Marye, thank you for raising this exploration. I resonate deeply with the resistance you feel to suffering. Open, I retract in body, mind, and spirit when reading about your past-life experience of self-immolation because I feel your suffering so intensely. Such a totally committed response to social injustice. Yet so shocking and extreme. I'm always shaken to the core when I see visuals of monks setting themselves on fire. I'm horrified by it. As I am whenever I see film footage of anyone suffering atrocious acts of cruelty and violence, especially children. It rips my heart out.

Open, you said:

"No one can control the universe. Period. No one can resist at a physical level the interplay of consciousness. Consider for example the macrocosm of an entire star system being obliterated by a black hole. Yet what we can each do (including the soul of the star system), is decide how we choose to experience such catastrophe: we can either retract from it, in which case we suffer, or else we can surrender and expand through, which brings with it the most incredible liberation."

You describe feeling that incredible expansion and liberation at the time of your death through self-immolation. I've been contemplating how it would feel to release all fear and resistance and experience enlightenment at the time of death, so your reflections are especially timely for me. Thank you for sharing.

With regard to how we choose to experience catastrophe, I'm reminded of Victor Frankl's book, "Man's Search for Meaning." Especially this quote:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms-to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Victor Frankl's response to his experiences in the holocaust have inspired me throughout my life. He chose compassion and love amidst unfathomable suffering. What an incredible shining light he is.

I'm experiencing a disconnect between mind and heart these days. I accept on an intellectual level that suffering is an illusion. That souls draw whatever experiences they need to self-realize as Absolute Unidentified Presence. Yet I continue to feel resistance to suffering and social injustice. I want to make it all go away. I'm feeling frenzied, anxious, exhausted and burned out by my over-zealous attachment to eradicating injustice, to wanting to be a righteous person, over-compensating for guilt and feeling responsible for contributing to the suffering of others. I'm weary enough to know that I can't keep it up for much longer. Feeling I'm getting closer to breaking through and releasing the heartache and sorrow of self-judgment and guilt. To letting go of resistance and attachment to the illusion of reality. To the incredible, conditioned pressure I feel to act on what feels right and to do it as fast as possible to avoid impending disaster and resulting suffering. To embodying and expressing effortless and relaxed right action. Balancing surrender and willpower. Acting on what feels right and aligned with the flow of the divine from a centered space of peace and harmony. Fully accepting what is, cruelty and suffering included. Surrendering on the altar of profound truth as you describe it, Open. It's so not easy. Especially when I feel the suffering of others so deeply. Either I retract and I suffer. Or I surrender and expand through.

I know it's important to 'play' and find joy when one is in the thick of processing density. So I'm giving myself a much needed break at the seaside.

x Cathy