I am very thankful for the earnestness of my drama lecturer, George Colson, who pushed me beyond my giggling self-consciousness to connect with a part of me I had never experienced before. I now know that even through something as mundane or routine as a drama exercise, our lives can be transformed.
It was something I had done many times before, listening to George Colson’s words urging us to tighten muscles then relax, breathe into our gut, and become the floor upon which we were lying. “Don’t pretend,” he repeated over and over again, “You must become.” It was my first introduction to meditation, although he never called it that. And as we melted into the floor he played music for our minds to summon images we could act out during the second time he played it; an individual exercise where we explored our own personal inner world.
On this particular day, the image that came to my mind was of a ladder descending from the sky. I began climbing it with a sense of urgency, wanting to reach the clouds. But when the second run through of the music got me to my feet to act this out, I reached out my hands to students near me. Simultaneously they took my hands and reached out to others until we had all joined hands and were moving to the music as one, in harmony.
That day something shifted deep within me. What I didn’t know at the time was that I had begun a journey of spiritual healing that would show me that we are all connected as one, and that it was my inability to forgive that created separation and pain and loss in my life.
Several years later, after experiencing a severe crisis which taught me that I needed to return love for bitterness, an exercise in A Course in Miracles directed me to look at different objects and say, “I see nothing as it is now.” Quickly I became frustrated and crossly said out loud, “What is it I am supposed to see?” A few days later, when I was walking through a park, trees and buildings began to bow towards me, pulsating the word, “Love…love…love.” Tears rolled down my cheeks. I knew for certain then that ‘reality’ is love.
But the exercise wasn’t finished with me, for a few days later I was at the helm of a yacht, guiding it along a waterway bordered by mangroves and high rise buildings. Again I experienced their pulsating message, only this time the word I heard was “Peace…peace…peace…” And I knew for certain that ‘reality’ is love and peace. Again I felt a shift within me as the softness of empathy and compassion for those who had hurt me began creeping into my heart.
Several more years passed and another painful situation arose which mirrored something that happened in my childhood. Distressed, I went for a walk and wandered into a park where the wind carried a fragrant combination of scents from a small wood, inviting me follow a path that meandered within it. To my surprise I found a solitary bench seat, and sat down as if I was about to watch a movie.
The wind played gently with the leaves. Birds sang a chorus to accompany the rustling. The sun coaxed out the scents from each tree and the wind carried them to me in wafting waves of sensual delight, which I sucked deeply into my lungs. Sunlight danced upon the leaves, highlighting some in a yellow spotlight while making others so transparent I could see the delicate patterns of their veins. Within shaded areas the texture of bark came to life in relief. Ivy threaded its way around trunks and hung from branches to sway like arms in the breeze. Words came to me. Reality is love and peace. I remembered George Colson who said over and over again, “Don’t pretend, become!” I walked to a tree and sat down with my back against its trunk and closed my eyes. “Become,” he urged, “Become…” I relaxed into the tree until I became it, and the tree became me.
And then I could feel that there was love and peace within everything and everyone – even enfolded within trauma as a gift for us to find.
It seems strangely foreign to me today that I once believed I was an island. But an island is surrounded by water, cut off and alone. I also once believed I was a rock. But a rock cannot move, it cannot grow, it cannot feel love or joy or pain or sorrow. Although the energy of the universe is locked within it, people know nothing of its life energy. And neither does the rock.
But I no longer believe these things, for I allowed myself to move, to grow, to experience love and joy and pain and sorrow. Now I feel life’s energy of love and peace within me and know that it is what I am and that is what connects me with others and all of life.
Each time I choose to be at peace with the people and experiences that enter my life, I feel the warmth of love flow in my heart and I feel very happy and content. And when we each have that, is there really any need to prove anything? Does it really matter if the sun revolves around the earth or not; if the world is round or flat; or if there is no ‘big-bang’ theory that set a course for us to evolve to our present state of being? Maybe our world is simply a giant playground of the gods where we can learn what love is by first learning through wars and greed and bitterness, what love is not.
Love can be found everywhere with hearts opened by forgiveness, empathy and compassion. This is the reward of a journey into the soul.
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