Due to some pretty chaotic world events of late – and many more to come – I thought that I’d reprint an article I wrote a while ago about what one can do to help ‘deal with’ trying situations, at the moment one is deeply involved in them. I have added a couple of simple techniques at the end of the reprint that may help – or not. One must make one’s own choices in life, verdad? . . . . .
BEing The Eye Of The Storm
It is imperative that you open your heart to the very real sensations of hurt, sorrow, or outrage summoned to you by circumstances in the dramas in which you play a part. . . . Be conscious of what you are feeling and how you are responding in the dramas of your daily life. Be honest with yourself in your acknowledgment of your emotional responses. And be not so hasty in rejecting, within your own repertoire of sensibilities, the poignant feelings that you might have yourself believe are “beneath you.” Your emotional response mechanism is very real. The key to all you would accomplish in this lifetime hinges upon your willingness to embrace all that you are, for the chance that you may come to experience – in Oneness – all that you truly Are.
– From the book Oneness, by Rasha
These gentle yet powerful words from Oneness, transmitted through Rasha, touched a deep chord within me. After arriving ‘blind’ in my adopted home country in 1994 (having never been here before, not even on vacation), subsequent to saying my Good-byes to all my family and friends up in California, and spending what little money my then-current wife and I had within seven months of arrival, my life quickly became such an indescribable adventure into radical circumstances and situations that many people told both me and my ex-wife that we should write a book (or two or three) about our intense experiences here.
Being the incurable thrill seeker I was at that stage of my life (surfing big waves, bunji jumping, sky diving, scuba diving, etc.), and having launched myself on the path of ‘self-discovery’ and intense personal growth in my early 20’s, I actually embraced the challenge with gusto. Little did I know how intensive a curriculum of courses in the ‘school of hard knocks’ and ‘university of deep personal evolution’ I had unknowingly signed up for!
At one point in 1995 we were living near the top of a mountain next to heavy rain forest, bathing ourselves in rain water (as the plastic water line from the neighboring property broke constantly), and charging the ancient laptop I had brought from the States at a neighbor’s house with a generator a kilometer up the road so my wife could try to finish a book by writing an hour a day. If I wanted to avoid hiking down and back up the 4 kilometers of rough dirt road to get to the main road where I could maybe catch a ride to a real town, I had to go out into the pasture and rope a somewhat uncooperative horse, and then saddle him up while he constantly tried to escape from his servitude – something I had never done before in my life. I succeeded about half the time. 6 months after moving to the old country house, we were literally living off the papayas and avocados and oranges growing on the big farm, with an occasional treat of corn or plantains or a bag of rice from the property owner. Oh, our dinner was usually popcorn. Plain. That we cooked on an open fire. In the rainy season. Oh, yeah, and I was asked to help build several wooden cabins at the peak of the mountain as exchange for our ‘rent’, with the promise of a ‘minor partnership’ in the future eco-lodge that my wife and I were going to manage (that never materialized, of course) — after my bloody calloused palms and sore muscles healed, of course. Despite the material lack and physical ‘suffering’, ironically enough my ex-wife and I enjoyed some of the most peaceful and enjoyable times of our lives there.
Fast forward to 1998. We are living just outside a tiny town, finally on a piece of land that is ‘sort of’ our own, in a house built more of rough-cut planks, bamboo and plastic netting than anything else. I have gotten myself to a place where I must support myself, my wife, our three emotionally challenged foster children (one of them mentally challenged and slightly autistic as well), and a young fellow northerner who moved in with us when we had lived in the largest town in the region in a two-room cabin directly adjacent to a bug-filled estuary – with no job. I had started writing a guide book, and between that and a tiny distribution business that I had begun managing – and a couple of little jobs I had lined up for a while (including selling bagels flown in on small planes to town from the capital city) – we barely scraped by.
OK, so what? How does all this relate to the Oneness quote? Well, it’s that part in there about our ‘emotional response mechanism’ that got me – what many people call getting your hot buttons pushed. Well, I had that done to me in spades! Once I felt like I ‘survived’ one incident or situation (lack of money to buy food, machete attack by crazed local, complete stress overload due to my inability to handle a handicapped child’s lack of understanding or unbridled rage, impossible demands on me from all directions, etc.), another one would crop up to keep me on my ‘course plan’. My ex-wife, by the way, was an Avatar Master at seeking, finding, and not only exposing but attacking my poor emotional hot buttons with a vengeance I had never before witnessed in a human being. Now THAT experience – those years of experiences – I could honestly say came very, very close to being categorized as ‘nightmarish’ at times. Fortunately, however, I also experienced some of the most beautiful moments of my life during those same years – and a few of them were with her. There was lots of sweet that came with those truckloads of sour, and the sweet tasted sooooo much better than it ever had before precisely due to the extreme contrasts.
In reading the above section of Oneness, one can begin to see that not only is all this ‘pain and suffering’ we endure not pointless, but is actually a facet of the sacred path we all must tread on our way to the ultimate fulfillment of our spiritual destinies. You see, in order for us to heal ALL the aspects of our selves that are still hovering at a ‘lower vibration’ – in other words, stuck in place, suppressed, or purposefully pasted over and hidden from view — people and/or events must push those tender ‘hot buttons’ deep inside us and shake them out. This way, the wound is exposed, and can be healed, sealed, and released. Without that external ‘prodding’, it just festers inside the emotional body in secret, not only infecting our minds and hearts with the pus of fear and exaggerated emotional reactions, but also acting like a heavy anchor to our personal growth. Oneness appears to be saying two things: First and foremost, accept the emotions that may boil up to the surface of your consciousness during stressful times as very poignant indicators of aspects of yourself that need attention, need healing; and second, on a more subtle level, that instead of cursing the people or circumstances that stir up exaggerated emotional responses, we should welcome them, even bless them, as they truly act to facilitate our deepest healing on this journey. Fortunately, I learned this powerful bit of wisdom early on – and so didn’t end up either going completely nuts, or jumping off a high bridge (with no bunji cord attached).
So what is the apparent key to surviving these types of challenges? Most religious and spiritual traditions recommend a similar strategy: BE ‘the eye of the storm’. When you sense chaos and craziness swirling all around you, and strong emotions begin to erupt from deep inside you, use all the power you can muster to find your center – and go there! Breathe slowly and deeply, relax, withdraw your energies a bit from the maelstrom roiling around and within you, and become more of an ‘observer’ than a direct participant. As Oneness suggests, Be conscious of what you are feeling and how you are responding in the dramas of your daily life – do not suppress those feelings (what most of us were always taught to do), but also try to not get fully ‘dragged into’ the whirling drama that has erupted so vividly into your reality. If you can compose and center yourself for even just a moment – stand in ‘the eye of the hurricane’ where the clouds are gone and the Light of Clear Perspective shines through — you can look at things from a place of calm rationality, and thereby ‘see’ from what deep, dark aspect of yourself the turgid waters are rising so intensely. If you can gain that detached perspective — if even for a fleeting moment, to file away in your memory to ponder and analyze later when the situation has settled down – your personal progress in resolving the many challenges that Life presents to you will rapidly accelerate. More importantly perhaps, if you can get to that place of calm, detached observation and hold that center while still engaging the crisis in the moment it is happening, you might be amazed at how quickly and easily you can diffuse the situation with a more objective and holistic approach, and bring everything to a more satisfactory conclusion for everybody involved.
Believe you me, this tried and true technique is well worth giving a go — it could even save your very life, as it did mine. Besides, according to many wise souls, it may be our last chance to ‘get this right’ for a very, very long time. Take on the challenge as maybe the last you’ll ever need to overcome, as a sacred quest – if you dare. One thing I can definitely tell you without the faintest shadow of doubt or hesitancy or equivocation: The rewards for even partial success in this challenge are out of this world! I pray that you take it, make it, and slay it! In La‘Kesh, mis hermanos.
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OK. Here are two quick, simple psychological techniques that I have used successfully over the years to quell my surging emotions, and maintain a semblance of control, during times of extreme duress.
A) Take a deep, conscious breath (or three), and repeat clearly and strongly to yourself in/to your reeling mind, ‘This too shall pass . . . .’. Sounds like a band-aid cure for sure, but if you really feel the words, and know them to be true, it can really work miracles – or at least calm you down a bit.
B) This second technique comes from old Christian wisdom. (BTW, I am not a member of any religion, ‘organized’ or not, and have completely relinquished any possibility of ‘membership’ in, or even direct affiliation with, any man-made religion for all time. Having said that, that does NOT mean that certain wonderful relative truths and/or techniques for personal evolution cannot be found among the world’s religions, like shiny veins of gold hidden among the suffocating masses of heavy dark rock). It’s real simple. When your ego/mind is freaking you out, the discussion/fight/situation is hot and heavy, and you fear things might get seriously nasty, yell these words in your head as loud as you can: ‘Be STILL, and KNOW. . . . I AM GOD!’ If your ego/mind cannot handle that last little word, then just add an ‘O’ to it – or use one of these: LOVE (excellent one, this is), or SPIRIT. Or, even easier for those of you with ‘deep issues’ regarding spirituality, you can simply state ‘. . . .I AM!’ at the end, and cut out the whole labeling/identity thing altogether! No big deal. Whatever works for you, right? Right.
There is also a little book called Taming Your Gremlin that teaches another simple, effective technique (that I used also for several years successfully). You can probably download it nowadays from the internet, or get a cheap used copy on Amazon.com.
In any case, I hope you find your center, find a technique that works for you, and successfully navigate the turgid waters of Life On Planet Earth In 2012 (Christian Gregorian calendar year, of course – year ‘0’ or ‘Out Of Time’ on the Mayan Calendar I believe, as the last one ended on October 28th of this year after its 5,000-odd year cycle). Once again . . . . Hop on your metaphorical surfboards, folks, and enjoy the slippery, wild ride of several millennia!!!