Bringing our thoughts, feelings and beliefs into a state of harmony and authenticity is something we all strive to do isn’t it? There are lots of techniques, and we’re sure each of you has your favourite.
We engage in these practices, don’t we, because we observe that when what goes on in our minds and hearts is harmonious and authentic, this has a noticeable, improving effect on our circumstances and sense of wellbeing.
These practices work well for us most of the time. But what happens when the unknown bursts into our lives, leaving us with the feeling that none of the maps we have can show us the way any longer? What happens if we are suddenly plunged into a situation of such unbearable emotional or physical pain that we simply do not have the strength to use all our formerly trusted practices and beliefs? Where is the help for such people? Are they doomed?
Today, we are facing major uncertainty on a global scale. Humanity is eyeball to eyeball with the unknown, which is why we think it makes sense for us all to be asking these questions, and a still more pressing one: Does the beneficent power which animates the universe simply bring down even further those who have become bogged down in a surfeit of suffering? On the basis that, if they cannot generate the right thoughts and beliefs, then they are breaking ‘universal law’, so more suffering is the only possible outcome?
Having been in such a painful situation myself due to my continuing experience of cancer, Geoff and I have been thinking about this a lot lately, and we simply cannot believe that this is true. In reality, it is not a question of belief. Even while – in fact, especially while – the ground was being ripped away from under my feet, I experienced a knowing in my heart – a solidity firm as rock. And I observed that this solidity could not be shifted by anything, even all the pain and fear which I have to confess was, at times, completely unbearable.
After a lot of thought, because it’s so deeply personal, Geoff and I have decided to share with you how I experienced this ‘solidity’. Because maybe the memory of these words will be useful if ever you, too, find yourself cast adrift in the midst of a dark, stormy night of the soul. No one should feel alone and unguided in such a passage through the darkness, when the temptation is so great to give in to despair. And what I know now beyond any doubt at all is that no one is alone, however it may seem. Right through all the shrill voices of exhaustion and pain-induced fear and torment that seemed to completely engulf my conscious mind at times, I could still feel a strange and remarkable ‘solidity’ somewhere deep inside. In my calmer moments, it became a major quest to sink down into that solid feeling, and see what it wanted to say. Often, some magical words from the Bible that I had heard as a child would whisper themselves to me: ‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’ Isaiah 1:18.
What did this mean? Here is my attempt to put into words what that inner ‘solidness’ was saying to me: Know that whatever – in your mind, body or soul – separates you from the experience of perfect benevolence and joy – which is the underlying fabric of this universe – can be cleared away. It can be melted like snow in the sunshine, however threatening it may seem, however dire, however dreadful. Be absolutely assured that there exists a perfect plan for your life. And be comforted that Source, the universe, God, or whatever you want to call it, is not – at one extreme – some judgemental being that keeps scores and causes you to suffer for your errors so that you can ‘learn’ from your mistakes. And nor is it, at the other extreme, some mindless, automatically operating field that will simply manifest whatever your thoughts or feelings attract. It is benevolent, full of grace, accepts and holds you completely as you are, and wishes only perfect good for you. Wherever you stand, however far away from love you may judge yourself to be, you can observe that the universe does not judge you at all and – through synchronicity – it always finds and maps out the shortest route for you between the place where you stand now, wherever it is, and your perfect good.
Calm in the eye of the storm
Whatever storm was raging on the surface, I found I could not let go of this belief. In fact, it is not a belief at all; it is an observation, a knowing, a strength that cannot be uprooted whatever happens. Nothing at all, ever, can separate me from this love, or from the lifelines, the ‘golden threads’, that love constantly holds out to me. Even at times when the whole of my conscious attention was focused on the suffering I was experiencing (and remaining as authentic as possible to that, even if I couldn’t produce the slightest manifestation of anything resembling ‘harmony’!), I could still observe that inner solidity out of the corner of my eye, as it were. And even while my conscious mind was barking its head off with thoughts of fear, self-blame, anger, doubt, unfairness and a constant litany of if-only’s, another song entirely was being sung underneath it all, and its gentle music didn’t stop, even once. And that gentler song – outside my conscious control – was saying:
‘Look at how everything has been arranged so perfectly for you! Every step of your way has been guided, and will continue to be. Just notice the events and opportunities in your life as they come up, and you will see that this is so. Helping hands have been, and will be offered. All you need to do is take them when it feels right to you. You have reached the boundary of the known in your inner journey of exploration. Now you are being taken beyond that boundary, into the unknown, where all seems dark, where the lessons cannot be foreseen, and may even be quite the opposite of what you think. Your conscious mind cannot lead you through this part of this journey, though of course it may still follow. Only I can lead you here, and that is what I am doing. Trust me. You may not understand the story you are weaving at the moment, but you can accept it, in the certain knowledge that it is weaving threads of gold into the great tapestry of life that all human beings are creating together.’
The bottom line
Interestingly, we have several friends – including Jehanne Mehta whose powerfully awakening poems you’ll find on p.10 – who are also reporting experiences of being thrust into a space where all seems dark, and where – through a mire of doubt – they are having to find their own ‘light’, and their own certainty, from first principles. Sometimes our discoveries have helped other friends, and sometimes their discoveries have helped us, which is another reason why we felt it could be worthwhile to share our awareness of ‘inner solidity’ with you, too. So this, it seems to us, is the bottom line. It is a very real, very solid golden thread, one end of which is always anchored in you and will, if you hold onto it, lead you right out of the maze:
Wherever you may be, in whatever pit of hell, there still exists a lifeline from the heart of the universe that is connected directly with you (because actually, in your deepest essence, it is you). You may not have felt this lifeline yet, but we promise you it is there, and that you will be able to feel it too, if you try, especially at times when everything else is peeled away. And this lifeline will remain closer to you than your very breath, wherever you may be. Move about as you will, it will remain constant, drawing you towards itself by the shortest route, towards the heart of absolute goodwill and compassion. So don’t worry, trust that – whatever turmoil rages in your conscious mind – your inner connection with the heart of the universe has not ceased to speak to you, and is acting all the while to bring you the precise things you need. Becoming aware of this is not a conscious act, but more of a sense, like the sense of balance, a deep-down absolute sure-footedness you can rely on to be there, even when you are feeling most uncertain. And then the awareness will dawn that, seen from the standpoint of the eternal heart of the universe, all your choices are right choices, all your falterings are advantages, and you never did anything wrong. Know this, and be at peace. Your best is always good enough. And help – that tower of absolute inner strength – is always, always there for you.
With very much love,
Ann, Geoff and the Cygnus Team