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5 February 2016 0 Comments

Corrective Insights About Being “Religious” Post

Corrective Insights About Being “Religious” Post

A friend wrote the commentary, below, on my last post, and another friend shared an insight about the topic. I appreciate and welcome these loving and expansive viewpoints, and would like to share them:

“My religious conservative family in Arkansas and many conservatives I know abhor the word spiritual. It has been constructed as the other, much like the word liberal. Folks like this would say they are religious (period) and are offended by the term spiritual (again, think liberal). To the religious, there are specific forms of practice and these forms are required to be called a person of faith.

I grew up in that world. It worked well for me when it worked, and there came a time in my life when everything I had been taught fell apart. But for the rest of my family, it did not fall apart for them. It still works and be careful, because they have experiences of their faith. Experiences, just like Sufis have.IMG_0261 So you cannot divide believers from mystics around experiences. They both have experiences of their faith but they come to them through different means. Both are valid, even if I do not understand how it works for others who are not like me.”

Since thought and insight cannot themselves be Truth—which is ineffable and cannot be rendered into words—every insight opens itself to what is called “a corrective.” A corrective is another insight or truth that does not diminish the first, but augments and modifies it in an important ways, increasing perspective.

It was my intention to stimulate inquiry into the way rigidity of thought can make us uncomfortable directly exploring the Greater Whole. I like my friend’s comment because it makes my own thinking more flexible and comprehensive. It decreases the inadvertent “other” in my previous post.

A few reflections:

—Hypocrisy comes in both spiritual and religious flavors, as do all human issues.
—Superficiality and rigidity have many different types of packaging.
—Dedication to depth and direct exploration of personal experience are more likely to lead to growth than hand-me-down beliefs we do not actively engage through life experience, no matter what we label our experiences or call our belief systems.
—Either/or thinking limits us and exacerbates “other.”
—When there is an “other” group, each group is likely to project what we don’t like in our own group onto the “other,” just as individuals project inner material that is difficult to own onto other people.

The second friend with whom I discussed my last post shared another valuable insight. He said that some people who become “religious,” in the sense of having a rigid and codified way of managing reality, have emerged into this way of being only after living in unmanageable chaos. In this case, sorting reality into manageable categories is a big life improvement. This is one reason people may go from drugs to Jesus.

It is important to allow our beliefs to be flexible, to reach for experience, and to allow our experience to change as our hearts continue to unfold. Then again, we can only start where we are. Rigidity may compensate for fear, overwhelm, uncertainty, or shame.

Behavior and ways of thinking that are an advantage for some are severely limiting for others. The hermit crab needs a shell that is not too cramped and not too big to get around and stay safe. We are like hermit crabs in the way we view and take on life. We cast off beliefs that are too tight and take on the next bigger size, only to jettison that one as we continue to grow.

Whatever perspective we maintain, broadening it is of spiritual benefit—but we can only do that when and as we are able to do so and remain relatively stabile. Maintaining compassion is more important than maintaining any particular point of view.

When you are set in a particular view, what makes that view resistant to change?

How is this resistance structured inside you?

29 January 2016 2 Comments

What Does it Mean to Be “Religious”?

What Does it Mean to Be “Religious”?

I have a friend who uses the word “religious” differently than most people do. At first I had trouble understanding what she meant. She is a self-aware therapist, a shaman, and a highly insightful elder. I have been contemplating what she means when she describes someone this way—particularly those who are not involved in or interested in religions. Through my meditations on it, I have come to find her use of the term enlightening.

Let’s unpack what she is describing:

Spiritual people who are comfortable with the universal energetics and insights that underlie and lead to the development of religions are not “religious” in the sense I am about to describe–and probably already understand.

The word catholic means “broad-based, diverse and liberal” when it is not capitalized. It is used largely to refer to a person’s tastes. The same word refers to the Catholic religion when capitalized. Similarly, my use of “religious” here is like an antonym or opposite for catholic. It refers to tastes or habits of mind that are narrow, based on either-or thinking, and rigid. In this case “religious” specifically refers to IMG_1056belief that is mind-based, garnered from something one has been told to believe, instead of upon direct personal experience.

Here is an example: Someone I know was listening to a transformational speaker and became fixated on the fact that the speaker mentioned that he likes a particular country. Instead of paying attention to the transformative value of the speaker’s offering, she went off on a mental tangent, judging him for supposedly tolerating atrocities she associates with that country. Obviously she had no way to know the speaker’s standpoint on the problems. This thought-based, emotional reaction was irrelevant to the main thrust of the talk.

The content of the talk applied directly to life issues she was too fearful to take on. In this incident, judging the speaker and taking attention away from what was being said constituted:

–a defense, preventing insight from getting in
–a way to stay stuck, avoiding life change
–a conceit, owing to the use of moral superiority to hide behind

We cannot say someone is “religious” based on one incident, any more than you can say someone is Catholic if they attend one Christmas Mass. The habit of thought I am talking about is consistent. It is a defense against insight.

Implications of “religious” and characteristics of people the term fits:

–narrowness gussied up as idealism or Rightness
–judgment of other people under the veil of moral superiority
–black and white thinking
–trying to navigate life from a set of rules instead of sensing what is going on and making a fresh and principled response

Let me unpack this in more detail: Unfounded, mind- or belief-based, idealism is “religious.” It is unfounded on experience, impractical, unpracticed, or even unpracticable in actual life. Movements or political actions based on concepts that spring from judgments, reactions, and suppressed personal emotions create, at best, ancillary problems. This can be seen as a naive attempt to solve a problem without appreciating the context in which the problem exists. I will skip making an example here to avoid inadvertently stirring up reactivity, taking those who most need to hear this off on a distracting tangent.

From the perspective of learning personal balance by working with the Elements, being “religious” can be described as: too much Air (thought), heated up by Fire (passion), in the absence of adequate Water (emotion—this kind of reactivity is out of touch with personal emotion and uses reactivity as a substitute), with the Element of Earth being both deficient and stuck (Earth represents grounding in reality. When it is stuck, people become rigid and resistant.).

From another point of view, being “religious” is almost the same as being controlling. The person is seeking security and stability by being Right. Like all psychological defenses, this behavior protects the person from insight and change until he or she is ready and able to face life’s paradoxes and inconsistencies more directly.

A lot of people who are spiritual dislike anything religious because they lump it in with the “religious.”

Similarly, many good hearted people resist spirituality because they associate it with control issues and hypocrisy, including wars and outright abuse, supposedly founded on religions. Those who have openly explored numerous religions understand that the universal and spiritual heart of each religion stems from something lovely. The “religious,” unable to grasp the heart of it, become fanatic and sometimes perpetrate upon others. Again, that is a conceit and a defense.

None of us are totally free from limited thinking or judging others. Excessive resistance to religion can show a “religious” reaction toward those who are religious. :)

People being people, there is no group anywhere that does not contain individuals who are “religious.” Wherever we have beliefs, we have people who grasp them with their minds and become passionate, without yet being able to live these beliefs from day to day. This is a call for compassion.

It serves us to look inside and see where we are being “religious” ourselves.

What are YOU “religious” about?

How does this play out in your life?

What persons or groups show up as “other” when you hold this view?

8 January 2016 3 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 73: When Personal Growth Becomes Narcissism & Dealing with Self Hatred

Manage Your Energy Part 73: When Personal Growth Becomes Narcissism & Dealing with Self Hatred

“The moment a person becomes straightforward a straight way opens before him.” ~ Inayat Khan

Personal growth becomes narcissism when one engages pursuits of growth in ways that demand attention, without taking the steps that release oneself (and others) from the self-obsessed compulsions of what we consider to be our flaws.

Habitually indulging self hatred, for example, can be a fancy way to avoid self awareness. The intensity of feeling becomes like a sand trap one wallows in. Engaging the hatred can become a way to stay stuck, to avoid personal growth. This differs IMG_0430from sinking in to the feeling to carefully observe and release our tendencies, structures of experience, motivations, and the less-familiar emotions underneath. Seeing behaviors in yourself that you don’t like and saying, “I’m bad! I hate myself,” without aiming to discover what exactly what you are actually doing and what you need reinforces the issues instead of resolving them. It’s like spinning around and around in an eddy.

Discovering self hate can be startling and arresting. Be very kind to yourself if you are in this place. This type of condition is very difficult, especially for those who do not have the advantages of Inner Work, who have not been exposed to techniques for self observation, forgiveness, exploration, and transformation, and do not have the support of qualified professionals.

Those who do have the advantage of such skills and support, who habitually stop at self hatred without moving into and then beyond it, may be indulging narcissistic or masochistic tendencies by wallowing in self hate. The narcissistic part shows up in rage at one’s self because one “shouldn’t be this way,” and is “better than this,” and in being too caught up in one’s own process to respond compassionately to others.

When we get lost in any negative emotion by reacting against it, we are turning away from noticing important aspects to what we are doing, inside and with others. We short-circuiting awareness and remain with the familiar feeling. Hatred or negativity then function as an inverted form of self love, feeding the ego self. This works the same way that an inferiority complex accompanies and underlies superiority.

Attempts to make oneself look good delay solutions and function as a fancy form of defense. Such attempts ultimately backfire. Avoidance makes things persist.

Genuine, healthy remorse of conscience supports healthy motivation and healing. This requires going THROUGH the self hate or negative emotion, without stopping at that depot. Remorse of conscience is not like guilt. Guilt is a sand trap. Remorse of conscience is a process of sensing into the heart and making a decision based on understanding and deeper values.

Accepting, embracing, and then relaxing underlying motivations slims them down and helps to integrate them, creating greater scope for genuine positive expression.

What steps help to release this type of compulsion?

  • Quit judging and stay with feeling—but do not allow feeling to become stuck or static; keep going deeper.
  • Identify the behaviors you use to avoid looking at your feelings and experience.
  • If self hatred arises, welcome it gently and look more deeply. Do not give self hatred special importance.
  • Stop identifying as ‘special-bad,’ as if your issues are more unforgivable and damning than those of anybody else.
  • Identify and take responsibility for your underlying motivations. Notice what motivates behaviors that challenge intimacy or success.
  • Admitting to the parts of you that want to stay stuck. Accept them—without endorsing them. Find positive ways to address the underlying fears.
  • Remember that emotions are not excuses.
  • Take direction from your true values and allow them to inform your choices. Aim to be true to them even while you are having negative emotions .
  • Create straight-forward ways to meet healthy needs and desires, while accepting and releasing those that are not.
  • Take responsibility for communicating your needs without being demanding or trying to make someone else responsible for them.
  • Get help addressing the remnants of childhood issues with your parents, which will otherwise inform your behavior with intimates.
  • Never suppress or ignore emotion—but do not allow it to run you. This means being aware of it, not it acting out.
  • Practice compassion by bringing your spiritual practice fully into your body, right along with your difficult emotions. Allowing them to be less important without trying to get rid of them. If they intrude, acknowledge them or get to the bottom of them, then bring in love and change the subject inside.

What is the difference between having an emotion and being run by an emotion?

What makes the difference between whether talking about your emotions (with someone who is open to feeling) develops intimacy or becomes overly self-involved?

1 January 2016 4 Comments

Managing Your Energy Part 72: The Big Question About Spiritual Unity

Managing Your Energy Part 72: The Big Question About Spiritual Unity

Underlying some of the distress that can accompany intermediate personal and spiritual development is the following situation:

As we become more able to experience Unity, we may be treated as “other” by those who cling to the confines of what they can categorize and define. Those who cannot see where we are moving from, because it is outside of their experience, tend toIMG_0070 make up something they understand, or feel unsettled.

If being seen as other bothers us, we will be inclined to perceive those who ‘other’ us as other. This disrupts our current potential to experience Unity. It is on us, therefore, to be able to accept being othered so we do not other others.

How do we manage to see those who other us as ourselves, yet maintain the boundaries required to establish and maintain a spiritual resonance that invites the experience of Unity?

Do YOU ever experience being “othered”?

Please share your personal reflections on the topic.


25 December 2015 6 Comments

You Do Not Deserve God’s Love ;)

You Do Not Deserve God’s Love  ;)

We have it backwards: “You don’t get love by being good, you get good by being love.” ~TD

Issues about whether or not we deserve love are relics from childhood. Divine Love is not earned. Some might call it a birthright. I agree—but with prejudice. “Birthright” language evokes entitlement, which is often toxic. It also presupposes that we are separate from Source. Having the right to something brings Cosmic Teaup the sense of not having it, and having to demand it.

But where would we demand Love from? This again smacks of childhood wounding.

From an energy perspective, to invite higher Love we need to resonate with it. To resonate with Divine Love we become it. This means finding, sensing and feeling the quality of such Love inside—and amplifying it. Doing this is an act of creation. This does not mean it relies on fantasy. Fantasy is a sidetrack. The path is to locate the resonance of Love inside by learning to focus and call it forth from within. Then we blow on that like an ember. This takes spiritual work. Anything that stands in the way must be embraced—but not allowed to stand as a distraction.

When we have something, we can give it away. If we do not have it, it is not ours. Having Love means receiving it first. When we seek that in other people we are bound to be disappointed, as we probably were in childhood.

We do need to generate love for ourselves—but we need to catch the perfume or resonance of it somewhere in order to really grasp just what it is we are seeking. Finding Source can be very abstract. Most of us need one or more human role models to get a sense of how to ‘run’ that Love in our bodies.

The role model we choose is less important than learning to bring forth Love. Since I am writing this on Christmas eve, I would be remiss not to say that Christ could be one such model. Owing to various conceptions and experiences, that name aggravates some people, and many have belief systems that cause them to recoil from religion.

A current of Love and truth underlie and run through religions, but codes of belief do not in themselves produce the miracle called Love. Whether or not we are attracted to one or more religions, we take great benefit in identifying someone, somewhere, some time, who represents to us the possibility of being a human who is capable of experiencing and expressing the vibration of Divine Love. The word “God” can be too abstract, and also laden with freight. “Source” is abstract as well.

From where do we receive the impressions that stimulate in us true inspiration?

This is a wonderful question to ponder in this inward time of year, when we long to bring forth true joy, blessing and generosity.

Ideal Love will be a little bit different for different individuals, depending exactly which vibration of the rainbow of all love is key for that mind, heart, and soul to take the next step toward becoming it oneself. The being, saint, prophet, person, spiritual teacher, or element that inspires us may even change as we develop. It is important to learn to identify and allow our hearts to be impressed (like soft clay) by real Love when we see it, and to own as our privilege in being human, our right to enjoy and express that Love.

Having God’s love (change the g-word if it bugs you) means having it flow through us to others and into the world. It is not something we earn and then receive like an award for being a self or being good. It is something we cultivate and practice over many years or even lifetimes. Seeking to GET it enhances ego issues about deserving. We get more of it by giving. I am not talking about over-giving, driven by old wounds, I am talking about expressing from your heart.

No matter what is going on with us it is okay to allow Divine Love to come though us. If this depends on mood or being in a particular way, we will withhold it. When we let Love touch us despite our shortcomings it will help us to move beyond them, gently over time. Even if we do not move beyond them, our lives will have meaning and value because we have been vehicles for Love. There are no prerequisites. Concentration, attention and intention invite it. Noticing and making room for it when it comes helps sustain it. These are aids. There are no prerequisites.

Please feel free to comment.

I send you love in this traditional time of calling forth Light.



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?

11 December 2015 6 Comments

Managing Your Energy Part 70: Odd Healing & Insight into How Intuitive People Get Drained

Managing Your Energy Part 70: Odd Healing & Insight into How Intuitive People Get Drained

I have long experimented with unusual types of healing and energy work, to find out what I might experience. This practice helps me develop and extend my ability to sense a wide range of energies. Accumulated experience contributes to my capacity to recognize, track, and sometimes to understanding the energies at play.

One healer I saw in Maui removes entities (negative energies), and works with the subtle energy fields around the physical body. He works out of a Quonset hut chock full of spiritual statues, fat crystals, and photos of assorted spiritual masters.

His property is not easy to find. He does not take appointments, but has set hours two days a week and P1160382people simply show up. He has a donation box, instead of dealing directly with money, talks sparingly, and does not explain things. Sessions take only a few minutes. He sends people off with a page of energy meditations that help maintain the work. Despite his rather abrupt manner, this healer has treated over twenty thousand people. I believed him when he told me this because he is solid, focused, grounded, powerful, and clear.


This is to the right of the chair.

The work: He has an inverted metal pyramid with a crystal on it, which he put over my head and spun slowly, while he stood behind the chair and made observations about my energy fields.

This was my second visit. (I did not have any entities. :-) ) I was having trouble sleeping. He found that my “astral body was functioning at only 20 percent.” He said that the astral body is related to sleep. He did not explain—and I knew better than to ask—but told me he had brought it up to 80 percent. I can’t say I felt much, aside from a bit more robust in the fields around me. I did, however, begin to sleep better. . . .

. . . until I interfaced closely with a certain person. After some time I noticed a pattern: The more I interfaced with him the worse my sleep became, improving with breaks.

What was going on with this? One morning I woke up with a clear insight. The person was not functioning in reality. Tracking his energy to try and understand where he was coming from was draining my astral energy.

This is how it works: The astral world is ‘sideways-y,’ according to one of my early spiritual teachers. Astral energy mainly runs horizontally. This tends to remove it from connection with Guidance, which comes in via the vertical axis and lifts one’s perspective. When someone is in the sideways inner worlds of projection, or in past ‘movies’ (intense visual memories), their energy loops around or spills out into astral space. This energy usually relates to arrested developmental stages or traumatic events. Separation anxiety or anger with a parent, for example, is stuck in their body and energy systems. Along with words and thoughts, they will project this energy out onto a real person, who they have cast in the parent role in their inner movie.

When I go into synch with that kind of energy I tend to ruminate, worry and speculate. Balanced presence and constructive action are unlikely from that energy matrix.

Since I am highly sensitive to incongruence between word, speech, and energy, discerning between projections and communication that may have something more personal to do with me can take focused attention. If I track the energy to understand more clearly—a work-habit for me—I overuse and deplete my astral energy. Figuring this out has helped me take better care.

Do you overuse your astral energy or use too much energy reading others?

If so, how does that show up in your life?

4 December 2015 6 Comments

Managing Your Energy Part 69: The Power of Place & Time

Managing Your Energy Part 69: The Power of Place & Time

I was initially tricked into going to Maui. At twenty-one years old, I had no interest in what I considered a tourist-trap where people went to indulge themselves. As it turns out, Maui could be considered my spiritual home.

When I landed in Maui at twenty-one, my boy friend was supposed to meet me. He taught Greek, and courses on raw foods, fasting, and intestinal cleansing. He was exceptionally smart. He could talk anyone into a paper bag and back out of it—but he was emotionally cowardly. After exhorting me to meet up with him, he left the island the morning of the day I flew in. His best friend Tim met me at the airport. Tim had studied healing with tribes in Africa. I think he was wearing Western garb instead of his loin cloth—which he’d been wearing the first time I’d met him. He had almost white hair, down to his waist, almost ice-clear pale blue eyes, and was quite darkly tanned.

Tim and I shared a tent for a few days. We maintained celibacy, despite the outrageously intense energy that practically crackled if we touched. I swear I could see spots of light where his tough, bare feet hit the ground when we hiked. Totally grounded and in the moment, Tim moved very evenly and rarely spoke. After a few days he managed to shake me off because I talked too much.

Over the next week I ran into Swami Sachadananda—who was a big deal in those days—by a waterfall. We hugged and I felt Light. Two days later, I went on a walk and discovered some people sitting on a hillock that had been hidden in brush, listening raptly to an Indian speaker. I sat down among them. The speaker was Krishnamurti. I also made a chance encounter with the person who set me on my spiritual path. Visiting later, on his land, I accidentally interrupted the man who thirty years later became my spiritual teacher. He was in the last day of a forty day retreat, and was not happy to see me. (For my part, I was shocked and trying to escape.)

I was intellectual and abstract up until this point in my life, averse to spirituality. In that location and at that timing I went through a marked change from the energies and influences to which I was then exposed.

My recent Maui trip gave me the opportunity to spend time with a number of developed healers and spiritual teachers, both during and after the scheduled event. I ran into Ram Dass the morning I left.

Ram Dass 11/2015

Ram Dass 11/2015

We have different options and experiences in different places on the globe. Each place has a different energy influence. Different days and periods of time also hold different possibilities. We tend to treat hours and days like empty containers, all the same size and shape. They are not.

What is possible in one moment is not an option in another.

Likewise, we tend to approach places expecting to be much the same person with the same interests, relationships, and values. Yet each place maintains a mystery of influence, sometimes trivial and at times profound. The influence and extent depend on our chemistry with the place. The timing at which we are exposed to the place amplifies, dampens or mediates its influence. The longer we remain at a place the more influence it exerts.

Learning to sense when to be where is life-changing.

Practice paying attention to the impact places have upon you.

Learn, if you can, to absorb the energy at places that have a good influence.

Practice sensing the best time for you to be somewhere. This can be as simple as leaving to go to the store at a moment when the energy supports it, instead of being automatic, or as challenging as feeling into the best time for a trip, an interview, a gathering, or time alone. Optimizing place and time improves life experience.

What places exert an impact on you, and what is it?

In what ways do you optimize your timing? Is this based on energy you perceive, intuition, logical considerations, feeling, or a combination of cues?

21 November 2015 5 Comments

Managing Your Energy Part 68: The Intersection Between Taking Influence & Inner Work

Managing Your Energy Part 68: The Intersection Between Taking Influence & Inner Work

“The word that is not heard is lost.” ~Inayat Khan

Allowing and taking in influence, we take reflections we receive from someone we respect and actively incorporate their insight into our Inner Work. The next time we have a conversation with that person, the results of our previous communication are then reflected by changes in our orientation, manner, insights, and understanding.

Aware practitioners who do healing, therapy, or spiritual work notice when clients make the work their own, returning with a picture that has evolved.

Clients or friends who do NOT do their Inner Work return to the next conversation pretty much the same as they were before the last encounter.

In contrast, those of us who have developed a sense of continuity may maintain important conversations as active and ongoing processes, which we together build on over time. Carrying continuity of conversation when the
P1050630other person does not can make interaction draining.

In relationships between professionals and clients, satisfaction and a feeling of shared accomplishment arise when the client begins to actively internalize and practice what they receive. In contrast, working with clients who ONLY work in session can feel like shoveling gravel.

An insightful client once asked, “If I take in what you say and reflect on it, will it have an impact without you doing anything else?” I smiled, and decided to write about this.

I had just shared an insight. I could feel and see it go IN. Her energy fields received it. Her chakras opened to it. Her energy system shifted in response to what I said. When that happens I KNOW that it is something the person will hold within themselves. It becomes a part of their consciousness because they took it in and assimilated it. Insights or healing energy work best by becoming internal to those who receive them.

People who are ready and receptive take things in and reshape their reality. A change occurs within, changing the way they view things. Insights that are grasped and absorbed this way, with presence, involve the functions of sensing and feeling as well as thinking. Such insights contain and deliver a degree or charge of momentum toward change—whether or not we consciously remember their content or reflect upon them later.

When people do not do take outer work—such as insightful interchange—into their Inner Work, their energy and reality do not change from what they hear. The insight or energy does not become a part of their own fabric of Being. Even if they go away and cogitate (“go figure”), this theorizing and speculation are likely to remain buffered from real feeling, maintaining the habitual structure of a status quo.

When ones energy actually changes from hearing something and taking it in, Inner Work is occurring right in the moment. Inner Work is not something one must go away to do. Solitude can help with focus, but it is important to learn how to stay with and true to ourselves while relating to others.

One who is wedded to a status quo is challenged to flex and adjust in order to take in influence. Similarly, one who over-flexes and over-adjusts without a clear sense of self also has trouble maintaining positive influence, if they take it in. Any new program is quickly overwritten by whatever happenstance influence occurs next. This derails intentional positive influence and functions, if covertly, as a rigid status quo.

Without the precious step of internally working new understandings against (like rubbing against) the realities of life, with presence, self-observation and openness, one returns to status quo, which is often constructed by opinions, unexamined beliefs, and assumptions. Sensing and feeling are not adequately informing experience.

Someone who remains tightly compartmentalized controls the scope of influence so that results of apparent Work do not actually create change. Think of someone who is pretending to eat, cutting up the food and circulating it around the plate. He or she may want the appearance of or credit for Work—without its actual accomplishment. Time and energy are expended but the status quo remains untouched. Such a person may work at Working, and even receive support and attention for the same without taking things in deeply enough to stimulate transformation.

Rigid people can be draining to those who speak and listen with committed focus. Our words are lost instead of being mutually invested in the relationship, gaining value, interest and momentum over time.

My greatest joys are sharing with insightful friends as we hold and develop one another’s perceptions, deepening shared learning and stimulating mutual growth. Our conversations become a part of us as we cherish elements of our exchange over the course of months or years, keeping parts of our conversations on tap and developing shared humor.

Learning to take influence intentionally and to be intentional about our own influence on others increases both our sense of self and our experience of real intimacy with others.

What do you do internally when you want to open yourself to influence?

Are you confident when you invite influence that your sense of self and your power remain intact, or do you feel a need to deflect?

30 October 2015 2 Comments

Managing Your Energy Part 67: Decompression in Nature

Managing Your Energy Part 67: Decompression in Nature

At a spiritual camp in Maui, I spent most of the week compressed into spaces full of people, owing to hard rain, I needed time being mobile and alone. Riding a bike down Haleakala Crater sounded fun, but since the energies of the day presaged some potential danger, I decided to hike up there instead. I headed up as soon as the weather cleared.

I had the uphill road to myself. Scores of cars and their drivers were returning from sunrise vigils. It was great to drive at my own pace, park easily, and walk into the Crater with few people to shatter its deafening silence.

The alien landscape in the Crater is not just silent, it is also desiccating, and thumbing with energy. The living, intense silence sounds like a high pitched Tibetan bowl from a long way off.

When I walk alone in nature I find myself spontaneously doing spiritual practice on my breath. I also feel out my intentions and guidance for moving forward along my life’s journey. If I have any emotional “stuff” in the background of awareness, or energy I need to clear, I work on myself. The rhythm of movement helps me process and aids inspiration.

As I traversed my way through miniature gravel and small volcanic rocks I was enchanted by the way light played on the varied colored earth of bare slopes and mounds. The bowl edge of the Crater helped me gather in big, loving, life energy, which I then sent deep into the ground. An enormous, vital rush of energy pulsed back to me, IMG_3342pleasurable and magnificent. My fields felt huge. Being up at 9000 feet with nothing around but earth and air felt like being an antenna. It brought me back to essentials.

My mind wandered for just a moment. I slipped, spraining an ankle. I sat in the screaming silence, holding my ankle in my hands and having a little talk with it. I have my own way of talking with my hands, moving a few tendons into place, checking the range of motion, and so forth. I told it that it was going to need to stay mobile until I could get out of the Crater. It hurt some, but I didn’t give it a chance to stiffen or inflame.

Walking uphill at altitude was a real workout, even though I’d taken supplements that increase oxygenation in lungs and muscles to help with altitude. I paced my breath with my steps, and with my heartbeat when I took short rests, still standing. I began to work with emotions that came up around hurting my ankle.

I was grateful that I could walk. The crater was still nearly deserted, which I loved. It had become so hot and dry that I that I could imagine expiring quickly in the naked and unrelenting sun. This was silly; the post-sunrise hikers would be along shortly—and they were. I also had water, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing.

Two men came around the corner and stopped, facing me. One beamed at me. He had lovely teeth and eyes and an open heart. He asked, “How ARE you doing?” Given his emphasis and their rapt attention, I told them about my ankle.

The other man said, “I usually bring some poles and just give them to people, but I didn’t today. I’m sorry.” I smiled at these beneficent angels and told them I was doing fine.

Driving down, down, down the hairpin curves on the mountain’s edge, above the clouds, I wanted to get back to the place I was staying, ice my ankle, and connect with a woman who had been staying there before she left. I pushed the speed limit a bit. Two park rangers appeared behind me in Land Rovers. I pulled over and let them pass, along with a small truck, then popped in behind. We rolled down the mountain like a convoy, moving faster than I would on my own. They knew every turn and drove the perfect speed.

I returned feeling expanded and relaxed, despite the sprain.

Do you allow yourself time alone in nature? What is that like for you?

Can you hear the silence in high mountains or deep caves?