Chapter 1 (cont.) 

Rebirth: 
Becoming the Creative Self

Betrayal, Trust, and Forgiveness: A guide to emotional healing and Self-renewal

 
 
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Listening to our intuition is a creative process and naturally leads to the final phase of initiation: rebirth. The creative birth process is the antithesis of the death process. During death and birth, archetypal forces are at work on the psyche, but in the death phase, we resist
these forces. In the birth phase, we learn to relax, and let these forces guide us to our highest good, the birth of a new self. In the symbolic death stage of initiation, external events and circumstances beyond our control are killing us, forcing us to change. As we internalize these forces, we are empowered by them, and they deliver us to our greater Self. The gap between death and birth is an opening for the divine.

Rebirth is the phase in which you integrate the spiritual teaching as it relates to the fulfillment of your new role, and you reenter into your community. The process a pregnant woman goes through provides an excellent metaphor for the process of giving birth to one’s creative Self. Self-realization plants the seed of a new possibility, a new way of being. It takes time for the seed to grow into its full form-a reminder that we need to be patient with our growth process and give ourselves the necessary time, energy, and self-care that will support our ultimate Self-fulfillment. Following the metaphor of birth, we find five stages of development: insemination, gestation, labor, transition, and delivery.

Step 1: Insemination-Realization
Insemination corresponds to that flash of insight or new awareness that shifts and expands our sense of who we are or what is possible. Become receptive to the possibility of something new being born. Use your intuitive tools to open and receive a spark of inspiration from a creative, infinite Source.

Step 2: Gestation-Observation
After we are impregnated with new knowledge, we must nurture and nourish the new perspective. It gestates within our being. Shift your attention to your observing, intuitive Self. Observe what nurtures and supports you and your process. Nourish your hunches by following intuitive cravings and observing results. Use inner and outer resources and continue to gain support for who you are as you grow in confidence in your new sense of self.

Step 3: Labor-Vacillation
You experience a paradigm clash between your new and old identities. Outmoded belief systems or old ways of being contradict your inner guidance and new vision. Consciousness contracts as we confront old expectations, patterns, and habits, and expands as we stay true to ourselves and live with integrity. You vacillate between your old and new ways, flip-flopping between the two. Continue to explore and live your truth. Relax. Release attachments to outcomes. Use all your resources, inner and outer, to support growth. Watch for synchronicities that affirm your growth, and continue to contact and follow your inner guidance. Actively surrender “my will” to “Thy will” by trusting and acting on your higher Self’s guidance.

Step 4: Transition-Creative Tension 
It is not unusual to feel tremendous tension, self-doubt in and discomfort with how others respond to the “new you.” You may even temporarily loose faith in yourself and feel as though you have slipped back into old patterns. The contradiction between outmoded belief systems and one’s new awareness continues to increase in intensity as you alternate between self-doubt and Self-trust during the transition phase.

When you feel as though you haven’t grown at all, and you have been just fooling yourself, know that you are in the thick of transition. This is a very delicate time where you might abort your mission by sinking into believing the negative thoughts and feelings—a quick path back to symbolic death. The possibility of slipping into self-betrayal is strong. Have no fear though, as symbolic death always leads to new knowledge eventually—you will come through. Self-betrayal will guide you to understand that your betrayal is for-giving you an opportunity to unite with your true Self, and to eventually give-forth this Self to the world. When extreme self-doubt and synchronistic signs of support and guidance are juxtaposed, forgive yourself for being a frail, evolving, human being. Use the tension of transformation as a sign to push forward in the direction of your values, ideals, and dreams. Remember to TRUST. 

Step 5: Delivery-Integration
You become aware of how much you have changed. You notice how you are no longer doing things the old way anymore. You feel at ease and have a sense of release and relief. Congratulations! Create a ritual to acknowledge your growth and celebrate your new life. This is the final phase of rebirth in which one’s return, reentry, and integration into the community brings with it satisfaction in one’s new role within society, because this new role includes utilizing one’s newly found powers and gifts that benefit the self and others. Integration of the initiation teachings within the context of community—one’s family, circle of friends, or even in the workplace—is the reward that leads to a richer, fuller, and more meaningful life. You know you are at this stage when you reflect on all you’ve been through and feel a sense of appreciation for yourself, and all that you have become. You feel alive and excited about life. 


ACT instead of React: 
Getting from Soul Tests to Spiritual Teachings

Each death initiation teaches the initiate to accept that she or he has the power to turn inward and contact an inner Source of healing. We do this by taking the risk to turn inward and contact our creative Source of power within. In recontacting the Self, we find the One in whom we truly can trust. Our ability to continue to ACT—accept, create, and trust—over and over in all our relationships marks passage through the betrayal-to-trust initiation of the soul. The emotional ordeals of betrayal become five soul tests that provide us with five spiritual teachings.
 

Soul Test #1: Resentment, Obsession, Vengeance
Spiritual Teaching: Turn inward for truth. Discover and express your deeper truth. Learn to develop and use good communication skills when you share your truth with others. 

Inner healing followed by new action is the basis of recovery, dignity, and freedom. We are delivered through the betrayal gateway into trust by the practice of living in new, nontraditional, non-betraying ways. When we interact with our betrayers from Self-trust, we transform our relationships. The experience of betrayal turns into a series of teachings that continue to inspire us to remember who we are-creators. 

With practice, one learns to ACT in a nontraditional way in response to each of the five emotional ordeals, the tests and trials of betrayal as they surface in day-to-day life. As intuition guides one’s personal journey in both the inner and outer worlds, each emotional ordeal of betrayal is transformed into a sacred soul teaching that guides and supports one’s spiritual practice. The desire for vengeance, projection of the shadow, cynical generalizations, self-betrayal, and the need for control and manipulation become tests of creativity and Self-trust.

When one is confronted with a betrayal experience, it becomes a synchronistic event, an intuitive message from an infinite Source of intelligence guiding us to turn inward. Instead of vengeance, we use the pain as a signal to consult our inner Self and seek a deeper truth. The desire for revenge then becomes a cue to discover and communicate the truth. First, we recognize that rejection or abandonment by our betrayer stimulates the fear of a loss of Self. As we mourn our temporary separation from the divine, we remember to use inner and outer resources to recognize and release fear reactions. Then we can receive intuitive insight, which reveals a deeper truth. As we tell our truth to another, we can learn to make “I” statements and to use reflective and active listening techniques and other communication skills instead of blaming, shaming, and punishing our betrayer. For example, depending on how it is said, a statement like “I need space for now” can mark a time of sacred separation to connect with the Self, instead of a wounding act intended to reject and hurt your betrayer.

Soul Test #2: Denial, Shadow Projection, Bitter Resignation
Spiritual Teaching: Relax, release, receive. Develop compassion for yourself and others. Learn to relax your fear reactions. Release self-righteousness by recognizing both positive and negative traits within yourself. Continue to receive inner direction.

In taking space, the commitment is to own the shadow in yourself rather than project it onto your betrayer. The first step is to release your attachment to being right. This is accomplished through relaxing the body and the mind. The body holds tension, so breathing exercises and physical exercise like yoga, tai chi, racquetball, dancing, or hiking help the body relax. Relaxing the mind means letting go of emotional reactions like anger, hurt, and grief. “Release attachment to outcomes” is a helpful mantra to relax the mind. Many people across cultures employ meditation, self-hypnosis, song, dance, prayer, or ritual to relax the mind. Remember to use both inner and outer resources to help you in your process. The use of self-help books and audio tapes; talks with friends, therapists, or intuitive consultants; or participation in support group meetings can also help you release emotional reactions.

After releasing and relaxing, we become receptive to deeper truth. Intuitively, we can know the truth. One thing that is universally true is that each of us contains both positive and negative qualities. Instead of obsessing about your betrayer’s negative traits, turn inward and observe how and when you betrayed yourself in the relationship. Recognize the unconscious motive, vulnerability, or underlying destructive pattern within your own psyche that allowed you to betray yourself. Or explore your past experience with one of your betrayer’s worst negative traits and observe if you have ever felt or acted that way. The betrayal-to-trust initiation challenges one to acknowledge and accept one’s own darkness and light-one’s strengths and vulnerabilities. This builds self-acceptance, tolerance, and compassion for yourself and others.

Soul Test #3: Cynicism, Generalization, Stereotyping
Spiritual Teaching: Use intuition to understand. Seek to understand the highest good, deeper meaning, and special gift or soul purpose that is unique to you and that furthers your personal and spiritual growth. Learn to develop your intuition, using both inner and outer resources, to gain greater awareness.

Instead of projecting your personal betrayal wounds onto the collective by generalizing the negative, learn to use your intuition to gain personal insight and understanding. Remember that truth is not a value judgment, as in right and wrong or good and bad. Intuitive truth is guided by your personal quest for meaning and it rekindles Self-awareness. 

Start by simply observing yourself instead of judging others. Self-awareness leads to the rediscovery of one’s innate gifts and unique talents. This inspires self-worth and a sense of purpose in life and leads to the discovery of another profound universal truth. Just as you have a gift to give the world, every other individual and each group in our society has a unique gift to give to the collective. Cynically attributing the negative traits to all others challenges the soul to resolve prejudice, bigotry, and racism-to, in effect, join the human race. Unconscious projection of our personal betrayal wounds onto groups tests our collective ability to resolve the complex issues of our world today. 

Soul Test #4: Self-Betrayal, Self-Rejection, Self-Abandonment
Spiritual Teaching: Speak, share, stand up. Commit to the fulfillment of your soul’s dream. Learn to take a stand in life, speak your truth, and share your dreams.

We are born to express ourselves and give our gifts to the world. The fourth test, self-betrayal, challenges our commitment to fulfill our vital dream, vision, or purpose in life. Etymologically, the word commit comes from the same root as mission. Indeed, we each have a soul mission, a vital dream envisioned by the Self. Its fulfillment requires that we make use of our unique gifts and talents to activate our potential.

Rather than betray the Self, speak what you know and take a stand in life. The stand you take is congruent with your essential values and visions. Life becomes a spiritual practice as one lives one’s truth within the context of the community. Your words and deeds illustrate integrity, wholeness, and a union between self and Self. Ideally, each person in society “follows their bliss,” as Joseph Campbell put it. When one embodies one’s deepest values and visions, one’s personal healing begins to extend beyond oneself. As we creatively contribute our unique gifts, talents, and resources to the community, we collectively transform our society.

At first, one’s new actions in the world might be upsetting to others. Our friends, family, or coworkers may even accuse us of being betrayers. And, in fact, we are! We betray our friends and family who like us the old way. We betray the vapid social and cultural mores of our time to bring a new sense of life to our world. We consciously betray the assumption that life is meaningless and that there is something wrong with us. We choose to be free. We unite with our greater Self and trust in the One within who guides our spiritual practice. Right action based on inner guidance becomes our way of life, both the process and the path.

Soul Test #5: Paranoid Fear, Control, and Manipulation
Spiritual Teaching: Try again and TRUST. Remember that you are free to be yourself and to fulfill your vital dream. Learn to allow others the same freedom. ACT, and TRUST the process that takes you on your soul’s journey from betrayal to trust and forgiveness.

Ultimately, the impulse to react to betrayal with fear, control, and manipulation is a test of freedom. If you are free to fulfill your vital dream and mission in life as guided by your inner Source, so is every other human being. On this journey from betrayal to trust, we are all on a spiritual path. Yet we may be walking along the path at different paces. When your friends, lovers, family, or associates react to you with anger, or try to deny the truth of your experience by arguing with you and offering convincing rationalizations, tears, or threats, recognize that they have just entered the symbolic death phase of their own initiation.

Do not personalize their death reaction. Remember they are dying symbolically, and that they are on their own soul’s journey toward rebirth. Trust the process that takes each of us from death to life. Rather than die with them by denying their process, or trying to control and manipulate them with angry arguments or rationalizations of your own, ACT and TRUST. Accept each of you for who and where you are in the journey from betrayal to trust. Create by trying to find a new way to deal with your feelings of betrayal. Trust the process. Turn inward instead of trying to control and manipulate your friend into understanding life from your point of view. Consider the feedback that they give you. There may be a grain of truth in what they say. What new insight does it give you about yourself? Discover whatever it is that is personally valuable in that grain of truth; allow it to grow into a pearl of wisdom in the belly of your experience. Know your own truth. Release the rest. Continue to use your inner and outer resources to gain deeper insight and understanding. Then, from this new understanding, express yourself again. Speak what you know and don’t be afraid to turn inward and try again.

In our own small ways, we each play sacred roles as initiators and betrayers. We provoke each other to die and be reborn. Each rebirth brings new knowledge into the world. Healing personal betrayal wounds trains us to become agents for the spiritual evolution of social consciousness. As living, breathing models of TRUST, we discover that we are free to be true to ourselves instead of using fear, control, and manipulation to survive. We each have the right to be a divine expression of life. As we follow inner direction with integrity, we are able to fulfill our roles in the drama of the divine. We become the eyes, ears, hands, and feet of the Creator. First, we learn to cooperate with our inner companion. Next, we model this cooperation in our interactions with our outer companions. Together, we become cocreators determined to use our inner and outer resources to collectively transform our society and bring new life to our world.

We face many challenges in our world today. Social and environmental crises lead us to believe that our world is threatened and that we are doomed. Yet the betrayals of society, and even of our planet, are reflections of even greater soul challenges. Each wound is a distinct gateway that opens us to another initiation of the soul. All wounds are catalysts for personal spiritual awakening and the evolution of social consciousness. As we resolve our personal betrayal wounds, we become humane emissaries, and like the Frog Prince and the princess, we are able to act with integrity in our world in a new, beautiful, kind way. Collectively, we have all the inner and outer resources we need—creative intelligence, technical skill and ability, financial resources, human resources—to respond to the natural and man-made disasters that threaten to betray the continuance of life as we know it on our planet.

We are being trained by an infinite intelligence to trust the forces of evolution that are at work in our world. Working through betrayal is part of the divine design. The story of the Frog Prince provides us with an interesting image. The frog is an animal that took an evolutionary leap from being a sea creature to becoming a land creature. Journeying from betrayal to trust is an equally radical shift in states of consciousness. The same forces that molded life on this planet are molding the human psyche. Like the frog who mastered life on both land and in the water, we must master both betrayal and trust if we are not only to survive, but evolve.

We are learning to trust whatever mystery it is that created the universe, stars, galaxies, planets, and life. Betrayal is part of the mystery. Betrayal is a natural process that has the potential to open one’s heart and awaken expanded states of consciousness: a deeper sense of knowing, a sense of purpose in life, and a sense of wholeness—a oneness with all creation. As we apply the ancient mystery teachings of initiation to our everyday life, we begin to use personal, social, and planetary betrayal wounds as a creative stimulus for personal, social, and planetary spiritual evolution of consciousness.

Exercises From Chapter 1 

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