“Shedding Light on Your Basement” by Rev. Christine 11/14/21
Today’s talk is titled “Shedding Light on Your Basement.” You may ask, what is our basement? The basement is where we unknowingly stuff things like our emotions, trauma, judgements, beliefs, and experiences. In the basement it is dark, things are hidden, and is where the boogeyman lives and all kinds of scary stuff.
The following story is from Mary Manin Morrissey’s book, “No Less Than Greatness; Finding perfect love in imperfect relationships.” This story is about Mary’s own experience in her dealing with an airline employee at the ticket counter at the gate. She had called the airline and changed her ticket so that she could stay an extra day to see her family before flying out again. They told her to just go direct to the gate, and they would take care of it there. When she got to the gate, they told her that they couldn’t handle it, and she would have to go back to the ticket counter which was across the airport.
Mary tried to reason with them, but the clerk insisted that she must have misunderstood. Mary lost her temper at the clerk. During this exchange she heard, “Mary? Mary Morrissey? The minister from Living Enrichment Center?” Mary replied, “It depends. How long have you been listening to me? I’m not sure it is me.” Her face was the color of an overripe chili pepper. Mary hiked back to the ticket counter, waited behind a long line, and missed her flight.
The situation had turned her into a two-year-old. She wanted things her way or no way. Did she have a right to feel upset? Absolutely. But as is so often the case with relationships, being right doesn’t really matter. Being right isn’t worth diminishing our self. Being right doesn’t have anything to do with practicing perfect love. When we walk away from an angry encounter, the one we walk away with is our self. And the anger stays with - guess who? Our self!
We don’t have to let circumstances determine our behavior. Instead, they can offer an opportunity for us to grow spiritually. When challenged, we’re offered a choice: We can react to the moment by automatically responding negatively to negativity, trying to pull ourselves up by bringing someone else down. Or, we can partner with God to do something better by finding and drawing from the Divine Presence within ourselves.
All of us in our daily lives meet up with challenging situations from time to time. We may find people as demanding, hot tempered, selfish, unforgiving, self-centered, rude, contrary, negative, controlling, aggressive, insulting, judgmental, or jealous. Situations may be fearful and stressful.
A challenging person is basically someone that we don’t agree with or doesn’t agree with us – there is a difference in opinion in the way we view something. Difficult situations are usually from our lack of knowledge or understanding, and being afraid of the results.
We may meet this person on the road or in the parking lot, a sales person in a store or while waiting in line or at the check out stand, at a restaurant, or on the phone. Or, it could be our neighbor, family member, life partner, child, employer, or a co-worker.
Regardless if it is a chance encounter, or an ongoing relationship we have to ask ourselves the question – “What part of us is going to show up?”. Are we going to match the energy, by attacking back insult for insult. Grab the upper hand by force, yelling louder, or digging deep to push their button. We do have a choice in how we act or react.
Throughout the years I’ve had many opportunities to put to practice my beliefs in addressing challenging relationships and situations. Many faces, but each seemed to have something in common – aggressive, controlling, demeaning, and I feared their anger, disapproval and their power over me.
There was a time, when a letter would arrive from the IRS, before even opening it my heart would be jumping, and not from joy - pure fear. Then I opened it, and found it to be nothing more than a confirmation to something I had sent to them. Fear of the IRS is part of that basement Boogeyman. When I opened and read the letter, light was shined on it, and the fear was replaced with gratitude. Eventually, the fear of opening letters from the IRS was gone. The light brought knowledge. What remains in the dark is hidden and feared.
Some traumatic memories can be very painful, and can get stuffed and hidden in the basement. These get projected, we react, and our world is upset. We are now forced to look a it; either we blame an outer situation or person, or we begin to look at our basement, and heal our self.
In my own life, I finally realized that until I got over it – what ever it was that pushed my buttons – that I would continue to meet this experience regardless on the face it wore. It was me that was going to have to change. These challenging situations are my teachers, they are my angels here to help me to love – even the least of them – even myself.
Jesus taught for us to “love our neighbor as our self.” This is really the core of it, that we must first love our self, and I’m not talking about the ego, our outer persona, but the truth of our being – The God Presence – The Christ Within us.
For all love is of God, and God shines this love equally on everyone everywhere. Although, we may be so encased in our fears and beliefs in separation, that we don’t feel the Presence of God’s love that is right here within and all around us. Instead we experience fear back from our world. And, we may find ourselves being that overly aggressive rude customer, or intolerant boss, or unforgiving partner or child. In Truth we are always meeting our self, for that is all there is - One Self - God.
We are energy bodies, and we store stuck emotions which alter our energy body. That which was once clear, bright and expanded, is now constricted, muddy and dingy. By law we meet our worldly experiences by our own energy - our level of frequency. Are we projecting a frequency of love, joy, and peace? Or is our frequency more like fear, anger and frustration? We can tell by the experiences we are having. Ever notice when running late how every traffic light turns red, or being stuck in traffic, or long waiting lines no matter which line you move to.
These stuck emotions and memories are deep in our consciousness. They reside in the basement of our consciousness. Some philosophies teach this part of our consciousness is stored in our lower bowels, and others its connected to our base root chakra. It is filled with past experiences, opinions, intolerance, beliefs that we don’t want to remember or identify as being part of us. As such we have rejected that part of our self. Then what we reject we project. We project it out onto our world screen of life to experience, to learn, and bring forth understanding and compassion. This is learning to accept all aspects of the One Self.
For example: We go into judgement regarding what a person did. We now point our finger shaming. Just remember when we point our finger at someone there are 3 fingers point back at us.
In the classroom when teaching about love and Oneness, someone would bring up Adolf Hitler as the exception. Some students would say how they could never love or forgive Adolf Hitler, or accept that he is also part of God. They would condemn him to hell forever. That memory of Adolf Hitler is in their basement to be revealed and healed. It doesn’t mean we approve of his actions, but to see beyond the personality named Hitler to his true Divine Nature.
We will never experience our Oneness with God, until we can accept all people as part of God too. Now this can be a hard task for some things seem so hideous. Jesus did say to love our enemies. These so called enemies are actually part of our self; part of the collective unconscious that we are all unaware participants by adding our basement stuff to it, and projecting it back to the world to be experienced.
So when we are outraged by someone’s actions, we need to take a step back and look within our self for what aspect of our self is in someway like that, regardless if its just a fraction of similarity. When we can own it, then we have the power to heal and change it. We can start with compassion, Just by saying something like, “I have no idea what that person’s life was like.” I usually add something like, “And I don’t need to know. I choose not to walk in those moccasins.” I may also add, “Forgive them Father for they knew not what they were doing. For if they did, they wouldn’t have done it.”
We have all done things we wished we hadn’t done, but at that moment in time, that is all we could do with what we knew back then. We can say, “Forgive me Father for I knew not what I was doing.”
I have found that understanding is the key to compassion - shedding light on our basement so we can forgive, release and heal. I try to feel what the other person must be feeling – even if that person did a dirty rotten thing – they must have done it out of fear – fear of not being good enough, fear of rejection, fear of loss, or pain and suffering. This is especially helpful when driving, and someone cuts you off or almost hits you. Instead of reacting in anger with choice words, to just respond with a simple “God bless you,” and drive on.
When we hold on to past wrongs, betrayal, and such, all we are doing is keeping a wall up, blocking the activity of love in us. Our blaming is keeping us separated from God. It is keeping love away from our experience. We can ask our self, “Is this situation worth losing my peace of mind, love, or my connection with source?”
We may think we have our emotions well stuffed down, but it will pop out in an outburst of uncontrolled emotion. We have the choice to heal those buttons that get pushed.
The following is an exercise you can do to help clear and heal: start by quieting your mind, pick one situation to heal; go inward and reflect, dig deep into the basement. Connect with the feeling you have; is it fear, anger, shame. Is it associated to a part of your body, does it have a color or weight? Ask yourself “When was the first time I felt like this?” Breathe into it, breathe love and light into it. Followup by writing your thoughts down. You may need to repeat this process until cleared.
If it seems too difficult on your own, you don’t have to do on your own. There was this time when I was really being challenged by someone’s actions. I knew better, but it just repeated in my thoughts. Then it came to me that I could ask God for help. That I could lift it up to God; surrender it over so to speak. From my heart I sincerely asked, “God please take this from me.” It worked!
We can ask our self “How can I see this differently? Or, How can I bring love and compassion to this person and situation?” When we sincerely ask from our heart, the answer always comes, the right words or actions come forth to heal – to bring into right relationship.
The more we clear out our basement, bring light to all that’s within it, the more we will heal. The greatest gift is what we give to our self – love. We are given the opportunity to bring love in to our lives and the lives of others, and around the world. These people that challenged us can become our best friends – they certainly are our best teachers. Who knows, they may even be the greatest master teachers in disguise.