One-seventh of an iceberg is visible above the water surface after it breaks off or calves from a glacier and plunges into the northern seas. There it slowly drifts southward into warmer waters than the arctic ones it first encountered. Gradually, as the waters warm the iceberg melts and releases up to 5,000 years of accumulated debris. Eventually, the iceberg melts totally, gone into the seas.
Perhaps you’re already reading beyond the metaphor of the iceberg into your own conscious/unconscious existence. We’re like the iceberg, a small portion of who we are visible above the waters, but really that is only visible part of us, the known, the conscious, the conditioned self—the ego. There is also the unconscious self—what Carl Jung called the personal and the collective unconscious. So much of who we are is buried beneath the surface, and like the iceberg, contains much stuff from our past which we may not be aware of or, if we are aware of it, we often have refused to acknowledge.
Many of the sources of our attitudes lie in the unconscious. Also, there is our soul in the unconscious, the larger self, the one which communicates with God, which holds the agenda for our lives. The soul pretty much lies fallow in the unconscious until we begin to pay attention to it. As we awaken to the possibility of our and God in our lives, as we begin to look more deeply into ourselves, then we begin to awaken the soul. I think of the soul as the part of us that can communicate with God. Until we pay attention to the soul, it(and God) is sending us soft, quiet messages that would direct us to the truest part of ourselves, if we paid it any attention.
I think of my self as a system who is Pat Adams. And in that system there is my soul, my personality, my history, my self-image and ego—everything about me. So there can be a lot of stuff in me that is not necessarily me or doesn’t reflect who I am today. There are the negative tapes, endlessly repetitive that try to call me back to making up for who I was as a child. There are emotions, particularly fear and anger. There are my gifts and talents. Today it is my soul I pay attention to and to God’s “still, small voice,”(1 Kings 19:12) because I want to live true to God, true to my larger self. So when any fear arises, I just comment to myself, “Oh, there is fear here.” I just don’t identify with the emotion or react to it, but I do acknowledge that it exists in me. There certainly was a time when I was very fearful, but no longer.
The sooner we can be objective about our own interior state of being, the sooner we can own what it going on inside of us, the sooner we can be let God heal us of its influence over us. Once we own each issue, we have a choice whether we want to continue the same choices arising out of that issue or lift it up to God. Gaining objectivity about ourselves, distancing ourselves from the egoic mind quiets the loud voices within us, helps us see the sources of the thinking which was seeded in our childhoods and is rarely appropriate today. The sooner we can disempower those voices the sooner we can hear what God is whispering so softly to us.
Like the iceberg the farther “south” we go(the further into God), the more we let go of our stuff that keeps us separate from God, the freer we will be to love ourselves, to love God and others and to fulfill who we were created to be. And the less resistance there will be in us to the desires of our truer self, our soul. Notice that we are living in the virtually inhabitable north seas of the planet, not a truly welcoming place for us. It’s in the warmer, more supportive waters that we can reclaim who we were created to be. I am not saying there will not be challenges or suffering along the way, but that God is with us every step of the way and we can feel his love and support, his partnership with us in what he is calling us to do and how he is calling us to be with him.
Union with God would be the end of this process of letting go of all our worldly ways, of how we think and how we’ve been trained to behave in the world. In the mean time between union with God and where we are, there is a steadily increasing trust in God, more and more willingness to walk his way and to follow his suggestions as we allow the old, outdated, useless stuff—thinking and reactions– go. As we let go of the guilt and shame that cling to us, the ice that defined us and held all the debris in us no longer exists in the huge ocean that is God.
Union with God would be just like the last of the 5000 year-old debris floating into the sea where it drops to the bottom, no longer affecting anything, with no more ice(read refusal to deal with it) keeping it frozen into place. And then there is freedom to float at one with God in God’s universe, to be and to do exactly what God created us to be and do.
Questions to ponder over the week: What debris/useless stuff am I clinging to? How would I change if I could let it go? Will I let God heal me of all that was traumatic and painful? One by one will I lift up these issues to God?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who are willing to let the old, painful stuff go so that we can be present to God in our lives. May we forgive ourselves, own all that we have said and done and all that was done to us, so that we can give it up to God to heal. May we be free!
News from By the Waters:
Look for my videos on YouTube under By the Waters with Pat Adams.
My book, “Thy Kingdom Come!”, is up on Amazon in both paperback and kindle versions. Look under Patricia Said Adams.