This article is Chapter 15 from Remembering the Light Within: A Course in Soul-Centered Living by Drs. Ron & Mary Hulnick.
UNRESOLVED ISSUES AREN’T IN THE WAY— THEY ARE THE WAY!
“You were born with wings. Why prefer to crawl through life?”
-Attributed to Rumi
To the quote that starts this chapter, we would add, “Awakening will set you free. Prepare to soar on the Wings of Love.”
At this point, you may be feeling annoyed, irritated, or down-right outraged. “What do you mean, unresolved issues aren’t in the way, they are the way? What kind of outrageous nonsense is that? My issues, to say nothing of the issues of people I know, rear their ugly heads periodically. This causes me stress and distress and basically mucks up my life. I’m so tired of them. How can my anger, disappointment, frustration, fear, sadness, grief, hurt feelings, and judgments of myself, others, or this crazy world possibly be of any value? All they do for me is cause me suffering. How can they possibly be the way? The way to what?”
We hear you! I (Mary) remember reading Plato’s famous “Allegory of the Cave” in The Republic as an 18-year-old. In the allegory, Plato describes a group of prisoners who are chained in such a way that they are facing a wall of a cave. They cannot move their heads, so all they see are shadows of things passing in front of a fire burning behind them. The shadows are as close as the prisoners come to experiencing reality, and they believe that what they are seeing is real.
In the class discussion regarding the allegory, the point was made that we are all like the prisoners, not seeing reality and making up in our minds what’s real based on shadows. I recall feeling quite annoyed with the ideas that I was creating my reality and responsible for my life. In my annoyance, I vehemently thought to myself: If I’m creating my reality, I’d sure do a lot better job than this! My annoyance in combination with that emphatic declaration actually motivated me to learn more.
Now, many years later, I’m so grateful for the seeds that were planted by Plato. My subsequent experiences presented me with spiritual convergences—opportunities that turned me around, freeing me from a shadow existence as a prisoner in a dimly lit cave of my own creation. Eventually, I gratefully Awakened from my sleepwalking existence in which I was dreamily fighting shadowy windmills, those illusions created by the projections of my mind and emotions, misunderstanding all I saw.
Fortunately Spirit had other plans for me, and I began Awakening into the Light of the Spiritual Context. I’ve never forgotten the painful emotions associated with the deep sense of separation I experienced. Those trials evoked deep Compassion and a Calling within my Heart to assist others in freeing themselves from the shackles that restrict and limit Awareness of Spiritual Reality.
Further Principles of Spiritual Psychology
You’ve probably noticed that even considering the idea of the Spiritual Context introduced in Chapter 1 invites a radical change in perception about who you are and what you’re doing here on the planet. Reviewing the following 11 Principles of Spiritual Psychology invites you more deeply into that Context—opening a doorway to liberation. Read through them slowly; perhaps even read them out loud.
• The nature of God is Love.
• We are not human beings with Souls; we are Souls using a human experience for the purpose of Awakening.
• Since we are all a part of God, our Essential Nature also is Love—and we have the opportunity of knowing our Loving nature experientially, Here and Now.
• Earth functions as a school for Spiritual Awakening, meaning Conscious Awareness of the first three Principles above. Everyone registers for their specific Curriculum.
• Your Earth School or Spiritual Curriculum consists largely of Healing unresolved issues residing in your consciousness. It also includes opportunities for service, sharing your gifts, and living into your Heartfelt dreams.
• Unresolved issues are anything that disturbs your Peace.
• Unresolved issues are not bad; they’re simply part of your Spiritual Curriculum.
• Unresolved issues are blessings, as they are opportunities for Healing and Awakening.
• The work of Healing, or resolving unresolved issues, is spiritual work and is a major aspect of what Spiritual Awakening is all about.
• One of your greatest opportunities for Awakening occurs when your school is in session—i.e., when your unresolved issues (upsets) surface.
• Healing is the application of Loving to the places inside that hurt or suffer; or Healing is the “flooding with Loving” of all the places inside that hurt or suffer, thereby dissolving them.
“Holy wow!” you might be saying to yourself. “I get it! Do you really mean that I can learn to use my upsets and unresolved issues as stepping stones—as rungs on the ladder of my Spiritual Awakening?”
“Yes,” we agree, “that’s exactly what we mean!”
“Thank God! I knew there had to be a pony in here somewhere. Do you actually mean it? Can you give me an example of how someone really used an unresolved issue in service to their Healing and Awakening?”
“Indeed we can.”
A Courageous Woman’s Story of Liberation: Vertigo—the Tip of the Iceberg
Here are the highlights of a sharing we had with a courageous 37-year-old woman who, for many years, had been experiencing what she described as “stuckness” in moving forward professionally. She shared that she had spent years moving from one career path to another—each time experiencing disappointment when she found her choice wasn’t really in alignment with the Calling of her Heart. Simultaneously she was baffled and frustrated by the spinning sensations of vertigo that reoccurred each time she attempted to address her career goals and dreams. Whenever she started creating a Living Vision for her career (a tool we use in our live classes) she would experience extreme vertigo, which in turn triggered terror of losing control.
Susan: “My name is Susan and I’ve been struggling a lot with the Ideal Scenes and the Living Vision [processes for Co-Creating the future]. I think the struggle with it is that I’ve come to a place of not being really sure of who I am and who I thought I knew myself to be. This is not who I’m finding that I am now. So every time I start to do a Living Vision, I’m getting extreme vertigo. It’s difficult to continue to work my process when that vertigo is so scary.”
Susan wanted to become a professional life coach, and the vertigo was the worst when she attempted to move in that direction. She felt very stuck.
Susan: “Until recently I thought of myself as having it all figured out. Like, I had a plan and I had a career. I did all the steps—all the right things. I think that I want to be everything for everybody or have life all figured out. I want to have the career figured out, and have the right money in the savings account, and have the right Roth—and all these things.
“And what I’m finding is, as I’ve leaned into that, I just feel almost like I’m dying a little bit. I’ve struggled with suicidal thoughts. I’m doing all these things, but the more that I do, the less alive I feel. So I’m feeling now that this ‘me’ isn’t real. I feel more alive when it’s a little messier, and I don’t have it all figured out. I’m thinking of taking a year off and spending the money that I’ve saved. That’s what I feel like I really want to do. It makes me feel alive, but that’s not at all what I thought my path was. I feel like I’ve been doing different versions of that same plan.”
At this point we reflected to her that it seemed to us that she was being presented with a beautiful opportunity to really listen to the Calling of her Heart; to truly hear and honor that deeper place inside that was yearning for something more: more in the dimension of Meaning, Purpose, and Fulfillment—living into greater Freedom and Authenticity, trusting the Wisdom of her own Heart.
As we explored her yearning for Freedom and Inner Peace, Susan began to cry, overwhelmed by the feelings of fear and the physical disorientation of the vertigo.
Susan: “I just feel tired from the struggle of it and trying to figure it out. I do feel that sense of terror. And I think that’s kind of the dichotomy inside: there is a real desire for the Freedom and real yearning to honor the Calling of my Heart. But also a real terror, and I’m scared to let go into unknowing.”
Susan’s Self-Created Prison of Guilt, Unworthiness, and Self-Punishment
At this point, we asked Susan a key question: “Are there any things that have gone on in your life where you have felt either held hostage or imprisoned?”
Susan: “Yeah, for a long time. When I was in high school, my brother was killed in a car accident. I thought that it was my fault, and so I just took that to mean that I had kind of failed as a human being. I wasn’t worth anything, and I just felt like that idea of myself has really kept me stuck.”
We invited Susan to share more: “What happened? How did this happen? How did you get the idea that somehow it was your fault?”
Susan: “Growing up I was very shy and I just wanted to please everybody. I wanted everything to be really smooth. My older brother needed a lot of my parents’ attention. He was diabetic, and he experimented with drugs and alcohol, and so I thought, I can be helpful if I’m just not any trouble. I will get good grades and I’ll do all the right things so my parents won’t need to worry about me. I felt like they had their hands full with him, so I always went along and just said, ‘Yes. I will do this.’ I made my own lunches—anything to make it easier.
“My brother was struggling with his blood sugar, and he got in a car accident. He came home and said to me, ‘I need you to take me to get my car fixed.’ And for the first time I said no, and I just unleashed this lifetime of frustration, of feeling ignored by my parents, and I told him how selfish he was. I was so mad that I did not even let him talk. I just spewed out all these things. And then I slammed my door, and the next day I got up early, and I went and took the bus to go to high school rather than ride with him. I was still really mad, you know, so upset with all the feelings that were coming up.
“So that day at lunch, I saw him in the hall and I was standing at my locker and he was coming over to me, like he wanted to say something, but I was still mad. He could see my message was, ‘Not yet.’ As he was coming toward me, I turned my back, and that was the last I ever saw him. He was killed on his way home.
“I thought, If I had just said yes to take him to get his truck fixed, he wouldn’t have been in the car that day, and Who was I to leave him with all that? I really felt that I’d hurt his Soul . . . that he had passed on, and in doing so he was left with a lot of my anger. I just felt like I couldn’t undo that. That’s what made me begin to ask the question, ‘Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?’ I’d watched movies about inmates that are on death row, and they had gotten a better last day than I had given my brother.”
At this point in our conversation, we reflected to Susan: “We hear that you’ve really been carrying this guilt, and that part of the pattern is that you became very reliant, self-sufficient, self-contained, and very concerned with doing the correct thing or the right thing.”
Susan, who was standing, expressed that the vertigo was intensifying and said, “I just need to hang onto the chair.”
We coached Susan: “There’s a tremendous opportunity for letting go of the judgments and misinterpretations, the guilt and self-punishment—for letting go of the scripted life that you have led in order to not be a burden, to not make any waves, to not have any needs, to really just be self-reliant and take care of everything yourself. And to let go of the judgments that it was your fault and that you needed to suffer or pay in some way for what happened between you and your brother.”
Susan responded: “That resonates, ‘scripted life.’ I feel like that.”
We continued coaching Susan: “You know, I can appreciate the challenge inside of you, because when you came to a place where you’d had enough, and you spoke up, the way things flowed led you to conclude that somehow his death was your fault. That conclusion put you into a restrictive scripted life. And yet your attempting to live that scripted life has been an experience of such misery and confinement, a kind of imprisonment with no Joy, with no sense of fulfillment or meaning, or purpose, or fun.”
Susan Speaks with Her Brother’s Soul
Below is the dialogue we shared with Susan where she connected with her brother’s Soul and began to heal old wounds.
Susan: “I’m really getting that. It hasn’t been fun, and there’s been no Joy. I think that is the terror that if I free myself, or express myself really authentically, something really bad is going to happen again.”
Mary: “I really hear you. And so that was the conclusion that you drew at that time. I can really understand that conclusion—as a young girl in high school having her brother pass suddenly, tragically, and with things unresolved between the two of you. Would you be open to speaking with your brother’s Soul?”
Ron: “So if you were speaking with him, what would you want to ask him?”
Susan: “I would want to ask if I hurt him.”
Mary: “And you can ask him. Let’s inwardly ask that his Soul Essence be present with you here and now in service to your Heal-ing, in service to your liberation, in service to clarifying this, for the Highest Good. So I encourage you to ask him, ‘Did I hurt you?’”
Ron: “You don’t have to ask it out loud; you can do it inwardly if you want, if that will be easier for you.”
Susan: “So I am asking for my brother’s Soul to come forward to speak to me, and what I would want to know is: Did I hurt you? And has your Soul been in pain because of how I left you?”
Ron: “And what does he answer?”
Susan: “I feel it more than I hear it. The feeling is more of a Loving embrace; he’s really holding me. I just feel like I’ve been wanting that—that hug from my brother, for so long, and seeking it in many different ways. This is the first time I really felt it.”
Mary: “I so encourage you in receiving it.”
Susan: I’m just getting that there is no hurt and there is no pain. There’s only Loving.”
Mary: “Yes. I encourage you to take that in fully—into all levels of your consciousness, into every cell in your body. Is there anything else that you would like to say to him?”
Susan: “I think I had thought that I would want to say that I am sorry, but now, in that space, it just doesn’t make sense to say that. It’s just ‘I love you.’ And while I feel his Presence, I miss him.”
Susan’s Compassionate Self-Forgiveness: Dissolving Guilt, Grief, and “Stuckness”
Mary: “This experience—what a Blessing—what a gift. You can call your brother’s Soul forward at any time. You can call his Soul present. And I encourage you in this beautiful opportunity, in the Presence of the Power of the Love, to let go of the judgments. ‘I forgive myself for buying into the misunderstanding that I was responsible for my brother’s death, and the misunderstanding that I caused his Soul pain and suffering.’”
Susan: “I forgive myself for buying into the misunderstanding that I had caused my brother’s Soul pain. And I forgive myself for buying in to the belief that I had failed at being human—that I had failed in my life. I forgive myself for judging myself as having failed, and as a failure. I forgive myself for judging myself as responsible for my brother’s death.”
Mary: “What are you experiencing inside yourself, Susan?”
Susan: “I feel like a weight has lifted. I feel so much lighter.”
Ron: “And while you are at it, is there any message your brother has for you?”
Susan: “He just said, ‘Be free. Go. Go fly. It’s okay.’ The quality that I picked from day one of this class, that was just there inside of me, was Lighthearted. And I just feel like I have not been Light-Hearted. I get that now: I just have a really Light Heart.
“I forgive myself for assigning myself a rigidly scripted life because I thought that that was the way. I forgive myself for assign-ing myself the penance of a heavy Heart.”
Mary: “And what’s the truth?”
Susan: “And the truth is that the only way to be is to be me. And the truth is I didn’t hurt anybody.”
Susan: “I am simply Loving.”
Ron: “You were doing your best at the time, given your conditioning, experience, and Spiritual Curriculum.”
Susan: “I was doing my best.”
Mary: “And you are doing your best.”
Susan: “And I am doing my best.”
Mary: “Yes. So is there any other Forgiveness—anything else that you would like to let go of?”
Susan: “I forgive myself for judging myself as not enough. I forgive myself for judging myself as unworthy. I forgive myself for judging myself as really bad, and I forgive myself for judging myself as being behind. I forgive myself for judging myself as less than who I am. I forgive myself for judging myself as me.”
Mary: “And what does that last statement mean?”
Susan: “It means that as I was going into my Authentic Self over these last three or four months, I was judging myself for doing that, because I thought, You are going to do it again: you are going to really hurt somebody.”
Mary: “And so, ‘I also forgive myself for buying into the misunderstanding that if I live free, if I express the Authenticity of who I am, that some catastrophe will happen and others will be hurt.’”
Susan: “Yeah. I forgive myself for buying into the belief that if I live free, others will be hurt.”
Mary: “Do you want to say that one again?”
Susan: “I forgive myself for buying into the belief that if I live free, others will be hurt. And the truth is, in being me and in being free, there is just Love.”
Mary: “That is the truth. So one of the things you said earlier is that you wanted permission. So inside yourself, have you received permission?”
Susan: “Yes. I feel like I don’t need to ask now.” Mary: “No, you have received it.”
Mary: “It’s given.”
Susan: “Yeah. Thank you.”
Susan subsequently successfully completed the two-year Master’s Degree Program in Spiritual Psychology and a seven-month Advanced Program in Soul-Centered Professional Coaching. We spoke with her recently, and she shared that she has gone on to do groundbreaking work in her state in the area of consulting and coaching focused on suicide prevention with teens and young people, and she is Director of the Suicide Prevention Coalition for her county. She has spoken to many clubs, businesses, organizations, colleges, and universities sharing her own story of Healing from suicidal thoughts and ideations; she has also been a panelist, keynote speaker, and guest lecturer. She is clear that making a difference for teens and college students is the heart of her work. Susan is now living the professional life that, at the time of this courageous Healing work, was only a dim dream held in the deep recess of her Heart.
Inspirational? Yes! Transformational? Another resounding yes! Available to you? Yes!
We began this chapter with Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” and we’d like to complete it with this evocative anonymous quote that seems so fi tting: “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the Light.”
THIS CHAPTER’S PRACTICE
We hope that Susan’s courageous work has inspired you and that you’re ready to roll up your sleeves in bringing forward the Strength of Your Heart and Self-Compassion, and letting go of judgments, misunderstandings, and painful emotions that have held you in the crystallization, limitation, and suffering of your unresolved issue.
Healing an Unresolved Issue
Your unresolved issues truly are vehicles you can use for your Awakening. It is a game changer to give voice to those experiences that you have not yet brought to a place of Peace and resolution inside yourself, and engage in Compassionate Self-Forgiveness.
We encourage you to write about an experience that you recognize as unresolved inside of you. Write from a place of self-honesty and vulnerability. Allow adequate time and a space that provides privacy. When you’re ready, identify your judgments and limiting beliefs. Then move into Compassionate Self-Forgiveness, letting them go into the Light.
You, too, can experience greater Freedom as you choose to let go of painful memories and judgments, moving you into the Awareness of your already Loving Heart and freeing you to move forward in your life.
I am bringing forward the Strength of my Heart,
courageously conducting and experiencing my life as
a magical opportunity for restoring myself to the
Awareness of my True Nature—the Presence of Love.
I am using my unresolved issues as stepping-stones—
rungs on the ladder of my Spiritual Awakening.
I am Forgiving myself, as I am remembering Who I Am—
a Divine Being using my human experience
in service to my Awakening.
Experience what it means to have Heaven on Earth
June 29 and 30, you are invited to MSIA’s two-day workshop Heaven on Earth, designed and facilitated by Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick, Founding Faculty and Co-Directors of the University of Santa Monica, with MSIA’s Spiritual Director John Morton scheduled to participate.
The intention of the workshop is nothing less than each participant Awakening into the consciousness of Heaven on Earth, and learning practices involved in continuing their Awakening.
Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick are pioneers and worldwide leaders in the field of Spiritual Psychology, as well as Teachers and Facilitators of Awakening in Consciousness. They are renowned educators, authors, and the Founding Faculty and Co-Directors of the University of Santa Monica (USM), where they have designed, developed, and facilitated Educational Programs in Spiritual Psychology for the past 36 years. Both are licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, and Mary is also a licensed Clinical Psychologist. They are the authors of Loyalty to Your Soul: The Heart of Spiritual Psychology, published by Hay House and available in 12 countries and 8 languages, and recently released as an audiobook read by the authors and available on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. Their latest book, Remembering the Light Within: A Course in Soul-Centered Living, was published by Hay House in 2017. It has been described by Arianna Huffington as, “an invaluable guide for anybody who wants to live a life of meaning and purpose.” USM students and graduates around the world share that being with Ron and Mary in the classroom is, without exception, one of the most transformative, Loving, and memorable experiences that they will cherish for a lifetime.