If your experience of life transcends the limitations of simply being physical, spiritual awareness has taken place on some level. Personally, the spiritual process was initiated during my quest for answers; I became a seeker of truth when I realised there was so much I didn’t know and this longing for answers has been a lifelong quest. During this quest, I continually looked outward in my attempt for wellbeing but I now know that this will not give me (or anyone) the wellbeing I am looking for. Human experiences are created from within so unless we turn inwards we will never achieve true peace and happiness by chasing the illusion of the false self. In, therefore, is the only way out and tools such as yoga, meditation and present moment awareness are powerful ones for self-transformation.
On my own spiritual journey, I have found that the practice of yoga, with its postures, breathing and awareness techniques, has allowed me to use my body as a tool for transformation and has given me the opportunity to connect me with my own inner wisdom which is inherent in each and everyone one of us. Meditation is another powerful tool and has particularly helped me cultivate the concept of loving myself first and foremost and it is out of this self-love that I am able to share this abundance with everyone and everything.
I spent a large part of my life running away and numbing my pain, believing that my well-being depended on external factors; I was too afraid and did not even conceive of the idea of looking within and dealing with that pain. I clearly remember when I was diagnosed with PTSD, after having had the courage to leave an abusive relationship, that I was prescribed a course of Prolonged Exposure Therapy. During the early sessions, my therapist taught me breathing techniques with a view to easing my anxiety when I thought about what had happened. Later on in the course, I was asked to recount the traumatic experience to my therapist and then go home and listen to my own recording. That was the last time I saw my therapist, as having to relive that last night of abuse when I feared for my life was excruciatingly painful and an experience I did not want to confront. So I numbed my pain for years, too scared to sit with the emotions I was feeling at the time, distracting myself by keeping busy and trying to rebuild a life for myself and my daughter who was 6 at the time.
What I didn’t know at the time, however, was that by avoiding my painful emotions, I was keeping myself stuck in a cycle of pain, confusion and isolation. I was of the opinion that instead of wallowing in my sorrowful feelings, I should just get on with life, believing that the passing of time would automatically serve as a healer.
In retrospect, it’s easy to see that my own coping strategies failed dismally; by distracting myself from my pain by constantly ‘doing’ and being productive, I was only delaying my healing by running around in my circle of pain without ever diving in head first. Having dipped in and out and tried a range of healing modalities over the last 10 or so years, I have discovered that I had to live my essential truth, and living this essential truth meant making a conscious effort to feel the whole spectrum of my pain. When I gave myself permission over this past year to feel my emotions as they are, my life started to become simpler as the choices I started to make were choices that came from my heart. I finally discovered and accepted that my pain was a necessary step on my own journey towards healing and the process of spiritual awakening.
Today, as I prepare to bid farewell to 2018, I am also preparing to say goodbye to a chapter in my life that has served as a major metamorphosis of my body, mind and soul. 2018 has been a deeply intense year for me (and for many others) but I know that my old traumas, wounds and fears had to be healed so I could move into higher consciousness. I am deeply grateful for all that I have experienced and evolved into this past year and as I look back I see it as the blessing it truly was and am excited to welcome 2019 with its offerings of new opportunities for personal and spiritual growth.
‘Why is everyone here so happy except me?’
‘Because they have learned to see goodness and beauty everywhere’, said the Master.
‘Why don’t I see goodness and beauty everywhere?’
‘Because you cannot see outside of you what you fail to see inside.’
Anthony de Mello
Wishing you all a 2019 filled with an abundance of love, peace, happiness and much self-awareness.