Chapter 8 of "The Untethered Soul" by Michael Singer could have been written about/for me. The more I read of it last night, the more I was saying to myself, "Yes! That's exactly how I feel!" Maybe you can relate too. I'd like to share some of what I got out of that chapter and what I related to so strongly.
The whole chapter is about the fears we have inside us and how we let that take over our consciousness and our lives. A fear and false belief I've carried for most of my life is not being important, valued, or really loved. As Singer points out, "Fear is the cause of every problem. It's the root of all prejudices and negative emotions of anger, jealousy, and possessiveness."
A-ha! The jealousy and possessiveness I've felt in relationships comes from fear (not a surprise there). But it's not about the other person. It's not about any person. It's just about the fear and my ego.
I probably felt the most possessive in my last relationship with my ex-boyfriend. It was the most serious relationship I'd had... we were living together and basically en route to getting married someday. And boy did my jealousy and possessiveness flare up in that relationship!
If you've been a reader of my blog for a while, you know the issues I had regarding his ex-wife. I did not like any contact he had with her. I thought it was her. She needed to just go away and all would be rosy. Oh no. As time went on the possessiveness surfaced with his male friends too. Let me point out that my boyfriend did nothing to warrant my jealous and possessive tendencies. It was all me. All fear. And as we probably all know, fear will find a way to show up if we're carrying it around. Lessons will keep presenting themselves until we get it. I was with my boyfriend for over two years and I didn't get it. Now I do.
When we live in fear, "life becomes a 'me against it' situation. When you have fear, insecurity, or weakness inside of you, and you attempt to keep it from being stimulated, there will inevitably be events and changes in life that challenge your efforts... You feel like this person is not behaving the way they should, and this event is not unfolding the way you want. You see situations that happened in the past as disturbing, and you see things down the road as potential problems. Your definitions of desirable and undesirable, as well as good and bad, all come about because you have defined how things need to be in order for you to be okay.... The part of you inside that's not okay with itself can't face the natural unfolding of life because it's not under your control," (Singer p. 72).
Yes! "This person" (who's not behaving the way they should) in Michael's quote above, for me, was my boyfriend's ex-wife. I can recall many events that I "needed" to unfold just perfectly, or else I'd be sent into a tailspin. I definitely saw past situations (my boyfriend's marriage, for one) as disturbing. And I saw things down the road (any future interactions with the ex-wife) as problems just waiting to come along. Yes, this is me, all the way!
"When you're in this state of disturbance, your tendency will be to act in order to try to fix things... [Y]ou just want the disturbance to stop. So you start getting down to your survival instincts. You may feel that you have to do something drastic. You may want to leave your husband or wife, or move, or quit your job," (Singer p. 77).
Hello! That couldn't be more me if it had a neon sign above it in my name!
A turning point, an a-ha moment for me in Singer's book was this: "As you grow spiritually, you will realize that your attempts to protect yourself from problems actually create more problems. If you attempt to arrange people, places, and things so they don't disturb you, it will begin to feel like life is against you. You'll feel that life is a struggle and that every day is heavy because you have no control and fight with everything. There will be competition, jealousy, and fear. You will feel that anyone, at any moment, could cause you disturbance... That makes life a threat. That's why you have to worry so much... You're either trying to figure out how to keep things from happening or you're trying to figure out what to do because they did happen... The alternative is to decide not to fight with life," (p. 72-73).
I see now that all my attempts to "protect" myself were creating more drama and more problems. I didn't like living the way I was living - in such fear. I knew it was unhealthy. I just didn't know what to do about it. I didn't know how to be different because I didn't know anyone who was different. The people I went to for advice basically told me to do what I was doing. Avoid the ex-wife and tell my boyfriend I wasn't comfortable with him having contact with her (even though the contact was not a threat to me or my relationship, it was very platonic).
I most definitely felt like life was a struggle the past two years in that relationship. And it wasn't because of the relationship. It was because I was living in such fear. Talk about anxiety! I did feel, as Singer explains, that anyone, at any time, could cause a "disturbance." I worried almost constantly. I see how insane that was, and how unbalanced, but like I said, I didn't know any better. I didn't know how to get out of the black hole I was in. Except to end the relationship. Which I did.
"If you truly want to grow spiritually, you'll realize that keeping your stuff is keeping you trapped...[R]ealize that life is actually trying to help you. Life is surrounding you with people and situations that stimulate growth. You don't have to decide who's right or wrong. You don't have to worry about other people's issues. You only have to be willing to open your heart in the face of anything and everything, and permit the purification process to take place... [S]ituations will unfold that hit your stuff... [N]ow you see it as a good thing because it's an opportunity to let go," (Singer p. 74).
I don't know about you, but I don't want to be trapped anymore by my "stuff." I see how it's holding me back and I'm tired of it. I'm tired of living in deep fear and constant worry.
So what do we do about this? What do we do about our "stuff?" Just let it go. When situations arise that trigger our "stuff," just let it go. Don't focus on it. Don't ignore it... but simply be aware and let it come up and pass right on through you. Every time stuff comes up, let it go. Every time.
Singer explains that it's best to let go right away and let go of it all -- whatever comes up at that time. I know I've tried to let go of some of my issues, or rationalize certain things, but not others. No! It's all or nothing. Let go of it all! Why would I want to hold any of my issues anyway? They're causing me anxiety and stress. They're holding me back in relationships and in love and life in general.
Singer adds this towards the end of the chapter: "If you fall along the way, just get up and forget it.... Just let go immediately, and allow the energy to go back to the highest center of consciousness it can achieve. If you feel shame, let it go. If you feel fear, let it go. All of these are the remnants of the blocked energy that is finally being purified," (p. 79).
I have been working on letting go of my fear for a while now. I'm sure there's more work to do. But I do feel like I've come a long way. This chapter in "The Untethered Soul" epitomizes me to a tee. It was really cool last night to feel like I was basically reading about my life and the inner workings of my mind and Spirit as I went through the turmoil and stress in my past relationship, in terms of the fear I was carrying.
My ex-boyfriend and I are actually talking again. I know, I know, this may be a surprise to many of my frequent readers, based on some of the stuff I've written about him and the relationship. But here's what I know now... all the "issues" I wrote about were self-created. They were born from my fear. I was living in fear, not love, for the bulk of the relationship. I tried to love, but I see now that I wasn't truly. I couldn't. I was too blocked by fear and didn't know how to release it. I didn't know how to be different. But now I do.
I also recognize now that all of the "complaints" I put onto him, were complaints and fears about myself. The people in our lives are truly our mirrors. I blogged about this a few days ago in the "Like Attracts Like" post.
I honestly feel like my eyes have been opened. My heart as well. It's the quintessential "Ohhhhhh" moment where something just hits you that you'd missed for so long.
Right now I'm excited to move forward. I'm excited about the future. As my boyfriend and I reconnect, I see definite potential there. All the feelings that were there in the very beginning are still there. Only now I am living more in a place of Love. I feel like I'm loving in Love, instead of loving in Fear.