How many times have you found yourself afraid to open up, unsure if what was in your heart could be held by another? Or too proud to ask for help because you couldn’t admit to yourself that you needed it? Or stoically hiding the pain of what you thought was failure, ashamed to acknowledge or even talk about it?
I’ve been there and I remember the feelings well. Many times, I have buried a memory with its lesson still unclaimed; until the trial returned once again, unwilling to be ignored, wanting only to be resolved. This is the human condition.
These gifts of the spirit, disguised as pain and difficulties, are often hard won through the experiences of failure, loss and dark detours. When we bottom out in life, we are compelled to reexamine the challenges and the drama we created for ourselves and others. Later, we may rightfully call the lessons we’ve learned wisdom—and we should—because it’s wisdom we’ve earned and is ours to share.
It is often only in moments of desperation or paralyzing uncertainty that we become willing to ask for help. When you send out a call for help, you suddenly realize you have an uncanny ability to shut out all other distractions and focus on the problem right in front of you, and the solution that inevitably follows on its heels. Then you listen for what is yours to hear as if your life depended on it—because it does. Listening for inner guidance is something no one can do for you, nor would you want them to.
It doesn’t have to be so hard, but often it is, because that’s how the universe gets us to pay attention, find a way to alleviate our own suffering, and wake up. On this journey called your life, finding your way takes everything: heart, mind, and spirit. How do we induce our own awakening without bringing suffering into it?
When we move away from the interference of cell signals, microwave radiation, and electric grids, we become free to think and perceive more clearly. And when the noise of the ego goes silent and everything falls away, something else becomes available; a higher order of thought, a greater feeling of connection. You’ve been here before, know the feeling, and hunger for it.
You are a great sending and receiving channel, continually broadcasting your frequency. You never stop. Removing yourself from the noise and interference to your signal frees you; but it’s more than that. You are a distinct consciousness with direct access to the Creator. You have your own communication link to the Intelligence of the universe. What do you do with the awareness of such access? Do you believe it’s available to you?
The single most important and decisive thing any of us could ever do is take time every single day, multiple times a day, to strengthen our connection and cultivate a deeper relationship with the Intelligence within. Call it God, Creator, Source—whatever name you give it, the relationship is yours, it belongs to you and you belong to It. Then, when you find yourself struggling, you know you are not alone, you have somewhere to turn. When everything outside you seems to be falling apart, you fall in. You’ve been here before, too, know the feeling and hunger for it. The memory of God within you is completely unchanged by your forgetting—it’s right where you are.
Who doesn’t want to be plucked out of the insanity of this world and dropped into a sacred container so they can remember who they are? Who doesn’t need a place to go where they can recover themselves and be restored to their right mind? Who doesn’t want a deep and abiding connection, one they can turn to for solace and peace?
Finding our way in this world requires enormous clarity. By definition, clarity is the quality of being certain or definite. Clarity literally means the state of light. The state of light we seek is our own, but how do we find such clarity as this?
The ability to clearly see the deeper reality underlying all things takes a quiet mind. Sustained concentration is difficult for anyone. A little willingness is essential just to get the ego out of the way for a while. Quieting the mind is a gentle discipline. Love, forgiveness, surrender and trust are all in there. The understanding that dawns upon an open mind is a healing light that resolves itself into peace and enters the heart. Let that be enough for the moment.
If truth is true, and it is, then what is true for some of us is true for all of us. You already have all the light and strength you need to do what you are called to do in this life. These qualities go together and reside within you. The power of Spirit works through you if you allow it, and even when you don’t. And you are never without hope, because a call for help is always answered.
A Portrait in Falling In
There are places I go on the land that are sacred to me; places where time seems to slow down, and I slow down with it. Usually before sunrise, or at sunset, I go out alone, in every kind of weather, letting exposure to the elements awaken an ancient memory. The silence calms me and the ordinary activities of walking and breathing loosen my mind. The effect is profound and often brings me to tears.
When I find my place on the land, I gather wood to make a fire, lay out an altar and prepare a place to kneel. These simple activities are deliberate, part of a ritual, every aspect filled with all the meaning I can give it. The connection to Earth and Spirit effortlessly follows. I fall in, dropping into sacred space. When the fire burns bright, I revel in its warmth and illumination. I express my gratitude for life and the love that surrounds me. Offerings of cedar, sage, sweetgrass and tobacco are symbols of my devotion. I ask for guidance and listen without strain. My journal is open, ready, and I write what comes as though I am being spoken to, because I am. My guides once told me, when God talks to you, take good notes.
I gather more wood, laying it gently on glowing red-hot embers and wait for the light to return. As the fire blazes, I take a handful of loose sage and offer my prayers to the fire, asking it to accept my gratitude, take my burden, and let it be consumed up in smoke. And as the smoke billows up into the morning sky, I begin to see more clearly again, putting things in their proper perspective, without adding anything or taking anything away.
This article originally appeared in EPIC Magazine in the Mar./Apr. 2021 Edition.
Dr. Tom Garcia is a shamanic teacher, mentor and guide who helps men and women find their authentic voice and true purpose, so they live a life of meaning and contribution