There’s a group I attend from time to time here in my town. Each week they provide cups of every kind of herbal tea you can imagine, biscuits or cake, and a speaker. The talks range over many areas and subjects, but they must always be positive. That seems to be the only rule.
I’d never heard of that night’s speaker, but his subject was ‘The Eight Elements’ and partly because I’d been pondering on elements for quite a while and partly because he was speaking as a follower of Krishna – a Truth quite new to me – I decided to go along.
The gentleman stood calmly before us, looked around the room at the sea of faces and announced, with total certainty, “I’m not the only person in this room who has been to the breaking point. I’m not alone in having reached a point in my life where everything I lived for, everything I believed, everything I cared about was swept away, leaving me lost, broken and utterly alone.”
All around the room, heads nodded slowly, solemnly, mine included.
The talk was excellent. Krishna’s take on the elements was oddly familiar and linked in well with the Egyptian, Greek, Shamanic, Medieval and alchemical ideas I’d been reading and thinking about. What I was left with above all, though, was that idea of the breaking point – the need to go through what feels at the time to be a crisis, a disaster, a destruction of all you’ve held dear. It is the tower card in the tarot – the card I used to fear above all others, back in the days when my life was settled and sorted (although very far from perfect).
I thought of the many friends and family members I’ve seen hit that point, whether through a sudden incapacitating illness, a financial meltdown, a job loss, a relationship breakup or what’s commonly called a nervous breakdown. Often – as in my own case – it’s a mixture of several of these. Like the body of Osiris, we are broken up, hacked into pieces and scattered in the waters of Life.
There follows a time of the most awe-ful emptiness. We shut down. We exist from moment to moment, day to day, with no clear idea of how or why we are still functioning. This is the time we need to hide away, to withdraw from everyone and everything, knowing at some instinctive level that we require peace, and that healing will eventually flow from this.
Despite the kindness and ministrations of others, there’s ultimately only one place that healing can come from. It comes from within. It comes from our soul-selves – the part of us that is, and has always been, whole and complete. Slowly and painfully, we begin to re-member ourselves – to put ourselves back together. This time, though, we will be different. We will have shed the limiting beliefs that we are not complete without money/ health/ family/ possessions/ career/ home/ friends or whatever we relied upon for stability and identity in the past. That’s not to say we won’t regain or rediscover some of these, but they will no longer take centre stage.
Now we will have re-membered who we truly are. We will recognise that we are whole and complete in ourselves. We are not – primarily – parent or employee, partner or owner. We are infinite aspects of the great I AM and as such, we have no limits.
“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore, trust the physician and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.”
Kahlil Gibran: The Prophet