Each tragedy offers an opportunity to move beyond our own shadow
Dare I say it has been a difficult week? So many challenging circumstances arising in many lives.
One such is the suicide/death of Robin Williams. So much has been said this week in praise of his unique, creative genius, his enormous loving nature, kindness and generosity as well as his profound struggles.
His life and death have triggered many voices to bring greater awareness to a myriad of issues: depression, addiction, suicide, Parkinson’s, as well as the struggle of living the contrast of being plugged into high intensity energy followed by the disconnect that sends one into a dark abyss. Many facets of these issues have had a glaring light shone on them this week and hopefully will be explored to the benefit of others. In addition to these important issues, there some subtler questions that may emerge for those who are embracing their life experience as a means for conscious spiritual development. These same questions can apply to the grief around loss of a person, place or situation as well as to the reactions to the inhumanity, cruelty and violence that erupts in our world.
Depression/Addiction There have been many responses to these topics this week, some helpful, some not so much. Two questions that arose for me were “How do we listen to each other so we are heard? How do we express our own truth maintaining enough safety to risk the vulnerability to connect and ask for what we need?” Depression and addiction appear in many forms and circumstances. My experience may be a bridge to our shared humanity, an opening into dialogue, but it does not mean I know all about your experience. Learning how to be present, to hear and understand another clearly—not through our filters or projections— requires willingness, knowledge and practice.
Being clear within ourselves, knowing how to maintain our limits and boundaries in a way that allows vulnerability, connection and expression of our deepest truth as we know it in the moment requires the same.
Grief and Loss
Grief has many faces. It is tempting to jump on the bandwagon of the intellect as a way of avoiding painful emotion. Looking for meaning too early can become a form of spiritual bypass that does not contribute to living more honestly for the heart.
Asking questions such as,” What comes up for me in the face of loss? How do I relate to those feelings?: , can help us connect more deeply and lovingly with ourselves, process grief appropriately and move on.
Asking “How do I relate to grief and what may lie beneath it?” is a challenging question that may require sitting in a well of silence learning to be present without resistance to discomfort long enough to become informed from the inside out.
The question “What is needed to process this grief and other emotions that may be triggered by it?” connects us more profoundly with ourselves and leads to greater meaning than any to be had through the commonplace platitudes so often offered.
Facing these deeper spaces is difficult but ultimately helps to bring us more in touch with our authentic nature. Within that space resides a depth and breadth of love, compassion and kindness for us that then can ripple out to others.
There have been many well deserved, beautiful tributes to Robin Williams this week. In addition, there has been much written about the meaning, the whys, the questions regarding his motives, motivation and experience. What I am struck with is the variety of spins put on all of it as if anyone can really know. We don’t and can’t truly know about some things. Often interpretations and opinions tell us more about the inner world of the person writing or speaking than about the subject spoken about. Knowledge is power in some ways, but there is also much we don’t know and perhaps cannot while in a human bio bodysuit. There is a part of us that perhaps believes if we know intellectually then we will be safe, in control, and protected.
To let ourselves sit in not knowing is hard. But it is in that sitting that we come into contact with deeper knowing and truths that really can provide us with what we are looking for. This requires a lot of courage, being the spiritual warrior and facing a lot that we would prefer to avoid.
What we can know is ourselves…turning from explanations and interpretations to our responses. This puts us on a path where we can learn and grow into greater freedom and truth through cultivating our own spirit and soul and live our lives in a more genuinely expanded loving and meaningful way.