Two Dog Tales
Turning the Kaleidoscope: Bringing Things to Light
By Sarahjoy Marsh
Bringing awareness to the ever shifting materials of our inner kaleidoscope from the October 2012 Two Dog Newsletter
Most of us have played with a kaleidoscope. We hold it up to our eye, turn the end of the wheel, and the gems inside fall into patterns. Turn it again and the same gems create another pattern. And yet another! What makes it possible to see the patterns, however, is the light coming through the kaleidoscope. Without light, we would see nothing!
The light through the kaleidoscope is like the light of awareness. Without awareness, the wheels of our life still turn and the inner materials shift about, continually creating both familiar and new patterns with existing materials, but we aren't able to see the display, nor make use of, enjoy, or delight in it!
Perhaps the wheel turns and we experience a moment of pleasure; life is delightful.
It turns again and we bask in quiet contentment; we welcome life as it is.
Another turn and the scent of awe wafts through; life is profound preciousness.
Yet, what to do when the turning of the wheel isn't generating such luminous ease, when our "inner material" rolls through frustration, discontent, blame, righteousness? What to do when it's our Shadow pressing itself into the world rather than our brightness?
When we bring awareness to the ever shifting materials of our inner kaleidoscope, we can transform our experience from one of passivity or unconsciousness (where things happen to us or where our darkness gets projected on to others), to one of participation and celebration (where we respond to life with reciprocity and bring our minds back to light). If we want to live in equanimity, we'll need awareness, as well as humility about and willingness to engage with these inner materials!
Anthony de Mello tells us all that is needed is Awareness itself. Change comes when we profoundly relax into awareness. Raphael Cushnir suggests we feel everything, resist nothing, welcome this material for our own unfolding. My personal "motto" for this: Radical Acceptance. Radically accept what's arising. Welcome what's present as information, teacher, invitation, opportunity, inquiry. Held in the space of awareness, open inquiry transforms what's present through love.
For example, a turn of the wheel and we catch ourselves in criticism of another. We can ask ourselves "Why are they behaving like that?!" Or we can take the plunge and inquire: "What in me might I be uncomfortable with right now? Can I drop into heart, get curious about the other, and release both of us from the disconnect my criticism makes?" (It's still possible to give feedback, but it will be infused with light.)
We catch ourselves in blaming someone for our circumstances, discomfort or choices, and the light of the kaleidoscope reminds us to see through this material. Rather than the passivity of blame, we courageously ask: "What have I, out of my own pain or inner turmoil, projected onto this other? How have I made them responsible for my happiness and forgotten my own sense of sovereignty? And how can I return to my heart where the separation between us dissolves?"
The wheel turns again and our discontent comes round. So familiar it is that our discontent reaction may arise in the blink of an eye. Yet, with the light through the kaleidoscope we see: "Oh, this is my discontent habit! Shoot! I'm in it again!" And, dropping in, we might ask: "How am I contributing to this, holding on to it, amplifying it? What would it mean to drop this immediately and entirely?" And, likely, we'd feel ourselves returned to love.
The turn of the kaleidoscope continually reveals us to ourselves. The light coming through reminds us to see our inner "materials" with awareness and love. In this way, our Shadows become opportunities for living in greater compassion, connection and luminosity.
"One does not become enlightened by imaging figures of light but by making the darkness conscious." - Carl Jung
As the kaleidoscope turns, may we bring our attention to the light that makes it possible to view the shifting patterns in such a way that our life energy is released, our hearts opened, separation dissolved, and vitality restored.
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