When I was a little girl, I wanted to hug and kiss everyone including any animal I encountered with the exception of spiders and woolly bears. This struck most people in the UK (my parents are Mediterranean) as ‘most awfully weird’ and hence I was labelled a weirdo until all the ‘hugginess’ was sucked out of me by people who found it alien to express physical affection.
Some years later I was most embarrassed to say that I’d joined their club but it wasn’t intentional…it was a slow and persistent wearing away of all things innocent and unaffected and was replaced by the stiff upper lip syndrome where emotions were to be suppressed and controlled at all times. I learnt that feeling emotions had huge costs and so I slowly built a barrier against them.
Still, I do believe that the universe has a divine plan for each one of us and that plan involves being saved from yourself at some point. So it was no accident that years after my souls demise a series of bizarre circumstances led me back to live with my ancient aged parents who have varying degrees of dementia. I remember the sheer internal terror my body felt before I moved in there - with good cause - as if the jaws of hell were literally opening to swallow me up into its fiery chasm (no drama there of course)!
And of course - through the amazing laws of attraction, the hell of facing ones worst fears came to pass. The thing that no-one tells you about living with people who have dementia – especially parents to whom you feel duty bound – is that if you give the circumstances half a chance, they will slowly and deliberately suck every last drop of your patience, sympathy, energy and life force out of you until only an empty shell remains - and then some!
But here’s the thing…
Out of darkness comes light...and out of the emptiness of depletion comes a new spark of life.; if you let it. When the mind and the emotions are exhausted a higher force can enter into that vacuous space.
Compassion has got nothing to do with any of those things mentioned above; not sympathy, loyalty or even patience. It’s a force all of its own and it’s a doorway that opens once you have had all you can take of suffering. That’s how it works. There is the ongoing destruction of the ego by life; and then there is a subtle energy that arises beyond the personal will and that of self filled desires. It is beyond the story of 'Me', but it needed 'me' to be born.
People can often mistake compassion for emotional coldness but the truth is, without healthy boundaries or what Buddhists would call detachment compassion could not arise.
One has to be the prodigal daughter/son, and venture into that world of sorrow, disillusionment and pain – far, far into it - in order to experience a world without love, hope or charity. It is only then that we can find that hidden light deep, deep within ourselves which brings about our own profound transformation, the likes of which no-one can really understand because it is quite miraculous. It is only then that we can have true compassion for others – the wish to end the suffering of others.
This does not mean that we wish to end death but to bring the understanding of eternity- of indestructibility of the spirit and put that knowing into the world perspective.
Compassion is much more radical that you might believe…
Now that would bring about enormous transformation
For the longest time – and because of self-loathing and fear - I tried to fit in with others views of what is acceptable and lovable and have bent myself into every possible shape to ‘fit in’ – perhaps that’s why I became a Yoga teacher; a physical contortionist when really I was being an emotional and mental contortionist rather than owning up to who I really am.
It took me over 50 years to realise that I wasn't the only one and that it is only the brave who have the courage to be exactly who they are; shamelessly, proudly and with fervour. This realisation came after many ‘life slaps’ as I call them. A ‘life slap’ happens when you’re not listening to yourself and keep on doing the thing that makes you feel out of sync: That thing that makes you feel out of sorts and just ‘wrong’ with life rather than right with it.
Slaps came in the form of illness, loss, depression and thoughts around futility and lack. It went on for around 15 years but I finally busted out of that shell and kicked its ass! Some may say that 15 years of struggle is a long time but believe me, some people stay in that rut for the majority of their lives, so I count myself as one of the lucky ones who finally got a wake-up call that I actually heard! I swear I must have slept through hundreds of alarm bells before one of them was loud enough to wake me up.
The loud bell was on an extended ring and lasted for about 3 years before I went ‘Duh’! That moment happened when I lost my flat, lost my work, lost my health; my friends, my relationship and just about everything else and I had to move in with my parents in a tiny house on the commuter belt to London and sit in my mess until I faced it; and trust me when I say that I tried just about everything to resist. Finally I buckled down and did 3 years of non-stop inner work. All the things I had been avoiding in myself and in life, I made the decision to face head on…and I did it. It was painful, unpleasant, nerve racking and unbearable but I stuck it out. And then I realised something essential...and that was:
You can do ANYTHING if you want it enough and if you persevere. So all my years of studying the holistic and esoteric arts suddenly became grounded in truth. I have to say, it was and is the most satisfying experience of my life to date and the most important thing is that if I can do it; then YOU can do it too; if anyone can do it, then everyone can do it.
And THAT is something that makes it all worth while…
Although suffering is no laughing matter when we are going through it, when it reaches its end, we can often feel so grateful that we laugh and cry all at once. This is because suffering is often associated with a tremendous amount of pressure - either placed upon us by our own self, or placed upon us by our perception of what we consider to be external circumstances. The result can feel like being crushed by thousands of tons - an unbearable feeling of restriction and angst.
However, nothing of such intensity can or does last since every occurrence, incident or event has a beginning, middle and eventually an end and when the end comes and the pressure is lifted, the result is a sense of blissful relief that is so ecstatic that we might even flip out with the energetic release.
Often, when one has hit such a pocket of suffering, it can feel as if it will never end. However, it is at this most difficult of time, when we feel it the most intensely that is the 'darkness before the dawn', or the final moments of that chapter of your life; just before the suffering extinguishes itself and passes away. At that moment, our feelings miraculously change and we become free. What we must remind ourselves of, in these unbearable moments is that even events have a birth, a life and a death - albeit in your own sense of perception. The purpose is to push that perception to the limit so that it releases itself from your system.
And then - all of a sudden and out of the blue, it is gone- as if it never existed at all; and it might even be replaced by the most exquisite joy. When such a pressure is lifted we can laugh and laugh uncontrollably until there is no wind left in our body... And suddenly the suffering becomes beautiful and we feel so grateful for its lesson. It seems paradoxical I know, but when we are touched by true suffering, and we really let it in, all that is left when it has gone, is a gentle smile of gratitude and compassion...
That is the miracle of what it means to be Human.
Once upon countless millennia, a race of beings existed who were magnificent. They were all powerful, all seeing and all knowing. Their supreme Beingness was only matched by their ability to alchemize all obstacles and negativity with natural pure unconditional love which emanated from them without effort. With their unmatched intelligence and abilities to manifest all manner of creation, surely they were the masters of the universe. They lived in a paradise made of light and nectar and their hearts were filled with peace, joy, compassion and bliss. The name of this paradise was called Gaia.
But one day, another race, travelling through the universe at the speed of light found the beautiful blue green jewel suspended in the spacious blackness. They were hypnotised by it and quickly descended to its greenery to find out whether they could make use of this place for their benefit.
When they witnessed the stunning beauty of the planet, and god and goddess like dwellers, they became filled with envy and decided to release a virus that would hypnotise the inhabitants into believing that they were nothing but animals with base desires.
They cast a spell over the planet and the entire inhabitants fell into a deep sleep of forgetfulness. When they awoke, all their divine powers were gone. They became overwhelmed with base emotions and started to believe in scarcity and fear. The infection created doubt, aggression and competitiveness and they began to fight among themselves. They believed they were separate from each other and therefore fought hard for individual ownership.
At this moment, the intruders saw their chance and quickly moved to live among the humans taking on their outer guise so that there would be no suspicion. In this way, they could control the humans and make them do their bidding.
The intruders slowly built systems and governments with rigid rules and regulations, crushing the flow of life and using fear to enslave the humans into obeying their commands. All evidence of their intrusion was kept in strictest secrecy and anyone who found out about it or decided to reveal it was quickly eliminated.
This enslavement went on for thousands and thousands of years. The angels who watched over Gaia sent various messengers to try to wake the Humans from their sleep of forgetfulness but the Humans were so entrenched that they even felt threatened by the bringers of Truth and in some cases murdered them out of fear to maintain their state of ignorance.
The intruders, bent on pushing forward their plan to enforce their own ruler ship of the planet, killed anyone who posed a threat and continued to increase their demands upon the Humans, many of whom were now living lives of strife and poverty. Although they were still in deep sleep, some of them started to feel deeply troubled by an internal disturbance, that things were not right.
In the midst of the strife, the seed of the Supreme, which had been implanted into every Human form from inception, willed to get back to its source and in its flawless intelligence began to use the suffering of the Humans as a tool to re-activate, reveal itself and finally smash the illusion of powerless belittlement.
It began to re-align and create the conditions for the negative energy, which had become fractured, to be converted into higher energy so that clarity could be created and the Truth be seen. And one terrible and sacred night, when things had reached a critical mass; in the face of great distress and pressure, one of the Humans awakened to the Truth of their being…
The energy of this release from bondage ricocheted through the universe and was felt on every level of existence. Other Humans in deep unrest heard the call and followed suit and the freedom began to spread.
The intruders caught wind of what was going on and tried harder to instil fear and scarcity consciousness using every means at their disposal. But the harder they tried, the more freedom exploded from the darkness. The extreme pressure of the strife and anguish inflicted upon the humans had created diamonds from the carbon of suffering. At that moment, Humans took a leap of spiritual evolution and returned to their true state of Divine Being. In this seeing, all suffering quickly ceased, and paradise was once more restored.
Divine intelligence always finds a way
You are that way
You are the light
And Freedom is your name