I have been navigating some turbulent times. Difficult things are happening around me, an unexpected death, bad news for a friend related to a serious health diagnosis. Wonderful things are happening too, a new corporate client, the successful launch of The Engaged Space experiment with Barb Patterson. I am also being called to stretch beyond my comfort zone and present as an expert witness in a deposition. It feels like a lot.
I know my internal experience comes from inside of me. I understand that my feeling state is created from my own thoughts in each moment and is not a result of the events and circumstances in my life, and even though I know this, it sure looks to me like my feelings of grief are related to death, my feelings of sadness are related to the doctor’s bad news, and my feelings of being overwhelmed are related to working harder and having more on my plate.
So how is a spiritual understanding helpful to me at this time, when I can’t really see it and it doesn’t stop me from having my human emotional experience? I asked myself, when I found myself in an intense crying jag with dark thoughts feeling like they were enveloping me, “What use is a spiritual understanding to me now when I feel like this?”
What I saw was that even in the depth of my low mood state, I had some perspective. Understanding that I have thoughts and feelings, but they are not who I am, was helpful in a practical way. Knowing that all of who I am is not just my moment-to-moment experience was reassuring. I felt an inkling of the constancy behind the turbulence. I could see that my emotional intensity was not the full picture. I knew there was a background of wellbeing holding me even though I couldn’t feel it, and I knew my feelings would pass. This helped me to relate to my emotional experience more lightly. I did not get concerned about myself the way I would have in the past. I used to wonder what was wrong with me. I thought my mood dropping low was a problem that needed to be fixed rather than something that was normal and would naturally course correct.
Understanding that all of human experience comes from the same source of formless, infinite potential that each one of us is connected to helps me to see all of my emotional range and experience as an expression of my true self, no matter what form it takes. It is all part of my health. I can trust that my emotional experience is unfolding for me rather than an aberration I need to fix or manage. I have less fear and more trust in the innate intelligence behind life, the energy unfolding through me, so I am less concerned with how I am doing, how I feel, or if I like my experience or not.
The resulting freedom is what makes the difference. It is comforting to know I am okay independent of how I feel. This is the foundation of how practical and useful a spiritual understanding is for me. Knowing I am both human and divine allows me to have a more compassionate and lighthearted approach to my human experience, especially when it is intense. This allows me to experience more resilience, an ability to bounce back from difficult life events and challenging internal emotional experiences, than before.
This resilience does not require that I constantly work on it or focus on it. The knowing is what is important. Once I see it and experience it, I can’t unsee it. The understanding simply becomes more pervasive and takes root so it becomes clearer in every area of life.
Once the spiritual context is experienced, everything is seen through that lens, and life itself becomes a spiritual practice with our inner wisdom as the guide.
All spiritual traditions point to look within for the answers. They point us to looking beyond our personal thinking to a deeper knowing that is greater than our individual self. Even neuroscience and quantum physics is looking in the same direction when attempting to understand consciousness. For those interested in a scientific exploration of non-local mind, here is a link to an article A New Theory of Consciousness: The Mind exists as a Field Connected to the Brain by Tara MacIsaac in the Epoch Times.
There is no one-way to connect or experience this knowing inside of us. Many religions and spiritual teachings say what they offer is “the” way, but as I see it is there is no way needed, because it is simply who we are. Every single one of us experiences on a daily basis this state of non-local mind. Our spiritual nature is commonplace and ordinary. We do not need to earn it, work toward it, or be given special information to access it. It is who we are. It is us. There is no escaping it. We simply get to wake up to seeing it more clearly and recognizing its gifts more fully.
The moments when we experience awe, the moments when we have nothing on our mind, the moments before we drift off to sleep, the moments when we get an inspiration out of the blue, when we feel content, when we feel in flow, when we feel open hearted, when we feel gratitude, these are all normal occurrences of experiencing our soul, of experiencing our expanded self, beyond the conditioned personal thinking and getting a glimpse, or a feeling, of the expansiveness of who we are.
We all have daily soul moments. I used to not see them. They were in the background while I was busy focusing on my moments of discontent and personal limitation. Even when I had a more profound experience of my spiritual nature, I used that experience as evidence that I needed to work on myself and change so I could have more connection with the greater part of who I am. I kept trying to fix my human experience thinking it would take me closer to my spiritual nature.
Of course, you can’t fix something that is not broken. Rather than needing to fix myself, I simply needed to have a deeper understanding of both my human and my spiritual nature. It was from the spiritual teachings of Sydney Banks shared through many wise teachers that I found myself recognizing the perfection of all of who I am and embracing the gift of my human experience more fully.
Life events can be tragic and challenging, but who we are is never broken. We have the resource of our true nature that does not exist in the world of form. It cannot be comprehended by the intellect, but the deeper knowing of the resilience and wellbeing it provides can be felt. The formless source from which life comes and to which life returns is a source that is always available to us because it is us. We are local and nonlocal, form and formless. When we see this and experience this, it is easier to navigate the human experience more gracefully, with less suffering, and with a generosity of spirit.
Rohini Ross is co-founder of “The Rewilders.” Listen to her podcast, with her partner Angus Ross, Rewilding Love. They believe too many good relationships fall apart because couples give up thinking their relationship problems can’t be solved. In this season of the Rewilding Love Podcast, Rohini and Angus help a couple on the brink of divorce due to conflict. Angus and Rohini also co-facilitate private couples' intensives that rewild relationships back to their natural state of love. Rohini is also the author of the ebook Marriage, and she and Angus are co-founders of The 29-Day Rewilding Experience and The Rewilding Community. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more about her work and subscribe to her blog visit: TheRewilders.org.