After my son’s cancer returned, I had a dream that he died. It was very foggy and he was walking past me as he was walking out of his life. I was about twenty feet away from him and I started screaming to get his attention, but he just kept on walking. I was screaming so hard that I woke myself up, and in that moment I felt deep despair.
I really trust the ‘being woken up in the middle of the night’ times in my life. I usually just ground and open to whatever is showing up inside of me and gently fall back to sleep. But on this night, with the fear and despair from the dream, my mind was truly agitated. I worked with it for a bit, but then was kind to myself and turned on the TV. Over and over again, I softened my belly, allowed some long slow breaths, and then asked Life for help. I said, “Life, I see you are showing me something here. In the right time and the right place, please help me to see what you are showing me.” Finally I turned off the TV and went back to bed.
When I awoke the next morning after tossing and turning most of the night, the despair was still there, but there was more space. As I sat with it again, I said to myself over and over, “As Is, I’m Here.” As Is reminds me to not fight with Life and I’m Here invites me to bring my attention directly to what I am experiencing. As I stayed with the despair, it began to move through me. There was a point when my heart opened to it completely and I realized that it was not only my despair, but that it was our despair. We all have despair, and when someone is present with their own despair, that awareness helps heal our collective despair. As I was touching my despair with my heart, I thought of a quote by Osho, the Indian mystic and spiritual teacher, as it reminded me how important it is to trust Life: “Don’t try to force anything. Let life be a deep let-go. See God opening millions of flowers every day without forcing the buds.”
Life includes unpleasantness, loss, pain, and death. Yet, the mind wants to try to get rid of the unpleasant stuff as quickly as possible and get to the good stuff. It says, “I want this. I don’t want that. I don’t want this headache. I want more money. I don’t want this flu. I want the weather to be different. I don’t want illness of any kind. I want more romance. I don’t want bad dreams. I want peace all the time.” What you don’t realize is that you create suffering by trying to get rid of what you don’t like. The words As Is allow you to unhook from the constant struggle in your mind, inviting you to trust what Life is offering. It does not mean that you just sit by the side of the road and do nothing. It means your foundational relationship with Life is that you trust that it is giving you the exact experiences you need to unhook from your struggling self. The words I’m Here invite your attention to come back to what is happening right here, right now. When your attention and your immediate experience come together, that is where the healing happens.
It is important to remember that awakening does not happen overnight. It is a gradual process. I like to think of it as a child learning how to walk. The child takes a couple of steps on his own and then falls down. He gets up and takes a few more steps, only to fall down again. Slowly and surely, you begin to walk out of your mind and into Life (of course, you stumble back into your mind from time to time, but that’s okay). Learning not to leave yourself when you most need yourself is all about bringing your attention into your immediate experience. As Is, I’m Here opens you to the place where true transformation happens.
Mary O’Malley is an author, counselor and awakening mentor in Kirkland, Washington. In the early 1970’s, a powerful awakening led Mary to begin changing her relationship with her challenges, freeing her from a lifelong struggle with darkness. Mary’s latest book, What’s In the Way Is the Way, provides a revolutionary approach for healing your fears, anxieties, shame, and confusion, so you can live from a place of ease and well-being. www.maryomalley.com