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25 June 2010 0 Comments

Pain As A Positive, Part Two: Using Pain Positively

Pain As A Positive, Part Two: Using Pain Positively


Few things are as painful as nerve pain from irritated spinal disks. It shoots, burns, and temporarily cripples. I was physically unable to sit, stand, or lie down for about 36 hours. Being on knees and elbows in total darkness left me unable even to read, totally awake hour after hour with no distractions. Each day bled into the next.

I practiced:

  • Finding one spot that didn’t hurt and building sensation out from there, relaxing every place I could.
  • Getting my breath down into areas of my body where I did not used to feel fully, activating body parts and organs and increasing my ability to Sense.
  • Viewing this difficult time as having value.

Being able to do nothing freed up my sense of time. My habits and patterns were all out of commission. Un-creating our lives and getting off the treadmill of have-tos and all the things we think we need to do and to be creates perspective and opportunities for spiritual growth. I could not use my time as I might wish, but was temporarily released from the necessity and addiction of managing it.

Intentionally making the Observer function far larger than the parts of us that are in pain–by becoming open and curious and releasing resistance to pain–the pain often shrinks down. It may even go away. Mine remained, but my exercises in awareness made it manageable.

I used the pain and period of incapacity to:

  • Focus on my Inner Work*
  • Develop compassion–for myself and for the suffering of others
  • Release pride–I was literally on my knees
  • Explore deeper issues about receiving support
  • Clear energy blocks related to self-love and support
  • Learn how to ask for and receive assistance more gracefully
  • Develop gratitude for things I was taking for granted
  • Do profound energy work including clearing out energy from clients
  • Find the inner strength to remain authentic in a painful passage in relationship
  • Find and learn from new healers
  • Learn more how to manage pain and help others with pain
  • Practice positive spiritual surrender (not giving over—acceptance)

In addition to icing fifteen minutes out of every hour, I maintained a cleansing diet DoorOfLighthigh in fish oil and antioxidants to reduce inflammation, built up levels of vitamin D and minerals, and used enzyme supplements that eat up pathogens as well as inflammation.
These approaches will be a net gain for my whole body.

A friend who had grown distant stepped in to help me. She practiced new found and profound healing skills that she would otherwise have been shy about sharing. Her loving service reestablished and deepened our friendship.

Always remember:

  • Resistance is the only pain we can spare ourselves.
  • Letting go of intense desires for life, people, or situations to be different than they actually are can alleviate suffering.
  • Don’t waste your pain.

*I will post on Inner Work after the Pain series. Also see Inner Work as Universal Service

What benefit have you been able to create in painful circumstances?

18 June 2010 0 Comments

Pain As A Positive, Part One

Pain As A Positive, Part One

Social trends that involve acting ultra-positive cast grim shadows. I said “acting,” not “Being.” Many of us work very hard to “be positive”–by busily judging others and ourselves when one of us expresses distress.

CherubFountainDistress generally indicates unmet needs, including the need for expression. Disregarding distress is the opposite of being in touch; Being Present. Distress, when we carefully heed it and make an intelligent response, can keep us from developing illness, allowing problems to build up, overlooking life purpose, or becoming emotionally isolated.

I am not suggesting that we indulge a habit of constant complaint instead of taking action. I am suggesting compassionate presence, authenticity, and constructive action.

When pain comes knocking and we ignore it, it tends to knock more loudly. Don’t make pain break down your door.

Do not waste pain. What does this mean?

Pain is an awakener. Pain can bear gifts. We can discover or create advantages through pain when it is present. I am not talking about trying to convince yourself with your mind, but actually using unavoidable pain for positive processes.

Here are some examples of how to use pain:

  • Notice what is going on so we can intervene while issues are still small
  • To awaken compassion and open your heart
  • To discover who we are deep inside and more about life
  • To learn what we resist and what we want
  • To inspire new responses to situations
  • To create opportunities for positive change
  • To direct our attention to issues we have been ignoring

These examples are abstract. I will address possibilities concretely in “Part Two, Using Pain to Improve Your Life”

If you bring forth what is within you,
What you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
What you do not bring forth will destroy you.
—Jesus, from The Gospel According to Thomas

How do YOU use pain to your advantage, without courting more?

12 June 2010 19 Comments

Gaping Hole in Law of Attraction Thinking: Suffering from Positive Actions

Gaping Hole in Law of Attraction Thinking: Suffering from Positive Actions

Frankly I’m fed up with saccharin, pseudo-spiritual talk that leads people to imagine that getting what you want is the aim of spiritual life. That’s just marketers playing off your ego.

Why do these representations bother me? Because they feed illusion. Spirituality is aboutTransAwake encountering and embracing life in its entirety, not about insulating ourselves from life and turning the universe into a wish-fulfillment machine.

Am I saying desire is wrong? Not at all. Desire drives experience. Desire launches us into the learning ground of life.

What I am saying is that all of life is spiritual when we bring ourselves to it with full, open attention.

Quit telling everyone who is in pain that what they are experiencing is because of what they have been thinking. Yes, it IS true! So why do I say to stop?:

  • Such statements usually involve judging others for experiencing things we do not actually understand ourselves.
  • What usually happens next is that we scan our surface thoughts and try to control them instead of engaging in authentic self-exploration.
  • These trite statements usually imply that if we have any troubles we are somehow spiritually inadequate: We are ‘supposed to’ be able to control life better so we do not create and experience discomfort.

Please consider the following:

Discomfort is guidance. It leads to insight. Yes we also learn through joy, but duality and polarity of experience are part and parcel with the way the universe is constructed, and function to bring about awareness. Not denial of what we don’t like. Awareness. What makes experience positive or negative depends less on the experience than the use to which we put it.

There are two main types of suffering:

One type is caused by action that does not work with the natural laws. Pain from inappropriate eating or from harming others is necessary feedback, if we are to honor life.

The second type of suffering comes from exceptionally positive action. Examples:

  • Intensive spiritual work can bring about extreme symptoms as our bodies, emotional life, or life events go into upheaval from rapid change.
  • Prayer, like praying to be of service, can place you in painful and difficult circumstances, both to serve, and to develop the compassion and insight that prepares you to do so.
  • When you cleanse the body and become ill during detoxification.
  • Coming clean by beginning to be authentic in relationship may be initially frightening and painful but leads to much deeper intimacy.

RoseLIghtThe most spiritually advanced beings I have known do not have perfectly smooth lives. They deal with the intense issues and dramas of those they serve, and the process is not always easy on them. They may indeed feel bliss even at the same time, but this does not mean they do not experience discomfort. They just don’t make their discomfort into a big deal.

If you know what someone is creating from the depths of his or her spiritual purpose and process, go ahead and tell them what they are creating. If you do not, please avoid confusing or shaming people with trite comments that imply that they must be in error if they are in pain.

Please comment below, and pass this post along to those who may find it useful.

4 June 2010 11 Comments

What Does it Mean to be a Spiritual Person?

What Does it Mean to be a Spiritual Person?


Encountering our own humanity is central to spirituality. Symptoms and life events are primary ways of getting in touch with ourselves. The way we interface with life provides guidance and develops insight. This is what the body is for—to give us a means to experience, learn and grow.

Learning and expansion of awareness come about by encountering real life through the medium of our senses, by experiencing.

Relevant questions:

  • Do we embrace our experience and explore life with courage, curiosity, and wonder, or do we cram what we experience into little categories that fit what we know intellectually? (Wonderful exercise illuminates principle!)
  • Do we accumulate the internal resources to accept the actualities of life and of our own natures, or do we limit what we are willing to observe and refuse to accommodate the parts of life and Self that we do not like?
  • What is spirituality if we use it to create fantasies to buffer ourselves from life by ignoring the parts of life we fear?

Spirituality is about wholeness. We embrace wholeness by encountering our own humanity. This means being willing to discover our authenticity. Spirituality is not about being a nice person or a good person, but about finding out what it is to BE a person. We explore this through courageous self-observation, by making ourselves complete, and by learning to truly love. It does not happen by indulging fantasies of being better than others or exempt from suffering.

The many spiritual leaders I have known are not exempt from discomfort. Few have been wealthy or even abnormally healthy. Spiritually developed people do not live in a fantasy world untouched by pain, need, or challenging situations. They do bring an open, undefended, engaged, and constructive form of attention to these human challenges.

This attention does not come about by denying feeling or conveniently reinterpreting events to color them rosy but by going deeply enough into life to find or create real value from difficult experience. The skills we require to develop attention and Presence are learned skills. They come about through experience and practice.

Spiritually developed people do not demand a disproportionate excess of worldly goods as if accumulation and luxury were badges of spiritual accomplishment. The notion that fulfilling worldly desires is a measure of spiritual success is silly.

Spiritual success is totally independent of material interest. A spiritual person may have almost nothing or may be wealthy, but getting and having are not a central focus.

Service, contribution, learning to love more SkyWithLog 076profoundly, and expansion of consciousness are intrinsically more meaningful than getting and having.

Spirituality is about deep connection with life. No you do not need to put down or avoid wealth or give things up, unless you are called to do so for your life missions. Just don’t imagine that attaining stuff can fulfill you. Stuff is a means to an end, an expression of who you are, or a distraction.

Which is it for you?

What does it mean to be a spiritual person?

Please share your insights below, and pass this post along if you like it.

27 April 2010 3 Comments

The Problem with Higher Awareness

The Problem with Higher Awareness

What Is Higher Awareness?

The problem with higher awareness is that our concepts of what it might be interfere with what it actually is.

Words carry previous meanings. Words can prevent us from actually experiencing what we are talking about. Assuming we already know what the words mean can turn potential spiritual exploration into merely trading platitudes. Meaning and expansion occur by entering the unknown, the mystery.

What is awareness?

What is higher?

Higher frequencies of sound shatter glass. That is energy in action, acting upon solid matter, clearly 600px-Milky_Way_Galaxyand uncontrovertibly. The higher interpenetrates the lower. But what does “higher” and “lower” mean?

Does higher mean better? In language, the two words are stuck together. In the scheme of life, the forces and frequencies interrelate. They depend on one another. We become aware of the “higher” by living in bodies made of matter, experiencing the illusion of time, which we know actually exists all at once. The body is a means to acquire experience.

Actual higher awareness can be too undifferentiated from the life it interpenetrates to experience itself distinctly—hence the value of matter in learning to see and know ourselves.

Self-awareness is an avenue to higher awareness (whatever that may be).

How do we become aware of ourselves?

The problem comes in when we judge what is higher and lower because we then tend to turn away from the lower and lose self-awareness of the lower. Am I suggesting giving over to the lower? Which most of us fear? No. Not either/or. Both/And. When we can observe with neutrality or love all of our attributes and impulses we are in a position to chose which to bring forth. If we bury them, the choice is gone. They go underground.

If you study the lives of the most advanced spiritual teachers through time they were not remote from the baser elements of life and humanity but sat in the dust if need be to interface with those who needed their help. The highest of the high are humble. They embrace life. They do not walk about in fear that their incomprehensible purity of Being may be polluted by contact with life. It can’t be. They are fully established in it.

In our own process of coming to know ourselves deeply we may for periods of time need to separate ourselves from disturbing or distracting elements–for instance avoiding those who do drugs–as we explore the profound sensitivity that comes with expansion of awareness. This separation is not an end goal (although the ego may take it to be). Separation is not spiritual. Neither is running away from awareness by failing to notice and acknowledge our negativity. Denying negativity shrinks awareness. Embracing it fully while focusing on the positive generates energy and awareness through the interplay of forces and frequencies.

The problem with higher awareness is that to get higher we also need to get lower, because it’s really about becoming whole. Until we can see exactly what motivates us, power has a down side. By developing the concentration of will to face ourselves fully and by becoming whole we gain the possibility of full, functional intention. Self-aware intention carries the power of co-creation along with the love to wield that power with respect for all of creation.

What do YOU do to become aware of yourself and how does this support your Awakening?

19 April 2010 3 Comments

Sensation: Essential Key to Self-Knowledge

Sensation: Essential Key to Self-Knowledge

Sensation is arguably the most important element in the alchemy of personal and spiritual development.

Feeling is indispensable to the experience of meaning. If we shut down our feeling function we cut off our avenue to experience meaning. This can lead to depression as we become unable to connect inner value with outer experience.

Let me explain: Meaning is an internal experience, based on feeling. We see something on the outside—behavior, art, beauty, synchronicity—and it means something BECAUSE OF what WE FEEL in response. Making up a mental interpretation or assumption does not move us. That yields mere platitudes. Feeling moves us.

Body information (sensation) is intimately related to emotion. Through sensation we learn what we feel, and how to move through those feelings.

We are touched by events only to the extent that we are able to open to feeling.

Whether we shut down feeling to protect ourselves from pain or to give ourselves or others a false sense of simplicity, the result is the same: We are less available to life and love.

Let me take this a little farther: Sensation in the body provides us with the clues necessary to explore our responses to people and events.

Fears, issues, assumptions, and lack of appropriate internal attention can make it next to impossible to experience our own subtle emotions–especially if we are conflicted about something and wish we were not. Lack of subtle attention makes it necessary to get all the way out of balance in order to notice what we feel and need.

Careful attention to sensation such as tension and breathing patterns, flow or blockage, facial expression, Sensation hand position, etc. provide us with subtle and useful information about ourselves. This body-accessed information informs and influences our feelings. For example, a hunched posture shuts down the lungs and diaphragm and can make us feel low energy and unhappy.

Sensation is key to self-knowledge. This speaks to the purpose of the body.

Almost all energy-changing tools support and develop sensing.

What have you noticed about the relationship between sensation and energy?

2 April 2010 9 Comments

How You Generate Renewal

How You Generate Renewal

Tips to Renew Yourself

This post is about practical ways to create an experience of renewal.

BleedingHrtEvery day, every moment is here once. When it’s gone it’s gone. The opportunity—for love, for some small measure of awakening, for choice, for a full and complete breath—is gone with it. Our children are one more day past innocence and toward running the world. Yes, as we hurtle through space on this spinning globe, the next moment presents, seamlessly from the last. Yet something is gone forever. Use this.

Quit putting off anything that brings real meaning for you, the things you would regret from your deathbed. Make bold choices.

Release anything that no longer serves you:

  • Forgive while simultaneously strengthening fluid boundariesCherry1
  • Get rid of things you don’t use. Give them to charity
  • Deep clean your home and your body
  • Move beyond the familiar by inviting yourself to make one fresh choice

Renew your life by setting clear intention in every moment you can remember.

  • Nurture the body with respectful eating
  • Let the people you love know it
  • Express appreciation that may have remained silent
  • Buy yourself flowers and put them anywhere you work too much

Regenerate your inner life:
WtTulipsHow does regeneration come about? Please let me use a few words and relax any old associations with them.
The word confession does not have to be about religion or guilt. It can be about empowering yourself to speak your truth. With this meaning, confession is about being able to say who you are.

The word redemption does not have to be about religion either, although it can be if you like.
What if every act we do to reclaim parts of ourselves we pushed away is an act of redemption? It can be.
Chose to be whole and authentic. Use every moment you can to wake up a tiny bit more to choice.

Spring is especially glorious this year in Seattle. Some years it slips by almost without my notice, lost in the clutter of my to-do list. This year the energies present offer major opportunity for transformation—if we respond.

Use the winds of change to scour your life down to the fresh, vital skin so you shineFrillwith the sweet, tender shoots and buds bursting into world. You may think you’ve seen them, but these particular flowers have never been here before and will not last. Focus on being fully alive.

As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves.
–Mahatma Gandhi

What are YOUR secrets to renewal?

20 March 2010 0 Comments

Effective Guidance

Effective Guidance

What makes guidance effective?

Here are some considerations, followed by guidelines below:

The most useful guidance is rarely one-size-fits-all. Our bodies, personalities, beliefs, and aims differ.

LabyrinthSocial consensus–agreement–is often considered truth within a society. This does not make it so. Prejudice, for instance, rests on social agreement.

Our perception of what is true changes as we develop emotionally and spiritually.

I have clients who hold public offices or handle large sums of other people’s money, and clients who would find such responsibilities a distraction and a waste of their lives. Teaching children has just as much influence and value. Social standing and money are not the standards for the value of your life. They matter to some and are insignificant to others. Effective guidance takes this into account.

The value of our lives rests on our inner experience of meaning, not on social approval.

Guidance or advice can be effective but not truly of service. Someone can guide you to conform to values that are not right for you. The best guidance assists you to discover and express what you want for yourself, not what others think you should want. Being effectively guided in a direction that is not a fit for you is not service.

Effective guidance in service:

  • Begins with recognizing where we are actually at now.
  • Respects our personal aims and values.
  • Resonates with what we know inside.
  • Impacts our lives.
  • Feels meaningful to us personally.
  • Is specific to our needs rather than asking us to conforming to an external standard.
  • Provides a sense of direction.
  • Provides a clear sense of how to apply it in our lives.
  • Leads to increased clarity.
  • Makes us feel “seen.”
  • Makes us feel more like our authentic selves.

I would love to have your comments and questions about what makes guidance effective. Please share below.

31 January 2010 7 Comments

Inner Work as Universal Service

Inner Work as Universal Service

What does it mean to do Inner Work?

Doing Inner Work means confronting whatever is inside us with courage and love, with the intention of knowing ourselves deeply; waking up. It is the act of reclaiming all that we are. Inner Work is the opposite of denial.

Inner Work includes the following and more:Anubus Initiation

  • Embracing old fears, wounds, and losses
  • Coming to understand our deepest motivations
  • Acknowledging inner conflict
  • Accepting paradox
  • Intentional invocation of positive states without denying or resisting any part of ourselves
  • Understanding what is going on inside when we react or become triggered
  • Discovering our sense of wonder in the moment

Surrender is the most powerful tool for Inner Work.

What does surrender mean? Surrender means letting go of:

  • All forms of resistance to experience
  • Our need to control: outcomes, how others view us, how we view ourselves
  • Belief systems that no longer serve us

What makes surrender a positive?

  • Resistance is the only pain we can spare ourselves
  • Resistance is exhausting
  • Letting go of what we do not want allows up to reach for what we do want
  • We have LESS control when we are attached to control and not flexible
  • If we hold on to old images of ourselves our energy does not create what we are aiming for
  • Perceiving what is happening now and letting ourselves and others grow keeps us youthful, up to date, and in touch/present

Bryce CastleHow does facing yourself through Inner Work help other people?

  • Changing our own energy impacts everyone who meets everyone who we meet
  • Knowing ourselves reduces conflict
  • Self-acceptance leads to acceptance of others
  • Fewer mistakes about who we involve ourselves with
  • Clear boundaries make for better relationships in all arenas
  • We are more likely to be in touch with life purpose

Inner Work may be the most powerful and basic way to change the world—and it is available to us in every moment.

What kind of Inner Work do YOU do and how does it impact your life?

15 December 2009 0 Comments

Smart, Loving Ways to Give

Smart, Loving Ways to Give

Wondering what to give someone you care about?
These ideas will spread love, save money and yet support the economy.


Make or purchase a lovely card with one or more vouchers for services instead of objects. Save up the time you might otherwise spend fighting traffic and use it to make your loved ones happy. You can provide a service yourself or support providers by purchasing services from people you care about and respect. Experiences to share and remember build closeness instead of adding clutter.

Vouchers for gifts of your time can be simple or elaborate:

  • A massage or foot massage
  • Breakfast in bed
  • Make a list of everything you love about them and share it
  • Cook their favorite meal on a date of their choice
  • Double-dig the vegetable garden
  • Clean out drawers or closets and give unused items to charity

Make yourself available when and how you are needed:

  • Schedule time to help rearrange the furniture
  • Give a written promise to take time off when your spouse wants you to attend an occasion you tend to resist and go cheerfully
  • A promise to be available on several dates of their choice
  • An offer to take the kids to the zoo or an all day outing when your
  • spouse has something important to do or needs down-time
  • Give an hourly allotment during which you will do their bidding

Take things off their to-do list by removing a burden, concern, chore or duty:

  • Wash and vacuum their car or take it in for service
  • Help them edit their writing
  • Give a number of hours to keep them company and help them do a chore they are avoiding

Professional services:

  • Have their car professionally detailed
  • Let them select massage or healing services up to a certain amount
  • Offer to pay for spa services
  • Pay to have the house professionally cleaned on their day of choice

Add personal and professional services together:

  • Paint their study or have it painted
  • Get their computer repaired and add memory
  • Have a garden bed put in with their favorite plants
  • Remodel a room or add a window where they need one

Activities and experiences:XmasLights

  • Take them to a play or opera
  • Give a ski trip
  • Plan a hiking trip to a special destination
  • Pay for passes to the aquarium

For the technologically inclined consider:

  • Give them an iTunes allowance
  • A voucher for a teleseminar that furthers their inner or outer goals
  • Several months’ membership in a membership site
  • Example: Kelly’s Positive Women Rock site, to uplift and support to growth
  • Get them ongoing technical help to relieve techno-stress
  • Example: Stu McLaren’s Instant Business Answers–weekly calls for tech and marketing advice
  • An allowance toward their choice of web templates or utilities such as programs to edit sound files or make movies

Still not sure what to give? With vouchers it’s easy to make your offer a multiple choice!

What makes your gift meaningful is not what you spend but how precisely you match the gift with your loved one’s unique needs and personality. Showing that you understand what is important to someone expresses love more than any Thing. Give in ways that transform or provide relief. Make your loved ones’ lives easier and more joyful by giving considerately.

What are YOUR innovative gift ideas?