LIFE IS ABOUT INCREASING FREEDOM AND JOY
We are not really in this world to buy and sell and acquire lots of stuff then die. All that is deep and alive and meaningful in us knows this is true. When we die, we take two things: our souls which hold all our life lessons and our stories. What about our stories? Many of us have had really hard lives. Is our path set? Do we just have to continue down the same old roads and suffer more of the same?
The good news is, absolutely not. We can grow into new patterns and experience so much of the good stuff we thought we could never have. I don't mean fancy cars and big houses. I mean love, real friends, trust, kindness, forgiveness, acceptance and a sense of deep personal meaning.
Every human being has critically important developmental needs. They are written inside us. It seems that when they are not met we spend the rest of our lives trying to fix the broken things. Basically, they all have to do with being loved, known, valued, accepted, relating well to ourselves and others and living a meaningful life. Though we cannot go back in time and change what has happened to us we can bring a powerful sense of developmental fulfillment to our inner child. In my experience, when a deep developmental need is met there is an inner peace, a long deep sigh of release.
FORGIVE AND ACCEPT
To experience this kind of healing we must be willing to give up our deeply entrenched negative beliefs and the pain we have suffered because of them. We must accept full responsibility for the simple fact that how we are is the result of what we believe, not what has happened to us. We need a profound inner forgiveness of self, all our experience, the hurt of others and even the state of the world so a new set of beliefs have space within us to grow. But we will never see this essential need of transforming our own hearts until we stop projecting all our problems outwardly. We must personally decide to let all the negativity go without trying to fix anything or balance the scales of our inner sense of justice or get revenge or any of the rest of the stuff that separates us from our highest nature and perpetuates our miseries.
The process of coming to this readiness for profound newness is different for each one of us. But the principles of liberation that carry us through remain the same.
RE-WRITING OUR LIVES
For me writing has been an important part of my healing process. Last fall I wrote a short story about the sexual initiation of a 12-year-old boy by a Sacred Sexual Worker. (You can read it by clicking here.) The boy was me of course and his experience was everything I did not get. The experience of writing this was profoundly healing. Through creating this story of the beautiful naturalness of sexual awakening something felt completed inside me. Of course it would have been so different if this had been my actual experience at 12, but I have come to the place where I accept my life as it is and can therefore work with it creatively. I no longer have the pain of regret I carried for so many years. If I didn’t experience that crippling alienation I wouldn’t be doing the work I am now doing which I feel is important for many others as well.
I would like to share a few simple principles about this reinterpretation process, then you can play with it if you like and see what happens.
1. It is not what happens to us that counts, but how we interpret what happens to us.
2. We cannot change the events of what has happened to us, but we are completely free to change our interpretation of the events. It is never “too late” to rewrite your life. This is real "soul work" and lies outside the framework of time.
3. Changing your interpretation is changing your beliefs and beliefs are the key to all human quality of experience.
The two men shared the same event but had completely different experiences with different effects on others. The difference was only in their beliefs, which formed their attitudes, which colored their experience.
Now, you may say, their experiences are done and can never be changed. But this isn’t so. If the angry man comes to understand this principle he could reimagine the experience and how he responded. If he did this vividly enough, it would change something in his heart. Instead of reinforcing negative attitudes it would nurture the same kind of positive attitudes that caused the second man to laugh.
If he did this and then happened to meet the lady he had yelled at on the street, he wouldn’t pretend that this whole thing didn’t happen. That would be self-delusion. If his heart was really getting clear he would apologize to her and replace the bad energy of the experience with new energies of kindness. As he takes responsibility for both the actual event as it happened, and re-envisioning it, the next time some unexpected thing happens he may very well laugh at the entire thing, having come to a deep acceptance of life on its own terms.
This little story also demonstrates the power of resonation. The lady spontaneously resonated with the anger of the first man, then quickly with the joy of the second. It was up to her what she did with this swing of experience. As she walked away she could have come back to the angry feelings and nourished them with many negative thoughts, or let it all go, relieved that she resonated so quickly with the joy of the second man and thus grow all the wiser as she makes her own comparisons of the two.