I fell into a spiritual trap recently—for the hundredth time. In my quest for enlightenment, I somehow got the idea that I have to be perfect. Perfectly non-judgmental, always forgiving, and never showing a trace of anger, fear or sadness. After all, we spiritual seekers know this world is an illusion, and if we’re reacting to it we’re not awake.
But, as usual, I had it all backwards. An old friend of mine recently viciously betrayed me with severe consequences at this earthly level. Doing forgiveness work has tremendously decreased my reactivity and allowed me to awaken some more. I didn’t fall into hating him, and I moved through the trauma relatively quickly, while in the past I would have ended up on antidepressants.
However, the trap I fell into was judging myself for grieving. I shut off the tears and intellectualized my feelings. “I know on the soul level he loves me and did this to help me with enlightenment. We’re still together in truth, on the soul level, so it’s all ok. I shouldn’t be feeling this way because I’m just buying into the dream, the story, the illusion.”
Yes, the truth is that it’s already healed because it never really happened, since this life’s a dream. This betrayal is just a passing story and we love each other deeply. Most of the time I do feel this peace. Most of the time I get it. But at other times it just plain hurts like hell. I miss my friend, feel grief-stricken that he hates me, and get afraid that I have to wait until after death to reunite and heal this situation.
How harshly we judge ourselves for having human emotions! I finally climbed out of the trap by crying and letting the tears be there without comment. There are so many references in A Course in Miracles that indicate that when we are sad, afraid or angry that we are mistaken and caught in the dream. This can feel like we are denied permission to have emotions, and then we heap guilt upon ourselves for having them.
We need to forgive ourselves for still having feelings, because only by accepting and loving ourselves as we are do we get to the other side where there is no sorrow. We will never get to truth by condemning ourselves for how we feel or for how long it’s taking to get over our issues. Our Self, with a capital “S,” loves our small ego self without judgment, and by receiving this love, we remember our Self.
Where are you judging your feelings, saying, “I shouldn’t feel this way.”? What issue do you get mad at yourself for still having? Can you just forgive and love yourself for where you’re at?
--Course students, if you know of any verses that seem to give us permission to feel, would you pass them on to me? The Course speaks often of non-duality, the pure Truth level where there’s only joy, peace and love. Thus, it can seem like we’re being chided for feeling bad. That’s not the intent of the Course, but the ego loves to use Truth to bash us when we’re down.
Love and Light,