I just returned from a wonderful two-week trip to Cape Town, South Africa. It is nine hours from Denver to London, a nine-hour layover in London, and then an eleven-hour flight to Cape Town. And then the same thing in reverse on the way home.
I have been nursing my back through some spasms and this kind of travel certainly tests it. While in Cape Town, a gifted therapist, Meryl Abrahams, assisted me. She practices kinesiology. It was interesting to see her approach. In her language, there were muscles that were turning off that needed to be reactivated. She had gentle, effective ways of reactivating them.
A weakness can develop in the bones, ligaments and muscles of the body that leads to a spasmodic back. Faced with that weakness, muscles can go into spasm so that the physical structure of the body doesn’t get further out of place. So the muscles don’t spasm for no reason. Nonetheless, it can be painful. Your muscles seem to be giving you the message “Don’t move.” They are attempting to be helpful and protect the body from damage. But they aren’t actually functioning as they’re meant to function.
To get back to health, there has to be some stretching of those muscles, a re-patterning of their function and also a strengthening so that the muscles aren’t worried that things are going to go out of place.
I’ve tried all kinds of things to address this. I have a dear friend, Dr. Jane Anetrini, who’s a wonderful chiropractor and has been very helpful in bringing things back into balance. And I have found that Thai massage is a very effective way of helping with these issues. What’s really empowering is that the most effective remedies are things I can do myself—stretching and exercising.
I’ve come to see that back spasms are a metaphor for what happens at other levels of our human experience. Just as there are muscles whose proper function may be “turned off,” there are creative dynamics in our psyche that get turned off. There are muscles that adopt a protective function and cease to power our mobility, and a similar phenomenon can occur to us spiritually. It is very understandable that this happens for us as human beings. There is trauma in our human experience that can set off these protective mechanisms so that the dynamics within us that are meant for creativity end up getting used for protection in a way that’s ultimately unnatural and not healthy for us. We have to find a way to turn those mechanisms back on to achieve a creative dynamic.
So what comes up in consciousness that turns off our creativity? And what switches it back on?
There are two primary creative dynamics involved. The first is the ability to surrender. Not to surrender to all the ill forces in the world around us but to surrender to the source of love and power and truth within us; to surrender to the only thing we can surrender to that empowers us and doesn’t enslave us, which is the creative source within us.
One of the things that gets mixed up in the human experience is the way we protect ourselves with our strength. We need to have some protection to live in the world as it is, but when we take that ability to protect our heart and turn it towards the very source of our own truth and power, we become under-nourished spiritually. We lose our ability to be soft internally, and then we become soft to the things around us that disempower us.
Personally, I deliberately expose myself to experiences that crack open the protective layers of my heart so that it can be warmed and nourished, uplifted and inspired by the spiritual source that lies deep within it. Experiences of deep communion and worship with others are a vital part of that for me. My heart cracks open in the presence of truth, sacredness and profound beauty shared by others. So I not only seek out those experiences; I create the opportunity for them. I conspire with friends to offer that experience to others.
Softness in this way opens the door for the courage to act powerfully in our world. It gives us the spiritual nourishment and inspiration to bring what we have to bring to the world and to endure in bringing it over time. This softness releases the spasmodic protective grip that a person sometimes has over their own heart and allows them to use their strength for the creativity for which it was designed. It allows them to live a spiritually healthy life.
To turn on these two powerful creative dynamics—the ability to become soft on the inside and the courage to act powerfully and creatively in our world—a person has to consciously deal with the factors in their own psyche that have turned them off. They have to face the negative messages in their own heart and mind that are part of their own personal disempowerment mechanism.
With the assistance of Keahi Ewa, I led Becoming a Sun: 7 Steps to Embrace Your Personal Destiny at the Gate House Spiritual Centre in Cape Town. This is a workshop that is designed to activate the creative dynamics within a person that let them lead a fulfilling life. Exercise after exercise gave the participants the opportunity to take dynamics, which may have been dormant and trapped in some kind of unhealthy protective reaction, and set them free. Participants received positive messages that empower heart and mind, and they created positive messages for themselves. The result was remarkable! Deep love! Peace in the heart! Vigor and enthusiasm!
So I recommend the workshop to you if you have the opportunity to participate. The next session will be May 9–13, 2016, at Sunrise Ranch. Yet, as significant as the workshop might be for a person, that is only one specific opportunity out of all the opportunities we have to address negative messages that we may have unthinkingly embraced. Here are some examples of those negatives.
I just read an article on global warming by Foster Gamble. He was making the argument that the belief in global warming is being promulgated to disempower people and nations. Whether or not that is true, it is interesting to reflect on the impact of the belief in global warming on the psyche of humanity. The dire consequences of it, and the idea that it is already too late to do anything about it, can easily lead to a sense of fatalism and a belief that there is nothing the individual can do to fulfill their own personal destiny or to change the destiny of the world in light of these dire predictions. For a previous generation, the threat of nuclear war had the similar effect of chilling any sense of hope and optimism. So many end up thinking, The world is headed for destruction no matter what I do.
It is easy to see how disempowering the doom and gloom of global warming can be in the mass psyche. Whatever the facts are—and there is an Inconvenient Truth to face, as Al Gore put it—why should the individual react to the facts in a way that disempowers them?
Where I just visited in South Africa I listened to politically astute people with a growing concern for the corruption of the ANC, which controls the national government. As in Zimbabwe and other countries in Africa, political leaders seem to be taking actions that serve themselves and not their country and the people of it. And in so doing, they are betraying the future of a nation. To accomplish this, they have been blaming the plight of the average citizen on the white population, even though the ANC has been the controlling party in South Africa since 1994. Some believe that the country is headed for social unrest and economic decline for several decades; to a time beyond the lifetime of some of my friends in South Africa.
I have compassion for people in South Africa who are facing the destiny of their nation and their own role in it. But still, as difficult as such things may be, do they have to define a person’s own life? And does it help to let such issues turn off the creative dynamic within oneself as an individual?
White men and women of South Africa also have to deal with the South African version of what we in America call “affirmative action.” When more than two people are applying for a job, the most qualified person may not be hired. In this form of reverse discrimination, white men are the last to be hired, followed by white women.
I know that if I was living in South Africa and desiring to be part of the workforce, I would have to face huge feelings of discouragement. And it seems so unfair, despite the fact that white-on-black discrimination was so rampant in the apartheid era. But nonetheless, I know, for me, I would be determined not to have my own creative juice switched off, not to fall prey to disillusionment and disappointment and a sense of impossibility. Somehow, wherever I am, I want to be continually surrendering and opening and softening to the source of wisdom and power within me, and I want to be creating. And if I get paid for it, great! But I have something to bring to the world and I’m not taking my cues from some government, from other people or from society at large. And if there are things in me that have switched off, I want to switch them back on. I want to live an empowered life, a fulfilled life. I want to do what I came here to do. I have a gift to bring to the world, and I believe we all do. We can’t bring that gift if we’re taking our cues from the world around us.
When we’re soft on the inside, we are taking our cues from the source of our own wisdom and power; from the Creator within us. We become a creator ourselves.
I’ve touched a reality within me that has faith in who I am as a human being and has faith in the gift that I have to bring to the world—a reality that empowers me in any circumstance to bring those gifts. I believe that’s true for each one of us. But we all need to activate that function that is, like Meryl, asking How have I allowed my creative spirit to get switched off? When did I stop loving? When did I stop creating? When did I stop expressing the creative juice of who I am? When did I stop believing that who I am and what I have to bring to this world matters? Finding the places that are switched off in me, I can switch them back on. Any of us could do that.
This process involves the emotional body and the subconscious mind, which house the negative messages we have absorbed. So it can feel very emotional and dramatic when we address the creative dynamics that have become switched off and we switch them on. It can feel cathartic. It can feel agonizing and it can feel like ecstasy.
However it feels, the healing process is not about the drama of it. The healing process is the awakening of our creativity. That is the point! However it feels. It’s not the drama of the process of healing that is the goal of the process, even though there is drama in the process. It feels cathartic for us when we open up and we change. And there’s something to be enjoyed in that catharsis so that we can be in process and we can let it happen. In the end, it’s not about the drama, and if we make it about the drama we’ll probably get stuck in the process and not come out the other side.
Coming out the other side, it’s our creative function that flourishes. That’s living a happy and fulfilling life. We’re switched on. We find that we have a creative power that governments can’t throttle. Whatever laws they pass, it’s not going to change the creative power that we have to bring. So often, people think that power belongs to somebody else in some position of power, whether it’s governmental or corporate, financial, religious or scientific, and they forget that there are instruments of power that we all have, inherent within us, as human beings.
I’ve learned that this is the message of what happened at the end of apartheid. There was a power at work in the country that was bigger than governmental power, and a miracle happened because that larger power was working through people. If it could happen then in that circumstance, it could happen now with anyone. We could release the spasmodic, protective grip we have around our own survival and switch on the instruments of creative power that are innate to us in our primal spirituality.
In the Easter story, Jesus is put on trial, and he’s accused of starting a rebellion in Palestine, which didn’t make the Romans happy. When questioned by Pilate, the Roman governor, Jesus makes this statement:
My kingdom is not of this world.
Avoiding the layers of religious belief surrounding Jesus, here is a truth that is relevant to us today. My kingdom is not of this world. It could manifest through a worldly government or organization or anything else. But it’s not of those things. My kingdom, my creativity, my sovereignty as a human being, is not of this world.
We each have the opportunity to embrace this truth for ourselves personally, so that we know, wherever we are, our kingdom is not of this world. The power I have isn’t dependent on all this that’s around me. My power is from within myself. The very pattern of Creation is in me. The pattern of what a human being is—what a man is—is within me. I can embrace that pattern and let it come through me. I can have a profound impact in the world. I can be a positive, uplifting, creative influence on the people around me. I have that power. I have the power to bring healing to the people in my life: to my family, to my community, to my nation.
This work of switching on our own creative potential is part of a worldwide movement that’s not of this world, describable as building a sun. We are building a sun, a constellation of people throughout the world who are awake spiritually and empowered, and bringing the light of who they are into the world. In our courage, we are acting in harmony with friends around the world. A person who is truly spiritually awake finds themselves together with all other spiritually awake people around the world.
The kingdoms of this world would prefer we not know that, and become distracted with all the disempowering messages that are present in our world. But what we know in our primal spirituality is that, beyond any political slogan, the power is with the people. It always has been. It’s just been turned off. And we’re switching it back on.
As John Lennon said, I hope one day you’ll join us, and the world will be as one. It is good to share this one Reality with you and to know that anytime I am awake spiritually and you are awake, we are together. We are building a sun.