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A Way Of Seeing By Mary Cook, M.A., R.A.S.
When I need what is not mine to receive, my ego is in charge. When I include myself in the wonders of creation, I am not separate from what I need. When I fight against my own pain, I add toxins to the wound. When I compassionately feel the pain, the wound is cleansed and dressed.
Babies crying can elicit our love or resentment, depending on how we feel toward the infant inside of us. Parched earth can lead us to water the land or embitter us to the lack of sustenance. It depends on how much the darkness of deprivation has obscured the light of hope for us.
Someone in a rage can trigger our own anger, escalating the damage. Or it can remind us how much suffering there is in the world and reinforce our refusal to participate.
It depends on whether we see the world as victims and aggressors or whether we see violence as a symptom of ignorance and uncontained pain. Arrogance and self-righteousness can incite debate and divisiveness, unless we understand it is fear pretending to be pride.
To understand another, we must look deeply within ourselves. To understand ourselves, we must see beyond what our mind thinks we are.
We begin our life depending on others for survival, thinking they are a part of us. We communicate in cries and coos, smiles and screams. Some needs are met and we feel whole and hopeful.
Some needs are not met and we may even be punished for having them. Then we feel fragmented and threatened.
Our opinion of ourselves is formed from how important others treat us.
The amount of fear we experience determines the quality of our survival and sets a pattern for how we see the world. Without tools to address painful feelings and unmet needs, we defend against them.
This creates more internal and external conflict. Defensive responses give the original problem more power and tend to instill fear and create problems for others as well.
We wonder why we feel chronically angry, depressed and empty. We are flawed and our life is incomplete because it is the nature of the human condition. Yet our mission is much larger than the human condition.
When we fail, fall or falter, we have a chance to be free of harsh judgement and unworkable expectations. When we are beaten, bleeding and broken, we can embrace a benevolent attitude toward all suffering. Painful admissions, emptied ambitions and broken hearts invite a larger truth.
Just as admitting powerlessness and unmanageability over addictions, invites not just a solution, but a whole new way of seeing and behaving, continual suffering and struggling in any area of our life can be transformed with a spiritual perspective.
Our actions, feelings, experiences and thoughts are not our identity. A redwood tree is not just the parts we see. The roots and foundation allow the tree to live, just as our divine origin nourishes and sustains us.
And as a tree needs soil, sunshine, nutrients and water, and provides cleaner air, shade and homes for animals, we are interconnected and interdependent on each other. The more our life honors our spiritual roots, the better example we are for others.
If we wish for greater harmony, peace and understanding in the world, we do not look for change in anyone else. We must initiate change, through our own practice of identifying and letting go of all that is within us that hampers our highest wishes.
We are so much more than we think ourselves to be. We walk in the midst of grace and glory, yet our minds see misery. Great success does not come from a list of accomplishments.
It does not come from money, possessions or power. It comes from listening to our hearts, our instincts and most of all, our God. It comes from loving ourselves with all of our defects.
It comes when we lay down weapons and offer assistance. We must cease defending, denying, offending and pre-judging. Compassionate caring, dignity, grace, humility and understanding is what we should be extending.
In the end, all that matters is how well we have loved ourselves, others, this earth, and the Creator of it all. Our ignorance of the larger truth costs us untold suffering.
It is the test of this life to meet pain with understanding, exchange fears for faith, and know that we are continually nurtured by what we cannot see. This is the greater reality.
WWW.MARYCOOKMA.COM Mary Cook is the author of “Grace Lost and Found: From Addictions and Compulsions to Satisfaction and Serenity”, available from Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com etc. She has 34 years of clinical practice and 29 years of university teaching experience.
She is a national speaker and has a private practice in San Pedro, CA. Mary is available for telephone and office counseling, guided meditation, speaking engagements and in-service training. Contact her at MaryCookMA@att.net and see website for further information