Drop the stone. Take up the cross.
Many of our most profound life lessons show up as intimate partners. Our lovers are called into our lives as teachers and sages. They dredge up our deepest fears and unleash our darkest shadows. They set us free by first binding us to our limitations.
This paradigm shift can be very empowering. By keeping our eyes peeled for lessons we can become avid pupils of life; students of the soul. Suddenly, that which was meaningless begins to make sense. Suddenly, a purpose unfolds, and we notice that it was there all along.
Remain open like the sky. Physically expand the heart center and let it fill with life giving breath.
Here are a few cues that a potentially critical spiritual lesson is in progress.
(Don’t worry, if you miss it, it will keep arising until you pass).
1. You notice a physical or emotional sensation which you’ve consciously or unconsciously labeled “bad.”
Sensations are always arising and passing away. This is the nature of life. Our lives are, in essence, an orchestra of ephemeral phenomena continually and perennially arising and passing away.
Strip away the label. Try to witness the sensation arising as an objective observer. Imagine that you are a scientist watching an experiment. I like to say “that’s interesting” or “how fascinating.”
See if, instead of creating a story around the sensation, you can just observe.
Some questions that help cultivate this mindset at the beginning of the journey are:
- What shape is it?
- What does it feel like (physically)? Listen for metaphor words, such as “It feels like someone is squeezing my throat” or “It feels like I’m being stabbed.”
- What color is it?
- What happens when I breathe into it?
- Does it radiate somewhere else or is it local?
- What was I doing, thinking, experiencing when this sensation arose?
Eventually this all becomes automatic. It can take years or minutes.
Sometimes the sensation will pass away before we can even run through the list of questions. Otherwise it may take longer, or we may notice stories continually arising, or the automatic attempt to numb it (such as a craving for sweets, alcohol, television, etc.)
Viscerally we get cues that appear to us before our thought or our emotional responses. In the holographic universe, body / mind / spirit sensations arise at once. However, we can view these visceral responses as pre-cognitive and pre-verbal.
As we tune in, we can catch them as they arise and be with them before our mind goes rampant and creates a story. Once the story gets momentum, the fear grips us and everything goes haywire physiologically and mentally.
These thought loops create anxiety. Regardless of their plausibility, they take us out of our body and out of the moment.
First, notice the arising fear, and then custom create counter responses.
“What if something is wrong with me? What if I have this or that disease? What if this pain lasts forever? What if I’m going to die?” Etc etc.
The truth is, nothing is wrong with you. We are not perfect, but the moment always is. This too shall pass. You are going to die… someday, but not this day.
Intimacy involves the delicate dance between surrender and control; giving and receiving; centering and leaning in.
If you can give your full attention to another, while keeping in touch with your rich inner landscape, nothing can stand between you and the most profound, powerful, rewarding intimacy you’ve every known. Well, nothing outside of yourself; nothing that you haven’t created.
2. A judgment arises in YOU.
Am I really one to judge?
As Jesus says to the crowd about to condemn Mary Magdalen to death… “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Of course, one by one, each person in the crowd drops his or her stone into the dust and leaves. Presumably they go off to live their lives and leave her to live hers.
Drop your stone. Live your life.
When the mind chatter says, “She’s not loving enough,” ask yourself “Could I be more loving?”
When it says, “She doesn’t appreciate me,” ask yourself “Could I show my appreciation for her more?”
When it says, “She is always late!” ask yourself “Is there anywhere in life where I am late?”
The ego will try to bury its head and protect its (your) pride. The light of awareness will flood the darkness and everything will be revealed in time. You might hear the mind chatter snap back “I am NEVER late!” But go a little deeper. Perhaps you’re not late for dates or business meetings but you are late for family outings or paying bills (for instance).
Listen for absolutes. The ego loves absolutes. She NEVER. He ALWAYS. She ONLY.
In terms of human behavior, those aren’t accurate. Remember, we can’t step into the same river twice. How can we ALWAYS anything? She is ALWAYS late may translate to mean ‘she is often late,’ or ‘she is sometimes late,’ or ‘she has been late once or twice.’
Be vigilant with the semantics of your thoughts, because this is where the seeds of depression are planted. Let nothing disempowering slip by. It’s staggering how we can alter our entire worldview merely by barely shifting the syntax of a thought pattern.
The thought says:
“She hates me. Maybe she always did.”
Bring in the editor.
Assumptions I make while I edit:
- People are inherently good and loving at their core.
- People are doing the best they can with the resources they have available to them at the time.
- People are trying to meet their own needs.
- People have reasons for everything they do. One primary reason is that it meets needs that they feel will make them happy.
(You may choose your own assumptions... just make sure you are intimately aware of what they are)
“She loves me. Otherwise she wouldn’t be putting in so much effort to get her needs met. She does try so hard to let me know how she feels. Perhaps she’s stressed financially and she’s taking it out on me. Just the other day we walked through the park at Sunset at it was the most amazing experience. I’d forgotten about that. I’ll give it some space and see what happens.”
I like to end every thought editing session with the Louise Hay inspired:
“I love and approve of myself.”
Even when I’ve done the unthinkable, or betrayed a sacred vow, or hurt someone beyond reckoning. Even when I don’t approve of my behavior.
“I love and approve of myself.”
I love and approve of the deepest core of my being.
Enlightenment is partially the realization that this insular thing we call the “self” really doesn’t exist. It is a construct designed to keep us insulated, separated, and intact. It gives us something to defend. However, until we wash it away entirely, loving whatever it is creates space for miracles in our lives, and it gives us permission to wash away our ‘sins’ and forgive ourselves our crimes.
And as we purify our own energetic signature, we then become free to attract others that have the potential to thrill and delight us to our core.
We graduate beyond the surface spiritual lessons and call in the more advanced ones.
3. A Judgment Arises in THEM
Because judgments from others can activate the fierceness of our own self-defense mechanisms, or what Eckart Tolle calls the Pain Body, it can be very challenging to maintain equanimity in moments of confrontation. For these reasons, I’d consider this a more advanced spiritual lesson.
When a judgment about you is expressed, ask yourself:
- Is there any truth in what they are saying? Usually, the more triggering it is, the more truth it contains. However, people sometimes struggle with communication and these miscommunications can come across as insensitive when it comes to delivering their truth to you. Their truth does not matter at this point. Does the judgment resonate with YOUR truth?
- Is there any possible projection in what they are saying? Are they saying what is clearly true for THEM, and projecting it onto you? If there is, the ego will immediately want to attack and show how clever it is. Refrain from launching the attack just yet. Just notice and be aware.
- What can I do to come into integrity with myself? This may include a course of action, words, a vibrational shift. You may desire to apologize, or get more details, or thank the deliverer for the feedback.
- What is the unspoken request underneath the words? There usually is one, especially when emotions are running high. Watch for body language and remain open to subtle vibrations. Watch the flashing eyes or the trembling lips. Notice and be aware. Sometimes when my ex was screaming at the top of her lungs, the world would go silent and I would suddenly realize that what she was really doing was crying out for love. Her desperation was creating this angry outburst. Instead of defending against the onslaught or fleeing the scene I began to learn how to express my love more fully in those moments, and bypass all of the surface agitation to go deep, where the deep river of life flows.
To use the metaphor of the alchemist, let the crucible of relating melt down who you thought you were, so that you can revel in who you really are.