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30 June 2017 1 Comment

Energy Release, Part 2

Energy Release, Part 2

Over time I have learned that I must correctly identify the type and source of the “impression” in order to release it. (“Impression” is another word for the impact that energy or things we perceive and experience have upon us; the way it remains with us after we take it in.) Once I see what it is and no longer identify an energy or impression as belonging to me me, I am able to command the energy to go out. As it leaves, my body may shudder or jerk, sometimes even violently, if the thing I am releasing has been taking up inner space or has had an intensive hold.

During an active energy release, my body sometimes moves in ways I cannot do intentionally. (I have seen this occur with energy-sensitive clients also. Most people experience release less obviously. They may simply feel better in the related body area after the release, without noticing the release happening.) This release is not frightening, although it was unsettling the first few times it occurred. It feels freeing and cleansing. I feel more alive and fluid in the areas that the old energy moves out of, and in my body as a whole after a session IMG_7912like this. This kind of release session occurs spontaneously and organically, when I am doing concentrated inner work. It seems to be an amalgamation of many different types of energy healing, which eventually developed into a self repair protocol.

Sometimes the energy I discover during one of these cleansing protocols surprises me. The sources of these energies may show up to me through simply recognizing the identifying energy signature of a specific person as I turn my attention to the area of blockage, excess or odd energy. More often, I need to flip through potential people-sources in my mind until I come across an energetic match. Sometimes a name pops into my head as I attend to the sensations. Other times I have to dig to find it, and what I discover surprises me, but it clearly feels correct, and the energy moves. The energy does not move out until I identify it correctly and ask it to move.

I learn through this process about what is important to various parts of me, which were apparently running their emotional programs beneath the level of my conscious awareness. Previously-unconscious emotions or reactions are what allows energies from other people to lodge in one’s energy systems. I also get information from what I find about the emotional processes within the people who projected the energies; what drove them to project. Once the energies release it as if the footprints in the sand have been blown smooth. The related issues tend to be if not forgotten, at least unimportant.

The process I am describing, of identifying energy originating from the outside, is occasional. Identifying what is MINE and originating from MYSELF is frequent and consistent. Looking for impressions from others without taking responsibility for one’s own involvement in the interactions and energy transfer would be bunk. A steady baseline of self-observation helps to develop the ability to tell the difference.

Please feel free to describe any similar process you may have that allows you to release energies that do not serve you.

What have you learned in the process of developing an ability to recognize and release this type of energy?

What does energy transfer from one person to the next have to do with your self-definition or emotional context?

23 June 2017 11 Comments

Energy Release, Part 1

Energy Release, Part 1

“Acknowledging the presence of negativity is the first step to putting your life back in order. You can’t change what you refuse to confront.” ~Levine

In this and the following post I will describe an experience I have from time to time, during which I locate and release energy that does not belong with me:

Occasionally, when I do spiritual practices between waking and sleep, I find myself in a state in which I am sensing my body and the energies and sensations related to the practice, and running a related inner exploration. For example, after the a set of practices related to balancing karma and forgiveness, my contemplations stimulated me to review whether or not I was harboring any emotional reactivity toward those who may have done me some type of injustice. I was gently and detachedly reviewing this topic, and checking my body sensations.

As I did this I began to notice energies from other people, which had become lodged in me. Some of these lodged because of my reactions to them, others because they were strong projections that I was unable to keep out owing to incidents in my history making the energies so similar that I hadn’t filtered or sorted them. Many of these projections consisted of, for example, inner child projections from people who fervently desired me to caretake them in some way. I felt responsible for my mother’s feelings and emotional needs as IMG_7718a child. I was now finding some related energies that had been lodged in me for years.

I have noticed that after periods of significant personal growth, I tend to find and release layers or pockets of energy that no longer belongs with me. I see this type of release with clients too, during profound growth. The energies we identify with are not accessible until that growth takes place and we no longer identify with them. At this point related energies release, or the issues show up, and different types of release occur as one reorients and experiences one’s self differently.

In that state between wake and sleep, I experience these types of energies mainly through sensation, although sometimes they show up like dark or fuzzy/static-y spots or areas when I scan internally, which is more of less visual. These spots or areas of sensation always have a specific location. Some may reside in chakras, some in my energy fields, some in organs, and occasionally in my spine. I might feel the energy as a stinging burn, an ache, congestion, slight nausea, contraction, antsyness or deadness in the area. The sensations change or resolve after the associated energy or “impression” releases. The emotional charge on any related issue decreases right away when the energies release.

Are you able to sense when there is energy in your body that does not belong with you?

What do you notice in your energy and in your body when something is present that does not belong?

Can you discern whether what you are sensing originates from within yourself, or from an external source?

16 December 2016 0 Comments

Travel Experiences 14: The Long Return

Travel Experiences 14: The Long Return

My last travel day was a long trip back to Prague. Concerned about connections, I started on an early bus.

On the last of several transfers I had 7 minutes to find a train track of an unknown number. There were at least 12 tracks. To get between them I had to take a lift down and back up to the platform, after finding a screen listing the track numbers. People with bikes blocked the lift so I had to wait. I find the track number in a rush. The listing was blinking, meaning train is standing in the station, but that track is empty and the sign above it is blank. I ask someone. He doesn’t know.

Finally I crane my neck around an L in the track. Behind a wall I see a very short train 400 feet up the track. They used the track both directions. The platform was deserted but for the conductor, who sees me running like heck and blows the whistle. I’m not sure if it means Go or Wait. I run full out and he helps me on. Phew!p1060353

My stitches and leg hurt from pounding cement.

The last and longest leg of the trip, this was the one connection I was concerned about all along, a 5+ hour trip with only 2 trains a day. So far I have a compartment alone. We travel a single track.

Long train journeys are contemplative and rhythmic when direct and uncrowded. The journey will give me time to digest my experience.

Big train stations have good food stores, post, info., lockers, flowers, and often an attached mall with clothes, luggage and footwear. Busses are usually across the street. The schedules connect well. This is SO much more civilized and convenient than forcing people to require cars! Bike and walking paths connect most villages, often along streams or through viewpoints with religious or historical monuments. This form of sanity where people’s daily experience matters is something I love about Europe.

It is cold, dark and rainy. Train is sitting still in a tiny town with no station. Train has a problem. This is not a lovely Austrian train but an old electric clunker, comfortable but–as I discovered after walking its length and finding someone who could tell me–reliant on overhead cables. A cable has malfunctioned. In Czech Republic and the conductor doesn’t speak English.

Later: we have been sitting for several hours. I ran out of water and lunch was salty. Unlike the last trains, with food carts, there is no water. The one person with English disappeared, perhaps in one of the small groups smoking outside between rain showers.

My phone is supposed to work but doesn’t. I can’t notify the inn of a much later arrival time, hoping they hold my room.

By and by we were shepherded off the train and stood with our stuff like refugees until a huge bus showed up. It idled while everyone and our stuff crammed in, standing packed to the doors. We began to bond through glances, sharing this temporary fate.

The first sign I saw on the road was the sign to the monastery where I hurt my leg! Not sure what’s up with that.

Bus took us to a train station. We circled our conductor, milling around uncertain until she directed us to a train. Not understanding, I ran after p1060367people I recognized. I didn’t know where we’d go and couldn’t use the lift. Stitches burned from running on stairs with bags.

Later: We’re still waiting on a still train, maybe for a pre-scheduled timing. It’s post-communist here, stark after flowery Bavaria.

An E Indian man smoked on the platform as I and some others hung out our windows. He had some English. I said I would have bought water if I’d known how long we’d sit. When the train finally moved he brought me a bottle his family had with them.

Spent next few hours hanging my head out the windows or communicating with a lovely old man. He had no English but speaks Heart. It’s like playing charades. Such sharing is pure Zen; about real things. It feels free to have no context besides the moment.

As I put on glasses to write this I remembered dreaming the scene over a year ago–waking up wondering why I put on glasses in a dream!

The old man, by grace, was transferring to the Metro, headed one stop from mine. He helped me figure it out and we parted sweetly. I had to transfer to a tram.

After 12 hours of travel I arrived at dark fall in a light rain, nearly in tears, hungry, thirsty, sore, and needing to pee.

The hotel was in an old mill. They greeted me kindly. The restaurant listed all potential allergens in English, and the waiter decided I required a free shot of vodka in a freezing glass after all that stress.

What is it like for you to interact with strangers?

Have you ever dreamed something and it happened later?

9 December 2016 0 Comments

Travel Experiences 13: The Energy of Location

Travel Experiences 13: The Energy of Location

The Abbey in Melk, Austria, was not austere. It sported a staggering hoard of gem- and gold-encrusted relics, impressive religious costumes and accoutrements, and a jaw-dropping church like a cornucopia of angels, statues, precious paintings, and mysterious symbolism. The Abbey occupies the highest plot of land with the best overview of the area—a great spot from which to literally look down on the commoners. This opulence, in its time, seemed to speak more of the love of power and wealth than of religious sanctity or charitable service.

Once a visiting place for Viennese kings and queens, Melk Abbey became considerably more modest as politics and religion changed over the last few centuries. Its majesty is now open to thousands of tourists a day, as the Abbey preserves and displays its treasures.img_4777

Whether or not Saint Francis would have approved of accumulating them, I loved seeing this astonishing and historic expression of human values. Viewing this slice of history through a modern lens made me question those values. If the Church had not accumulated huge gems and gold, where would they now be, and of what use? At least people can marvel at them in the Abbey, and observe how they were used to impress and perhaps control the populace. It’s not like one can eat them. And they aren’t locked up in someone’s safe where no one can see.

History, architecture, art and beauty are interesting and even edifying to experience. Travel stimulates growth not just from the people, situations, sights and things we encounter, but from the energy of location.

New York, for example, is masculine and electric. Hawaii is feminine and magnetic, earth and water. Italy accentuates the second chakra. If we visit these places when their energy serves us, the experience is very different than going when the same energy runs counter to our needs.

Spots on the planet, my Healer tells me, are like acupuncture points on our bodies. The energy in each spot flows a bit differently and has a different impact when we are there. I have not been drawn to analyze this in detail, but I do try to sense where I feel drawn to, to pick a timing that feels right to me, and to absorb the influence of the land while I am there. Sometimes I find myself drawn to a location because the specific energies of that spot on the planet are necessary to me at that point in time.

As we saw earlier in this series, location and the energy of a place can evoke past life experiences or stimulates specific learning. Travel is not always fun or pleasurable, but if we remain open to the world as we travel, it provides a different set of experiences and helps us to know ourselves.

Part of the line for the photo of the castle.

p1050295The last jaunt of my journey took me to the two castles in Fussen, just over the Austrian border in Bavaria. The throngs were seriously bad, making for multiple-hour waits to enter, and an hour-long traffic jam between the tiny town and the castles. I did not especially react to the crowds. Part of this may reflect my Inner Work. The fact that these crowds did not do the staring-like-you-don’t-exist thing helped immensely. The castles were lovely, but I could have forgone them for the trouble. I couldn’t hike, bike along the river, or go to the local hot springs with my stitches. It rained. I was surrendered enough that I didn’t mind.

Are there specific places to which you are drawn?

What is it that draws you?

What is the energy influence of a place you have been?

How did the area stimulate you, and what did that contribute to your life at that point in time?

2 December 2016 5 Comments

Travel Experiences 12: A Surprising & Meaningful Exchange

Travel Experiences 12: A Surprising & Meaningful Exchange

For several days my only verbal exchanges had been brief, impersonal and strictly practical. Being silent while shoulder to shoulder with talking people who did not even glance at me began to feel like living in a different dimension. Occasionally I actually spoke to people without being noticed. Sometimes I felt sort of helpless or as if I didn’t exist. On the other hand, when I cannot understand a word people are saying my mind stays quieter; I judge less when I don’t hear the content of people’s conversations. I like that aspect of travel.

I was on a train platform, making a transfer on route to a new location. The area was deserted, but for a rather extraordinary couple, to whom I was drawn. The lack of throngs seemed surreal. I tried for eye contact and the couple seemed cool and insular. They sat down on the only bench.

Having become accustomed to people not speaking English, I heard myself mutter beneath my breath, “You are very beautiful. It would be good if you had heart.” I had passed the bench and was looking down onto the empty train track. As I turned back, I saw the couple conferring with one another. Apparently they not only spoke perfect English but were abnormally alert and had exceptional hearing!

Startled and embarrassed, I made to apologize but my unformed words fell away as they scooted over and offered me a seat. The man’s smile was p1030054absolutely stunning.

Over the next hour I had the delight of sharing a train compartment and profound conversation with this couple. The man had assessed me quickly and accurately—he worked as a plain clothes anti-terrorist detective. He lived in Cairo and tracked terrorism globally. His lovely wife was a news anchor. They were so young, brilliant, and well traveled! (I got a photo, but it does not feel right to share it.)

The man had an amazing quality of heart. His work gave him the habit of keeping himself tucked in when in public, and staying attentive. I wondered aloud how he came to this work. He had began school majoring in fine arts, and missed entry to a prestigious college by a tiny margin. His father was a policeman. He followed in his father’s footsteps, but chose detective work in which he pursued specific missions rather than constantly interfacing with the public. He truly wants to serve.

I adored his amazing balance between heart and intelligence, and the sheer physical beauty with which he and his wife were graced. I was glad to hear they had children.

The three of us had great talks about politics, travel, religion, and racial dynamics. It was difficult, the man told me, to be seen as black by whites, white by blacks, and Muslim by those in fear. He said, “In English places I am Arab. In Africa I am white.”

We agreed that people fairly often imagine that situations and issues have to do with color when they do not. Obviously they often do, but race can also be freighted with weight when it is incidental to the situation. It is human to project our issues and fears onto others, and to think they see us as we imagine they do— not as they actually see us. We discussed racial dynamics in police work, in mutual accord. He was loving and open minded.

When he commented on being Arab I said, “Peace be with you” in Arabic and his face lit up. He and his wife were delighted to discover that I say some Arabic Names of God. Arabic contains a lot of complex, useful, and powerful insights about the nature of the Divine. The Names have a kind of resonance that impacts energy directly, unlike English. Those useful tools transcend politics and race.

When the train arrived at my transfer point, the man went out of his way to help me all the way off the train with my bags, even through it was not his stop. His courtliness went beyond keeping me from pulling my recent stitches carrying weight down the stairs. Touched, I now understood an image I’d had right after we met. On the train platform before we spoke, I ‘saw’ him helping me with my bags. I had no idea where the image came from and found it sort of embarrassing. Now I realized that it had been a premonition.

I was sorry to part company with this delightful couple.

The fact that I attracted this encounter is fascinating, given all of the elements with which I had been working and the odd conditions that gave rise to our interaction. I don’t think they would have opened to me if I had not broken the ice with my accidental comment.

Have you ever done or said something you thought was stupid and later realized it was essential?

How do you feel about totally loving people and letting go of them at the same time?

26 November 2016 0 Comments

Travel Experiences 11: Working the Wound, Part 5: Deeper Layers

Travel Experiences 11: Working the Wound, Part 5: Deeper Layers

Spiritual development is not a straightforward process. Even as we gradually gain mastery of some skills, the level of difficulty of simple tasks can telescope as we go more deeply into experience.

Using Divine Names in spiritual practice can address a vast array of issues at multiple levels of experience. We keep yielding deeper results if we employ them sincerely over a period of time. This post further illuminates the synergy between the practices Raqib (loving attention) and Hafiz (respect and protection), continuing from prior posts.

Effective spiritual practice can evoke deeper layers of the same issues that the practices soothe. Over time, practice eventually alters life experience and behavior. Initially, focusing on change often stimulates and evokes the issues we attempt to change. This can make practice difficult to sustain. Following through anyway allows us to uproot and resolve the issues and alter our img_4755responses to stimuli.

Meher Baba said, “True spirituality is not for the faint of heart!” Our essential unity with all Beings becomes easier to realize as we learn to face all that we turn away from. Some of our inner landscapes can be more challenging than what we experience outside ourselves. We resist seeing ourselves in certain ways. Spiritual work, intelligently sustained, ultimately works down into our defenses and identity-related processes, which often resist awareness.

Using my recent experience as an example: Among crowds, I was judging others for inattentiveness and lack of heart. I understand the origins of this reaction in my personal history. Understanding is a good step—but on its own, understanding may not dissolve reactivity. It does, however, form a basis for useful self observation. When I can bring loving attention (Raqib) and protective respect (Hafiz) into my self observation, my energy begins to change, helping to actually dissolve old constellations.

A classic antidote for judging is to find the same in one’s self. Let us consider the old biblical saying: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Noticing everything that we react to in other people and looking to the cause of that reaction in ourselves is a good place to start. It is a useful operational premise to consider that when we judge others we have something to work on in ourselves. I used to think this was about my annoying flaws and the flaws of others. It can just as easily be about vulnerability, excessive-compassion, and other less-obvious imbalances.

As a young person, I found it easy to rationalize this way: “Viewed objectively, I have sawdust while they have the plank.” It was usually true. This was still an attempt to protect myself from my own exacting criticism. Even when the other person has the plank, this doesn’t work. What I needed to hear was that the next step is to find real compassion for how the sawdust and the plank arise and learn to express that compassion for both myself and the other person.

No bypass or defense, however well rationalized, enlightens. Awareness is key. (Ya Raqib)

By normal standards I am hyper-aware. Even though awareness is always a goal, I found it a bit scary to call in greater awareness with Ya Raqib. In img_4762actual fact, my practices took me into areas I had inadvertently resisted seeing, such as whatever was left of my inner wounds.

The places we have shut down are strongholds of ignorance. We instinctively protect wounds. Instinctual defenses often prevent exactly what we need from coming in. This is why we continue to need it. It is the thing that hasn’t been available, owing to our patterning.

Relaxing defenses does not mean walking around in states of excessive vulnerability. It means being observant without prejudice. This includes being open and willing to accept whatever protection (Hafiz) may be available.

Protection is not defense. Protection can show up as a form of grace, with which we move through the world, respecting things as they are. Awareness, for example, of a dangerous step, place, or person or circumstance need not evoke fear or defense. Respectful attention allows us to walk through or around danger without arousing it.

How does intensified attention differ from hyper-vigilance?

Focused attention does not stem from reaction. It is not embroidered by patterns from the past, or fear. Unlike hyper-vigilance, attention supports a steady condition of healthy orientation within the zen of reality.

Ultimately, spiritual practice develops the ability to stand in the dignity of Connection with Life, whether or not the people around us have enough heart to receive us.

How do your defenses keep out what you need?

What do you judge yourself for, and how does this judging keep you from resolving the underlying issue?

19 November 2016 2 Comments

Travel Experiences 10: Working the Wound, Part 4: Perspective

Travel Experiences 10: Working the Wound, Part 4: Perspective

Another failure of my self mastery was a matter of perspective—literally as well as figuratively. Here’s the story, in which I hope you will see some humor:

At the shriek of dawn I went out in the rain to get a few photos without people in them. The square by the Hallstatt boat station was deserted, but for one Japanese woman wandering. As I established perspective for my shot I noticed her become attentive. From the corner of my eye I saw her move a few feet to my left. The moment I began to shoot she stepped directly in front of me, three feet away, obscuring my view!

This one was okay; woman didn't notice I was there and wasn't so close.

This one was okay; woman didn’t notice I was there and wasn’t so close.

Gobsmacked, I cried “HEY!” and put myself three feet in front of her, demonstrating my complaint.

I had been telling myself for days that it was my imagination that a tourist would inevitably stand in front of me the moment I tried to take a photo. I told myself it was just the crowds, that we all want the best angle.

This shot was not improved by an exact position, yet the moment I looked through the lens, she darted in front. This act was so bald it might have been a joke. She had seen me glance at her when I was setting up my shot. Then she suddenly acted as if she didn’t notice me. This was not accidental, but neither did this seem to be a conscious act. I got the distinct impression I was supposed to pretend she wasn’t there. I had to surmise that this behavior was driven by cultural factors.

While not pleased with it, I gave my own behavior a low pass. In Western culture communicating boundaries is healthy and the woman’s behavior was quite rude. Language hadn’t been working, so I explained though action. Low because I did not decide to do it; I reacted. And I might have demonstrated gracefully.

When I give someone feedback about their behavior I always hope they will now think twice before doing the same thing to other people. I am hoping to contribute to the way the world works. I am even effective sometimes. I want to be intentional about this, not reactive or unrealistic. I am trying to give up awakening humanity in favor of awakening myself.

Marcel Proust wrote, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.”

Yes, we can wake ourselves up in our usual locations, but we do learn different things in new places and circumstances, which can stimulate new ways of seeing. Making ourselves available to experience and img_4897contemplate different cultures helps us to challenge our assumptions. Our own unexamined cultural expectations influence how we view people and respond in situations, increasing self awareness.

Every personality has features that resist Inner Work. These features are obvious in some personalities, and invisible in others. Those whose flaws are less evident to others rarely receive feedback about them. They then have less incentive to address their flaws, which operate internally but do not draw comment. Self-satisfied pride under a mask of humility or fear of conflict disguised as a spiritual value exemplify this principle.

Are your personality flaws easily noticeable or hidden?

What would come about if you directly expressed a hidden flaw?

If you judge people who express things that you hide, what fears underlie this judgment?

What would it take to master an obvious flaw?

What vulnerability lies underneath that flaw?

11 November 2016 0 Comments

Travel Experiences 9: Working the Wound, Part 3

Travel Experiences 9: Working the Wound, Part 3

Spacious Vienna had been a visceral relief after unrelenting crowds in Prague and Cesky Krumlov. Now I was in Hallstatt, a tiny, lovely lake town in Austria. Don’t let my early morning photo make you think it was tranquil: It must have been highlighted and underlined in Asian tour agencies. After breakfast the streets img_4887became a churning stew of humanity. Travelers I met on busses and trains said, “Japan must be empty right now.”

Limping with recent stitches, I tried to take the hordes in stride, resulting in several failures—and consequent insights.

I had been deepening the practices I described in Post #7, inhaling “Ya Raqib” (invoking loving attention) and exhaling “Ya Hafiz” (invoking respect and protection).

Taking a practice on the breath is one of the simplest and hardest things. You breathe in, focusing on bringing in the quality, and breath out the same or a complimentary quality. You are training yourself to vibrate with the qualities’ unique and complex subtle natures, which you begin to discover through direct experience. This is simple if you remain natural, allow, and observe. It can be hard to remember to do it, and keep focus without becoming mechanical.

Breath practice helps keep one from picking up energy from other people.

Practice-enhancing tips:

—Aim to sense the energy of the particular qualities and feel how they impact you emotionally.
—Remain open to insight.
—Practice and experience are more important than theory.
—Understanding develops organically, following experience.

Spiritual practice can sensitize us to the issues it addresses. This enhanced awareness is advantageous. It is not, however, always comfortable. If a particular practice is correct for an individual, doing it intensively helps to resolve underlying issues. Before they are resolved, the practice may well sensitize us to and activate those same issues. During that phase practice can feel counterintuitive. It takes attention and compassion to excavate and exhaust the accumulated impressions that give rise to defensive reactions.

Immersed again in throngs, my leg wound was making me self-protective. I did not want to be forced to step on something uneven and pull my stitches, and I couldn’t see the ground around all the bodies! Feeling unsafe released adrenaline, amplifying the survival reactions that arose from feeling trapped and overwhelmed by feeling the energy of so many people at close range. When I could stay with my breath I did okay. When I forgot, I felt as if the engulfing crowds might swallow and obliterate me. I had to exercise constant restraint not to rush to break free. The language barrier exacerbated feeling trapped and even helpless since I couldn’t communicate and people were pointedly resisting eye contact. Eventually I reacted.

I was trying to penetrate a tour group completely blocking the street. People were facing me, just standing there waiting for something. I said “excuse me,” but they looked through me as if I didn’t exist. I said it louder, from a few inches away. Absolutely no response. I finally windmilled my hands in front of a few blank faces, shouting “HEY!”

Okay, it was naughty, but the result was also rather humorous: The tourists in front of me started and blinked exactly as if I had literally just materialized from another dimension! I felt as if I had suddenly taken form on the material plane. Getting a response was a relief.

I started to enter the sand trap of shame, then shifted to sincere remorse, from which it was easier to p1030030rebalance and return to my practices. Breathing through my feet worked better, but contemplating the specific nature of each individual in front of me also helped me manage large groups in confined spaces. With practice and sufficient attention, I can use dignity and presence to supply myself with connection and safety instead of reacting.

A colleague at home later described being in a Seattle coop after having wounded her knee. She said she reacted similarly in the busy store. This made me feel better since she has a pleasant and patient nature.

What kind of situation or conditions demand self development for you?

What makes them challenging?

What qualities or behaviors would it serve you to develop?

4 November 2016 4 Comments

Travel Experiences 8: The Enduring Amidst the Temporary

Travel Experiences 8: The Enduring Amidst the Temporary

The afternoon following my injury I took my previously scheduled shuttle from Cesky Krumlov to Vienna. After small towns, the city was big and sprawling, but roomy enough to give me a needed break from throngs. Taxis were largely lacking. Even Metro and trams stations required a lot of hobbling. I tired quickly.

The next day I waited for about ninety minutes in a huge and crowded hospital. It took the doctor about ninety seconds to pull the drain from my wound, put on iodine salve and apply another bandage. He, too, img_4686warned me about infection and necrosis. I found it edifying that hospitals both here and in the Czech Republic use iodine ointment rather than antibiotics, even with such concerns.

I had to pay 250 euros in advance,and they said they would send me a additional bill. Hoping to get finances clear in person, I was directed tried to an office with a big sign on the door: “In-Vitro Fertilization.” That threw me off for a while. My efforts were fruitless, but when I got the bill a month later, it a credit for more two thirds of the advance.

The next two days I gaped at architecture that might have been built for Olympian gods. Consider what it took to build massive, exquisitely decorated buildings for public use! The attitude of investing intention and funds to inspire, stimulate and delight people for hundreds of years seems like a miracle in these days of cheap and fast. This architecture establishes an atmosphere that invites music, img_4636art, and poetry. It is not just an appearance. It sings energy. The Viennese street musicians seemed to have slipped out the back doors of concert halls.

The Kunsthistorisches Museum is enormous, widely varied, and world class. Standing on the inside staircase, staring at the decorous galleries and arches of the building itself was almost as pleasing as looking at, for example, a pitcher the size of a loaf of bread, carved fromp1030116 a hollowed-out quartz crystal, its handle shaped like a goddess. The Museum houses some astonishing art and famous paintings.



The old masters portrayed turning points in history, bloody biblical stories, and events from mythology. Quite a few famous paintings depict disturbing scenes, such as rape, incest, murder and betrayal. The realism, dimensionality and lighting in some of these magnificent works makes challenging subject matter striking, meaningful, and thought-provoking. The great beauty with which these scenes are shown helps us to receive them rather than being repelled. Being impacted deepens us, so these works contribute to culture.

Scenes of the potentially trivial accouterments of daily life, handled masterfully, also become precious. A real work of art helps us to awaken perception and appreciate life.

Travel supports looking at the world like art. The temporariness invites detachment and a heightened sense p1050613of value. Impermanence is a gentle reminder of our mortality. Remembering our mortality helps us to see exactly how things are. We seek to imprint what we see, via memory or on camera cards. We seize the moment just as it is since we may never return. Things that may seem mundane to those who live with them are discoveries if we’ve never seen them. Anything that wakes us up to the preciousness of the moment has value.

For me, beauty and mystery inspire and awaken. Give me a camera and an intriguing or lovely place and the moment consumes me.

How do you feel when exposed to disturbing art, rendered with great beauty?

What awakens you to the preciousness of life?

30 October 2016 2 Comments

Travel Experiences 7: Working the Wound, Part 2: Loving Attention

Travel Experiences 7: Working the Wound, Part 2: Loving Attention

Walking with the wound was its own concentration. Grateful that I could walk at all, I had to move with care. My slow, focussed rhythm was unusual. Those who notice others looked to my bandage and gave me room to reach handrails, or let me sit on crowded busses or trains.

The wound spoke in its only language—sensation. Sometimes the stitches pulled for no apparent reason. I worked at staying with sensation instead of pushing it away and relaxing fear.

In his response to my email, my Teacher suggested breathing up from the soles of my feet through my whole body and out through my crown, then exhaling through my crown and body, out my feet. He recommended adding the practices “Ya Raqib,Ya Hafiz” to my breath, though intention.

Ya (invoking) Raqib is a divine Name for loving attention. Inhaling in this intention, I watched each step to avoid jarring the wound. Bringing loving attention to my leg, limits and needs helped during onrushes in crowds. I kept renewing my intention to bring Earth energy in through my feet. This focus also helped me to p1030209take in my environment and locate places and items I was trying to find. It increased my confidence getting around.

Ya (invoking) Hafiz is a divine Name for protection, and also for deep respect. I exhaled this quality from my crown down and out my feet, beginning with respect for my body and the ways enhanced attention makes me safer.

Combining Ya Raqib and Ya Hafiz evoked numerous reflections:

Paying loving attention is doing our part. Expecting protection without contributing attention is absent accountability.

We need to NOTICE in order to truly respect. Making assumptions without truly noticing does not support respect. A few implications:

–If I did not feel my wound I may not respect my limits.
–If we do not notice the results of eating something we are sensitive to, we will keep eating it and irritate our bodies instead of respecting our needs.
–If someone thinks we are other than we are, they are unlikely to respect our needs.
–If we do not recognize our own energy, we cannot tell when we take on energy that does not belong with us and cannot respect our own need for boundaries.
–Being aware makes for right action.

Our degree of self respect and our ability to respect others are intimately involved with our relationship to physical space. The ways we do and cannot take up space reflect whether or not we feel respectable, and express some of the ways in which we respect or disregard others.

We have different styles of negotiating safety and personal space. Some people, for example, accumulate physical bulk and use it aggressively, demanding a lot of space. Some maintain energy fields like barbed wire or electric sparks for a similar function. Others shrink away and all but disappear in groups. Some blend so much they cannot tell who they are themselves. These types of behavior are rooted in the survival instinct. In part, they help compensate for feeling small, unimportant, unsafe or unseen.

Receiving respect assists us to feel seen and to feel safe.

Through practice we can root ourselves so strongly that we sense our existence whether or not anyone acknowledges us. Surmounting fear of nonexistence supports the ability to melt into profound meditation and broadens the range of experience with which we are comfortable.

My own practices began to show me my tendency to navigate away from occupied space by quickly flowing into open spaces. I noticed that I feel trapped and sometimes a bit panicky when I cannot move freely. Being fully grounded and taking up space intentionally adds gravity to my energy fields feels like dignity. The leg wound forced me to do this. Doing so felt good, if somewhat confining.

I still found oblivious tourists who stand in Borg-like (from Star Trek) solidarity, as if no one outside their hive exists challenging. As a child I felt that I didn’t matter or exist. My practices helped me begin to break down these impressions—but also sensitized me to them. Being trapped in crowds whose conditioning aggravated my old discomfort was like being annihilated in a sea of painful energy. I held a goal to be able to respect myself enough to respect the people who set me off.

Knowing my own wounds helped me respect myself. Sensing the wounds beneath people’s cultural conditioning helped with the outer part. I could see how martial arts and meditation could help counterbalance immersion in a hive-like mentality, where it’s hard to matter as an individual, and understand how constant selfies and being in every photo helped to affirm individual existence.

Crowd reduced sixty percent by rain

Crowd reduced sixty percent by rain, most groups not out.

Holding my own vibration with loving attention and respect among intense masses of energy was a useful self-development exercise. When I was too distracted by the crowds, it helped to focus on the individuality of each person in front of me.

What are your survival defenses?

When do they arise for you?

What do you do if your usual strategies for self care fail and you cannot get what you need or ask for it?