Letting Go The Branch
At the end of our Journey Into Self in India, at our final group meeting, we each shared our appreciation for the other members of the group. We mentioned qualities in each person that stood out for us.
I listened, as I usually do, for what might speak to me from within my Waking Dream. It is my experience that often what others say calls me to new awareness. In this instance, the words that stood out for me were “You are the Great Mother, our own hugging mother, the mother of all mothers.”
The words reverberated in my Being. I did not hear them as descriptive of my behavior on the trip. Rather, I heard them as descriptive of my essence. On the plane flying back to the States, I heard myself saying, “I have become the Mother.”
India as the Great Mother
The above message from within my Waking Dream took on special significance because it came while we were in India. When I first traveled to India in 1979 I was 41 years old. I had begun to understand the two great forces that move in each of us and throughout the Universe: the yin and the yang. But I knew nothing, through my direct experience, of the Great Mother.
As I traveled through India back then, I felt surrounded and immersed in the Mother. Everything in India seemed so basic, so fundamental to our lives as human beings, and yet so spiritual. My mind gave up trying to figure out how this very physical world which in my culture was seen as the opposite of spiritual could be pulsing and vibrating with the Presence of the Eternal. Walking through those crowded streets was like being swept along through the arteries of the heart of God.
The experience of Mother India awakened my consciousness
to the Great Yin, the feminine polarity of the God-Force. The next thirteen
years were about coming to know that yin energy within myself and in the world
around me. I allowed myself to be totally devoured by Kali in order to know
the freedom of the Mother who relishes all life, the beautiful and the
disgusting, the good and the bad, who is not put off by any aspect of it, who
devours it all, is present to it all, digests it all, transmutes it all into
new life.. I learned to pray to the Mother by developing the Life As A Waking
Dream method that enables me to hear her wisdom being expressed through my
life experiences. And I returned twice to observe, absorb, yield into, embrace
and be embraced by Mother India.
And so the words “You are the Great Mother, our own hugging mother, the mother of all mothers” awoke me to the awareness that I have become (meaning that my consciousness is identified with) the Mother that was almost completely unknown to me just twenty-three years ago. Now what remains is for me to live that all-embracing, unconditional presence all day every day in relation to all aspects of life – the pressure, the rush, and the details, as well as the people in all their expressions. I must live large enough to embrace it all while living out my destiny.
I returned to the United States to discover that my personal mother was in the hospital where she had had total hip replacement surgery. By November 30 she had made her transition.
It did not escape my awareness that these events occurred just after the message came in my Waking Dream that I had become the mother. The outer symbol of my personal mother-energy was, in my Waking Dream, no longer needed now that I had completely owned that energy within. Symbolically, the timing was perfect.
At one point during the month of November, I had a further realization. I had been talking with my oldest brother on the phone. He was in San Jose at the hospital with my mother who had, by then, been through five surgeries in about three weeks. He was explaining to me why they were leaving her breathing tube in. I was upset because Mother had explicitly said she did not want to be on life-support. It was written in her Living Will in no uncertain terms. Her doctor knew it and the whole family knew. Nevertheless, my brother was using words like “to give her every opportunity to recover.”
Sixteen years earlier when my father was dying from a heart attack the family had used the same words to explain why his heart was jump-started over a dozen times in spite of the fact that he had not wanted extraordinary measures taken to prolong his life.
I got off the phone as quickly as I could. Then I shouted out loud, pounding the kitchen counter, saying, “That’s two parents now!” What I thought I meant was that each of my parents had asked for no life support and yet had been given it, but the minute I heard my shouting I knew I was in a Waking Dream. I stopped and listened, and burst into sobs that continued for a very long time.
Then I sat down and wrote out the Waking Dream in the format we are currently using for the “Learning to Shift Levels” class. As I wrote, I could see that my Waking Dream was about my own individualizing process. In 1981 I had taken the name Mariamne Paulus to represent a shift in my self-identity from the personality to the Real Self. Before I sent out announcements of the name change to everyone I knew, I told my birth family as we were gathered around the dining room table after Christmas dinner. When I stopped talking, there was a long silence. Then my mother said, “That’s fine, but you will always be Diane to me.” The words rang in the room like an edict, and in fact no one in my family ever called me anything but Diane. My name change was never mentioned again.
I had not realized that I also had accepted her edict, at least emotionally. I had decided that as long as either of my parents was alive, I would continue to stay actively connected with them out of my respect and gratitude for their unconditional love for me over the years.
My commitment to “stay connected” was a life-support system for my identification with my birth family and with my persona, Diane. When I wrote up the Waking Dream about my anger that Mother was being kept on life support, I discovered that my sense of self was “the good daughter.” That made me realize that emotionally, over all these years, I had remained “Diane, the good daughter.”
I remembered the image used in India to describe changes of states of consciousness. A monkey swinging from one limb to the other of a tree must let go of the branch he is leaving in order to grasp onto the next branch. Changing consciousness is like that, they say. You must let go of your current state if you are to shift into the new state. As long as I stayed connected with my parents as “Diane,” I could not fully experience what it is to be Mariamne.
In November 2002 I realized it was time to let go of that state of consciousness in order to fully grasp the new. My reaction to life support for my dying mother was my wake-up call to recognize that it was time for me to let go, to move on.
I later learned that my mother had given her doctor permission to leave the breathing tube in for a week after the last operation “to give her every opportunity to recover.” That confirmed for me that my upset was about me, not about her.
I was surprised at the disorientation I experienced as I merged my inner decision with the outer events. My Mother died, and I felt as if the floor had fallen out of my personality. I had nowhere to stand. My home base had been removed. What a perfect sensation for one who had just “let go of the branch of identification with the personality.” I needed to find new ground to stand on, ground within my own consciousness, not outside of self.
As I grieve for the loss of my mother, I also grieve for the absence of that old and familiar form of security that comes from “belonging.” I grew up in a close-knit family, held together by parents who put family above all else in their lives. Suddenly the axel of the family wheel was yanked away, and the wheel seemed to fly apart. As one of the spokes, I felt myself spin out to the periphery and keep going. I was, in some fundamental sense, utterly alone. At least that is what it felt like to the personality. I felt shaken, wobbly, disoriented, ungrounded.
I knew another level of reality, of course, in which I was not at all alone. In fact, the day after returning to Scottsdale, a group gathered here in our house for the beginning of a yearlong Energy Odyssey. As soon as I began to greet them at the door, I knew, “This is my real family, my Love Family. In this family I am known, received, and recognized for who I am.” I felt uplifted and embraced just by their presence.
Yet my personality had not yet come to rest. This was reflected in my inability to let go at night into deep and replenishing sleep. Instead, my psyche (personality) was dashing around restlessly, trying to sort out what had happened, what had changed. It took weeks, not days, for the psyche to settle down, and it has still not found firm ground within to stand on. This period of “flying through the air” will last until I can get a firm grasp on the individualized stated of consciousness that enables me to live in the energy world in full awareness.
I have been reminded, during this time, of passages from the Bible that always seemed difficult to me. “One of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, let me go and bury my father first.’ Jesus replied, ‘follow me, and leave the dead to bury their dead.’” (Matthew 8:21-22); “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother . . .” (Matt. 10:34-35); and “’Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?;’ and pointing to the disciples he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, my sister, my mother.’” (Matt.12:46-50). In the light of my recent insights I realize that these passages are about shifting identification from the family of origin, and thus from one’s body and personality, to the real Self, the Christ within. I now understand this from my own experience. I “held back” until I had buried my father and mother and did not shift my identity completely to the real Self, even though that had been my intention.
Now I have let go of the branch and am in mid-air. I cannot know yet what shifts and changes will be required of me once I take hold firmly of the new branch of the individualized state of consciousness. But the change is long overdue.