Rather than push the darkness away what would life look like if we embraced it the ways stars embrace the night sky?
Rather than trying to fix our pain what would life look like if we softened to feel it?
If we stopped fighting our pain, our worries, our discontentment, our fears and our disappointments would we find that rather than them engulfing us and destroying us, as we fear they will, we come to see that we are more than them?
Let us think about this for a moment.
Because we are aware of our emotional scars, our physical ailments, our thoughts, our worries, our concerns and our judgements means that there is a part of us that is not them. There is a part of us that is purely aware (conscious) of these things. This part of us that is aware is slightly removed from all of these things; it holds them but it is not them – it is the part of us that is perhaps best described as our spirit, the part of us that witnesses our life but is not affected by it; the part of us that remains pure and untainted by anything that goes on in the physical plane of life.
This is good news because it means that there is apart of us that is always free from judgement, pain, distress, unhappiness, worry and worldly concerns. There is a part that of us that is always unconditionally accepting life without judgement, without fear, without the need to change ALL or ANY of our life’s experiences.
Everything that our minds and bodies experience is held in the gaze of this loving field of awareness. This part of us extends nothing but love (total unconditional acceptance) to ourselves and others without the need for things to be different. The beautiful thing is that when we are able to be in touch with this place and engage in living from this place we find that many of the things we experience as difficult are experienced differently – or at least we perceive and understand them differently. We are able to hold them differently and feel them differently. We are able to live and breathe with them rather than needing to be free from them.
All our pain needs is to be attended to from this place; to be held in love and in being held to be healed. To be healed means to be whole. We cannot be healed if we are ignoring or pushing away even the smallest part of our life’s experiences.
Learning to extend our understanding and felt sense of who we are is therefore crucial to our ability to be healed. Knowing and feeling that we are more than our limited outer appearance and the circumstances of our life means that we can respond to life from a broader, wider and all together more diverse range of responses than the limited, habitual responses that we are used to offering and which stem from a narrow sense of who we are.
Take time to stop, slow down and breathe quietly to yourself for a moment. Be aware of your breath, your body, your thoughts, your feelings, your surroundings and any memories that are stirring. Remind yourself that the ultimate truth is that you are none of these things – you know this because there is a part of you that is beyond them – a part of you that is aware of them. You are the space in which these things arise. You are the place that holds these things; that sees them and that even values them but ultimately you are not them. You may be able to grasp this intellectually with your mind but try to see if you can feel it in your body too. At first you might only be a able to feel this part of you very faintly but with practise you will begin to feel the subtle presence of your awareness more strongly and you will begin, more and more, to be able to identify, that is to make an identity from, this place of peaceful awareness that is the fundamental you before you took on a physical form. This place is untouchable by the world and anything that happens in it. It is your haven, your place of safety, rest and ultimate truth. It is the eternal you.
From this place we are able to witness the darkness without identifying with it and we see that there is no need to get rid of it. Instead we learn to recognise the darkness for what it is – that which enables the light of who we are to be seen in this world. In many ways we need the darkness if we are to know ourselves as light, for without darkness how would the light of whom we are shine through?
The opinions I express here are my own. However I offer them with the word 'syat' next to them. 'Syat' is a word used by the Jain Tribe in India which means 'To the best of my knowledge SO FAR.' In the spirit of openness I invite comments from anyone whether you agree with my point of view or not. In this way we can all learn and grow together. Thank you.