Life is not happening to us, it is happening through us. Michael Stone
When we see the world as separate from ourselves, which is our cultural norm, it leaves us feeling disconnected from life. It appears that everything, whether we label it as good or bad, is happening “to us”. “I got fired, lost my home, won the lottery, got married, was divorced…this perspective puts us in the role of being a victim to external circumstances. It robs us of the power and capacity to fully choose, digest, and resolve life’s experiences, which become frozen in embodied time. This option relegates us to being an object in a world of objects, detached, disconnected, and separate. It’s no wonder so many of us have a sense of not belonging in this world of reactions. Belonging is a function of being present and connected to the moment!
When we look at life as happening “through us”, we dissolve this sense of separation, which is at the heart of all suffering in the world. Rather than having our experiences locked in time, frozen in our bodies, shaping our actions, emotions, and relationships in and towards the world, life comes alive and moves through us fluidly, flowing and penetrating all of life. We stop carrying the mental baggage from the past and become more present, in the moment, and interconnected. To live from a perspective of life moving “through us”, we realize the importance of being embodied, attuning to our emotions, and feeling a deep sense of relatedness to the occurring world, rather than the fixed world of stories, memories, and beliefs. When life moves through us we have a greater ability to respond instead of reacting to what appears as external events.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. Viktor E. Frankl
Viktor Frankl, who spent three years as a prisoner in the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Dachau, said that “the last of the human freedoms is to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances”. No matter what’s happening to us, we always have the choice to react or respond, regardless of the external conditions. Mostly, when we get triggered, we react from the experiences, traumas, and patterns of the past. Meditation, movement, and mindfulness help us to expand that space between the stimulus and response. These practices support us to slow down and stop chasing life. It’s in the stillness of presence that we can see, sense, feel, experience, and know that life is moving through us as we move through life. One of the challenges in meditation is how all the suppressed and undigested experiences from the past keep popping up and “distracting” us. But, this is a mistake, because when we slow down and explore our interiority, we create the space for these dissociated parts, that have been frozen in our body, to come up and be seen, felt, and embraced. When we were threatened, overwhelmed or experienced trauma, our intelligent nervous system protected us by suppressing these unwanted experiences from the past. It is by bringing our awareness to and embracing these shadow experiences that they heal and become integrated and digested. We begin to see them as teachers, friends and lovers.
Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. Rumi
Many of us are searching for love, looking for someone to fill the empty void we feel, this craving to be seen, felt, and heard by another. This is often our adaptive self that is searching for the nurturing, soothing, seeing, sensing, and being held that was missing in our early development. Unfortunately, that early developmental phase has passed. You are the only person who can fill this empty longing, and it starts with going inward, feeling the emptiness, and making friends with it. When we quit searching outwardly and begin our inner exploration, we meet the unfulfilled and suppressed shadow parts of our self. Can we feel them in our body, meet them with our emotions, hear our repetitive mental narrative about lack, unworthiness, guilt, and shame? These are the barriers to reclaiming our essential goodness and finding love. When we become present to the barriers to love within ourselves, we are being loving because presence is love. When we open to and embrace the unaccepted parts of ourselves, love is present. Instead of trying to be what we aren’t, or thinking we should be, we can love what we are with all our unwanted parts. In that act of acceptance, love is present, and when love is present within, it means it is present everywhere because life flows through you, not to you! The sense of separation dissolves as we expand our awareness.
The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your action will be. Dalai Lama
Whatever it is that we can’t love is a barrier to our authenticity, our fullest self-expression, and the opportunity to feel love. When we see life as happening through us, we realize that by fully accepting and loving ourselves, we are loving life and life is loving us. Holding on to resentment, regret and self-judgements reduces the love in the world. Embracing it all opens us to what Thich Nhat Hahn called inter-being, a state of interdependence where we recognize that everything is interconnected with everything else…
I invite you, dear readers, to join me in engaging in the practice of inter-being, which also means letting life move through you. How would you act, move, think and be, if you really knew that you were truly, unconditionally, connected to everyone and everything in the universe?
Thank you for being an integral part of the Well of Light family.
With infinite love and blessings,Michael
We are the Universe’s way of seeing itself! Brian Swimme