As many people follow their spiritual paths, they often find a moment or several moments in their past where things went wrong. There was a traumatic event. There was a fork in the road. And you took the path that led you away from yourself. It happens. There is no blame or shame in this, but in returning to yourself and to your power, the path of healing will take you back to those moments with all the sensations, emotions, and memories that are stored in them. Healing will take you back to where it all went wrong so that you can heal it and start again.
The Path of Blamelessness
One of the most important things that happens on the spiritual path is healing, and healing requires us to let go of any need or tendency to blame. We cannot blame others. We cannot blame ourselves. There is no reason to point a loaded gun full of blame and anger at ourselves or anyone else. Now, we do hold people accountable. This is important. We are not creating a new path based on a kind of rose-colored glasses ignorance. Rather, we see and acknowledge the things that we did, how we hurt ourselves, hurt others, or were hurt by others. We see them and say, “Yes. This happened. It hurt.”
Do you see how neutral that is? Any more emotional charge, and we start getting upset. And it is perfectly okay to feel upset emotions, but we are not here to recycle and reuse old pain and memory beyond our need to feel and release. The release part is critical, and for releasing a pain or trauma, laying no blame on anyone is important so that we can begin to move towards forgiveness for ourselves and others.
Unearthing Painful Memories and Trauma
Sometimes, we already know what these moments are where we went off the course that we wanted to follow. I will pause to say that in this world we can make mistakes and go astray. In your heart, you know this. At the highest level in what I call higher truth (Higher Truth Vs. Truth of the Moment), there are no mistakes. But you know if you ran away from a loving partner when you should have stayed. You know when you shut down your heart completely because you were afraid of getting hurt. You know when you stopped speaking your truth because you were tired of being told that you were wrong. You know when you tired down a dream job because you didn’t feel worthy or deserving of it. You know all of these things, and these are the mistakes to which I am referring. To address them, oftentimes, we go back in memory in sessions with healers and in our journals to see what happened. Then we diagram the effects of that decision and how it skewed our lives to go a certain direction. In seeing this, we can begin to see how we are still following that course. With this awareness, we can take action to return to the original course that we wanted to follow.
Yet, sometimes, trauma is hidden. It’s been blacked out of memory because it was too painful. If you have parts of your life where you can’t remember something, then I encourage you to continue meditating and seeking appropriate help as you feel guided to do so. You may have a sense of something bad and dark back there, but truly, darkness can only exist where we don’t point the light of awareness. This doesn’t mean that looking at it will be easy, fun, or pain-free. It only means that when you do, you can no begin to let it go and dissolve it.
The Need for External Support
As I have a very high regard for people who have had trauma and are on the spiritual path specifically for healing, I can’t emphasize enough how important external support can be. We have all the wisdom, love, and natural healing in us that we’ll ever need, but sometimes, the ego structure that we’re identified with is overly attached to the pain identity. External support from a psychologist, energy healer, somatic healer, spiritual teacher, and/or others can be extremely critical for helping a person open up to their innate healing. These people can also help hold space as things get messy and dark. My current favorite metaphor for this is imagining that you start pulling rocks out of the bottom of a clear lake; for awhile, everything gets really muddy and dark. But it will clear and settle.
For those with severe mental illness, this external support is even more critical. The mind is a delicate thing at times, and it should be appreciated that healing can need a lot of support and time, even though ultimately healing is timeless and always available. We simply have to learn to trust our processes in healing from whatever went wrong in our lives and have faith in the support with which we surround ourselves.
Righting the Ship & Sailing in a New Direction
It’s very rare that I talk to someone and after working together it doesn’t become readily apparent what the person wants to do or where she or he wants to go. Half of healing is with the ego, which doesn’t believe it can do any of the things it wants to. Usually underneath the complaints and excuses is a fear of safety. It’s a fear that by following the heart the person won’t be able to survive financially, socially (i.e. fear of losing social approval because of failure), or some other way. It’s amazing all the tricks we’ve learned to use to keep ourselves out of doing what we really want to do and convincing ourselves to stay miserable. Now, it is important to take calculated risks and formulate smart plans of action as we begin to move in a new direction. The mind is particularly good at doing such things, so let’s finally use it for what it was truly meant to do. But there is always an element of risk and a sense of taking a leap of faith. There’s no way around that. There’s no way to feel comfortable outside your comfort zone.
Before I get too far along though, I do encourage you to get out your journal and write down your ego tricks and excuses. Find out what your usual reasons are for not doing what you feel called to do or for feeling confused, overwhelmed, or doubting of what you’d like to do. The ego loves to use confusion. I can’t tell you how many times people tell me that they feel so confused or don’t know what they love to do. I rarely believe it, but I do encourage you to explore. It’s not as hard as you might think.
Digging Up the Whole Fear Root System
In gardening, if you don’t remove the whole root system for some weeds, they just grow back. Fear is that way too. That’s why I encouraged you to diagram how an event has influenced the whole of your life. You may be surprised to see that shutting down your heart didn’t just influence your romantic life, but it created friendships with other really cynical friends (whom you don’t really like). It also has you in a job you hate, but you work at it all the time, effectively minimizing any and all fun, leisure time. Quite simply, you may have no idea what love is at all.
This is a very humbling realization, which is why digging into the roots of fear is important. See where it has poisoned your life, and begin to think about how you’d like to heal it. Start to pay attention to what types of friends you really want to have in your life. Make space for leisure time, and find out what feels really fun, free, and joyful to do. Let these new seeds start to grow before quitting your job or leaving/starting a relationship. If you really feel like you have been off course your whole life, it is important to get back down to the root of things and slowly build back up from square one. This, too, may be very humbling, but with a firm foundation beneath you, it will be much easier to stay on the course of your heart.
The Long Slow Road Ahead
Patience becomes a vital part of the path now. If you’ve honestly done the work to find out where it all went wrong for you, it may take some time to grow the new seeds in your life. If you’ve had multiple large or small veers that have taken you off course, you may find that it takes awhile to hit bedrock. Keep rewinding the tape. Find everything that you’ve been hooked into and all the ways you perpetuate that pain in your life. You should not be in too big of a hurry to get anywhere. If you’ve carried this much pain for thirty or forty years of your life, a few years dedicated to healing may be in order. That requires patience, and even after the initial healing and releasing of an issue, patience is once again called up to move forward into life. Just know that you are worth it. Feeling healed and open and joyful is worth it. You only get this one life, and only you can know what road you want to follow. Be sure that you are choosing it and not simply staying the course because you are afraid of what went wrong or that something will go horribly wrong again. Because in that fear, you perpetuate that pain in your life again and again and again. There has been enough punishment in this world. It’s time to take a new road to something better.