Life is an illusion, but we play it as real. — Sydney Banks
I randomly picked up an envelope in the large pile of mail I had waiting for me upon returning from my trip. It looked innocuous enough, and as good a place as any to start. However, when I opened it, I was stunned. It was a letter from a collection agency stating that I owe thousands of dollars in taxes to the State of Colorado.
I have neither lived in Colorado nor worked in Colorado. I have been a happy, tax paying resident of California for over twenty years. Given these facts, I knew intellectually this must be a mistake, but even with this intellectual understanding, my heart was racing, and I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. I felt scared.
I was aware of the discrepancy between my intellectual understanding and my emotional experience. I knew my body does not respond unless my brain tells it to. For example, if I want to lift my right arm, my brain needs to send signals to my arm to get it to move. This is a fortunate arrangement, because I would hate for my arm to have a life of its own.
So, if my heart was beating faster than normal and my stomach was tense, my brain was communicating signals to my body. My fight, flight, freeze response was activated while I was standing in the middle of my kitchen, perfectly safe with a piece of paper in my hand. Even if the collection letter were accurate, I was still not in any mortal danger.
With this clear discrepancy, I was aware I had irrational thoughts, invisible to me, below the surface of my consciousness. They appeared true enough for me to have this physiological response. Thoughts like: I am in trouble. I have done something wrong. I am bad. I will be punished. My world is going to fall apart. I am not going to survive.
Fortunately, the intensity of my emotional experience passed quickly. I was clear enough not to add fuel to my fearful thoughts and keep them alive for long. I stabilized enough to call the collection agency and advise them of the mistake. They asked me if I had ever done 1099 work for a Colorado headquartered company. I confirmed I had. They explained there must have been a error in recording my address, and was given a number to call at the Colorado Department of Revenue to straighten it out.
My reaction to the letter left me curious. I recognized I was creating the experience of danger even though my rational mind knew I was completely safe. My emotions made me keenly aware that my thinking was off track. As I reflected on this, I recognized how this is a symptom of a more generalized experience. Despite the financial success I am experiencing with my work, my feelings around money have been fearful.
Even though I am completely fine, my feeling state related to money had been anxious. I had the perception that no matter how much money I have, I am on the brink of ruin. I know this is irrational. I remember Steve Chandler drumming into my head, “Money is not oxygen.” This has been helpful.
Understanding these thought are insane helps me to not to give them much conscious attention. This means I spend much more time free from worrying about money, and when I do get caught up in my anxious thoughts, I spend less time there. However, this experience with the collection letter helps me see something new. I see beyond simply dismissing thoughts and not bringing them to life. I see how I am the creator of those thoughts.
This rocked my foundations. I no longer see my thoughts as being randomly generated outside of myself. This changes everything.
How can I continue to live in a perpetrator-victim relationship with my thinking, if I am the creator of these thoughts. It is no longer me versus my thoughts with my only choices being to dismiss them and see them as not true. It is only me.
I see the story I was generating about not being safe in the world. The narrative of me having to always work hard and fight to survive. Where I am the protagonist having to do it all alone and not being taken care of. Knowing I am fallible, and will, therefore, screw it up, so my world falls apart. This fits the genre of tragedy perfectly. As freedictionary.com states, tragedy is “a drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances.”
Why would I choose the genre of tragedy with which to create my reality? It does make sense based on some of my life experience. However, it is not a requirement, and purely made up. It is a self-created illusion I have been buying into and fighting against. I have the image of me wrestling with a villain, only to see I have been wrestling with myself all along. All the while complaining about how hard it is, and how exhausted I am from the fight.
As I see this, I have compassion for myself.
I know the timing of me getting this insight is perfect. It would be nice to have all the insight, understanding, and wisdom at once, but I do trust the perfection of my awakening process. I appreciate the glimpses I get into my authentic self and the magical feeling I have when I see beyond the limitations of my ego. I also love my humanness and all of the imperfections and blind spots that includes. There really is no separation between my humanity and my divinity.
I am the dreamer, living in the dream, and seeing the dream as real. How amazing to have this creative ability no matter what the content of the dream is. I may still create a woe is me story related to money and security at times, butexperiencing myself as the creator does not leave me feeling disempowered. I cannot be a victim even if that is a role I play.
I love the paradox of this! It makes sense when we are living the mystery of waking up to the fact that we are already awake.