Ah intensity! Coin of the realm for the soul.
The pure power of an experience that makes a brief moment seem like
days of adventure taking months to understand, complete contact with our
own essence carries the most awesome intensity. Small wonder that few ever
have such experience.
All the attributes of sainthood, whatever the author of the ideals they
represent, reflect the absence of fear of intensity. Perhaps sainthood
is the mastery of such fear.
What is sanity, but the certainty that we can risk a greater intensity
to our experience than we normally have? Without that sane certainty, we
lose it entirely, don't we? We are more attractive to others when we already
have a lover. We are more free with our money when we know we have enough
to meet our needs. In living consciously we discover that events which
are more intense than what we consider "normal" become more manageable
and less deserving of our fear. In fact, we can discover that the intensity
of what we think of as negative experience even leads to more intense experiences
of joy and ecstasy. Sounds pretty sane to me!
I suppose I should define conscious living. For me, it is a commitment
to growing awareness in each moment. Nice and succinct, right? I emphasize
commitment because conscious living is not a static thing. It is a process,
with some pretty wild swings at times. We must grow into our consciousness.
It is much too vast to spring forth full blown into 3-dimensional reality.
So, with each incremental expansion into more complete awareness, we accept
more energy into our consciousness, greater charge, more intensity. We
become more alive. YeeHaw! We cannot, however, try to deny our intense
experiences which we call "negative" without closing ourselves
also to the joyous flip side of that coin.
Energy is energy, matter how we define our perception of it. If we open
ourselves to what we think of as pain, instead or struggling to make it
stop, we learn to allow a commensurate amount of joy. We can also learn
that pain is a definition and not an objective “fact.”
Try a little experiment. Catch yourself with a reasonably small source
of pain sometime soon. You know it will happen eventually, right? Instead
of responding to it reactively by quashing the experience or medicating
right away, go into it. Relax around it and promise yourself there are
rewards for letting it wash over you. Observe it carefully and allow it
to pass through you in waves. It is fear that makes you want to tense up
around it, isn't it? Listen to the message the pain carries to you. Don't
try to tell it what to be, just listen. When the message finally does get
through, it ceases to be pain, doesn't it? Cool, huh?
The sweet mixture of pleasure and pain that we are familiar with from
orgasm exists in all experience. Only the proportions vary. Still, beneath
the energy flow of distortions we call pain, lies the joy of pure movement
which we can experience if we choose to. Though each instance will be unique,
there is a sense of surfing the waves of energy manifested as pain. Flow
along with them and find the pleasure in the release of pain and return
of health in each breaking wave.
Obviously this takes some practice. However, it is a very effective
way to return to health. Most often we accomplish this act unconsciously.
Our higher self knows how to do this, after all. If we throw ourselves
with full awareness into the act, it will take place even faster.
“Pretty words.” I can hear you thinking. OK, I'll offer an example.
One day in the weightroom (bet you haven't heard that opener often),
I was working up a good lather and probably looking pretty beat up. The
loudspeaker system began to play a piece of music which cast a hugely sad
shadow, so pertinent to my life circumstances at the time. The song evoked
images of my own emotional pain and the waves brought the flow of tears
down my sweat drenched face. In a room of wet, groaning, grimacing people,
my visage went unnoticed so I didn't bother to hide it. I just sat there
holding a pulley and let it rain. Weeping in public makes it a much more
intense experience for me and I abandoned myself to it fully while I strained
at the weight attached to the pulley. For the first time, led by a poetic
expression of profound sadness, I discovered that beneath the surface of
strong emotion runs a deep current of joy. I could sense these opposing
(?) forces concurrently, weeping and rejoicing simultaneously. I was a
complete schizo! Of course, no one noticed so my secret was safe for a
I found all this fascinating. I began looking under each wave of sadness
and grief for the current of joy. My life circumstances have provided sufficient
fodder for despair, so I've been able to practice this new skill. I have
indeed found that my greatest moments of bliss (many outlined in these
pages) have arisen from my experiences of despondency. Each plunge into
intense experience has brought both joy and pain in alternating waves.
The more I allow the full awareness of pain, be it physical or emotional,
the larger is the joy which accompanies it on its own wave. Makes it hard
sometimes not to manufacture pain in order to reap the reward. But that
would be sick, right? On the other hand, the only way past the pain is
I am coming to trust that my life provides for my needs (or those of
my soul at least). I am learning to have faith that the needs of the soul
are really more important to me then the trivia I have been taught to value.
It seems to me that this burgeoning trust is aligning me with a more divine
will. It allows me to embrace my painful experiences with faith that I
won't get more than I can bear. This is my weapon against fear: acceptance.
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