Saturday, January 29, 2011

When Expectation Met Worry

A new blog post from Susan as she watches the dissolution of ego and all its little defense mechanisms such as expectation and worry.

I contemplated writing about the topic of expectations and worry separately, but realized that they are intertwined just like everything else.

What is an Expectation?

I’m sure you’re thinking, “Well that’s a silly question. Everyone knows what that means.” Or do you? How many times a day do you knock yourself down for making a mistake at work, wishing you said something different to a friend, or saying someone is better/worse than you? These are all expectations we have of ourselves. We have to obtain that degree/job, be friends with the right people, care for our loved ones, and live an upstanding and moral life. We have to live up to our own expectations or roles, so we can fulfill all these requirements for our life.

Then there are the expectations we put upon others while fighting with our own expectations. No wonder it is so difficult for people to find happiness! We do it without even realizing it! We expect relationships to remain the same although we know they are changing at every moment! Therefore, when a relationship is about to transition into a deeper one or end, we focus on the fact that we can never look at that person the same instead of the beautiful opportunity to know one’s self better with whatever outcome. Then when the next person comes around, we focus on tedious qualities instead of the true essence of the person. This can apply to any relationship (friendship, romantic, family, work).

It’s important, however, to address that one should be aware of who/what is best for their growth as a person. People blow up the concept resulting in an expectation that blows up in their face though.

The Worry Wart
I can relate to this concept considering I was probably one of the worst worriers ever and still can be at times! (See! There’s a great example of an expectation. It can be correlated with something positive or negative). I thought that to worry meant I was caring, which is very far from the truth. I’ve found to worry is to resist any change/potential change. To resist change is a sign we are not appreciating the present moment, no matter how good or bad we perceive it.

We are always worrying about what will happen next. Who will we be if we don’t have that job, money to pay the bills, or that person in our lives? Where will we live if we don’t have that house? What will come of it? Sometimes the worries are so great they make me want to scream! Then I realize screaming won’t make those unfortunate circumstances go away. One question to ask is, is it really that unfortunate if you look at the true nature of the moment/event?

Worry and Expectation Unite
Look at how often you worry. I bet more often than not, it relates to an expectation you put on yourself or another person. We feed expectations in our lives by worrying constantly about meeting those expectations. You expect the insurance company to pay your medical bill. So you worry about how you are going to pay your other bills. You expect someone to respond to your needs. So you worry if your needs will be met and if the friendship will last. You expect yourself to pass an important test for school. So you worry if you will get a job.

Worry and expectations comfort each other. When we worry about those expectations it somehow comforts us temporarily. We run solutions in our head so the expectation can be met, and our troubles don’t seem as troubling.

What Next?
All the expectations we see ourselves and others create are false identities. As I am transitioning into a deeper spiritual awareness, I notice the ego is being starved to death. The ego will never go away, but will try it’s hardest to be in control, often by creating new false identities.

For me, I don’t know what would be next. If I wanted to know what’s next, then that would be an expectation. Therefore, the only thing to do is to be aware of the present moment. This is especially difficult for me when my ego feels threatened. The only thing I can do is acknowledge the ego and be compassionate to myself. I often feel troubled when I don’t notice my ego immediately. However, I can only feel troubled if I perceive myself as being troubled rather than appreciative. When I do this then expectation and worry seem to disappear. It is something to cultivate. What’s next for you?

Susan started to cultivate a deeper relationship with the Creator four years ago when she was introduced to the works of Eckhart Tolle's, "The Power of Now" by Jim Tolles. Her life has been transformed in countless ways since then.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Awakening to Your True Purpose

This topic is a big one. People spend a lot of time trying to figure out what their true purpose is on the spiritual path. It can be the source of much frustration and wringing of hands if you feel like you can't find it. So I am guided to write about this topic today.

Do the Work on the Spiritual Path
I've been blogging for some time about all the stuff that you can do to clear away the internal obstructions. If you've been doing this, then you're ready for this blog. But if you haven't been working to connect to yourself and to the divine, then you're going to be in a tough spot. It's like watching the movie, "Inception." When you see that first scene, you have no idea how anyone got there. The same goes with awakening to your true purpose. If you haven't done the internal work to know yourself, getting your answer wouldn't make any sense.

So please start at the beginning if you're new here. This link goes to the Starting Out section.

Turn Back Now If You're Looking for Safety
Oftentimes, the ego that thinks it's being spiritual is actually just looking for safety. It's looking for some quiet corner where it can feel good all the time. But that's not how life works. Life has ups and downs. As we let go of our endeavors to control life, we come into greater peace. But those ups and downs still remain. It is all part of the human experience.

Furthermore, awakening to your true purpose may only accentuate those ups and downs as you realize the changes that you have to make to align with it. Depending on your path, you may have to make dramatic changes, or you may have to make only subtle, but important changes. It varies widely. It varies by who you are trying to be and who you really are. But most of all, awakening to your true purpose means that you are going to give up a lot of stuff. Ultimately, you give up everything--every thing you thought you needed or wanted and every relationship you thought you had to have. As spiritual shifts begin to arise following awakening, everything falls away. And this is an important point to realize. There's no line item veto on this path. You can't select some experiences and not others. You simply learn to accept them all.

Awakening Work Is Not Awakening
It's also important for me to delineate that the tools that I'm offering won't necessarily lead to awakening. They are tools to cultivate the ground for stuff to grow in it. Awakening has its own intelligence; it's part of your soul's own discovery and the pacts your soul has with the universe. So, you can do a lot of the stuff I'm offering through this awakening section and still not awaken. It's really not about collecting information. It's about being, and when your soul is ready, nothing will stand in its way to waking up--unless it's you.

Discovering Your True Purpose
Similar to the awakening to your life work blog post, a lot of this is about noticing what you've been doing your whole life. Your purpose has been lurking in the background for some time. It may not have had a clear expression, but you may have been doing it for awhile. It's like someone who is trying to become a doctor, but that person keeps flunking out of medical school. You get more and more frustrated, but you feel driven that way. I encourage you in these situations to peel this layer back. What is a doctor? A doctor is a healer. Are you trying to be a healer? If so, then the field of opportunity is much, much broader, and you simply need to find a healing art that aligns more deeply with who you are.

This course of inquiry works best if you're doing something that you have chosen. If you're trying to be a doctor because your father was a doctor or because you want to make a lot of money, then this example doesn't work as well. So you have to take a slightly different tact. Any where that you have made choices to do things purely because it's what you want to do, you're probably not that far from finding out what your underlying purpose is.

Following Your Bliss, Your Joy
Digging down a level deeper, you need to follow your bliss or your joy. If you don't know what that is, you still have a lot of connecting to do within yourself. Because if you don't know what your bliss or your joy is at this point, you really will feel even more lost and frustrated. And that's not the point of this blog. I'm writing to help you clear things away. I'm writing to help you let go and thereby embrace the deepest truth and love within you.

That love within you manifests through actions that bring you joy. The very doing is a joy. It's beautiful. Your true purpose is bigger than just your life work, although it includes it. Your true purpose encompasses every moment of your life. So it's not just about finding a career. It's about knowing who and what you are at your core because in activating that part of you, everything starts to melt into bliss.

Bliss and Spiritual Perfection Don't Mean an Easy Life
Too many people confuse spiritual perfection and bliss as meaning a life of luxury. That's not it at all. You will still have hardships. You will still have sorrows (If a family member dies, for instance, you will grieve. This is part of the human experience). But you won't hang onto the hardships. You won't hang onto the fears, angers, or sadnesses. You will know how to experience and release them because to do anything else is to harm you and to cloud your purpose of being.

Being, itself, doesn't need purpose. That is an ego construct that tries to give itself value and reason to live. Being simply is. And in that "is-ness," you will find such light and joy that you may be overcome. It is the perfect place to find your purpose because whatever arises will be the right thing. It's a completely different space because there's no grasping or desire for purpose. In all the ways you are still trying to define yourself and give yourself a direction, you've found your ego still hard at work.

Post-Awakening and Your True Purpose
A human purpose may be one thing, or it could be many things. It will most likely be simply in its essence...a simple little truth or idea that resonates most deeply for you. For some, it's to heal others. They'll heal through healing hands, their soothing voices, their diplomatic bearing, and so many countless ways that I couldn't describe them all. Others will come to build healthy communities. Others will lead. Some will teach. Some will simply come to experience being human and have no other purpose. Still others will come to end cycles of pain. It's amazing what purposes and gifts people are bringing these days.

Invariably, the gifts that you have to share are pointing at what you're most naturally going to do and what your purpose is. They're clues to where you're headed. And they really don't care about "real world practicality" because this world we live in is made up. And we have to re-make it.

Finally, being is, as I said, purpose enough. So for some of you, there is no outward activity that is needed. You have no driving movement towards anything but the here and now. And that's just fine too.

Next blog: Awakening Your Heart

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Enlightened Ego: Awakening to Authentic Power

Building our way up through the different levels of being, we're now at the 3rd energy center home to issues like personal power and the seat of the ego. I've written about this area pretty extensively. Initially, connecting to this region is about being able to manifest your goals in a multitude of ways from physical achievements to intellectual achievements and more. Further along, I talked about issues that need to be healed in this area from the person who gives their power away (the victim) to the person who abuses their power (the perpetrator). Having done the work to know how to achieve what you want in life and having healed some of the major issues for your personal power, you then can more easily move into a space to develop an enlightened ego--an ego that serves spirit.

Awakened Personal Power: Shifting the Balance of the World
Power has been abused for millenia. Atrocities and violence beyond imagination have been committed in the ego's maniacal quest to control and dominate its world. Hitler is a great example of an ego so totally lost that it led to a deeper loss of ego and personal power on the psychic level. He was carving a great dark hole in the psychic universe, and subsequently, he called that power out in others. In some ways, the atomic bomb was called out through that dark nexus he created--a dark nexus created through multiple doorways of ego spanning back centuries as nationalism grew. Reactions upon reactions, each ego raised the stakes on the other to gain more or have more leading into the first World War. And subsequently, in this quest to have the most and ensure our personal safety and power, we lost more than any of us care to imagine.

The teachers and masters who are manifesting today are part of the energetic shift to correct this gross distortion of ego and of self. Ego was never meant to be a tool so haphazardly and dangerously out of control. And we're not out of the woods yet, but we're starting to work on re-balancing the world in authentic ego.

Authentic Ego: When Ego Knows It's Place
At this phase, you hopefully have achieved a few things that you wanted. If you're lucky, you may have even achieved a major goal or had a dream or two come true. But one of the things that I've noticed in life is that a lot of the external goals that I thought would make me happy never really lasted. In achieving what I wanted, I started to see that the game was much different then I had imagined. I also started to find out that my ego didn't really know what was right for me. There are so many ways that we tell ourselves that if we just have this or we just do that, then we'll be happy. Walking down that path, many of us find that the external world doesn't have our happiness. The spiritual path kicks in when we stop this outside search and return inwards.

A return inwards means that the ego is about to be scrutinized, and this is scary for the ego. You'll be worrying that you're going to find out that you're a bad person. And you may well be. What's worse is when you come into the presence of other aware people or a spiritual teacher and you feel connection. Because in that connection, the light in you is merging with the light of the other. The other and you start to vanish, and all there is is this immense light that is now shining on all the dark places in you. Ego fears this because all its lies start to be exposed; it knows that it is about to be put into its place.

Ego Is Part of Life: Our First Egos Are Just Stepping Stones
We will always have ego. My name is Jim Tolles. That is ego. The difference is that I hold my current sense of self/ego much more lightly than I used to. My initial ego that I grew up with was much harder. It wanted to win. It wanted to be right. It would do things at the costs of others egos. It was always on alert and trying to defend its turf. You know what this is all about. You probably have seen this happen at work. You've seen egos battle it out in meetings over stupid stuff, and you've probably done the same at work, at home, with friends, and in so many situations. Maybe you're the victim; maybe you're the perpetrator. It's all the same.

But when you've started to see how useless and harmful this type of ego is, you are starting to let go. Let go into what? That's part of the path to find out.

The Spiritual Ego: The Hammer Knows It's a Hammer
The spiritual ego may sound like an oxymoron in the growing anti-ego culture that seems to have sprung up in response to the insanity of the mind. However, I term the spiritual ego as an ego that holds itself much more lightly. It has a point of view and perspective unique to you. This is normal. So long as we're in a body, we are all going to have egos. The difference is that the spiritual ego knows that it's a tool. It knows that it can be put aside when it's not needed. It knows that arguing for the sake of arguing is useless and that there's a much broader context than the one it can currently see or perceive. It also works in service to spirit--helping community, helping yourself, and more. Ultimately, it knows that it will have to be put aside completely at death or when it's current awareness is no longer sufficient to your needs. In so doing, it allows you to continue to evolve into whatever being you need to be.

A spiritual ego is not necessarily an easy thing to come by. A lot of times the ego wraps itself in "spiritual" packaging, but all the old functions and programming are in tact. That is not a spiritual ego. That's an ego that calls itself spiritual. An example would be that you gave up all your power to your boss, and you did whatever he or she told you to do to get approval. Well, you quit that job and are now following a guru to whom you give all your power and do whatever he or she tells you to do to get approval. That's not even remotely spiritual. It's still just another ego game.

How Do I Know Which Ego I Have?
Oh, you'll know. You'll know when you no longer have a vested interest in getting power from others. You'll know when you have everything inside you, and you choose to do what feels true to you. You may even stay in that old job, but your relationship to your boss will dramatically change. It may be a great improvement in your working relationship. When you no longer need anything from the world or need to achieve anything, you know that you're closer to the spiritual ego. When someone argues with you and it's a choice to respond instead of a reaction, you know that you're closer. There's a lot that goes into getting here though because most of our egos are so dug in and entrenched. Which is why you need to have been doing the work that I've described earlier because to awaken the ego to authentic power means clearing out a lot of internal debris.

Tips to Awakening the Ego and Coming Into Your Personal Power
Everyone is different, so some of these tips may work for you. But others may not. In general, I don't have your answers, but hopefully, these thoughts will spark your own inner knowing to help you find your way.
  1. Are you ready to fail dramatically? For the egos who have to succeed at everything, your greatest growth comes in failure. In every way that you fear this, you've found your ego. In every way that you embrace this, you'll dissolve this old fearful ego.
  2. Are you ready to succeed incredibly? For other egos, they've been so afraid to succeed because they don't want the pressure of having to continue to succeed. They're afraid of letting themselves down. They're afraid of living up to their light and their potential. For you, you have to learn how to succeed. In every way that you feel pressure, that is your ego weighting you down. In every way that you let go of that pressure to attain and maintain a specific result, you are letting go and dissolving that ego.
  3. Trusting in others. Finding others to put your faith in is a powerful thing. The contrary aspect of this is the micro-manager ego. So where you find good people to trust, then trust them. This dissolves the ego's fear, and thereby, it reinforces the sense that the universe will take care of you. You are not putting all your power in others. That's just the other side of the same coin. Instead, you own your power and what you can do while letting go of control of the things that you can't do and that others can do for you.
  4. Owning your power. In knowing and trusting your own abilities, you are dissolving the ego that doesn't believe in itself. It's an activation of your personal power. When you know when to act and how to act, that is the movement of the enlightened ego. To take action and to take a point of view is not inherently bad, although other people may not like it. And it's not giving the finger to others by doing something anyway because you're simply doing it because it's what right and true for you in the moment.
  5. No longer outcome focused. Finally, and this is implicit in some of the others, the outcome of your actions is no longer as important as the space and integrity from which you choose to take those actions. All true goals are in achieved in the moment. What happens later is always born in the moment of these actions, and actions lost in concern about the future or the trends of the past oftentimes doom themselves to failure and cycles of pain.
The Rise of Authentic Power
The rise of authentic power is not about holding power over others or ourselves. It's about acting in accordance to our deepest truths and to the deepest truths of the universe. Our petty aims and quibbles no longer matter. Getting a new raise, having a perfect spouse, or having the latest techno-gadget no longer matter. They fall away to the work of creating safe spaces for honesty, love, integrity, compassion, and peace. No enlightened ego cares a whit about whether its own projects are achieved or successful. It only cares that the greater community of the universe is served and cared for.

Next blog: Awakening to Your True Purpose

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fog and Cloud

Susan waxes poetic in her latest posting.

There once was a small pond in the middle of a meadow of a large forest. It was a calm and peaceful time as dawn approached. As the temperature changed, a fog appeared over the pond where a multitude of life swam. A small cloud lingered above.

The fog looked up towards the cloud in lamentation. All he wanted to do was to be a cloud and have more of a purpose than to just float on top of the pond. Who likes fog anyway? The two footed creatures speak of a city and complain about what a nuisance it is.

The cloud noticed this and asked, “Why so sad?”

The fog answered, “I want to be you! I am just a patch of fog and no one can understand my loneliness.”

“Well, I am just a patch of cloud, and I am not lonely. How is it possible for any of us to be lonely? We are all connected. You are me and I am you, just in a different form. Our time here is transitional, but all the more important. Without us there would be no life. I could not shed rain to soak into the soil where a flower lies to help it grow. If you were not here you wouldn’t be able to put dew upon the flower to nurture it when I am not around. You are mysterious yet transparent. You help nourish the life beneath you in the pond that you protect. Did you know I was once a patch of fog? Now my purpose is something different."

"The two footed creatures are the same. We nourish them and they nourish each other. She communes and knows she was once another’s sister, aunt, mother, and teacher. He meets a stranger and realizes he was once that person’s father, friend, and brother. Many are not aware of the oneness I speak of. You have this wonderful life force that reflects back on everything you touch. All would not be the same without you, because the force is so strong,” the cloud replied.

“Wow. I didn’t realize how big I was even though I am hovering over this little pond. But look at everything you can see from your point of view! I bet it is awing,” the fog gleamed.

The cloud took a small sigh as he expanded outwardly. “Oh dear fog. You see, that is that. It is just a point of view. I bet the view from where you are is just as overwhelming.”

The fog was silent.

After a few moments of fervent contemplation the fog lovingly looked up to the cloud as he experienced the oneness he had with all creation. At the same time the fog rose up towards the sky higher than he could have imagined. The fish in the pond began to leap for the joy for the fog. The warm rays of the sun began to pierce through the cloud. As each ray touched the fog, it began to disappear and float up uniting with the cloud. If the fog had any words left it was, “Thank You.”

(I would like to dedicate this post to someone that has helped me come to know a love I have never known, but have always had. It is that which cannot be defined yet unites us all. The only thing that it holds is unconditional honesty, compassion, and understanding.)

Susan started to cultivate a deeper relationship with the Creator four years ago when she was introduced to the works of Eckhart Tolle's, "The Power of Now" by Jim Tolles. Her life has been transformed in countless ways since then.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Awakening Your Sexuality With a Partner

I'm rounding out the topic of sexuality for awhile--at least until I start blogging about how everything shifts within the awakening. Some time in March, I'll start the blog series about surviving the awakening for those of you who are already in it. At which point, I'll re-visit pretty much all the topics that I've already discussed, although it will be a totally different way of looking at things.

Past the Healing: The Awareness Heightens
This blog post presupposes that you've worked with yourself and with a partner for awhile. You have an awareness to what your big issues are. You probably have moved through and released a number of them through your spiritual practice as a whole as well as within the sexual practice specifically. It's created the space and openness in you to experience a more full sense of union and to touch things that you couldn't imagine--things that play outside the conceptual realm and the imagination. If your partner has been doing the same type of work, he or she may also be ready to match your resonance and to create space for something extraordinary to happen.

What that extraordinary kind of union might be will be yours alone. There will be similar themes that other people have had, but what will come to you will be unique to you and unique to your partner. It may be a lot to experience, so the first time a real intense sense of union and dissolution of separate selves happens, you may not be able to stay in it very long. The ego may run in and yell, "Oh my God! What's happening?" Unworked out pain and issues will become very prominent, and you'll have to clear those to continue the blending. Any number of things can move up into your awareness, but the deeper the love and commitment to each other, the more profound the energy can be to move those things and to allow the experience.

This type of union is what I call soul-mating. In many respects, I look at the soulmate term as a verb. It's a description of when two souls blend into union. The personalities and egos fall away, and there is oneness. It's a very powerful thing. While pop-culture likes to create the myth that only one other person can be your soulmate, I don't think that's true at all. I think you'll find some souls more capable and resonant to you than others, but at the highest level, all souls are capable of doing this with all other souls.

Nothing Has Happened Yet
How and when your sexuality awakens is up to the intelligence of your body and soul. You can't force it. You can't force it much like you can't make a garden grow. You can till the soil, plant the seeds, and water it. But you can't make the sun shine. And you can't dictate how and when the garden grows or the quality of the crops you get from it. Pretty much all parts of a spiritual awakening have their own intelligence, which you cannot force.

You may not be ready for this either. Awakened sexuality has a whole other way of being with sexuality that won't fit within the normal social container. It isn't necessarily celibate or promiscuous. It chooses partners in a whole other way--more along the lines of acceptable vibration. You won't really be in control of it, although you can influence and guide it. You may also find that your current partner doesn't have the right resonance to bring you two into a higher state of awareness, but when you do reach a deeper sexual awakening, it won't matter what partner you have either. In very real ways, transitional partners are meant to serve you to a certain point, and then that partnership dissolves of its own nature. This is really hard to hear in our culture where we cling onto partnerships like a drowning person holds on to a piece of driftwood in rough seas. If nothing else, the awakening energy accelerates you onto your path, so anyone not belonging in your life will be moved more quickly to completion in terms of karmic debts and purpose.

My Life Feels Out of Control
A lot of teachers warn that working with sexual energy and awakening the kundalini is heavy stuff. It's not to be played with wantonly. This is not a new sex toy to explore and titillate yourself with. This is the five hundred pound hammer of the spiritual way. In my own experiences, I feel like the places where my ego still hangs on get blasted apart by orgasmic energy. Many of you already know this. You know how your mind shuts down when you orgasm. Well, over time and being with it, that energy goes further in re-calibrating you and removing the ego patterns from the mind. It kinda does a fast clear out of all the useless data and reboots your head. At least that's one of the ways I've experienced it. I feel a lot clearer as well as very grounded in my body from my own practice.

In another way, a sexual practice will make you feel more in control, although I don't like using that word. I see everything as a co-creation process. Let's just say you'll have a clearer idea of what you can influence and what you must allow and be with.

Having a Partner Going Further Than You
It's not expected that you're both going to have the same experience of union. This may be a little frustrating and counter-intuitive. You're like, "But this person is right here with me. Why wouldn't they have the same experience?" In any event, no two people ever have the exact same experience. It's just not how it works in life. Everyone is different, so every experience is different--even a shared one. So you may feel a little left behind if your partner appears to be having more deep experiences. In some ways, you'll both be learning the lesson that the deepest union is still within inside you, which is why a personal sexual practice can be just as beneficial as a partnered one.

Hitting the Wall: Experiences Flattening Out
You may also come to a point where you don't feel like you're progressing anymore. That's okay. Sometimes, you need a leveling off point. This allows all levels of you to integrate and understand the energy that you've been working with. You may also have moved up in vibration, so a high state sense of union doesn't feel as different from your current state of being. This may be confusing, but usually, you'll get a sense from your outside world that you're not operating the same way you used to. That can give you a clue about where your new frequency is. You probably will also soon be making life changes if there are old relationships that can't support you in this higher level of awareness.

You may also not be ready, or the universal doesn't feel that it's time for you to progress. There are simply too many ways that things happen to give you a concrete answer. Acceptance is crucial. It'll all happen in its own time. And there's nothing wrong with that. Plus, it may also be time to work on a different level of your energetic system. Your sexuality may be limited by something else. I often tell people that we grow as fast as our weakest link. Your sexuality may not be that weakest link, so it'll be time to explore something new while maintaining your sexual practice.

And on that note, the next blog moves us into the third energy center and awakening ego and authentic personal power.

Next blog: The Enlightened Ego: Awakening to Authentic Power

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sexual Healing With Your Partner

People simply don't know how to be with their sexuality, and so here we are again. And this time it involves a partner unlike my other blog posts that focus on the individual's practice. I'm sure you're excited now.

Choosing an Aware Partner
Part of the reason that I encourage you so strongly to develop your own practice is that it helps you to understand what issues are in your body and your energy. Your personal sexual practice allows you to know how to be with your own orgasmic energy and how to feel its movement ripple through your body. You begin to learn how to use it to release issues. Most of our bodies are warzones; they're littered with emotional and physical abuse shrapnel. It's an f'ing mess, people. And when you start to use the power of sexuality, you're going to be re-opening a lot of wounds. Because you have to. Because it's time to get the bullets out.

This practice can become a foundation for a deeper level of healing that you can choose to have with a partner. I really encourage you to find a partner who has or is willing to develop his or her own spiritual sexual practice. Your partner will need to know his or her issues and how to be with energy. It's important because if that person doesn't, your partner may get really activated or upset when issues start coming up for him or her or if your partner starts to feel your issues moving. Without a clear sense of their body and sexuality, your partner will absorb those issues and act out because of them. You've probably seen couples and watched a friend start to act more and more like their partner. Sex is one of the ways they start taking on each other's issuess. It's also one of the amazing ways where two people can heal each other through oneness.

The Depth, Power, and Seriously Scariness of Union
Sexual union is one of the most profound ways we can experience oneness in a physical body with another human being. It is the penultimate experience of oneness for the body. Coming into that place with another unleashes a huge amount of energy. That's part of the reason that it can move someone to enlightenment or create life. In the context of healing, you are  tapping into an extra source of energy to help push you through your barriers. And that's just it; you're going to hit your barriers. You both might be hitting them at the same time. This can be intense and overwhelming, which we're taught to interpret as scary. You know when someone is holding back in their body. It ruins a sexual experience aimed for pleasure. In the space of spirituality, that holding back informs your partner that something is going on for you. Because this space isn't focused on pleasure (sure it can be a blast, but this blog is about all the stuff in the way of that bliss), your partner will be focused on being present to you and loving you.

Love Guides Us Through
Love is the key element here. Because many tantric positions aren't aiming towards orgasm in the same way, love really plays a defining role where lust, passion, and drive for release have been the key catalysts for other sexual experiences. Love is the element that holds, nurtures, and allows, and it's essential for clearing barriers. When your partner hits something in his or her body, you don't have to do anything. You simply have to stay in that space and to continue to love him or her with the fullness of your being. Conversely, if you have something coming up, that's what your partner should be doing for you. When something comes up, talking about it may help. Crying may help. A lot of things can move, and there needs to be an enormous amount of love and allowing so that the person can have these emotions and release the issue.

Now you can start to see why I haven't been in a hurry to tell everyone to get into spiritual sex with a partner in my previous blog posts. It's a lot of work, and this is operating outside of the socially acceptable paradigm of sex, which is all about people "getting theirs." Spiritual sex often forgoes ejaculation (the guys are in shock now). I know, right? Why in the world would I want that? Well, spiritual sex is a whole other level of union and service to one another. It can be intensely beautiful, but it can also be a lot of work--a lot of work to prepare yourself to be with another on this level so that you both can be okay with whatever experience arises. It can be a lot of work by yourself, and then it's a lot of work with your partner as inevitably, you may hit things that both of you aren't prepared to work through or release.

Finding the Right Partner
This is actually an interesting thing. The way we expect life partners to have all the pieces to what we need or want is a little unrealistic. A long history of divorces and cheating partners points to this in some ways. And you may not have a current partner who can be with you on this level. That's a tough thing, and it's not something that I have a solution for. Instead, I simply point to the fact that you need a partner who has the right resonance for you. They don't even have to be particularly good at sex. That's not a requirement, and as you've probably figured out in this post, the pleasure aspect is completely secondary to the state of union and the service of spirit. I'm sure that's a disappointment and not what many of you wanted to hear. But on the other hand, union can be intensely pleasurable. This is in opposition to many experiences focused on sex that don't touch union and often don't really touch much if any pleasure. How many times have you had sex and maybe you felt good initially, but then the drop-off comes and you're kinda like, "Oh. Was that it?"

So, the right partner won't necessarily be beautiful in social terms. He or she won't need to be a total heart-throb stud or wild vixen. He or she simply has to be the right person for you.

Your Spiritual Sexuality Work-Out: Get Some Gatorade and Journal, Partner
By using different positions and exercises, you can build a safe space together over the course of  weeks and months. Often you won't be having intercourse. Eventually, you can step into that space together, and then you can start to see what comes up--maybe nothing at first. Or maybe a whole lot of things come up. Then you come out of that space, and you have to do the work of being with, owning, discussing, and journaling about that experience so that you can integrate it on all levels--mind, body, heart, and soul. You do some of this on your own, and some of this you need to do together.

All the while, you're continuing your own sexual practice, which will be enriched by having the partnered experience much as the partnered experience is enriched by you having your own practice. You can see how this works. It is intensely beautiful, and having someone to share this with will be a wonderful and amazing bond for the time that it is meant to last. All relationships, after all, are temporary. They arise for a little while--days, decades, lifetimes, and then they pass. Enjoy this one. It is sacred.

Next blog: Healing Family Issues and Karma

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Awakening Your Sexuality

I've written blog posts about connecting with your sexuality and facing sexual dysfunction so that you can heal it. Now it's time to talk a little more about how to really awaken it.

Cultivating a Spiritual Sexual Practice
Sexuality is a doorway to enlightenment. It's transformative. Just ask anyone who has had children. But keep in mind that the power of sexual energy can be used for more than procreation and pleasure. In the power of orgasmic energy, your whole body can be awakened or healed. This is a powerful thing to grapple with, and it has its own intelligence. One of the biggest pieces to all of this is learning how to allow and be with your body intelligence.

Awakening to Your Sexual Intelligence
You know what turns you on, but do you know why? This is an important point of exploration. It can give you the keys to where you need to go with your sexuality and the things you need to heal. A lot of sexuality works through this aggressive male/passive female paradigm, and you may want to delve into why that is a turn on (it may not be for everyone, but it's pretty prevalent). In a lot of ways, this links into a flight or fight mechanism that is confused and twisted into arousal. When someone starts waking up, these old ways of arousal don't work anymore or are unsatisfying. It's the hot, semi-desperate, We-can't-get-out-of-our-clothes-fast-enough drive that is really more of a primal sexual urge to procreate. Sure, it has it's place, but in and of itself, it's less about a deeper fulfillment than continuing the human race.

However, procreation is an important part of sexual intelligence. Delving into your sexuality further will teach you a lot about yourself, your family's history, and your body. Your sexuality and your body are very intelligent, and they store tons of history. They know what does and does not work for you. They know where past pain and family cycles of pain are stored. The power of the orgasmic energy can shake up your entire energy structure. It's very much alive and moving, and while I've mentioned how it can fire up the kundalini to lead towards awakening, it can also clear out and enliven your whole body in more than just the elation of endorphins and physical release sort of way.

Riding Your Orgasmic Energy
Learning how to ride your orgasmic energy is taught in Taoist and Western Tantra practices. I'm sure that there are other paths out there, but these are two that I'm aware of. A lot of learning to ride your orgasm's energy throughout your body is to simply bring awareness to how your body feels through the release. For men, it's often about stopping the ejaculation, although in my own practice there's a lot of energy you can move even with ejaculation. However, guys still need to understand that there's a big difference between orgasm and ejaculation.

The roll of energy that pours through your body is immensely powerful, and you have to learn how to be with it and to trust it. It may even be scary and overwhelming as you allow it more and more freedom. This involves letting go of the sexual experience that you want to have. Anywhere you are holding onto control, you're going to get in trouble, and you won't allow the fullness of your sexual experience to happen. But when you are allowing, things can get healed or awakened in your body. This is an amazing alchemical moment, and it can lead to profound realizations as things ripple up into your awareness. Some questions to hold lightly (because you don't really want to be thinking too much) are:
  • Where in my body do I feel the release and the energy?
  • Do certain areas feel a bigger release? What is going on with those parts of my body normally?
  • Does the energy move to different parts of my body? How does it feel?
It is life changing, and you may soon see changes in how you are and how people respond to you in your regular life. Keep a journal of things that appear to change after you create a dedicated personal sexual practice.

Not Fighting or Controlling Your Sexuality or the Moment
But to move into an awakened sexuality, you can't fight or control the experience. In all of this, it is still very much about you and your personal sexual practice. Partnership is powerful, but until you allow your experience to be what it is, you probably won't be able to allow your partner to have whatever experience he or she needs to have. This is part of coming into service to yourself and your sexuality. Just trying to get off doesn't work here. Trying to make yourself feel better about things that aren't going well in life won't work here. It's actually about a deeper vulnerability that will take you through the pain, and the orgasm's energy can help you feel it and release it. The more clear you become, the more easily you can fall into an awakened state. The deeper space you can hold, the more space you will have to come into a new kind of union with a lover.

Awakened Sexuality
In coming blog posts, I'll talk a little more about what an awakened sexuality is. It is not promiscuity. It is not necessarily heterosexual or monogamous. It has a freedom to it that burns through attachments. It's a very powerful thing as I've mentioned repeatedly, and that's part of the reason that it scares people. Having a dedicated personal spiritual sexual practice is crucial. I have one that I go through on a daily basis, and it involves breathwork, energy visualization, and self-stimulation. It's pretty amazing the energy that can move through my body. Developing one for yourself is a lot of fun actually, and giving yourself the regularity of the practice will help you to develop and cultivate your sexual awareness.

Ultimately, your sexuality is one of the greatest powers you own. You can create life, and you can re-create your own life. It will break down the walls that you've built, and it will show you just how easy it is to connect through oneness through the power that is living inside you.

Next blog: Awakening Your Sexuality With a Partner

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Awakening to Your Life Work

I'm coming off a workshop high. I just gave the "Awakening Your Writing" workshop to a group of people in Pennsylvania, and it was phenomenal. I feel so blessed to create the container for people to be and discover themselves. That's really the big piece to writing: be yourself. If you try to fight yourself and stop yourself from writing something, your writing instantly sucks. It's just a fact. Trust me. I fought myself for long enough that now I just stop and go with the flow of it. Into every dark crevice and every beautiful sunset, I follow this stream of consciousness.

And so here I am, and appropriately, I'm writing about how to awaken to your work. Spiritual teaching is my work. It's part of my soul's purpose, and in every way that I align with this and service this, I feel more alive and more amazing than at any other point of my life. Nothing is even close. Maybe a few top of the peak moments here and there can compare (one in college during an initiation is still way up there), but on a daily basis, the way I feel about what I do is precious. It's the reason that I want to be here, and it is the reason that I am here.

Powerful Work for Powerful People
Because of the terrible misalignment of societies around the world, there are a lot of powerful people manifesting in the world right now. They're waking up and saying, "Hey why am I in accounting? I don't even like numbers." They're saying lots of other things too. They're really upset and confused. After having established a means for taking care of your living, this next moment is really the "oh shit" moment. This is when you need to start healing things. This may not actually be the awakening to your life work part. This is where you start to re-structure the fundamentals of your life. Because if you're an accountant and you're much more drawn to singing (but everyone always told you that was impractical, so you didn't do it), then you've got to do a lot of work to bring the singing into a practical, embodied state. That means stuff like finding a voice coach and singing lessons for starters. You can see how this may take a little time (or it may not--it depends on your life path). You may not yet be able to move into a line of work that is as awakened as you'd hope it to be. So perhaps, part of healing your life work is letting go of accounting and finding a bridge job--something to span the gaps while you prepare yourself for your real work.

And of course, when I say powerful work, it's not in the same way that power has been traditionally used. An awakened singer may influence only a couple hundred people (not everyone is a greatly televised superstar, nor should they be). But the quality and resonance of that influence is where that power is. And with that influence on those people, they influence others. It ripples out. It shifts everything, and the new earth that Eckhart Tolle talks about starts to take place because people realize who they really are.

Awakening to Your Life Work Step 2: Don't Try So Hard
There are probably many ways where you've been attracted to do something very naturally. You've been doing it very easily for most of your life. You may have been dismissing it as unimportant or impractical. You may also notice that you've been playing certain roles. You may be a connector, communicator, community organizer, leader, healer, or teacher. These archetypal roles have a lot of power behind them. I remember listening to a free talk about how using these will help you align to the right work that you need to do. As I've aligned more deeply to my archetypes (crap, I think I have all six of the ones I mentioned--you can see why I've had to do a ton of work), the more things flow to me.

The flow is important. While you will have to work to clear your issues and to be a clear conduit for the divine to do the work that you're supposed to do, there's always a quality of effortlessness to it. When I'm giving a workshop, I am working, but it is also effortless. I don't have to try and figure stuff out in the way that I might have in an earlier job. Along with that, people are so giving. It shows me that I'm being met and reflected in the situation, which replenishes and enhances my energy. This shows the co-creation process. Whenever that reflection starts to disappear, it's a sign that I've fallen out of alignment and am doing something that is not right or not ready to happen.

Staying Humble
In all of this, it's important to stay humble. If you're destined to help protect the environment, the ego likes to step in with its self-righteous sword to wave about. It says, "Hey look how great I am! I'm saving the world!" Yeah...that's not what this is about. It's not about self-glorification. The world will save itself when we save ourselves. The most important life work to do always starts with us. If we don't learn why we've chosen the jobs that we've chosen, then we just keep going into similar work situations over and over again. And if we don't experiment and play with different types of work, we never really see how broad our talents are or see what different things can awaken in ourselves outside our patterned roles and actions within a given sphere of work. Humility helps us stay open to the bigger things that are possible for us and kind to others who don't understand what awakened work is yet. In many ways, humility helps us to play large, which is in direct contrast to how the ego thinks it needs to shout from the rooftops. If you don't believe me that humility lets you play large, just think of Mother Teresa.

Tips to Finding Awakened Work
It's important to realize that any work can be awakened work. The aforementioned accounting job can be awakened work. For some people, they come alive with numbers and balancing things out. That's beautiful. Awakening to your work is an inner quality. So it doesn't necessarily look like anything special to the world at large. Awakened work is a deep integrity to who you are, and through that deep integrity, you're in alignment and integrity with the people and environment around you. It wouldn't work very well to be an accountant at a company destroying the environment or exploiting people, but it could work amazingly well to be an accountant at a yoga studio or a solar power company or a country school district. Who knows? It's up to you to use your inner knowing to know what's right.

Intuition and the Heart Point the Way
If you still feel uncertain, you're probably thinking too much. Your intuition and your heart are both here to help you. You probably know what you enjoy most. If not, exploration, experimentation, and volunteerism are great ways to discover more. If you do know, you have to face the "but I can't do that because..." part. That's the problem. The problem is that you don't think you can because of some mental concept. There are so many amazing stories of people creating things that never existed or making amazing leaps of faith into new things. You can be that type of story too. You don't need to feel like you're amazing. You just need to have faith and heart and hope.

Next blog: Awakening to Your Sexuality

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


The latest thoughts from my friend and student, Susan, as her path continues to open up.

I’ve been meeting so many new people over the past six months. Something has shifted in the process. There was a time when my conditioning forced me to put everyone into a "category." Wealthy, poor, challenged, knowledgeable, clueless. We all do it every day. However, I notice that although my ego still tries to identify with these labels, the true Light is slowly filtering in.

I recently had the opportunity to volunteer at a local Buddhist temple. I was overwhelmed with excitement when I found out I would be spending the day with a rinpoche visiting from India and the temple’s lama. I noticed how people showed the upmost respect by bowing to these teachers, including myself. I felt honored to be in their presence, wondering what I could learn from them as if wisdom was just out of my reach. It is to no surprise that I have been feeling this way, since I am at times still finding myself looking to an outside source for answers instead of within. What a challenging but welcoming learning process this has been for me.

As the day went on I noticed I became more relaxed and less inhibited by my ego. However, a question kept coming to my mind. Why do we treat everyone differently? Why do we not talk to our family with the same tone of voice as we do with our friends? Why don’t we treat our friends with the same thoughtfulness as we do for strangers? Why do we put labels upon everything, including ourselves? Why don’t we realize that everyone we meet is our teacher instead of a handful of people? After the questions settled down, I found a profound answer for myself: Understanding.

After two days of volunteering at the temple I spontaneously asked myself, "Why can’t I be a rinpoche?" I never thought I would be asking myself such a question. All these years of praying to a God that is something outside of me when in reality, He has been inside me all along. God creating me is proof enough that He lives within me. I realized I was starting to understand myself. I finally understood that I have the same Knowing as a rinpoche; I just haven’t cultivated it fully.

This understanding has allowed me to be my true self when speaking with others. I’m less afraid to be myself in all situations with all people. If people are intimidated by my personality or don’t like how I am always silly, then that is for them to hold onto, not me. I realized I am tired of putting filters up when speaking to others. Our conditioning has programmed us to know when it’s appropriate for our professional, silly, compassionate, or happy voice. Have you ever seen someone walking around the office smiling, but you can tell they are anything but happy? I’m not condoning anyone to walk around their workplace cursing their peers when they are having a bad day. All I am saying is to be yourself and understand your ego as well.

I then started to realize that the more I understand myself, then I can start to understand others, especially when one or both of our egos feels threatened. This has helped me to stay in the present moment during difficult situations. Of course, I use every day to practice. I’m better on some days than others. It all goes back to understanding myself. When I’m not doing so well at being in the present moment, I need to understand that.

I realize understanding also means to be compassionate with myself. If I’m compassionate with myself then I can be compassionate with others and, in turn, understand them. Once we all understand each other there will be no need to put each other into categories. It is all a beautiful cycle. I never knew how important it was to understand..... until now.

Susan started to cultivate a deeper relationship with the Creator four years ago when she was introduced to the works of Eckhart Tolle's, "The Power of Now" by Jim Tolles. Her life has been transformed in countless ways since then.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Awakening to Your Food: Enlightening Your Diet

I've been blogging about food a lot lately, and truly, it's an important topic. Everyone eats. It's one of our unifying traits as humans. We all have to do it. At this point, I've covered the need for connecting to your food and for healing bad eating habits, so now it's time to take this up to a new level.

Healthy Eating Leading to Enlightened Eating
If you've healed bad eating habits or eating disorders, you ought to be very proud of yourself. It takes a lot of work. The truth of the matter is that it takes a lot of work to get to our original healthy starting point. Additionally, if you've been working on finding the right exercise for your body, you're also being pulled into a better physical alignment to choose the right foods and the right amount of nourishment for you. I've already mentioned how helpful fasting can be to this whole process, and having just finished a 3 day fast, I still can't encourage you enough to do one if you're now ready to awaken to your food. I'd recommend starting with a 3, 7, or 10 day fast of some kind (please do your research first and check with a doctor before proceeding).

After you've made a lot of healthy eating changes, a fast is like one last pass through your body to clean out junk. Trust me--without being too graphic--strange and gross stuff will clear out. After the fast, you will be very aware of how every morsel of food tastes, feels, and digests in your body. It's an amazing amount of clarity, and it will get you started to aligning even more closely to your proper nutrition.

Step 2: Food Experimentation...Again
Because most people go through repeated cycles of deepening awareness, you'll probably feel like you've been at this road before. You're like "Didn't I have to do this to get started?" Yes. You did. Now you'll have to do it because your body is in a very different place and will be able to respond very differently to a variety of types of nourishment. It's almost like coming off heroin. You need methadone for awhile, but then you don't need that anymore. So you ate tons of ice cream before and realized that was unhealthy. Good job! Then you found other artificially sweetened foods to help you break the sugar addiction. Now, you'll have to take those out. Especially if sugar has been a big part of your diet, you're going to find that your healthy body has very different ways of getting its energy, which will be much more sustainable and healthy.

Trying Out Ayurveda and Other Ways of Eating
I know a lot of people like Ayurvedic eating practices and it's principles. It's pretty old, so I won't knock it. =) But as usual, I encourage you not to buy into a whole philosophy of eating. That's a mental contrivance. You need to continue to buy into what your body needs. Because while many types of nourishment (vegetarianism, et al) can be very healthy, you always want to be sure that you meet your daily needs. The further you go along on the spiritual path, the more you will discover that your daily needs change subtly or dramatically depending on what's moving for you and in your path. Locking yourself into an idea of how you should eat will actually become quite painful, as well as leaving you unsatisfied and not feeling well physically.

Enlighten Up Your Diet
In my own path, coming into an awakened awareness around my food has changed a lot of things, including my body. I've gotten lighter. My body knows how much weight it likes to carry, and so the amount of food I eat has brought me to a lighter body weight. That wasn't my mental choice, and it certainly wasn't necessary. That's simply what happened.

Enlightening your diet may not bring weight loss, and by God, please don't go into any of this with expectations of achieving a certain body weight or look. That's five kinds of ego, and you'll be immensely disappointed and unhappy if that's your approach. You may gain weight to achieve your natural and healthy body weight. I encourage you to embrace your body. Self-love is important. It heals old ego wounds and all the crap we've done to our bodies through the years of neglect or abuse.

Food and Awakening: It's Your Call
Once again, this is all your choice. You are immensely powerful. You know what you need to eat at this point. I could give you further thoughts on what I do and don't eat, but I think that will start to get in the way of you using your natural body intelligence. Body intelligence is a part of the overall soul intelligence, so it knows your life plan in its own way. It knows what it needs to do to equip your body with the best chances to fulfill this life purpose that your soul has come to achieve. In some respects, if you're unsure what your purpose is, your body may give you clues to it.  For someone who is supposed to be a yoga teacher, it may even hold most of the answers that you need, as you discover more and more in your body through a yoga practice. The body really is an amazing thing to have, and I encourage you to embrace it and nourish it with care so that it can help carry you through all the wonderful things you are here to do.

Next blog: Awakening to Your Life Work

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Awakening Your Body With Exercise

It's time to turn up the heat. My blog posts for the last couple of months have been aimed at helping you connect with yourself and heal yourself on multiple levels. Now, it's time to talk about ways to focus on awakening. When I say awakening, I don't mean that you will "awaken." I mean that you've cleared out a path in yourself to allow things to manifest. The energy of these activities, ideas, and what not that I'll suggest in the coming blog posts can intereact with your energy system more clearly (if you've been practicing the other segments) than they would have if you still don't know how to connect with yourself and what your issues are. If something ignites in you, now it may be a little easier (for the most part) to engage with the opening and the intensity of it and meet your issues which will get activated during or shortly thereafter of moments of intense energy.

Building the Foundation of Fire
There's something about awakening that feels like being set on fire. When my energy is really flowing, I really do feel out of my mind--but in a good way. =) Because your mind is so often a trap, being outside of its parameters opens you to a whole new world and way of being. Doing this work at the bottom level of things starts with how we treat our bodies. I've talked about connecting to your body (Creating a New Relationship with Your Body blog post) and healing your body of substance issues and poor eating habits among other body-related posts. This is where we'll start fanning the flames to talk about awakening your body.

Mindful Movement: Dance, Yoga, and Other Avenues
One of the ways to open the body to deeper awareness is mindful movement. I'm using this as a catch-all phrase for the various modalities that are springing up. I'm sure there are others that I'm not aware of beyond the various yoga modalities and mindful dance modalities (Stuff about sex will be in another post). As you move out of the basic need for the body to survive and you've clean it out of physical toxins, mindful movement classes of all kinds along you to dig deeper into core issues that are embedded in your energetic body and physical body. It's important to realize just how intertwined the two are. For instance, if you've been severely beaten at some point in your life, there's a level of pain that is physically embedded in your body and your spirit. When you clear it, you can feel a rush of heat and energy. You may suddenly find enormous flexibility in a part of your body that had been chronically problematic. A lot of things can happen that leave you with this sudden physical awareness that you're not the same anymore.

And that's a big part of this awakening series. You're not going to be the same anymore as you move through it. A lot of people don't know this when they get really into yoga. I've been in classes where someone would breakdown crying. That person would have no idea what just happened. It's part of the reason I write these blogs; there are a lot of yoga teachers who don't fully realize the tools they're using and teaching people. Yoga is an amazing form of movement--not just an routine exercise. The more mindfulness and awareness that you bring to it, the more you can use it to clear out old issues and open up to your body intelligence. When someone is crying, they're clearing out old issues. Unfortunately, they thought they were just getting a good work-out, so the residual effects may be blunted by the lack of mind awareness. However, that opening will leave an effect that may be with that person for a lifetime, and it may begin the process of a deeper awakening for the body if not further into a more profound awareness.

Understanding Your Body's Needs: Trusting Your Body Intelligence
Your body already knows what it likes. You may have been forcing it into activities it doesn't like. You may have been ignoring it--the level of neglect around our bodies in Western culture is obscene. But at this point, I hope you have begun to right the ship and get healthy. Once you get healthy, you will start to be able to clearly see what your body wants to do. For instance, my body doesn't care about lifting weights. It just doesn't. But if you get me moving in yoga, ecstatic dance, or running, my body can kinda go all day. I also feel pretty darned good doing it even in the tougher moments. Our bodies aren't interested in being tortured into excruciating shapes, i.e. dudes don't need to be body-builders and chicks don't need to be skinny as rail posts. Our bodies need to be what they want to be.

Having developed an awareness of different types of exercise, now is the time to pay attention to what you're most drawn to. You may have already done this less consciously. Your friend invited you to a yoga class with a teacher she liked, and you've been there ever since. That may be perfect. Or it may be a doorway into exploring other types of yoga. Or it may have been an intermediary step into getting you in shape so that you know what it feels like to feel good in your body. Because that feeling of healthiness and clarity in your body is now your barometer as you take your body exploration deeper.

There Is No Spiritual Work Out
People are slathering the word "spiritual" on so many things these days that it's like the ketchup of the awakening world. Just to be clear, even though I mentioned yoga, mindful dancing, and other stuff, they aren't inherently more spiritual than power-lifting. What's spiritual is you honoring your truth about what is right for your body. If your life-time is about becoming a power-lifter, then you should absolutely do that. You'll know. Your body will tell you what it thinks about it. It'll take on muscle easily. The exercises will just feel right. If you're not supposed to do this, the exercises will become more and more excruciating--not just physically, but mentally and in an energetic way that you'd have to feel to understand. You may also get hurt, which is one of the body's primary ways to yell at you, saying, "I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS!"

It truly is about trusting your body intelligence. Because as you do, you're going to feel a deeper comfort manifesting in your body. You'll feel energized about yourself. It will feed into every other aspect of your day, and it may ignite some awakening on other levels (like your heart) that you didn't see as being connected. Everything is so interconnected spiritually that anything truly can happen. Which is what you need to be prepared for the further you go down the spiritual path to awakening. Anything can truly happen. Proceed only if you are sincere.

Next blog: Awakening to Your Food: Enlightening Your Diet

Today's photo comes from photographer, Becky Stiller. Feel free to check out her beautiful work on this flickr link.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Healing Substance Abuse: Clearing Your Body's Energy

Substance abuse is a huge, huge problem in society. It's a huge, huge issue in our bodies. People have polluted their bodies so badly that they actually don't know what it feels like to feel naturally good. This, of course, perpetuates the cycles of drug use, alcohol abuse, cigarette use, caffeine addictions, prescription drug abuse, and hundreds of other substances that become crutches.

And it's killing people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 1999 to 2014, more than 165,000 people died just in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids. Additionally, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that "nearly 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually. " This makes alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

And this is just two types of substances in only the United States. Obviously, the numbers of people who die from substance abuse worldwide are far higher, and the number of people impacted by the deaths and destructive power of a substance abuser is greater still.

This substance abuse shows us just how many people don't feel okay with themselves, yet our bodies already have everything we need to feel good. With basic exercise and decent eating habits, most of us should feel good most of the time. Obviously, there are cases of disease and imbalance that some people are challenged with, but those are different scenarios than what most people experience.

Clearing Out Your System
You have to stop doing the substance to which you are addicted. Depending on the substance you're abusing, how fast you can let it go will vary. Something like being addicted to caffeine will have less harmful withdrawal symptoms than being addicted to heroine. I know that mentioning caffeine can be jarring to some people because they "have to have their coffee" or some other caffeinated beverage. But my immediate question and your immediate question should be "Why do I have to have this?" That need is the addiction speaking, and many people have gotten addicted to substances to givet hem more energy, which suggests that they don't have enough energy for all the things they are doing. It's time to stop and look at what you're doing to yourself. There is a cost even with caffeine, and you're probably already paying for it in stress on your emotions and body. You can't keep living this way if you want to feel healthy, and you certainly can't keep doing this if you want to open to the spiritual path.

Cleaning out your system is crucial. I already mentioned fasting in an earlier blog post, although that's most likely a later stage. First, you've got to get off of the substance. If it's a serious chemical addiction, you should look into free recovery information and local clinics to get off that substance. There are support groups and, in some instances, prescription drugs that can help you defeat the addiction and heal your body. This may involve a lot of courage to do, but I assure you that you're worth it. You're going to feel so much better, although initially this will likely be hard. Then again, it'll be a lot easier now than paying the price later on in life as your body falls apart from the toxins.

"But This Makes Me Feel Good, It's The Only Way I Feel Like Me"
I've heard the above statement before around pot and alcohol. When I hear this, I'm usually struck by how much this person doesn't like their ego--doesn't like who they normally think that they have to be. Aside from the perceived comfort of a physical state of being, alcohol and marijuana become crutches to suppress or turn off the ego. They may also be a way for a shadow side of the personality to come out because this person doesn't feel that that personality is allowed to be in society.

As you can tell, the real problem is the ego and the social structures that the person has decided to live in. And being drawn to substances creates more structures around you. So many of your friends are often drinkers or substance abusers. Stopping drinking means losing friends too, and that gives you a kind of double hit that makes this change hard to do. Once again, it's why I encourage people so much to find and develop a spiritual community. The support you need to move through a major shift like this is significant. Some people can do it alone, but it can be so much easier if you have a helping hand and a few extra kind words of support.

Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem. There are all kind of reasons it happens, and not every situation is the same. I certainly believe that there are some kinds of chronic problems that people have where they may need to be using a prescription drug for an extended time to deal with pain and other issues. However, for most people, I also believe that these substances need to be temporary.

In situations with PTSD and dealing with trauma, mood-altering drugs need to be paired with effective therapy. Otherwise, you can end up trapped using the drug because you aren't healing the core issues. If you haven't been in therapy and are suffering from trauma or some other mental health illness, I highly recommend finding a good practitioner. Sometimes people try to come to a spiritual teacher like me instead of seeking therapy first. My work with people can be intense, and most people need to be already familiar going into issues and working on them before working with me. Therapists can be a wonderful start, and they can help you work through a number of issues and find inner stability.

However, there should be a plan to get you back off of whatever prescription drugs you are using, and if you find that you are becoming dependent, this is something you should take up with your therapist or find a new therapist with a better idea of how to help you heal. I want to emphasize that healing is often uncomfortable, but you can do it. And you can let go of any prescription drug dependency you may have developed (with the help of a proper medical or psychological professional). I think you have to if you want to be fully healed.

High States and Altered States of Consciousness
In a different way, many substances get abused in efforts to reach altered states of consciousness. I've heard marijuana used this way, and in some situations, peyote has been used this way as part of Native American rituals. Psychedelics like LSD have been used in this way. Ayahuasca, Iboga, and other substances are also getting popularized. However, this crutches perpetuate the notion that you need an external source to achieve an internal state. That's simply false. You have everything inside you. Many people have already discovered that focused breathwork or ecstatic dancing can create many similar high states of consciousness. In those spiritual tools, you have much more influence over your body, and you don't have to worry about any chemical side effects. Certainly, some of these substances can be mindfully used to heal and to grow, but they are ultimately not necessary.

Further still, for the spiritual people addicted to high energy states that some of these substances offer, I encourage you to think differently about spirituality. Spirituality is not about achieving a high state experience. In fact, if that's what you think it is, you're actually going into a form of addiction. You will be miserable on your spiritual path because you will so rarely feel yourself in an elevated state of consciousness. There's a lot of reasons why you won't feel high all the time, but ultimately the spiritual path is about accepting yourself in all modes of consciousness. The true bliss that you're seeking comes from that acceptance and releasing resistance to the current moment.

Becoming a Clear Channel and Spiritual Awakening
Ultimately, clearing out substance abuse is for your own protection if you're headed to awakening. Spiritual awakening fries all your old ways of thinking and being. It can be hugely disorienting and re-orienting at the same time. Having a healthy body helps you to figure out what's right for you when everything suddenly feels out of whack and in shift. If you're not healthy, this process can become even harder. The desire for the old sense of safety and comfort can drive you further into substance abuse. This in turn makes it harder to heal and grow, and it can make your life excruciatingly painful.

Because you really can't go back after awakening, and too much awareness in you knows the truth. It's like coming out into the daylight after hiding in a closet. Even if you go back in the closet, you know what it's like to have daylight on your skin. Before you could only imagine it. Now, it's just that much more real and way harder to forget.

The level of clarity you'll need to have in this life depends on the work that you're supposed to do, and it can be difficult, especially if you're abusing substances. But it is imminently worth it because you get to reclaim your body, your soul, and your life. What else could possibly be more important?

If you need some help with addiction, please go to this link at the National Institute on Drug Abuse's website:

Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction

Here's another blog of mine to help you continue to heal your body:

Next blog: Awakening Your Body With Exercise

Post updated on 7/17/2016

Friday, January 7, 2011

Clearing the Family Imprint and Expectations for Life Work

One of the stickiest family issues can be the one around acceptable work. For centuries, the family work was the expected work that you would do. You were born into it, and it's what you would do. In many parts of the world, the caste system not only enforces this methodology, but it's institutionalized it at a societal level. In general, to have choice around the type of work that you get to do is a huge jump forward. For women in the West, this continues to be an expanding area. Certain areas of work weren't open to women, but more and more, they are.

That's just a peek up at the societal level at some of the macro movements, but as we refocus back down to this bottom level issue--the intertwining of family, expectations, and work to provide for your means of survival--it's important to realize that this work is no less if not more pivotal for the bigger changes to manifest around the world.

But It's What We Do in My Family
Because the imprint from family is so strong, you will almost naturally fall into the work that your family has done. This creates long lineages of soldiers, teachers, nurses, carpenters, lawyers, doctors, etc. Sometimes you can be a carpenter when your father was a mason. The imprint being acted out is one around physical labor and construction. That's what's valued in your family structure, and it's also what is understood. Although there are some family situations where masonry is the family business, so a deviation just into carpentry becomes a major issue for the family energy to confront.

If It's Not in Your Soul Plan, You Shouldn't Be Doing It
Healing this kind of bottom level issue can be difficult, and this is where knowing what's in your soul to do in this lifetime is critical. Aligning to your soul's purpose brings in an added creative element and energetic impulse that helps you find the ability to re-write this old imprint and formulate a new way of taking care of yourself. This is much, much more than a career change. This is changing how you think about handling your survival.

Of course, you're saying, "Well, how do I know what my soul plan is?" This is a key question for lots of people, but if you're really working on this bottom issue, then you probably already have tackled some of the associated issues such as what you want to do for a living and what are you really passionate about doing. Because where your heart is is often where your soul is, and it will make it that much easier to make these big changes and clear old family karma about what you're supposed to do.

Openings Appear When You Align with Your Soul
Sometimes things just snap into place when you open up to the possibility that you no longer want to be a plumber (body-based), and you want to be an astrophysicist (mind-based). I know this sounds like a huge jump, but it really depends on your natural alignment. Because when you're out of alignment, what you're doing may be so, so very hard. You keep trying, and your family keeps telling you that that's how it was for them. Just keep going and it'll get easier. But it doesn't. It's not what's true for you, so you have to find the courage to take a chance. Stop doing what you know and what is expected. Start searching for what's really important to you at your core.

When you do this, it's just amazing how much easier things start to get. You feel like you're no longer banging your head against a wall. Doing stuff that isn't true to us is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. Ultimately, it doesn't serve the family. You have to learn to have compassion for them because most families are simply operating according to their family programming and family karma. They've never really thought about why they do what they do. They're just doing what's expected because they think it's safe even when that's completely wrong and just keeps them in cycles of pain and suffering.

Facing Dysfunctional Family Imprints: Breaking Out of Pain Cycles
So far, I've been discussing fairly benign situations, but many people are trying to break out of family cycles of more intense pain. In this instance, your family imprint has taught you to steal, prostitute yourself, lie, cheat, sell illegal products, and many other things. This is simply what you've learned to do. It will invariably be compounded by a series of mental delusions such as "This is the only way I can make money." "This is what I have to do to survive." "I'm not good enough or smart enough to do something else." "I don't deserve anything better." It's pretty murky down in this energy.

The start of healing will often be imagination and education to allow you to discover other ways of being and thinking, but a clear cut out of that situation may be difficult to generate initially. Taking some transitional jobs while you get clear of the bad situation will help you to find your way out. It won't be easily necessarily, and you'll need to find your courage. But when you start down this path and learn to ask for help, that help can start to appear so that you can break this cycle and free yourself. Along the way, you are actually showing other members of your family how they can do the same. So don't worry about abandoning them. In reclaiming yourself and your path, you are showing others how they can, and if you do have to go back into a toxic situation--at least for a brief amount of time--you can go in with the fullness of your power.

Your Purpose Lights the Way
This is some of the hardest work that many of us do because we're rewriting some extremely core assumptions about how to survive in the physical world. On top of that, there are usually fifteen other issues tied into the old way of surviving and the imprint on how to perpetuate that old process. Family, relationships, and ways of living all have to shift to all you rewrite this part of your life. But as you trust your inner knowing and trust your sense of purpose in this life, the doors open, the opportunities appear, and you get to be who you really are. It's kind of exciting, actually.

5 Tips to Healing Your Fear of Scarcity

My last blog post about surviving scarcity was meant to set the framework for this blog. As I mentioned before, you get down to these root issues usually by having worked through a lot of other issues. It's not like you just wake up one morning and say, "I'm done being afraid of being poor." So many issues, lifestyle choices, social circles, and other patterns have been built around this core concept. That's the thing about removing this issue. A lot of other patterns, lifestyle choices, and issues come crashing down with it, and you have to realize that you're changing your whole life structure.

Major Healing and the Impetus for Spiritual Awakening
As I'll repeat regularly, no one can plan for a spiritual awakening. It's not convenient. It doesn't do it on a day when you don't have to look after the kids or go to work. It just happens. Sometimes a major healing can feel like it. Healing an issue like scarcity will really shake up your life, and in any healing, there are the seeds of awakening. But it's also possible that when you heal and shake up your life, the release of all that energy could burst into something bigger, something even more profound. Which would feel shocking because suddenly you're already feeling so good because you've healed from this issue. But that's the thing: you're healed. You're actually learning what it feels like to be healthy. That can be its own awakening in and of itself. And really, everyone will feel spiritual awakening very differently. I simply am saying that you should make space on your plate for something even bigger.

Techniques to Face a Fear of Scarcity
But don't let me get ahead of myself. You're not healed yet. And many of you don't even know how; many more people don't even know they're sick. So let's start with some simple tips to apply to your every day life.
  1. Tip #1: Notice how you use money. Money is energy, and it also says a lot about how we're feeling. Spending lots doesn't necessarily signal abundance. It may signal a reaction that comes from scarcity fears. You may want to show others that you have a lot. On the other side of the coin, you may be very miserly. You make Scrooge look like the giving tree. Okay, I'm exaggerating. The point is to look at how you use money and to see what feelings you associate with it.
  2. Tip #2: Give without attachment. When you give to someone and you want something back--a smile, a compliment, another gift--you are moving from a space of scarcity. You are intrinsically afraid that you will be weakened or depleted. In truth, genuine giving is its own reward. You can do this at any time of year too. It can add a whole new element to your friendships and other relationships to randomly give. It doesn't have to be big. It just has to be genuine.
  3. Tip #3: Receive without issue or sense of deservedness. It's extremely frightening for some people to receive. In some respects, this influx of energy is illuminating their scarcity. They're so afraid to allow anything in because they think someone will see that they can't be self-sufficient or other things. The sentiments and words change slightly, but it's always a variant around "I can't have this or I shouldn't have this." The flip side are the people who are so needy that they always think everything should be given to them. Clearing this sense of perpetual scarcity is important, and for individuals who feel so deserving, tip #2 is really important.
  4. Tip #4: Let go of things. Hoarding is a pandemic problem. It doesn't just have to be money. It can be all kinds of things that clutter up your home. That scarcity issue is once again saying, "I have to hold onto everything to survive." So, doing an old fashioned closet clean-out could be a major first step to seeing all the things you don't need. Those physical things and items on the energetic level become blockages to absorbing new things in your life. In so many ways, things on the physical level play a role to the energetic level. You may be surprised what now flows into your life when you practice the art of letting go.
  5. Tip #5 Not all wealth is good wealth. In a culture so focused on accumulating money, you may think that you've made it at some point when you're wealthy. But the wealth that you've acquired may be rotting you out because you've gotten it illegally or through immoral or disingenuous means. You need to give this money away. You're not coming from a clean space, and you're likely to continue to hoard more money as you now try to protect this current mass of money. It will only get worse. Begin to find a new line of work to legitimately earn money. If you become wealthy that way, you'll feel a vastly improved sense of accomplishment and energy around it.
Clearing Scarcity Fears: Dig in for the Long Haul
These issues don't go easily. Too many social structures and beliefs think that acting in certain ways is okay. The ends justifies the means, right? Well, this Machiavellian attitude is outdated and out of context (for the most part in how it's used). Making changes to how you approach your life, money, and your sense of abundance will run counter to popular thought. People say things like "How can you walk away from a six figure job?" "Why don't you have the latest gadget?" "When are you going to buy a home?" Lots of these acquisitions go beyond what you really need, and as you develop your sense of what's really important to survival, your purchasing habits change dramatically. The spiritual path is actually very simple, and as you clear out scarcity issues, you will very likely find a natural tendency towards greater simplicity in all aspects of your life. As this happens, acquiring money becomes a fundamentally different experience, and your motives tend to shift towards more altruistic interests, e.g. helping others through donations.

You Will Survive
At the heart of a scarcity issue is this sense that you won't survive. It's been showing up in your life in multitudes of ways. As you find those ways and bring your awareness to them, you are reclaiming your life in one of the most fundamental ways that you can. It's a scary process because you're also going to have to learn how to be with your life in a whole new way. But rest assured that you can do it. It's possible. It's natural, and it's time.

Next blog: Clearing the Family Imprint and Expectations for Life Work
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