And then … there always seems to be an And Then. That’s Life’s play, what is called ‘leela’ in the ancient Indian teachings. So here is my And Then:
I moved into a place of shock. I hadn’t seen these things coming. There was a sense of disbelief that this could be happening, and a curious feeling of being broadsided by these events. Life became something that happened TO me, instead of being a joyful experience that I was part of and that I was. In this shift – the quintessential experience of being ‘thrown out of Paradise’ – the sense of oneness with Life is lost and separation happens. Now there is ‘me’ and there is Life, no longer the same, and a subtle or not so subtle sense of conflict or struggle with Life arises. Fear about what else is going to happen and about how bad things could get, replaces the trust that is able relax into the present moment without having to worry about the future. And then we can cycle more and more deeply into our habitual stories about Life, about this or that person or institution, about how we or others were wronged or hurt … and off we go turning in the hamster wheel of interminable thoughts and suffering.
I’m describing this shift in detail because I know that we’re all prone to this experience. It can happen in an instant, to any of us. There is a good reason why the story of the fall from Paradise is in the Bible. It just needs to be understood as a symbolic story that points to this very human affliction of losing our connection with Life and divine Light and Love. When we see clearly how this happens, we can stay aware of it happening. And if we’re able to bring the light of consciousness to it, we’re not caught in it in the same way.
So at some level, to come back to my own experience, I was aware of this happening, but at the same time the experience of losing trust was obviously needed so that an old pattern of grief and withdrawal from Life could be healed and freed.
One of the likely reasons for the failure of the implant was a low-level inflammation that persisted even after the implant had been taken out. I focused in on this physical expression of dis-ease, and I also sought out help from a colleague who did a beautiful and powerful reiki session with me. There were waves of sadness that came up and moved through, an age-old sadness that felt like it had always been with me from the moment I was born. A sadness about loss and about the inevitable decay and death that are part of the physical world. There was also a subtle withdrawal from Life that came with it, a sense that Life couldn’t be trusted and that I had to protect myself by not fully engaging with it. This was not the first time I felt this emotional ‘knot’ of sadness and withdrawal. In fact, it has been a theme throughout my life. It looks like the release of it is ongoing, and deeper and deeper layers are freed through life circumstances that invite such healing. It looks like this is part of my version of the fall from Paradise – and also part of my version of the heroine’s journey into the darkness of the underworld of unconscious pain and suffering, to use another potent story that points to this human experience.
As human beings, we live in a profoundly divided world of light and dark, good and bad, joy and sorrow. As we embrace this divine play of leela – this moving into and out of these extremes and everything in between – there can also be a profound peace with it. The peace is with both movements: the loss of Paradise as well as the regaining of it, the journey into the underworld as well as the journey back into the light. Just as we can lose Paradise in an instant, we can regain it in an instant of becoming aware. Just as we can move into the dark underworld of suffering, we can move out of it by allowing its alchemical process to take us back into the light. As we do so, there also arises a sense of innocence and wholeness about it all: it’s nothing to do with who we are, it’s just how it all plays out.
Collectively, the human psyche has accumulated profound suffering over its lifetime of many thousands of years on this planet – what Eckhart Tolle calls the pain body. But it is also in a strong movement out of this underworld and back into Paradise. It is through each and every one of us that the pain body is healed and that consciousness dawns. We are all contributing to this collective return to Paradise, and the more consciously we do so, the more we know ourselves to be this divine play. We can play along peacefully and joyfully, weaving in and out of darkness, in and out of the light. And over time, as we do so, more and more light pervades the experience of leela playing out through us.
So here is my wish for you: May you find peace with the unique play of leela in your life, and may the Light of consciousness and the Love that is its essence guide you through it ever more clearly; so that what needs healing is healed, what needs releasing is freed, and what wants to awaken more fully will come to light!
PS: If you live in the greater Montreal area, join me for a special meditation evening on the theme of 'Embracing the Darkness, Finding the Light', that will take place on Thursday, December 18th at 7pm. For more details CLICK HERE.