Monday, August 9, 2010

Benefits of Isolation and Introspection

Having primarily lived in Silence and Isolation for the last 10 years is an experience that most if any, unless one is a monk or Nun, have chosen as an aspect of one's spiritual growth. It wasn't my choice. However as I reflect upon it, there have been huge benefits.

First and foremost, I have really grown to know myself inside and out. I know exactly how I think, why and how I respond both physically and mentally to inner and outer influences. The experiences and relationships that have influenced me throughout my life and why. This has been very enlightening and why I haven't sought help from counsellors etc. I don't need their advice. I know ME. No doubt there are many nuances for me still to discover but they are diminishing. Having spent 10 years reflecting and going down memory lane has provided me with so many insights, not just about myself but in terms my relationships whether personal or in the larger world of employment etc. In the process, I have been able to step back and view all from a more objective/spiritual perspective. It has become so much easier to forgive. It's been a very painful process but I have come to the understanding that holding onto resentments and judgements is a reflection of the weaknesses within myself. I pay the price.

Thankfully I studied "A Course in Miracles" 17 years ago along with "The Seat of the Soul" (Gary Zukav) and some other books that have helped me enormously in terms of my self-awareness. Primarily in the areas of Intentions and the Ego. My experiences for the last 30 years have been in terms of Ego Annihilation. Where the persona of the External Self becomes so diminished that it barely exists. In retrospect, that is the greatest fear around death, especially in our youth, that we all share. However I can attest to the fact that as painful an exercise this entails, it provides for the ultimate experience of Freedom. It is when one can truly become honest with oneself and no longer worry about wearing different masks in order to make ourselves feel acceptable and less vulnerable regardless of whatever the situation. It's when the Self takes a back seat to everything and allows for the Observer/Objective Self to reach full awareness. Fortunately and without understanding, I have always had that as an aspect of my Being as long as I can remember. I believe in having that awareness, Empathy is allowed to grow and expand. It is in the ability to really listen and to put oneself in other's shoes, that one can truly understand. Why being a good listener without having an agenda is the key to True Understanding.

I must admit it isn't always easy, especially when others offend or abuse one (not physically) but by words and deeds. I do know from experience, those are the moments when one is truly faced with one's own weaknesses. We can then either choose to retaliate or step back and view what is our participation in terms of response. I do believe that if our Egos weren't wounded in one form or another (discovered in early childhood) it would be much easier to let go of judgements and blame. I haven't learnt that lesson fully yet as I have a person in my life who continues to challenge me. I recognize that I must be grateful to have this teacher in my life on a very personal level, otherwise I would never learn this lesson. It has been a lifelong and painful process. I expect the only change that can happen, occurs with my own change of heart and attitude. I have tried countless times throughout my life but obviously haven't passed the grade yet since it continues. I hope someday I will but regardless, it's been the biggest learning curve I have ever had in terms of Forgiveness.

So in conclusion, I must state that regardless of how difficult the challenges that life presents us with, there are always gifts if one is open to receive them. That also includes letting go of the Ego. Our greatest foe. The Ego, I am aware, is also what motivates people to explore, innovate, create and become Charitable. It's a two edged sword that each of us have to face, and if not forced, want to. It can be used in both negative and possitive ways. It's our choice if we are aware that we have it. Those who have the capacity to understand the gifts that are received, DO. Most don't, I expect. It is too frightful.

Most people live in a state of Fear. Fear manifests itself in so many forms of which most of us are unaware. It is what has Relationships, the World, in such discord and in a state of perpetual violence. I find this quite mind boggling since most Countries have an underlying belief in some form of Deity and Religion, all espousing the same thing. "Love Thy Neighbour as Thyself". The other words for that, are Empathy and Compassion. Even the greeting of Namaste speaks of recognizing the Spirit within another. In my limited understanding today, most of us don't truly love Ourselves so how is it possible to Love Another? How can we then recognize the Spirit that resides within all? We are separated by Family dynamics,Relationship experiences, External locations, Ethnic backgrounds, Religious Indoctrinations but we are all brother and sisters ultimately, who share the same human experience of love and attachments and a need to have a sense of security, hope and the best for our children. Will we ever recognize how similar we are? I wonder......

~ Tutte ~