Another thing that comes up for me at the holidays is sadness over loved ones who have died or moved far away. I particularly miss my brother Jeff, who died of AIDS at age 35 in 1990. In the past I used to try to stuff such feelings with food, overspending, or overwork. Now I ask Spirit to help me relax around my grief, and let myself feel it, offering it to the Heart of Love as I weep.
Spent last Sunday morning giving a little talk at the Celebration, a spiritual congregation in Santa Fe. I told them about some spiritual experiences that I had last fall. Those of you who are interested in this sort of thing might enjoy giving my talk a listen. Of course, being a Pisces, I got choked up with emotion several times.
I have always been afraid of the dark. When I was a boy in rural Connecticut, I used to lie awake at night, listening to our old house creak around me, watching shadows creep up the walls of my room and across the ceiling. I was afraid to go down into our cellar, where the washer, dryer, and Mother’s canned goods were kept, because there was a back room, seldom lit, that opened on a cavernous passageway so thick with darkness you could see no farther than a few yards into it.
If you have lived all your life in the city, you may not appreciate just how dark rural nights can be. Outdoors, night transformed our friendly open fields and woods into thick dense shadow, particularly when the moon was on the wane. Affable nocturnal cricket-chirp and brightly lathered starshine mitigated my outdoor night-fears somewhat, but I still feared the gaping open mouth of our barn, and watching horror movies on our black-and-white T.V. didn’t help matters. The shows that scared me were ludicrously tame by modern standards: Invaders From Mars, Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, the British horror series Way Out, every episode of which ended in maniacal laughter. Nonetheless, afterwards, upstairs in my dark bed, I would clutch my stuffed animals and my mother’s rosary to me as though my life depended upon their protection.
Bathrooms, too, scared me at night, particularly bathrooms with the doors shut. So did bathtubs with the shower curtains drawn.
I know why, of course. In the dark, the familiar turns alien, just as when people the child depends upon for security and solace suddenly and without apparent warning show unexpectedly strange, severe, or malignant sides to their personalities. My alcoholic, emotionally disturbed mother’s sudden personality-shifts, my older brother Manfred’s sudden, sneering, verbal and physical attacks from nowhere, my parents’ unpredictable fights, all these terrors I projected onto the Enemy Out There Somewhere, unforeseeable in the dark.
I am 63 years old now, and I wish I could say I am no longer fearful of shadows. After all, I have spent a good part of my adulthood examining my own shadow material, as the psychologists call it, and I have had moments where visions of Divine Love have made all shadows flee away. But still they return. And one thing I know: I must learn to make friends with the dark if I am to someday face my inevitable death with equanimity. For as much as I preach that death is the doorway into Light, my inner child fears otherwise. And we ignore our inner children to our peril.
— Copyright 2014 Rand B. Lee.
- Get a job. If you can’t find one, make one up and go for it. If you can’t do this, volunteer. Volunteering often leads to paid jobs.
- Work your butt off. That is, throw yourself completely and enthusiastically into whatever you are doing.
- Rest frequently. Even a 5 minute eyes-closed phone-turned-off door-locked DO NOT DISTURB rest can refresh and heal you like nobody’s business.
- Cultivate your friendships. Gardens and friendships both require feeding, watering, weeding, and (occasionally) hard pruning in order to stay healthy.
- Don’t blame others for your mistakes. On the other hand, don’t blame yourself for your mistakes, either. Simply accept that you are human, and have made a mistake, and resolve to learn from it so your pain is not repeated.
- Notice, and release, “us-them” thinking wherever possible.
- Don’t despair. It’s the nature of reality to change frequently, and there are no last chances for happiness even on your deathbed.
- Cultivate gratitude. However resentfully and reluctantly, make a conscious daily effort to notice at least one blessing in your life.
- Make a sincere effort, then release the need to control the results.
- Ask for what you really want, not what you think you can get.
- Make the most of the opportunities you have instead of wasting energy wishing you had better ones.
- Keep looking for better ones.
- Don’t lie, even when they do.
- Don’t sign anything you don’t understand. Don’t be ashamed to ask for explanations.
- Try to do as good a job in the small things as you do in the large.
- Don’t criticize others behind their backs. If you can’t find something good to say, hum.
- If in doubt about what decision to make, consider putting off the decision for 3 minutes, 3 hours, 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months, or 3 years. By that time either the situation will have resolved itself, another opportunity will have arisen, or you will have been shown what to do.
- Keep your numbers. That is, keep track of how much money you earn and how much money you spend from day to day, so that at the end of the month you have a better idea of your spending patterns, and how to revise your budget in light of those patterns.
- Encourage the young, but don’t preach to them.
- When you make a mistake, ask, “What can I do differently next time?” The only failures are those who refuse to learn from failure.
- Exercise, however feebly. It soothes depression and sharpens the mind.
- Drink lots of water.
- Trust yourself.
- Don’t say “Yes” when you want to say “No”, and vice versa.
- Ask for help. Keep on asking as many sources as you can until you get that help you need.
- Don’t waste time worrying about your enemies. Divine Love and Truth will handle them if you let It, either by turning them into your friends or making their influence on your life irrelevant.
- Respect good teachers, but eschew guru-worship. No teacher or authority figure embodies Divine Love and Truth perfectly or completely.
- Relax. Tense muscles bruise easily, and so do tense minds and hearts.
When a child is born into physical reality, from a psychological perspective it has no hope or despair, for it is aware only of the present moment and the universe of itself. When a child “hopes for” something, it is not hope that one speaks of, but desire: craving, wish, longing, which all humans possess from inception. If it were not so–if the human infant did not feel and communicate its cravings–it might well die before its caregivers, or those around it, noticed it needed anything. The same is true of dogs and cats and other domestic animals. At birth they live in the present, and their internal lives are characterized by desire: for the warmth of the body of the caregiver; for the milk the caregiver provides, or other sustenance; and for the chance to exercise, play, and learn from their environment and peers.
Hope and despair become conscious emotions or experiences when the child reaches the age when its brain is sufficiently developed for it to be aware of the passage of time, and when it is able to distinguish between self and others. This may take place [by] the age of 8 in many cases. This is why little children were able to play even in concentration camps. Fatigue, exhaustion, and terror were all available to them, but not despair as such, although they could become afraid and depressed at the despair of the adults around them.
We mention these things because to understand hope one must understand that hope, like despair, arise when one achieves the maturity to sense boundaries to gratification and also the possibility of a positive or negative outcome in time. God, for instance, does not hope, because God is outside of time, and is complete in Itself, of Whom It considers you a particle. God knows that Love is Its nature in all parts of Itself, including you; and that on the divine level, Love is never defeated or denied. Therefore It need have no anxiety about the future or regret about the past. Amor vincit omnia: love conquers all resistance eventually. Eventually, everyone who has turned its back upon Love will be wooed back into Its arms (we speak figuratively of course).
What, then, is hope, and how does one attain and maintain an attitude of hope when one is beleaguered by unpleasant or discouraging circumstances?
On the Wheel of Creation, Mr Rand and Mr Alex’s template for manifestation in physical reality, hope is allied with belief. To increase belief (in positive outcome, in the eventual victory of Love over all resistance to It) one must look across the center of the Wheel, across the hub called Harmony of Desire, to the spoke opposite that of belief: the support spoke. Put simply, if you lack hope, it is because you lack a sense of support for your longed for condition or goal. To increase hope, therefore, it is necessary to increase one’s sense of support.
How does one do this, particularly when one is discouraged or depressed? . . . By seeking out those who share similar beliefs to your own: similar values, similar cultural backgrounds, similar mindsets, similar thought processes, similar interests and experiences. As support grows, so does belief that positive outcome is possible.
A basic principle in physical reality is that it is extremely difficult to find hope without interaction with other sentient beings. In short, it is very very difficult to climb out of despair alone, or in isolation (though not impossible if one has already developed a rich sense of Divine Love and a habit for dialoguing with It). Twelve Step recovery programs work in part because they offer addicted individuals the hope that, if they work the introspective and self-revelatory meditative exercises expressed in the Twelve Steps, and find a sponsor and attend regular meetings with others like themselves, they will find relief from addiction. For it is a fact that despair can become an addiction: a habituated pattern of emotional response to life that is driven not necessarily by present difficulties, dramatic though they may be, but by the brain having become so drenched in force, threat, and blame in the past that it cannot right the chemical imbalances created by such drenching.
To lift one’s brain out of despair-drenching, one must begin by accepting that one is trapped in despair with a desire to learn from the experience. Then one must begin asking questions: How did I get into my present situation? What actions or inactions did I perform, and what strategies did I use, to create or fall prey to my present difficulties? By coming to grips with the physical and psychological processes that led to the choices that have led to one’s force-threat-blame experiences, one then must begin inquiring into whether there are deeper forces at work—spiritual, intellectual, or evaluative patterns that are feeding into one’s despair. If one asks and keeps on asking for enlightenment on this issue, one will certainly be rewarded with an answer or answers. And the answer or answers discovered will contain within them clues as to how one may escape from, or work with, the present difficulty that has led one to give up hope.
When light begins to dawn, and one begins to see the reasons physical and spiritual behind one’s difficulties, one must then commit oneself to finding the path of Love through one’s difficulties. How can I learn to love myself given the choices I have made? How can I learn to love my enemies to the extent to which they will allow and without violating myself in the process? Taking these questions to one’s Greater Self, and to one’s support systems (friends, family, doctors, counselors, teachers and so forth), one will eventually come up with a plan of action the sole purpose of which is to find the most direct route to giving myself the solace, information, help and resources [I need] to change [my] difficult circumstance into one that is more life-affirming. For some persons (and some circumstances), science yields clues to the most direct route to harmony. For others, philosophy or religion; and for still others, the taking of practical physical action to find support for the next step in one’s strategy for self-rescue; or a combination of the utilizations of all these tools.
And we thank you for sharing. •
— Channeled 17 January 2014, 5:20pm MT, by Rand Lee. All rights reserved. Edited 23 January 2014.
Here’s to an awesome 2014 for each of you! I hope you’re staying warm – at least it isn’t -7°!!!
Our wonderful physic/Tarot expert Rand Lee has a lovely kickoff to 2014 planned for you. At 2pm on January 25 he’ll be discussing The Tarot of You: Understanding Your Multidimensional Nature. In the conference room at HIllside, the magical shop and tearoom on Old Las Vegas Hwy.
More info, please? Certainly!
Can’t come, but realize that a private session is just what you need? Call Rand at 505-469-9782.
There are more events planned for later in the Spring, but Rand wanted you to have a heads-up ASAP about this one. More information will be coming your way shortly.
Santa Fe, NM
A few days ago an act of casual, impulsive malice on my part caused a possibly irreparable rift between me and a dear, emotionally vulnerable friend. The impulse to hurt this person’s feelings did not come from the Devil; it came from a part of myself that I consistently refuse to acknowledge and give safe voice to, a part of me that some call the Shadow, others the Wounded Child, still others the Beast Within.
As an abuse and neglect survivor with PTSD, I prefer to think of myself as an abuse victim in recovery, not an abuser. And in general I do not go out of my way to hurt people. But my coping mechanism as a child in an alcoholic incestuous home was to be the Good Boy, which meant shoving under the surface all my unacceptable feelings and thoughts: jealousy of my mother’s preference for my baby brother; rage toward my father for his scary emotional aloofness and abandonment of me to the care of my pedophile mother; loathing of myself for my sensitivity, which my culture termed girlish—and bear in mind that in the gynephobic 1950’s, when I was a child, the worst thing one could say about a boy was that he acted like a girl. So as a child I became a compulsive eater, using sugar to shove my bad feelings down as deep as they would go. Later I became a compulsive self-castigator, criticizing my every thought and move, turning my anger upon myself because I could not feel safe expressing it toward those whom I felt had harmed me.
Needless to say, these tactics did not give me more than transitory relief from the storm inside me. It is a well-known metaphysical principle that if you wish to make a spell or sacred object more powerful, hide it out of sight. This is one of the reasons sacred objects are found buried all over the world, and sacred Paleolithic art, aimed at attracting game to the hunt and fertility to the community, was created in nearly inaccessible caves. Stuffing shadow with food or sex or overwork or gambling or alcohol or heroin or any other numbing substance or activity merely makes that shadow stronger, so that when it resurfaces, it does so with a power impossible to contain completely by an act of will alone.
I’ve done a lot of work with mentors and healers over the years. Through my Twelve Step programs I have opened successive chambers of my heart to Divine Love, and in my art therapy work with the Solace Crisis Intervention Clinic in Santa Fe I have taken major strides toward acknowledging the terror and pain of my inner self. But I can still be blindsided by my shadow, and in the case of my relationship to this dear friend, the unrequited sexual attraction I felt for my friend, my unconscious social and professional competition with my friend, and my growing emotional dependency upon my friend, changed to resentment when—and I am loath to admit this publicly—a series of tragedies in my friend’s family made my friend unavailable to me for much of the summer. So I posted several snarky and suggestive “jokes” on my friend’s webpage, despite the fact that my friend’s family (including a 12 year old niece) would have access to them; and I posted a comment on the webpage of a Meetup group my friend had organized suggesting edits to the website opening page that lessened recognition of my friend’s role as founder in the interest of “helping” the current facilitator of the group to achieve more public recognition (a recognition that worthy has never sought).
In deep grief and pain over the loss of beloved relatives, my friend—with uncharacteristic verbal and emotional violence—severed relationship with me. My friend had been under so much emotional pressure that finding my posts on the website was too much to bear with equanimity. So I, who hate to think that in me lies the potential to abuse others, have had to face the fact that under the right circumstances, my Shadow can arise and take control, suborning my empathy, muting my memory of shared kindnesses, and unleashing in me my repressed desires for revenge against my childhood caregivers. I have had to face the fact that, while I never intended to devastate my friend, I had intended to punish my friend a little bit for not meeting my infant needs—punish my friend just enough that my friend would pay more attention to me. I underestimated my friend’s emotional alertness and vulnerability.
Did I plan to hurt my friend, as my friend has accused me of doing? No. My posts were action of impulse, and I “forgot” or minimized the possible alienating effects of them as soon as I had made them. Am I responsible for the intensity of my friend’s grief and rage toward me? No. I had underestimated my friend’s vulnerability, and had had no inkling of the possibly far-reaching effects of my actions. But my shots, having been fired, cannot be taken back. They found their target. And the result has been disastrous.
However unintentioned the scope of the wound I have given my friend, and however intermixed with other wounds my friend carries from other betrayals and abuses, I have lost the privilege of our friendship. And I’m sorry. •