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It is only through the heart that one sees clearly
As children, we all feelor at least briefly glimpse the joyous state of soul consciousness. But most of us lose touch with it, or check out, as I like to say, by around the age of six. By "check out," I mean that we emotionally stop growing and become whatever we think we must in order to be loved. From then on, as I have explained, we move through life as an alienated and "false self." And so we repeatedly encounter and recreate the place where we originally checked out in situations and relationships that trigger our original wound. Unconsciously, we grope for that authentic place we once knew as childrenbefore we were wounded and emotionally shut downbut with limited success.
The deepest layer of this wound is our sadness over apparently not being seen, or loved, for who we were. The next layer is our anger and resentment at having to become someone we are not in order to be loved. Nevertheless, beneath this anger, sadness, and pain is the original joy we once knewour innate state of soul consciousness and our connection to the Unified Field of love.
We all long to recover that joyful state of soul consciousness. So our life becomes a quest to return to that original place of authenticity, and to play our part in the evolving loving plan. Both we as individuals and the planet as a whole are in the process of making a shift from ego consciousness to soul consciousness.
Our task on this journey is to open our hearts emotionally, heal the child within us who originally checked out, and finally discover who we really are. But the journey doesnt really start until we fully open our hearts.
My whole life has been a journey, a quest, to find a lost little boy within myself who once knew, and longed to share the truths I am sharing now with you; a little boy who profoundly experienced at the deepest level within himself, a love and joy that indelibly connected him to all. That experience was my first awareness of the Unified Field of love.
The experience happened when I was four years old while playing alone in my room one glorious summer day in Newtonville, Massachusetts. At the time, I knew that I was loved and that I was special, though I was already struggling with the psychic wound of having a beautiful, spoiled, somewhat depressed mother who was emotionally unavailable to me. Already in that relationship, I intuitively knew that who I was, was seemingly not enough. (I never knew my father, who had left my mother before I was born.) I also had an identical twin brother whom I loved and who loved me. And our maid, Delia, whom I loved, also adored me. But my deepest love was for my grandfather. At times I recall feeling an incredible love leaping from within my heart toward him. My grandfather truly loved me unconditionally, and his love more than made up for the lack of love I felt from my mother.
That day in my room, I suddenly heard my favorite song on the radioGene Autreys "Im Back in the Saddle Again." My inner joy grew too great to contain. I felt an incredible urge to share it. So I turned the radio up full volume, stood on my tiptoes, opened the window, and leaned out into that gorgeous New England summer day. Immediately, an overwhelming joy seemed to lift me out of myself. An utterly amazing feeling of knowing rose from deep within me, a feeling of incredible joy and oneness with all things. And I totally surrendered to it. For a few ecstatic moments, I sensed, knew, that I was not alone. This awesome joy lifted me out of myself and somehow connected me to all and everything.
Of course, I am not alone in having this kind of childhood experience. There is very strong evidence that preschool children have a deep and natural psychic connection with nature. In my work as a therapist, I have conducted awareness groups with children from preschool through high school. When I ask preschool children to draw a self-portrait, they will often fill the page with deer, dolphins, eagles, flowers, and the sun. They intuitively see and experience themselves as part of nature. They are relatively unafraid, uncomplicated, and unself-conscious. Most young children have little, if any, fear of expressing their love and deepest feelings for animals, for nature, for their dolls and stuffed toys, for their parents, and for each other.
Yet, by the third grade most children have all but lost this openness, this knowing connection with nature, with themselves, and with their peers. Theyve become more fearful and insecure about expressing their deepest feelings. The belief that being themselves is not enough has taken root in their consciousness; they have begun the inevitable surrender to what their parents and others agree is reality. Their connection to nature and to the inner well of joy that marked their infancy has begun to fade as they make the transition from soul consciousness to ego consciousness.
At four years old, I knewfor one instantthat I was a beloved and essential part of a loving universe. Two years later, when I was suddenly taken away from my grandfather, my heart closed and I checked out. Emotionally, I stopped growing. For the next 30 years the transcendent moment of soul consciousness I had experienced remained buried beneath a well of grief, a mantle of psychic pain, aloneness, and despair. After the trauma of losing my beloved grandfather, it hurt too much to feel anything deeply. Closing my heart was the beginning of my surrender to the adult version of reality and my entry into ego consciousness. In the face of more psychic pain than I could handlea place of no choicethis was my only option for survival.
No child has the maturity and understanding needed to surrender through fear and pain with an open heart. It took me 30 years of groping, proving myself, and denying the fear and pain I could not yet face, before I became willing and able to do this. For all that time I was like most of my clients, living in fear and denial, avoiding the inner black hole of psychic pain we all carry within. I had no reason to face the pain, for at this time in my life I did not yet know what I would find beneath it.
Then I met a woman named Karen and fell madly, ecstatically in love. Of course, she was just as beautiful and emotionally unavailable as my mother! Not surprisingly, this relationship eventually triggered all the painful buried emotions that lost child, my earlier self, had originally suffered, emotions that had caused him to close his heart to love. Now, with Karen, I was unknowingly (and by design) re-enacting my wounding relationship with my mother in order to work through the psychic pain of my separation from love as a young child! And this is what we all do, and why each of our romantic relationships are, in reality, a quest to find ourselves.
And so a process began with Karen that would finally force me to surrender and fully open my heart, to let go and trust, and to eventually face and feel through the black hole of repressed anger, despair, and aloneness that I had been running from, and carrying with me my whole life. But it would be a process of difficult stages, of becoming more and more willing to keep my heart open in the face of the psychic pain that had caused me to close my heart at the age of six. And as I opened my heart and faced this pain, I finally found the wounded six-year-old boy within me who had loved so deeply and profoundly and then closed his heart when his world had seemingly collapsed.
Falling in love was a trigger for this healing process. But falling in love is no guarantee that we will achieve conscious love. As I have pointed out, a love relationship is a litmus test of our ability to love in the face of our own unhealed pain; it is a proving ground where we can, if we choose, grow from emotional love to conscious love and be healed in the process. In my case, being in love was not enough; it would take more work and courage for me to fully open my heart.
My relationship with Karen fell apart, smothered by conditional love with all its possessiveness, jealousy, and need for control. It forced me to realize that I could no longer avoid this inner childs pain. And so I finally surrendered to it completely, knowing that this pain went far deeper than losing Karenand also knowing that Karen was not the source of my pain. It was my pain! When I took full accountability for my pain and stopped denying love, something wonderful happened: I spontaneously recovered the memory of that ecstatic summer day when I was four years old. I also gradually recovered many other lost, joyous childhood moments that gave fleeting glimpses and feelings of the state of soul consciousness that had marked my earliest years. And joy itself began bubbling to the surface of my consciousness. I was seeing through different eyes!
This was my first discovery that profound joy and love lay hidden beneath my own deepest fear and pain. At this point, at age 37, my life became truly inner, or soul-directed, as opposed to outer, or ego-directed.
I had also rediscovered the wondrous, knowing child hiding inside me, wrapped in a defensive cocoon of ego consciousness that masked his profound sadness and aloneness. It was then that I consciously began my quest to fully free that child from his self-imposed cocoon so he could truly be himself. And out of this came my lifes work of connecting to the trapped child within others and facilitating their path to inner joy and freedom.
Now I clearly see my whole life as a quest to return to, live from, and share with others that joyful state of soul consciousness that we all once knew and felt as children. The ideas presented in this book are the culmination of my own life experience and of my extensive counseling experience as a licensed therapist, and are also corroborated by substantial supportive research over the last 30 years.
Having shared these truths in my work with hundreds of individuals from all walks of life over many years, I find that most people instinctively feel them to be true, for they resonate at peoples deepest level of consciousness. And the central, liberating truth on which my work is based, which helps people to finally face and feel through the pain and despair that they have been running from all their lives, is this: The deep underlying unity of the universe is a psychic energy field of love and soul consciousness that lies not only beyond time and space but also beneath our deepest fears.
When this truth is realized, the external search is over: "It" was never "out there" to be found, but has always been within us to be surrendered to! By "surrender," I dont mean "giving up" or "giving in to," but, rather, "letting go." The following personal story graphically illustrates what I mean by surrender. At the time, I was a Navy carrier pilot on the USS Ranger. It was a cold December night on the South China Sea in 1962, and I was preparing to take off in a driving rain that made the carrier deck slick and dangerous for both the plane handlers and launch crew. I quickly scanned my instruments, brought my F3H Demon to full throttle, and felt the powerful Navy supersonic jet impatiently lean against the restraining bridle. On the deck below, the launch crew chief braced himself against the biting wind sweeping the heavy rain down the deck. His neon batons raised and poised, he awaited my salute, which I gave. I then waited for his signal to the launch crew to release the bridle, a simple act that would send me hurtling into the stormy night sky.
At his signal, I braced my head against the headrest and awaited the sudden rush of acceleration. Within seconds, thousands of pounds of steam pressure drove me back into the seat and catapulted my plane forward and into the night air at 135 knots. My hands and eyes quickly swept through the cockpit as I had done hundreds of times before. I awaited my gradual acceleration to climbing speed. But it did not come. Something was wrong! I was not gaining airspeed!
My airspeed indicator was pegged at 135 knots, and the radar altimeter told me I was only 30 feet over the water. I was at 100 percent power, yet my plane was dangerously close to stalling speed and I was rapidly losing altitude. I had no idea what was wrong!
Another quick visual check of my instrument panel told me I was now only 20 feet over the water. The plane began to shudder, nearing a stall as I fought to stay airborne. In a state of total panic, I frantically reviewed what I perceived as my only options.
The first option was to take the plane into the water, hoping that I might survive the crash and be rescued. If I survived the crash, I knew I could only survive for three minutes in the freezing South China Sea. And the helicopter rescue crew was not on station because of the poor weather conditions.
The second option was to eject in my rocket seat and hope the carrier wouldnt crush me in its propeller screws. And I would still have only three minutes to survive in the icy water.
With the stall horn blaring, only seconds away from crashing, I felt myself being literally crushed into the seat by the enormity of my desperate situation. It was then that I exercised a third option: I completely let go. I totally surrendered to the feeling of being crushed into my seat in desperate fear. Ill never forget the sensation of what came next. Suddenly, I entered into the marvelous peace of absolute surrender. My mind went beyond its incredible fear and panic. I became acutely calm and clear.
I quickly scanned the cockpit again. Now I saw that the landing gear handle light was still on. I realized I had failed to raise the lever after take-off! The plane was carrying too much drag to gain airspeed and altitude. I quickly raised the gear handle and the jet immediately responded, rising from just above the icy sea and heading skyward.
Many years later I realized that the crushing feeling I had experienced that night on the South China Sea was a reliving of my original birth trauma. I also realized that I had exercised in the cockpit of that F3H Demon the same option I had exercised at my birth: I had surrendered!
Learning to surrender is what our lifes journey is all about. But the journey doesnt really "take off" until we finally and fully surrender to love, "lift the lever," and go through our deepest fears and pain into the well of soul consciousness that lies even deeper within.
The worst prison is a closed heart. Yet most of us lock ourselves in that prison for much, if not all, of our lives. This prison, whose walls are constructed from fear and unworthiness, keeps us from fully experiencing love and from being who we truly are.
As I have tried to show you, it is only by fully opening our hearts and surrendering to the love that lies beneath our deepest fears and terror, that we can begin to take our place in this loving plan, and eventually sing our own unique songby fully sharing the gift of ourselves with others.
In essence, my lifetime quest to find myself has been a process of learning to surrender to what was already deepest within myself and then finding the courage to fully share what I truly felt and knew. That is how I sing my song as Im singing it now with you. My purpose in writing this book is to ignite your personal quest to heal yourself; to show you how you, too, can fully surrender to the love that is deepest within yourself; and to inspire you to ignite others by fully opening your heart and showing up in life as the unique and loving person you really are.
If you do this, you will be giving the world the greatest gift of allthe gift of yourself!
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