Arda, I loved your post and thank you so much.  I want to share some of my experience with meditation.  For the past 30 years, my practice has been off and on - I meditate regularly for 6 months, feeling more and more illuminated, recognizing how my life is changing, my relationships changing for the better.  Then invariably I hit a dark and frightening place - my thoughts assail me with blame, regret, self-denigration over how I have failed someone with my selfishness or have caused them harm in some way due to my commission or omission of something I should have done.  It becomes so bad and so insistent that I have to give up the meditation for months or years until the longing for the richness and depth meditation brings to my mind takes me back to the cushion.  I have read and listened to hours of Pema Chodren and other wise teachers about this happening.  So, this year, once again I decided to try again.  But I had also started another practice concurrently which was suggested in the Artist's Way.  That is everyday to write 3 pages without the editing, critical mind - just writing from the soul.  It has become like excavating all the past conditioning lurking inside - releasing it.  I have come to realize, those dark parts of ourselves grow until bursting, until it is time when our soul is strong enough, courageous enough to let them arise into the light and be released.  It has become a practice of surrendering to what is.

 

It has reminded me of the allegory of the cave.  The mouth of the cave is covered with beautiful flowers and green lush vines, obviously alluring and well cared for.  It is much like the self we show to the world. After all, we all want and need love, so we make our external selves beautiful, with all the qualities we think everyone will be attracted to.  Sure enough, the bees and hummingbirds come attracted by the sweet nectar and colors that emanate.  But they take what they need and off they go.  It is a superficial connection at best.  We long for more.  So, we enter the mouth of the cave, entering inside where all we find is dark, damp, cold with slithering creatures we cannot see, and cobwebs we brush against in fear.  This is where many of us stop and run out, and return to the superficial life where perhaps it is shallow and unrewarding, but at least it isn't frightening.  We also leave thinking this is who we really are and try ever harder to present ourselves in an acceptable way, being careful not allowing anyone in who might run when they see how dark and damaged our real self is.

 

Maybe, we stay out for however long each of us can stand the superficiality of it, or for however long it takes us to muster up the courage to try again.  We are like dragon slayers in myths, being drawn to the  holy grail we know is inside.  And so, with trepidation, but courage and determination, we  enter into whatever depths of darkness we face because our soul is calling us from inside this cave.  We hear it - we know it.  We enter with sword slashing, but rather than the dragon, we find the parts of ourselves we have pushed aside as not worthy to be seen - even by ourselves.  They have held our pain but also our joy, and so much of what makes each of us a gift of God within ourselves. And now, rather than being frightened, we feel overwhelming understanding and compassion for ourselves.  It is then we see the inner sanctum of this cave, bright white light emanates from its opening, and we are filled with love and a feeling of oneness.  We are drawn inside.  It is indescribably beautiful, and we know we are finally home.  We have found our true divine selves.  sue

 

 

 

 

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Comment by Patricia Ann Rice-Savage on February 23, 2011 at 9:28am

Sue, the last part of my response to your lovely spiritual account got vaporized---but I imagine you get the picture. Anyway I hope so because I cannot remember precisely what else I wrote. I was in "the moment" as they say. I think it got a little better toward the end, but who cares?

    Look forward to more of your writing. Your buddy in love & light. Pat

Comment by Patricia Ann Rice-Savage on February 22, 2011 at 10:46am

Sue,

   At your suggestion I explored 'Blogs' and finally came upon your very beautifully written account of your soul-seeking and your discovery of self, and more importantly that tender acceptance of what you found. We all have damaged souls, I believe, or we would not be here in this lifetime. This gift of life is one of God's mercies that he keeps providing us opportunities to face & acknowledge every iota of the selves we are sometimes horrified to behold in its baser incarnations. You have been a diligent seeker and have pushed beyond those fears that assail us as we journey into deeper, darker places to face our humanity in all its complexities---confronting the facets of ourselves that we hardly recognize because they are sometimes so ugly and terrifying. I love your allegory of being the cave surrounded by lush foliage to attract all things wonderful to yourself, but feeling that cold lurking fear about the contents of your cave that would repel the less compassionate if they would ever be permitted to glimpse it. 

   For me it's the classic struggle between good and evil. God created both that we may exercise our will and choose what parts of ourselves we want to nurture and which parts we wish to wither by not giving energy to them. And they are lessons for me about, as you said, compassion. Because I know that being part of the Universal Connection with our Creator provides us with unique insight to understand how others, whose acts of violence may be abhorrent to us, are truly connected to us still. We all possess the duality of the good/evil equation. It's all about which side we choose to manipulate and embrace that determines how society views us. I sense the majority are like you and me and so many of our friends---we have opted to cultivate our higher selves. We are compelled to 'raise' our loving, contented, ambitious, generous, God-seeking 'seeds' on the rich soil of self-awareness. That soil is composed of layers of rotting

Comment by Alexa on February 20, 2011 at 10:34pm

so grateful you are here. thank you for your posts.

so timely, your words and awareness, the energy that you are bringing. and at this momentous time. the world is transforming before our eyes, democracies being birthed left and right it seems and just at the cusp of 2012. so much going on within and without.

and your words here, expressing what so many of us, my self included, have been and are experiencing. such a wonderful time to come together. and share. as we are all figuring out, but clearly not alone, how do I make the next steps in my own awakening. and can I let go of the old programming now, the rest of it, and bring it into the the self-acceptance and compassion of which you speak. just wonderful. there is so much here I can relate to. from morning pages & Pema to the rest of it. and it is so beautifully said and helpful to know I (we) are not alone in this process. something big is happening. thanks Sue. xxo

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