A Grouping of Questions with Jach's Replies from the Online Conferences
Dealing with Symbiotic Guilt
Q. How do we deal with positive dread? I have had some truly transcendent experiences. I know I am different, and my life is reflecting that. But I feel like I am going to get in trouble. What do you suggest?
First, I think it's important to deal with levels of guilt ... both neurotic guilt and symbiotic guilt. The neurotic guilt is the stuff that makes you feel like a criminal ... like you are doing something wrong. You say it as if you are going to "get in trouble," and that is the criminal-like guilt. So before you get to issues of dread, bring that guilt to the surface and then convert it (transmute it) to a usable form. As Lazaris has pointed out and as we have all experienced, we cannot process guilt -- neurotic guilt -- because it's a synthetic emotion.
So transmute that guilt into a genuine emotion. It could be anger ... anger that you have these transcendent feelings in a world that seems far from transcendent or with a community that is burdened with non-transcendent issues. That is, you might have anger that there just isn't "space" to be as ebullient as you are. Maybe the genuine emotion is fear ... fear that it will be taken away; maybe it's fear that it won't last. It could be fear that others would be jealous or envious. And then again it could be anticipated or expected hurt. So transmute the guilt to its genuine emotion and then process (release) that emotion.
Symbiotic guilt is the guilt of "not belonging." You know you are different, and you have that "ol' transcendent feelin'" [s] but others in your world don't. Symbiotic guilt is the urge to belong -- "I am just like you, honest." -- when we feel so very different. Forgiveness is often the key with this guilt. At least that is what I have found.
Now, with these two guilts (neurotic and symbiotic) out of the way, listen. Be really still and listen. Maybe get off by yourself: solitude is sacred, and it can be incredibly magical in its mystery. Listen to see if you are sensing dread. Perhaps you are not. And if not, hurray, move on. [s] But if you are, then I have found the best way to deal with it is to work my way through the narrows. I create a corridor and sense the dread as a ball of eerie light ... bizarre light that is wrapped in fear. I sense this eerie ball of light at the end of that corridor, and then I make my way, step by step. I sense the options along the way ... the options of pity, martyr, judgment, rage, etc. I may even dip into one or another of those places, but I do it very consciously. I don't have to be perfect. I used to think I did ... that I had to stay away from those temptations completely. But I know better now. In my corridor, I move toward that dread -- that imminent threat of non-being.
I may feel martyred. And when I consider that as an option, I may decide to spend some time there. Yeah, I am feeling very misunderstood and put upon. I am feeling very unappreciated, and I am not going to pretend otherwise. The trick for me is that I am doing it consciously. I turn it on consciously, and thus I know I can turn it off just as consciously. And I do. I may give myself ten minutes, or I may give myself a day and a half. The key is, it's conscious. The other key is that it is my choice -- my decision. I remain in charge. If I do stop to partake of the taste treats along the way, I then get back on course and eventually move through the concentric circles of defenses that surround the dread.
Then I enter the dread as though it were an all-consuming fire. In certain ways it is (for me). And then I emerge on the other side not knowing what I will find there. It is always more. Whatever I find there, it is always more ... I am always more. The thing that I always remember about dealing with dread and with working through the narrows is this: It is like a metaphorical birth canal. And if I come out of it, something new has been born in me. And that new birth is always something more. You may notice that dealing with positive dread is the same as dealing with negative dread. I think that is an accurate statement. Dread is dread.
Q. So many people around me, family and some friends, are having health and some relationship crises. Too often I feel overwhelmed and out of balance with the flurry of these crises. I realize I don't want to feel happy or successful -- symbiotic guilt. I am trying to integrate my being a Healer, but I wonder if I am a part of the problem, needing people to be 'sick' in order to offer healing. I wonder how I can redefine the role and function of being a Healer as crisis increases in the world. How do you approach this?
My delayed reply is due to the slowness of my reading. [s] Give me a moment.
First, I understand your sense of not wanting to feel happy or successful, and I agree, there is a ray of symbiotic guilt there. For those reading along who may not understand that, as humans we have a powerful and a profound need to belong. It is the third core need beyond survival and security, and it precedes our need to be valued. It is that powerful. And when many are in crisis, if we are not, we can feel "left out," as if we do not belong. And so we feel guilty ... denying our happiness and our success. We feel guilty as a way of being connected and thus as a way to belong. Symbiosis is a process of connecting and aligning.
As you recognize your guilt, are you also in touch with your anger, your fear, and your hurt? As you witness those in crisis, especially those whom you love, these feelings can be there, too. So as I begin here, my concern is for you and the unrealized emotions that may be tucked inside that neatly-identified guilt. I hope that makes sense.
To your major concern: what if you are part of the problem, creating the sickness so you can offer healing? That you are open to the possibility is a strong indicator that you are not. So ask yourself. You see the possibility that you could be part of the problem. You see the possibility that you could be creating not the health problems and relationship crises, but the environment in which these things exist in your reality so that you can be the champion, the knight in shining armor, so that you can be needed and so that you can belong ... not out of guilt, but out of need. Okay.
You see the possibility. Now explore it. Is that what is happening for you? Are you feeling loved and needed because you are offering your healing? Are you feeling useful now whereas you were useless before? Have you finally found your place, where you fit in your family and with your friends? Most likely the answers here are, "No. No, that's not what it's about at all."
So once you honestly look at the possibility, you can ask yourself what's true or what's so about it. If you are not getting your identity, your image, your meaning out of their problems, then you are not "part of the problem." And if their problems are the major source of meeting your needs ... their illnesses and crises give you survival, security, belonging, and a sense of value ... (having lacked these things without their illnesses and crises), then you are part of the problem.
My point here is that you don't have to continue to wonder. You can face the possibility and answer it. If you are part of the problem, recognize it, acknowledge it, forgive yourself, and change. If you are not part of the problem, let it go and move on. [s]
How do you redefine yourself as a healer? I am wondering why you would need to do that. I think this issue is more one of accepting yourself as a healer in the face of current and building crises. I think the overwhelm often comes from a lack of acceptance. Having said that, let me back up a moment. When I am feeling overwhelmed with anything in my life, I have come to discover that those feelings or sensations are not coming from a faulty definition as much as they are coming from a lack of confidence, a lack of respect, and a lack of acceptance (of realization). That is, the overwhelm is coming from a lack of value. The valued self begins with self-awareness and moves into self-worth followed by self-esteem. All this flows into the pool of energy, force, and resonance call self-love. And out of that pool come the other three often hidden components of a valued self: self-confidence, self-respect, and self-realization. So when I am not confident in who I am, when I don't respect myself, or when I lack the realization ... when I don't allow myself to be real ... I get overwhelmed. Like you, I tend to think I have to redefine myself, but I have found more often I have to accept myself.
And with healing it is especially hard. I think healers have to continually work with self-acceptance (self-realization) and with self-respect (the ability to look back at yourself). Healing is a hard road to follow, and it is an easy road to fall off of. I remember something Lazaris said long ago about healers: "Once you open that door, you cannot close it. So be careful. Be sure you are ready to open that door before you do."
So maybe it would be helpful to explore the fuller range of feeling within that guilt, then to face the possibility that you are part of the problem and either heal it or let it go. And then work with valuing self rather than defining what it means to be a healer in the 21st century.
As I type that, I think of the seduction of looking for sweeping answers ... I think about what I wrote as this online conference began: looking for sweeping answers that apply to all of humanity is seductive, but looking within ourselves is more revealing. Likewise, looking to refine what it means to be a healer in the 21st century can be very appealing; it can be very seductive. It can be the stuff of theses. But looking into ourselves can be more revealing.
I suspect that during this Year of Illumination, we will all be seduced by the sweeping answers when we would be better served to look inward. I suspect that it will be tempting to shine the light out there rather than to shine it with greater focus "in here."
Q. I've been feeling symbiotic guilt coming up -- especially around the recent London bombing (7/7/05) -- the paradox of growing happier and more successful in a world where there is still so much pain and nightmare. Can you talk a bit about this?
Symbiotic guilt ... it can be difficult to deal with, but I have found that mostly it is associated with a sense of belonging. Or better said, it is associated with a sense of the lack of belonging. To be in a symbiotic relationship with someone or something is to be in alignment, to be in tune, to be connected. The guilt that we feel that is a guilt of connection -- symbiotic guilt -- comes when we fear separation or loss (the pain of love and the fear of love). It seems you outline it nicely here ... as you feel happier and happier, as you feel more and more successful, and as you feel a greater sense of fulfillment with your success, there is a loneliness that comes along. Those around you aren't as happy or as successful. Or even if they are, they don't seem to be as fulfilled as you are, or they don't feel it as you do. Maybe they do, but it doesn't seem so to you.
And I suspect that symbiotic guilt is particularly associated with issues of reward, intimacy, meaningfulness, and fulfillment ... even more than with the simple matters of success or happiness. I think that even when people feel happy and are successful, the degrees of reward, intimacy, meaningfulness, and fulfillment are the determining factors.
And when there is disparity there, often we feel alone ... we feel separate ... we feel as if we don't fit or that we don't belong. We can get arrogant about that ... we can turn to the judgmental postures of better than ... to assuage the feeling. And/or we can turn to guilt ... symbiotic guilt ... as a means to narrow the gap and to feel as if we, indeed, do belong or that indeed we are connected. "I feel your pain." And thus I belong and you belong and we belong to each other. [s]
So as you discover your personal sense of guilt here, I would look to your personal sense of being cut off and of not belonging. I would look to the challenges to belonging (from the workshop on the miracle of belonging and on receiving the miraculous gift of belonging from the Ancients). I would also take a walk in the Dark Wood and work to move beyond it. And in this, I would open up to receiving the gift of belonging. I would ask my Higher Self to give you that gift. Work with "your Ancient One." And I would also do a blending with your Higher Self ... maybe with Lazaris as well ... and ask for the gift and then demand and claim that gift. I bet the guilt vanishes after that. [s]