What Remains

What Remains

Remains of Autumn by Hedera Baltica
Remains of Autumn by Hedera Baltica

I’ve written before about healing everything. However, it’s important to recognize that, just because we don’t like something in ourselves, doesn’t mean it’s a fault or something to heal. It may just be something to accept.

What is unresolved shows up as events in life (karma) and our reactivity. Sometimes those events are designed to trigger us to help heal. And sometimes are simply to rebalance life.

How we respond to such events is more important than the events themselves. And by response, I largely mean emotionally. The more conscious we are and the more willing we are to feel what is arising determines if we resolve it or cycle it around to come back again later. Our resistance can even add to the charge that arose.

Sometimes, healing is just feeling the charge and thus resolving the vasana; completing the experience. Sometimes, the issue is many-layered because of previous cycles of resisting and suppression. So it will come up several times in a series. If we can heal whatever arises, we’ll get to the bottom and a more intense contraction can be released. Then it’s done.

However, we may find parts of ourselves becoming conscious that don’t “heal.” Perhaps we see faults or deficiencies and expect they’re a sign of the unresolved. Yet when we become conscious of them, we don’t find a charge or emotion to resolve other than our reaction to them. They can be the laws of nature we came with. Here, it’s not about healing but acceptance.

We also may need to learn to direct those tendencies in healthy ways. For example, an analytic tendency can find fault and judge everything wrong. Or it can be used to distinguish truth from falsehood. We can channel a tendency to be pushy or want it our way into leadership. And so on.

I don’t suggest you apply these principles early on the path. Most of us have lots of emotional healing to do before we find things that don’t resolve. The examples above are more typically symptoms of ego trying to control. We have to be well past that to recognize the distinction between natural tendencies and identification.

Yet directing our tendencies into healthier channels is good. Life is to be enjoyed. Healing our resistance makes this much easier.

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    1. Hi Sharon
      His comments are clear but he emphasizes control and only briefly notes the importance of first culturing some value of witness.

      Unless we have some value of an observer established, we’re still in the thoughts so its very difficult to choose anything else. We can get into internal battles and judgements about our thoughts. That’s not helpful.

      However, with a bit of detachment, we take a step back and discover we have some choice. We can entertain what is arising or see it as processing and purification and just let it go. As we get better, stronger thoughts can be allowed as we’re not caught in them. And then when they ease, we can favour the positive, like gratitude.

      We want to be very careful about trying to control our thoughts. This idea can strengthen the ego’s feeling of control. We can get into resisting aspects of our experience which the Yoga Sutra tells us is the way to suffering.

      It’s a subtle point, but key in awakening. Favouring the positive but not resisting any aspect of experience. This creates an environment conducive to healing and opening. Then Self can see itself…

  1. Kerri Heffernan

    Thank you David. I was wondering about this as it is something I’ve witnessed and was curious as to why I wasn’t feeling or experiencing any trigger. Leaning into acceptance for me seems harder than feeling and releasing the trigger. I will work on this. Thank you.

    1. Hi Kerri
      Yes, acceptance of our apparent shortcomings can be deeply challenging. We’ve often grown up being told it was a weakness, what made us “not good enough”, or similar. And yet it’s part of what gives us our specific perspective of the world and steers us into our dharma. It’s also valuable to have some humility. 🙂

    1. Yes, Sharon, it’s so easy for the ego to get in there and turn techniques into effort and new ways of resisting. This is how right understanding is lost repeatedly through the ages and enlightenment becomes hard to reach.

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