“Sounds of laughter, shades of life are ringing through my opened ears, inciting and inviting me. Limitless undying love, which shines around me like a million suns. It calls me on and on, across the universe…Jai Guru Deva. Om. Nothing’s gonna change my world. Nothing’s gonna change my world.”
~ The Beatles, “Across the Universe”
According to what I’ve read, John Lennon wrote “Across the Universe” after listening to a lengthy complaint from his first wife. The first line of the song, “Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup,” makes reference to her words running through his mind. He said that he left the bed and went downstairs to write, but rather than expressing his irritation, this song was given to him as pure inspiration.
We’re going to get into a conversation about allowing and controlling, and it is complex like so many subjects that take us inside. So to begin, I’ll just give a little disclaimer: I’m not talking about allowing misuse and abuse and I’m not talking about allowing your children to run rampant. As we think about the subject, and questions come up in your mind, I’d like you to keep in mind that some actions are truly injurious and others are perceived as injurious because they disagree with your opinion of how things should be.
Perhaps John Lennon’s wife had some opinions on how things should be, and how he should behave. Perhaps his growth came into conflict with her opinion. We watched John evolve, and what he became through his growth was quite beautiful. He changed and offered new information to us as he experienced life. His inner spirit more or less demanded it, and thankfully, he was in touch with that voice.
So, moving on, let’s see if you accept this statement: We are here to gather information through experience, and use that information to evolve and refine ourselves, so that when we leave life we will have fulfilled our purpose. If you accept this statement, and you speculate as to the purpose of your own life, your desire will be for the freedom to grow. It’s natural, and I’ll bet your heart expands just thinking about it. As you expand, you’ll become aware of impediments to that growth.
This quote from the metaphysical teacher Khris Krepcik provides a simple, yet profound foundation for our conversation:
When John Lennon wrote “Across the Universe,” I was living in Santa Barbara, California, where the New Age movement was thriving. The movement brought an expansion of consciousness and that appealed to me, but there were also things that caused me to reject it. It seemed a kind of superficially applied consciousness, i.e., I am light and love and there is no darkness within or without.
My response was, really? No darkness? Patterns keep repeating themselves, don’t they? It seems like even if I do put on the clothes of light and love, they’ll be dirty in a minute.
I began asking the big ‘why’ questions about impediments to my own growth and the darkness, pain and suffering in the world. How do we make some sense out of our repetitious experiences? How do we make sense out of ‘divine undying love’ coexisting with the injustice and suffering in this world? What is our responsibility toward self and others?
Help came from teachers who were walking ahead of me on the road and shining the light back. With their help, my thoughts, opinions, emotional reactions, fears, and shadow aspects came into focus. I became aware of the larger group conditioning I received as a white person, the smaller group conditioning I received as an inhabitant of Midwestern America, and my nuclear family childhood conditioning. I became aware, also, that all conditioning is nourished and reinforced by a system very much dedicated to controlling all of us.
Even within the grip of such extensive control, we still do harbor that instinct for escape. Is there anyone reading this who is not experienced with either being controlled, or controlling? When it’s done to you, you hate it. When you’re doing it, you don’t feel good about it, do you? Control is deadening. The same as any other confinement, it imprisons both the controlled and the controller.
The antidote is allowing, but for most of us just the thought of allowing can trigger fear, emotional churning, ego objections and guilt trips. That’s the effect of conditioning. Allowing is a spiritually sophisticated stance and it requires a breakdown of conditioning.
I remember being in a mall and watching a mother correct the behavior of her young daughter with the words, “Don’t do that; you’re hurting mommy’s feelings. Don’t hurt mommy.” Of course mommy was responsible for her own feelings, and the little girl had nothing to do with them. But the conditioning was going in: “When I don’t do what mommy says, I hurt mommy.” And there we have it—an emotionally controlled little girl is born, guilty whenever charged.
Claiming the freedom to gain your own information through experience and develop your own perspective in life is very challenging, but it can be done.
Every single bit of information that expands the heart, rings the truth bell, and feels like love, comes from a person who has dealt with their conditioning to some degree.
Negative energies are presented to us every day along with the words “…because I love you.” Clue: If it doesn’t feel like love, it probably isn’t. Religious rules and society’s norms are presented to us every day along with the words “…this is what’s right.” If it doesn’t feel right, well, could be that it isn’t. Governments’ laws and regulations are presented to us as “…for your protection.” Really? How about if I give that a think?
There is power in acceptance and love of life however it unfolds, however confining it may feel at the moment. So, love it even if you don’t like it. It’s your challenge, and challenges are informative. Go for the personal inner work of discovering what really ails you in order to become more human and less fearful of change.
Trust is a very important factor in allowing. Trust that you will be alright even if things don’t work out the way you hoped they might. Trust that the light within you will draw to you what you need for your growth. Trust that others will be alright, too, and they will grow, too. Steady on your feet now.
Let’s get in the flow with John one more time, and remember, we want to be one of those million suns!
“Pools of sorrow, waves of joy, are drifting through my opened mind, possessing and caressing me. Jai Guru Deva. Om. Nothing’s gonna change my world.”
Ida Lawrence is an author, blogger, copywriter and editor based in Atlanta, Georgia. She has authored two books on racial justice and human rights, and numerous articles on various subjects. Ida is also a certified Tai Chi instructor with a special interest in helping seniors and the disabled with Tai Chi and Chi Kung practices modified for their use. Her goal in life has been to find answers to the question of ‘why’ and then to explore the question of ‘what is’.
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Ed: Thandiwe Ogbonna & Brianna Bemel