When you are confronted by a challenging situation, you (like everyone else) usually try to heal through management – fixing, understanding, analyzing, manipulating and trying to control. And at times this is important, but if you are honest with yourself, you will see that this never brings you the deep healing you long for.
What I offer instead is the healing of engagement – the ability to be curious about what you are experiencing. Engagement is bringing your attention toward your experience rather than moving away from it. Engagement is opening to it, giving it space to be here, so that rather than being your enemy, your uncomfortable experiences become a doorway into deep healing.
To honor rather than suppress or get lost in your painful experiences is a radical step in your growth. It is how you view them that either opens you up into the possibility of creative living or condemns you to a life of struggle.
In the movie Mindwalk, a physicist who is talking to a politician says,
“We are destroying rain forests at a rate of one football field per second. Brazil is doing this in order to pay their national debt through money raised from cattle ranches and land speculations. The barren forests are one of the main causes of global warming. We create cattle ranches in order to produce more red meat, which is one of the direct causes of heart attacks and high medical costs. These are examples of interconnectedness. You cannot look at a single one of our global problems in isolation, trying to understand and solve it. You can fix a fragment of a piece but it will deteriorate a second later because what it was connected to has been ignored. We have to change everything at the same time.”
The politician then says, “Suppose you are right and everything is connected to everything else. Where do you start?”
“By the way we are seeing the world,” the physicist responds. “You are still searching for the right piece to fix first. All the problems are fragments of one single crisis, a crisis of perception.”
Is your perception ready to shift?
In the movie Powder, Jeremy is an albino who has been severely rejected by society. But in his isolation, he has connected to his heart and to the possibilities for true humanity. In one part of the movie, he is sitting in a park with a friend of his who recognizes his wisdom and his sensitivity.
She asks him, “What are people like on the inside?”
He replies, “Inside of most people there’s a feeling of being separate, separated from everything. And they’re not. They are a part of absolutely everyone and everything.”
“Everything?” she responds. “I am a part of this tree? You are telling me I am a part of some fisherman in Italy and some ocean that I’ve never even heard of and some guy sitting on death row? I am a part of him, too?”
“You don’t believe me?” he queries.
“It’s hard to believe that…all of that,” she answers.
Pointing to her forehead he says, “It’s because you have this spot you can’t see past. My Grams and Gramps had it—the spot where they were taught they were disconnected from everything.”
“So that’s what they would see if they could, that they’re connected?” she asks.
He looks at her with that deep knowing and then says, “…and how beautiful they really are.; and that there’s no need to hide and lie; and that it’s possible to talk with someone without any lies, with no sarcasm, no deceptions, no exaggerations or any of the things that people use to confuse the truth.”
“I don’t know a single person who does that,” she says.
But I do and so do you. More and more people I meet are beginning to live from the inclusion of the heart rather than the struggle of the mind. The new perception knows that our challenges haven’t gotten so complex because we’ve done something wrong or because Life is out to get us. The very complexity of the crises on our planet is a gift, forcing us out of old ways of reacting and into new ways of responding. The new way says pay attention; trust and work with what is rather than always trying to change it, and bring whatever you are experiencing into the inclusion of your heart.
Every person who has opened their eyes and their heart can see clearly that that we are all in this together, living on a tiny planet that is dancing through oceans of space. These are the people who hold transformation in their hearts. For rather than relating to another person through the color of their skin, their religion, their gender, their sexual orientation, and even their politics, you see that all of us are much more connected than the disconnection we see on the news.
May you know that painful experiences are an essential thread in the tapestry of your life. May you discover the courage and the compassion to engage with them. May you allow your heart to open more and more so you can become a part of this connection that can heal our planet.