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What does wholeness really mean? Almost every spiritual teaching refers to it, pointing to the fact that each of us is whole at the core, not in need of anything outside ourselves. Of course this is not meant to be taken literally as human beings depend on each other for our very survival – most of us (not all) need others to build our homes, prepare our food, make our clothes. Even going beyond the absolute basics, it can be argued we need others for companionship and support. No man is an island, as the saying goes. We shouldn’t have to live alone. For a great many people, that would be hellish.

Wholeness points to another kind of independence, or perhaps put better as inter-dependence. Many teachings say that there is no separation and that in fact we are each part of the same soul. Put differently, we are each a spark of the Divine so we carry the God-like wholeness within our very being. We are both whole and part of everything and everyone else. We can look to others to supply what we need – food, clothing, emotional support – without losing a sense of our own self, or our own Divinity (if one is so inclined to call it).

Well, in theory anyway.

Painful childhood experiences (or indeed, adult experiences) can derail this whole process (pun intended). It is hard to grow up feeling whole when a child has been neglected, belittled or abused. Their mind will become conditioned into thinking there is something very wrong with them. Not only that, they won’t have received what they need from their parents or other loving adults to be capable of growing into a psychologically healthy adult. Trauma, not even just the ‘obvious’ kinds such as abuse, can fragment a child’s sense of self, causing them to grow up emotionally dependent on other people and unable to gain a sense of their own self – known as co-dependence.

This is why I love Carl Jung. He stated that integration is necessary for one to achieve individuation (which to him was about fulfilling one’s potential, which can also be viewed as a connection to the Divine within). Wholeness means acknowledging the painful parts of themselves, not ignoring or denying them. It doesn’t have to mean loving or even liking them, but accepting they are there and part of the whole process.

Some may call the soul the part of us that is truly whole and the mind as the flawed ego. But I feel a little uncomfortable with this. I prefer to see the soul and the mind as working in tandem. The mind, when opening to something outside of itself, can learn to serve the soul’s agenda, but the mind is not wrong. It is doing the absolute best it can considering its experiences. It’s possible to accept those parts of us that block us from being open to something more – the spark of Divinity that we are. It’s an in depth process, as I know myself. I’m not sure it ever stops. It means being aware of the aspects of our personality that we consider less than perfect – the desperate neediness, the controlling behaviour, the jealousy – and trying to accept and understand them as being part of where we are on this journey while always holding onto our potential. That’s how I have come to see it.

Wholeness, then, for me is about love. It’s all about love. Loving oneself, loving others without getting lost in them, accepting and learning to love even the parts of ourselves that take us far from the feelings and behaviours that we wish we had; learning to integrate it all like a beautiful radiant kaleidoscope of Divine colour. Everything is truly Divine; there is nothing else.

A dream of Egret: Pure, beautiful and free

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Anyone who follows this blog for any length of time will quickly notice that I love writing about and understanding my nightly dreams. I nearly always remember them, albeit I don’t dream as vividly as I once did. I believe that dreams carry messages for us, some important, others less so, but they always have a story to tell, if we can learn to understand their language.

As often happens with me, my interest in a dream from one night caused my subconscious to expand on it the following night. On Tuesday night I dreamed I was taking part in a project. I can’t remember the details, but I was photographed standing in front of a beautiful nature scene; a golden beach, glistening waves, white birds (I believed were gulls) swooping down behind my head, plus, strangely, a bear popping up in the corner. Whenever an animal pops up in a dream I look at their symbolic meaning or totem and, in the case of Bear, groundedness and protection are the main messages, which are certainly very apt at the moment.

My photograph being in front of the entire scene has great symbolism; first, the fact I am facing the camera and not the beauty emerging behind me (what/who am I really looking at?) and second, I absolutely hate my photograph being taken in life. I do not like the way I look. I have no problem with my weight, body shape, or anything like that; I struggle with my facial appearance and have done all my life. I am starting to work on this but it is still a painful issue for me and even understanding the reality that we are not our bodies has not taken away the challenge due to how deep rooted it is. Anyhow, the dream puts me in a photograph, juxtaposed onto this beautiful beach scene, showing me that I am part of it all – the calm, the beauty, the magic, the love.

Then last night I dreamed I was on a train travelling to a station called ‘Egret.’ I didn’t know where it was but I didn’t feel threatened. I saw different houses out of the window. I had never seen houses quite like them; their windows were so high. The train stopped and I didn’t know where we were, whether it was ‘Egret,’ where I knew I needed to go. It wasn’t; I had to get on a bus. I found myself among several bus passengers travelling down a road with bus stops every few metres. I had never seen so many. We carried on until the driver announced our arrival. I’m not sure what happened after this.

I looked up Egret and found the stunning bird represents beauty, calm, patience, tranquility, purity and eternal life. My subconscious took the beach scene from the night before with the gulls flying behind my head and showed me that I am heading in the right direction, which is, of course, greater peace of mind and love for oneself and others. Clearly the train and bus represent my journey through life, the bus being more social, showing that being connected to others is important and that I am guided, always. The bus stops may be a symbol for always being in control and having a choice no matter what.

Like the Egret, my soul is beautiful, my soul is love, my soul is free.

‘Love is the only answer’ Matt Kahn

I was wondering where to start and then I thought where better than love?

Matt Kahn is one of my favourite spiritual teachers at this point in my journey. His philosophy is that whatever we are feeling, thinking, or dealing with – we love that. Sounds simple but it’s very, very hard to remember and put into practice, as I have personally found.

As humans we are hardwired to want to avoid pain and seek pleasure. Well, of course we are. Who would want pain (unless they’re a masochist)? Avoiding it ensures our survival as a species. Plus no one wants to feel bad. I have several chronic illnesses and HATE feeling unwell and limited. We often don’t like emotions such as anger and jealousy and consider them negative and unspiritual, coming from the ego rather than the spark of Divinity that we are. We may try to stuff them down and focus more on so-called positive emotions such as happiness and joy. That’s natural.

The problem may arise when we resist aspects of our experience so much that we create more suffering for ourselves. We may feel angry or jealous and get upset with ourselves for feeling that way, thereby adding another layer of suffering on top of the feelings we are already experiencing. In my case, struggling with feeling exhausted and unwell and wishing I was healthy creates resistance and more suffering. But lofty spiritual ideals such as ‘accepting everything that happens’ don’t really work for me either. Do we really have to accept everything? Really??

Matt Kahn’s answer to this is to love. If we are feeling angry, notice it and love the part of us that is angry. If we are in physical pain, love the part of us that is hurting or, if that is impossible, love the part of us that can’t love the part that is hurting. The answer is always love. I don’t have to accept my illnesses but I can love the part of me who cannot accept them. I don’t have to accept the suffering in the world but I can love the part of me who cannot accept it. This works because the relationship with ourselves is reflected out into the world and vice versa. When we love the supposedly unlovable parts of ourselves we set them free. Not only does this bring us to greater internal peace, it is the key to a more peaceful world.

Welcome to my website!

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Hello everyone! Welcome to my new website Path of Light! I’m so excited to be sharing my journey with you and hopefully connecting with people and meeting new friends. My current aim for this blog is to share my reflections as I move through daily life, from the deeply spiritual to the mundane. I’ve been interested in spirituality since I was child, starting with Christianity and moving towards more New Age, Spiritualist and Eastern teachings. While I listen to and use a lot of teachings as guides, I don’t have a ‘set’ path that I follow other than my own life experience. I believe that everyone is a spark of the Divine and when we tap into the light that it is in our heart we will literally, as they say, find our way home.

On the mundane level, here’s some information about me that some of you may find relatable: I’m a 40ish female living in the UK. I identity as an introvert, highly sensitive person (HSP), and empath. My main passions are self-development, writing, books, music, animals and nature. I share my life with a dog and two hamsters. I have two chronic illnesses – POTS and M.E – which I have lived with for most of my adult life. I also struggle with depression and anxiety. I have an adult son with severe learning difficulties. I have a difficult past. Despite all this – or perhaps because of it – I try not to let any of my circumstances define me beyond teaching me to love myself and others as well as I can.

This blog will inevitably evolve over time as I find my way through my words but, for now, it is a space to share my journey at this point and connect with other souls going through their own challenges.