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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.

29 April 2016 4 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What brings YOU into an experience of Unity?

22 April 2016 2 Comments

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

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

Continued from previous post:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does it speak to in you?

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

15 April 2016 3 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His response continues in the following post.

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

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