Archive | Healing RSS feed for this section

20 May 2016 3 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 82: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 4: Freeing Up Shame and Humiliation

Manage Your Energy Part 82: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 4: Freeing Up Shame and Humiliation

“Imagine the broken places inside you are magnets for light.” ~Tawwaba

Learning to recognize, resonate with and reproduce different qualities of energy develops inner freedom and awareness, in addition to personal mastery.

The next stage of the spiritual retreat worked with paired qualities relating to feeling cast down into shame and humiliation, and being raised up and recognized for success. This practice assists in learning to be unattached to the highs we experience, and not pulling away from or wallowing in difficult experience.

The fall from a high state is inevitable. Learning to discover value and insight in all states, without clinging to them, is an important objective. Suffering, as the Buddhists tend to point out, is caused by attachment and aversion.

The aim of alternating intentionally between humiliation and feeling elevated through success is to find the divine in both states, to release attachment to either, and to become able to move freely between them, learning what is there to learn throughout.

Through dance, energy practice, and meditation, the retreat group followed our work the qualities I just mentioned with qualities and energies that help to release blame and self blame and enhance forgiveness and balance, and some that evoke strong, clear, connected self-esteem. The last practice of the morning generated incredibly tender, unprotected-but-powerful love. We sent this love to one another as a blessing, standing to receive it, eye to eye with a number of dance partners. P1010116

Everyone has trauma. Not everyone is in touch enough to sense what it is or how it acts in shaping and restricting personality. For the most part, those who shut down their own awareness of trauma fear it having it arise. Also, since we tend to restrict in others what we cannot view or accept in ourselves, people who cannot face their own trauma tend to shut down those who communicate their own. Deeper feeling and expression get confined to breakdown or therapeutic situations. Working with the states and stages of our wounded humanity in energy-based, spiritual ways—without being psychological or singling anyone out—is freeing. This work creates openings that allow light and love to move through us without the obstructions caused by trauma.

Working also with the intention of allowing the divine to touch us, move through us, and to also be present within our tender spots is beautiful and intense. The practices allow us to see and experience ourselves and others very intimately, yet without discussion or delving into one another’s histories. Doing this feels universally human.

Of course, those few who know more about our personal journeys see more deeply into our faces and gestures and stand witness to us in a way that is both vulnerable and deeply healing. Opening the heart to attend to our different alchemy with each partner, and noticing the different flavors of each experience is a learning in itself. Some partners open us to places we have not yet touched in ourselves. Others may bring up a reflex to protect something. We can observe whether we can find a way to relax this and give of ourselves safely. Fortunately, most of the people at this particular retreat were lovely and loving and my Teacher floods us with love and creates a safe environment for practice.

What would it take for you to intentionally bring up shame and humiliation without getting stuck in them?

If you use feeling inflated or successful to avoid feeling shame, what would you need to do in order to feel safe being aware of both sets of feeling?

How can you move between them without getting stuck in either polarity?

1 April 2016 2 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 78: Inner Child Inclusions and Exclusions in Energy Clearing

Manage Your Energy Part 78: Inner Child Inclusions and Exclusions in Energy Clearing

I was doing Inner Work walking in nature, and noticed that I had a few Inner Child inclusions. I made this term up, and find it apt. I am referring to a phenomena that shows up in some types of energy clearing—although most of the fine healers I have seen are unaware of or do not scan for them.

Fragments of another person’s Inner Child become drawn to us when the person has unresolved issues at a particular age and views us as a source for those needs. If they disown that need, and are unaware of the need at the moment, and if one is sympathetic or identifies with their need, the related energy can enter our body or energy fields. We include it as if it is part of us, hence, an inclusion.

Conversely, we can call it an Inner Child exclusion if we have given over a chunk of our energy to someone else. Giving to someone else the energy of a part of self that we are not owning excludes it from our IMG_0545awareness, hence an exclusion. One healer I know refers to disowned or disparaged parts as “exiles.” He is talking about the psychological aspect. I am talking about the energy.

When energy that belongs within becomes attached to or projected onto someone who is seen as a source of need gratification, these chunks become exclusions for the person who disowns them, and inclusions to the person who carries them.

The problem with pushing these chunks away is that doing so maintains an arrested state of development. It is difficult to work effectively on issues when the related energy is not present in the body—along with the sensations and emotions that are connected with it. The problem with taking them on from someone else is that when we think they are part of us we can work and work on related issues and sensations without making much progress. We cannot change something that does not belong to us, so we can find the issues highly resistant to change.

Energy and issues show up in layers. We can clear everything we can find at a given point in time, then after significant growth, discover energy that was not previously accessible. It becomes possible to clear this energy when we get down to the strata of experience wherein that energy has been lodged.

Energy anomalies are always related to our issues. As with psychological issues, they do not show up until we are ready to grow through and beyond the related issues or control previously obscure elements of our personalties.

When I first learned about Inner Child inclusions, I removed all the inclusions I could find. Following periods of intensive Inner Work I occasionally find chunks that were buried and simply could not show up before.

Noticing energy related to complex issues requires dedicated focus. I do my best extended Inner Work walking in nature, when very few people are around. Then I can till the soil of a particular issue by turning it over and over, looking at all the ways that an issue appears in my inner and outer worlds, sensing into and working with the related energies. Movement helps air things out and keeps me grounded and in rhythm. Natural beauty keeps me from getting restless or uncomfortable, like I might be sitting for an extended period. New places and beautiful views give me perspective, elevate my mood, soften my heart, and remind me of that the world contains pleasant options.

As I walked I through out some chunks that had been drawn to me. This should be done lovingly, returning them kindly since the person who disowned them needs to accept them back and process something difficult.

A beginner’s error is to dis-identify with parts that belong inside, imagining that they originate from someone else. Throwing out parts that belong inside creates other problems. Be circumspect and willing to own your “stuff” if you try clearing yourself.

Do you ever feel unreasonable and awkwardly responsible for someone’s needs, in an odd, preverbal and stuck way? You may have inclusions.

Do you find that yourself unable to penetrate with your awareness into an aspect of your Inner Child, even through you can usually access those parts? You may have exclusions.

Discerning inclusions and exclusions  is subtle and complex work, not easy unless you regularly practice energy clearing and Inner Work.

12 February 2016 5 Comments

What is Genuine Love?

What is Genuine Love?

“How few understand what love really is, and how it arises in the human heart. It is so frequently equated with good feelings toward others, with benevolence or nonviolence or service.  But these things in IMG_0108themselves are not love.  Love springs from awareness.  It is only inasmuch as you see someone as he or she really is here and how and not as they are in your memory or your desire or in your imagination or projection that you can truly love them, otherwise it is not the person that you love but the idea that you have formed of this person, or this person as the object of your desire not as he or she is in themselves.

“The first act of love is to see this person or this object, this reality as it truly is. And this involves the enormous discipline of dropping your desires, your prejudices, your memories, your projections, your selective way of looking . . . a discipline so great that most people would rather plunge headlong into good actions and service than submit to the burning fire of this asceticism. When you set out to serve someone whom you have not taken the trouble to see, are you meeting that person’s need or your own?” ~ Father Anthony de Mello

Contrast this understanding of genuine love with your conditioning about what it means to be loving.

What do you discover about yourself?

18 December 2015 6 Comments

Managing Your Energy Part 71: Skill Set to Keep from Giving Away Your Energy

Managing Your Energy Part 71: Skill Set to Keep from Giving Away Your Energy

It is not unusual for intuitive people with big hearts to become drained in interactions, especially with people whose lack of clarity tend to call forth our intuitive skills. Here are behaviors and attitudes that help: P1080147

Monitor your level of confusion carefully. When you begin to feel confused, take a step back and take inventory. Are you confused because of your own unclarity? If so, ask yourself questions to clarify your motives and needs. If you are confused, however, because someone is being confusing, you may make an effort to sort it out—but do not make heroic and exhaustive efforts. If the person actively resists your efforts to clarify what they mean or where they are coming from, take the following steps:

Bring in compassion for yourself. Confusion is painful, and you are probably being kept at an emotional distance.
Focus on connecting to Source, to the greater spiritual whole, so you feel connected instead of painfully isolated.
Release your need to feel connected to the person. This does not mean you never connect. It means you take care of your energy first. If you try to connect, you make sure it’s not draining you.
Tell the person that the interaction seems to be a lot of work. Ask them to get clear about what they are trying to communicate or what they want and get back to you when they know. Then they can do their own work internally instead of relying on you to do their work as well as your own.
If the person continues to block your communication or makes it too much work, withdraw and try at another point in time.
Comfort your Inner Child if you feel pain that the person is not connecting with you.
Be clear about what you want from interaction. Do your needs belong in interaction, or are these needs the sort one must care for in one’s self, like the need for validation or approval?
Quit being too “nice.” If the person is obstructing communication or out of touch, ask them directly to let you know what they want. It may be necessary to give them time to come up with it. If you choose to wait, spend the time practicing a simple energy-based, body-centered meditation, such as watching your breath. This helps with patience, nourishes you, and keeps you from picking up their energy. It works much better than defense, resistance, or most attempts to shield.
Stay clear about who you are. Do not reinforce ego-based identity, just keep an eye out to see whether what the person says about you matches who you are. If you are clear, you are not defensive. Take in what they say and try it on to see if it resonates. If it doesn’t, push it back out. Let this be a relaxed and natural process, like eating and pooping.
Notice if you start to get emotionally triggered. If so, delve right into your discomfort and find its core. What is the deepest and strongest emotion at play? What are you reminded of? What are you afraid of?
Breathe into any body parts that get tight.
Remind your young parts that you have adult resources now and can take care of your needs. Determine exactly what you can do yourself that will soothe and support you. Self support includes making appointments with professionals, but you still do what you can for yourself.
Take breaks if the person becomes unreasonably demanding.
Practice the skill of detachment. Detachment is not aloofness. Do not push anything away or resist, but relax any part of yourself that gets stuck to or wrapped around it. For example, let your relationship go—while staying right where you are. Leaving is unnecessary—unless it is necessary.
Keep checking in with yourself as to whether your response of helping is coming from an ego pattern, old wound, or unconscious need. If so, stop. If helping stems from your essence or a clean desire to be of service it will not cause you problems.

Which of these skills is the most necessary in your current interactions?

At what point in your interactions do you need to employ them?

18 September 2015 3 Comments

Managing Your Energy, Part #62: Do Cultural & Spiritual Values Spur Unhealthy Responsibility?

Managing Your Energy, Part #62: Do Cultural & Spiritual Values Spur Unhealthy Responsibility?

“To offend a low person is like throwing a stone in the mud and getting splashed.” ~ Inayat Khan

We have all been exposed to the models in which those who are healthier or more developed take responsibility for those who are less healthy or developed. It is natural for parents to take responsibility for their children. Whether or not the same should apply with adults who act like children, the onus of responsibility in many situations tends to fall on the person with the most capacity and perspective.

Do we step forward, or step back?

Becoming a bodhisattva is the goal of Mahayana Buddhism. The bodhisattva refers to a human being committed to the attainment of Enlightenment for the sake of others, who postpones Enlightenment in order to help all others to attain it.

Feel free to correct me or to extrapolate: The I-Ching and “The Tao of Leadership” encourage those who are highly capable to learn to carry on as if we had no skills, and to function invisibly, so we are not used up by those who carry on foolishly or still need to learn basics.

Both approaches offer wisdom.

Different teachings support different natures. Spiritual advice designed for self absorbed people becomes toxic when taken to heart by over-givers.

Empaths already tend feel we are not being compassionate if we see someone in distress that we can address but step back instead of stepping forward. Spiritual or religious rhetoric about taking care of others can aggravate these issues.

It is healthy for those who put other’s needs first to talk about and work through this type of distress.

As a person with a great array of competencies, I find myself unsupported by Western cultural assumptions. People with talent are pressured to advertise, extend, seek notoriety, and to ‘make something of’ ourselves until our lives become burdened with a numbing plethora of superficial contacts.

Being around people who do not or will not take responsibility for themselves or aspects of their behavior is P1140049its own kind of painful. A classic example of this is watching someone you love drink themselves to death. Watching people eating allergens, making bad decisions, refusing to exercise, and acting in ways that block intimacy can evoke pain too—especially if we are confused about whether or not to help.

Whether it’s a parent with Alzheimers or ‘child’ living at home long well into adulthood, most of us face these issues at some point. Our responses vary as do our natures. There is also a karmic thread. Situations that look similar may have totally different exigencies.

It is a cultural necessity to carry those who are truly incapable. But what about the negligent, and the entitled—those who are capable yet choose to demand from others instead of doing what they can? Supporting them is not a service—yet they fight if we refuse.

Do we endure those who act like children, demanding of ourselves that we remain loving and compassionate when someone causes unnecessary suffering? If we do NOT step away, certainly we must find an accommodation by which we can be loving without being drained.

Unless the Love we engage is Universal–and therefore includes care for self–we are apt to consume healthy lives in care for the damaged or unwilling.

Questions for your consideration:

When is stepping away from responsibility to others a way of being responsible to one’s self?

If we take service to those who are less developed as a spiritual value, how do we remain balanced?

How far is it healthy to go to be of assistance to others?

What do you need to do to balance between your own needs and those of the people you love?

What if these people are unable to recognize or address YOUR needs?

What signs let you know when you are sacrificing too much?

13 March 2015 0 Comments

Managing Your Energy, Part 38: Death by a Thousand Paper Cuts, Choice, Meaning, Spiritual Freedom

Managing Your Energy, Part 38: Death by a Thousand Paper Cuts, Choice, Meaning, Spiritual Freedom

“Brother, stand the pain.
Escape the poison of your impulses.
The sky will bow to your beauty, if you do.
Learn to light the candle. Rise with the sun.
Turn away from the cave of your sleeping.
That way a thorn expands to a rose.”
~Rumi

Some of my worst moments occur when I feel forced to squander countless hours trying, for example, to download a year of financial information that some mandatory update has eaten, and telephone “help” no longer supports the platform I just repurchased. With the thousands of people in mind who are in the same position, being treated to casual cruelty, irresponsibility, and the company’s rhetoric about their lack of support for the products they inflict on the public has reduced me to shouting. It’s the helplessness.

I know this is trivial. The triviality makes it worse. Stress from major life events at least seems meaningful. Real trauma is vitally alive. It demands transformation. In contrast, dry and useless waste of precious days is like death by a thousand paper cuts. Meaningless stress deadens us and erodes societal well being.

Inability to accept the mundane increases my pain. Aiming for self mastery or contribution offer a sense of choice about some part of the experience, adding some meaning. When I am willing and able to practice this it reduces my distress.

One of my spiritual goals is to be able to remain in my heart—or at least avoid spiking my cortisol—in frustrating, trivial circumstances. It helps me to take a strong stand for everyone who may have to deal with the same thing. I seek to enroll anyone who may be able to make a difference in the way that company does business, asking them to help reduce meaningless planetary stress by advocating positive change during meetings, and by notifying policy makers. Breath practices help me too. IMG_0028

We may be unable to control circumstances, but we can at least gain some influence over our responses to them.

When we do not participate in the ways that ARE possible, we suffer more.

Looping back into our several-post topic of spirituality and suffering:

When we feel that God will cause us suffering, I think we must ask ourselves What we take God to be. (Please substitute your own word or concept if you don’t like the G-word.)

When we experience ourselves as separate from God, we can be messed with by God. When we feel we are an integral part of God, like a cell within the whole of the body, we play our part. We are impacted by the whole but it is not doing anything TO us; we are part of it.

Someone once said to the spiritual leader, Hazrat Inayat Khan, “I don’t believe in God.”

Inayat Khan replied, “You haven’t experienced God. How can you believe in something if you have not experienced it? Wait until you have some experience and then believe.”

Inayat Khan also said that god is a vibration, and that we create that vibration. We bring it forth from within us as an ideal, and train our energy to resonate with that ideal, making it real by bringing it through us into the world.

No matter what we believe or what we call it, we can practice bringing love into the world. It’s not easy, but it is inherently worthwhile.

Working with love and forgiveness AS ENERGIES invites expanded and redemptive experience. Working through the mind is less efficient. We need to FEEL it. When we are willing to love ourselves during our moments of distress, and to forgive ourselves for our wounds, we move toward happiness that transcends circumstances and conditions.

What do YOU resist, and how does this resistance ultimately increase your distress?

Can you identify some way to create a sense of choice or freedom within your experience?

7 March 2015 4 Comments

Managing Your Energy, Part 40: Rapid Spiritual Growth and Rage

Managing Your Energy, Part 40: Rapid Spiritual Growth and Rage

“Because true belonging only happens when we present
our authentic, imperfect selves to the world,
our sense of belonging
can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
~ Brené Brown

Exposure to energies that promote rapid spiritual growth almost inevitably brings us up against the that prevent us from sustaining those energies within ourselves. When we are passionate about transformation, we view this as an opportunity to stretch ourselves with respect to these limitations. We are, however, rarely of one mind about it. When the going becomes painful, we are apt to view these challenges as an affront. Here we are, doing our best to be all that we can be, and it feels like we’re being tested or tormented, let alone receiving support.

One of my readers brought up what she aptly calls “the universal 2-by-4.” I would like to speak in part to those who have experienced sudden awakenings and transformational life experiences which they were not actively courting. My reader was brave and authentic enough to admit that she felt resentment toward God after having such extreme experiences.

I understand. In the face of this kind of experience it is easy to feel resistant to growth, fear of more pain, angry, and stuck.

About twenty years ago I went through an episode of acute spiritual agony. I was mad at God. Even if one kills one’s self, I reasoned, one could not escape suffering because it is nearly impossible to step off the Wheel of death and rebirth. I did not recall choosing to participate, maybe back at the beginning of being a distinct, individual soul, or agreeing to the intensity of the challenges. I resented that so much learning comes through distress. Why not through love?

Whatever we believe and however we couch it, intense suffering can bring up rage. On the bright side, rage can assist with transformation. It focuses a huge amount of energy. Rage itself is life-affirming. We do need to use this force toward positive ends.

While I do not hold with rigid belief, I do believe that the urge to grow is part of our nature. We experience fulfillment through growth. We experience fulfillment by cultivating our hearts, and meaning through involvement with The Greater Whole.

The more we feel separate from God, others, the Universe, etc, the more we suffer. When we feel at One with It, we feel better and are more likely to experience meaning. If we cannot feel it now, we can aim to remain open.

IMG_1785Life is what it is and does what it does. We want to think it could be “fair.” We attempt to apply logic, to hold life to human standards of what should and should not happen. These standards were usually taught to us as children. Sometimes we regress when we cannot understand Life with our minds.

Apparently The One Being That embraces Everything does not maintain our biases against suffering and death. Much that we can experience directly, through our hearts, cannot be rationalized or explained. This includes the paradox of Divine Compassion.

Life is a big fat mystery. It full of paradox and both-ands. It does not and will not conform to our expectations. When we resist, we hurt more. I can understand resenting that.

The more I do practices that increase my ability to remain in my heart the more I experience myself as participating instead of feeling done-to.

How do YOU feel about using difficult circumstances to grow?

What brings you a sense of having a choice?

To progress in our Inner Work, we need to be willing to observe
our resistance to reality, our attachment to our self-image,
and our fear. (Understanding the Enneagram)

27 February 2015 0 Comments

Managing Your Energy, Part 39: Personal Context on Suffering & Spiritual Growth, Part 2

Managing Your Energy, Part 39: Personal Context on Suffering & Spiritual Growth, Part 2

This narrative follows and completes my story about grappling with the enigma of suffering:

Working in tandem with and being close friends with a powerful a clairvoyant, clairaudient healer I learned a great deal about energy. Unfortunately, when I began to confront him about various breaches of ethics, he did not address them and we parted ways. We had come to count on one another’s assistance in clearing our energy if we became too compromised to scan ourselves. Doing advanced energy healing without this safety net made me hypersensitive to energy.

Through Qi Gong, I was learning how to protect myself from energy that did not belong with me. At the same time, I was becoming even more sensitive, outstripping my ability to keep myself safe. Fortunately, ongoing work with several advanced healers and the accumulated results of my Inner Work were reaching critical mass. I learned how to cultivate positive energies to assist me both in staying clear and in clearing myself if I became compromised. Now I was able to strengthen my energy fields, effectively ground myself, and manage external energies. I quit having creepy energy experiences.IMG_1771

Before I began this blog, I wrote what would have been a long book. I intended to reach out to people who felt isolated owing to unusual energy experiences. I wrote autobiographically, to model the skills and attitudes I was developing in order to stay balanced and clear while encountering all manner of bizarre and unnerving energy phenomena.

I imagined people passing my book along to friends who had become isolated or felt crazy dealing with paranormal phenomena without support. After all my work I realized that publishing it might make me the go-to person not only for intuitives, but for those who were mentally unstable or ill. It is not my life work to serve in that particular front-line trench.

At this point I pursued and later co-taught some Gurdjieff-based spiritual work. It was very practical, emphasizing Inner Work rather than God. It felt good to engage in transformative work without worrying about belief. I withdrew when one of the main proponents of that work, a powerful narcissist, began to mess with my energy. He had asked me to co-author a book and I had declined.

Several years ago I was drawn to meet a spiritual teacher I had seen briefly when I was twenty. To my shock, I realized quickly and unequivocally that he was my Teacher. I had long before given up even the remotest desire for a spiritual Teacher. The several teachers I initially worked with were like stepping stones, without a deep inner link, full conviction, or any sense of permanence. My Teacher was not looking for students. I had to assert myself in a spiritually classic manner to forge a real connection. (How I managed that is a different story.)

Now I am extremely fortunate to have an absolutely genuine, astonishingly congruent Teacher. Treating each person as unique, he suggests specific spiritual practices to address distress and imbalance that stand in the way of experiencing spiritual Unity.

I used to fear that God or life would torment me in this way or that to make me grow. At first I formulated and reformulated several questions to my Teacher, seeking answers to make sense of suffering. His responses were the only things he has ever said that to me that didn’t quite strike home. They never in the slightest rubbed me the wrong way—which is a minor miracle. Neither did they satisfy.

Since then my experience has changed. It’s as if I absorbed the question into my growth, and don’t find myself circling in that particular eddy. Understanding encompasses more than the mind. Some questions are uprooted only through direct experience. My questions about suffering were formulated from a perspective that has begun to dissolve. It is not that I don’t have moments of fear, distress or overwhelm with the intensity of life. But such moments have less purchase on me. They have begun to dissolve into the Whole as I experience greater unity with Life.

Who do you know who accepts life as it is—including the trauma and atrocities—yet is able to remain genuinely positive?

What do YOU do to cultivate positive energy?

20 February 2015 10 Comments

Managing Your Energy, Part 38: Personal Context on Suffering & Spiritual Growth

Managing Your Energy, Part 38: Personal Context on Suffering & Spiritual Growth

When it comes to learning to manage energy, let alone coming to grips with suffering, there isn’t a quick fix. I find myself drawn to share some personal background before proceeding with other commentary. This will take two posts:

In my twenties and for eleven years, I was intensively involved with a different branch of the mystical school with which I am now linked. A leader’s serious abuse of power caused me to leave that school. Oddly, an independent teacher from a path I had never heard of sent a student to find me. This was before internet and occurred totally through Guidance. This teacher did fairly extreme (and fascinating) work with me for about seven months. When our stint came to completion, I became involved with a different spiritual group for seven years.

That group does a powerful fire ritual during which participants throw something they want to renounce into the fire. They caution that this act can put in motion difficult processes necessary to bringing about renunciation. Determined to learn through joy rather than suffering, I threw “learning through suffering” into that fire. Whether or not I was fully in belief, I thought I’d give it a sincere try. My next seven years were even more difficult than the previous. I asked experienced members of the group how to come to grips with suffering. Few engaged my questions. No one shared anything useful, just platitudes or party lines.

During a spiritual camp I had an episode of agony, through which I encountered rage with God. I have heard it said, and agree, that engaging with God in rage maintains a relationship and is cathartic—which creates more possibility than does withdrawing. I did not find it loving to set up Creation so we learn through suffering. I wanted OUT. For those difficult hours I felt acutely that even suicide was futile because one would simply find oneself back on the Wheel of Life, probably in less salutary conditions. I let these feelings arise but did not dwell on them later.

For three years I led a committed small group. We met in secret to evade attendance by superficial persons who permeated the local chapter of the larger group. A significant trauma dismantled this group.

During this period I became involved with a man who began to use spiritual rhetoric in an attempt to force me to caretake him. When the title of a book called, “God Talk and Domination” jumped out at me in a book store, what he was doing suddenly became clear. I practically developed an allergy to spiritual talk.

At this point I was feeling rather defensive toward God. I avoided spiritual groups for more than a decade. I had withdrawn from P1070852belief. Sometimes I felt that I had lost faith, and yet I could sense it hiding, way down deep and private. This faith was not “IN anything.” It stands like a spinning top that rights itself if pushed over. Paradoxically, this faith—for lack of a better word—was completely hidden beneath a wry unwillingness to fake anything or take anything ‘on faith.’ I came to sense that real faith could not be shattered (it was like water), or lost (it was part of me), or influenced by conditions and circumstances (it did not stand upon them). This was not faith that something or someone would somehow save me, but a kind of internal compass that drew me in a wholesome direction.

I became flexible enough to support people in their spiritual processes, no matter what belief systems they engaged.

When I carefully took stock, I realized that in dismissing belief systems and spiritual practices because I did not fully buy in to groups’ dynamics, politics and rhetoric, I had a deficit of positive energy. Without intentionally bringing in positive energy, I was being exposed to the “stuff” body therapy clients were releasing. These energies were creating unpleasant experiences—whether or not I “believed in” them.

“The distress I am feeling is the engine that drives me forward.” RR

Have you ever been angry with God, or do you reject whatever “God” might be because the enigma of suffering is confounding?

What does “faith” mean to you? Can you locate faith as a resonance or vibration instead of a concept or belief?

13 February 2015 4 Comments

Managing Your Energy, Part 37: Types of Distress & Spiritual Distress

Managing Your Energy, Part 37: Types of Distress & Spiritual Distress

It is challenging to approach the topic of feeling that God or the Universe is causing us suffering. I don’t want to be glib about this, or to dodge it because it is so difficult to write about without rhetoric, platitudes, or too much to believe. I find myself with a number of different things to say about this topic, in different contexts. I truly hope you find my reflections useful.

Much of the suffering we go through through is due to attachment, reactivity, old wounds, rigid biases about what “should be,” and so forth. It is useful to differentiate between:

  • Distress that has been there all along, now surfacing into awareness (an opportunity for greater personal freedom)
  • Distress sourced to mistaken opinions and beliefs about live (an opportunity for positive disillusionment)
  • Distress that might be referred to as karmic, related to unavoidable life events (long term lessons that require integration over years)
  • Reactivity and resistance because we don’t like the way things are (calls for developing greater acceptance of Life)
  • Pain caused by lower-self resistance to the higher-self bringing in more light/awareness (ugh. Good luck, fellow Travelers! We’re in an unprecedented planetary growth spurt and the going is intense!)

The latter can be viewed as suffering that is brought about by spiritual pursuit. It hurts, yet at least when we incur suffering in pursuit of something of real value, it has inherent meaning.IMG_1791

This type of distress, when it is real, is an indication of achievement. We have managed to make a significant enough change in our energies that it is invoking internal resistance. It IS possible to regress in our trajectory of growth. An established habit of intentionally selecting the Highest Possible Option in the moment serves well during this kind of juncture, as does access to genuine Guidance.

If we are not on board with the changes we are going through, and experience no sense of choice, our distress is exacerbated.

We may also suffer when we are calling out for help and do not receive it. Sometimes we need to formulate ourselves through grappling with a particular challenge over time, alone. This is especially painful when we do not understand the purpose and direction of our growth, and feel we have not chosen this course.

It is possible to have chosen a course unwittingly. When we pray for greater understanding and compassion, for example, we may have experiences by which we learn them. How else are we to fully comprehend if not through direct experience?

When we are suffering, it is easy to feel uncomfortable or even annoyed by people who lack sufficient understanding to be in rapport with us. Trying to manage relating to people who don’t ‘get it’ when we hurt is emotionally frustrating. We may protect ourselves from disappointment, frustration, or shame by withdrawing from superficial or hyper-positive people, by whom we may be judged. It’s okay to crawl under a rock for repairs.

When I share positive experiences, values, directions to focus on, and highly positive experiences, I feel concerned about inadvertently pushing buttons for those of you who are in pain. (I’m trying to get over that.) Being positive can be scary because it can alienate people for various reasons. Those of you who know me know that I am all about wholeness. I have limited patience for people who adopt an external attitude that appears positive without doing their Inner Work—particularly if they regurgitate memorized platitudes when I am in distress.

The most positive and integrated people I know can and do stand fully in rapport with those who have been shattered by atrocities. They do not act “nice,” sugar-coat anything, or withdraw from distress, their own, or that of others.

Do you differentiate between different types of distress?

If so, how does that serve you?