Source and Self: connected in separation

We feel divided at times of resistance, doubt or pain. We seek to connect to our essence, looking for inner guidance. This search will continue our entire lives. The separation of the Source from the Self feels very real — even though deep down both are always joined. We find peace when we surrender to the Source.

My clients ask me, and I ask myself: how do I stay connected to my Source? How can I connect with the depth of my being when I encounter resistance, when answers are missing and fundamental steps are yet to be taken? I would like to tell you about my experience by sharing a story, a basic principle and three gifts we can give to ourselves:

The story:
from eternal ice to glacial stream

Our Source speaks to us, from the inside and from the outside. In dreams, symptoms or challenges in our private lives or at work. Sometimes our Self is open to these signs and wants to explore them more deeply.

Occasionally, I go on a hike, alone and without much forward planning. This time, I knew that I «had» to visit the Morteratsch Glacier near St. Moritz. The urging came from the Source, yet the Self views such «paranormal» impulses as obscure, uncomfortable. It wanted to add a clear question, an agenda — to make the journey worthwhile, considering the stress it would cause. The Source remained calm and good-natured. It was simply time to go. The Self agreed.

During the train journey, the somewhat illusionary division between Self and Source slowly became blurred. Entering nature heightened the connection. After arriving at the ice wall — the milky glacial stream bearing witness to its quick retreat — I opened myself to the Source inside of me and in front of me. Words appeared: «When permanent ice melts, it rumbles. Stones roll into the valley, crevices open, pieces break off. More is being moved than appears at first glance.» This insight lead to more harmony inside of me, helping me to be at peace with current challenges.

And I felt that where water melts, opposites are joined. Not in the sense that they dissolve: water exists in the form of glacial ice and glacial stream, no better, no worse. In the melting process, a transformation takes place. When we allow ourselves to flow we can be within that which exists, be it pleasant or difficult. But sometimes we are stuck fast in the ice, caught in the division between true and false.

The basic principle:
separation occurs, connection beckons

Becoming human begins with the merging of two opposites: the sperm cell is very small; the egg cell is the largest human cell. Egg cells are fragile; sperm cells are robust. Only the joining of these two opposites allows something new to be created – with the first division of cells.

From the start, merging and separating are basic and equal conditions for the emergence of something new.

Right from conception, we are connected to the source of life. Observing newborns allows us to catch glimpses of this connection. After the first few months of dependence on and oneness with our mothers, our individual journey of separation begins.

It is in this first separation, as an individual Self, that we become capable of acting. Consequently, we define who we are through our actions and our relationships.

Essentially, this separation occurs within the context of the whole, which extends beyond us. In fact, we are safe in the Source, even when we feel separated, excluded and insecure.

We constantly yearn to connect, we are free to choose. The Source hums a song, gives us a nudge, awakens our longing for harmony within. Despite this, we sometimes freeze, we do not trust the connection and become entrenched in resistance. Maybe because we feel safe there. We know this place and we don’t want to give it up, especially when people don’t do what we want.

People not doing what we want them to do also forms part of the Source’s repertoire. The Source exposes us to situations that touch and affect us deeply. Because it is only deep inside that the eternal ice can melt and opposites can unite in order for something new to emerge once again. Until the next separation.

Entering into the crevices of my feelings makes me uncomfortable. Even though experience has taught me that I can only deal holistically with a difficult situation after I’ve faced what is troubling me, when I have the courage and feel safe to explore my sadness, my anger, my impotence or my loneliness. Often, I only go there when there is no other way.

Three gifts:
surrendering, listening, reconciling

From this basic guiding principle, three opportunities emerge that support me on the path from separation to connection.

  1. Surrendering: recognising separation, welcoming depth

When the path into the Self causes us pain, it is a sign that the separation has solidified. Then I have a choice: do I maintain the narrow-minded stance of right and wrong? Of course, this assumes that I can see, allow and observe this restriction without immediately condemning or wanting to get rid of it. I create a sense of being safe by withdrawing from the heated discussion. A change of scenery. Doing something nice for myself. Sitting quietly, breathing, going for a walk, watering flowers — anything that comes easily, that brings a smile to my face. In this safe space, I can connect with my limitations, with the feelings that lie beneath, with the subtle reactions of my body. From there I invite a connection with the Source.

  1. Listening: letting the Source live through me

It helps me to know that the universe, the all-embracing Source, takes care of me. That our “own nature begins to take care of itself” as soon as we let go of the delusion that we constantly need to improve ourselves – as Alan Watts points out. I am amazed to discover that when I listen, each encounter, each exchange, each falling autumn leaf might be the subtle sound of the melody that the Source is humming for me.

  1. Reconciling: making peace with myself

This gift is the most difficult to accept: myself. Sustained growth occurs when I am at peace with who I am. The more uncomfortable a situation, the less I want to hear this — because something inside of me believes that it takes effort and maximum inner tension to find my way out of a dead end. Sometimes it helps to just sit and be thankful. To marvel that I am here, to see what I have achieved, what I have been gifted.

In the spirit of John O’Donohue: «Against all attempts at programs and methods, the great art of holiness is to let yourself be.»