Several years ago I was told of a fire walk scheduled for the coming weekend. A few days later I found myself sitting with a group of people taking notes on fire walking. A pile of logs had been lit and were burning in the back yard. We were told that when the fire reached 600 degrees Fahrenheit we would cross the coals. A few minutes later I crossed the coals undefined undefinedand had the sensation that I was walking on soft ashes that were cool to my feet. As I landed on the grass a small ember stuck to my toe and it singed me momentarily. Otherwise I was fine and ecstatic thinking that I had finally conquered fear.
The next morning I woke up with anxiety. I was upset and puzzled by the experience. It didn’t make sense. I thought I had conquered fear. It was as though the fire walk had no effect on my thinking.
What I didn’t discover for many years was that the part of my consciousness I used to make a fire walk was different from the part that experienced anxiety. The fire walk set in motion a desire to understand myself which took me on a long journey of spiritual discovery.
At about the same time in my life I had a partial spiritual awakening. It was as though an invisible hand was holding me and giving me experiences I needed.
I began to see auras and felt the movement of energy through people. For a while I worked on people at a spiritual/energetic level. Although I could help people release emotional blockages and physical pain I didn’t feel satisfied in my work because people would go back to old habits and stuff feelings and then recreate their pain.
I wanted to help them release the thoughts and emotions that created their pain — but I hadn’t done enough work on myself at the time either.
Although I had a partial spiritual opening — which I desperately needed because it proved to me that there was Intelligence and an Infinite energy that replaced my old limited concepts of a biblical God, I had not integrated that experience into my daily living.
I realized I needed to find a way to go deeper into my inner sacred. Almost as soon as I realized what I needed my teacher showed up — Shri Anandi Ma of Gujarat India.
Her teachings and practices led me to experience divinity in daily sitting. I learned the bright light I saw when I meditated, or the presence I felt when quiet was me experiencing the light of my being-ness of – divinity in my soul.
Those periods of quiet were and are beyond words that I can formulate to express them but I was still buffeted around by the vicissitudes of daily life.
What to do?
On the one hand I had occasional ecstatic spiritual experiences and on the other I was caught in fear about any number of things. No doubt I had come a long way from the simplistic thinking of my fire walk but I had a long way to go.
I enrolled in graduate school and studied psychology. I knew I needed to learn how the mind worked and apply that learning to myself. As a therapist I learned a lot about the ego, how it protects us and how it limits us. I was beginning to see the challenge that lie ahead for me.
I discovered that there are two basic emotions — love and fear. I was blessed with spiritual love which created the strongest yearning to help people but had not faced many fears. Furthermore, my life transition, from successful stock broker to working for $6.00 an hour, and the pain that resulted from a divorce of twenty years were so poignant that I was adverse to any more pain.
When I started a practice helping people — my initial focus was more to help them rid themselves of pain than to embrace their personal vulnerabilities that created their emotional pain.
At a spiritual level — a level Jesus, Buddha, Lat Tzu, Plato and others obtained they had seen through fear and transcended it — and each one of them was put to the test, a test which for many meant accepting death rather than forsake Truth.
That was certainly not my path. Mine was — and is probably everyone else’s who reads this blog — the path into the ego, which I call the ogre for many reasons.
The ego fears you and I face are most typically, anger, envy, greed, lust, self centeredness, shame, judgment and a sense of unfairness. Fears of inadequacy,loneliness, alienation, and low self esteem are another set of fears that occur when relationships are threatened.
These fears don’t sound so threatening when listed — but when you are in a relationship of long standing and it isn’t working, and you fear leaving it, because you are dependent in relationship or economic hardship faces you — then the semi panic sets in.
Because these feelings are so strong we experience ‘no exit’ types of panic which tends to keep us locked into ego perception and victimization. Yet when we embrace the ‘unembraceable” and accept the trial — a path of resolution does open up.
Our soul will not leave us stranded. It creates challenges so that we can continue our spiritual evolution and slowly move beyond the ego’s limited perception of fear.
All the myths such as St. George and the dragon tell us to fight that which appears larger than our self and represents man’s victory over fear.
I now know that every challenge and trial we face is our soul’s wisdom creating what appear as frightening challenges. It is the only method our soul has for us to evolve beyond the confines of specific fear. Each time we accept the challenge we gain more freedom from the ogre.
Today, our current recession has wreked havoc on many. I have worked with many who had to deal with issues they never thought might occur. Job loss, house forclosure, relocation, loss of savings and starting again from scratch, are some of the issues many face. These challenges come from within, no matter how difficult they may appear to be. I have been proveliged to see many transcend these trials and grow far beyond them.
What has been most helpful to me in dealing with challenges is the knowledge that my trial is for my own good. Still knowing that my soul is beckoning me to grow, doesn’t diminish the fear. Yet the ‘roadmap’ gives me strength to stand into the trial and see it through
I have found that nurturing my soul through meditation and other centering practices can mitigate the intensity of fear. This is what I call the” trickle down theory,” it doesn’t work in economics but it does work in integrating spirit into daily life.
It is necessary for me to be consistent in spiritual practices so that the gifts of expanded consciousness; love, peace, compassion and oneness can be felt daily and not just help me in times of trial.
Meditation and centering practices take time. They can’t be hurried. And they can only be done when our minds are quiet. That is because the ego resides in the mind whereas the heart is the center of higher consciousness, home to our soul. The method that worked for me was to set time aside daily to meditate.
I found the way to get out of ego mind with its fears and worries was to quiet myself and then breathe. Sometimes this meant I spent an hour in meditation and other times I only needed to sit still and breathe deeply for a few minutes.
Quieting the mind is the most worthwhile activity we can undertake. That is because the ego is in the head and truth resides in our body, behind our heart. Each time you touch the quiet behind the heart you deepen the imprint of truth — the truth that you are a spiritual being of timeless origin
My fire walk kick started a journey of self discovery. The thought that a fire walk could cure my anxieties was simplistic thinking. What I did find encouraging in my personal work and my therapy practice is that we have almost an infinite ability to transcend our limitations.
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