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26 July 2013 4 Comments

LGS #83: Assimilating Impressions & Cultivating Ecstasy, Part 5, Managing Passion

LGS #83: Assimilating Impressions & Cultivating Ecstasy, Part 5, Managing Passion

Passion is necessary to fuel exceptional states of awareness. It can be used to empower spiritual practice.

Building up the energy of ecstasy naturally transforms awareness. As we have explored so far, this energy changes how we view life. It also tends to bring up issues that cause us to restrict positive feeling, or close down.

While undirected passion can easily become misdirected, leading to various entanglements, bottled or repressed passion reduces vitality and sours. Damming passion can undermine P1010417health, close the heart, and cause unexplained exhaustion. When life seems to shut down ecstasy it is very important to untie inner knots and find ways to positively engage.

Concepts about ecstasy can distract us from the options available in our actual experience. For example, we tend to consider ecstasy a superlative or even extreme state. It can be intense, but ecstasy can be internal and profound beneath a sober manner. Shifting assumptions about ecstasy can reduce fear and resistance to feeling really good. We can FEEL it instead of acting it OUT in some way.

Managing ecstasy requires straddling two different experiences: the ability to contain energy and body awareness while simultaneously experiencing a melting of barriers between internal and external. This is achieved by allowing the body and energy fields to feel intact while AWARENESS is freed to expand and soar.

On a sheer rock precipice, I wanted to remain grounded and aware of my body. I found that I could stay focused on body as a pole or pivot. Then I could relax into an expanded sense of the world around me and feel a subtle sense of ecstasy.

Delightful surroundings of rare beauty make it much easier to be transported beyond small-self. Then again, if we do so often we can become habituated to loveliness and simply raise our standards. It is an advanced spiritual practice to bring beauty, expansiveness and love from within to whatever environment we happen to be in at the moment.

Happy Napper

Happy Napper

In addition to an expanded view this skill involves becoming absorbed into small details. Selecting specific positive influences to focus on can help. Real positive focus is not a matter of resisting or blocking other input but of focusing in a direction that opens the heart. Being able to see beauty and take delight in diseased cacti is an example of the way increasing focus in the moment can transform viewpoint to see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Our habit of reaching for the superlative rather than bringing ourselves fully into What Is can easily devolve into wanting more and more of whatever we are passionate about. Take, for example, sexual energy. Going for more and more becomes debilitating and depersonalizing. Moving more and more deeply into subtle energy exchange and loving appreciation opens the heart and improves life experience. In the same way, refining and deepening passion and learning to relax with it allows us to bring joy and vitality into our lives.

We do not GET MORE by trying to grasp, attain, or possess. We get more by entering fully and deeply into moments of real beauty, and opening to them so far that they become a part of us. Gratitude assists to draw it in anchor experiences of beauty, so that we can return to them in our hearts and create them more readily.

What do YOU feel passionately about?

How does this passion enhance your vitality and appreciation of life?

19 July 2013 4 Comments

LGS #82: Assimilating Impressions & Cultivating Ecstasy, Part 4: Anxiety about Ecstasy

LGS #82: Assimilating Impressions & Cultivating Ecstasy, Part 4: Anxiety about Ecstasy

Sustaining a state of ecstasy for more than a few minutes can bring up anxiety. Let’s examine some of the underlying reasons:

Almost all of us can imagine whirling and shrieking in excited joy as children, or tearing around like a tornado–until the adults shut us down. Or we may have have laughed in class and been reprimanded. We might have been in a wonderful mood and been insensitive to someone in pain, or told to wipe the smile off our face just because someone was cranky.

P1000774Ecstatic energy tends to rise. When we get anxious, energy also rises to the head, and circles around in there. Intense UP-lifting energy can quickly flip from the spiritual into mental circuits, and sour as inspiration degrades into anxiety.

Think about drinking too much coffee. If you are as sensitive as I am to caffeine, ANY is too much! At first the stimulation might feel good. When you get too much energy in your head you can get anxious, agitated, restless, and out of balance.

Sustaining ecstatic energy depends on being able to ground it, and to contain it within our fields instead of letting it shoot out all over the place or grind in the mind. Managing the energy takes intention and practice.

Most of us do not intentionally cultivate states. We allow states to come and go on their own. We may grasp at a state we want to experience. As you know, this attempt at control causes contraction and creates distress.

The detachment learned through meditation assists us in allowing a natural flow between different states. Other types of spiritual practice–such as the ones I have been describing in the last few posts–invite positive states. We can increase their likelihood, but we cannot hold them in place by will without suppression.

Influencing where your energy is going takes mastery and practice. Practice generally involves getting out of balance in the initial stages of learning. The learning curve also includes facing and accepting buried feelings that block or limit open-hearted expression.

For decades, whenever I felt absolutely wonderful I would get a dread sense that something bad would happen. In part, my dread became self-fulfilling.

Sometimes painful things happen when we feel good because we’re not paying adequate attention to safety, or to our own or people’s boundaries. In expanded states we have a different relationship to time. The moment seems like always and forever. And we want to make it so. Then “reality” asserts itself in its usual manner. In contrast, the letdown feels like a crash.

I’ve learned to tell myself, when the fear arises, that life will be life, and invite myself to allow and enjoy the moment without bracing for change. Feeling good is gradually getting easier.

Happy Camper

Happy Camper

When I first used to attend spiritual camps I experienced distress on reentry to the outside world and to daily life. This backlash is so common that camp events are now intentionally organized for more-graceful reentry. We also discuss reentry toward the end of ecstatic events. Still, I have known people who have had a backlash for several months. After the joys of truly collaborative, uplifting group experience they felt alone and disconnected. I minimize or eliminate this by continuing practice on my own as I assimilate an event.

Entering states of ecstasy requires us to surrender or at least suspend concepts and assumptions about life. Beliefs, attitudes about ourselves, habitual feelings, desires and entrenched emotional “survival strategies” (see Inner Work Series) interfere with feeling good. Antiquated relics from childhood trauma act like reflexes that block ecstasy.

If we enter expanded states without awareness and compassion for these emotional reflexes, our resulting state will include partial dissociation. This lack of grounding and containment stirs up unconscious material and produces anxiety. Paradoxically, the less resistance we have to feeling distress the safer we will feel with ecstasy.

Please share YOUR insights and reflections.

How comfortable and conversant are you with your sources of distress?

12 July 2013 6 Comments

LGS #81: Assimilating Impressions & Cultivating Ecstasy, Part 3

LGS #81: Assimilating Impressions & Cultivating Ecstasy, Part 3

I walked rapidly through the desert landscape to explore as much as possible before returning for an appointment. The scenery got better and better. As I rushed along, I found a magical gully.

The silence was delectable. I experienced it as an absolute fullness, embracing me while luxuriating itself into the available space between rock walls. The spaciousness of this holy silence inspired me. I stilled myself to take it in without the scrape of a shoe, refining my breath to feel more deeply.

Sounds I missed during my hurried passage moved into the foreground. An owl hooted nearby, its call a comfort. A zipping buzz announced a hummingbird. I discovered a small pool of standing water, absolutely smooth–and precious. Subtle colors of rocks spoke silent harmonies.

In another state of Being I might have seen this gully as just another pretty place. Following the spiritual retreat, my refined availability to the moment made this experience magical. The silent gully echoed the ecstasy that exists behind every molecule. With this focus the boundary between Self and Nature gently dissolved, allowing me to enter thundering stillness.

My teacher had been suggesting that in the course of daily practice, I make space inside my day. In this experience I entered fully into the space available, even though I only had a handful of moments.

The next day I set out to do practices from the retreat, outside. I needed isolation to do one practice loudly. This practice breaks the crust from the heart, to allow deeper and more passionate feeling. Residue on the heart builds up from shutting down, from considerations and concerns, from disappointments. Blasting them off allows for openness and passion.

Walking again, I came to a fork in the trail. I intended to go right, around some rock formations, and felt surprised by a strong pull to head toward them. I was drawn to an attractive stone ledge below red stone spires. Pulling in earth energy with Qi Gong, I had an energy experience. Energy flowed through me so strongly that it was like a full-body orgasm, but not sexual and more diffuse.

P1000932I felt guided to climb to a saddle between spires. To my delight, a perfect sitting ledge sat like bench carved into the base of a sheer-faced spire. This ledge faced a lone, lovely tree near the base of the opposite spire. A sheer drop fell to my right, the steep climb I just managed on my left.

My teacher had said not to use the personal voice for the practice I had in mind, or to use effort, but to allow its sound to build its own pitch and intensity. As I relaxed into it, the sound echoed between spires.

While essential to ecstasy, heart fire can be hard to manage. Predictably, heart opening can bring up unresolved pain, or lead to intense expression. In retreat we used balancing practices after this one, to mediate its intensity with subtlety and gentle, kind love.

I saw this quality of love reflected in a slow stream, softly combing green grass with its watery fingers. I sensed it in the the blessed moisture between canon walls, where life aggregates, away from the glare of the day. The quality had informed my movements after the retreat, when I made way for people in passing, offered assistance, or kept my own counsel kindly.

A powerful, wet wind kicked up between rock spires, stirring fear. I looked inside. Ecstasy, I feared, could unseat me, unground me, unstring me.

Ecstasy–culturally–is viewed as a loss of self, expressed through ungrounded, extreme and maybe even dangerous behavior. Spiritually mature ecstasy, however, maintains a sober exterior while the heart soars within.

I aimed to surrender to this wind, to ground myself and let it sweep away thought, and my past–to land me more fully in the moment. Staying balanced, I picked my way back down the steep incline before the rocky terrain could become unsafe.

Do YOU have any fears or patterns that start to kick in when you begin to feel good?

What do you tell yourself when this happens?

28 June 2013 2 Comments

LGS #80: Assimilating Impressions & Cultivating Ecstasy, Part 2

LGS #80: Assimilating Impressions & Cultivating Ecstasy, Part 2

“The doorway to ecstasy is positioned between self-remembering and self-forgetting.” T.D.

Okay, so what do these spiky cactus guys that have been showing up on my recent posts have to do with ecstasy or spirituality?

Actually they do symbolize something important to me. It’s about wholeness, and the holiness of wholeness. It’s about coming fully into the moment and taking joy in what we discover. It’s about a happy intersection between imagination and everyday fact.

Yes, I fell in love with cacti after my spiritual retreat. As we hiked, my friend asked why I like them. They are cute, friendly, and expressive.

What about the thorns? They are so full of juice animals would eat them to death without thorns. Thirsty birds ravage them still. We all know people who are full of love yet feel a need to guard their hearts with a thorny display. Seeing fun faces in cactuses is like seeing that love and laughing gently at the thorns.

Cricket Guy

Cricket Guy

Taking joy in damaged cacti reminds me that bringing ourselves unconditionally into the moment makes us happy.

Habituation (being on automatic) and assumption (making ideas and opinions more important that what’s in front of us) create loops or grooves that seem easy but keep us from entering fully into the moment. Anything that dulls or distorts perception reduces our natural capacity for ecstasy.

Let’s look at ways impressions from my retreat impacted perception to increase ecstasy:

We saw evidence of accepting, supportive love and a softened boundary between self and other in sweet encounters with other people during my trip. Impressions of Divine compassion and comfort with inner wounds also increased my ability to be totally at ease with so-called strangers.

Similar impressions also support feeling fully embodied.

Self-judging interferes with our ability to be aware of our bodies. Negative emotions produce sensations that bind us up, restrict our breath, and cause muscular contraction.They rivet awareness into patterns like tape or video loops. These patterns involve our identity defenses against having these feelings, such as being out of touch, being thorny to keep people at a distance, or pretending to be happy when we aren’t. (See Inner Work series under Self-Development Tab for more detail.)

Anything that shuts down self awareness and awareness of our environment prevents feeling fully alive. Feeling alive supports ecstatic experience. Embodied ecstasy is like moving IN through the moment, noticing every detail. And the farther IN we get the farther we expand OUT at the same time. The IN part provides an anchor. Otherwise you would become lost in the experience and feel out of control.

When we can love ourselves thorns and all we can open to intense feelings like ecstasy without the terror of suddenly crashing back into a contracted state of self hatred.

The practices that enhanced the resonance of ecstasy that embraces every type of human experience helped me to relax fear of strong feeling. As I relaxed more inside I discovered that the impressions of subtlety and refined awareness play an important role in ecstasy too.

As I walked in Sedona I came to an area where tiny flowers almost carpeted the desert stone. Within the huge open sky and monumental landscape they were almost insubstantial. Tuning in to their subtle expanse and delicacy, I refined my senses to appreciate their tiny faces smiling toward the sun. A subtle and exquisite ecstasy flourished in their abundance. I found delight in their sensitivity and the immediacy of their short lives among the harshness of enduring stone.

I also felt the ecstasy of subtlety in a tiny grotto. A clear pool supported the pinprick feet of a water skeeter, skating so delicately on surface tension that it made no ripples. The blessing of water and the miracle of life is ever so apparent in a landscape of heat waves and naked earth.

What makes YOU feel fully alive?

What happens when you focus your attention on small details without feeling critical or trying to get something done?

21 June 2013 8 Comments

LGS #79: Assimilating Impressions & Cultivating Ecstasy, Part 1

LGS #79: Assimilating Impressions & Cultivating Ecstasy, Part 1

We have been exploring the role of impressions in Spiritual Guidance. Understand that the impact of impressions operates constantly in daily life. The impact is just more obvious when we intentionally work with specific impressions.

As a clear example I will share some personal experience that demonstrates cultivating positive impressions, and the resulting impact on emotion and perception.:

I did not feel particularly ecstatic while doing spiritual practices at a yearly silent retreat intensive. I did, however, experience a distinct change of state, which intensified for several days following the retreat, and faded slowly over many weeks.

The practices in this retreat use specific sounds, attention and intention to enhance sensitivity to beneficial impressions. I was to select from several different sets of practices aimed to increase clarity and confidence, promote connection with Guidance, increase generosity and abundance, or cultivate divine ecstasy and blessing. This year my Teacher and I felt that the ecstasy set would serve me best, since I’d been feeling emotionally dry.

Blissful Little Monster

Blissful Little Monster

The retreat sequence was masterfully designed to invoke awareness of and produce energies that support ecstasy. The first practices support a practitioner to open to deeper or more intense practices that follow. The last practices help to integrate again and allow for graceful interaction following the retreat.

The words below provide only a rough sketch of the complex and specific energies of the practices. In English it takes a lot of words to convey the exact meaning of the sound, which creates the resonance of that meaning in the body:

  • Profound gratitude
  • Penetrating, all-pervading Divine compassion
  • Compassion that specifically heals inner wounds related to not being seen and accepted, increasing strength and tolerance
  • Ecstasy that embraces every type of human experience yet leans toward spiritual unity
  • The ecstasy that exists behind every molecule, at the quantum level
  • Unconditional love that softens the barriers between self and not-self
  • Intense, passionate love that sets the heart ablaze
  • Subtlety and refined awareness
  • Gentle, accepting, supportive love

Five days of building into and invoking these qualities left me with a wealth of positive impressions. As impressions do, they showed up reflected in my life experience and perception.

Since the retreat was in Arizona, I went over to Sedona for a few days to hike around and assimilate my experience. On the shuttle to Sedona the driver began telling me his fascinating and unusual views on spirituality. During my stay I had chance, loving encounters with people I happened upon at service counters or while hiking. People opened to me easily and deeply. On another shuttle, returning home, I got to know a woman who had been studying for years to be a spiritual guide, so we got to talk shop!

I had periods of strong gratefulness and profound appreciation–simply LIKING and enjoying things more than usual. I was fascinated with nature. I felt especially attracted and sensitive to the elements, such as unpolluted water, highly magnetic earth, sunlight, and fresh air. And I have to admit that I talked to a few of the cute lizards who scampered across the trails and watched me walk by.

I felt central to myself; not needing anything, craving anything, or wishing for anything to be different. Absorbed into the moment, I even had a few transient states of bliss.

Over the next few blogs I’ll share some lovely details and say more about ecstasy.

How do YOU notice the impact of impressions you take on?

What type of impressions bring you the most benefit?

14 June 2013 2 Comments

LGS #78: Getting In Touch with Spiritual Guidance, Part 4: IMPRESSIONS

LGS #78: Getting In Touch with Spiritual Guidance, Part 4: IMPRESSIONS

The term “impressions” is used in several spiritual and self-development groups to refer to the energy we pick up from exposure to a person, place or object. Contemplating this use of “impressions” builds understanding of energy processes central to Spiritual Guidance.

P1010199

Cat Face

This definition is from an online dictionary:

1. An effect, feeling, or image retained as a consequence of experience.
2. A vague notion, remembrance, or belief: I have the impression that we have met once before.
1. A mark produced on a surface by pressure.

Notice that the word applies to physical impact as well as to what we sense about or take in from something we experience. When we pick up energy or clear energy, what we are picking up or clearing can be called “impressions.”

The word “impressions” implies that we are influenced by exposure to something. Energy we pick up leaves an impression upon us, and energy impresses itself upon us according to our personal interpretations, feelings, and beliefs. The effect of such energy may be a vague feeling, or sense, but its impact can also create the sensation of pressure. Energy can exert a direct physical influence, like stomach discomfort or a headache related to a congested chakra.

We are constantly resonating with impressions from our environment. Resonance increases energy transfer, and causes us to pick up various types of energies according to our state. When open ourselves to exposure, we are more easily impressed or influenced.

Attunement, which we have been exploring in the last few posts, can be described as intentionally picking up impressions.

Attuning to specific spiritual personages, Beings, sources, frequencies, or even places consists of intentionally picking up positive impressions. Appropriate use of intention, posture, breath, imagery, memory, and emotion increases resonance with energy we would like to become similar to or pick up. When we feel impressed with someone we allow our impressions of them to have greater impact.

Impressions come to our attention most clearly when they improve or detract from our appreciation of life. Impressions, however, are not simply positive or negative. Extreme impressions are just easier to notice.

We take in what and whom we focus on. If we take in impressions from watching a master welder, for example, we may become inspired to create with metal. When we go into emotional resonance with friends or groups, we become more easily influenced by them and more similar to them.

As we develop clarity about exactly who we are and become increasingly authentic, our energy boundaries become more well defined. This clarity allows us to become intentional about what we allow to influence us. Self-awareness increases mastery with working with impressions of all types.

Aware individuals tend to restrict exposure to some types of impressions and intentionally intensify exposure to others, especially during certain phases of personal growth. During times when boundaries are especially open or are not yet sufficiently developed, restricting exposure to unsavory influences can be an advantage. Ideally, this restriction is not defensive– like worrying about picking up unwholesome energy–but is instead creative.

We can intentionally select a wholesome diet of beneficial impressions. In this analogy, attunement to spiritually advanced Beings is like a healthful dessert.

Understanding impressions enhances Spiritual Guidance because impressions play such an important role in positive influence.

How important is it for YOU to be intentional about the influences to which you expose yourself?

How has your ability to draw in positive influences or to repel influences that do not work for you changed along with your personal development?

7 June 2013 0 Comments

LGS #77, Getting in Touch with Spiritual Guidance, Part 3: Heart Awakening

LGS #77, Getting in Touch with Spiritual Guidance, Part 3: Heart Awakening

Being able to attune ourselves to another person is the skill that allows us access to their heart. Knowing the other person’s heart is the key to providing profound Guidance. 

Following from Part 2, I am still quoting my Teacher:

“We do not develop the capacity to reflect the love of accomplished Beings without practicing first the ability to mirror and honor the hearts of the P1000806ordinary people with whom we come in contact.

“So we practice with embodied people–those around us and those from whom we seek to learn. Then we are more and more able to resonate with highly developed Beings who may have passed on. This is not like talking with the dead. It is like dipping into a living stream and becoming a part of it. 

“There are other ways to access parts of this spiritual skill set. The results of psychic opening without heart awakening can cause a variety of imbalances, types of confusion, issues with energy, and ethical quandaries. The experience of spiritual unity with others–in a context of receiving Guidance one’s self–supports personal balance and respectful understanding.”

“What does it mean to mirror the heart of another person?”

When we mirror another person’s heart we attune to them and sense:

  • Their authenticity
  • What is important to them
  • What moves them and lights them up
  • What they need to express to feel whole
  • How they touch and are moved by the people and things they value
  • What makes them feel loved
  • Their tenderness
  • The nature of their longing
  • What they offer to the world just by Being
  • Their sweet soul-strength and courage

Sensing the heart of others allows us to interact with grace; to see the Divine in others. Reflecting these heart qualities is in itself a spiritual act. Practice causes our own hearts to awaken.

In reflecting the hearts of others we become more resonant with and attuned to spiritually evolved Beings. This skillful attunement is the backbone of Spiritual Guidance. It allows us both give and receive Guidance. In a very real sense, we are just passing it along or reflecting it and giving it a voice. This takes us out of the ego-space of assuming that this Guidance originates with us.

Connection with a spiritual group is not essential to attuning to Spiritual Guidance. Some groups, however, carry potential advantages over developing on your own or working with a solitary teacher.

The following conditions are advantageous for Guidance, if and when they are present within a group.

An established group can:

  • Provide a number of different leaders who offer exposure to a wider range of skills and energies
  • Offer connection with developed individuals who have mastered different types of Guidance skills
  • Help focus intention
  • Provide a venue for and inspire spiritual practice
  • Concentrate certain kinds of energy, making them easier to recognize and access
  • Supply checks and balances that assist with personal balance, safety, and development
  • Assist to de-emphasize ego involvement in the work
  • Provide an opportunity to experience leaders’ interaction with their own teacher/s, which increases perspective and can help reduce ego issues
  • Offer models of spiritually healthy states

Groups with a direct lineage pass leadership along through numerous generations. This can concentrate the power, focus, and Realization of a number of advanced Beings, forming a living stream of inspiration. Being part of such a living stream helps us fill ourselves up at the same time we are giving out. For those whose nature resonates with this kind of lineage, involvement offers access to the energetics of this living stream.

I have met hundreds of embodied spiritual guides from a broad range of traditions. Of the two I take direct Guidance from, one is a key part of a lineage and the other has no affiliations with any external group. They offer totally different types of Guidance. I find these diverse approaches absolutely complementary.

Spiritual Guidance is loving and authentic when founded on attunement with the heart of the person who receives it.

What preconceptions do YOU have about Spiritual Guidance?

Who or what do you attune to, and how does this attunement influence how you feel about other people?

31 May 2013 2 Comments

LGS #76, Getting in Touch with Spiritual Guidance, Part 2: How to Attune to Spiritual Beings

LGS #76, Getting in Touch with Spiritual Guidance, Part 2: How to Attune to Spiritual Beings

This post goes into the nuts and bolts of how to attune to spiritual beings for Guidance.

Occasionally I refer to my Teacher. His identity is not a secret, yet I rarely share it. I am not trying to involve you in what I do. I share experiences as food for thought, exposure to positive energy, and to promote understanding about Guidance.

Here are excerpts from a talk my Teacher gave on how to connect with Guidance by attuning to someone who inspires you:

“You do not try with your mind to hear or understand but try to get a sense of their heart and spirit. It is a feeling…its a feeling….”

“Find someone that you take an interest in. You say, ‘Okay, i’m going to take an interest in this person.’ I might be interested in a hundred people, but I’m just going to say for whatever reason, ‘I’m going to take an interest in this person.’

“Then spend a bit of time reflecting on this person, reflecting on their qualities, maybe studying something about them. Maybe inwardly reflecting on them or asking inside to overcome a sense of separation from them so that you can feel what is their inner Being.

“If that person shows up in your meditation it is as an instrument of the Spirit of Guidance. The Spirit of Guidance is kind of like a great, jeweled body of awareness that is fed by all of the Realization that has ever been, and it’s held in this container of awareness.P1010307

“But it takes a form that speaks to you. . . . Maybe for you it comes in a different form. That form is what the Universe is using as a focus for you. So whatever level you can take it.

“In the beginning don’t try to do it in any particular way, just take an interest in and begin to focus on that Being. Sit with that concentration for a few minutes a day. It shouldn’t be something onerous, even if you just think of it like, ‘Where’s the heart of Quan Yin in this checkout line,’ for example. Just bring it in to your life in some way.

“There must be some Being that you are attracted to and that you are interested in. I am not saying that you are wiling to say ‘Be my inner Reality.’ I mean it doesn’t even have to be someone who is particularly well known. I’m just asking you to find somebody.

He made several suggestions, then continued.

“I want to put out the sense of the ability to draw from the point of light that is represented by an incarnated Being that has become illuminated. Wherever you can see that sense of illumination in a Being, just take that– maybe in great works of art.

“We have a lot of things to get through to find that place, but when you find that, it is really very simple. It’s just where your heart goes to.

“What happens when you do this? I don’t have any agenda about it. The worst thing is that you wasted a few minutes a day thinking about Mary, or whatever. You’re not going to do yourself any harm.

“We take one step towards that Reality and that Reality moves toward us. That’s what I want you to find. Spiritual practice takes you into this boundless state, increasing your sense of Oneness. I want you to cull out of that Oneness a Being that incarnates it.

“That’s gonna be you! But to get there you need to be able to find some Beings that touch the Light in you and make that inner sense wake up.”

Who are YOU drawn to as a source of inspiration?

What happens inside you when you contemplate them?

24 May 2013 0 Comments

LGS #75: Getting in Touch with Spiritual Guidance, Part 1: Attunement

LGS #75: Getting in Touch with Spiritual Guidance, Part 1: Attunement

Getting in touch with Spiritual Guidance occurs through the process of attunement. Attunement means getting in tune with someone or something in order to allow their rhythms and energy to impact you. You need to have something to attune TO. The invocation that follows is an invitation to profound attunement. Try it out:

Toward the One, the Perfection of Love, Harmony, and Beauty,
the Only Being, United with all the Illuminated Souls,
Who form the Embodiment of the Master,
the Spirit of Guidance.

What do these pretty words mean in practice? I repeated them daily for intervals spanning many years. Their meaning continues to unfold.

The word “Master” in this invocation has to do with Mastery–which means being able to focus ourselves and direct our own impulses with the clarity, will, and alignment to accomplish what we intend. It’s the capacity to live your life purpose. It has nothing to do with controlling others.

The Spirit of Guidance is an attitude, a benevolent force, a function of the Universe, a living potential we can tap into and interface with. The Spirit of Guidance may be “the voice that constantly comes from within.” It may be a composite of spiritually accomplished Beings, whose accumulated intention to serve humanity provides an unseen presence of discerning and loving wisdom.

Having been exposed to that invocation when I turned twenty, I never thought too much about it. I had a clear energy-sense of this force for grace, and I accepted it as an energy we naturally access by intending P1000750to do so. Attunement is the method.

Attunement means getting into resonance, like tuning an instrument from a tuning fork. The aim is to vibrate together at the same pitch. Attunment is sort of like channeling. Only with channelling you would be like a mouthpiece, taking dictation, standing out of the way while something works through you. With attunement you are fully inside yourself, fully involved. You are the instrument.

Rather than seeking to take anything from a special person or group, or get their energy, you seek to align yourself with their inner sources of inspiration. This practice leads to becoming a source yourself.

Contemplating the nature and attributes of inspiring people prepares you resonate with their wisdom, and to bring forth similar traits in yourself. By vibrating with their inspiration and opening to the influences that make them what they are you become more like them. The practice of attunement makes you ripe for Guidance.

In the next post I will share a totally inspiring, nuts-and-bolts description of how to engage the process of attunement.

What do YOU do to get in touch with Spiritual Guidance?

Does this process involve some kind of attunement? If you, what do you attune to and how does it impact you?

17 May 2013 2 Comments

LG #74: Spiritual Guidance & Belief

LG #74: Spiritual Guidance & Belief

Spiritual guidance can be a thorny topic because it tends to be riddled with beliefs. Beliefs can be like passionate opinions. Differences can bring up conflict, sometimes even when people are basically in agreement but use different words.P1000954

Hand-me-down beliefs based on learned concepts differ in nature from beliefs that express our responses to direct personal experience.

When belief results from life experience we are less likely to get wrapped up in whether or not other people agree. We can allow belief to morph and change along with unfolding life experience.

Spiritual affiliations or alliances are connections we feel with teachers, saints or masters, paths or traditions, and related individuals and groups. These vitally alive connections can stimulate insight, inspiration and transformation. Involvement may feel karmic; a special link to a deeper and more meaningful life.

Established spiritual affiliations are like brand-name nutritional products. Some work quite well, others not so well. Some work well for some individuals and poorly for others, depending on their specific needs. Some work well for a period and then the person needs a different product in the same line, a totally different brand, or a break from that particular type of stimulation.

If we become too attached to an affiliation we can get caught up in avid involvement like the hype and structure of a multi-level company. There is nothing wrong with intense involvement, and some involvement spans a lifetime. Investment can, however, impair objectivity. It can make us unreceptive to feedback about whether or not the system works for others, or to other input.

Direct experience thrives through open observation. This does not preclude profound spiritual affiliations. It just means being able to stay with our actual experience instead of ritualizing our involvement. We stay AWAKE in spiritual involvement instead of going to sleep within its structure. This means bringing ourselves to practice fresh instead of making assumptions or functioning out of habit.

Spiritual affiliations are also like exceptionally dear friends. We may speak of them with love. Someone else may take inspiration hearing about this love. It does not follow that it serves this person to adore them as we do. This person may have an intense need for the kind of deep connection we feel. While it is possible that they could join in our friendships, it is more likely that they need to explore and develop their own alliances.

Does spirituality necessarily enter into Guidance? Not necessarily. I think this depends on our personal orientation to spirituality. From the standpoint of spiritual Oneness, all of life is spiritual. Any type of experience can be used to learn and grow.

Guidance springing from instinct, body or energy sensations, and intuition regarding people, places and events are based on direct personal experience. They need not involve belief. Spiritual Guidance, in contrast, carries a belief that human life has purpose and persists beyond the duration of the physical body.

We will focus on Spiritual Guidance and I will share more about my spiritual process over the next few posts. These experiences shape the context of my extensive relationship with Guidance. I have no interest in drawing you in to my particular path. The energy from spiritual experiences can be inspiring, and the material may provoke reflection.

As a guide, my personal affiliations are rarely directly relevant to my clients. Skilled guides serve others to become who THEY are, not who WE are. Very occasionally a client has been naturally and appropriately drawn to my spiritual sources. If their interest shows a true fit, I neither obstruct nor emphasize potential involvement.

How do YOU feel about established spiritual paths or traditions?

Does spirituality require a path or tradition?

Can you sense any underlying fears or judgments that color your attitudes?

What does Spiritual Guidance mean to YOU?