by Lucy Dahill, Sydney, Australia
There is a belief I have found that I now see far more clearly, and that is that we are led to believe everything has a start and an end. Everything in existence is set and established according to my reaching a certain point. Let me give you an example: the day starts and ends, the year starts and ends. Within that, my life starts and I learn to do things, to crawl, to walk, to repeat the alphabet. I learn to do good, to please, to be happy, to do school, college and university. I start work, I start relationships and somewhere inside me I am waiting for them all to end, for my life to end.
My straight line is based on success and completion. What a shock to fail – to have to repeat. That would mean I was going backwards. If life goes in a straight line with birth on one end and death on the other, then if I am not going forward, if I am not improving, if I am not doing things, then surely I am going backwards. Hold on a second, that would mean I might die without being recognised for what I did. If no-one recognised me then what would be the point of life? I lived believing that I only have one life and I have to make it count.
Where does this belief come from? Is it just an innocent part of life – the ‘having a purpose’, the ’improving ourselves to make us more employable’, or is it a drive that impels us to be constantly on the move and at the mercy of someone else’s approval? It cannot be innocent because it feels like a curse. It keeps me constantly on the move with no allowing for stopping and stillness except in sleep – exhausted sleep. ‘Stopping’ feels indulgent, lazy, costly – I could find ‘a better use for my time’, ‘no-one recognises me for sleeping’ and ‘life might end tomorrow’.
I made decisions to work as hard as I could and to be good at it all, yet however many boxes I ticked, however well I did, there always seemed to be more to strive for, the recognition never quite satisfied the longing inside me. It was exhausting, how long could I go on like this – was it to be till I came to the end, till I died – surely THEN I would get a well earned sleep from all this trying and doing – wouldn’t I? I could see the gift of this ‘one life’, this start and end from my exhausted point of view.
Then I went to a Universal Medicine workshop and Serge Benhayon reminded me of a teaching I had always known to be true – the science of reincarnation. I have never been afraid of dying. I always felt like I would be going home. I remember picking up from somewhere that you come back to balance the karma, to ‘right the wrongs you have done in a previous life’. But in that workshop I suddenly realised that we are just going round and round, there is no start and end, you don’t leave anything behind. The microcosm of the start and end of the day is just a snapshot of the macrocosm – the start and end of your life… or indeed, many lives. So I had to ask, as many others in the workshop did – what does that mean for the life I am currently living?
It was exhausting and overwhelming just to contemplate. I had a mental download of all my underlying anxieties… would I get more depressed because I couldn’t escape from all that I actually wanted to leave behind? Would it expose that actually I was not really living how or what I wanted to live? Or would I simply fall apart without the structure of a day, a year, a lifetime – without the rest? How serious could this questioning get and, to be honest, I questioned if it was helpful. Should I not just stick with what I was currently living (the ‘one-life’ approach)? But it was too late – I had to contemplate it.
I pressed the pause button. For the first time in as long as I can remember I stopped the train.
I noticed that this conditioning of everything starting and ending stopped me completing things and stopped me feeling like I needed to commit or to have any responsibility – I could see my pattern of ticking boxes to move on to the next level or task or day or indeed life. If all that was needed was a tick, then did it matter how I was doing it, or what I was doing to get it done? My teacher didn’t mind as long as I got my assignment in, my boss didn’t mind as long as the client didn’t complain.
Yet if reincarnation was true it meant that it wasn’t about ticking boxes, because if I wasn’t going anywhere then everything mattered and how I did everything mattered. If I abused my body to get something done like pulling an all-nighter or drinking a gazillion cups of coffee, then I was going to be coming back to the hangover of that the next day, and with my new eyes I could see that the same applied to the pace I was living my life – if I gallop through this one in nervous energy then I would be dealing with the monstrous hangover from that in my next life. If I wasn’t going anywhere then I had a responsibility to myself.
I quickly came to see that I was comfortable in the lack of responsibility aspect of pretending we only had one life because it meant I could blame someone else for my not being good enough, for my not achieving and, in the end, I could just walk away from it. Considering life as one continuous repeat, seeing the simplicity of working and living together meant I had to be responsible for what and how I contributed to what we were living and doing in our family, in my house, in my work… and it was not going to change till I did. It was responsibility but it was also love. Love for myself and my family, friends, everyone I come into contact with.
So what would my day look like if I was coming back to the same day tomorrow?
Groundhog Day! I found that it is actually much more amazing than the negativity of my ‘one life’ outlook. Another day is another opportunity to experience what it is like living from the yumminess of not ‘doing’. I blacklisted multi-tasking and embraced just doing what I could in a day without tiring myself out. I even started giving myself breaks. I gave myself permission to have lunch, to have a shower without thinking about what I had to do next. I had to remember to have fun – because I love having fun, I love being playful and I thought that all had to stop when I grew up. I started practising being in the moment. I built routines, rhythms, space in my day that changed my approach to bedtime and my sleeping. I found that very slowly I came to feel a whole different side of me. A side I had suppressed for as long as I can remember. I am actually fragile, tender, strong, very loving and actually very organised – not the frazzled mess I believed I was. I have much more fun with my family and friends, they all welcomed the departure of ‘try-hard Lucy’ and are quick to remind me if she comes to stay again. Bizarrely it has created much more space in my day and I have an ever-expanding relationship with Time!
I am learning what it means to be open, to let people in. To show them who I am and not need them to like me or approve of my choices. In order to be OK with that, the most important point for me is to continually ensure that my choices are not at the expense of another.
I feel like I am learning so much about life – I am back at school and will learn forever… because the more I choose to see, the more I am aware that I have only chosen to see such a small part of all there is to see! Believing in a start and an end meant I was always making my way to the departure lounge. It put pressure on me to do as much as I could to have a good resume! Re-incarnation to me was a gift, like taking off a pair of glasses that had a pre-determined picture inside them which meant that everything I saw, I saw through that picture. Once they were off I looked again, and saw something totally different. Once I had started asking questions about this picture that I had always thought of as ‘the way it is’, I started seeing situations, people and places with so much more love.
To re-incarnate or not to re-incarnate, does it really matter which is true? No, not really. I know I want to be responsible in everything I do, say and think. If I don’t come back then I will have lived with more responsibility to myself and others, and if I do come back then I will be able to say ‘OK here I am, where do you need me this time?’… You never know, I may even come back as a scientist to prove reincarnation once and for all!
So what about today? Today I am committed to working more, to my relationships more – in fact to everything I thought I would run away from. How strange to take a moment to appreciate that everything that sent me into overwhelm when I thought there was a start and an end – everything I was desperate to get away from – I now choose. All the difficulties were the opportunities for my greatest healings.
Shakespeare didn’t say ‘To do or not to do’, he said ‘To be or not to be’. Mmmm – methinks he had a point. Now, that is my question – and my choice.