This is a Q&A Response from the Course Community for The Conscious Life Design Course
Question: What about present moment feelings of powerlessness about painful past circumstances?
Ya know, there are so many different approaches to dealing with past traumas and how one can address those feelings in the present moment. Everything from punching pillows to past life regressions, to years of commitment to therapy. It all really depends on where one is at on their path, and I can acknowledge that a direct inquiry into the nature of self and what is real, can often be the most frightening of options.
In saying that, my best pointing is, again, radical self-honesty about the real issue. Like everyone else, I have past experiences that could be considered to be traumatizing, and at times, those moments are remembered and feelings of powerlessness can arise.
What is this really about? (Feeling Powerless)
I’m always brought back to “what is this really about?” and I always find the same conclusion. In some way or another, it points to a powerlessness in being able to capture an idea of myself. The past experience is interpreted as evidence that something is missing and then blamed as the cause of me, at this moment, not being able to find myself. The thought arises, “If only that didn’t happen, then I could feel solid and empowered in my identity right now.”
This thought process always includes an intensity of blame pointed toward others in some way, which, underneath, is massive blame toward myself; hiding behind blame projected outward. I’m literally blaming myself for not being able to find myself.
This points back to the fundamental challenge of being human, which is a quest to find and capture a “self” that simply isn’t there. In this human challenge, in this quest, is a requirement to blame something for not being able to satisfy this future goal. It’s like… “I can’t find myself, why?” Then ensues the blame.
When really, I can’t find myself as a real separate self because there is no real thing such as separation; my blame tries to force a separation.
The present moment’s feelings of powerlessness are also like stumbling onto a profound truth. It’s like being slapped across the face with a deep realization; “I can’t find myself!” The more I think there is a self to find, or the more I want to, then the greater intensity of suffering.
As pointed to in week 2, painful emotional states are in response to perceptions of separation. The perception of “I can’t find myself and want to,” is a massive perception of separation. It says “What I am, is missing.” Which is very much like feeling as though the self is dead or dying.
Traditionally, within the realm of everyday humanness, other methods of support attempt to comfort this loss of identity with new stories that reaffirm the self idea; comforting the ego structure. This, definitely, has its place if that’s where someone is in their experience. It’s like rebuilding a new psychological self after the old one has been destroyed. Also like feeling better after getting into a new relationship after an old one collapsed.
It’s a game that can be played over and over and over again, until death, and is, in many ways, the predominant experience of being human; one of trying to survive a self idea. However, it misses in many ways the conscious design of life, which simply isn’t interested in supporting or maintaining our imagined ideas of separate self-importance. Which is why the human experience tends to be a sufferable one.
We will continue to run into a truth that exposes the non-existence of who we are thought to be, in the same way, that we will continue to run into the same relationship challenges regardless of how many new relationships we enter into. We will keep running into the truth of what we are.
In dealing with present-moment pain, my approach is to see the truth of that pain, rather than trying to escape it through blame. In that, also, it’s an opportunity to release that which I’m blaming. I can see that the mind’s blame says “they are responsible for me not being able to find myself.” I also recognize that the pain isn’t about what happened, rather, it’s about me not being able to find myself. This is so vital to see if we truly desire to see beyond the illusion and touch our inherent liberation.
I’m not suffering over a past experience, I’m suffering over not being able to find myself in this moment. Yes, life can look ugly sometimes. Yes, unpleasant things happen and human beings can appear to be crazy, chaotic, and unorganized. Yet, this is also how the forest looks sometimes. It is only my perceived separation from the forest that can make such judgments. To see the forest as a whole organism, that every element, even death, decay, and everything that stinks to high hell, is in service to the whole forest being alive.
It’s not about me, being me (who I think I am as a separate something). In this discovery, I ultimately discover a forgiveness for everything, seeing that there is nothing to blame for my inability to capture a separate self-idea. I bow to what was, what is, and whatever will be.
Also… what “was,” wasn’t my interpretation of it. Whatever story I’m telling about the past, that’s not what actually happened; that’s simply a particular way of painting. And if there’s pain, then my painting is full of evidence of separation; condemning life, blaming life, for my inability to do the impossible.
The only drama I encounter… is my own drama of trying to be God (force life into my egoic will), while ultimately I become the devil (withholding love through blame). In this recognition, I see a radical invitation into a sacred humility that invites me to let go of it all and come home to the present moment. Not because I have to, not because of some external demand, but because I am allowed to. This is the grace bestowed upon all, a permission to let go and come home.