Have you ever experienced a float tank? Recently I spent an entire night in a float tank, also known as a sensory deprivation chamber or isolation tank; it was a 7-hour float from midnight to 7am. What a trip! I’ve floated several times before, but never for so long. In the tank, as your body and physical sensations disappear, you become pure consciousness-energy, pure awareness. This is a deep experience of "going inside." Without all the distractions from the outside physical world to deal with, you automatically become aware of what’s inside. Time becomes infinite and everything becomes available as you open up to the inner experience.
Now, while most of my float was beautiful, mystical, and magical, I did have some moments of worry and concern. This was not about the float itself. No, my car had been broken into a few days previously, and that unpleasant incident still invaded my thoughts.
Have you ever had your house or car broken into? How did you handle it?
On the transformational path, or spiritual journey, you can experience moments where you become present to how much you’ve grown. Some of these are moments which follow challenges in your life; you are able to compare how you handled a particular situation versus how you would have handled it in the past. These are nice moments typically marked by a comment, something like, "Wow, I’ve grown a lot, since in the past in that situation I would’ve XYZ’d (freaked out, been depressed, been angry and mad for days, or whatever), and this time I ABC’d (handled it easily, was relaxed and present, cruised on through, etc.)."
The car break-in was one such experience where my growth became evident to me. I had stopped at my local grocery store on a Sunday night at 8pm to pick up some items for the coming week. I was in the store for about 30 minutes. When I came out and opened the back of my new SUV to load the groceries, I noticed my backpack was not there. I was certain I had put it there, so I looked in the back seat where I saw a bunch of broken glass. Someone had smashed the rear passenger window and stolen my backpack. This is one of those challenging moments I mentioned – not a big one, in the relative scheme of things, but big enough to be a little test for me.
Of course my first and natural reaction was "Damn it! I can’t believe it! Really? Someone broke the window of my new car and stole my backpack? In the grocery store parking lot at 8pm! Come on!" I felt the shock of unpleasant surprise, followed by anger, followed by disbelief, then acceptance, and then moving toward solutions. All of this occurred in about five minutes as I surveyed the damage and assessed next steps.
Bruce Lee once said "Under pressure you will not rise to your level of expectation, you will fall to your level of practice." In ITP (Integral Transformative Practice) there is a practice known as "Taking the Hit as a Gift," which I call "Looking for the Good" in my coaching program. This practice certainly served me well that day! Here is how it works: You first embrace the truth and reality of a situation and everything you are experiencing (thoughts, feelings, sensations, etc.); you allow it all. Since everything is energy, the most efficient choice is to allow the energy to move and flow and offer no resistance, just awareness.
Given my level of practice, the energies moved through me relatively quickly and in about five minutes I moved forward to look for the good in the situation, and the gifts that had been bestowed. Here’s what I saw:
1) The thief broke only one window.
2) Only my backpack was stolen and nothing else.
3) My new computer was not in my backpack (but it was the day before),
4) He or she got only a couple of books, some notes, an old IPOD touch, and a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses.
5) I didn’t like those sunglasses anyhow.
6) I look at my notes too much; this is a message its time to stop looking and start doing.
7) The Universe is telling me its time to stop hiding behind my sunglasses, to take them off and allow the world to see into my eyes.
8) Maybe the transformational books and notes they stole will somehow open the thief up a bit, a gift from me to him or her.
9) A sense of compassion for the perpetrator who believes that to get what he/she wants he/she must steal it from others.
10) What a great opportunity to practice.
11) I’ll probably have something to write about in a future mojo article. Indeed I will!
With these insights I was literally laughing out loud on my way home with my groceries as the freezing wind blew into my car.
My practice with this incident continued as I worked to get it fixed. Practicing "going with the flow," I did nothing about it for three days; I didn’t even clean the glass out of the car. I had more important things to do and the timing just did not feel right. I did however "feel into" my intended outcome and arrived at this: the window will be fixed quickly and efficiently, to like-new status, for $300 or less. $500 or more felt painful, while much less than $300 seemed unrealistic.
With my intention clear I tried calling a dealership other than the one where I bought the car, for comparative pricing, but could not get through, twice! Letting that go, I called the dealership where I bought the car and they said it would be $833 dollars if they did it in their shop!! Holy moly! However, they told me, just the previous day they had begun to refer windshield work to an outside company and they’d be happy to give me that number (Notice it does not make sense in a logical, linear world that a shop that could do the work would refer me to someone else, however in the metaphysical, energetic reality I was resonating, it does). Sure, I said, and called them right there and then.
The very next day the window technician from this other company picked up the OEM glass at the dealer, brought it to my house, completely cleaned out all the glass from the car, installed the window to like-new status, and billed me $255! Like magic.
As a Passion Test Facilitator we teach our clients to practice "Intention, Attention, No Tension." This means: get clear on what you intend, take action toward that end and pay attention as it unfolds, then surrender and relax into reality as it ACTUALLY unfolds, without expectation. It really works. However, it does take practice.
So now, back to my overnight float. The float center is located in an area of Oakland that isn’t exactly super-safe. Having just experienced my car being broken into, I lay there in the float tank with thoughts of my car being stolen, damaged, or somehow vandalized. But I just let them float on through. I knew that whatever happened I could handle it. I affirmed again and again: "I am the King of No Matter What. Any Hit will be a Gift, and there is always Good in EVERY situation."
When you get right down to it, the only thing to be afraid of is YOURSELF. If you realize that what you are afraid of is not some external thing happening, but rather HOW YOU WILL EXPERIENCE AND HANDLE IT, you have achieved the first big step. Then, when you come to realize that YOU CAN HANDLE ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING, you will have NOTHING to FEAR. When you have nothing to fear, then you are "The King or Queen of No Matter What!"
Look back on a challenging experience in your life. How did you handle it? How could you have handled it better, more efficiently, more effectively? What practice might you adopt to begin to deal more effectively with the challenging aspects of your life? What situations might arise in which you can practice these new ways of being? Choose and commit to engaging your new practice in these upcoming situations.
Congratulations – you are on your way to being the "King or Queen of No Matter What." And one step closer to your mojo!