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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 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”?

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?

12 February 2016 5 Comments

What is Genuine Love?

What is Genuine Love?

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

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

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

What do you discover about yourself?

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?

14 August 2015 13 Comments

Managing Your Energy, Part 57: The Shadow of Respect

Managing Your Energy, Part 57: The Shadow of Respect

“Those who try to make virtues out of their faults grope further and further into darkness.” ~ Inayat Khan

I recently overdosed on platitudes about respecting people. I would like to explore a counterbalancing perspective—stating the things we just don’t say.

What does it really MEAN to “respect” someone?

In my last post I described one of the things that respect means to me, among friends. It has to do with honoring one another’s ability to hear and receive insight, through open interaction.

The rest of the world isn’t necessarily thinking the same thing when they talk about respecting people. P1140314Respect is one of those words, like love or god, that carry a lot of freight and mean different things to different people.

I have a sneaking suspicion that often enough, that when someone talks about treating someone with respect, underneath this honorable and sincere intention there is often a shadow. This shadow will be reflect an internal struggle, or in the ambivalence that made them think that more respect might be required. If respect was already present, what called forth a need for respect? Can we own what is going on inside?

In support of wholeness and integrated growth, let’s get past being too politically correct or spiritually correct to look at how we really operate and feel inside. Coming to grips with that makes our values authentic.

Most of us are fairly versed already in all the nice parts of what we mean by respect. Let’s explore more of the shadow side:

What if treating someone as they want to be treated amounts to being asking to respect something for which we do not have inherent respect?

Abusers, for example, often demand “respect. What they often mean is to allow them to control you, or to overlook their behavior. They also mean not to hold up any mirrors. It may also be necessary to pretend one is not in distress.

This reminds me of a brief passage I read decades ago in an Ursula LeGuin book: “The giant Groff was hit in one eye with a stone. That eye turned within. He died from what he saw.”

I love that quote! It speaks eloquently to the Achilles heel of the part of us—which is so often HUGE—that can be aggressive and problematic. The only thing that can bring it down is self-awareness. And how mightily one may resist.

Lots of people take respect to mean, “Don’t disturb me with a view that would expand my understanding.” They will not, of course, TELL you, or even tell themselves that this is what they mean—not in so many words—but it bears out in conversation.

Obviously, there is a difference between respecting someone as a person, and respecting their behavior. We generally do not respect all of our OWN behavior. When we respect someone but do not find their behavior respectable, they may take objection to feedback to this effect. This opens a can of worms. I’m not planning to dive into that can wholesale, but I have a few further comments, which I will make in subsequent posts.

For someone in the business of furthering Awakening, it can be a dance to respect (to have sensitivity to) the defense structures of an individual, while intentionally expanding his or her perspective. Professional boundaries simplify interaction. Day-to-day interactions with persons who are not actively pursuing spiritual growth are more complicated. More complicated still are interactions with persons who believe they are pursuing growth while simultaneously resisting it.

What makes YOU feel respected?

What do YOU do when you respect someone but cannot respect some of their behavior?

19 July 2015 13 Comments

Managing Your Energy Part 54: Musings on Self Realization, Part Three: Learning to Love those we Cannot Love

Managing Your Energy Part 54: Musings on Self Realization, Part Three: Learning to Love those we Cannot Love

“Shatter your ideals on the rock of Truth.”  ~Inayat Khan

The urge toward self realization, actualization, self awareness, and awakening is a major driver in the Universe. It supports so much of what I hold dear because it gives meaning to human endeavor.

While not the most evolved stance, when someone who is important to me eschews what I most value and hold as right and good, it rankles me. I’m sure I’m not alone in that.

I’ve been thinking about just what it is that I find disturbing about unconsciousness. When someone SEES and ADMITS their foibles, this often makes them acceptable to me. This intrigues me. Is it because I can accept it when they do?

When we do not accept ourselves, it is harder for others to do so.

One of the key drivers of the Universe is the urge to become Self aware. It strikes me that when we RESIST awareness, we are moving away from this primary spiritual impetus. It just seems ‘off’ to me. It heckles my truth-sensors and aggravates my values and sense of honor.

So does standing in judgment of those who are less evolved. I am seeking to come to peace with the fact that much of humanity lives in the darkness of our own ignorance and denial. This peace is not coming easily.

I’m finding it useful to explore what it is about unconsciousness of self that I find offensive. Let me avoid listing attitudes that support atrocities, and stick to the mundane expressions of ignorance—although they are cut from the same cloth. Denial and overlooking one’s abuse of power may play our trivially in daily life. This ignorance is still of the same nature as that which some act out in damaging ways on the slate of an entire country.

We separate ourselves from others when we wall ourselves off to defend ourselves from insight. Then we can act in ways that cause harm without realizing our essential unity with others. The unity exists, yet we ignore it. That is ignor-ance.

I’ve been asking myself, “How do we love and bond with those who are not particularly developed?”

Paradoxically, we need to be able to NOT bond with them; to stand clear and solid in our own knowing of Self. As we are able to keep from being confused, or selling out parts of ourselves to go into unhealthy bonding, we have real choice. Now we become able to bond AND to un-bond and stand on our own. From this stance of inner freedom we can enjoy various points of commonality with others without becoming confused with them.

My spiritual tradition regularly sends the benefits of deep spiritual work to all of those in need, with the aim to aid, bless and awaken. This kind of Work allows us to experience Love and spiritual unity with P1060832others, regardless of their level of development. I greatly appreciate having role models who demonstrate what this Love feels like, so that I can participate while I am learning to generate and sustain it on my own.

Learning to love those we cannot love is one of the most personally and spiritually expansive endeavors we can undertake. It can confer meaning on difficult situations, allowing us to use them to our spiritual advantage.

When we bond with the One-in-All, inside, we find that others are no longer separate from us, whether or not they are Awake.

What traits do YOU find hard to love?

Do you have a need (like connection), a value (like Truth), or an ideal (like self awareness) that underlies this?

How can you reformat your ideals to expand your ability to Love?

12 July 2015 8 Comments

Managing Your Energy Part 53: Musings on Self Realization, Part Two: Important Questions

Managing Your Energy Part 53: Musings on Self Realization, Part Two: Important Questions

“The hardest thing on the spiritual path is to become fully human.” ~Meyer Baba

I am in deep contemplation before joining at an event with a spiritual teacher, seeking to be open to him after a set of group experiences during which he resisted self awareness. He is a Friend I have always loved.

I am asking myself what it is about resisting awareness that disturbs me. I am asking myself whether I am judging.

I am discovering that I am not judging, but I am disappointed. I will explore this here because it is a valuable inquiry.

I am not one who requires that a teacher or leader be perfect in my eyes. If I have ever prided myself on something it was this: A mentor I once told me I was the only person he had mentored who transitioned to a P1060813friendship instead of finding some pretext to make him wrong or reject him, once they were powerful enough to no longer need him. I did not have to push him away to realize and sustain my growth.

A teacher’s mark of high success is to have students grow beyond them.

I am willing to see humanity and foibles of my current Teacher without allowing them to interfere with my enormous respect. This gives me the security that I am not likely to feel let down or foolish down the line.

Several people I have mentored have ‘discovered’ my own humanity, and taken objection. This is ironic since I have always been forthcoming about my flaws and challenges. When they retreated, their projections continued, flipping from positive to negative as they sought to come to grips with the issues were driving these views. I find it sad when someone feels they must withdraw to stand as a equal. I always aim to demonstrate gratitude to my mentors by standing BESIDE, as I become able.

What marks the difference in being able to accept the humanity of a teacher, friend, or fellow human, and becoming disappointed in them for their shortcomings?

Also, how do we hold OURSELVES with a respect that is not subject to erosion by our own shortcomings?

Contemplating my ability to accept my own and other’s humanity, I have to start with my spiritual Teacher and my healer. They provide the clearest mirrors. I respect them easily beyond any issues they may have. They are well aware of their shortcomings and are committed to Truth.

I also consider my work with clients. I can hold space for their growth with love, and support them without feeling superior or judging them for the issues they are so brave to confront.

When I plumb my experience and ask myself why I have difficulty with the shortcomings of some while accepting those of others, I realize that what matters to me is that the person is actively pursuing and working on becoming self aware.

Now I see that my distress regarding the Friend I will see shortly stems from the fact that he repeatedly resisted what he was being shown about himself in and following the incident that occurred.

Why did this leave me feeling so distant?

I felt shut out.

Truth is the meeting hall for Essence, where We meet when we are in touch with and moving from Essence, together. This is the sacred ground where we really connect. It has nothing to do with theory, belief, opinion, speculation, or the mind. It is the actuality of Connection we experience together when we meet heart to heart without concepts, in the simple authenticity of feeling.

When we defend and deny, we close the doors to the meeting hall. Reactive emotion without the presence of neutral self observation blocks insight exploration, and connection. It keeps us in personality, unable to access Essence.

Willingness to do one’s Work is often the fulcrum upon which relationships hinge.

I am looking for space in my heart to connect from Essence with my Friend and others, without allowing any incident to block stepping into shared Truth in another moment. I have confidence in my ability to do that, and I hope he lets me in as I remain open to him in his humanity.

How do YOU feel about connecting with people when they are not open to seeing what they are doing?

What conditions do you hold for engaging fully with others?

Is there something you can supply for yourself that can allow you to release your conditions and still remain emotionally healthy?