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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?

20 May 2016 3 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 82: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 4: Freeing Up Shame and Humiliation

Manage Your Energy Part 82: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 4: Freeing Up Shame and Humiliation

“Imagine the broken places inside you are magnets for light.” ~Tawwaba

Learning to recognize, resonate with and reproduce different qualities of energy develops inner freedom and awareness, in addition to personal mastery.

The next stage of the spiritual retreat worked with paired qualities relating to feeling cast down into shame and humiliation, and being raised up and recognized for success. This practice assists in learning to be unattached to the highs we experience, and not pulling away from or wallowing in difficult experience.

The fall from a high state is inevitable. Learning to discover value and insight in all states, without clinging to them, is an important objective. Suffering, as the Buddhists tend to point out, is caused by attachment and aversion.

The aim of alternating intentionally between humiliation and feeling elevated through success is to find the divine in both states, to release attachment to either, and to become able to move freely between them, learning what is there to learn throughout.

Through dance, energy practice, and meditation, the retreat group followed our work the qualities I just mentioned with qualities and energies that help to release blame and self blame and enhance forgiveness and balance, and some that evoke strong, clear, connected self-esteem. The last practice of the morning generated incredibly tender, unprotected-but-powerful love. We sent this love to one another as a blessing, standing to receive it, eye to eye with a number of dance partners. P1010116

Everyone has trauma. Not everyone is in touch enough to sense what it is or how it acts in shaping and restricting personality. For the most part, those who shut down their own awareness of trauma fear it having it arise. Also, since we tend to restrict in others what we cannot view or accept in ourselves, people who cannot face their own trauma tend to shut down those who communicate their own. Deeper feeling and expression get confined to breakdown or therapeutic situations. Working with the states and stages of our wounded humanity in energy-based, spiritual ways—without being psychological or singling anyone out—is freeing. This work creates openings that allow light and love to move through us without the obstructions caused by trauma.

Working also with the intention of allowing the divine to touch us, move through us, and to also be present within our tender spots is beautiful and intense. The practices allow us to see and experience ourselves and others very intimately, yet without discussion or delving into one another’s histories. Doing this feels universally human.

Of course, those few who know more about our personal journeys see more deeply into our faces and gestures and stand witness to us in a way that is both vulnerable and deeply healing. Opening the heart to attend to our different alchemy with each partner, and noticing the different flavors of each experience is a learning in itself. Some partners open us to places we have not yet touched in ourselves. Others may bring up a reflex to protect something. We can observe whether we can find a way to relax this and give of ourselves safely. Fortunately, most of the people at this particular retreat were lovely and loving and my Teacher floods us with love and creates a safe environment for practice.

What would it take for you to intentionally bring up shame and humiliation without getting stuck in them?

If you use feeling inflated or successful to avoid feeling shame, what would you need to do in order to feel safe being aware of both sets of feeling?

How can you move between them without getting stuck in either polarity?

13 May 2016 9 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What causes us to remain unseen?

5 May 2016 4 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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