How can we access love, compassion and wisdom? I always tell my practitioners and clients that the entry into this is already within us. But what about when we aren’t feeling particularly compassionate, wise, or loving? How can we go about accessing these parts of ourselves that seem distant and somehow “out there” and unattainable?
For me, along this long and twisted path toward awakening, there has been one very core aspect to the answer of this question.
Having grown up in an alcoholic home with absent parents, from a very early age I learned how to fend for myself and how to avoid my emotions in particular. Even though it was all unspoken, I learned from a very early age that it was best to not see, not to feel, and definitely not to share. It became the armor I learned to don for many years.
It took much time in introspection and meditation for me to first see that my upbringing wasn’t what others would consider “normal.” Admitting years of emotional abuse at the hands of my step-father and the trauma of being completely and totally separated from my grandparents, siblings, father, friends, and even the country in which I was born, took a ton of courage. In the end, it wasn't the courage to tell someone else, but rather the courage to admit the chronic feeling I had up to that point in my life of being unloved, unsupported, unheard, and completely alone.
When you grow up in isolation and in a family of dysfunction, it can take time to understand that some of your defensive behaviors as an adult were simply what you had long-since learned so you could cope and survive.
For me, it was all I knew.
Only after the realization of the deep wounds and the admission to myself of the pain left behind was I able to understand the lessons these events taught me. And I also understood that these were the very lessons I was here to learn in this lifetime.
Instead of pushing away or denying the wounds and the scars they left behind, it was only in confronting them when I finally found freedom from their grip.- Maggie Kelly
From that release and distance from the actual events that had occurred so long ago I was finally able to access the love and compassion for the adults in my life who had let me down. I could only then see the human side of those very events and the people themselves as opposed to the ways in which I had been so justified in my hurt and anger toward them.
It was then that I was no longer a victim of the circumstances of my life.
I was able to access the wisdom in the experiences I had as a child and forgive those who I perceived had wronged me. I could clearly see how some of us simply do not have the capacity to provide others with what they need and that’s often likely a result of their own generational experiences and traumas. And while I wouldn’t want others to experience the desperation, loneliness and isolation I did as a child, I now completely understand and forgive it.
It was this clarity which also gave me the insight into the fact that I am in charge of changing the narrative of these generational wounds. I could choose to live inside the past stories I told myself and others about my life or I could actually become the one to stop the cycle. I could be the one to stop handing down that same trauma to the next generation.
There is an enormous gift in these lessons.
That is the access to wisdom and compassion. It is in the admission of the experiences we have and the ability to examine our stories about them. In recognizing the humanity of those who did their best to care for us with what they had available and accessible to them in that moment. It is not our fault. We did not deserve it.
I am no longer a victim of those stories. Instead, I am grateful for them.
I am grateful for the insights and lessons they taught me, the strength they gave me, the ways in which they contributed to the strong, capable, forgiving, loving and compassionate woman I am today.
It is because of these past experiences that I am able to provide compassion, insight and guidance to those who I meet with in my spiritual coaching practice today. It is because of these insights that I can see others as whole and complete no matter what stories and traumas they show up with.
The wisdom, love, and compassion truly are within each one of us. Sometimes, it just needs to be uncovered from underneath the blankets of trauma, stories and circumstances. But it IS there already and always.
As you journey on this path towards love and compassion, we would love to walk with you at Satsang House! We meet regularly on Sundays for community meditation (starting up again on January 22nd), offer many courses, and host events throughout the year. We hope to see you soon!