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7 May 2017 6 Comments

The Rose

The Rose

i love everybody . . .

i can feel my big, great, squishy heart

wanting to walk up and tell people

how to find the pink rose

with the exquisite fragrance.

Silly child!

They may look at me like I’m crazy.

They may look away.

They may not look at me at all.

They may glare at me, imagining . . .

like a shock wave though my heart,

which reels like a sea anemone

in the current. And that is fine

—if I can keep it from crumpling

like foil.

Ahh . . . there’s only one good cure

for that kind of pain:

Make it bigger.

Build it strong.

Recognize the way it wants to give itself out.

The heart becomes cramped and congested

with a lack of loving.

As it grows, we see that it is not about being seen

as much as seeing it ourselves,

finding where to give.

The sweetness of being Love

is like the fragrance

of that pink rose.

We find it on our own.

We find it when we listen.

We find it when we take the hand of a friend.

We find it taking joy in seeing

the old woman feeding the man in the wheelchair

on the street, spooning pure love into his heart.

We find it when we know that we are not separate from the rose.

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25 January 2017 0 Comments

Managing Unwelcome Changes by Creating Values, Purpose & Self Care

Managing Unwelcome Changes by Creating Values, Purpose & Self Care

World changes that offend our sensibilities and values can overwhelm our ability to adapt, leaving us with diminished vitality and weakening immune responses. Current energies and world changes are bringing up a sense of being wounded, overwhelmed, out of control, powerless, and/or hopeless for a lot of people. Last night one of the strongest, clearest people I know said he wanted to hide under a blanket.

When we get overwhelmed, confused about our values, or depleted, organizing moment-to-moment activities often becomes difficult. Retirement can also cast one into the odd mire of not knowing how to organize one’s time, activities and priorities. No matter how it comes about, not being sure what to give value to takes the wind out of our sails.

Meaning, purpose, and motivation are enlivening and energizing. They give life rhythm. They are intimately related to our values.

An inner call to live out and actualize our values and ideals contributes to overwhelm. We feel we must DO something but are not sure what to do, where or how much to give, or how to make a difference. Reconsidering values brings up conflicts that challenge or alters our concepts about ourselves. This takes a great deal of energy. It is important at such junctures to step back before we step forward, to consider whether or not any particular action calls to us or has our name on it. Once we detach a bit it is easier to sense whether or not we are truly called to any specific action.

Not having a sense of what truly matters to us or how to move forward is debilitating. Our energy cannot rally. Uncertainty is tiring.

Uncertainty can make it hard to organize ourselves to do anything, to stay well, or to recover from illness. When we are overwhelmed or cannot find a clear sense of how to move forward into life, returning to foundational self care is essential. We need a manageable, concrete priority. Self care is an excellent priority. Intensifying self care can serve as a temporary goal.

Learning to be kind to one’s self is healing. I am not talking about indulgence, although healthy pleasures can be kind. I am talking about the types of kindness that don’t have a backlash. Here are a few examples:

Find and feel into any places inside that hurt. Accept the sensations and emotions you encounter by allowing that they are there instead of IMG_7516rejecting them. Intentionally breathe tender compassion and love into those places, feeling them, yet gradually filling the body and heart areas they occupy with kindness and gentleness.

Nurture yourself with the clear intention of making yourself feel better, not by numbing or distracting, but by building yourself up with excellent nutrients and kindness.

—Don’t force yourself—invite. Alternate doing things that will improve your conditions, however small, with rest, nourishment, and gentle exercise.

Lie on the floor and stretch a bit.
Walk: It puts your body in rhythm, which is strengthening and reduces stress.

Face losses squarely and grieve if you need to. Sometimes creating a loss that you can control is therapeutic. Getting rid of something that is broken and can’t be fixed, throwing out a plant that cannot thrive, cutting down a sick tree, or giving clothes you don’t wear to charity are ways to concretize a sense of loss—constructively. Constructive loss allows us an avenue to move though our feelings and opens the way for something new.

Create rhythm in your life by keeping some activities steady and consistent, at the same time every day or week. This may sound boring but it is an antidote to chaos and overwhelm. Rhythm helps us to keep moving instead of becoming further overwhelmed by having to determine what to do all over again. Rhythm can make the difference between being productive and feeling stuck.

Here are additional suggestions for creating a short-term sense of purpose to give you focus, rhythm and organization when you don’t know what to do or you’re going through transitions:

Aim to give yourself a clear focus with a strong priority. Pick something possible now, as a spacer until you can deal with the longer term.

Clear the decks so your life is smooth and things are open when you get busy down the line. Do the things you have been putting off. This can bring relief and make you feel virtuous. Get rid of anything that doesn’t serve you in your ongoing.

Face anything you can finally finish. Confronting and removing the obstacles brings a sense of completion. It makes us feel stronger and more clear. These can be small things like straightening out a billing issue, returning a product, working through piles of paper, or doing the laundry. Taking on the ordinariness of these tasks can help us feel unstuck and provide a sense of continuity. We can give them meaning by noticing that it is a kindness to ourselves to reduce our sense of burden and overwhelm in any small way we can.

If you can manage it, identify something you have been wanting to do for a long time but have not been able to get to. It could be a project around the home, an online training you paid for but did not view, or digging a garden plot. Make this project a priority. Welcome the activity as a way to organize yourself.

Which of these interventions speak to you at this point in time?

26 November 2016 0 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How does intensified attention differ from hyper-vigilance?

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

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

How do your defenses keep out what you need?

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

22 September 2016 4 Comments

Travel Experiences 1: Travel Can Be Intense

Travel Experiences 1: Travel Can Be Intense

Sorry for dropping of the map for the last few weeks. I didn’t realize how much recovery time I would need upon my return.

The next few blogs take place in the context of recent travel.

Travel is considered expansive. Awareness stimulated by new experiences expands us as we open to embrace additional insight and inspiration. We have an opportunity to drop or relax habits and habitual viewpoints, p1010336duties, personality traits, and activities we normally identify with and carry along though daily life. Viewing our usual orientation as irrelevant creates room for expansion. At the same time, our focus of attention may simultaneously contract as visiting interesting locations for short periods of time rivets attention on the immediate environment.

When I travel I am keenly aware that I will probably never pass this way again, sharpening my focus within the moment and making simple things precious. This local focus enfolds everything around me. It sometimes includes where I initiated my day and where I am headed. During the most salient moments, whether or not they are pleasurable, my world consists of what I experience around me and my trajectory through it.

Ideally we would live in the moment most of time during daily life as well, bringing attention fully forward into the immediacy of life. Our capacity for attention tends to fall asleep among the people and things we see daily. We may substitute what we think we know about people and situations for actually interacting with who they truly are in the moment. We also tend to take for granted that we will be here tomorrow, but we may not.

Foreign travel vigorously challenges assumptions. Without language and prior experience as sources of understanding, we must open to What Is and take nothing for granted. We have to find out how to get places, what a bus stop looks like, what a coin or bill is worth, whether to tip, where to buy a ticket, how to find acceptable food, and so forth. This takes a lot of energy. It can be invigorating or harrowing, depending how we manage our self care, and what the universe throws our way.

Seeking new ways to meet our needs and negotiating unfamiliar terrain causes us to interface with life at a lot more seemingly-random points of contact, meeting more people. Many of these people are also in motion. Liberated from our usual contacts, we are more available for interaction. When we are in motion it’s as if the world is a huge pinball machine and we are one of the balls, bouncing around and available to intersect with others in seemingly-random yet cosmically-ordained timing.

Travel can make immediate and direct the reflections life throws back to us. Our points of contact can be invitations to experiment with what how we want to be as we explore new feedback from the people in our environment. To some extent we can re-create who we are in a new place. The reflections we receive are not predicated on past impressions from former interactions. The reflections we receive from others are thus more direct.

Intensive travel, where we throw ourselves into full engagement with a larger slice of the world, is not the same as a vacation. It is not always comfortable. Full immersion in a foreign environment is not about relaxing, escaping responsibility, or luxuriating, although these may occasionally occur. Intensive travel is active, vulnerable, and demanding. Recovery time can be required afterward.

To what style of travel are you primarily drawn?

What values do you or would you support through this selection?

13 August 2016 6 Comments

Dealing with External Energies, Part 4: The Role of Clarity & Discernment

Dealing with External Energies, Part 4: The Role of Clarity & Discernment

In the last post I introduced the project of becoming transparent to unwholesome energies and influences to prevent taking on external energies. Let’s now explore the skills that support transparency: Clarity and discernment. Contemplating these rather abstract words makes it easier to access the parts of ourselves that can actively apply these gifts in daily life.

Discernment is the ability of the mind to perceive differences between things without cloudiness or obstruction. Clarity is a state of Being that allows light and insight to penetrate and pass through you.

Understand that clarity and discernment are not just something you HAVE or LACK. They are skills we cultivate with practice, and they contribute to success in every life arena.

Clarity is similar to transparency. The word clarity implies perception and intelligibility. Clarity is coherent—whole. Transparency is open and free from pretense. I am using the word transparency with respect to letting energy come though without sticking, and the word clarity to refer to your interior state.

Note that when you put on pretenses, your energy changes. It becomes kind of clumpy and inconsistent, and you will be far more likely to pick up external energies than you are in your authentic state.

Clarity:

  • Implies the peace that comes when we are not entangled
  • Allows light and energy to pass through
  • Is a prerequisite for discernment
  • Supports accuracy of inner vision
  • Aids in general effectiveness and personal mastery

Clarity is an extraordinary asset that contributes directly to all business and personal affairs.

Clarity is not an across-the-board attribute. One may be clear in some contexts or states of mind and muddy in others. As we explored in the Inner Work series [link], our level of over-all clarity exists in direct relationship to our ability to integrate inner wounds. Blind spots caused by wounds bias vision and response. Some of the most dangerous people identify themselves as being very clear because they are intelligent, discerning, and take bold action, while blind spots the size of Texas inform some of their motivations.

Discernment:
When it comes to accurate perception and energy protection it is quite useful to be able to tell the difference between (for instance) your anger, someone else’s anger, anger from a third party impacting you, irritation from liver overload, suppressed helplessness or grief hiding under anger, and numerous subtle influences that feel similar.

You need to have a clear inner mirror or remarkable detachment to discern and sort out external influences. At least you need to know which smudges were already on your mirror when you begin sorting things out. Self-awareness is essential.

You may think you don’t need to know the difference between various inputs like the example above unless you’re doing advanced healing or guidance work. If you think about it you’ll realize that being able to tell yourself apart from assorted external influences and knowing what drives you is integral to being awake and aware. It also contributes to happiness. Being confused is a drag.

Positive thinking without discernment is not necessarily an asset. Note, for example, the way someone who views power as abusive and themselves as powerless uses power abusively. This person does not need to THINK to create the sense of abuse. He or she can repeat positive surface thoughts ‘til the cows come home and as long as the inner wound is screaming out energy, emotional reactions will trump any new soundtrack grafted over the top. Substituting surface dressing for self-awareness is not ultimately positive. Positive thinking is a wonderful tool when combined with Inner Work.

Bottom line: There are many types of energy and many reasons for susceptibility. Energy protection is often approached as a simple one-size-fits-all technique. Such techniques offer partial protection or Band-Aid approaches, some of which have undesirable side effects. These techniques may be useful or essential in the short term. In the long run ongoing application of clarity, discernment, good boundaries, and Inner Work lead to profound benefit and develop natural immunity to unwholesome energies. This is an ongoing and rewarding process.

Did you ever notice that the clearer you feel the more safe you feel? What do you notice about the relationship between pretenses and your feeling of safety?
Tell us your favorite practices for energy protection.

6 August 2016 10 Comments

Dealing with External Energies, Part 3: Transparency as a Key to Energy Protection

Dealing with External Energies, Part 3: Transparency as a Key to Energy Protection

Transparency, in the context of energy, means letting energy pass right through you without sticking. Transparency is essential because it provides a way to interface with someone’s energy without cutting yourself off from the other person or taking on their energy. This skill is especially valuable in work or play that involves touch, such as healing or dance. Without this skill you either take on energy from others or wall them out and block your own flows.

I once won the respect and gratefulness of a chiropractor who had been suffering for years from almost-debilitating hand and foot pain. I noticed energy blockage when I saw him work and asked him what was going on. He told me he had been using specific visualizations to block clients’ energy from coming into his hands or entering through his feet. He learned this technique from someone who was teaching it to practitioners. Somehow I managed to correct this condition about five minutes. His pain went away completely and did not come back. He called and emailed his gratitude several times over the next six months.

In order to pick up energy from someone you have to be in some sort of relationship with that specific energy, just as an argument takes two parties. Your role may be minimal, but must exist for energy to transfer.
I go into details about why this occurs in my book. [link]

Blocking yourself off doesn’t work well. If it does keep energy from coming in, it also blocks your most direct source of feedback about yourself. The way your energy interacts with external energy provides powerful and precious feedback—guidance. Personal cultivation is greatly aided by staying open to the mirroring that occurs between our personal experience and the rest of life. Awareness and intelligent response are the high road. Protection may be necessary under specific conditions, but personal cultivation and mastery are more much more meaningful in the long run.

Dealing with personal issues is the one most effective way to enhance energy safety. This is why I write about addressing inner wounds. Inner cultivation with respect to these wounds is critically important and frequently overlooked in self-development programs.

Profound self-knowledge is an essential precondition when it comes to accurately discerning energy influences. We cannot be clear about what is going on externally when we are adding our own issues into the mix. Lucid discernment of energy depends on having a clear baseline. Self-knowledge and personal clarity provide this baseline.

When we get confused about which energies and emotions belong inside versus which do not, we lose clarity. Energies that do not belong with us compromise our transparency like a log in a river gathers debris.

Learning to become transparent to influences that might undermine wellbeing keeps us safe from taking on energies that do not serve us. Transparency also enhances our ability to discern between different types of influences. The self-development work necessary to learn to do this improves every aspect of daily and work life.

We’ll go into more detail about clarity and discernment in the next post.

What have YOU noticed about blocking energy as a means of protection?
How do you feel in relation to other people when you wall them off?

28 June 2016 4 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 86: Re-Defining the Awful Hole

Manage Your Energy Part 86: Re-Defining the Awful Hole

“God is an activity of the soul.” ~Murshid SAM Lewis

You know the hole. The one almost all of us run from. The hole deep inside, where we experience soul-sucking fear of emptiness, loneliness, gnawing isolation, or the pain of bone-cracking absence of connection. That hole.

Some of us try to fill it with multiple contacts with people, some with an idealized mate, some with sex, food or drugs. It doesn’t work. We just debilitate ourselves with the endless, distracting effort without changing the hole itself.

We have our stories about the Hole. Most of them start with “If only . . .” They vary from personality to personality, but often end with feeling like a victim, wasting our lives trying to be enough or have enough without finding any of it somehow fully satisfying, or realizing that we keep trying to make ourselves lovable to others instead of doing what we really want. Trying to escape the Hole keeps us from finding out what that might be.

In order to free ourselves from being enthralled or enslaved by the Hole, we need to be aware of the Hole. That means we need to be able to face it with some measure of detachment. Then we can investigate it some instead of being obliterated by it. Getting close to it is frightening at first. Since itIMG_4110 operates in the background of awareness, and has such power, we fear being sucked into it and obliterated by it. Paradoxically, this is what happens, to a greater extent, when we invest in avoiding that Hole. The less we see it the more power it has over us.

Another important step in freeing ourselves from that thralldom is being able to objectively observe the story we tell ourselves about the Hole, and what we believe about it. When we can see how it functions, we can challenge the myths that have developed around it.

Examples of such myths:
I will be destroyed if I experience the Hole
I have no power in the face of it
I have a problem if I feel there is a hole

The most dangerous myths are what we tell ourselves the Hole IS. What makes defining the Hole dangerous is that—supposedly knowing what it is—we cease to examine it and go on with business as usual. This gives it power.

Re-defining the Hole is a powerful act. What is that Hole, really?

Some spiritual literature describes the Hole in detail. In the spiritual context it is seen as our basic, engrained sense of disconnection from the Greater Whole. We long for connection, for Love. This can be viewed as feeling separate from the Divine, but it can also be viewed as feeling separate from our own innate essence. When we are fully Present, moving from the authenticity of our essence rather than the compensatory dictates of personality, we feel whole and complete. The Hole is not driving.

It is important to stop telling ourselves that the Hole is a need for love/food/drugs/distraction etc., and stop telling ourselves that feeling it means something is wrong.

When we start telling ourselves that noticing the Hole is a step forward in awareness, and we begin to observe our orientation with it, we can begin to direct energy and attention to the question of developing Presence. As a dear friend used to tell me: “A good plan is a plan that works.”

How do YOU experience the Hole?

What do you tell yourself about it?

What have you felt this might mean about you?

18 June 2016 2 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 85: This Basic Inner Struggle Creates Our Life Path

Manage Your Energy Part 85: This Basic Inner Struggle Creates Our Life Path

The quotes below speak to an interesting dynamic in life. (If the G-word bothers you, use “Source” or “connection with the Universe/Greater Whole.”)

“Through motion and change, life become intelligible; we live a life of change, but it is constancy we seek. It is this innate desire of the soul that leads one to God.” ~Hazrat Inayat Khan

“No matter what our aim or objective in life, its security does not bring us happiness. There is a constant struggle between our attraction toward joy and our attraction toward peace. This struggle causes our involution and evolution, and its end is not attained until the two are brought into equilibrium and coalesced. That is to say, the nature of God or Nirvana is not a dead-peace, but Life in its fullness, Love in its magnificence, Light beyond our conception. When we have tired of changing phenomena and seek God alone, we find that consistency, that peace, that joy.” ~Murshid SAM Lewis

If we study our life experience we find that meeting our objectives is not the ultimate key to happiness. We want the next thing. Or we want peace from the demands that our objectives visit upon us!

Visualize a circle with a dot in the center. In the grander scheme, evolution involves extrapolating out from the center point of oneness-consciousness into external life experience. Involution can then be seen as the movement from the edge of circle back toward self-realization.

In our daily life, our inner struggle between wanting new and varied experiences, and wanting simply to BE in peace, stirs us up and produces the rhythm of our lives. This rhythm may be smooth or run us ragged from time to time. We are pulled between action and inaction, absorption in experience and meditative withdrawal.

The pull between the (lateral) urge to join and involve one’s self with others and the (vertical) draw toward connecting directly with the earth and with Guidance as we individuate forms a similar pole.P1010116

Equilibrium between these poles requires being able to accept and embrace both of them, without resistance, or pitting one against the other.

Life works on us by casting us into circumstances in which we greatly desire more involvement or more peace. Often enough we feel both ways at the same time, in different life arenas—or even in the same one.

We experience consistency, peace, and joy not only by learning to balance the polar experiences in equilibrium, but in bringing one into the other. We unify experience by bringing peace into involvement, and a sense of deep connection into solitary peace. The actual coalescing of these poles into a unified experience is not something we do as a particular act. This synthesis is the fruit of an accumulation of experience and surrender as we become more and more consonant with That Which Is. True and uninterrupted constancy requires a state of Being that is undisturbed by the vicissitudes of life.

Do you currently long more for joy or for peace?

What is your current balance between doing and being?

How is your balance between involvement and time alone?

What do you long for, and how do these longings create your life?

3 June 2016 5 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 84: “Can You Tell What I Am Thinking?” Ethics & Intuition

Manage Your Energy Part 84: “Can You Tell What I Am Thinking?” Ethics & Intuition

A housecleaner was leaving my home after his second visit. At the door, we were conversing about whether or not to reschedule. I said, “To be perfectly frank, I like your work and feel you are reliable, but I need to adjust to you being in the house. You have really big energy, and I find myself having trouble concentrating. Perhaps I can do errands when you’re here. Of course I couldn’t do that the first time, but now that you know the house, something like that could work.” 

“Can you tell what I am thinking?” he asked, suddenly and baldly. I smiled and he went on: “I mean, I suppose I do notice energy to some extent—but I’m used to being around people who don’t notice that type Version 2of thing.”

“I get the impression,” I said gently, “that you have had some experience of being invaded by other people.”

“Oh yes! When haven’t I been invaded?!”

“Lots of us have that experience. It’s more normal than you would think. Take, for example, being a teenager and coming home two hours after curfew. You put your hand on the door and most people know at that point who is awake and whether or not they are in trouble. That’s feeling energy.”

“Sure. I did that.”

“It sounds like you are fairly sensitive to energy.”

“I think I may be, but I haven’t really thought about it that much, and I’m not sure I always know what I’m noticing.”

“My friend who was visiting today scanned you when you came in. I think that may have made you uncomfortable.” He shifted around on his feet. “She’s young yet, and doesn’t realize that it’s invasive to scan someone. Here’s how it works: Some things are in the public space and some are in private space. It’s okay to ‘read’ anything someone puts into the public mind-space. It’s not okay to go into their private mind-space without permission.”

He was looking at me, engaged, taking it in.

“Say you are sitting at a table reading a newspaper. If I walk by and I see the major headlines on the outside, that’s normal and acceptable. I may notice but not really try to read the fairly large headings. I do not sit down or bend over and read the articles. It is a violation for me to come around to the side of the paper you are on and read things without your permission. That is how it works. So: I don’t really pay any attention to what you are thinking. It’s not my business—and it takes work to read it.”

The housecleaner looked relieved and we went on to handle scheduling.

I found the encounter interesting because he was forthright about what he needed to know, and asked directly. For every one like him there are likely to be thirty who will not know how to ask, and a few hundred to whom the concept doesn’t even occur, or who shut down their thoughts and feelings about it before they become aware of them.

How do YOU feel when someone scans you?

If you scan other people, do you use any ethical or practical guidelines?

Do you believe that there is or should be an ethic about scanning other people?

If so, what feels right to you and why?

Here’s an old joke: Two psychics were walking down the street. They stopped, smiled, looked one another up and down, and one said, “You’re fine! How am I?”

27 May 2016 6 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 83: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 5: Studies in Balance

Manage Your Energy Part 83: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 5: Studies in Balance

My Teacher gave the group several options for solo intensive practice. I chose a practice used to shift any urge toward revenge into allowing the Universe to effect correct karmic balance, paired with a practice to counterbalance the urge with complete forgiveness. As the most challenging of the options, I thought to practice it in the container of support offered by the spiritual retreat.

When I transitioned from doing the practice aloud to taking its essence onto the breath, the forgiveness part kept trying to change to another practice. This practice works to cultivate the experience of an inner citadel of grounded safety, and to feel safe in relations with others. I realized that not feeling safe can cause us to sustain blame, preventing balance. It seemed natural to pair the karmic balance practice with this one for safety.

In the afternoon gathering with my Teacher I asked about the viability of this pairing. I was startled when my Teacher said “That’s brilliant!” since he almost never says positive or negative things. He turned to the group IMG_3920and said, “She is an experienced practitioner, and can adjust practices to her needs.”

He asked me how I arrived at changing the practice. “It just changed itself,” I said. “I changed it back, but then it changed again, so I thought about it and realized that it made more sense to me to go for the root of the issue instead of trying to balance it.”

His comment helped me to be seen as I am by the group; to have my insights valued instead of being treated like a rogue element as I might be by anyone rule-bound enough to think it’s not okay to change what he suggests.

That morning he had said, “I’m a little hoarse.”

I couldn’t resist mumbling, “A pony?” We were mainly on silence, and I was quick to accost myself for this lack of discipline.

He stopped and asked me to repeat what I said, perplexed. I clarified: “A pony is a little horse,” relieved to see him laugh. He told the group that at his house they have an ongoing contest for the worst pun. This may seem trivial, but his care to include me in ways that allowed the group to receive me well is kindness in action.

Part of my Teacher’s job is to rattle people’s cages. This is a service to those who wish to awaken—which can be uncomfortable no matter how lovingly done. He is an enemy to assumptions, automatic behaviors, and limiting beliefs. He can be curt and direct if someone presumes. He tells people to get on with it if they over-explain—which I find relieving.He doesn’t give a crap what anyone thinks of him, so if someone under his care interacts with him, they expose their ego to his keen discernment.

I wince sometimes, but the discomfort is worth the insight. Lessons often require contemplation when they come through body language and energy, without words.

As I described in prior posts, he is gracious and compassionate about traits one is yet unable to manage, and gently protective with respect to tender territory in the heart and budding impulses from the soul.

Standing or sitting close to my Teacher can be a bit odd. I must assume that he will notice my motivations, energy, and the extent to which I am or am not applying myself. As for whatever goes through my head, I’m sure he’s generally not interested—but I never really know for sure. As in every relationship, it is still important not to expect him to know something I haven’t communicated.

Two nights before the end of the retreat my Teacher laid his hat on a platform beside his chair. I thought it would be fun to put it on. I love tuning in to his crown chakra. Wearing his hat would be a playful way to feel close.

The last morning of the retreat he was again wearing that hat. I had a taxi coming soon. As I said goodbye between dances, he playfully put his hat on my head while we talked, grinning like a jack-o-lantern.

Are you willing to experience discomfort to gain insight?

What types of discomfort serve to free us, and which kinds keep us mired in our personality patterns?