Illusion of Separation
What Goes Down Must Come Up
I’ve done a lot of healing since I started waking up, and one of the many things that I’ve addressed, and pretty damn well if I do say so myself, is my overall mood and mental state. For many years my life was full of anxiety and misery and emptiness, to put it very mildly, which is kind of crazy to think about looking back.
I bring that up because a couple weekends ago, my emotional state started to tank again for the first time in a while. In under 24 hours I went from feeling relatively happy and content to feeling totally despondent, kind of irritable, and like I was just tired of living. Tired of living, tired of trying, tired of feeling lonely and empty and under-appreciated. I must have been experiencing some temporary amnesia or something, because in that moment everything felt so profoundly shitty, and I couldn’t seem to remember how great life usually is.
I was going on a total downward spiral, and I realized that that all the anxiety and misery and emptiness that I thought I had pretty much healed and transcended, was still very present in my consciousness — it had just become a little less powerful and a lot less obvious. I unknowingly relegated it all to my subconscious because they didn’t fit my new paradigm (which is the whole idea behind shadow work).
Illuminating the Shadow
But in that moment of total despair and misery, there was nowhere for the shadow to hide.
There was no joy or excitement to conceal it, and I was able to see it more clearly than I had in a long time. Which of course, in the big picture, is a good thing, even though in the moment I just wanted to evaporate.
Spontaneous evaporation not being a viable option, I was still was under the assumption that ideally, I “shouldn’t” be having this experience in the first place. I rationalized the fact that I was having it by figuring I must have done something wrong, something outside the supposed purview or expectations or “approval” of All That Is — I fucked up, so I was on my own… Right?
I was so tired of feeling like my fuck-ups are separate from Source.
Tired of thinking that feeling empty or bitter or sad came a result of me messing up somehow, or not doing enough of this or that. Tired of feeling like I’m wrong, or less than, and that anything that goes wrong is my fault because it just has to be, all the other humans are so good and innocent — as I’m typing these words it sounds ridiculous, and intellectually I realize the total fallacy in that logic, but those were literally the thoughts that would run rampant in my consciousness (underlying the more enlightened thoughts about oneness and divinity and all that).
Underneath all the healing and growth I still felt fundamentally wrong, and like all of this talk about “we’re all one” somehow can’t fully apply to me, because I’m broken — I’m a flawed model. How could the unity and presence of Source apply to a human so fundamentally flawed?
It became obvious — really painfully obvious — that this belief system had still been subtly pervading my experience, even with all this newfound joy and healing.
Everything is Source
It felt crazy (and a little embarrassing) that such massive amounts of healing could be built on such an unsteady foundation. So I continued on my reluctant journey into the shadow side of my consciousness, and something hit me.
I mean, it didn’t hit me out of the blue; it came in via a video on YouTube that I came across randomly or synchronistically, depending on your perspective.
It was a short clip from an inspirational talk by Bentinho Massaro where he discussed the illusion of separation from Source / All That Is. He used the metaphor of a painting, and how every single thing painted on that canvas is part of the canvas. You couldn’t accurately say that one part of the painting is more the painting than another part — it’s all the canvas, it’s all one. Any interpretation of, for example, a tree painted on the left side being more a valid part of the canvas than the sun in the upper-right corner, is just an assumption filtered through any distortions or programming that we have.
There is no separation except in the assumptions. It appears to be. But even the sensation of separation is appearing seamlessly from all other sensations. So even the thought “I am separate from this” or “I am this as opposed to that” — if you just witness it and you listen to it with that pristine openness, you listen purely, nakedly, without description to the sense of separation as it appears to you while you are witnessing that sense of “I am this instead of all of that” — while witnessing that, if you listen, without labels, you will see that even the sense of separation is not separate from the canvas of what is.
These words impacted me deeply. They were exactly what I needed to hear in that moment.
The simple but profound power of this concept was able to pierce through all the layers of suffering and remind me of what my soul already knew deep down but my conscious mind had suppressed: That nothing is separate from Source — even pain and suffering.
Nothing is Broken
Even the sense of separation itself — the sense of feeling wrong, broken, empty, anxious, or fucked up — is not separate from the canvas of All That Is. It’s all a part of it. All of it.
Feeling broken and flawed is a part of Source just as much as feeling perfect and whole.
There is no failure in experiencing negative feelings. It doesn’t mean that I’m not being spiritual enough or good enough or any of that — in fact, there’s no need ultimately to even justify or validate those feelings at all! Every feeling, no matter if it’s one that we label as being “good” or “bad,” is relevant to the fabric of our reality. Not only that, but they actually serve as an emotional guidance system that we can utilize to live more aligned, happy lives. And although an explanation is not ultimately necessary, in retrospect we typically can identify some kind of outcome that came as a result of every experience.
Had I not emotionally tanked that weekend, I wouldn’t have been able to:
- Shine a light on the shadow of my pervading subconscious belief of inferiority and overall wrongness
- Experience that beautiful epiphany on the validity, necessity, and purpose of every single experience — how every part of the “canvas” of life is equally valid
- Remember that it’s okay to feel broken or fucked up; there’s nothing to fear
Prior to tanking I had had an intellectual inkling of these ideas, but now I’ve integrated them into my life experience and outlook. Energetically speaking, I think some really deep muladhara-related healing took place, because my foundation of healing and growth feels more solid.
Life feels different now.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like this instant shift where all of the sudden I felt transformed and full of joy. What did happen though was that I finally didn’t feel like I was wrong to be feeling what I was feeling. I knew it was okay — that I was okay. There was this sense of safety and wholeness that that came over me, where I finally felt okay to just be — to just be feeling whatever I was feeling. I could feel whole even while feeling broken. Because I’m not truly “broken.” No one is.
That was pretty much the epiphany!
A Lighter Way Forward
So that happened, and over the next day or two my mood and energy went back to normal. I’m back to feeling good and satisfied and creative and healed and spiritual and all of that — except now, all that good stuff feels more rooted and stable. I’m not wasting any subconscious energy trying to avoid recognizing any ugly underlying shadow beliefs.
Now I’m not subconsciously expending energy on avoiding feeling shitty or less-than.
Because I finally get that even feelings of being broken, empty, or separate from All That Is are inherently a part of All That Is. There’s no separation or end or limit of what emotions/experiences are supposedly deemed “acceptable.” So there’s nothing to fear or avoid in feeling that way — it’s all a part of it. It’s all valid. It all ultimately leads somewhere.
It’s freed up a lot of mental bandwidth — I never realized how much energy I was expending trying to suppress negative emotions!
I feel like I’m finally breathing fresh air after living in a polluted city for years. Everything feels a little lighter and easier. The baseline state of my typical day-to-day state of contentedness has not only raised, but it’s also become more reliable and solid, which is awesome.
They’re all part of the canvas of All That Is.