Whenever you find yourself reacting to a person, situation or circumstance, you are encountering one of life’s messengers. Your messenger may reveal itself as physical sensation or feeling, emotion, thought or belief. Whether your response is joy, anger, hurt, shame, pride, depression or delight, your reaction transmits like a courier or emissary bearing information that has been sent from a deeper truth within you to teach you ways to “be” on the path of harmony and wholeness.
Like asteroids flying through space, some of life’s messengers fly into our atmosphere and penetrate our surface, while others pass us by. Those that linger are bearers of great gifts. When their messages challenge us or make us feel bad, we bolt our doors, try to ignore them or push them away. But “whatever we resist, persists,” as the saying goes. Instead of trying to avoid or ignore them, we must welcome them. Invite them in for a cup of tea and discover what they have to teach us. The results can be amazing!
A process I work with, called Integrative Restoration, iRest®, Yoga Nidra, offers simple yet profound processes for creating pathways to greater peace and harmony. For many years, as a life coach, I have helped others accomplish goals and discover a deeper relationship with their “real self” in order to live a more authentic and fulfilling life. iRest has helped me to deepen this relationship in my own life, while providing powerful tools to assist others.
In a recent body sensing session with my client Sally, the emotion of fear surfaced out of a sensation in her body. We welcomed it as a messenger and through a process of deep inquiry, I asked her to describe what fear looked like. She was surprised to discover that it wasn’t fear at all, but a suppressed and neglected little girl who wanted to play. Having spent much of her life dealing with chronic illnesses, Sally had not given attention to her playful nature. I asked if the little girl had a name. She said, “Sunshine.” We then explored ways she could fully anchor Sunshine into her daily life, including singing. When she spontaneously burst into, “You Are My Sunshine,” I joined in and we “all” sang together.
Sally met what she thought was fear and discovered a long-repressed part of herself that was longing to be invited out to play and become fully restored and re-integrated into Sally’s being and life.
We often live our lives based on assumptions, misperceptions and beliefs about ourselves. One of the agreements in Don Miguel Ruiz’ insightful little book, “The Four Agreements,” is: “Don’t assume anything.” Yet we do, continually. While some messages are transmitted directly to us from outside sources, others are totally made up in our minds based on assumptions. They instantly pop into our head at inopportune times because they are all lined up, waiting at our door, ready and eager to make their grand entrance.
Early in life we begin the process of cultural and personal conditioning forming beliefs and assumptions often based on other people’s expectations of how we should fit into the world. Parents, teachers, siblings, peers, and later spouses and bosses, etc. transmit a variety of messages. While generally well-intentioned, these messages are rooted in experiences based on their own life story, and don’t always support our True Nature. As a result, they instill a complex view of the world that often turn into on-going voicemail-like messages.
If you received messages early on such as “you’re stupid,” “not good enough,” or “you’ll never amount to anything,” the messages, programmed in your head, will transmit as, “I’m stupid,” “I’m not good enough,” or “No one loves me.” These messages are myths that become beliefs, like self-limiting obstacles continually showing up in your life in people, situations and circumstances. After many years, one client discovered that she had married her “mother.” Her husband churned out his own version of her mother’s message of “you’re stupid.”
If, on the other hand, the original message was, “You are free to choose your own unique path in life,” or, “Life is what you make it,” an expectation or intention is set in motion that will likely propel you down a pathway to realize these truths. When the messages are aligned with your True Nature, they help you become a more fully integrated human being living with meaning and purpose.
Now we’ll explore ways to transform our life messengers into allies and integrate them for creating harmony and wholeness.
It’s not surprising that dissatisfaction and suffering occur when you continuously hear the messengers’ voices running in our heads. If you try to chase them away, reciting mantras and affirmations, you may, at best, keep them at bay. The good news is that there are many processes to help address this treadmill-like ordeal. For example, Byron Katie, in her classic work “Loving What Is,” (www.thework.com) offers a simple process of questioning, challenging beliefs with four simple questions designed to explore their inherent truths, how you react to them and how you would be without them.
What I love about iRest is that we are not asked to change or disbelieve anything. Yes, we do investigate our assumptions of truth. But we do it naturally through the body, not by trying to DO anything. Rather we open our awareness, welcome and invite in whatever shows up in the form of sensations, feelings, emotions, thoughts, beliefs and images. Change comes naturally. iRest can be done with a trained teacher, in a guided process in a group or individual setting, or on your own. “To understand truth, all seeking must stop,” said spiritual teacher, Jean Klein.
Drop the “I”
Drop the “I”
iRest (notice the small “i”) helps you put the ego “I” to rest as you explore through sensation in your body. We all seem to be seekers of happiness. If only I had……. Yet, once we actually get…. we are never really fulfilled and still seek something new. It’s like being on a treadmill of perpetual stuckness and suffering. Trying to repel desires doesn’t work either. Once we let go, rest the “I” and meet with our messengers, we move into a state of deep relaxation and discover a state of being. It’s like slipping into a warm enveloping bath where we find the innate inner wisdom of our True Nature.
One might ask how this can help when I’ve lost my job, or a relationship or I have serious financial challenges. When we welcome things as they are, we can go beyond them. What emerges is “right action.” We’re able to make better choices in future endeavors and how we want to live our lives.
Feeling cut off
How frequently do you find yourself irritated or uneasy in your daily life? Maybe you are cut off while driving in traffic, someone makes a remark that triggers a memory or emotion, or you find yourself worrying about something in the future. Perhaps it’s that incessant voicemail-like message that’s telling you you’re incapable or something or unlovable.
When, the man whom I believed was truly the love of my life decided to leave, I had to examine my own I-ness and my long-held assumptions that men never stay in my life. I found myself honoring what he believed was his truth, knowing that “i” have been given an opportunity to start anew – and to love myself even more. Everything moves through a cycle of birth, growth, decline and death. It’s the nature of all things. I’m learning that underneath the big “I” is a delightful beingness that is so vast and is filled with love that “i” am.
Messengers will continue to show up in your life. Welcome them into your Guest House of awareness. When you inquire why they have come, you’ll make them your ally and discover ways to integrate them into your greater wholeness.
Read The Guest House from The Essential Rumi, version by Coleman Barks:
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.