Before Enlightenment - Endarkenment

Do you follow the news, or are you tired of the daily dose of negativity and avoid it? Even if we studiously ignore the media it feels at times like we are stuck in a rut. Rather than moving forward into the Age of Enlightenment, sometimes it appears as if we were trapped in the Dark Ages.

Despair not. The times they really are a'changing. They just don't do it in a straight linear fashion. Not much in life does. Everything oscillates: Upswing to downturn and back up, contraction-expansion-contraction again. This holds true in small ways, like our own emotional experience, as well as for large historical movements, and nature's evolutionary cycles spanning millions of years. All-that-is vibrates. We wish we could omit the down-swinging part of the experience, but that seems to go against the laws of nature. All we can do is ride the waves. So what to do when we feel down, tense, scared, depressed and compressed in our energy?

Breathe. Breathe in, breathe out. This too shall pass. Let your shoulders drop an inch, your jaw relax, your rib cage expand. Stay present in this moment and observe your mind's activities with some objectivity. You are not what you think. Your brain does the thinking, but you are not your brain anymore than the computer is the programmer. Watch your thoughts run through habitual patterns, old familiar tunes, over and over again. That's what brains do. Remind yourself that those thought patterns are not who you are. The patterns can be changed. And that too does not happen all at once. 

Our main patterns or life lessons have to be played out until we are really, truly done with them. As long as they hold any emotional drama, they are not played out yet. When we see ourselves repeating them once more and we are getting bored, then we know we are just about done. When we have learned all we can learn from them, then we are done. Only then do the habitual patterns disappear. So how do we hasten the demise of our antiquated, troublesome patterns?

Oddly enough by embracing them. What we resist persists. So step one is recognizing and admitting that we have a pattern in our brain that repeats itself in our lives over and over again. It is OUR pattern, not the immutable reality of an outside world that is victimizing us. It cannot be changed by outside events like meeting the perfect soul mate or winning the lottery. As within, so without. What we experience in the world is a reflection of our internal expectations and projections based on our beliefs about reality. Only when we take full responsibility for our projections can we claim the power to change them.

Next we look at the root of our thought pattern. Did it come from a childhood experience, or did we simply adopt the prevalent beliefs of the family and society that we were born into? In the light of our present knowledge of the world and reality, do these beliefs still make sense? How emotionally charged are they? What do you fear will happen when you let them go? Who would you be without this belief? Has it served a positive purpose in your life? Are you really willing to change this belief and face the consequences of this change?

What was your soul's intention in adopting these patterns for this lifetime? "I don't know.", is the brain's answer. Ask your soul, and then silence the brain long enough for your soul to get a word in edgewise. That is not an easy task. When it comes to being re-programmed, the brain calls a myriad of defenses into action, especially incessant, fearful chattering and diversions. That is normal. Persist in meditative practices of any kind to give yourself a chance at communicating consciously with your soul / higher power. The brain cannot reprogram itself. Your soul / higher power is the programmer. Gently nudging the brain into voluntary cooperation with soul / higher power will greatly reduce your experience of suffering throughout this process.

Once you realize that your soul's intention for your life lessons is loving in nature, you will be able to lean into them with acceptance and gratitude. You were brave enough to explore the human condition personnally through these specific, and probably rather common experiences, on this planet. Can you see their positive purpose for your soul's journey towards compassion and unconditional love? Could you have gained insight into the struggles of your fellow travellers on this path in a more successful way?

Unconditional acceptance of our own oh-so human condition will naturally lead to unconditional acceptance of our neighbor. You may not be able to love everyone as thyself quite yet, but you can feel compassion as you recognize their stuggles as not so different from yours. Experiencing the dark side is an unavoidable part of being human. The contracted state of mind, the density of fear and doubt, along with all the dis-ease that goes along with it, has the potential for breaking our heart wide open. Through that opening Light may enter. Light comes to know itself through contrast with darkness. We agreed to these conditions when we signed up for this journey. And we renew our contract with life every time we breathe in. We execute the contract when we breathe out. So take a deep breath and know:

"This too shall pass!"