I recently finished reading Gary Zukav’s book, The Seat of the Soul.
Though we usually choose what to read, I felt chosen by this book.
After going through several kinds of difficult experiences in the last decade and feeling like I was at the receiving end of these circumstances, I wanted to change my story and choose better.
I saw that my unhealthy preoccupation with negative experiences was inviting depression, anxiety and other such unhealthy manifestations into my life. It felt like something at my very core was out of sync with the life I wanted to live. I needed not the healing targeted at my symptoms but a thorough cleansing. And perhaps new eyes—because what I was seeing didn’t feel right.
So I stepped back to examine the beliefs and premises that made me labeled certain experiences as “negative” and me as the “victim.” That’s how I stumbled upon The Seat of the Soul. As I flipped through the pages and turned around the narrative of my experiences, I had this epiphany about relationships, particularly the kind we choose not by birth, like friendships and partnerships.
It struck me like a lightening bolt, the realization that love is an evolutionary process centered around unearthing and celebrating our true self, and relationships are the mirror that reflect our self back to us.
When we surrender our truth to the lover or friend, he reflects the light and shadow we hold within and we do the same for them. This way, we have the opportunity to reflect and understand ourselves better.
This requires a sacred approach while connecting with the other, who can be a friend or a partner or kin. It also requires accountability, authenticity and aspiration to communicate our story, to be seen for who we really are and to be acknowledged for that. Acceptance is thus a by-product, and not the goal of interactions that may or may not bloom into a relationship, whether the connection lasts a day or a lifetime.
That’s why time isn’t a measure of the strength of connection that transpires between two people, intention and mutuality are.
Once we begin to strive for growth—personal and mutual, instead of approval or acceptance in relationships—we will see how all of them are gifts. We will acknowledge the perfection of these relationship processes in revealing our true self to us.
I can see how I never was a victim, nor did any of my relationship fail me in the truest sense. They brought up in me the aspects that needed witnessing and healing. They made me contemplate better ways of expressing myself and expanding my boundaries. They educated me about what safety and security feels like and how i can refuse to be disrespected or abused.
They incited in me a true fascination for myself that made me committed to understanding my “Self,” not just the personality that expresses, but the spirit within that is the essence of these expressions.
I realized my personality wasn’t aligned with my soul, which is precisely what was causing the confusion and illusion of suffering. I will call it “illusion” of suffering because with this shift in understanding, most of my grudges and victim narratives have dissolved.
I feel that once we commit to knowing and understanding our self, loneliness is replaced by soulful solitude and we stop seeking intimacy to distract ourselves from our failures and frustrations.
We have to be willing to meet our own self, truly and intimately, warts and moles, to be able to experience soul-deep intimacy with another. We have to “metabolize” our feelings and listen to what they are telling us without judgment. We can then choose the most loving response that comes to us in that moment (as Gary Zukav elucidates in The Seat of the Soul).
This is the way forward into knowing better and choosing better with consciousness.
Of course we might still be shallow and strive to stay superficial, but we can’t because “what we resist, persists” and life will keep repeating the lesson until we learn it. It’s demanding to sit in the gallows with a maimed or complaining self, but if we refuse this, we will never know what joy, depth and transformation we missed because we couldn’t be purposeful and disciplined.
Author: Anushree Bose
Image: Author’s Own; Pixabay
Editor: Catherine Monkman