Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Trouble with Transformations ~ Part VII

("This is the blog that never ends, and she goes on and on my friends ... ")

Are you ready to look at why we resist the Spirit's leading us into transformation?!?

(Deep. Vast. Silence.)

I'll take that as a yes! Here goes!

One reason I see is that we're creatures of habit -- if a new experience/perspective doesn't fit what we are used to, we resist. The mind is conditioned to cling to and defend it's old familiar ways, and to resist change. (I wrote about this in detail previously ... - haven't figured out how to hyperlink yet -- been too busy blogging, LOL!)

Another reason is our memory ... our past looms larger than our present. Our brain (ego) believes that we already know what we need to know. "Been there, done that, got it down pat, thanks anyway."

Perhaps guilt gets in the way -- if we harbor a sense of shame due to past sins, this can keep us stuck.

We can believe that we don't deserve good things, including new experiences.

We can be filled with old stagnant emotions ... if we've spent a lifetime suppressing and managing them, sitting on the lid to keep them down, it can be quite threatening to consider shining the Light on them, and facing them.

We can fear the loss of control ... we can panic over the notion of not being in charge, not being "in the know" of what's happening to us. We cling to the dysfunctional familiar, rather than to step out into the dark of new experiences.

We can be gripped with skepticism and doubts ... our rational mind can demand "proof" that this direction, this new experience, is real, safe, and good. Particularly if it requires that we step out, in faith, from all that we previously thought we knew.

We can be stuck in victimization -- if we're accustomed to disappointing others, we can have very low expectations of life. We can be in a pessimistic frame of mind, anticipating that every outcome will be a bad one, even if it "seems" to be good.

We can fear being deceived ... particularly if we are surrounded by those who insist upon holding to status quo. Like the sailors of antiquity, we can fear that we are on the edge of all that is familiar, on the verge of stepping out into where "there be dragons."

You may have your own particular list of obstacles in your way. It can seem completely formidable & insurmountable. But, rather than fighting that which arises, we can take a more simple approach ... a less violent approach (which is the egoic approach). We can instead merely choose to notice what arises ... to observe it, to accept it for what it is (without reacting to it). "Ah, I notice that fear is arising - how interesting. I wonder what message it has for me? I wonder what choices I have to make here?"

(For the record, telling myself, "How interesting" is an incredibly powerful de-activator for fear/anxiety/stress/guilt, or any negative emotion or situation. It deflates the sense of urgency ... and I enjoy the mental picture of imagining it sputtering around the room, like a balloon that's just been untied... finally flopping onto the ground, spent.)

So what choices do we have when a negative reaction arises...?

We can wait. Yup, just wait. We can notice our negative reaction and just watch it for a moment ... noticing our feelings, without judgment, without trying to make them change. Just let them be. In doing so, we remove the shock value (the ego ADORES shock value!). We can notice that feelings come and go like waves ... we can detach.

We can talk about it. We can face the reaction, such as fear, and talk to it. We can ask it what it means -- what is it trying to say to us. We don't need to treat it with hostility, but with respect -- this IS a part of us, and everyone/everything responds better to acceptance than to rejection. Whatever arises, we can know that it's a part of ourself ... something we've overlooked or ignored. It just needs attention, understanding and healing.

We can ask it to leave. But first, "hear" what it has to say (that's only polite...!). If we think of negative reactions as messages, instead of problems, they won't be as pervasive (what we resist persists).

We can ask for help. God is nearer than breath, closer than hands and feet ... within us (what other life do we imagine we're living but the very life of God? What other life IS there?).

We can listen to our bodies. Our bodies are wise. Some bodies will tell you that they want to exert energy (walk, run, lift weights). Other bodies will say they need to dance, or move in some rhythmic way. Other bodies will indicate a need for a nap, or a bath, or to belt out a song, or quietly play an instrument ... or to holler at the top of its lungs!

We can breathe. Breathing is fundamental (couldn't resist!). There are many ways to use controlled breathing to release pent up emotion.

There are also choices that are *not* helpful:

- Rationalizing -- it's not helpful to tell yourself that what you feel is insignificant. If something has risen to the surface, to catch your attention -- trust that it is indeed significant.

- Ego - don't write it off as "this sort of thing doesn't happen to someone like me." When an experience arises that diminishes the ego, the ego rejects it outright. Know this, so you can catch it.

- Withholding out of fear - One of the ways we get our old stuff healed, is to be "triggered" in the current situation. Memories get triggered when something familiar happens -- the mind/soul/body wants to get rid of the negative energy that's been pent-up for years ... so when something reminiscent happens, it floods the current event with all the fuel of that which was never resolved -- and we make "mountains out of molehills".

- Procrastination - Unfortunately, we can't pick and choose when negative energies show up... they can pick the most inconvenient times. But if we put off dealing with them, they will only build in intensity. However, if another person is the "triggerer", we can resist discharging toward them. Don't shoot the messenger! The triggerer can be an angel, unawares. It's all too easy to blame the one who merely triggered the old stuff. It's harder, but more productive, to face the reality that our stuff belongs to us -- no one can "make" us angry (or sad, or hurt). It's not what happens to us that hurts us, it's what we *think* about what happens to us that hurts us. Owning this reality is powerful, and liberating. Clinging to the belief that others hurt us actually imprisons us, making us perpetual victims of the "stories we tell ourselves." We can heal what we own to be ours.

Let's keep in mind that transformation is a messy process ... we often look (& feel!) like we're falling apart, just when our lives are coming together. And what can feel like "backsliding" in the midst of this transformation journey is really just a return to aspects of ourself that need spiritual attention. The truth about us is constant -- it's our perception that changes. We can know that the journey has an appearance of three steps forward, and two steps back, meandering and stumbling into ditches ... we can prepare ourselves for this circuitous ambling, and thus not be shocked nor dismayed when it happens.

We can keep in mind that we all tell ourselves stories ... and what these stories mostly have in common is that they're not entirely true. Some of them aren't even remotely true..!

For instance, if we begin this journey with a lot of fear (I would be one of those!), then we imagine that God is far away. He's either abandoned us, or just isn't interested ... we pray to brass ceilings. Perhaps we tell ourselves that he's punishing us. We may feel isolated, from God and from others ... God will feel distant, harsh, and the universe is loaded against us. Conversely, God can be perceived as the punishing voice in our own mind ... the internal judge, the harsh taskmaster, the continually critical voice. We can tell ourselves that nothing we do is good enough... that we deserve to be punished due to our sins.

Fear must be confronted. The day will come when we will see that our fears are ALL self-created. We feel fear, and then we have to go looking for "proof" that our fears are warranted ... as a man thinks in his own heart, so is he -- we will find evidence that fears are real, without much trouble. We will interpret all that we see and experience through a fear-grid ... fear-colored glasses warp our perception, and taint our experiences. Free-floating anxiety can become the very background music of our lives.

But have you noticed how very many times the Scripture exhort us to "Be not afraid! Fear not! don't be afraid!" Is this too fool us, to catch us off-guard so that God can get us good...? I think not. I believe it emanates out of the very heart of God ... God who IS love ... perfect love which casts out all fear (including the fear of God). Fear is the beginning of wisdom - NOT the goal. The Kingdom of God (which is here, now, in our midst) contains only love. There is no room for fear in the Kingdom. Anything that falls short of the ideal of love has yet to be fully transformed -- what a marvelous indicator! What an amazing way to gauge what's motivating us! It all comes down to fear or love -- and we have a choice -- what a glorious gift and responsibility!

So, what would Jesus do if He were in our transformation-path-walking-shoes..?

He would keep on going on the path ... manifesting courage, truth, sympathy and love. He wouldn't pretend to be what He wasn't. He would face whatever came up, look it in the eye, and accept it for what it is ... and love it for what it *really* is. He would question and confront every notion that seeks to put up walls, barriers and "us vs. them" consciousness. He would consistently and insistently affirm that unity is the ultimate truth ... that we are One, and that we are here to experience who we are not, and to discover who we really are, as part of Him, following Him into all truth, as we can bear it.

May we bear it. And where we are not yet ready, may we no longer resist the very process that enables us to become ready.

Enjoy the journey!

Shalom, Dena

1 comment:

MysticBrit said...

Don't be afraid, welcome every part of you and learn from that welcoming, and be open to all that is True, as witnessed by your heart.

Love is All, and Fear is No-Thing. Therefore let us Love:)

Namaste, my friend.