Healing is all about digging deeper and deeper and looking into the shadowy corners to shed light on everything and create healing. Today I did some more digging. What I found may resonate with someone out there.
I woke feeling stressed again. “Why do I feel stressed?” I wondered. “Time to focus,” I sighed.
“How am I feeling?” I asked myself.
“Afraid,” I said.
“Why,” I asked.
“I’m afraid I will fail,” I answered — but there wasn’t much power in it. I knew that fear was pretty much healed.
I set that fear aside and asked, “OK, good to know. Aside from that, how am I feeling?”
This fear was a little stronger. “Why am I afraid?” I asked.
“I’m afraid I will succeed.”
I’ve heard this before too, I thought, but I continued, “Why am I afraid to succeed?” I asked.
“Because if I succeed, people will expect me to keep doing what I succeed at and I will be stuck. I will be expected to keep doing it and I won’t be able to focus my life on anything new. I’ll be trapped.” This has been an issue before in my focusing.
As I pondered this answer I realized my fears are based on the belief that I must do what other people say I must do, like continuing to perform certain actions if I am successful in them. Bringing this into the light allows me to see that although that may be an ingrained notion, it is not really true and I can begin to let go of that belief.
I asked, “How can I heal this?” but nothing came so I asked, “What more can I learn about this?” I received this answer — which came in bits and pieces: “In the past I have had my ruts, my time constraints, my health issues, my feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, my feelings of depression, my feelings of being stuck. These feelings and ruts have given me excuses to fail, or at least, excuses to not excel. These feelings would rescue me when someone would badger me to do things, or blame me for not doing things, or yell at me for not doing something I didn’t have the time or energy for, or for something I didn’t even think of, or didn’t have the desire to do, or the intention to do. They were my hiding place from someone elses’s abusive demanding controlling behavior.
In learning more about this fear of success I realized that in succeeding I would appear to others to be competent, capable, able, strong, and my excuses and ruts that I hid in before might not protect me anymore.
I also realized that without these familiar ruts, that I have lived in for years, I would struggle to know who I am, where I stand, what my perspective is. I would feel lost without them. I would be floating free without a harbor. I understand clearly now how people identify with their wounds, their illnesses, their pain, because I clearly see how I do.
One of my teachers, Malcolm Ringwalt of Earth_Heart, explained the personality as post it notes inside of a light bulb. When we are born we are like a light (the filament) with in a clean bulb, seeing the world as it is, our pure light shining out through the clear bulb accurately reflecting back the truth. As we begin to interact with the world around us we gain experience based on our limited perspectives and begin forming opinions and shaping our “personalities”. We make little notes and post them on the inside of the bulb that is our interface with the world, and our filters begin to be created. (Scared of the loud dog. Like the pretty flowers. Don’t like Needles! Kitty soft but scratches. Man with beard mean. Lady with brown hair gives cookie.) Each experience creates a post it note and each post it note taints the new experiences. We become so used to our space within that bulb and our perspectives, we have a difficult time seeing anyone else’s perspective unless we have an experience like theirs. Then we can write another post it note like theirs.
People on a spiritual path are attempting to poke holes in those post it notes, over and over, until eventually they begin to see glimpses of the world as it really is. Sometimes in meditation one can poke a hole and get a glimpse.
Focusing is a type of meditation that allows us to look closely at our post it notes and begin to understand why we put them there in the first place, and help us peel them away little by little, or poke holes in them.
The first time Tom Brown Jr. had our class do the focusing meditation he had us out there in nature peeling back the layers of feeling for 45 minutes. Focusing over and over for 45 minutes was excruciating. It was work. After I peeled back each emotion I couldn’t imagine there would be anything more to find, but there was. I would get distracted and forget I was even doing an exercise, but when I remembered I would force myself to continue, after all, I wanted to get my money’s worth. Looking for each new emotion was not an easy task, especially the deeper I got. But I kept it up and I got to a place that completely surprised me. I saw myself for who I really was, underneath all the emotions, the drama, the feelings. I saw myself as pure energy, fearless, a warrior, and as a glittery core of energy going up and down within my body. I wept uncontrollably at the beauty of myself because I had no idea I was anything like that! I also saw my accomplishments hanging off me like dead whitened logs. I realized when I saw them that they were not a part of me at all, but just a residue hanging there; that the only thing that was me was this energy that was alive and was me.
I will be eternally grateful for that glimpse.
Even when Tom called us back to class I couldn’t stop crying. I would have never guessed I was anything like that. So today when I realized that I was afraid to let go of those ruts I was hiding in, of helplessness and incapability, and afraid to let them go because I wouldn’t know who I was, I remembered that meditation.
Why not hold onto the me I saw in that meditation? That is the real me after all. That is who I really am. I can let go of my old crutches.
I believe we each have that incredible strong and powerful self under all the pain and suffering. Curiously the painful experiences are for our growth if we can figure out how to use them for that. I encourage us all to peel back the layers and learn from them. Find and work to become the amazingly powerful people we really are.
I have to be gentle with myself because years of living in the rut is not an easy habit to break. I have known for years who I really am but I still find myself in fear and that’s OK. I simply have more to learn from those lessons. I am still learning as I explore the layers between who I really am and the surface where I am confused and conflicted. So please be gentle with yourself and with others you encounter on this journey toward self discovery. We are all in this together and are all in different places along the path of total recovery.