“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
This week’s lesson in Art & Soul Reloaded by Pam Grout is to write an essay about what I believe. This is one assignment I was excited to do because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it is I know for sure. I stopped writing because the way I was writing about what I believe to be true seemed to be fake, intellectual nonsense. So I had to sit down and do some thinking about how to share my outlook on life without sounding sanctimonious. I’m going to begin with what I learned from my dad.
He was a lot like me, a very private person. But, when I asked him questions about the news and what was happening in the world, his answers were thought provoking. The 60s and 70s, when I was in school, were a bit like now. There was a great deal of unrest and many of the protests were violent. When I’d ask dad about that, he’d say that wounded people do things to make themselves feel better, but it doesn’t work like that. He didn’t say “What we put out we get back” that I remember, but eventually I understood that the real problems in the world are not external, they’re internal.
Most of us are not taught good coping skills. We aren’t taught how to love ourselves, or that there is plenty of everything to go around so we don’t need to fight for resources. It’s not our parents, family members or teacher’s fault, they’re just passing on what they learned and believe to be true. But what if they’re wrong? What if the infinite intelligent force that created everything sees us as perfect and completely lovable. Wow! That would change everything in our outer world.
It took me a long time to accept this understanding after lots of soul searching and study. I’m finally learning to forgive myself for all the silly and stupid mistakes I’ve made in my relationships over the years.
Throughout my life I’ve had many spiritual experiences that have helped shape my current belief system. The most profound of these insights has been each time I’ve felt my connection to everything that exists.
I think it was Carl Sagan who said that we are all made of star stuff. When I heard that, I knew it was true because when I was a teenager I lay on the ground one night looking up at the vastness of the night sky with all the stars and my heart opened. It felt like the edges of my body were melting away and I was part of the ground, the air, the trees, the grass, the stars, my boyfriend beside me, the other campers in their cabins, the animals in the woods. The sensation lasted for only a moment, but it was profound and changed the way I saw myself and my place in the universe.
Another time I was riding in a car watching people walking down the street and that same feeling came over me, that somehow I had an invisible connection to everyone and everything on the planet. It brings tears to my eyes to remember that and to know that when others hurt, I’m hurt. When good things happen for other people, I get to feel a little bit of that joy too. It’s also sobering to realize that when I hurt others, I’m not only hurting them but myself and everyone else on the planet and the opposite is also true. Understanding that has made me take responsibility for my thoughts and actions.
Knowing all that helps me be more conscious of what I say and do, but I still fall into the trap of getting angry, calling someone an idiot and thinking they are the one who needs to change. Just yesterday I was driving to teach one of my classes and there were some really creative drivers on the road Someone pulled in front of me when I was traveling at fifty-five miles an hour, with not much space to put on the breaks. I was yelling that them, and nearly leaned on the horn. It didn’t feel good and I knew I was sending out nasty energy and that wasn’t helping me or anyone else. That energy wasn’t changing the situation in any way.
The truth is, my growth and everyone else’s is a process. The human race has been growing in understanding since we became the human race and that process will continue until it’s time for something else to happen. I know that I’m just one little drop of water in the big ocean, but every drop is important. Which means, I’ve got to keep working on cleaning up and letting go of all the errors in my thinking and feeling. I’m going to do that because something in my heart keeps urging me to do so when I wake up in the morning, when I meditate, when I sit to write, when I teach, when I read books, watch movies, and look at great art. I never know when I’ll feel the inspiration to keep going. It might be when I see someone doing something nice for someone else. But it’s there and I don’t want to stop working on myself.
What I believe is that every human being is inherently good, we just don’t know that yet. At least not all of us. Maybe more people are waking up to that fact, and that’s why this time the unrest feels different than when I was growing up. For one thing, the protesters are less violent and more dedicated to finding solutions to our problems. That feels good to me. I’m excited to see what happens over the next months and years.
Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it very much.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.