Archive | Tips & Tools RSS feed for this section

8 January 2016 3 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 73: When Personal Growth Becomes Narcissism & Dealing with Self Hatred

Manage Your Energy Part 73: When Personal Growth Becomes Narcissism & Dealing with Self Hatred

“The moment a person becomes straightforward a straight way opens before him.” ~ Inayat Khan

Personal growth becomes narcissism when one engages pursuits of growth in ways that demand attention, without taking the steps that release oneself (and others) from the self-obsessed compulsions of what we consider to be our flaws.

Habitually indulging self hatred, for example, can be a fancy way to avoid self awareness. The intensity of feeling becomes like a sand trap one wallows in. Engaging the hatred can become a way to stay stuck, to avoid personal growth. This differs IMG_0430from sinking in to the feeling to carefully observe and release our tendencies, structures of experience, motivations, and the less-familiar emotions underneath. Seeing behaviors in yourself that you don’t like and saying, “I’m bad! I hate myself,” without aiming to discover what exactly what you are actually doing and what you need reinforces the issues instead of resolving them. It’s like spinning around and around in an eddy.

Discovering self hate can be startling and arresting. Be very kind to yourself if you are in this place. This type of condition is very difficult, especially for those who do not have the advantages of Inner Work, who have not been exposed to techniques for self observation, forgiveness, exploration, and transformation, and do not have the support of qualified professionals.

Those who do have the advantage of such skills and support, who habitually stop at self hatred without moving into and then beyond it, may be indulging narcissistic or masochistic tendencies by wallowing in self hate. The narcissistic part shows up in rage at one’s self because one “shouldn’t be this way,” and is “better than this,” and in being too caught up in one’s own process to respond compassionately to others.

When we get lost in any negative emotion by reacting against it, we are turning away from noticing important aspects to what we are doing, inside and with others. We short-circuiting awareness and remain with the familiar feeling. Hatred or negativity then function as an inverted form of self love, feeding the ego self. This works the same way that an inferiority complex accompanies and underlies superiority.

Attempts to make oneself look good delay solutions and function as a fancy form of defense. Such attempts ultimately backfire. Avoidance makes things persist.

Genuine, healthy remorse of conscience supports healthy motivation and healing. This requires going THROUGH the self hate or negative emotion, without stopping at that depot. Remorse of conscience is not like guilt. Guilt is a sand trap. Remorse of conscience is a process of sensing into the heart and making a decision based on understanding and deeper values.

Accepting, embracing, and then relaxing underlying motivations slims them down and helps to integrate them, creating greater scope for genuine positive expression.

What steps help to release this type of compulsion?

  • Quit judging and stay with feeling—but do not allow feeling to become stuck or static; keep going deeper.
  • Identify the behaviors you use to avoid looking at your feelings and experience.
  • If self hatred arises, welcome it gently and look more deeply. Do not give self hatred special importance.
  • Stop identifying as ‘special-bad,’ as if your issues are more unforgivable and damning than those of anybody else.
  • Identify and take responsibility for your underlying motivations. Notice what motivates behaviors that challenge intimacy or success.
  • Admitting to the parts of you that want to stay stuck. Accept them—without endorsing them. Find positive ways to address the underlying fears.
  • Remember that emotions are not excuses.
  • Take direction from your true values and allow them to inform your choices. Aim to be true to them even while you are having negative emotions .
  • Create straight-forward ways to meet healthy needs and desires, while accepting and releasing those that are not.
  • Take responsibility for communicating your needs without being demanding or trying to make someone else responsible for them.
  • Get help addressing the remnants of childhood issues with your parents, which will otherwise inform your behavior with intimates.
  • Never suppress or ignore emotion—but do not allow it to run you. This means being aware of it, not it acting out.
  • Practice compassion by bringing your spiritual practice fully into your body, right along with your difficult emotions. Allowing them to be less important without trying to get rid of them. If they intrude, acknowledge them or get to the bottom of them, then bring in love and change the subject inside.

What is the difference between having an emotion and being run by an emotion?

What makes the difference between whether talking about your emotions (with someone who is open to feeling) develops intimacy or becomes overly self-involved?

25 December 2015 6 Comments

You Do Not Deserve God’s Love ;)

You Do Not Deserve God’s Love  ;)

We have it backwards: “You don’t get love by being good, you get good by being love.” ~TD

Issues about whether or not we deserve love are relics from childhood. Divine Love is not earned. Some might call it a birthright. I agree—but with prejudice. “Birthright” language evokes entitlement, which is often toxic. It also presupposes that we are separate from Source. Having the right to something brings Cosmic Teaup the sense of not having it, and having to demand it.

But where would we demand Love from? This again smacks of childhood wounding.

From an energy perspective, to invite higher Love we need to resonate with it. To resonate with Divine Love we become it. This means finding, sensing and feeling the quality of such Love inside—and amplifying it. Doing this is an act of creation. This does not mean it relies on fantasy. Fantasy is a sidetrack. The path is to locate the resonance of Love inside by learning to focus and call it forth from within. Then we blow on that like an ember. This takes spiritual work. Anything that stands in the way must be embraced—but not allowed to stand as a distraction.

When we have something, we can give it away. If we do not have it, it is not ours. Having Love means receiving it first. When we seek that in other people we are bound to be disappointed, as we probably were in childhood.

We do need to generate love for ourselves—but we need to catch the perfume or resonance of it somewhere in order to really grasp just what it is we are seeking. Finding Source can be very abstract. Most of us need one or more human role models to get a sense of how to ‘run’ that Love in our bodies.

The role model we choose is less important than learning to bring forth Love. Since I am writing this on Christmas eve, I would be remiss not to say that Christ could be one such model. Owing to various conceptions and experiences, that name aggravates some people, and many have belief systems that cause them to recoil from religion.

A current of Love and truth underlie and run through religions, but codes of belief do not in themselves produce the miracle called Love. Whether or not we are attracted to one or more religions, we take great benefit in identifying someone, somewhere, some time, who represents to us the possibility of being a human who is capable of experiencing and expressing the vibration of Divine Love. The word “God” can be too abstract, and also laden with freight. “Source” is abstract as well.

From where do we receive the impressions that stimulate in us true inspiration?

This is a wonderful question to ponder in this inward time of year, when we long to bring forth true joy, blessing and generosity.

Ideal Love will be a little bit different for different individuals, depending exactly which vibration of the rainbow of all love is key for that mind, heart, and soul to take the next step toward becoming it oneself. The being, saint, prophet, person, spiritual teacher, or element that inspires us may even change as we develop. It is important to learn to identify and allow our hearts to be impressed (like soft clay) by real Love when we see it, and to own as our privilege in being human, our right to enjoy and express that Love.

Having God’s love (change the g-word if it bugs you) means having it flow through us to others and into the world. It is not something we earn and then receive like an award for being a self or being good. It is something we cultivate and practice over many years or even lifetimes. Seeking to GET it enhances ego issues about deserving. We get more of it by giving. I am not talking about over-giving, driven by old wounds, I am talking about expressing from your heart.

No matter what is going on with us it is okay to allow Divine Love to come though us. If this depends on mood or being in a particular way, we will withhold it. When we let Love touch us despite our shortcomings it will help us to move beyond them, gently over time. Even if we do not move beyond them, our lives will have meaning and value because we have been vehicles for Love. There are no prerequisites. Concentration, attention and intention invite it. Noticing and making room for it when it comes helps sustain it. These are aids. There are no prerequisites.

Please feel free to comment.

I send you love in this traditional time of calling forth Light.



18 December 2015 6 Comments

Managing Your Energy Part 71: Skill Set to Keep from Giving Away Your Energy

Managing Your Energy Part 71: Skill Set to Keep from Giving Away Your Energy

It is not unusual for intuitive people with big hearts to become drained in interactions, especially with people whose lack of clarity tend to call forth our intuitive skills. Here are behaviors and attitudes that help: P1080147

Monitor your level of confusion carefully. When you begin to feel confused, take a step back and take inventory. Are you confused because of your own unclarity? If so, ask yourself questions to clarify your motives and needs. If you are confused, however, because someone is being confusing, you may make an effort to sort it out—but do not make heroic and exhaustive efforts. If the person actively resists your efforts to clarify what they mean or where they are coming from, take the following steps:

Bring in compassion for yourself. Confusion is painful, and you are probably being kept at an emotional distance.
Focus on connecting to Source, to the greater spiritual whole, so you feel connected instead of painfully isolated.
Release your need to feel connected to the person. This does not mean you never connect. It means you take care of your energy first. If you try to connect, you make sure it’s not draining you.
Tell the person that the interaction seems to be a lot of work. Ask them to get clear about what they are trying to communicate or what they want and get back to you when they know. Then they can do their own work internally instead of relying on you to do their work as well as your own.
If the person continues to block your communication or makes it too much work, withdraw and try at another point in time.
Comfort your Inner Child if you feel pain that the person is not connecting with you.
Be clear about what you want from interaction. Do your needs belong in interaction, or are these needs the sort one must care for in one’s self, like the need for validation or approval?
Quit being too “nice.” If the person is obstructing communication or out of touch, ask them directly to let you know what they want. It may be necessary to give them time to come up with it. If you choose to wait, spend the time practicing a simple energy-based, body-centered meditation, such as watching your breath. This helps with patience, nourishes you, and keeps you from picking up their energy. It works much better than defense, resistance, or most attempts to shield.
Stay clear about who you are. Do not reinforce ego-based identity, just keep an eye out to see whether what the person says about you matches who you are. If you are clear, you are not defensive. Take in what they say and try it on to see if it resonates. If it doesn’t, push it back out. Let this be a relaxed and natural process, like eating and pooping.
Notice if you start to get emotionally triggered. If so, delve right into your discomfort and find its core. What is the deepest and strongest emotion at play? What are you reminded of? What are you afraid of?
Breathe into any body parts that get tight.
Remind your young parts that you have adult resources now and can take care of your needs. Determine exactly what you can do yourself that will soothe and support you. Self support includes making appointments with professionals, but you still do what you can for yourself.
Take breaks if the person becomes unreasonably demanding.
Practice the skill of detachment. Detachment is not aloofness. Do not push anything away or resist, but relax any part of yourself that gets stuck to or wrapped around it. For example, let your relationship go—while staying right where you are. Leaving is unnecessary—unless it is necessary.
Keep checking in with yourself as to whether your response of helping is coming from an ego pattern, old wound, or unconscious need. If so, stop. If helping stems from your essence or a clean desire to be of service it will not cause you problems.

Which of these skills is the most necessary in your current interactions?

At what point in your interactions do you need to employ them?

4 December 2015 6 Comments

Managing Your Energy Part 69: The Power of Place & Time

Managing Your Energy Part 69: The Power of Place & Time

I was initially tricked into going to Maui. At twenty-one years old, I had no interest in what I considered a tourist-trap where people went to indulge themselves. As it turns out, Maui could be considered my spiritual home.

When I landed in Maui at twenty-one, my boy friend was supposed to meet me. He taught Greek, and courses on raw foods, fasting, and intestinal cleansing. He was exceptionally smart. He could talk anyone into a paper bag and back out of it—but he was emotionally cowardly. After exhorting me to meet up with him, he left the island the morning of the day I flew in. His best friend Tim met me at the airport. Tim had studied healing with tribes in Africa. I think he was wearing Western garb instead of his loin cloth—which he’d been wearing the first time I’d met him. He had almost white hair, down to his waist, almost ice-clear pale blue eyes, and was quite darkly tanned.

Tim and I shared a tent for a few days. We maintained celibacy, despite the outrageously intense energy that practically crackled if we touched. I swear I could see spots of light where his tough, bare feet hit the ground when we hiked. Totally grounded and in the moment, Tim moved very evenly and rarely spoke. After a few days he managed to shake me off because I talked too much.

Over the next week I ran into Swami Sachadananda—who was a big deal in those days—by a waterfall. We hugged and I felt Light. Two days later, I went on a walk and discovered some people sitting on a hillock that had been hidden in brush, listening raptly to an Indian speaker. I sat down among them. The speaker was Krishnamurti. I also made a chance encounter with the person who set me on my spiritual path. Visiting later, on his land, I accidentally interrupted the man who thirty years later became my spiritual teacher. He was in the last day of a forty day retreat, and was not happy to see me. (For my part, I was shocked and trying to escape.)

I was intellectual and abstract up until this point in my life, averse to spirituality. In that location and at that timing I went through a marked change from the energies and influences to which I was then exposed.

My recent Maui trip gave me the opportunity to spend time with a number of developed healers and spiritual teachers, both during and after the scheduled event. I ran into Ram Dass the morning I left.

Ram Dass 11/2015

Ram Dass 11/2015

We have different options and experiences in different places on the globe. Each place has a different energy influence. Different days and periods of time also hold different possibilities. We tend to treat hours and days like empty containers, all the same size and shape. They are not.

What is possible in one moment is not an option in another.

Likewise, we tend to approach places expecting to be much the same person with the same interests, relationships, and values. Yet each place maintains a mystery of influence, sometimes trivial and at times profound. The influence and extent depend on our chemistry with the place. The timing at which we are exposed to the place amplifies, dampens or mediates its influence. The longer we remain at a place the more influence it exerts.

Learning to sense when to be where is life-changing.

Practice paying attention to the impact places have upon you.

Learn, if you can, to absorb the energy at places that have a good influence.

Practice sensing the best time for you to be somewhere. This can be as simple as leaving to go to the store at a moment when the energy supports it, instead of being automatic, or as challenging as feeling into the best time for a trip, an interview, a gathering, or time alone. Optimizing place and time improves life experience.

What places exert an impact on you, and what is it?

In what ways do you optimize your timing? Is this based on energy you perceive, intuition, logical considerations, feeling, or a combination of cues?

10 October 2015 0 Comments

Managing Your Energy, Part 64: The Inner Mechanics of Forgiveness

Managing Your Energy, Part 64: The Inner Mechanics of Forgiveness

P1070144“The first step toward forgiveness is to forget.” ~ Inayat Khan

“That is to say, remove all remembrance of the act from the mind. The one who has done wrong does this best by a complete change of attitude, so great a change that the mind will not again succumb to a similar temptation, will not permit the ego to sway it in the wrong direction. Those who have been wronged should steel themselves against being wronged again. In the first stage, one completely erases all recollection from the mind or ceases to regard the deed as an evil one–especially if one has learned a living lesson through the experience. This prepares one for the higher condition which is not to be insulted, not be wronged or hurt by another. This shows real spiritual advancement on the part of a person, that he or she is not affected or harmed by the acts, thoughts, or words of another.” ~ Murshid Samuel Lewis

The second quote is Murshid Sam’s commentary on Inayat Khan’s quote. I would like to share my reflections of them:

–This practice requires being in several internal places at the same time; able to be in touch with negative emotion without being run by it, so as to pick the Highest Option.

–Steeling oneself from being wronged again is an interesting construct. Paradoxically, doing this requires memory. This quote is like a tongue twister for the mind. How do we steel ourselves against being wronged? Doing this requires correct assessment of the situation, personal responsibility without blame, an intelligent readjustment to circumstances via a change in behavior, and the memory and mastery to maintain this adjustment going forward.

This being done, it is possible to “forget” the negative impact that occurred, knowing one has taken action to prevent it from occurring again. As we practice this we are moving toward a state of clear observation and understanding of the actual capacities of others, from which we are not likely to be surprised or offended by what they do. Once we remove any behavior on our own part that invites an inappropriate response, they do what they do because of themselves, not because of us. When we become fully responsible for our responses and vulnerabilities we see what others do without taking it personally and are less apt to feel harmed, or to place ourselves in positions in which harm may occur.

–When open-heartedness outpaces personal mastery, we find ourselves forgiving without learning how to keep from being wronged. The wounding that sustains this condition becomes circular as we place ourselves in situations or fail to support ourselves adequately and become wounded again and again. Intelligently managing this wounding can open the heart. Inability to do so leads to the perceived need to hold on to and remember what has wounded us, in an attempt to avoid further wounding. Turning painful episodes into living lessons breaks this circle, making it safe to forget and making our pain serve spiritual and emotional growth.

–Think of “forgetting” like this: Suppose you have something important on your list of things to do. Knowing it has yet to be done makes it stick in your mind. Once you have accomplished it, you can forget it because it is done and in the past. You know you have done it, yet it is empty of charge.

–How do we cease to regard as evil something that caused us harm? We may practice with less charged issues to learn this. By seeing into and accepting the human motivations that drive another person’s behavior we release judgment. We do not then view such behavior as ideal, but this can release the intensity of the charge we carry about it. When we recognize such motivations clearly we trust ourselves to avoid being harmed and our charge lessens further.

–When we have done wrong ourselves, making a clear distinction between our ideals–the Highest Option–and the dictates of ego initiates change of attitude. Engaging our hearts with our ideals and using positive remorse without guilt helps to realign intention. We release any claims we hold against ourselves when we are certain that we will not do the same thing again.

How do YOU manage forgiveness?

What does it take to be around people whose behavior is offensive without taking harm?

17 April 2015 2 Comments

Managing Your Energy Part 42: Open Book Contemplation—A Comfort or a Horror?

Managing Your Energy Part 42: Open Book Contemplation—A Comfort or a Horror?

Decades ago I worked with a spiritual teacher who read whatever I was thinking. He would give me practices to do, and leave the building. When he came back he would yell a me for something I was thinking half an hour after he left. For a few months I was on silence, or just “yes” and “no.” I was not allowed to ask questions. Every number of days, however, this teacher would sit me down and answer the questions that had built up in my mind. He answered them one after another, almost verbatim to the way I thought them.

This experience would be wonderful for everyone ready for it to have, say, for a good solid three days, at least once in their lives.

We carry on AS IF we can have castle walls and partitions. We partition off parts of ourselves and things we don’t want to know about or be in touch with; parts that we can’t have in the same room at the same time. Then we pretend that just because we ourselves are out of touch with a particular part, that other people cannot see it either. This is one of our various conceits. We try to look certain ways and imagine all the things we think we can get away with.

NYCOur personality defenses are like a series of castle walls and partitioned rooms. Having someone view the contents of our minds, objectively and without partitions, is like helicopter-view access. From the top, all these partitions, walls and defenses do not matter.

The experience of being VIEWED like that is fascinating. After the first day or two of denial, testing, and so forth, comes the scrabbling terror, like a cat that seems to have twenty legs when a child tries to cram it into the toilet. The ego starts to freak out, thinking: No this person can’t possibly see in me what I refuse to see. Your defenses come up.

Suppose the person who sees you completely has no interest whatsoever in these defenses. They are unimportant. They are irrelevant. The person just carries on viewing you completely—and even has a sense of humor about it.

The horror of finding all of your conceits and defenses ineffectual finally begin to relax.

You then become able to realize a few things: You see how much time and energy and tension goes into maintaining these defenses. There is great freedom in this. You realize that your defenses stop self knowledge and growth from happening. You surmise that the person viewing you sees and has seen other humans before. S/he has seen minds and hearts much dirtier than your own. Maybe you’re not so bad.

The net result, to a rational person is: Maybe I can just accept myself as I am. Maybe I can relax and let these things BE here, because they ARE here. This other person sees them anyhow—maybe I can admit them.

Contemplating this experience, you can begin to imagine living without partitions, divides, and defenses; coming to peace with whatever is inside. You now have a real opportunity for sincerity and significant growth. After this experience you no longer assume that people CAN’T see inside your mind and heart. We never do know who can see, hear, and feel what is going on inside us. We transmit clues all day long.

Of our various conceits and illusions, not the least is that we have privacy of mind. As a society, we go along with this conceit, and protect one another within it. Graceful social buffering is often necessary, particularly with those who are not consciously on a path of growth.

I’ve been around quite a few people who routinely pick things out of my mind or read my atmosphere. If it used to make me uncomfortable, at this point I’m not sure I feel fully connected around people who do not.

For an advanced intuitive, it’s as if the contents of one’s mind are floating around in the room and they have to walk in it. It’s not as if they are going IN AFTER it, trying to FIND it, invading you. There is nothing to be huffy about.

You begin to realize when you are walking around that your mind is relatively accessible. Even if you think you are closing yourself off it does not necessarily stop someone noticing what you are thinking and feeling. This realization can change your relationship with people and with yourself. You have to relax with yourself or you will go nuts. You also have the opportunity to clean up the things that you are not happy about instead of thinking you can shove it in a corner. Moving through life with cleanliness of mind because you are not defending, protecting or denying anything is more joyful.

How do you react to being so open?

What does your reaction mean to you?

27 March 2015 7 Comments

Managing Your Energy, Part 40: Change & Spiritual Growth, Essential Questions for Developing Self Trust

Managing Your Energy, Part 40: Change & Spiritual Growth, Essential Questions for Developing Self Trust

From a spiritual perspective, safety is largely a factor of what we identify with. When we identify with things that change, we feel more threatened by change. When what we think we ARE may be eradicated by change, change is frightening.

Profound spiritual growth is more threatening than superficial growth. Patterns and personality, likes and dislikes, or our profession may change. We feel threatened if we identify with these things. Then, when they change, we think we will no longer be the same person.

Essence is not threatened by change.IMG_0074

When we identify with our essence, transformation is less threatening because ‘who we really are’ does not change. The seasoned spiritual traveler realizes that the more we transform the more we feel like our own true and natural selves.

Getting to an experience of essence sometimes requires trauma or disruption. Unless the things we identify with become disrupted through change, we may not challenge ourselves to step beyond preconceptions and assumptions about life.

Until we assimilate trauma that informs our experience, it may be difficult to feel trust. At such a juncture it is good to ask oneself, “Trust in what?”

Distrust of God or Life is important to explore. It can bring up a whole welter of uncomfortable feelings. Sharing these feelings can be frightening, particularly if doing so has resulted in painful conversations—or silences—with people we care about. Matters that involve belief can be fraught with judgement, fear, and unspoken reservations.

The best way to approach distrust of God depends on the individual, not only their beliefs, but their relationship with their own heart, and their level of spiritual development.

It does not work to demand peace and ease as preconditions to feeling trust, or love.

Regardless of our spiritual beliefs, issues involving trust almost always hinge on our ability to trust ourselves. We may need to develop discernment, boundaries, energy related to safety, the strength to speak out, and so forth, in order to really be there for ourselves when challenges occur.

I have been learning to produce in my body and energy systems the resonance of safety and of love, and to bring these forth for myself when I am confronted with conditions and circumstances with which I am uncomfortable. When I am able to create comfort inside myself, through my own compassion, I get new insights as to how to manage circumstances and events. My self trust becomes more comprehensive.

Upon what is self trust founded? These Essential Questions to Self  form the foundations:

  • Am I asking life to be other than it is or to prove something to me so I can feel a certain way?
  • Am I trying to impose conditions upon which my full participation depends? If so, what are these conditions, and can I release them, even a bit?
  • Am I willing and able to keep learning, or to nurture myself until I can be open to learning again?
  • Am I willing to use life’s conditions and circumstances as a training ground?
  • Am I willing to practice bringing forth the qualities I need in order to remain intact, become stronger, earn my own trust, or bring forth more love?
  • If I cannot be willing right now, am I willing to be willing?
  • Am I willing to practice discernment?
  • Am I willing to make The Highest Option more important than my momentary desires?
  • What specific energies do I need right now? What can I do cultivate them?
  • If I cannot or will not do what I need right now, what can I do that is constructive?

Note that this work has to do with developing a positive relationship with will.

To benefit most, we need to engage these questions whether or not we FEEL positive, and whether or not our beliefs are working.

Which questions are the most relevant for YOU right now?

6 February 2015 6 Comments

Managing Your Energy, Part 36: Growth and Resistance

Managing Your Energy, Part 36: Growth and Resistance

We learn from experience. Some experiences take years to integrate. Quality guidance quickens our ability to integrate them. Coming to grips with and discovering—or creating—value from any kind of trauma often requires additional life experience. We re-chew and digest what has happened, while learning thorough other life events that gradually put them into perspective.

The parts of myself that I feel the best about, which ultimately bring me the most joy, developed by working to integrate difficult or painful experiences.

If we cannot yet understand the meaning, value, or purpose of our experience, this does not therefore mean that our experience has no purpose or value.

It is an error to impose a belief system on others, telling them that this or that is the reason or purpose of their experience. We need to come to it on our own. Sometimes we can offer our own understanding and experience to others, and if it fits for them, it helps to develop valuable perspective.

I don’t believe in making up some kind of meaning like a platitude. Meaning surfaces from the heart, through assimilating direct experience.

Whether the oyster is happy to have built a pearl, or whether the oyster feels resentful about having been invaded by sand in the first place, we do not know. In any case, it is often beneficial to examine our relationship to resistance.

It is wise to distinguish between unhealthy resistance and the kind of hesitancy that arises when something is not right for us. The later may come from instinct or internal guidance. This process is similar to telling the difference between an unhealthy food craving and the feeling we IMG_1757get when our body is pulling for something like salad or protein. The sensations are different. It is an advantage to learn to discern when something really doesn’t feel right for us, and notice how this differs from resistance to wholesome things that do serve us. We do this through the function of Sensing. Thinking will become circular and confusing.

For the most part, resistance makes life more difficult. Initially, as we are forming a distinct sense of self—ideally as a teenager with our parents—resistance helps us to identify who we are in contradistinction to others. It can assist in learning not go along with things that do not serve us, like saying “no” to an offer to take drugs.

When we resist what life itself throws our way, resistance has little to offer. It almost always prolongs pain and difficulty. Yes, resistance can be a crude source of power like tenacity, but as we heal we find we can hang in there or say “no” without perceiving something as “other” and reacting against it.

Even if we were drowning, certain there was no way to save ourselves, it would be of benefit to focus on love or spirit during these last moments, or to become curious about the process of Transition. Kicking and tensing up increase distress. Acceptance cannot be forced. We arrive at acceptance through due process. Almost all of us can improve our experience by learning to relax non-useful resistance.

The above is hard to do when we’re afraid of being hurt. I’ll address other aspects of this in the next five posts.

When I can create peace within my own body by working with my energetics, I become less reactive and resistant to circumstances. I have more choices. A mundane example: When someone in a car drives behind and pesters me, if I can practice staying in my body and breathing into my abdomen or heart, and focus on my experience, I can keep from letting the other driver disturb me. This is very hard for me since I’m so sensitive to energy. If I can achieve peace even for a few moments, I gain a feeling of freedom rather than frustration and anger. More choices show up when I aim for inner peace.

Peace gives us more power. And peace gives us the space to use that power with discernment.

When consumed by resentment and frustration, I am unable to access the power to notice my available choices. Then I might feel victimized by circumstances. If I dissipate my energy in anger or resentment I am too busy to discern exactly how I might optimize my experience, to whatever extent it is possible.

It takes a lot more time to cultivate our thoughts, feelings and insights around major life experiences, to become able to accept What Is enough to create peace. But, we really have nothing better to do. Thrashing around makes things worse. There is nothing wrong with thrashing, but it makes life still harder.

We do have free will. We do not HAVE to develop. Growing to develop greater mastery helps us to optimize experience and improves our lives.

What do YOU resist?

How does your resistance bias the way you experience related events?

What is going on inside when you resist positive integration?

9 January 2015 2 Comments

Managing Your Energy, Part 32: Do You Scare Yourself Out of Developing?

Managing Your Energy, Part 32: Do You Scare Yourself Out of Developing?

Working with a spiritual teacher several decades ago, I remember getting really scared. I was thinking: “If I REALLY open my heart I will have to give everything to the poor and live like Mother Teresa.”

That was my concept about spirituality.

A dear client felt afraid to take her next step in personal and spiritual development. As we looked into this fear, she formulated its underpinning as something like this: “If I become perfect, I will have to give up getting angry, and therefore will have to do what my husband wants me to do and give up the control I feel through my resistance.”

Most of us fear transformation. Faced with the possibility of profound change, we often have an underlying, anxious construct like: “If I become like _____ I will have to _____, and therefore ______.”

Such constructs and resulting predicaments stem from unexamined assumptions, driven by fear. Either/or thinking often plays a part. The initial premise is usually an inaccurate assessment, which leads to an unrealistic extrapolation about a frightening and fictional future.

Noticing and investigating rhetoric or propaganda from our less-developed inner sectors is essential to successful personal and spiritual development.

Here is a line of inquiry for investigating fears and conflicts about inner growth:

  • What are you actually afraid of?
  • Is this fear warranted?
  • How does this fear indicate a conflict of values between different parts of yourself?
  • What part or value is most important to your life satisfaction?
  • Can you intentionally choose your most important value and go with it?
  • What inner resources would serve you in doing so?

Let’s walk this through with the fear I began with:
What are you actually afraid of? I was afraid that I would be compelled to sacrifice myself entirely in order to have spiritual validity.IMG_0105

Is this fear warranted? No. In actual fact, my issue has been with over-giving; too much sacrifice. My spiritual path has actually helped me to give in healthier ways.

How does this fear indicate a conflict of values between different parts of yourself? Part of me wants to give everything, while part of me is survival-oriented and selfish.

What part or value is most important to your life satisfaction? Balance and healthy adjustment are more important to me than either sacrifice or selfishness.

Can you intentionally choose your most important value and go with it? Yes, and I have been practicing. When I begin to feel too self-sacrificing or too selfish, I make adjustments.

What inner resources would serve you in doing so? I understand that very life time has different requirements for balance, and that the things that serve my soul bring about real happiness.

When we become fully loyal to our most comprehensive values, we resolve mental conflict and can use our values to navigate life challenges.

A few more thoughts about scaring ourselves with ideas about growth:

  • States of awareness that we move toward in the process of healthy development are rarely the way we imagine them from within our current limitations.
  • We usually enter new states having developed the foundations that support them.
  • A new state may require adjustment, but after adjusting we feel better than we did before.
  • We usually develop new stages of awareness gradually, and must work to stabilize them so we do not regress. This process is like adding drops into a bucket of a waterwheel, which begins to move slowly once its weight hits critical mass. If we do not keep adding water it may come to a stop.

Spiritual work consists largely of learning to be able to accept and tolerate WHAT IS. This includes ourselves! We are not attempting to transcend our humanity, but to integrate it within the Whole.

Do YOU ever scare yourself about doing the things that are most important to you?

If so, how do you construct or deconstruct your rhetoric about it?

24 October 2014 4 Comments

Managing Your Energy, Part 25: Strategies to Increase Regularity of Practice

Managing Your Energy, Part 25: Strategies to Increase Regularity of Practice

Getting regular with energy practice or spiritual practice may not seem like a sexy topic. Actually learning to make regular practice appealing is rewarding and alive as we begin to engage more and more completely, and reap results in our lives.

If you do not practice some form of energy work, Inner Work, meditation, inspirational reading, Qi Gong, or martial art, most of the same processes apply to any type of health practice or personal discipline. Practicing regularly helps to cultivate all forms of success.

Strategies to increase and enhance regular practice:

  • Start now. Start now. If you’re lousy at it, start with just a few seconds. You will build over time.
  • Pick a spot to practice where the energy and conditions support your desired focus. When possible, always practice in the same spot. Energy builds up here over time and assists you.
  • Practice at the same time of day when you can. You may soon find your body heading to your spot at that time.
  • Get clear about exactly what you are going to do during your practice time. Lack of clear intention dilutes results.
  • Do one set of practices over time until you get results. Consistency builds neurological circuitry and focus.
  • Dial in an energy connection to your sources of inspiration, whether these are people, teachers, places, deities, elements, Nature, or Spirit. Allow IMG_0275their energy to enhance your focus.
  • Shift “I have to . . .” to an attitude of loving invitation. Invite and allow without pushing yourself.
  • Shift from ‘I missed my time to do it’ or ‘I don’t have time,” to “Something is better than nothing,” “Even a minute builds momentum,” and “I will at least find small windows of opportunity throughout my day.”
  • Cultivate your own trust by following through on promises to yourself.
  • Don’t say “I should do more.” Either motivate yourself and DO more or stop aggravating yourself with this type of litany.
  • Reinforce motivation to practice by noticing results: at the time you practice, throughout your day, and cumulatively.
  • View this Work as a karma account or bucket of holy water that accumulates as you put in a drop of practice.
  • Understand that sometimes you may feel nothing as you practice, or for periods of time, and then suddenly find yourself in the energy of the practice when you aren’t focused on it. Notice when this happens.
  • Keep bringing the fundamentals of your practice into direct expression throughout your day.
  • Intentionally enjoy the good feelings you get from practice. Remind yourself you prefer feeling this way to the way you feel when you are resistive or negligent.
  • Identify and speak kindly to your points of resistance.
  • Notice the vague disappointment you feel when your practice is flat. Seek to recapture the next moments by coming fully into what you are doing. Keep coming back.
  • USE your practice time well: Avoid vain repetition, going through motions, or empty ritual. Bring yourself wholeheartedly to the moment.
  • Catch yourself practicing when it feels good and tell yourself, “I enjoy this and want more of it!”
  • Get past thinking that things are important just because they are urgent. Deadlines increase urgency but not importance. Practice is very important even if it lacks urgency or deadlines.
  • Increase your urgency to practice by remembering that you could die without its fruits.
  • Notice the difference between wholehearted engagement and doing something because you ‘should.’
  • Notice how practicing being wholehearted begins to impact other aspects of your life.
  • Notice how practice impacts your sense of life purpose.
  • Notice what it feels like to take a fully-aware breath.
  • Bring the fragrance of successful practice into your day, to make your day more enjoyable.
  • If you flake out, come back. No blame. No recriminations. Just come back. Keep returning, keep returning, keep returning. . .
  • Think of practice as watering a garden in which you are cultivating joy.
  • Use your relationship with practice as a venue for being kind to yourself.

What works for YOU?

How do you feel when your resistance ‘wins’?