What do you do when things don’t change? How do you deal with stress that has accumulated over the years? When relationships fall apart how do you step into heart and grace and move on? When disappointments set in and we need to deal with difficult feelings and challenges how do we keep the heart in the whole thing?
Over the last few years as I was looking into more spiritual work, I was involved in organizations that I put a lot of great trust in. What does that mean to you, when you put trust into someone? For some it may mean giving your power away, and that is in some way what I have done, on another level it showed me differences in opinions that really strongly rubbed against my own core values.
I trusted these teachers to provide guidance and support and wisdom in today’s world. There are dime-a-dozen spiritual teachers and healers out there today. It makes me realize just how much people are hurting inside and how much they are looking to heal on many levels. Spiritual/Evolutionary/Awakening leaders are emerging each one sharing their own direct experience – that is something I was not aware of.
In my work and in my education as a nurse, I was trained that what you are teaching is exactly how it is. This is how you take out sutures, this is how you resuscitate a patient. This precision, and exactness and method is what saves lives and offers stability. This system is what helps people to be reliable and it builds trust because of a small (Big) thing called practice.
What I discovered from some of these spiritual teachers is lack of skills in areas that are crucial for creating peaceful environment, lack of communication skills and courage to deal with challenges, lack of education and lack of compassionate reasoning.
Some of them bordering on the edge of creating spiritual ideologies while the facts of life
still remain unchanged. As a result of this I have learned that some religions create boundaries and these boundaries do separate. I became aware of how in these situations it is good to keep all lines of communication open. Open communication permits for energy to move and for new creative thinking to emerge. Open communication strengthens compassion and kindness between people.
On every level education is designed to bring change and to impact the people who are learning, anytime we learn something new it gets adapted into our way of living and processed through conversations dialogs and application.
I became acutely aware of people who speak of ‘no-change’ when they are teaching and offering education. “We are not at all changing you”, “we do not want to change who you are” I heard statements like that from many spiritual organizations.
We must realize that these statements are false. We are changing each other every day we interact. Education is designed to do that. Religion is designed to offer us ethical and moral principles and these when examined, and rituals when practiced are all designed to change us. Change is the only permanent thing, have you heard that saying?
As I had to take responsibility for my choice in engaging in these organizations, I couldn’t help but feel unsupported, as I felt profound changes were demanded of me that I was not able to make. Previously I felt very content where I was in my life, many friends, travels and stable work, stressful, but rewarding and the positive changes that it brought to many made me always feel grateful for the work that went in. All this seemed to disappear over night.
For me the question remains why did I chose to remain in these organizations for so long? As I look at things today I must draw on the Buddhist wisdom of 4 Noble Truths and the 2nd and 3rd truth that speak of karmic conditions and causes of karma. I realize it is difficult to see and feel that some people have different views and express love and care in ways that may be unsatisfactory to others, and thus I felt really a lack of community.
I wondered too if I am always a dissatisfied person, but when I looked deeply inside and felt the moments when I did feel satisfied and knowing what good is possible in this world, I knew right away that this is not possible, perhaps I am a woman who has high aims for myself?
These challenges made me aware of the great gifts that I have and made me realize that I must be more cautions where and with whom I share these gifts.
The saddest thing is that humanity still holds a deeply ingrained belief that we need to suffer a lot to get somewhere, and that belief I do not hold. As mind creates reality, I much rather belief and manifest reality of altruism, sustainability, compassion and peace, as I think it is more needed in today’s world. Did I fall a victim to other’s projections on me? Was I a scape goat?
Through the painful beyond words ordeal that I went through, I arrived in a place of inner equanimity for most part. I am today in a place where I feel both safe and welcomed to share the main reason to stand for peace.
I realized that there are certain dynamics, and views on the world that I no longer hold. These all have to do with aggression and violence. It just doesn’t speak to me in a sense of living to live angry about anything. Buddhism has taught me that desire and passion and devotion are actually devoid of anger and hot energy, they are the driving force of what moves us into enlightenment and realization.
I can not tolerate violence. I disengage from anger and I choose to look at peaceful ways to deal with things.
I can not tolerate emotional abuse or psychological games that some people like to engage in, to keep their minds busy. I find that to be a waste of time.
I had to deal with a lot of emotional stress and challenge in the last couple years about the situation, loss of job, clients, community and some friendships.
I decided not to be bitter, but to stand in the Peace and Awake way of dealing with the world.
When people do not offer you dialog it is because they don’t know what to say, and perhaps they have not contemplated the same things. It does not make them wrong or even ignorant, it makes them uniquely who they are a gem in a tapestry of life.
Dialog is designed to bring peace, understanding and communities together.
This is why I feel hopeful about becoming an Interfaith Minister.
When strong opinions have no space to be heard or examined with compassion this is a sign of people who do not know how to address the challenge. At the very least we must create the dialog of peace. That altruistic desire, intention and capacity is what plants the seeds of knew understanding and compassion.
I remind myself to keep my mind in contemplation and be open to sanity.
We need to recognize that religion and spirituality serve humanity as guiding moral principles for many/most and that a lot of abuse and damage and crimes have been done in the name of spirituality, love and religion.
Today I chose to stand for peace even firmer, because this is what the world needs.
The world needs to cultivate more compassion, conversation and healing interchange.
I decided that in letting go of the suffering and in letting go of all points of view about what has happened between me and the organizations/people is to transform this within myself into a new dialog about education, spirituality, religion and faith.
I won’t be pressing any charges for what I went through. A Buddhist teacher simply stated that these were ‘negative provocations’ that made these circumstances arise in such a painful way. I pray that there are no negative provocations or obstacles of these proportions ever again. This was unbearable to witness and experience such lack of humanness.
I am grateful to those of you who have offered me support along the way in the last 2 years.
I am hopeful that with more passage of time this situation will dissolve, and more education will be done around religion, feminine spirituality, community building and economic ways of living that are sustainable for all.
With Kindness and Love
Aleksandra Szewczyk PhD (candidate)
[ Her Holiness TARA ]