What I’ve discovered is that lightening up is a vital aspect of enlightenment.
Actually it seems to be the very definition of “enlightenment.”
When I feel heavy with worry and sadness I invariably find I have been taking myself way too seriously.
I have forgotten that wonderful line which has been attributed to Voltaire:
“God is like a comedian playing to a house that won’t laugh.”
This thought is worth considering.
Maybe things aren’t what they seem!
Maybe things aren’t a matter of “life or death.”
The frenzy we get into with this state of mind is often such a habit that we don’t even realize how hard we are hanging on—to fear.
Of course we get concerned about those we love, the state of our health, our possessions or our reputation. These all seem such a part of our identity. And we might think we will die if we lost any of these things. Or we wish we could when something we value leaves us.
The basic problem is that ever formed thing, even ideas, are impermanent. All that we cling to and identify with is impermanent.
And whatever we identify with is a something we have to carry with us everywhere we go. This load gets heavy!
Anything (or anyone) we hang onto keeps us from freedom.
Clinging is a habit we get into. It is the opposite of lightening up. We drag worry, sadness and fear of loss around with us.
So how do we lighten up?
First step begins by noticing how heavy the weight is on our shoulders and backs. This is our baggage. It wears us down.
Second step is when we begin inquiring into our motives for hanging on.
What do we think we need in order to live? What or who is our Source?
Jesus has said, “You are the light of the world. Don’t hide your light under a bushel; let it shine forth and give light to others.”
Living in the dark is not really sustainable. Even the Dark Ages eventually passed.
I have found it fascinating to understand that light always casts a shadow—at least on this earth. And this is where we live.
The sun casts a shadow except the one moment it is directly overhead. All the remaining moments there is a shadow.
That’s a lot of shadow.
Dr. Carl Jung coined the term “shadow” representing that in us which we wish to hide, that which contradicts who we believe we are, and contains our denials.
He also said the shadow was 90% gold!
If you had a mine that was 90% gold, I don’t think you’d be reading this blog. You’d be out mining it.
It has been helpful for me to remember that shadow and darkness are not evil or bad in any sense of the world. They are informative.
Darkness is meant to slow us down so that we won’t run into things and hurt ourselves. When it’s dark we need to pay more attention. And eventually our eyes adjust and we are able to see more.
We can learn to laugh at how tenaciously we hang onto our view of any situation.
Norman Lear (writer and producer of many TV comedies) knew well the ability of humor to bring about change. Humor can lighten up even the most embarrassing and difficult social and political positions situations. We get so invested in our opinions!
These comedies brought laughter into many homes, and anger into others.
Sometimes we’re just not ready to lighten up.
It has been observed that people would usually rather live in hell than face the unknown.
Who would we be without our stories of past traumas and hurts?
Lightening up releases rigid views by noticing how tightly we are holding on. No shame; we simply notice.
Speaking the truth to ourselves creates a spaciousness that allows solutions to arise.
I have discovered that as I speak the deepest and truest words I know, and share them with at least one other person who really listens, a big shift takes place in me. And eventually I can even find the humor in the situation.
Truth really is Light.
And this Light holds us, sustains us, recreates us and gives us a place to stand from which we can proceed.
We discover that our suffering comes from hiding things we have been ashamed or frightened of.
As we open our hearts and speak our truth we find a healing energy that enlivens.
We can get sick alone. But we can only heal together.
So, I invite you to lighten up. I invite you to join the human family where we all have an abundance of embarrassing and shameful memories.
For we all feel the sense of failure at times. When we stop hiding it from each other, or mindlessly acting it out, our world will spin more peacefully!
My wish for you is that you find a safe and trusted place so that you can shed your burdens with a trusted community, a therapist or spiritual counselor. We need to find our common ground.
You can start by telling yourself exactly how you feel by noticing the sensations in your body. Your body carries all your emotions and memories.
Tell yourself the things you have tried to ignore or repress. And as you speak hold yourself with tenderness and compassion. This is vital!
Keep holding the little child within you and let her/him know you will never leave him/her. And keep that agreement.
Speak kindly to that child within you that has always been doing its very best to make sense of life and to act accordingly. This isn’t easy without a manual of instruction.
And eventually you’ll begin to see how funny it is that we even want a manual.
As if we’d follow one!
In the Light,