Ending the War


It seems sometimes that we have a wholly unrealistic view of life. We have been led to believe in worldly success, happiness--the good life--however each one of us might interpret it. “If you work hard you’ll eventually make it,” we tell ourselves and indeed some small few do achieve success in the world’s view.

In the world of the emotions, however, the story is very different. In terms of feelings--the emotional pool in which we all swim--we have a much more level playing field. Here there is no success but personal growth and self-mastery. And to succeed we have to fail.

Although that sounds like a contradiction in terms, think about it for a moment. It is only by making errors that we learn. If we get things right first time it either means that we already knew the correct action to take or we succeeded by chance. In neither case does learning play much of a role. To learn deeply is to learn form our own mistakes. Whereas in the material world we can pick and choose, to a certain extent, what we do, focusing, for instance, on doing what we are good at, in the emotional world we all have to cope with the hand we are dealt and with what comes our way. It often seems providential to us but I have no doubt that it is organized carefully by our angels to allow us the chance to experience the many feelings that are at the core of life.

We live in a country that has built into its most fundamental of documents the concept that the pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right of all its citizens. And the right to happiness is, of course, an emotional issue. America was the first nation in the world to formally acknowledge that the inner life--the life of feelings--was vital to the quality of its citizens. Because of the nature of monarchal autocracy, the aristocracy of the Old World scarcely cared about the happiness of its subjects--it wouldn’t have even occurred to them.

So, we have these two great currents running through our lives: our striving for material success, for money or fame or an acknowledgement of our creative brilliance and on the other hand we have the world of our loves and loathings; all the emotional blemishes we have picked up; the shames and guilts, the secret pleasures, the lies we tell ourselves, the abuses we’ve suffered, the losses, the psychic weight of the abuses we have committed, all are jostling for some sort of recognition.

In this land of feelings it is only illumination that can reveal the truth. For illumination to occur the error or failure has to be seen and owned before it can be dissolved. This is reflected in the material world (“we can learn from our mistakes...”) but is all too often obscured or covered up because we have placed such a high premium on success.

In the emotional world the process of illumination, and thus release, can be considerably more painful. Unlike the material world, total honesty with oneself is needed. And therefore, great courage. Almost every severe emotional imbalance in our personalities can be traced back to an event in childhood, often not of our own making. Taking this inner journey and tracing the origins of trauma can be seen as the true business of life. It requires us to see our failures and mistakes with honesty as we move back to the event which precipitated the pain. It is a sacred journey, perhaps even the equivalent to finding the Holy Grail.

The illumination, too, when it comes, is sacred, falling over us like grace when we have seen and accepted the truth. And, God knows, the truth does indeed set us free.

This path has always been known to saints and shamans alike. It used to be called the removal of demons because these emotional traumas sit and fester within our emotional bodies becoming, in time, the quasi-life forms known as fear-impacted thoughtforms. Any reading of occult literature will speak of these entities. It is these thoughtforms that, if not dealt with on the subtle levels, will ultimately solidify in our physical bodies into the tumors and cancers to which our flesh is prone. While being cruel and despotic by nature, negative thoughtforms such as these fortunately have no spiritual energy and can therefore be dissolved by the Spirit. That is why, in some extreme cases, exorcism can work.

We all have our fear-impacted thoughtforms, this world is a rough old place. Some are more seriously ingrained than others. They tend to raise their heads when our defenses become weak; when a love affair falls apart, when we lose a job or when someone close to us dies or we have another dreadful loss in our lives. The impact of the events on September 11th. have filled the psychiatrists waiting rooms with people who have no real idea why the effect on them has been so disturbing. While in charge of the country we have men and women for whom the inner life most probably means an evening of television with a bag of pretzels.

However, it is when these disasters occur, either in our personal lives or in the public sphere, that it is exactly the time to act, to confront the fears and doubts, the guilts and the source of shame; to follow the emotional turbulence back to its source, often to find that it stems from the simple misunderstanding of an immature mind trying to make sense of an unpleasant reality.

This is the path that leads to spiritual growth and peace of mind. It is not an easy path and we are tested along the way to see if we have truly understood the lessons. We need the upsets and disappointments, the disillusionments and tragedies of life on this planet in order to grow in spirit. We can either greet them with equanimity--true peace of mind--or we will be pulled down in the emotional undertow, fighting the reality of our pain and fear.

When we cease to be at war with ourselves, we will no longer need war and violence in our lives.


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© 2002 Timothy Wyllie


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