I was driving up McCormick Blvd yesterday afternoon and like so many other days in Chicago it was overcast for the 2nd or 3rd day in a row. Suddenly there appeared a spot of sunlight over the street, which stayed long enough for us to drive through it. It felt like such a treat – a spot of sunlight on a cloudy day – and if I hadn’t been paying attention, we would have missed it altogether. How often is life like that? When things seem bleak, can we pay attention and take pleasure in those little spots of sunshine? I like to call those little miracles – like not being able to find my keys and then having a sudden intuition or looking in just the right direction to see them in an otherwise hidden spot, or coming to an intersection to make a turn and having someone stop right away to let me in. I try to notice and give thanks for these little blessings and then they begin to add up, giving the impression that my life is full of blessings – and it is – except if I wasn’t paying attention to these “little” things, I probably wouldn’t notice how many there are! I’m convinced that the more you notice the more there are – kindof like positive reinforcement to the Universe :-).
Eventually the sun broke through the clouds and today is a gorgeously sunny day here in Chi. As we celebrate the sun I also send out prayers for those in Japan that their recovery from the devastation will be swift and certain. My heart aches in compassion for their suffering and at the same time I am grateful to be safe, and dry and warm.
Realizing this topic can rub people the wrong way, I offer the disclaimer that this post, like any other I might write is simply meant to cast a few ripples and see where they settle. I’m not preaching or saying it is definitely so, just offering my ponderings on the subject and hoping to clarify as I learn from others.
That said, years ago I attended a lovely talk at Unity in Chicago with Katerina Pellegrino. She is a spirit medium who works with John of God in Brazil. Someone asked a question about how to deal with evil and she presented the notion that what we call evil is actually just a separation from God. As a Reiki practitioner for many years, I was taught to clear “negative” energy from the person I was working on before sending Reiki to them. It always seemed a little awkward to me, all this clearing and containing and disposing of other people’s negative energy. Then I heard Eric Pearl speak and read his book and he had the opposite view. He said all this avoidance of ‘negative energy’ was fear-based and unnecessary. I came to the conclusion that he thought there was no such thing.
So now that begs the question. What is it that you feel when you walk into a room where someone has just had an argument? What is it that people feel when they go to former sites of epic battles or mass human suffering? What is that icky vibe you get from people sometimes? Isn’t that negative energy? As humans we like to categorize and simplify. So light and dark become associated with good and bad, positive and negative. It’s also very convenient to label someone as being “negative” or having ‘negative energy.’ Then we can feel very positive and separate and good.
But what if we looked at it a different way? What if we thought of energy according to the principles of expansion and contraction, as the yogis have? When we are afraid, we tend to contract – physically, emotionally, energetically. The more fear, the more density and darkness. When we are feeling joyful, we feel expansive, connected, light and free. So what if all that ‘darkness’ and ‘negativity’ is really just fear that we are unwilling to face. We avoid the fear within ourselves, we are repulsed when it appears in others. Yet if we could connect with our own fear compassionately, maybe we could see that contraction in others with the same compassion, rather than with aversion. Then, instead of feeding the fear with more fear, we could allow the possibility of light and love.