How to ACCEPT all of Your Self: Part 2 or 6
Your journey with developing the art of witnessing yourself, by trying to drop out of your mind into other states of awareness, has truly started if you completed exercise 7. I say “trying” as when we start this process of developing the connection to our witness it is always harder than we think.
Whoever thought that sitting silently could be so hard? I have been meditating for many years and at least once a week it still kicks me in the butt.
Besides the well know benefits of meditation: improved concentration and becoming more open and expansive, why do I keep going back to meditation and prayer? And why am I recommending meditation as a part of the Dare to Ask Journey?
You may have heard this Kelsey Grammer quote, “Prayer is when you talk to God. Meditation is when you listen.” I am of the belief that before we talk we should develop the art of deep listening, so that is why we have started with meditation. Later on in the Dare to Ask Journey we will focus on developing the art of conscious “talking”.
Let me share a magical story with you about the power of these tools.
During my annual gynecological checkup in January of this year, my doctor discovered an abnormal cyst on one of my ovaries. He discussed options with me, including removing it. I expressed my desire for self-healing. He looked at me and said, “Jacqui if anyone can take care of this, I know you can”. He asked that I come and see him again within 6 weeks for a progress check.
I walked out of his office and made a conscious commitment to deal with this cyst through meditation and prayer. But being human, fallible and having a full schedule I confess that by the next morning when I sat for my meditation, I had already forgotten about my cyst and my conscious commitment.
And so 8 weeks went by and I did nothing. While planning my next business trip to Cape Town I knew that I really should make an appointment to see my gynecologist again as I would be there. In this moment of awareness, it struck me that I had paid this uninvited guest in my body no attention.
I immediately sat down and took 10 minutes of silence to self-reflect, reground and accept where I was in my journey of spirit as an integrated being of mind, body and soul. I knew it had come as a sign to slow down and take note of my body, which I had severely neglected for the last 18 months. In regrouping, I had to face the truth of what lay deep inside. FEAR.
My fear: What if I could not let it go? What if I failed in the quest to self-heal?
I followed the story line in my head. It went back to the 16-year-old self that had experienced a faith healing from chronic scoliosis. I therefore knew this was possible, but the doubts of my inner critic in my mind brought up fear and beyond the fear I knew in the silence there lay pain, waiting for me.
I needed to change gear. I knew that once again I needed to get out of my mind and surrender to all that is greater than me.
The next morning as I sat down for my meditation I calmed my body down and focused on my breath. I called forth light and pulled breath to the part of my body where this cyst resided. I then slowly slipped into deep meditation.
That night while talking in silence (praying) my witness once again noticed the story. My ego was in chaos in my head. My unhealthy ego was attached to the story of my braggart self. I was craving success as I wanted to beat this cyst. Wow, my unhealthy ego is a real egotistical monster! With this awareness, I silently laughed, breathed out and told my unhealthy ego to take a hike as it was not welcome on this journey. I had learned the hard way that success with PEACE came from surrendering to love and not by going to war.
I knew that in order to avoid pain, I had to stare my fear in the face and surrender even further. I prayed for the grace to let go and trust my higher power to do that which my mind alone could not do. I needed to access courage and let go of the fear and my attachment to the outcome of the story. When I reach this place, I know my spirit is connected to universal spirit / universal wisdom / God, call it what you will.
The next morning, I once again sat for my silent meditation. Once more I pulled breath and called light to this part of my body and then it happened, exactly the same way it did when I was 16. An incredibly bright light beamed down over me and I felt the warmth of this light infuse every part of my body. With that, I felt the cyst “let go”, and as if floating above myself, I witnessed it leave my body as I thanked it for being the sign I needed.
My braggart-self silenced, I didn’t feel a pressing desire to mention this to anyone as I felt so complete with inner peace. I spent the next 2 weeks focusing my meditation and prayer on gratitude, before going for my next checkup.
Two weeks later I sat in front of my doctor and he asked how I was. I told him the cyst was gone. He commented that I had a glow of joy about me. I smiled, thanked him and told him I knew. He said we needed to do a scan to check. As expected, it was gone. After my examination, he looked at me and said, “Jacqui, a few years ago I might not have been able to allow you this space so easily and I know that many of my colleagues would have preferred to put you under the knife. But I am blessed with the wife I have who has helped me see what is possible.”
That night I gave thanks and a blessing to these two amazing human beings and to the gift and power of the combination of meditation and prayer.
But miracles can only be achieved when we see the negative fear story or our unhealthy ego story we attach to an outcome. In surrendering control over the outcome, we open to all that is possible beyond our limiting beliefs and all that isn’t explainable to our limited minds. I call it faith in Self, others and all that is greater than me.
In facing my fear and becoming aware of the connection to my story, I could fully surrender, access courage and overcome fear and thereby avoid potential pain. From this grounded space I shared my success story with my closest loved ones who have supported me unconditionally on my journey towards integrated reconnection.
I go back to a quote I have used often from Viktor Frankl. “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Time and again I am in awe that in my continued learning to consciously listen deeply and consciously talk from a space disconnected from the unhealthy ego, I find power, growth and freedom for daily miracles, as I continue trying to master the art of Being Love as witness to my Self.
Exercise 8 will be a continuation of developing your skill as witness to yourself. In so doing, you will be shifting your consciousness towards your felt senses and opening to possibilities beyond your thoughts and your limiting beliefs.Note: I will be talking more about the power of prayer in exercise 9 and 10. I will however not examine prayer from any religious dogma. We will examine prayer from a perspective of your known thoughts in a conscious space of undivided love for Self, others and the greater world.
Exercise 8 – Deepening your Practices with the Art of Witnessing Yourself.
Intended outcome of this exercise:
- To deepen your competence in allowing your thoughts to flow authentically.
- To deepen your ability to witness yourself through increasing your awareness of your thoughts and feelings.
- To develop your ability to witness yourself through your awareness of your felt senses.
Over the next 2 weeks undertake the exercise below. Download your journal pages for exercise 8 here.
Deeping your awareness practices with your thoughts and your feelings
- Continue with your meditation practice from exercise 7, in bringing awareness to your current thoughts.
- Continue with your self-awareness / self-observation practice from exercise 7 with your feelings.
Developing your awareness practices with your felt senses
Every morning as you wake up, while still lying in bed, take 2 to 5 minutes to do the following:
Do not judge the outcomes, merely bring your awareness to whatever you think or feel in the moment.
- First, breathe deeply 3 times.
- Next, imagine yourself leaving your body and floating above it as you explore the following questions:
- What thoughts are in my mind today as I wake up? Are they positive or negative thoughts? Note them and then let go of any attachment to these thoughts.
- What emotions do I feel today as I wake up? Are they happy or sad emotions? Note them and let go of any attachment to these emotions.
- Now briefly scan your body as you ask yourself these questions:
- How do my feet feel today? Note it and then let go of any attachment to this feeling.
- How do my legs feel today? Note it and then let go of any attachment to this feeling.
- How does my back feel today? Note it and then let go of any attachment to this feeling.
- How does my stomach feel today? Note it and then let go of any attachment to this feeling.
- How do my shoulders and arms feel today? Note it and then let go of any attachment to this feeling.
- How do my neck and head feel today? Note it and then let go of any attachment to this feeling.
- Notice the home which houses your being. Now ask yourself if you can express gratitude or thanks for the shelter it gives you?
- Enquire about what else you can feel grateful for this day.
- Breathe deeply 3 more times.
- Reenter your body and slowly rise to start your day from this grounded space of knowing where you are at in this very moment.
- Remember to merely notice (witness) your answers to the above question with curiosity. Allow yourself to be yourself, accepting where you are at in this very moment. Notice if you judge yourself or justify the denial or suppression of your thoughts, feelings or felt senses.
Now rest and don’t take yourself too seriously until we meet again in a few weeks for exercise 9, which will deal with the acceptance of pain and the gift of truth that it offers.
In the interim, if you have questions about deepening your awareness and or developing the art of witnessing yourself, either submit your question in the comments section below or in a private note here (link) or on FB (link). Likewise, if you have a story you would like to share about acceptance of one’s pain, then please do so on the same links above.
I love you all for your courage.
As always, warm love and regards
Perfectly Imperfect Author and Speaker, Spiritual Revolutionary and Warrior of Self
I don’t know the work of Gabrielle Bernstein, but my partner, a miracle skeptic, sent me an article of hers this morning after proof reading my blog, and well this sums it up for me…. “Looking within, we find that fear is what keeps us stuck in unhealthy patterns and limiting beliefs. Each time we shift our perception from fear to love we create a miracle.”