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13 May 2016 9 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 81: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 3: Learning from The Glance

Manage Your Energy Part 81: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 3: Learning from The Glance

“The heart is a vehicle for the light of the soul to shine through.” ~SAM Lewis

Some esoteric schools use the glance to transmit light, or the energy of different states. The glance can also be used for healing—if the practitioner has garnered and refined a great deal of magnetism.

Learning from the intersection of my inner experience with my Teacher’s glance is powerful and profound. I learn a great deal through his glance— not only its quality, but the timing of when he shares or withholds it. I would almost call this timing “strategic,” except that it is not contrived, controlling, or the result of a mental process, but a natural outcome of living within the flow of Guidance.

It’s taken me some years of experience to understand the complexity of my Teacher’s glance. It is a phenomena. I have had learned lessons through several glances that could not have well been conveyed with Version 2words. Outside of those moments, these things have been consistent:

He pretty much never looks at me when I feel uncomfortable being looked at, want inner privacy, or I want him to for the wrong reasons, such as if I am needy, or coming from personality instead of my essence.

He almost always looks at me when I actually need him, as in when I am extremely vulnerable or shaky entering an unfamiliar state, or raw and facing something deep. His glance is then a tender balm, giving me courage, and I feel amazingly safe. He often looks at me when I reveal a new strength and it serves me to notice it.

The manners I just described are pretty consistent during the times when he is teaching, and less so during a meal or an incidental encounter.

Our eyes often connect in glee when someone says something that strikes us as strangely humorous, for we share an unusual sense of humor. I love those moments! Sometimes we share amazing glances across the circle during group practice, when I successfully catch the energy or state he is transmitting to serve the group, or when I enter into joy or bliss, which naturally seeks to overflow through connection. He may be walking across a room, or busy, yet if I do something kind for someone he often notices and sends me light through his eyes.

My Teacher ignores me if I am seeking to catch a state from him without sincerely aiming to reproduce it myself. He does look at me if I am edging into ego. His glance is calm then, and solid, discerning but not judging, observing. This causes me to do so as well, and when I begin to observe my state he naturally looks away.

My Teacher uses his attention to free me from internal bondage, and to open me to new places within. Alongside the power, there is a delicacy in being able to observe so keenly and to invoke someone’s self awareness without generating the awkwardness of self consciousness. In part, that possibility lives in the alchemy of our connection, including my willingness to remain open to him even if it does sometimes hurt, and to confront the dark as well as the light.

Apparently I broadcast my most private internal states, which are there to see and feel for those who have the capacity to do so. So much more than most of us care to know, those who can see are able to see the things we may hide from ourselves. Contemplating that fact is, I believe, spiritually useful.

I’m fairly certain that to feel really seen by someone requires us to be willing and able to see ourselves.

How do YOU feel about being transparent and about being seen?

What causes us to remain unseen?

5 May 2016 4 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 80: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 2

Manage Your Energy Part 80: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 2

I entered one of the two dance circles as they were forming during afternoon practice session. I wanted to stand beside my Teacher—W—but allowed others to enter the circle between us. If one interferes with the natural flow to be close to him, W invariably moves. A few people dropped out of the inner circle into the outer, leaving us side by side. I then heard that this would be a partner dance. I did not turn toward W since that would have been clingy. The woman with whom I partnered whispered that I would get a chance to dance with W as the dance progressed. W—who was talking to the group at that moment—immediately moved into the outer circle.

The Dances of Universal Peace honor all spiritual and religious traditions. It was Easter. In acknowledgement, our next few dances evoked a profound sense of the blessings of Christ. One involved blessing one another with light, with our hands; pulling the energy of blessing up from the earth through the body and out the heart and hands, and pouring it into the heart of the dance partner.

I longed to experience what W’s energy looked and felt like as he did this, since I like to attune myself to him to accelerate learning. A few times I started to crane my neck to find him, but my next partner would appear before me, and respect required complete attention.

The next lovely, melodic Dance had several parts. It used Arabic names of God related to death and resurrection, and a focus on touching the wounds of others to heal them. It contained a phrase from Jesus, “Lo, I am with you always.” Dancing it, I was thinking not only of not only of the Divine, but of my link with my Teacher in connection with my spiritual Lineage.

A healthy relationship with the Teacher is both personal and impersonal. Feeling deeply connected with one Being, as a stand-in for All Beings, with the intention of learning to connect with All, is a way to start learning to feel spiritually connected with the Divine in All.

A zikr/dervish chant part of the dance formed a rousing and joyful counterpoint to the more personal partner part. It encouraged experiencing Unity. My heart sprang to embrace this joy. In the moment before the dance moved on, my glance unexpected joined with my Teacher’s from across the room, a shared flash of Version 2light and heightened emotion.

As the dance ended, I noticed one of the musicians was in tears. He had been going though a painful transition. I noticed an exceptionally sweet flow of loving compassion coming down through me and out my eyes and hands. My heart overflowed and my eyes filled with tears. I was startled to realize that the vibration of Christ was coming through me. I had gone into the open-handed, relaxed stance associated with Jesus.

The moment I became aware that it was happening I started to become self conscious and to censor this. To my surprise, my eyes were drawn like a magnet to the spot I did not yet know my Teacher was standing. Light streamed toward me, his eyes full of tears. He was experiencing what was happening within me—and feeding it.

Earlier, the group had done a walking practice, seeking to attune with Christ and allow that quality of mercy and compassion to move through our bodies. We next practiced the walk of Mary. W said that Mary did not need to pull away from people’s wounds or conditions, but could stand with people in them.

Seeking to bring these qualities through one’s self into expression takes courage. To do so genuinely instead of acting, and to allow something powerful and impersonal to express through us can feel embarrassing or strange. The work requires a safe and respectful group container.

Practicing different walks, including energies of elements and planets, requires vastly different placement of attention and energy in the body, sensory experience, motivation, and intention. The specific material is less important than the ability to fluidly express positive energies.

That evening I went into a blissful state. I had to work hard to stay grounded and remain connected with the group instead of flying off; to balance self management with merging. I sensed something pulling at me and turned half way around to discover my Teacher watching me from the outer circle. He looked mildly concerned. I copied his attunement, and pulled myself down and in without shutting down.

Sometimes I hesitate to share encounters to which many of you may not relate. Exposure to a wide variety of circumstances and possibilities can advance insight and keeps us flexible. Feel free to share experiences or responses.

If you would like to hear this Dance, with some narration by the leader and W, here is a link.

29 April 2016 4 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 79: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 1

“This work can’t be taught—it has to be caught!” SAM Lewis

Finding myself having a spiritual Teacher something that happened about a decade after I had given up the search and decided I did not need or want one. The fact that he was indeed my Teacher was unequivocal, and I had both to adjust to the notion and work diligently to bring it about.

In this culture, we look askance upon having a Teacher. As with the rest of life, the spiritual scene includes a lot of misguided people doing strange things together, running the range from mutual but well-meaning confusion to blatant power games and various types of abuse. I find myself wanting to share the simple joys of my own experience.

The spiritual lineage with which I am connected has a very natural way of interacting with our teachers. We P1000563love and honor them, yet we all understand that they are playing the role and figuratively wearing the mantle of Teacher. They are not held out to be better human beings than their students. Teachers are appreciated in that they help to inspire others to sense and express divine energies.

Naturally, I bring a unique type of attention into my relationship with my Teacher. (I’ll call him “W” for ease here.) It is a connection like no other, infinitely personal yet impersonal at the same time. It is about energy and essence instead of personality. W openly receives and reflects real Love, but actively and consistently pushes away any shred of attachment.

W shows amazing internal freedom and mastery. He is humble and self-effaced, and yet fierce—sometimes even startlingly abrupt if one verges into stupidity in his presence. At the same time he is one of the two people I feel the safest around. He reveals me to myself, challenges my limitations, and also subtly protects me when I am truly open and tender. He is usually grounded as a mountain, yet open and sensitive, expressing a vast array of subtle and powerful qualities of energy.

I would like to describe my experience with W over a several hour period at my retreat. The non-accidental element builds and builds:

The group did a partner dance (Dances of Universal Peace, originated by my Teacher’s Teacher) practice during which one person radiates like the sun while the other receives like the moon. Then we reverse roles. Last we go into a balanced Unity between both attributes and persons, before moving to the next partner.

I got to partner with W at one point. During the Unity part of the practice I intentionally sensed into the light at his crown chakra, sought to match mine to it, and placed my stream of light inside of his. (One’s spiritual Teacher, lineage, or the Divine are the only influences one should allow into one’s crown center, since this connection allows for direct influence.)

Smiling together as we turned in dance, we whirled on a pivotal axis of shared light, in a loving and comfortable unity. This was totally magical—a peak experience for me. This was so joyously and unequivocally mutual, feeling and noticing together without the sense of distance between souls—the painful underlying separation—that marks most human contact. It felt Divine. I removed all walls and veils and felt utterly safe and totally “seen.”

Being able to to enter into loving Oneness with all of life is a wonderful spiritual goal—yet it’s challenging to be so open. I honor W’s inner strength, being solidly enough inside himself to melt into a sense of Unity with many different types of people. I still find it hard to experience Unity with those who are not yet open to experiencing it themselves. Feeling it with one person, even for a few moments, helps me to contemplate our human potential to experience Unity consistently and with All. This ‘teaching’ occurred without words, through direct experience.

Have you had anyone in your life with whom you have experienced the joy of a spiritual and intuitive sense of Unity without being in an intimate relationship?

What brings YOU into an experience of Unity?

22 April 2016 2 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 80: Spiritual Growth: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished? Part 2

Manage Your Energy Part 80: Spiritual Growth: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished? Part 2

Continued from previous post:

My Teacher told a story about a friend who takes about half an hour to enter a swimming pool. “That’s what we do,” he continued. “We come up on these thresholds. At every threshold of Awakening, there is a resistance at the threshold, and we get across into it and then we don’t STAY there, but we have the light of that experience. Now it’s in our cells. It’s in our body of light that we carry forth. It’s in our soul. Those are the things the soul doesn’t forget, because the soul can learn a new thing and have insight into it, and the next thing, it’s out of it’s vision . . .

“So that’s what we try and go through at first. You step over the threshold and you come back, and you have whatever experiences you have and you don’t lose heart—you don’t lose heart!

“And you don’t lose trust in your practice, but you don’t try and force it. You don’t achieve this by ratcheting up your will. You achieve it by trusting and letting go, and by moving very naturally through it. . . .P1000436

“So go across the threshold, but tell that unconscious part of yourself, if that’s what you’re working with—it’s just my intuition—‘Ok, I’m just taking a step here. I just want have the condition to do this. This is not a destructive activity on my part. This is providing That in which one lives forever. You’re not being threatened by this, except just in your control. You have to let go. I need you to let go. But you can only let go at the speed at which you’re willing, so let’s stay in touch about all this. I’m going to still continue my practice, and I’m not going to let that fear that happened as a result of having entered into this state, and now—okay—I’ve gone into this kemal state and now everything is different.’

“Sure things are going to strike you differently under certain circumstances. Under other circumstances everything we do, having come out of that state, everything you do will be perfect. No matter what happens, it just is perfect. So I can’t generalize about it, except to say that we all are unique in our configuration. Even our souls are unique. Even every time you say a wazifa [name of God] it is unique, even in the repetition.

“Everyone has a different terrain to deal with, and in so many ways we are alike. So that’s as much as I can say about it. I think a number of us have had that experience, of being afraid of some state that we’ve gotten into, because there’s a part of us that is geared up for survival. Geared up big time in a certain way. And that feels threatened. So we have to have a communication with that and say, ‘We’re not really dying now. This is something we do, and it’s not that it’s dangerous. Can you give me the support to let this happen?’ And sometimes you run into a voice of yourself from some previous age, and you say ‘How old am I?

“‘How old is this part of myself that is communicating? Am I nine now, or five, or fifteen, or what?’ This is all part of the adventure. So this is not like ‘an enlightenment intensive.’ I don’t even know what they are anymore. But when you come: ‘Now you’re enlightened!’ and we tap the magic wand.

“Sometimes there is just an instance when something happens. It was just a glance, it was just a moment. It never died. It’s still alive. —But that’s usually after many years of this and that or the other, and it just opens for you. It’s not that you cut the Gordian knot [a metaphor for an intractable problem]. Sometimes you have to cut the gordian knot.

“So I don’t mind taking questions. I hope it’s not boring for others, listening to other people’s questions. Generally the questions people have are not just for themselves. How many people felt a resonance with her question?”

At least a third of the people in the room raised their hands.

“If something comes up, go into it. Go into it. Explore it, don’t just take it as a random thought. If something really grabs at you, and it grabs at you several times, go into it. Stop what else you’re doing and take that inquiring breath and say, ‘What’s in here? What do you have for me? Why are you interrupting me? What do I need to know here from your presence.’ And you may get some surprises from doing that.”

Someone thanked me later for being brave enough to bring up the topic.

Which aspect of this discussion stands out for YOU the most?

What does it speak to in you?

What do you think it means to “provide That in which one lives forever”?

15 April 2016 3 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 79: Spiritual Growth: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished? Part 1

Manage Your Energy Part 79: Spiritual Growth: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished? Part 1

At the spiritual intensive I recently attended, I continued to address the theme we were discussing before the last post, about the ins and outs of spiritual growth.

On the first day of the retreat, my spiritual Teacher (I’ll just call him W. in here) read a passage from Inayat Khan, who brought our lineage to the West. The quote refers to achieving a certain state of balance that maintains powerful opposites at the same time—“kemal”.

W. said, “I’m reading this because some people take one idea and walk down the road with it, and it may not be so helpful to them.”

I love that he said this! Spiritual growth is so NOT about finding some particular rule and living by that!

Here is part of the quote, in all its thought-provoking intensity: “The kemal temperament is found only in the holy beings who are living dead, who live in God, not in themselves. Every action, when it reaches kemal ceases to exist. And every person, and every plane of being, after reaching kemal, has a falling. Therefore those who study the nature of life, and who value the unchanging nature of life, drink the bowl of kemal, however bitter it may appear at the time. This is a bowl of poison.”

“So what do you think of about this?” my Teacher asked the group. “The kemal sounds pretty bad doesn’t it? Pretty extreme. However—there is a lot more to it.”

I asked, “Is this something that happens only to advanced adepts, or does it refer to the processes that happen to all of us along the path.” W. said it was the latter.

“It is the gift presented with the gauntlet,” he said, “You get something you desire—but it comes with a challenge. When you unwrap it, there is work you have to do, and it’s not what you expected.”

So much to contemplate here, but the group moved on.

I brought the topic up again the next day: “I’m still chewing on this reading you did yesterday, about drinking poison when you get to the kemal state.”

W.: “Well that’s only one place that it goes.”

“Right,” I paused to acknowledge that. “I had an experience during which my spiritual practice was intensive and consistent, bearing positive results, followed by a series of events that precipitated a prolonged dip into P1000434whatever was still left of almost every trauma I have endured in the course of my life. I found myself afraid to do my practices after that because I don’t want the consequence of having to drink the poison.”

“How do you feel about death?” W. asked.

“Well, dying seems a lot better than suffering. I’ve been thinking some about dying.”

“You could drink a cup of poison,” he said, laughing, and the group joined in.

W. knows I have a sense of humor about such things. I said, “Maybe I’m just not drinking enough! I could drink more and die instead of just suffering!” Most everyone was laughing now.

“You’re running into some ground floor conditioning that is fighting back.”

I asked whether the practice we had just done as a group—practice to surrender into allowing the personalty to die and our essence to be resurrected—would be useful at such junctions, or bring about additional suffering: “Is this a good practice to do if one is afraid of going into practice because one does not want to bring the karma on faster? Is it advisable to try and push through it by being willing to sort of die into the states, and head right into that pain and suffering?”

W.: “I understand what you are saying, and it’s a good question, and it’s a question you need to consult your own sense of Guidance around, because some people are conditioned to be martyrs, and they will jump right into the fire. —But it may not be their fire to jump into. And so, if you know what I mean, you don’t want to just jump.”

His response continues in the following post.

Have YOU ever noticed that intensive movement forward is often followed by a difficult passage?

What would you consider to be “the unchanging nature of life”?

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.

25 March 2016 6 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 77: Conundrums in Personal Growth

Manage Your Energy Part 77: Conundrums in Personal Growth

“Whenever we work through a particular layer of our personality, the issues of the next layer automatically present themselves.” (From “Understanding the Enneagram,” by Don Richard Riso)

This fact can, frankly, be annoying, especially if we are trying to achieve a particular state or condition. It tends to pop up when we are making progress—and feel like a setback. We may then feel like we are NOT making progress, but the emergence of that next layer IS a sign of progress. One may feel weary and frustrated at working diligently for a breakthrough, only to confront the constellation of issues at next layer of personality.

This new layer often consists of things we believe we have previously handled. In this case it can be a deeper expression of the familiar issues. The related challenges and wounds may be familiar, yet as we enter more deeply into the territory, it may be constructed somewhat differently.

Sometimes growing and confronting challenges can show up like climbing stairs, since we tend to stabilize at a plateau before hitting the next challenge. We may experience these figurative stairs like climbing, as in increasing achievement, or like heading deeper, down into core Beingness.IMG_0226

Like stairs in an Escher painting, these directions and processes are occurring at the same time. Which way they are going may be primarily a matter of how we are looking at it at the moment.

The work going down and in often involves confronting any prior trauma. Trauma causes rigidity in the personalty. When we can relax our defenses against encountering our historic trauma and accept it, we heal, becoming freer and more flexible in our responses to life.

In the stair metaphor, encountering inner or outer challenges can be like going along the tread of the stair and hitting the wall of the ascent or decent, which symbolize challenges that require a shift in awareness to effectively negotiate. Periods of stabilization—symbolized here by the tread—are required to integrate learning into life. These periods can be short during times of rapid growth.

During quick growth we need to take advantage of stabilization periods to intentionally rest and recover. Saying, “Phew! I’m glad that’s over!” is natural but can be ill-advised—unless we are equipped to gently laugh at ourselves when the next layer shows up. Looking for that next layer is savvy, by observing objectively so we don’t manufacture it from expectation.

When we become accustomed to a certain level of development, dipping back into previous issues or backsliding so that our experience, comfort, and performance are not what they have been can bring up distress.

The Path is a labyrinth. We seem to be getting close to something and then find we are far way, or visa versa. These metaphors describe certain kinds of experience, but they break down and our experience changes when we surrender to life in the moment without the need to fix or change ourselves. The descriptions are useful only if they help us to bring in light and increase self awareness.

How do YOU experience the path of growth?

What is your balance between seeking to grow and accepting yourself?

18 March 2016 4 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 76: Creating Your Reality?

Manage Your Energy Part 76: Creating Your Reality?

“No sooner does man become the creator of the drama of his dream state through the projection of his dormant impressions, than this very projection of his own dormant impressions reflects his past as if it were really his present, and man, finding himself involved in this drama, gets absorbed in his past while still maintaining his past to be his present.”  ~Meher Baba

This quote may initially seem convoluted, while it is actually quite lucid. It is structured in the same way the energy kind of bends when we are DOING what the quote is about. That energy structure makes the description more vivid, once we can wrap our perception around it.

Perceiving this evokes some of the elements of looking at the bottom half of your arm and hand under water. You see the illusion of disconnection between body and arm as the image is displaced by the view through water. The hand seems to be the wrong size and angle. It’s a bit confusing. At the same time you can SENSE P1120995that your arm and hand are in correct relationship with your body.

When we are involved in our pasts and taking them to be the present, a certain amount of distortion of the current reality occurs. This displaced reality often feels normal or continuous. We might say this is what happens in a dream; things that are bizarre when awake seem normal. Unlike correctly sensing that your arm in water is still straight and continuous, the illusory, shifted past-in-present can be a compelling “reality,” displacing the fresh, clean, present moment and casting that awareness into the background of perception.

As we begin to wake up into Presence, we may begin to notice when we are becoming absorbed in the past, replaying things that happened before and projecting them out like overlays upon the faces and events around us.

Have you noticed yourself doing this?

Re-live your awareness in that moment. Note that you can tell The Observer part from the parts of yourself, and of your experience, that you are observing.

What do you notice about when you are present to this awareness?

11 March 2016 4 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 75: Hitting the Emotional Reset Button

Manage Your Energy Part 75: Hitting the Emotional Reset Button

Last month I drove to Bellingham to visit my Father in care facility. When I arrived I discovered that he was in the hospital. No one had told me. After wading through red tape and waiting for several hours, I managed to change the care home’s notifications to include me, and my Father was also returned to his room. He was actually in decent shape. He did not acknowledge the flowers I brought. He did ask me to hand him what was left of a two pound box of chocolates. I got the impression he had eaten the bulk of it just before going to the hospital. During our visit, my Father did not demonstrate any interest in me or in my life. Fortunately I did not expect external signs of caring. I no longer take his Asperger’s personally, although I continue to find the absence of normal expressions of emotional connection or social graces awkward.

That night I a visited a friend in the Bellingham area. I slept in the bed in which her ninety-six year old mother had spent her last days, and woke up feeling old, worn, and sad. I had also been given misinformation about food ingredients and was inflamed. Exposure to allergens sets off adrenal reactions, which led to sleep loss and amplified my distress. A gradual but relentless build up of painful and difficult-to-integrate experiences over several months, along with a plethora of draining if banal demands, was beginning to feel like death by a thousand paper cuts. Waking up with no particular agenda, I felt sideswiped by an emergence of emotional pain.

Hoping to shift into an easier adjustment, I did some spiritual practice and didn’t feel much for my efforts. Perhaps this was since I was motivated to move away from pain rather than to enter into whatever was

(picture doesn't do it justice)

(picture doesn’t do it justice)

present.

I walked with my friend after breakfast. In the rain, on a bluff over a bay, my pain bubbled to the surface. I let tears come. The experience was keen and sharp, but it did not take long to wash through and return me to the present. Meanwhile, we wended our way over and around fallen trees by the shore. I became absorbed in the colors of wet stone.

On the far side of a spit, the shore turned to sand. Scattered in the wetness, shells with gleaming swirls of purple and cream called to mind spinning galaxies. For a few suspended moments, looking at that shining sheet of unifying wetness drew me into an organic, fluid sense of Creation, like gazing into the universe. Joy blossomed and crested.

What I took from this:
–My morning’s spiritual practice had set the stage for this experience.
–Allowing both tears and joy helped wash away a big chunk of the build-up with which I had been living.
–When we let feeling flow we can move freely from pain into joy.
–Sometimes being in the present moment involves letting the recent past catch up to us enough to release blocked feelings, which no longer color the present once we can experience them enough to let go.
–Moving on can be easier in different atmosphere, away from obligations.
–Nature and beauty are wonderful healers.

What helps YOU to hit the emotional reset button and let go when life events make you feel compressed or grim?

How do you keep from getting contracted or from resisting life during hard spells?

6 March 2016 0 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 74: Self-Inquiry & Going Deeper Versus Wallowing

Manage Your Energy Part 74: Self-Inquiry & Going Deeper Versus Wallowing

Self inquiry allows us to fully embrace our wholeness. It assists greatly in personal growth, and in discovering how to step beyond endlessly repeating painful experiences. Self inquiry takes courage and intention.

It is not uncommon for those entering more deeply into a path of self discovery to have trouble sorting out IMG_0456the difference between self pity and healthy experience of difficult emotions. Tears, for example, are often equated with self pity. If we shame ourselves for tears, we block the relief, compassion, and insight that so often follow sincere expression and release of pain.

When we are Present we are able to experience any emotion without getting lost in it.

Let’s look at some of the many differences between self inquiry and wallowing in self pity or negative emotion:

Indicators for self pity or wallowing:

–no sincere intention to create real change; lack of positive motivation
–negative self talk
–feeling helpless or being a victim
–lack of objectivity
–self absorbed
–a tense sick feeling
–shame or negative emotions take you over
–out of touch with your body
–thoughts about what I did “wrong”
–sarcasm toward yourself
–asking rhetorical questions without answering them kindly or sincerely
–deeper insight is blocked
–thinking may become like a repetitive recording
–judgments instead of exploration
–feeling bad about how you are
–places in yourself you do not want to see
–you get stuck on the emotions you judge
–thoughts loop without resolution
–fear becomes an excuse or a jump-off point for destructive thoughts or behavior
–feeling of being in the dark
–using a difficult feeling to avoid another that is deeper and has more power over you
–feeling trapped
–“That’s just how I am,” is often a futility trap, accompanied by a sinking feeling.

The Inner Child keeps things from changing—including yourself.

It defines “comfort” as clinging to the familiar—no matter how abysmal that might be.

Feelings and sensations present in healthy self inquiry:

–positive motivation for understanding, freedom, growth, new experience
–an open feeling; curiosity about your processes
–honestly exploring questions that arise
–supportive self talk
–your body relaxes
–you may notice shame or negative emotions and enter into them, but you are always aware that you have space outside of them, to observe them and to nurture the vulnerable parts of yourself even as you notice them
–compassion for yourself for your pain
–capacity for greater objectivity about one’s own and other people’s experiences
–inviting yourself to try new approaches
–feeling of moving forward, even while going down and into your darker feelings
–deeper insight is available
–able to face fears without allowing them to consume you; your Observer stays present
–positive and realistic motivation
–feeling like you are bringing light into dark areas
–allowing yourself to experience any feeling without giving it power over your motivation or life choices
–feeling like this work increases your inner and outer freedom
–“This is how I am and it’s really okay, I accept myself” feel relieving

“How do you experience the difference between self pity and self compassion?”

“What does acceptance feel like in you your body?