Recently I conducted an experiment in conscious dying, where I took the length of time from when dad was diagnosed with 'that lung cancer' to the day he died, and asked myself the simple question: if I only had 104 days to live my life, how would I live it?
In the 104 days which followed, I faced some of my darkest fears: fear of dying, fear of living, fear of life itself. As the experiment deepened, I took life by the scruff of the neck and treated every breath as if it was my last. And when I reached the final day of the experiment, I said okay, and left. I didn't fuss about it - I had arrived at a place of acceptance and peace. I simply said my goodbyes and left my body.
A few weeks have now passed since the experiment ended, and I have been struggling: struggling to live in a body that I never left (because it was just an experiment); struggling to be in relationship; struggling with living from day to day. What this revealed to me is that all of us in some shape or form have an unconscious death urge, and are driven by a domineering unconscious thought system which wants to kill us.
No one is excused from this because it is part of the rules of living in a body, where supposedly we are born, we live for a few years, fill our lives with as much junk as we possibly can, and then die - unexpectedly, because you're not allowed to die: it's against the rules. The ego is all about self-preservation, and doesn't tell us what is going to happen to us, even though the signs are always there. We all know we're going to die really, but when it happens, there's a sense of having been betrayed by life, that this somehow wasn't supposed to happen to us.
So here I am, sat here with my beloved Elloa typing this blog for me (we're going to write a book together one day), because my computer has a virus, and in some ways this is an apt metaphor because the ego is like a piece of malware which attaches itself to our thinking and can be extremely pesky and very difficult to get rid of. This virus is the decision to forget, as our natural inheritance becomes buried in layers of guilt and shame. Fortunately we have at our disposal a superior antivirus in the form of the Holy Spirit. This is a term used in A Course In Miracles, which is otherwise known as the Voice for God, but it doesn't really matter what cultural, religious or ethical background you come from as long as you understand that fear breeds fear and love breeds love.
Forgetting and remembering is a moment to moment process which requires the discipline of hyper-vigilance, especially if we are to be fully alive. It mirrors life's cycles, the expansions and contractions that we all go through, the ebb and the flow.
When I speak about hyper-vigilance, I am talking about practicing the simple ability of catching a thought and with the help of Spirit, transforming it into something loving. This is the work we all have to undertake while we walk this planet in a body. Some days, it can be harsh as we unravel the layers of guilt and shame, but in my limited experience the results are well worth the effort involved.
One thing is certain: peace is a decision that I must make.
"Give up gladly everything that would stand in the way of your remembering because God is in your memory. His Voice will tell you that you are part of Him when you are willing to remember Him and know your reality again. Let nothing in this world delay your remembering of Him, for in this remembering is the knowledge of yourself." ACIM
Whatever pace you want to work at is really okay - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly - but you cannot change the curriculum: what is false is false, and what is true, is true. You can't have it both ways.
We all have core issues, and there is no escaping the lessons that we must eventually face. Otherwise, what is the point of being in a body? I don't care if I forget, as long as I eventually remember. That is the work; the work of remembering. Remembering that only the love is real. Remembering to stop and smell the flowers. Remembering to breathe! Remembering to laugh, to cry, to sing, to dance and remembering to say "Yes!" to life.
So here we go again. The journey continues; I'm back, ready to wear my heart on my sleeve and share my experiences with all you lovely people. After all, what else is there to do?
Walk with me awhile...