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Sunday
Jun012008

Don't Bring me Down

By bonniestarr1.gifBonnie Starr Mandell-Rice

I was having a wonderful week. I felt gloriously happy, boundless and at one with everything. I mentioned this to an acquaintance who replied: “I know it feels really good to be in that expanded state, but what is wrong with just being here? You know you can’t always feel that way, there is real suffering down here.” I was taken aback by her remark, feeling both a sense of threat (she would bring me down, take this from me) and shame (shame on me for not feeling the suffering), and struck by the beliefs implicit in it.

My acquaintance is correct that there is nothing “wrong” with just being here, experiencing ourselves and our energy as contained within and limited to our physical bodies and thus also experiencing ourselves as separate from everyone and everything outside of our bodies. Indeed, that has served the evolution of our souls well, for without the experience of separation, we would not have been able to explore and experience the many faces and facets of Divine Oneness and come to know who we really are: expressions of that Oneness. Yet despite our experience of it, separation is only an illusion. In truth separation does not exist for we can never be separate from the Oneness from which we sprang and that encompasses all that is and all that is not. The expansiveness, limitlessness, oneness and joyfulness that I was experiencing are our natural state. We have so limited and erroneously defined and identified ourselves, however, - as our bodies, our egos, our roles; as born in sin, or sinners or at least prone to sin; as needing to control ourselves and others so we do nothing “wrong” and so that we can be loved – that most of us have been unable to access or experience this state, at least not without the help of drugs or alcohol (neither of which I consume). As Dylan sang back in the sixties, however: “the times they are a’changing.” As consciousness on Earth rises (and it is rising), we will more readily access this state.

My acquaintance’s remark that “we cannot always feel this way” is a limiting belief that, despite it being consistent with my past experience (I don’t always feel that way), I do not share. We can always feel that way, because again it is our natural state. The fact that we can – that we have the ability – does not always mean that we do. There is nothing “wrong” in our not doing so; it simply is what we are choosing, on some level of our being (most often unconscious), to experience.

Still what was “right” about her remark was that, because of the sense of threat I felt upon hearing it, it reminded me to remain detached from the experience I was having. Whatever we feel, whether it be “unpleasant” feelings such as depression, grief or anger, or “pleasant” feelings such as love, peace, joy, bliss, or limitlessness, our feelings are simply experiences that we have; they are not who we are. Most of us prefer the pleasant feelings, and there is nothing wrong with that. The key is to not become attached to our preferences: we may prefer chocolate ice cream over vanilla, but we will accept vanilla with sincere gratitude; we may prefer a sunny day, but will still enjoy a rainy one. When we simply notice that we are having a feeling and do not attach to it by identifying with it or making up (and believing or clinging to) a story about what it means or what caused it, our feelings are free to come and go. In this way we begin to remember that we are not the feeling or the experience but the one who is aware that he/she is having it. The wonderful irony is that when I remember that, I immediately feel more peaceful and expanded because I am neither denying what I am feeling nor limiting my self to the feeling or my thoughts about it.

Another thing that struck me about my acquaintance’s remark was that it also revealed her (I suspect unconscious) belief, which she also would have me share, that we must somehow feel badly because there is real suffering on earth. What my acquaintance failed to realize is that my (or anyone’s) feeling bad does nothing to alleviate the suffering of others. On the contrary, it contributes to lowering the vibration of everything and thus potentially increases suffering. My feeling joyful, on the other hand, raises the vibration of everyone and thus potentially relieves suffering. (I say “potentially,” because some people do not want their vibration raised; they enjoy their suffering.) This is so because we are all one, and thus what any of us experiences or feels we all experience and feel on a subtle, energetic level – even as the fluttering of a butterfly’s wing in China can affect the air currents in the United States This is why when groups of people meditate on peace in an area, violence is reduced in that area. This is why when the Dalai Lama or Thich Nat Hanh or other spiritual leaders enter a room, all those present feel a peacefulness descend on the room. This is why laughter is contagious.

The idea, reflected in my acquaintance’s remark, that we must suffer – or at least not feel too good – while others suffer affects many areas of our lives. Many people, very often spiritual people, accept this belief when it comes to financial abundance. Who are we to have so much when others go hungry? We thus close ourselves off from receiving abundance. We may judge others as having “too much,” as if their having less would assure that the abundance that exists will be spread equitably without more – without a shift in the consciousness of us all that would result in our knowing that there is enough and that there is more where that (whatever that is) came from that and in our acting from that knowing. This judgment keeps all who share it from experiencing having “too much,” however we define what “too much” is, and may even keep them from experiencing having “enough.”

When we share my acquaintance’s belief, it keeps us from shining our light. How dare we shine so brightly when others are not shining? Yet when a candle is lit in a darkened room, the darkness dissipates. If we would alleviate the suffering of others, we must allow our light to shine, we must allow our joy to elevate the collective consciousness, and we must allow ourselves to see through the illusion of separation and know and experience ourselves as One.

Finally, the threat I felt in the moment of my hearing her remark was that she might bring me down, take away my joy. I also felt a shaming: “shame on you for feeling so good when others are suffering.” Though I trust she neither intended to threaten nor shame me, my reacting to and experiencing her remarks in this way resulted in a come down for me, a jolt backward toward her reality. It took me a bit to remember that no one can make us feel anything without our consent; no one can dim our light without our permission. Remembering this, I withdrew the consent I had given to her and turned the light I am back on.

I am here shining it now for you and all who are willing to receive. Can you feel it? It is your light too.

COPYRIGHT : @ Bonnie Starr Mandell-Rice 2008. This article may be forwarded provided that the complete article and this copyright information are included. This article will be archived at www.transformativecoaching.net