Having already experienced the tensions between my inner masculine & feminine, and the conflicts that arise from my shadow (which is the suppressed parts of myself). I’m learning the importance of integrating our dualities.
“Wholeness isn’t achieved by cutting off a portion of ones being,
but by integration of the contraries.” (Carl Jung).
I’m learning how to navigate my inner world with a little more insight. So, I notice how often my conditioned mind, distorted thought patterns, coping strategies, defense mechanisms and habitual behaviours limit me. Although I’ve experienced a spiritual awakening, I noticed how my struggle with conflicting truths intensified after the death of our beloved Father and the unexpected death of a beloved soul sister … and I wondered WHY ?
Apparently, there are (7) stages of spiritual awakening.
- Unhappiness and emptiness
- Perception shifts
- Seeking answers and meaning
- Finding answers and experiencing breakthroughs
- Disillusionment and feeling lost
- Deeper inner work
- Integration, expansion and JOY
I recognize that after Mams death, I was moving through stages (3) and (4). After Dads death, I was stuck in stage (5), which is WHY I came to Chenrezig to do the deeper inner work. Whether I believe I am a spiritual BEing having a human experience (or) a human BEing having a spiritual experience, I wasn’t feeling a wholeness in my BEing. I was experiencing myself as two separate parts, which created tension that was restricting my energy flow. Although my higher self has awoken to deeper truths, my habitual humanness still struggles to let go of dysfunctional thought patterns, unhealthy behavioural cycles and limited beliefs … and I wondered WHY ?
Before coming to Chenrezig I acknowledged, that although it was only a small step in the right direction, it somehow felt like I was taking a giant leap into my Faith. I suppose it made sense, considering I also acknowledged the need for more spiritual support. I came to Chenrezig because I was struggling with myself: I wasn’t where I wanted to be, I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do, and I wasn’t sure how to get to where I wanted to go. Like many others, I came seeking refuge, but didn’t really understand what that meant to me. I just knew that the help I needed was yet to be found.
I reflected over my grief process and wondered WHY I felt stuck ?
Grief isn’t just the sadness we feel because of what we have lost, it also guides us through our own process of change. Grief isn’t just a mourning experience, its also a transition and a NEW beginning for us. Everyone’s grief process is unique, so this is a little insight into mine. I felt the pain of my heart breaking the moment I was told of Mams diagnosis, which propelled me into a state of grief before we actually lost her. My experience of anticipatory grief took me on a very lonely journey. Throughout the dying process and after her death, my heart kept breaking open to deeper truths about love. Although I began to connect with her spirit a few days before her death, I still experienced the tensions in my heart. Tensions that guided me to certain places and people in the UK, that were instrumental to my healing, but my experience has been different with Dad.
When Dad was first diagnosed, I felt the tension in my head because I had a mental response, instead of an emotional reaction. I was conflicted between going ahead with my plans to move to the UK (or) to put my plans on hold. Throughout the dying process and after his death, I continued to experience the tension in my head. Some people believe its because I haven’t been able to fully feel the pain of my loss, but I disagree. I still feel the waves of sadness in my heart, but I know it wasn’t my heart that needed to break open.
I knew the persistent tension in my head was a resistance in my mind, but I couldn’t see what it was and I didn’t know how to shift it. So, I booked in for a reike session for some additional energetic support. During that session I didn’t tell her why I was there because I prefer people to be guided by spirit. Being intuitive, she picked up on the tension in my head, mentioned the need to energize my solar plexus and was overwhelmed by the openness of my heart chakra. She said she had never seen one like it before because it was crystallized … and I knew why.
I’ve come to my own realizations, but I’m not ready to share my story in its entirety just yet. I’ve already shared my thoughts about family as a system. How I see the Mother as being the heart and the Father as being the head. So it makes perfect sense to me, that the loss of our beloved Mother broke my heart open to deeper truths about love, and the loss of our beloved Father is opening my mind to deeper truths about life. As crazy as it may sound to some, I believe more than ever that our loss and healing is a collective experience. A belief that continues to guide me on the spiritual path I’m called to walk, and the process I keep trusting, even when I don’t always understand it.
My mind is still too agitated to be at peace, but I have found the teachings I need to achieve it. Buddhist teachings are heavily rooted in psychology and philosophy, which is what sets it a part from religion. It encourages us to know the nature of our own mind, helping us to recognize how an agitated mind creates suffering, which can then manifest into dis-orders and dis-ease. It was so validating to hear the Monk say this during a teaching, because I’ve been saying it for years. Buddhism is more interested in our current state of BEing, than what our faith based beliefs are, which is what appeals most to me. According to the Buddhist, an enlightened mind is fully present in the moment. Able to see the truth of reality as it really is without grasping, avoiding or attaching. If we are willing to be completely honest with ourselves, we will notice how often we mindlessly drift though our days on auto pilot, grasping, avoiding and attaching.
In hindsight, I wish I had studied Buddhism much earlier in life. Maybe I would have cared for our parents end of life with less anxiety? Perhaps I would have processed my grief with less trauma? But what if I had to experience the struggles to better understand my own suffering? Maybe this is all part of the healing process? Perhaps the experience is teaching me the skills I will need on the path? Maybe its guiding me towards my destiny?
I’ve been living and working at Chenrezig for 2 months and am so very grateful for the experience. The community not only opened its arms and embraced me, but the people have offered love, compassion and kindness, as they supported me though some very challenging times. I’ve met so many beautiful souls with open hearts and minds, learned some valuable lessons in the most unexpected ways, experienced a new way of BEing, which has opened up the path to so many more possibilities. I feel myself coming into alignment, as I integrate my spirit and dance with life once again. So, as I prepare myself to leave in a few days, I take the next steps with a stronger sense of faith in the journey.