Friday, February 12, 2010

Tests of Detachment

One thing I have learned about the spiritual journey is that when you make progress, the Universe/God/Holy Spirit is eager to push you ahead to more. So it often seems like the more progress you make, the more you get bombarded with new hurdles to overcome - ego obstacles that are within your control but hold you back. Over the last several years, as I had the courage to take leaps of faith, I always experienced some new gift, or an expansion of a gift that I already had. The bigger the leap of faith, the more expansive the gift would be. But along with the gift, another obstacle always seemed to present itself almost as soon as the previous one had been overcome.

Often, I would enter the "poor me" moment, "when is this going to stop?" At times, I wasn't sure if I could take it, but fortunately, each time I felt ready to give up, I had a moment of clarity, realizing exactly what was happening, understanding that the new challenge was a gift - an expression of what I needed to learn next in order to advance to my true purpose, by letting go of my worldly way of thinking and behaving. I reminded myself that since God doesn't give us anything we are not capable of handling, and since He and His host of angels and spirit have a better view and perspective of our needs and our path - getting consistent obstacles was actually a compliment and sign that I was on the right path. In the childhood game of "hot and cold" where "hot" is used to tell the blindfolded finder that she is close, and "cold" is to tell her that she is farther away, our obstacles are sometimes signs that we are getting "hotter" - closer to finding what we have lost or forgotten. It was as if I was hearing angels telling me in quick repetition..."hot, hot, hot...keep going in this direction".

These moments of clarity served as an affirmation that even though it may have seemed like things were very wrong, those feelings of joy in the midst of adversity showed that I was on the right track... letting go of old thoughts was ultimately bringing me peace by showing the way out of attachment to them. In spiritual thought there is the concept of "ego" - which is not so much about arrogance as we commonly think of ego (although arrogance can certainly be part of it); but the spiritual concept of ego is that it is all of our negative thoughts that hold us back and make us think we are less. These are all essentially rooted in fear. When we think negatively (particularly about ourselves), we are doomed to attract more negative into our lives. It is the reason our world stays in conflict. When we overcome these fear-based thoughts that hold us back - anger, guilt, jealousy, judgment,the need to be right or have our way as the only way - we are stuck being less than what we really are - less than the wondrous and powerful beings that we were created to be. It is our perception of ourselves as less, as unworthy, as undeserving, or as incapable of attracting good that keeps us from returning to that true Oneness with God - that place where we find bliss and joy in each moment, even in the difficult ones.

My father has been a severe alcoholic for most of my life. It has been a painful experience for him and for those around him. It has been something that seemed to rear its ugly head in so many ways and so many moments - always ready to overshadow good things. Many around him have stayed attached to his drama and his need for control - including myself in many ways. For years, I had a desire to "fix" him, to help him overcome this by getting help. I could not understand how others were so content to let it continue, even feeding and fueling the problem when his body was screaming out in illness that it could not take any more abuse. I could not understand their denial of it until I understood that they were as trapped as he was. The denial around me made it feel like I was part of a circus, yet, when I would try to detach from the drama, I would have guilt laid on me - how could I desert my father, how could I not be supportive of his needs? I even had my spirituality thrown up to me in extremely hurtful ways, as if my desire to be spiritual meant that I should do whatever anyone wanted me to do in every moment and situation - no matter how insane it was or how damaging it was to me.

But what we have to understand about spirituality is that it should be our focus to LOVE everyone - to send them love and compassion - but it DOES NOT mean that we should stay in their drama because that is only keeping us from attaining and perfecting our gifts. Misery and suffering does not bring out our gifts - detaching from misery and suffering does.

My father is now in the hospital again and is deteriorating quickly, yet he still clings to his old ways of anger and manipulation in getting what he wants. I know that all he has to do is release and see himself as a wonderful and perfect child of God in order to be free, but his religious upbringing tells him that he is bad, so he bahaves badly...What we think is what we become. It is painful to watch the drama around him, as well as the attachment to drama by some others, but I can see it for what it is, and know that I must release myself by detaching without guilt. I cannot let my journey be derailed by others' choices or fears...I have come too far for that and it would not be serving my gifts or God by letting ego win.

Lately, ego has been working me hard. It is not surprising, because I have felt myself returning to my power so strongly, empowered by the obstacles that I have overcome; so ego is pulling out all the stops to own me once again. But my journey has taught me that the harder ego works, the more important the leap must be. When you find yourself feeling beaten up by life, tell ego to get behind you - in the same way that Jesus said, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me". Ego (fear, guilt, anger, control, judgment) does not serve us and it does not serve God. Our simple act of telling it to go away empowers us to overcome its control over us. It is a reminder that ego has no power without our willingness to go along.

As difficult as this process with my father is in my earthly eyes, with my spiritual eyes, I can see that my father's journey is a gift to me...An obvious and blatant demonstration of the insanity that ego creates. My father may have chosen this difficult path to teach me and those around him the lessons of letting go - of detaching. Dad may have made it more absurd in order to make a point of how ridiculous and destructive ego is - and to point out to me just how ridiculous it is for me to stay there. I feel as if my father has been my teacher, and his work - his suffering - will only end when his job is done. He is providing me with a big test of my belief in my purpose, to gauge how well I can demonstrate my faith, how well I can "practice what I preach". It is for this reason that I detach - to let him go in peace knowing that his job for me is done...and I thank him for it.


Annette said...

A beautiful tribute to your father- for what better gift can he leave you? Through his teachings you have progressed in your spiritual journey leaving ego in your path. Peace and love to you and family. Ask and you shall receive God's support during this time of your Dad's separation from this earthly life.

Anonymous said...

A long journey is coming to its completion. In what is usually a cause for sadness, for you it is a time of joy and celebration. Congratulations on your achievement

Anonymous said...

Your honesty and pain is felt in your writing, but so does your passion and love. God has blessed you and your father and you both have so lovingly fulfilled the roles you were meant to play in each others lives. Much peace and love to you both.

Sherri said...

Thank you all so much. I can "feel the love" from so many right now...and from all those angels who have been helping me :)

Johan said...

Sherri you have such a wonderful way with words. I can’t wait for your book "Setting God Free" to be published. The realization that our deepest fears and our greatest enemies are part of our life path is a gift from God. The situation will most probably not change, but the way we perceive our live around us set us free. To quote another favourite inspirational speaker Wayne Dyer “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Siddhartha Gautama said “The cause of all pain and suffering is ignorance.” You are no longer ignorant therefore pain and suffering ends.

Marion said...

Sherri, this post is awesome! I love the way you changed how you looked at the situation...and then the situation changes as well.

"It is a reminder that ego has no power without our willingness to go along." I have copied this out and have placed it on my bulletin board as a reminder.

Blessings and love to you and your family through this very difficult time. I am so glad you have made peace with your father. I had a similar situation with mine; it took me much longer to get to where you are today to let my Dad go.

Michelle said...

What beautiful words to describe the love you have
for a very sick man. I am so awed by your
healthy outlook. I too am a child of an alcoholic.
He has found recovery but still has so much
guilt, religious and parental that I worry he will
hang on forever. I forgive him but until he
forgives himself, his hole in his soul will never
be filled. Keep up your strength and others will
follow in Gods time.

Sherri said...

I am so grateful to have others who can relate! We all have things that hold us back. When we identify them and learn to move on, we are on our way to real growth.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I have never read your blog before...but I was led to it today. We are in the same place in so many ways at this time. I too am watching my Mom slowly kill herself, dealing with "the ghosts" of my childhood past is an ununusual test of detachment in the physical and the spiritual realm. Peace to us all.