Once we become conscious of this powerful truth, we can begin to practice applying it in all our daily encounters and life situations. Life becomes very interesting and exciting. Applying this principle becomes a primary mode of refining and transforming ourselves. By deepening our understanding of this law we bring about a shift in perception that allows us to see every single happening in our lives as a growing opportunity rather than as something that we need to protect ourselves from, or control. We stop seeing ourselves as victims to the world and start seeing our life events as interesting opportunities for promoting consciousness. We approach events that trigger us with an air of curiosity rather than with reproach and resistance. What was previously seen as unhappy circumstances instead become opportunities for growth – sacred moments from which to glean new meaning and connection for healing. Of course this can only happen as we surrender the need to deny or defend some definition of ourselves that we are holding onto.
Opportunities for transformation are often brought to us through our encounters with others. Family, friends and workmates bring an ample supply of working “grist” for the mill of consciousness. It’s a wonderful practice, to meditate on the barbed reaction that comes up in relational exchanges with the purpose of gleaning a bit more consciousness from it.
For instance, a recent friction with someone brought an internal reaction that, upon reflection, revealed an old pattern of dysfunction that is still being played out in my present day family. By processing the resistance that arose in me around this person, (someone I see as being unconsciously needy) I became aware of the parallels between the present situation and encounters I had had with my mother growing up. I recognized that I was being handed a tremendous insight into an unconscious pattern.
Having been abandoned (through death) by both parents early in her life, my mother’s ego (the wounded child) attached to a distorted notion that she was not supposed to have needs. Since we all have needs, what that ended up meaning was that she had to push all of her needs into the unconscious where ego then became responsible for getting them met without her knowing about it. Ego came up with the very clever, but far from unique, technique of using the health of her body as a device for getting the attention that she would not acknowledge that she needed. In other words my mother developed a story about being fragile and in poor health. Even though the physical cost has been great, this story has allowed her to get her needs for attention and care met (after all, what can one do about a body that doesn’t function well?) while at the same time allowing her to maintain some illusion of being independent and relatively needless. She has lived her life ignoring her body’s needs for exercise and nutritious food which has helped perpetuate the story by creating health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
I’m not saying she intended this consciously… I am saying that her ego, out of the dark unconscious, has played her health as the trump card for getting her need to be taken care of met. She needs (not wants, mind you) her frailties! They have been ego’s primary mode for getting others to be there for her. Is it any wonder that it has been so difficult for her to get motivated to take better care of her body? And of course it has atrophied to the point that now she absolutely requires someone to care for her. Not surprisingly, she married a man some years back who gets his needs met by taking care of her. As a matter of fact, he takes such good care of her that she is practically an invalid now. No surprise that her memory is going.
Once I spotted the pattern in my mother (which explains why I continue to attract people who are needy, and in denial of it) I knew that I must be carrying the same pattern, for I’ve learned, if we react to it “out there” then we have it “in here”.
… Ah yes, I too have a core belief that my needs are not acceptable, and I also have sorely neglected my health. I’ve gone back and forth over the years between taking care of others who don’t take care of themselves, to being one who (unconsciously) causes others to fret and worry about me in order to feel cared about.
Once I identified the pattern in myself, I was then able to see how it is being passed on to my grandson. He too, is learning that being fragile is a prime way of getting attention. I watched his newly hatching ego play the helpless little boy story several times over Christmas. Observing it prompted me to remember something I learned in the Work many years ago about it being the parent of the opposite sex that sends the message and the parent of the same sex that shows us how….
My daughter learned, through the lineage described above, to attract men who play victim so she could take care of them and now her son is being unconsciously schooled in the art of helplessness.
As difficult as this sort of stuff is to see … I celebrate being able to make it conscious. With consciousness, the dynamics immediately change – healing is immediately possible as soon as we bring awareness to the situation – whether we do anything about what we’re seeing right away or not.
So the consciousness process brings me a lot of delight. It is very exciting to know how to use an “external irritant” (my original irritating encounter with neediness) as a doorway into consciousness. Rather than feel frustrated, victimized or repelled by the interaction I had, I feel grateful for the opportunity to see more into my own make up.
The result of an unintentional gift given to me via a discordant exchange has been fresh insight that is enabling me to take better care of myself. It has provided a better understanding of my own unconscious and allowed forgiveness to happen – towards others and myself.
Just as important is a new level of awareness that allows me to notice little ways that I may be unconsciously seeking to be taken care of by those around me … like telling my husband that I wanted him to close the cover on the hot tub for me (even though he was not in the hot tub with me) because, “It’s too heavy for me to lift …”, when in reality I just wanted him to “show he cared” by doing it for me. Seemingly harmless ego tricks like these are geared to hook others into taking responsibility for us but end up holding us prisoner to a limited identity of self instead.
I’ve realized that if I shove my needs into the unconscious through denial and judgment I cannot be available for myself. I see that self-care needs to be priority. Abandoning my self for others may support a story about myself as being an all-giving, loving and sacrificing person but the cost is tremendous to all three bodies – the emotional, physical and mental selves. Instead I want to learn to take such good care of myself that I literally radiate vitality, strength and contentment with life.
Consciousness has shown me that getting my needs met by reverting to weakness or fragility in order to get others to take care of me just so I can feel loved (and thereby get my needs met) is not truly living… it is ego manipulation. Its' cost is too great. Being ruled by ego from the unconscious is not how I choose to live today. I’ve experienced the perception shift that comes from seeing life and its contents as a wonderful mirror of my mental reality and I like the results.