Caroline Myss is a five-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally renowned speaker in the fields of human consciousness, spirituality and mysticism, health, energy medicine, and the science of medical intuition. This piece has been published on her own blog.
The human spirit is capable of an endless number of extraordinary feats. It is a dragon slayer, animating its presence within our being to challenge images and thoughts that arise from the depths of our darkness, intent upon reshaping how we see the landscape of our life. Inner dragons can make us see threats on the horizon, even on the most beautiful of days. Our inner dragons often whisper despairing words into our minds and hearts like the spell casters they are, hypnotizing us with familiar memories of grief, abandonment, isolation, and fear.
Our minds have minimal resources to do battle against the onslaught of dragons that have escaped into the hidden passages of our consciousness. Our hearts are even less equipped against the heat of dragon fire. But the human spirit is undefeatable no matter the rage of a dragon, no matter the relentlessness of the opponent. Like the stealth force that it is, the spirit matches every negative thought or image with a counter one: A grace-filled burst of hope, of assistance, a way out, a way through, a reminder of how you made it through the last time a dragon got loose.
Your spirit is by nature an exorcist, inherently expelling dark thoughts that would possess your mind and make it difficult for you to perceive the activity or presence of a blessing unfolding in your life. Your spirit by nature dwells in perceptions of essential goodness. Dragons are always challenging your spirit. They are always trying to get loose, which they can in an instant. And then, just like that, instead of seeing possibilities and wonder, a “dark lens” descends over your consciousness and animates shadow-like perceptions and thoughts and emotions.
We often turn to our mind to battle these dragons: Positive thoughts and the like. But how often do we discover that the mind lacks the resources to break through a “dark lens” because it is itself imprisoned by them? Dragons can hold the mind captive. A dark lens, however, cannot prevent your spirit from seeing clearly. The spirit is that part of you that recognizes the need to seek healing, to find a way out and to keep going until you do. It is indomitable. It will never stop slaying your dragons.
Your spirit is also a dream-maker because human beings must dream. We have to dream and imagine and take flight into the other worlds. We are not meant to dwell in the physical world for long periods of time. We come into the physical world for temporary visits. Most of our consciousness remains in the invisible or timeless realm, the dimension of the cosmos. We create stories and myths and religions that allow us to somehow gain access to that realm while we are here in the physical state. All the while, however, the spirit within us slips easily into this realm through the flying carpet of the imagination.
We must utilize the magic of our spirit-imagination. Why? Why would that be essential to our well-being?
This may seem an odd notion for some, but the truth is our inner balance requires that we enter into transcendent fields of energy; that is, our five senses are simply inadequate when it comes to providing a sufficient “reality” screen through which to view, understand, examine, and interpret the full measure of all the many macro and micro experiences of our lives.
Consider this fact: Most – and I do mean most – of your experiences do not occur in the physical world. The physical world is the caboose on your train, not the engine. Your emotions, your ideas, your perceptions, your visionary thoughts – all that can be described as your “energetic content” – is actually the engine of the whole of your life. Your five senses are worker bees, survival senses that maneuver you around the physical world in service to your inner and far more refined emotional, psychological, psychic, energetic, spiritual, and other subtle senses.
Now, imagine (See? There’s that word again) that you were told that you could no longer have access to your “energetic nature”. From this moment on, the only part of “you” that you can know and rely upon is that part that sees whatever your eyesight is capable of seeing and the same for hearing, touch, taste, and olfactory abilities. You are forbidden to imagine something as a result of what you see or taste or hear. You are not allowed to imagine a garden of roses and lilies as a result of breathing in their fragrance. You are only permitted to breathe, smell, recognize and identify the fragrances and that’s it, because access to your imagination is banned. Now imagine (that wondrous word again) how long you could sustain any degree of balance, patience, self-control, violent rumblings, or just imploding as a result of the actual build-up of your own psychic energy that you are unable to process, examine, utilize, or release. Without having a constant dialogue between your physical world and your energetic nature – most important of which is your imagination – you would actually implode.
Your five senses “report in” to your imagination continually. You are always imagining what this and that is or what someone can do with this seasoning or that color or this musical instrument or that new scarf or this new computer. You exist in a constant dialogue with your imagination (your energetic nature) and you do not even realize it.
Your spirit is also a soldier of endurance. You have no idea what you are capable of enduring until you find yourself in one of those positions that you would not choose to be in. How many times have all of us said, “Oh, I could never handle that,” or “That situation would drive me crazy.” We all have, and who knows how many times. We make those cavalier statements because we have no emotional connection to the situation we are viewing. We are free to come and go from that scenario. It is that quality of “detachment” that allows us to make such sweeping statements.
And we make these detached statements for another reason. Deep in our unconscious, we want those types of situations to keep their distance from our personal lives. Like the way Indian women in India shunned (and in some parts of India continue to shun) widows lest they bring the curse of widowhood to their door (I believe this archetypal sentiment of the shunning of the widow is universal), we shun the life crises of others (or often the people burdened with them), because we fear they may be contagious. We shun poverty-stricken people for many reasons, one of which is the fear that poverty is “contagious”. This superstitious behavior also holds true in people when it comes to good and bad luck: People will avoid those they think of as unlucky and cling to those who they feel the “gods have smiled upon”.
We shun what we perceive as the unendurable. And yet, no amount of psychic shunning can prevent what life or one’s karma will bring to your door when the time comes. And it is then that the spirit in you emerges, as it is the spirit in you that has the capacity to endure what so easily collapses the mind and ego. And when your spirit partners with the love in your heart, you can endure anything. You end up surprising yourself. This is one of the paths in which you become your highest potential.
I have been asked so many times, “What is my highest potential?” Most often the person asking me is hoping that I will say something that will make him or her feel important and special because that is what they are seeking. They want this elusive thing called “highest potential” to be a path to specialness and attention on a grand scale. But your highest potential emerges through life circumstances, and circumstances that demand more of you than you thought possible. Life circumstances do not make you what you are; they reveal what you are to you. And it is in the most challenging of times that you need to merge the power of grace with the power of your spirit and your character. That is the alchemy that unleashes your highest potential.
Your spirit is an endless replenishing of the heart even when you think there is no love left in the heart at all. We have all experienced the empty well feeling for someone and we have all been on the receiving end of someone’s empty well. Yet, how often have we also experienced that empty well refilling itself automatically, one drop at a time, sometimes even when that drop is unwelcomed? Sometimes the unwilling refilling of the well with drops of love clash so painfully with an unforgiving or broken heart. The pain of each returning drop of love is enough to drown you and yet you cannot stop your well from refilling. You simply have to endure the pain of the return of love to your inner well. How paradoxical is that?
The spirit in you will not let you rot into an unloving creature. It constantly refills your well. It is impossible – utterly impossible – for you to not have a surplus of love inside of you. You can choose to freeze that water supply, as I have seen so many people do. But then – not to take this metaphor to the extreme – frozen water breaks the pipes. Apply this metaphor to the arteries/cardiac system. For many, the choice to freeze emotion for whatever reasons is applicable: Broken heart, fear of loving, bitter heart, angry heart, prideful and stubborn heart, punishing wrathful heart – all of the above have what it takes to freeze the water in the well.
And yet, the spirit in you continues to pour water in your well, regardless of how much the ego or mental fear patterns or shattered emotions shut down the heart. It hurts as much to be unloving as it does to be rejected or anything else that happens in a relationship. Human beings are designed to love and are at their worst – if not at risk of becoming barbarians – when love is absent.
Your spirit is constantly filling your well. Only you know what the temperature of the water is in your well. But if there is ice floating in your well, do something about it. And don’t wait.
Let me close this Salon with these final thoughts. Life is too short to make foolish choices. I have learned again and again that it is the spirit within you that is the authentic engine of your life. Love and kindness toward others is far more valuable than can be measured. Never underestimate the value and power of a kind word, an extra minute with someone, a prayer for those suffering in the world who have so much to endure.
And find something each day that inspires you. Read something that lifts your spirit out of your five senses and into a “state at the altar”. Pray like you’re crazy. Expect heaven to solve your problems. But help out the Divine by making bold and brave choices.