Written April 2013
The answer to this question was as shocking as it was simple, or should that be, shockingly simple. The answer not only turned my life upside down, the ripples have remnants in my life today and I am sure will have for many years to come. The echoes still reverberate through the many avenues of what I call my experience of this life. My aspiration now is to visit this life rather than being overly burdened by it, to observe it, and others, instead of being caught in the detail, focusing on Narnia rather than the monster in the wardrobe.
My year of renovation was 1994. It had started reasonably well but by its end became the worst and quite surprisingly, the best year of my life. Four funerals and a wedding, a redundancy after 21 years in the same job, and a wife who left to live with another, spanned seven very short months. You can understand that my life was … stressful seems a satisfactory word (with a large proportion of understatement thrown in for good measure).
There is a saying that when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
1994 cracked me open so much that all that was within became exposed, tender and very, very raw. There was surface bravery that attempted to conceal those multitudinous layers starting to peel. And peel they did. Parts of me would remain, parts would literally morph into something new out of the ashes, and parts would simply vanish into that vast unknown to be included with all those other great universal mysteries. I couldn’t be more ready to change and transform into something yet to be decided.
As if on universal cue, my teacher turned up and a book both figuratively and quite literally fell on my head. The book leapt off the shelf as if guided by some mystical force. I read a few pages right there in the shop and went home carrying this marvellous tome which was destined to alter my life in so many profound ways. I read it cover to cover as though it was stuck to my hands by some spiritual superglue. This amazing book was called The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. The Tenth Insight came later.
It made so much sense. The philosophy and ideas within those pages resonated so loudly in my psyche that it was deafening. I could not fail to take a leap of my own. The first step in any journey is always the longest and is tinged with apprehension, anxiety and fear. I took this step willingly (or was I pushed by my soul?) and found myself falling feet first into the abyss of the unknown. Within the space of three very short months, I had purged 40 years worth of anger. Little did I realise that this was only the beginning, the first layer of dust that I could shake off without really trying.
Below, hiding beneath the surface of perceived normality, were many more un-turned stones, papered cracks, blind eyes and closed ears, and waiting silently in the wings were years of struggle, both terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure, for me to experience.
The teacher was called Diane. She helped to open my eyes and ears and heart to the possibilities of spirituality, to a new way of looking at life and the struggles we experience. More transforming still was why we experience those struggles. She eventually became an Interfaith Minister, studying and understanding the main religions.
During mid 1995, I attended an inner child workshop facilitated by Diane who would help people meet that small, timid child within, to allow it to emerge and to speak, possibly for the first time. It challenged many on the workshop as most of us closet the child because we have been taught that children should be seen and not heard. During the workshop, many tears were shed, one brave soul left the room as it became too much to handle and one asked a simple question that continues to reverberate within me to this day.
That question was “How do you change the world?”
As fast as the question was asked, the answer flooded my brain as my soul communicated to me that silent whisper of information. I chose not to say anything as I too was timid at that time but that whisper has never disappeared from my mind. This article then is the result of that question.
The answer was as simple as it was profound.
You change yourself. You change everything about you. You let go of all the rubbish you carried for decades, all the emotional torment is poured away leaving a pristine soul to carry on expressing YOU, both fully and completely. This is why we are here; to express our soul without the barriers, without the masks, with complete authenticity, openness, transparency and honesty, and the big one, vulnerability.
You become a pebble thrown into the still waters of emotion. The ripples of your transformation becomes a beacon for others still in that negative space, unwilling to change because of their pain, a familiar pain. Most people will stay in that pain simply because it is familiar and will not venture into the unknown, as they see the unknown as more fearful and painful than moving on.
There is a saying that:
“We journey until the pain of where we are exceeds the pain of the unknown should we break the shell of the chrysalis. It is only at this point that we jump into the unknown because this becomes more appealing than remaining where we are.”
The chrysalis is the barrier we created to protect us from our demons but take a moment to digest this. Our demons are self created, so by building a prison for them we simply confine them to walk with us. Far better is to break the shell and see the demons fly away, to escape from us rather than keeping us in confinement, in emotional and mental chains.
Once we begin our journey to wholeness, developing a map of our life, we discover a new way of viewing the world around us, a new perception if you will, a different way of seeing. Our senses intensify and we see things as grey rather than a stark black or white, good or bad, right or wrong.
Grey is not as bad as one imagines because it has all colours expressed within it. We start to see things as a point on a spectrum rather than from a bipolar, either or position. Everything has value, everything has significance, everything has worth. This is difficult to see sometimes if the perceived darkness presented in the newspapers and the media is to be believed. Viewing events happening in the world, particularly those of wholesale slaughter, the subjugation of the many by the few and the failure of the rich to pay their way in society, both financially and honourably, sticks in one’s craw.
If you choose to see these events through a changed perception, viewing it from a spiritual sensitivity, turning it upside down while looking at it in a mirror, the real reason appears before your very eyes. While we, as individuals have to be in pain before we will move, so does the society in which we live. We, as a society, have to get to such a level of pain before we will act in concert to change a paradigm that is no longer working or is both morally and ethically corrupt. Members of Parliament, media moguls and big business watch out.
As an individual, we cannot act unless awareness interrupts. As a society, we can only fix something once it has surfaced from between the cracks in which it fell, or was pushed, which is a more likely occurrence.
Seemingly grave and shocking situations occur, not because they are bad per se but because they contain a message. If we are so minded, we can see the message contained within rather than being caught up in the detail and the pain, consumed by the victim mentality. You see, every event carries a message, a very important message, a seed planted in your subconscious and, if you are lucky and open, your consciousness too. This provides the opportunity to understand its significance and to see the bigger spiritual picture.
Where you can decide what you need as an individual to alter your perception, to wake up so to speak, you cannot decide this for another human being. It is impossible to know what event or condition will open people to a self-awareness that means they will change wholesale. You can offer them the tools if they choose to ask, but only if they ask. It is so easy to preach this and preach that, thinking we know best for them. Where is their free will? Horse and water spring to mind.
Far better is to ask the universe to guide them to a point of awakening, to bring an experience to them that provides an opportunity to view situations and events with a compassionate heart rather than a heavy heart, to understand the message, to see with new spectacles, to come from a state of selflessness rather than from selfishness.
Far better is to create an environment, a society, where all are offered the opportunity to become the very best they can be.