am in tune with emotional content and energy, mine and others, and this will not be denied. What was once my pain to be managed, became my greatest asset as a Life Coach. What spurred me to write about this today was a recent blankness with my writing. I have not felt inspired this week. Since my writing entails reflection and expression, perhaps I would say I have been busy living, and am just now reflecting. This morning as I sat in stillness, finally after a few days without it internally, I felt the peace and divine energy descend into my entire being. Ah, I relaxed into my breathing, reminding myself - and FEELING this truth - when the mind is not at rest the body experiences tension, somewhere in some form. It is when we still the mind that we can connect with the full release that allows spirit to arise.
Recently I subscribed to Eckhart Tolle TV. Curious about what others are saying and doing in this age of awareness, I decided to give myself this gift for a month or two, or perhaps indefinitely. This I will decide along the way. What I reflected on this morning, was the desire that many people have an interest in awakening, enlightenment, healing, call it what you will. And somewhere, connected with this desire, is the hope that it will happen suddenly and that there will be no ongoing effort involved or needed. This was my desire for many years. But today I can say, I am grateful that mine has been a slow and gradual process, a conscious choice every step of the way. Unlike Tolle, who had a more sudden awakening, I have slowly but surely woken up into my spiritual nature.
What occupied my mind these last few days was a revisiting of how I respond to individuals who are uncomfortable with their emotional nature. Because I have an interesting history in this area, I am well aware that I have a host of responses and reactions given any particular situation. The more I have awakened and grown into my spiritual nature, the less I have struggled with the phenomenon of living in a culture where we continue to be challenged with our emotional nature as humans. Many have been conditioned to resist emotions and feelings, to deny them, to ignore them, to cover and suppress them - but rarely have I encountered a person who was raised to welcome them as a natural part of our innate intelligence and then to put that energy to good use. This is part of what I teach and how I work with individuals who come to me feeling distressed. But still my lessons arrive.
Back to this gradual awakening. As I sat with my most recent experience of encountering dysfunctional emotional expression, I was reminded of my new foundational truth: whatever we are experiencing around us, is within us. I could so easily see how it was happening around me. In order to put my new truth into practical action, I wanted to discover how it resided within me. And because I felt stuck in an emotional response, essentially of resistance, I knew my awakening was still in progress. Sure enough, the light went on yesterday morning and the peace descended. I could see my inner dysfunctional response still lingering, still grabbing me, still working on me. It was terribly uncomfortable to feel myself so resistant to simply what was, rather than to allow it, and to keep my center and calm within. There was my old pattern again, I wanted others to behave differently - yet again - when they were simply just being who they are, aware or unaware of the impact of their behavior. Once I could see it, relief arose. I remembered that this reaction of resistance, and essentially wanting to control others, is not me - it is my conditioning. I started to say to myself, this is a dysfunctional response to this dysfunction - look at you perpetuating it from within! Now I am saying to myself, I respond to dysfunction with honesty and integrity and healthy functioning. And so far, so good.
This gradual awakening becomes an amazing journey of grace and empowerment of the highest order. The places where I feel stuck or reactive become the places where I know I can continue growing into my spiritual nature, if I am willing to look at the whole picture honestly and accept what I bring into the situation. I feel empowered to behave in honest and confident ways, ready to meet the challenges of living as human, ready to work with what comes into my life, to learn and grow, expanding, always expanding into spirit.