Everything but love is suffering. -M. Catherine Thomas
A few years ago I attended a Neonatal Resuscitation Program workshop. One of the things we spent a lot of time talking about is verbal first-aid. When a mother and baby have experienced a resuscitation, it is generally a very traumatic experience. The first thing we were taught to do after the resuscitation is over is to say out loud to the baby (because even neonates are people) and mother: “That was a lot. But it’s over. It’s over. I know that was so hard, but it’s over. You’re safe.”
I wish I could say those words to all of you now, but I can’t. Unfortunately, for many who are in pain as a result of the past year of election trauma, it feels like the worst has only just begun. I want to acknowledge those valid feelings. I want to acknowledge that in a year that felt like wave after wave after wave of hate, yesterday felt like a tsunami. People on all sides have contributed to that tsunami. Humanity is shaken to the core. Our collective souls are carrying a heaviness unlike anything many of us have personally experienced before.
So, while I can’t tell you, “It’s over,” what I can tell you is, “I hear you.”
Last night, as I processed so many mixed emotions, these words fell into my mind: “Look for your blinders.” We all have them. A lifetime of subconscious programming alters our perceptions, skews our understanding of what is real. Last night I was able to recognize what some of my own blinders are. I saw how my blinders had contributed to my feelings of heaviness. I saw that filling in the gaps in my field of vision helped lift some of the weight of that heaviness. I suppose we could call this “making space for the paradox.” I use paradox in multiple senses of the word, but this metaphor seems especially pertinent:
This is called a paradox—two ideas or concepts that are both true but in general can’t be true at the same time. Now, I realize by definition blue and yellow are not paradoxical, but they are on opposite sides of the color wheel, one warm and one cool*. And they’re helpful in explaining how you can have two contradictory ideas or concepts that can lead to a transcendent concept that eliminates the apparent contradiction (Source).
The author of this statement experienced a profound loss that significantly altered her perception of life. She described it as going from a world of blue to a world of yellow–a world that looked completely different from the world she had previously known. As she worked to find her way in this new reality, she came to the following place of peace:
So I started to create a space within myself where blue and yellow could exist together inside of me. At first this was very uncomfortable. But then something amazing happened. I realized the Master gave me blue and yellow because He wanted me to experience something more. He wanted me to see green. And I did.
In the end, she said, God was in the green. For us, perhaps, we could say God is in the purple. The place where paradoxical beliefs can come together and co-exist. The place where an elephant and a donkey can tell each other about their families, heartaches, fears, and hopes and fill in the gaps in their perceptions of reality. Before we can see green (or purple), we first have to make space in our hearts for the paradox to exist, for the possibility that we aren’t seeing all of the spectrum as accurately as we once assumed we were.
This takes work. It is easier, by far, to insist that your perception of reality is the right one. It is uncomfortable and painstaking to make space for someone else’s reality. But God is in the green. Or, rather, perhaps God is the prism that can make space for the scattered light from every shade of color, hold space for all of them to coexist, and with love as the alchemy, turn a storm into a rainbow.
We are now in what some refer to as the Aquarian Age. This is just another name for what has been called “The Last Days.” Yogi Bhajan taught that during the Aquarian Age, many people would fall apart and experience what he called “cold depression.” The transition to the Aquarian Age has been happening for a while, but the changes are accelerating:
Cold Depression is the dismantling of the Ego and is part of the process of becoming fully conscious. The Ego is angry that it does not have the same impact on reality as before – all the usual tricks no longer work. When the Ego loses power in this way – it wants to destroy. Have you noticed how movies, video games, television shows – other media images are becoming more and more violent and shocking? These are the last ditch efforts of the Ego for power and control (Source).
The ancient defenses of our human nervous system will accelerate. We will fight, withdraw, and fantasize more. Some of us will attempt to diffuse the impact of the flood of information with harmful adaptations like drug use and violence. Electronic technology will only bring us more information, more choices, more contacts, and more complexity. It will push us beyond all the old frontiers of identity home, neighborhood, country, values, and the natural rhythms of nature. Our old touchstones for forming an identity will fail, and we will have a pervasive identity crisis (Source).
This is an age of paradox–more global and more individual. with fewer boundaries and more demand for political separations. Everything is faster and we have less time. We need far more love and unity, for we have more fear and tremendous insecurity (Source).
This transition can feel very terrifying, but it is all good. The Aquarian Age, as painful as it can be, is the purifying of all of our souls that will usher in a millennium of peace. Yogi Bhajan taught that the following “5 Sutras” would help sustain humanity as we make this transition:
The age of the ego is in the throes of death, but something much greater is ours if we seek it.
For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. . . . And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. . . . The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord (Isaiah 65:17-25).”
Today I am grateful for the conflicts and pain and frustration we find ourselves in. I am grateful for all of the people in my human family who disagree with me. I am grateful for the mirror held up by those I might call “enemies.” Byron Katie is right:
The people we most need are the people we’re living with now. Again and again, they will show us the truth we don’t want to see, until we see it. [They] will continue to press every button that we have, until we realize what it is that we don’t want to know about ourselves yet” (Loving What Is).
I’ll close with this probing question from one of my favorite thinkers, M. Catherine Thomas:
Who knows but that the people in our lives are there precisely to provoke this very realization, this very ordering of priorities, whether to yield to the Carnal Mind or to press on to Zion and all that lies beyond?“
Some Meditations that May Be Helpful
* [Actually, blue and orange are on opposite sides of the color wheel, but I still like the metaphor.]