Healing a poisoned soul

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Something I’ve noticed as I’ve grown older is how increasingly angry and stressed and critical people have become, so ready to accuse and take offence and find fault, needing to judge and urge their own views on others. As if their souls have slowly become poisoned…

I’ve seen this all in myself too, until I learnt that my power lay in what I chose and who I chose to be.

Reading a wonderful article about antioxidants in Dr Mercola’s newsletter this morning, it occurred to me that what is happening to us parallels very closely what happens to the body. When it is stressed, or exposed to toxins the body reacts by producing free radicals.

These are a form of highly reactive and destructive metabolite. Free radical molecules are missing one or more electrons so these incomplete molecules aggressively attack other molecules in an attempt to restore themselves to wholeness. You might say that they are an unconscious by-product of exposure to stress or poison. And this unconscious reaction causes yet deeper harm:

“Free radicals steal electrons from the proteins in your body, which badly damages your DNA and other cell structures. They can create a “snowballing effect” – as molecules steal from one another, each one becomes a new free radical, leaving a trail of biological carnage.”

What then is the remedy for the imbalance and upset caused by a lack of wholeness, that has in turn been caused by exposure to stresses or toxins?

Nature has a wonderful remedy when it comes to the body:

“Antioxidants are electron donors. They can break the free radical chain reaction by sacrificing their own electrons to feed free radicals, but without turning into free radicals themselves.

Antioxidants are nature’s way of providing your cells with adequate defense against attack by reactive oxygen species (ROS). As long as you have these important micronutrients, your body will be able to resist aging caused by your everyday exposure to pollutants.”

What then are the spiritual antioxidants that will heal a damaged soul? Heal hurt and anger and lack of wholeness, without being infected by them?

For me it has been learning that anger and hurt are choices, and that I always have the power in the moment to choose differently. No matter how justified it might be – and that is always a subjective judgment – I can choose not to be angry, not to take offence.

It isn’t easy. It takes repeated practice.

But if I am unable or unwilling to do this how can I expect it of someone like the new U.S. President? If I can’t neutralise my own anger, how can I expect it of others?

Responding to anger with anger sets off a cascade of reactions. And certainly this is an old and time-honoured way of producing change. But there is always unavoidable destructiveness. Others are inevitably injured in the process. We have become programmed to think that this is the only way to bring about change.

What I am asking myself is: Is there a different way to allow and encourage positive change? Gandhi certainly thought so. Nelson Mandela came around to this view too.

It all begins with the self, I think. There is undoubtedly a role for mass marches. But can we engage in them with love rather than anger? We have come a long way I think, because I have a sense that the marches are not purely about anger. There is much love there too. But there is still a feeling of them and us. The “enlightened” versus the deeply unenlightened. How can this divide be bridged? It seems so difficult, and yet…

What lessons can we draw from Nature?

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4 thoughts on “Healing a poisoned soul

  1. wolfegeo

    Beautiful. Anger is such powerful feeling. After many years I’ve learned you can be angry without lashing out. In exceptional circumstances I’m still working on this.

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  2. Elfe Post author

    Anger has been a great teacher for me. A while back someone who has been very close to me unexpectedly did something that angered me deeply. I very rarely get angry but on this occasion I felt hurt to the centre of my being and thought my anger was entirely justified. It ate away at me and was very destructive and corrosive. I just couldn’t let go of it. Over time I partially forgave, but at other times the anger and hurt would re-surface, it was so deeply and bitterly embedded. Until one day I realised that anger and a hurt were a choice I was allowing myself to make. After that, whenever something triggered these emotions I would silently repeat to myself, over and over again, “I choose love” until the feeling subsided. As I kept on doing this, it was as though a deeply buried switch was gradually flicked. I stopped feeling angry or hurt, just accepting that the actions and words I’d objected to were what they were AND they were in the past. There was no need at all for me to hang onto them. And I felt different inside. Cleaner and gentler somehow. The effects rippled out. I no longer felt a need to take sides on issues. I saw that there were always pros and cons, complexity buried within complexity. And I felt more whole. It is a lesson I hope I can hold onto.

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  3. valeriedavies

    Fascinating the way we can do these things if we want to, using different methods – there is no one way.
    I was molten with rage at my printer letting me down and not having books ready for the launching party !
    I suddenly realised that I was attached to my anger, and that was what was causing the suffering, in Buddha’s words. I gave up the attachment immediately and felt my whole body relax, and my heart soften. I could let the anger go, and just deal with the situation.
    That lesson has guided me in so many ways ever since. including letting go of grief…
    And yes, I no longer march (78 years old ) but mostly because so often I find myself amongst angry people.. marching for peace with angry people !!!!
    Keep up your good work.. best wishes…

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    1. Elfe Post author

      Letting go of grief is one of life’s greatest challenges I think. It is one I have been faced with repeatedly and have finally come to terms with (I hope). Grief is a choice too, I’ve come to see. One that is rooted in unconsciousness. Choosing appreciation instead, for example, requires conscious choice. I think a key perhaps is not to suppress grief, but simply to keep choosing a more positive and less self-centred emotion. But the truth is, growth never stops. I will probably see things in a different light yet in the future! You’re right. There is no one way.

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