Friday, April 29, 2011

Trusting the Process of Spiritual Awakening

As I like to repeatedly remind people, spiritual awakening isn't a process. I use the name of the Web site to speak to making changes in our lives to reflect our inner divinity. If you've buried yourself in your work as a sales person, but your heart is in art, your life and everything around you probably doesn't reflect the true you. You're going to have to make changes. That's the process of embodying and living your spiritual awakening to which I'm referring.

Spiritual awakening happens in a moment. It happens in whatever moment you fully let go, and then you spend the rest of your time adjusting your life to meet that deeper truth. It's this interesting little paradox of knowing that everything is perfect and beautiful in your life as it, and you also know where it's not in integrity with yourself and with the divine. That knowing impels you to make changes because to stay trapped in those old ways of acting and living in the world become increasingly uncomfortable. And that change can happen very suddenly and rapidly, or not at all...that's the thing about spiritual awakening as well--it will be unique to you.

Rooting Out the Remaining Fears
I'm making a pun here. I'm punning off the term "root chakra" or "first chakra." This is the home to our basic needs. It's the bottom of Maslow's Pyramid. This is where safety and family issues live. If there's one thing that likes to stick around, it's fear about safety. We're often frozen into immobility because we're afraid of doing something and not being okay. The not being okay often is a veiled fear of dying.

While the following progression may seem absurd, I'd challenge you to look at some fears you have and really go back to the root cause. Here's the progression:
  • FACT: I need to leave my apt.
  • Problem: I can't leave because I don't know where to go.
  • Question: Why does that matter?
  • Answer: Because if I go to the wrong place I won't be supported.
  • Q: What happens if you're not supported.
  • A: I'll get tired, sick, or run out of money.
  • Q: What happens then?
  • A: I'll have to ask for help, but I don't think there will be any.
  • Q: What happens if you don't get help?
  • A: I won't be able to support myself?
  • Q: What happens if you can't support yourself?
  • A: I'll die.
I know. I know. I'm being melodramatic and making more than a few assumptions, but that's where many of these issues go towards. I think you can substitute something like "I can't leave my job" for the starter point and run through the questions for yourself. You may hit on big issues like fear of failure or social rejection, but I think they're still upper level issues for the issue of personal survival.

Trusting Your Awakening and Your Intuitions
I've already talked about trusting your inner guidance in an earlier blog. Overall, trust is important in your awakening. When you're in awakening, you're so full of love and connection at times that I'm sure those are easy moments to fall into the depths of that trust and faith. You know that everything will work out just fine. It's a profound space of knowing. It's a profound space to be in while everything shifts.

I want you to start to think of this as a shift and nothing more. A lot of the ways it looks to the older version of yourself--that old ego--is that everything is going to crap. It's a god damn mess, and you're trying to pick up the pieces. That's not going to work. You need to come to a place of acceptance in your more difficult moments. You'll need to accept that something new is being born. The old stuff is being cleared away so something new can be built. You are going down to the very foundation of yourself, and you are pulling out the old supports. You've got some new stuff coming in, but you're going to have to trust that it is coming.

Most of all, you can't force it. This shift that comes into our lives has its own timetable. We can choose to put ourselves into a place of service to it, but we can't make it go any faster or slower than it wants to go--believe me, I've tried. ;p

Active Trust Versus Passive Trust
I suppose I could use the term faith as easily as trust, but I'll keep going with it as it is for now. For many of my regular readers, you know that I'm all about living your truth. I think meditation is great. But meditation without taking that space of peace into the world is very limited in its effects. I'm not much for the people who just want to separate themselves from everything and chant and just be. That, to me, is a fun thing to do while you go through a shift or charge up your energy to be an agent of change in this world. But there's a lot of stuff that needs to change; that's not a denial of the ultimate perfection in which we all truly live. That's an acceptance of the imperfect world that we do live in and the demands and responsibilities we have as human beings to be better shepherds and tenders of the garden of humanity and the resources and creatures in this world.

With all that said, if you feel like you need to make a change, then DO IT. (I know, I'm sounding like a shoe commercial ;). Waiting around for some perfect moment to materialize will only make you feel more desperate and out of sorts. All that energy in you is being bottled up. You do know what direction to go in. You just have to trust that you do. And you have to trust your mistakes. They'll be greatest teachers. It's something that I talk about in my circle of friends, and we all know that sometimes we learn the most when we make a mistake.

But There Are No Mistakes
I'm wishy-washy on this, so I'll let you decide if there are mistakes or not. In higher truth, no, there are no mistakes. In this world, I think there are. However, I think that when you do the best you can, whatever happens, happens. You can only do the best you can with what you've got. You can do no more. Then you have to trust. Just as you have to trust your spiritual awakening. In all the ways that you feel out of sorts or strange, you have to trust that the process is attending to itself. I urge you to trust yourself and your intuitions about what to do and when to do it. Just as important, I encourage you to trust yourself about when to not do something and when to drop into spaces of profound patience (or not so profound--whatever you got in the patience bucket at the time will work).

Because if there is any kind of mistake that you can make, it's not trusting yourself and your own beautiful awareness that's coming into the fullness of being.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rebuilding Boundaries After the Awakening

Somewhere after the minutes, hours, or days of surfing the upper echelons of bliss, you are dropping back down into the core of yourself. There's so many different types of spiritual awakening, but in many, it's not fully embodied. You may even feel half way out of your body in your awakening. So when you start to come more fully into the old way of being in yourself--ego and all--you may suddenly realize just how intense your surroundings are. You may feel EVERYTHING. For some people, they've always been able to feel other peoples' energies very keenly; it's probably been a source of problems. You may have already gotten into psychic topics to figure out how to keep it out. Energy boundaries become something that almost everyone who has a profound awakening has to figure out how to deal with.

Rebuilding the Walls, But With a Little More Flexibility
For many people who have always been very self-contained and unaware of how the outside influences them and how they influence the energy of others, awakening into boundarilessness is a shock. Part of the problem is that when you come back into the ego awareness that you normally operate in, you're getting disconnected. If we all stay deeply connected with the divine, then the darkness and the issues of others that get thrown around don't bother us. We can deal with it, or we feel so supported by the divine that a lot of darkness won't even stay in the same room with us. But the nature of ego is to be separate. In many respects, it was doing a protective job for us. It had created a lot of the subtle energy barriers before. They were crude, unconscious, and poorly constructed. For some people, their egos didn't keep much out anyway. But awakening is a shock wave of energy that blows out all the walls, and even though you're kinda in an old ego-self trying to figure out what just happened, a lot of the old walls are simply gone. So you're feeling the depression of the guy on the bus beside you, and you just want it to stop.

This is an area that people specializing in psychic tools are really great for. They can walk you through visualizations, mantras, and energy work to do a couple of things including:
  1. Understand your own energy field
  2. Learn to know what is your energy and what is someone else's energy/energetic issue
  3. Build psychic walls to protect your space
  4. Learn how to open and close those walls depending on a situation
A life without walls, as far as my experience has gone, is still impractical at this time in the evolution of the world. There is a lot of pain and suffering, and in my experience, being too open is like being pulled down the well of misery. A lot of times, other people won't come into awakening unless they can feel all of their pain, so where I pick up and potentially carry another's pain, I'm depriving them of the chance to fully learn from what they're carrying. So psychic shielding serves not just you, but everyone else around you.

But I Feel Like I Should Help
Oh, you definitely should help, but we don't need any martyrs. We need you in the fullness of you, not drained and depleted. You have to be careful about your desire to help. It can get you in a lot of trouble, no matter how altruistic it is. Your inner knowing is so crucial to helping you know when to open up to another and when to simply hold your own space with whatever is going on. There is a bigger plan going on, and I don't pretend to know it in all its fullness. If anything, one of the hardest things in life is to see so much suffering and know that at any time someone can let it all go. Suffering is always just a moment--not even a moment--away from being released.

But until someone invites you to do something or gives you permission to help, the best thing you can do is to take care of yourself. The universe is all one after all. So when you take care of yourself, you also are taking care of everyone else.

Movable Walls: A New Ego and A New Understanding
When you're in spiritual awakening, your old ego is being burned up, and you have the opportunity to build a new one. Consider the spiritual awakening like an extreme home makeover. Everything has to go, and then you re-build. Only now, everything has so much more flexibility. The walls move, you see. You can slide them away to fully open up to a moment. You can pull them back when it's raining and windy outside so that you don't get cold and can keep the heat inside. This ego you'll build understands that it's not about you. In understanding that, you unlock everything that was locked up in your old home. This, of course, surfaces a lot of pain. A lot of people go through a good deal of grieving as old pain leaves their energetic bodies. This is healthy and normal. It's the release of poison or blocked energies. Just let them go.

In understanding this, it becomes easier to be with the whole process. But it does require time to rebuild something. It may be a temporary structure, but walking around wide-open is just so difficult. It's why most people would retreat from the world or join a monastery somewhere. All the energies flying around are just too much when all of your energies are flying around. It's easy to get lost or confuse those external energies as part of yourself. Subsequently, psychic boundaries help you to get through your day for a little while, and then you can go home and be a messy.

Spiritual Awakening Is Messy
There is no perfect way to fully embody awakening, and it's all perfect. (I love using paradoxes.) Consider that you're an egg that just got cracked wide open. Stuff is running everywhere. Healers, teachers, guides, and spiritual friends are so important to help put you come back together, but not in the old way. I think that's one of the tough things. You're being re-made in a totally new way. You know the way. You really do. When I'm talking to someone in awakening, I let them explain what's happening and what they need to do because they are right square in the middle of all of their amazing answers. Whenever I'm more concretely directing someone, it's usually to help clear pain to get to that space of knowing. In awakening, you're already there. There's nothing for me to do on that level other than to be a reflector for your light.

But it doesn't mean that you won't try to run back to old patterns. Old patterns cut us off from ourselves, and then we move through another cycle of clearing out karma. It goes like this until we fully let it all go. The awakening energy, however, is an amazing force, so you actually become very good at clearing karma even if it feels like you've done this all before. Don't worry. It will pass. You will be okay, and with a little psychic shielding to decipher where you stop and where the rest of the world begins, you may feel a little more at ease and sane for a time. At least until such time as you're fully ready to let go of all boundaries, and then well, that's a whole other topic.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Open Gateway of Your Voice: Channeling and Speaking Spiritual Truth

This is another blog in the "Surviving the Awakening" blog series. You can find the link under the Categories section on the left-hand side. The title sounds rather dramatic, I know. For the remaining ego part of us, watching all our ego-stories get blown up in front of us or taken apart is dramatic. The deeper stillness in us just sort of watches and smiles. It's always watching and smiling. Not too much  disrupts the stillness. I suppose nothing ever really can.

Speaking Truth: Nothing Else Arises

Being awake means it becomes very easy to speak your truth. Nothing else really wants to come out. Talking in ways that defame others becomes harder and harder. Saying things that you're not supposed to say to others gets harder and harder. This is especially true with specific knowledge that you will be able to tap into about a lot of things and situations. If you're not supposed to share that insight with someone, your voice may even lock down.

However, for the most part, it becomes exceptionally easy to state an opinion or view. You're less hung up on the reception that it gets. This is simply what feels true to you in the moment. And the more open to that you become, the more often you'll actually be well-received. Most people aren't used to hearing something real being spoken. Instead, useless topics about other people, distant places, what was on TV last night, and the weather fill up meaningless and empty conversations. It's part of why people feel so disconnected from each other. They don't even know how to talk about something that's real. They're too busy avoiding their own lives.

Showing Up and Speaking Up in Your Own Life

I was at an Earth Day festival in San Francisco this past weekend, and there was a Native American woman talking. She said one of the most important things you can do is to show up for your own life. I can't agree with this more. No one else can live your life, but you. In spiritual awakening, you've been thrown out in the middle of your life, and you're surveying the damage. You can the see the beauty and the wreckage. You have to take ownership for all of it. In so doing, you can address what needs to be addressed, heal what needs to be healed, and open what's ready to be opened. One of those things will most definitely be your voice.

Which can be shocking to others if you've been a quiet person. You may not become overly talkative, but you've probably given up a lot of power in relationships by not speaking up at times. This alone will shift your relationships. If you've been a chatterbox for most of your life or a gossip, you may suddenly be much more quiet, but what you do say will carry a lot of weight. You may have a lot of people paying way more attention to you where before you probably got ignored a lot. Speaking up in your own life is a powerful thing, and you'll have a lot of things to reckon with as your life re-aligns to who you really are.

Channeling and Speaking Divine Truth

The more clear your voice becomes, the easier it is to say a lot of things. The less judgment you have about what you're saying, the more you can access deeper levels of knowledge. When I really hit my stride in a blog, I don't know what I'm going to write next. It's a very vulnerable place. There's a lot of situations where I go in without knowing what I'm going to say; I just trust that what comes through will be what I need to say. And in spaces of high integrity and energy (if I'm working with someone one-on-one in a session), I can switch into a place where I'm channeling a lot of divine truth for someone else. I can't say exactly how much channeling I do because I've integrated a lot of awareness. The idea that it's coming from someplace else isn't very present for me. It's like what I say is from me and also not from me. That to me is much like the divine truth to be in this world, but not of it.

Ultimately, this is true for all of us. For those of you in spiritual awakening, it's becoming a very real reality, and if you're supposed to be a mouthpiece for the divine in this lifetime, you will have a lot of Truth flowing right out your lips so long as you don't try to judge it or stop it (and trying to do either will become extremely uncomfortable).

Talking and Vulnerability: Just Keep Talking

I've blogged a lot about the power of vulnerability. In every way that we learn to consciously open ourselves in situations, we learn about the power of vulnerability. This isn't a naive thing. You don't open yourself to every situation. I believe that Jesus has a great line in the Bible that you trust in the Lord, but you tie your camel tight. The world is imperfect still, and many people do very unkind things (like stealing your camel--I hate it when that happens :). That said, the number of times that most of us are in really bad places and should avoid all vulnerability is actually very small. The ego likes to think that it's constantly in danger. That's how you are kept under control. But for this blog post, I want to empower you to talk your way out of it. The words won't always be right, but they will start to come.

As I've mentioned in previous posts and in my ebook, finding someone who is really open and receptive to a talking and active listening practice is very helpful to get started. But once you're awakened, you probably just gotta keep talking to anyone who will listen.  You've got a lot of great things to say, and plenty of other people need to hear them--even if they don't know it yet.

Jim the Jabberbox

I think spirit has been training me for a lot of writing and speaking for sometime. While my big spiritual awakening didn't come until August 2007, I started to talk about spirituality back in October of 2006. To me, it was one of the drivers for my awakening--one of the things that got the energy moving in me to overcome the inertia of fear and stagnation in my life. I started talking to a couple new friends, and then I got connected with a great spiritual meditation group and teacher. With a couple of friends, I probably did 90% of the talking for awhile, so I have deep gratitude to all the people who listened to me while I figured out my words.

After I woke up, what flowed out of me was a lot of Truth--big T for sure. For those of you waking up, you know what I'm talking about. You may even be scared by what you know, but I assure you that it'll be okay. You do know what's true, and the world needs to hear it. There's so much useless chatter that we have to start to fill some of the space with a different set of stories--stories about love, compassion, and true strength. These are the stories that need to replace superficiality, materialism, and hate. And truly in your own awakening, talking about it will help you to embody this change that's happening. It will help you to integrate the whole of you and come to terms with the purpose that you've chosen to fulfill in this lifetime. Your voice is a powerful, powerful tool, and it's one that it's time you come to own.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Higher Truth Versus Truth of the Moment

I've written a lot of blogs, but I don't think that I've delineated this concept about truth. As always, categorization that I do is done so loosely, but I see two key types of truth: higher truth and truth of the moment.

Knowing Truth Intrinsically
Higher truths are the big ones like:
  • All is love.
  • All is one.
  • Everything is connected.
This is profound stuff, and in awakening, you come to fully understand and embody those feelings. From that space, killing because impossible or close to it. You can feel your connection to other people, animals, and beings. When you hurt another, you feel hurt yourself. When someone is upset, you can feel the pain that they're feeling. When there is great joy around an occasion or person, you feel like you're surfing through the upper atmosphere. When higher truth is awake in you, you really feel it and know it in a whole body way. It's not just an idea.

Truth of the Moment: Ever Changing, But Often Practical
However, we live in an imperfect world where there are demands that get placed on us that are contradicting or difficult. Sometimes, we don't see a clear way through the mess. Higher truth embraces that mess. All things are equally beautiful from the midnight rape to the loving embrace, and this is really hard for people to understand. In the space of higher truth, you can see the beauty of the unfolding that's happening. But you are always aware of what is true to the divine plan. It doesn't make you complacent or passive, but you are much clearer about when or when not to act. The decisions won't be coming through rational reason either. Awakening to higher truth wakes up your inner knowing, and you know when you need to intervene. You also know when some things just need to happen because a greater good and intelligence is at work than you can see.

With that said, we do the best we can. The decisions you'll make will make sense to you in a deeper way, but perhaps not initially when you make them. We also do the best we can to understand the truth of the moment. The truth of the moment is subjective. There is good and evil. The midnight rape is evil, and it should be stopped. The holocaust was evil, and it had to be stopped. Hugs from relatives are good. Falling in love together is good. People's truths of the moment may vary, but there usually is some kind of consistency to it.

Jumping to Higher Truth Too Soon
I remember reading in the Shambhala Sun about people using higher truths as a kind of rose-colored glasses to life. Many people start saying things like "Everything is beautiful" before they really understand what they're saying. When you say, "Everything is beautiful," you're saying that EVERY thing, action, and being is beautiful. All of it. You can't make exceptions. I've heard people in awakening say this, and when they do, the deeper awareness that is present really brings this truth home. I know that they get it. I know that they understand what they're saying.

I've also had other people say this who really don't know what it means, and I can hear the naivete to it. I can hear the avoidance of reality. "Everything is beautiful," someone might say as they try to avoid how they're feeling bad about their life, relationships, or job. In those instances, I consider the person to be practicing. They're practicing a different mode of thinking, but they don't understand what that means yet. When every bomb blast and murder is understood to be part of that deepest unfolding of beauty and discovery on this plane of existence, that's a profound understanding. And that's understanding what higher truth is about.

Higher Truth Spurs Us to Action
But even as mentioned earlier, higher truth isn't complacent. You may now see the beauty in all things, but you are also intensely aware of what the divine plan really is. A bomb blast may be beautiful, but you are clear that this is not what we're here to do. You're clear that the midnight rape is awful, and you're also clear about all the little things that people argue about that aren't real issues. There are plenty of small fights and bickerings that have nothing to do with anything but ego. These won't draw you in anymore. Where before correcting someone's English or math was part of helping people "get it right," you may have no interest in it because it may not affect anything of real importance.

You truly understand what is real. Now that you know what is real and important, you will act towards bringing light and consciousness to those things. In no way, does higher truth make us impassive and aloof to the world around us. However, we do become very nonchalant and disengaged from the squabbles of the ego. That's not being disassociated with life; that's understanding what is real.

Higher Truth and Truth of the Moment Align
There's a phrase that says we learn to live in this world, but not to be of it. To me, this is the return from awakening. This is the space after rebirth. As Easter Sunday nears, we are coming upon one of the great examples of dying to one life and fear of death and then being reborn into that space where the troubles of life can no longer touch us. Truly, the example of Jesus is amazing. He is one of our greatest teachers about embodying higher truth. Where many people in his time were lost in religious rules, he brought in light to the people who really needed it.

In that way, that's what everyone is learning to do as they wake up and move into a place of embodied enlightenment. They see suffering, and they are moved to alleviate it. They see a place for a kind word, and they offer it. They see a way to bring joy, and so they share it. It isn't actually a very hard thing to do to be kind. All the ego stuff that has gotten in the way has blocked the higher truth that life is actually very simple. In many ways, I describe the awakening process as a major yard sale or going out of business sale: everything must go. Only the important stuff will remain.

When you know what is important, you know what's really good or evil. You know that both are equally important parts of the divine plan, but you also know when it's time to act. You can't save the world by yourself, and the only way to save the world is by saving yourself. The many paradoxes align in this space of awakening, and you are truly who you are meant to be.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Clarity During Transition

My student, Susan, discusses the coming shifts in her life and how she's practicing holding a space for that big transition.

Times of transition are difficult for most people. Transition is often accompanied by feelings of fear, anxiety, and the need to be in control. This can happen for most people on a daily basis. However, it is more acceptable to society to have these feelings during times of greater transitions, such as changing jobs, moving, and even the falling apart and coming together of relationships. I was one of the many that struggled with change. I wanted things to stay the same. It was safe and comfortable. My initial reaction was always to resist change. The space that I am held in now allows me to welcome transition and all the uncertainties that come with it.

There is a lot that will be transitioning for me in the next coming months as I complete school, change my living situation, and even relocate to a different part of the country (again). Despite all the uncertainties that loom ahead, I feel quite still. Nevertheless, the ego will always try to create a path of it’s own. At first, I felt a sense of wanting to be in control of tedious tasks throughout the day only to follow with knowing how silly that is. For some reason my ego thought if I tried controlling the present moment then I could control the rest of my life. The ego let go of this concept once I remembered that trying to hold onto control is like trying to smooth rippled water (as Alan Watts states). Soon after, I began to feel a fear of lack of financial security and what was to lie ahead of me. All throughout this process loomed a subtle sense of anxiety that slowly began to grow. How funny it is that one can have such an intense sense of peacefulness and completion only to be turned into negative thoughts brought on by the ego and often exacerbated by others. Yet, I know all the while that my Inner Knowing dominates as long as I trust it.

I just experienced my first session of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) through a very gifted friend/teacher to help me stay centered on my journey. I feel that this will be another significant aspect of my spiritual practice along with meditation, journaling, etc. during this transition. It was a profound experience that helped me to explore clarity and unity within my heart. One of the many images that spontaneously came to me included seeing myself on top of a mountain. As I stood on top of the mountain, I could see many other majestic mountains before me. I felt lost, yet safe. I felt a sense of peace. Of course the ego was trying to make sense of such an oxymoron.

Later on in the session I had an intense connection with Spirit. It was a similar feeling to my first connection with God as a child. Suddenly, without hesitation, something within said, “Everything is going to be okay.” I stayed with the serenity I was experiencing. A soft, “thank you,” came from my lips. After some time, most of the fear, anxiety, and tension that was slowly building up and preventing me from staying present lifted from my body. The responsibility I have to nurture this alignment in my life will take practice.

In the end all the cloudiness will be defined clearly. All the uncertainty will become certain. All the Trust will be there. No matter what I do will be the right decision because it is my own and no others’. Sometimes the actions we must take will be the most difficult for the mind to conceptualize as logical. These are the images that transition the impossible to possible.

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.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Letting Go of Safety

I've written about letting go of resistance, and in general, that topic is the underlying issue for pretty much all things that we have to let go of in life. Letting go of safety is really about letting go of the idea of safety. In essence, we are holding on to an idea about what safe is and what it should feel like. This invariably puts us in resistance to what the moment is bringing us because most moments don't play out the way we want them to in our idealized version of "safety." So safety is a huge issue, and probably even more true to the point, it's hiding a fear around mortality. So let's tease this issue out because so much of our lives are lived out through this fear that we won't be okay and will otherwise be harmed somehow.

Unsafe, Unsettled, and the Unknown
The issue of safety is important to understand, especially before spiritual awakening. If you can start to understand what you're afraid of, then when the whole kit and kaboodle goes up in flames, you'll be a little more present to how safety issues are flaring up. For most people, safety and familiarity are intertwined. The two, however, are not even remotely the same. The fear of the unknown that plagues so many of us has us fooled. We react from things that we don't know as if they're the enemy. In so many ways, this is the root cause of racism and discrimination of all types. It is the simple statement being enacted over and over again of "If I don't know you, then you're not safe."

This, of course, isn't true. This is part of the core delusion of duality. In the deepest most profound way, those of you in spiritual awakening see through this. You see that all is one. Yet the old lens of dualistic sight and your old issues may not be completely cleared away. In many respects, you're going through a profound shift into the unknown. No one can tell you what's going to happen, so if you've got a lot of safety issues, all of them are being lit up simultaneously. And you may not know what to think or to do.

Take a breath. Let go.

Familiarity and the Fear of the Unknown Unwound
Here's a more grounded example. A woman stays in a relationship with a man who beats her. This most likely is part of a history of abuse starting in her family. But it's what she's used to. It's familiar. She stays. She stays despite the humiliations from the bruises and the words of advice from her friends. She stays because "he's a good man, after all." But she really stays because she's afraid of the unknown. If she leaves, everything has to change. It may be a brand new thing in her family lineage for a woman to leave an abusive husband (because these traits are often in-grained in families seven generations deep or more). She doesn't know what to do. She doesn't understand what new behaviors she should be doing, and if she doesn't understand what she's been doing to co-create these abusive situations, she'll most likely connect with another abuser before long.

Now, this situation will involve the woman letting go of her idea of what safety is to be able to actually get to real safety. She has to leave the familiar and embrace the unknown to get to the real safety that she deserves in life. And in so many ways, for people waking up right now, this is the core truth. You are not going to "feel" safe in your awakening. You are going to be wide-open and vulnerable. It's a very raw feeling. But where you are isn't safe. Most people have been living in some sort of misery, but they have accepted it because they didn't know that they could live any other way and because it seemed safe--familiar and dependable. He may beat you every Friday night when he comes home drunk, but at least you know what to expect.

Owning Your Responsibility in Creating Your Own Misery
This is hard stuff. This is some of the nit-gritty, grime that we all start to look at in the bottoms of our souls. It's the kind of stuff that when you scrape it out, you're like, "Oh my God. Have I really been carrying that around?" Yes. Yes, you have. We all have. I feel like At the time of posting this blog, I'm going through one of these very periods, and the slop looks something like runny tar coming out of me (this is an energetic visualization, mind you :). After all the awareness that's embodied in me, seeing this stuff can be stunning. I'm like "Holy mother, what the f#$%? I thought I'd cleaned out most of that stuff." But as I teach my students, we all go through multiple rounds of clean out as we get more energy, awareness, and trust to just let go. We let go deeper into the awareness, and more stuff gets pushed to the surface.

This means that you continually have to own your own misery. Life is not crapping on you. For the most part, you've been crapping on you. You've played small. You've done mean things to yourself and others. Just think about all the hours you make yourself stay in a crappy job. When you come right down to it, no one makes you go to work. You do. You can always get another job if you quit or got fired. Even in a bad economy. Heck, sometimes in a bad economy, there are more interesting options bubbling up to the surface because people are having to get creative. So you don't have too many excuses--not in this country or most modern countries. Most of us don't have the job of farming, which is directly tied to eating and providing for our families. We've been given A LOT. Sometimes, it's just about realizing this that starts to move you towards letting go of what you think you have and towards embracing what you could be.

Deeper Safety: The Still Waters of the Soul
There is no real safety in the world. We all will die. Recently, I've seen and heard about a couple sudden deaths that have caught people in my social network by surprise. One moment someone is alive, and then the next they're not. There's no warning or preparation. It just happens. It could happen to me. I could be dead after posting this blog. There are no guarantees, and there is no way to fully safety-proof life.

But most of our egos try and fail. They try to keep us emotionally safe, physically safe, financially safe (which usually plays in to the other 2), and so forth. Think about how after breaking up two people try to avoid each other (trying to be emotionally safe). I've heard some interesting ways where places and events are divided up so that they won't run into each other. But ultimately, it's all illusion. It's all an ego game, and when the ego dissolves during awakening, the true safety in the stillness of the soul can come forward. As I always say, we all have egos, but when you are re-born in this process, you have a whole other relationship to yourself and your ego--your point of view and story about yourself. It's really quite amazing. You don't have superpowers per se, but you live and see the whole world in a very different way.

Inner Stillness, Safety, and Walking Through the Unknown
A lot of you in awakening know what it's like to go back and forth. You go back to the old way of being, and suddenly, you're terrified. Then you open back up to the unknown and the stillness of awakening, and you're at peace. Nothing seems wrong anywhere. It's a beautiful place, which you see clearly and without filter. And then something--some old issue flares up again--and you're back in the fear and trying to find some semblance of safety anywhere.

In many respects, this is the inhale and exhale of spiritual awakening. It is expansion and contraction. It is the washing out of the old issues, allowing us to see them and to release them. Somehow, I think the issue of safety is always the hardest to let go. In Western society, we spend so much time trying to be safe. Being socially accepted, wealthy, and all that stuff are just elements of an expanded idea of what it means to be safe. Those concepts have to go because ultimately you can never be truly safe until you're safe within your own skin. When you come to that inner sense of safety, you'll see the world completely differently, and your fears will dissolve. It's a profound space, and it's one that we all can enjoy when we're simply ready to let go.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spirituality and Money

I think my short titles must be doing a good job of catching people's attention, as well as the topicality of them. The last post was about "Spirituality and Intimacy," which has been well-received and re-posted. Many thanks to everyone who shares these posts. Only through you can these messages of light, love, and healing be brought out to others--many of whom are lost and really have no idea what to look for. Your help is most sincerely appreciated, and as I grow my spiritual teaching practice, you're the only way that I can get bigger and help more people. If you are someone looking for a way to help others on the spiritual path and would like to volunteer some time with me, feel free to contact me through my contact form on this blog.

Cash Concerns: Why Money Has Been Labeled "Evil"
Money isn't evil. It's just a tool. It's a tool that's been badly used. Because of how it's been used, many people have become averse to money, and especially in regards to spirituality, money is often considered anathema. And I can give you many examples. The Catholic Church used to let rich nobles buy "indulgences" to offset a wide variety of sins. This was one of the big reasons that the Protestant Reformation happened, and it's why the Christian church now has a whole multitude of denominations.

The non-religion related abuses of money are also easy to point out. For all the millions of dollars gone into the research and production of stuff like guns, nuclear weapons, biological weapons, and so forth, the results have been massive death tolls. And still more simply, all the people who cold-heartedly step on others, lie, cheat, and steal to get more money have made money look like the single biggest criminal in human history. So why not just dump out money all together?

The Purpose of Money
Of course, we're just looking at one side of the coin. Money also helps bring researchers together to work on cures for diseases. It brings humanitarian aid to countries in dire need whether from general circumstances or catastrophes like tsunamis. And really, all that money is supposed to do is make it easy for us to exchange services. Otherwise, it's a little more difficult to decide how many chickens that iPhone is worth or how many bales of hay you should give for my DVD player. Do you know? I don't. Sure, some people like the bartering method, and in all honesty, I'm making work-trades a regular part of my spiritual teaching practice (I work by suggested donation rates, but if someone really is financially strapped, we work out a trade of services). But money is still a commonly understood concept, and it really does make it easier to exchange things.

Where Money Becomes a Problem
Money becomes a problem when it becomes a goal. When you think that more money will make you happy, you've taken a wrong turn. Money buys opportunities. It is just a means. It's like a hammer. How you use it can vary widely. In one way, you can use money as a mechanism to help others and support yourself and your family. In another way, you can hoard it. I don't know what becoming a millionaire gets you. I think deep down, there's a mechanism that forgot to get switched off. You keep gathering up resources so that you can feel "safe." But then you're constantly worried about losing money when stocks go down a penny. I don't consider that safety. I consider that paranoia.

On the other side are people without much money who think that it will end all their suffering when they have it. This gets piped into the delusion of the American Dream. While the U.S. is an amazing place to be able to improve your social standing (unlike many other places in the world where you are born into a caste or into immense poverty, and that's where you'll be your entire life), there's this illusion that monetary success is what you really want to succeed. It's not. Internal successes like love and connection are where it's at. So where money helps you to come to those spaces, it serves a purpose. And I won't say that it's completely separate from the spiritual equation to doing so. If you're starving, having money to buy food is part of meeting those basic needs. If you're starving, the only way you're really coming to enlightenment is through death. I mean sure, it may happen before that, but you still gotta eat. That's where some money can help.

Yes, yes. I know. You can grow your own food or trade for food. Blah, blah, blah. Let's be practical. I think there's a lot of rampant idealism that goes around because of a fear of money. People are afraid they'll be somehow tainted by it. Once again, if you drill down into yourself on this topic, I think you'll find fear at work. Money is just a tool. I repeat: it's just a tool. Coming into your spiritual awareness is coming into a space where you know it's a tool and you use it consciously. You make conscious purchasing decisions, and you know how to give it away just as you know how to receive it. That's part of enlightened awareness around money and more importantly, how you are choosing to interact with your community and the world.

Awakening and the Loss of Value
Of course, to jump on the other side of the fence, for those of you awakening, money may make no sense. The idea of judging and placing value on anything seems crazy. And well, I have to admit that it kinda is. I don't know that we'll get rid of it, but I do know that with more people who are awakened that you'll use it way better. I also know that during the awakening process, you really won't understand it. You may just give it all away, and I can't tell you what's right or wrong for you. Depending on what's happening for you, that may be exactly what you need to do. However, being an impoverished individual doesn't necessarily help you out much. Before you give it all away, please take care of your basic needs in someway.

Others of you are going to be coming at the money situation with a completely different mission. I say mission because I have a sense of quite a few souls who have come to be money power-brokers on this plane of existence to pull things back into alignment. Currently, most of the money power-brokers in the world are extremely juvenile and totally delinquent in their obligations as major holders of affluence. To quote the first Spiderman movie, "with great power, comes great responsibility." So too, the responsibility of having all that money really is to provide for the greater human family and community.

Most of the current billionaires aren't doing this. The Warren Buffets of the world are small in comparison to the oil moguls just sitting on their gi-normous hill of beans while millions starve around the world. So, I have a very strong sense that some of you coming into spiritual awakening are going to be magnets for money. It's just going to be what you naturally do. In so doing, you're going to be learning how to set up new re-distribution systems (because taxation seriously sucks for redistributing from the haves to the have-nots). This is an amazing spiritual work to have and will take great integrity, but it will also be an important symbol to people around the world to see how money should naturally be moving and flowing to and from one to another.

Money and the Energy Flow
Another way I talk about money is that it is energy. When someone has lots of it, it's blocked energy. That energy needs to be released to the places that are in deficits. This isn't just an idealistic give-away system. I am a firm believer in teaching people how to fish as opposed to giving them fish. But it's tough to learn much when your health is right at the edge. We have to help people come back from that edge. And money can help us do that. Don't get locked up on the idea that money is evil by how it's been used. Instead, it's time to look how we can change that paradigm because it is an important tool that we have at our disposal. Now it's up to us to finally be responsible with how we use it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spirituality and Intimacy

All right, let's talk about spirituality and intimacy. I know you're excited already. You're like, "Yes! Now let's get into some juicy stuff." Ah, but intimacy is so much more than the "juicy" stuff, which means romance at the very least and very oftentimes sex to most people. Intimacy, as many of you in awakening come to know, is something that you can have with every moment in every day.

The Yoga or Union of the Present Moment
I was reading through a movie review on, and I like how the spiritual teacher, Sadhguru, talked about having yoga in every moment. It's a wonderful reminder to be present in every moment. Yoga means union, essentially. To be fully present in the moment is to be in yoga with the moment. This is a deeply intimate space by its very nature, and you'll find that because of the opening in your awareness, all levels of deep connection become available to you.

The Many Kinds of Intimate Connection
Firstly, we have to unravel the term "intimacy" here. I'm sure that this will disappoint some, but I think it'll also clarify a lot of things for many of you and the variety of ways that you can connect so deeply with different people. Intimacy is not just romance. It's not romance and sex. Intimacy is a deep connection with another on any level, and for those of you in spiritual awakening, you're going to be amazed at how deeply you can connect with many people in your life. But you may be dismayed that for most people, intimate connection is actually very limited.

I have one friend who is like a clan-member to me. We have a very powerful, root chakra connection (Root chakra is about survival and family). It feels like we've been in the same family for a generation, but we've only known each other about a year. It's a very fundamental, basic sort of connection; it's as if we could grow crops, build things together, and provide for the clan together. To confuse this with sexuality and romance would denigrate the reality of this connection. This deep connection is what the natural intelligence of our relationship has brought forth.

I love to talk about the natural intelligences of relationships because my experience is that--as long as we don't get in the way--relationships have a natural way of connecting that brings out the appropriate kind of relationship. So if you're supposed to work together, that relationship appears, and there can be a deep love in that space. But you won't confuse that love as being a sexual or romantic thing. In many ways, it's the activation of the full love of coming into union at the right level for both of you.

The Many Kinds of Love
Love at its core is total acceptance. Total acceptance of another person is a powerful thing, but it's not a blind thing. If someone is mean to another, you can still love the perpetrator, but you will hold them accountable. Love is not weak or a push-over. You can speak clearly from the heart, and you move from the heart. Spiritual awakening brings love into and activates it on all levels of your being, which is why such deep intimacy becomes available in so many ways. Different kinds of love and intimacy can be:

  • Co-workers/team-mates love (The love of sharing a common goal/pursuit)
  • Brotherly/sisterly love (This isn't limited to family.)
  • Romantic love
  • Sexual love
  • Physical love (You can be close to another's body, but there isn't a need for sexuality)
  • Student-teacher/follower-leader love
  • Intellectual love (The love of connecting on the plane of ideas; just watch a couple academics in a hot discussion at a university some time.)
  • Psychic love (The feeling of energy blending)
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. That are so many other kinds of love and ways to be intimate, and I'm sure that you'll be able to add to the list.

For me as a spiritual teacher, I feel so much love towards my students (although how I express it varies widely). It's such a deeply intimate and sacred space to work in and connect with someone, and I honor and cherish it completely. That's the beauty of coming into connection with someone on the spiritual path; you completely love and connect with someone at the right level. You don't expect to be anything or force it into other forms that it's not. That's part of why it can be so profound and intimate.

Letting Go of the Idea of the One True Love
Being awakened allows you to touch the whole spectrum of love and intimacy, but because most people aren't moving from that space, a lot of the connections will be very narrow. For instance, most everyone knows what it's like to have a sexual lover who is really amazing. You two send up fireworks when you're in the bedroom, on the sofa, in the backseat of the car, out somewhere in the woods off of the interstate because you didn't want to just sit around in the traffic jam for the next 15 minutes, or you know, wherever. But when it comes to talking, you have nothing to say to each other. And generally, the romantic dating thing is kind of a bore to both of you. It's just not how you connect.

In many ways, you'll find it easy to connect very deeply on whatever access point someone gives you. Once again, this isn't mindless. You're very conscious of the choices that you're making. You'll also likely have to set up some boundaries because most people confuse any amount of intimacy as a prelude to romance; it's so baked into the mental programming in Western culture (especially for men) that any other outcome is immediately considered a failure. So whether you're deeply connected intellectually, emotionally, or however else it manifests, you're going to know just how far and how deep it can go, and you won't be limited by your expectations of what the relationship should be or how it should go.

Timing and the Coming and Going of Union
You learn to hold intimacy much more lightly. Perhaps, you have an amazing phone call with a person, and then the next time you speak, it's gone. It never comes back again. This is one of the ways where we continue to shed expectations around the moment. You had a beautiful conversation together. That's awesome. That's what you had to share. Your deep connection lasted 15 minutes or a half hour. That's beautiful. We also have this programming that thinks if we have a deep connection with a person once on any level that we'll always be able to get it again in a similar if not the same way. That's not how it works. I think in some ways, those connections come to show us what we can access. That can be a little bit of a tease, but the only way we can let them stay more permanently is to let go of the expectations of what they should be and in what form they will appear.

Life ebbs and flows. Things are easy in the world and then they are hard. Spiritual awakening brings us to a place of non-resistance to those ebbs and flows, and you learn that union and intimacy in the present moment, with yourself, and with others is an every fluctuating thing. And you are okay with that. You are okay with whatever the moment brings, and that is the truest sense of intimacy with life you can possibly find.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spiritual Awakening and the Importance of Energy Healing

Spiritual awakening is a tremendous force of energy. It sends shockwaves down through you and out into the world. It's hard to figure out what's what for awhile because you're in such a new frame of awareness. But from that frame of awareness, you are being re-born into a totally new, conscious version of yourself. And that's exciting.

After the Blast: Rebuilding Your Energy
The walls got blown out. The windows smashed, and the doors torn off. You are wide open. You are a babe in the woods, really. It's incredibly vulnerable, but that's important. Because vulnerability is not weakness. Those who have taken advantage of vulnerability in the past will have to pay for those crimes, and furthermore, vulnerability is not blind. You don't just open yourself to any and everyone all the time--well, maybe some of you will be able to. It depends on how deeply you are connected and the world that you are living in. Most of us will need some kind of light energetic boundaries to replace all the ego barriers that we'd had before. Make of it whatever you will, but the ego has served a purpose for you. It was a program meant to protect you. For many of us, the rebirthing is as much about re-writing that program as anything else. But to do so will require a lot of energy. This is where healing and energy work is so important.

Reiki, Cranio-Sacral Work, and the Vast Field of Energy Healing
There are so many different types of energy healing modalities available now that it's pretty amazing. Reiki has been a popular flavor of the day, but it is by no means the only one out there. For me, I've been gifted with a natural intuitive energy healing ability (I also had a mother who did energy healing, and I'm sure I absorbed plenty of information from her). But still, energy healing is another one of my gifts, although I don't mention it as much. I have the sense that that will be changing soon in my life. I've been able to tap into that divine energy for most of my life, and I simply know how to trust, refine, direct, and release those energies into people who come to me and into myself. It's immensely powerful, and so much stuff can get moved and cleared out of someone's body by doing such.

Really, I think energy healing is best suited for certain types of healing. There are plenty of spiritual practices and traditional medicines that are extremely helpful and healing. But some things are just best cleared out by using energy healing. During the post spiritual awakening phase, finding an energy healer who can help you rebuild yourself and understand yourself is critical. It'll help you get used to how your whole being is now feeling and help assuage any remaining fears you may be feeling through the core of you.

Training and Integrity Around Energy Healing
Doing energy healing work is a profound thing, and most people will want to get some training before doing it if you are called to be a practitioner. Experiencing different modalities is important for you to find which ones that you might want to work in. It also helps to settle into your fully embodied light body. I know that last part is a little bit of spiritual jargon, but you do have to realize that your entire world has been turned upside down. You need time to integrate that and re-orient yourself to who you are. If you were an investment banker for 30 yeas of your life, you may need some time to come to terms with your calling as an energy healer. Or not. Maybe you're just ready to go. Regardless, give yourself some time to breathe...and to heal.

Many of you have come into this world with a lot of immediate access to spiritual tools like energy healing. For you, you simply need to stay in integrity with who you are and do your work to clear out your issues. After that, you have to trust what you know and kinda get out of the way of what's coming through. You know if this applies to you. You're the type of person with energy coursing through your body, and you've had amazing luck healing dying cacti (And how your friend could kill one of those, who knows, right?) and other sick plants and animals. You just know where to put your hands on someone's body to release pain. It's always kind of amazed you. It's time to be less amazed and embrace this part of you. You can start by using your healing on you.

Rebuilt Barriers and Removing Altruistic Ideas
Once you've healed and can hold barriers around your energy, you'll be almost ready to be an energy healer. It's important to have barriers because you can't absorb other people's issues. All kinds of things get jarred loose in an energy healing session, and the more adapt at this you are, the more pain you may be able to shake free from someone (well, it's a co-creative process; it's not just what you're doing, but I'll go into that in another blog post). That means there's more stuff that you need to block out, clear out, or otherwise ground. You know how to do this though. It's already in you. All that knowledge has come with you.

The bigger problem tends to be altruistic ideas. You want to heal everything and everyone. No. It doesn't work that way. You heal what someone is ready to have healed. Some people won't be ready for healing. You may find yourself having to turn away someone despite your own instincts to heal everyone. This really gets people riled up. Many people are like, "Well, you should always heal any and everyone who comes to you." But spirit doesn't really work that way. That's why being clear about your inner guidance of what you can and can't do and what someone is and isn't ready for is so essential. That's part of your responsibility as an energy healer. It sounds like an amazing path, but it's also one with a great deal of responsibility. And many people will simply not understand why you do what you do.

But First, Take Care of Yourself
You can't heal anyone if you aren't done healing yourself yet. In general, you can get yourself in real trouble if you try to start healing everyone before you're fully back together since your spiritual awakening. You have to make a lot of space for yourself to be vulnerable and to be cared for by others. Hopefully, you have some kind of spiritual community to assist you. It's important that you have some people who can help you hold this new energy vibration, which is very likely completely different than the older vibration that you were living in. You're going to be bouncing up and down and all around. You'll suddenly feel beautiful and see everyone as luminous beings, and then you'll crash down and feel isolated, disconnected, and hopeless. Maybe it won't be so bad. Maybe you'll just long for your old life. That's the ups and downs of spiritual awakening as you come to a vibration you can hold. It's a temporary thing. You just have to trust in the process.

Becoming a Servant of the Divine
To become an energy healer is to become a servant of the divine plan. This path is not about you. It's about healing. So while this work can make you feel amazing, it's not about you feeling amazing. You may work in incredibly light and beautiful places, or you may work in some dark and confused spaces. It just depends on what you're here to offer. You do have choice, and you will know where to bring your services. You have to trust that intuition, and things will work out just fine.

But remember, it's not about you. You don't have to martyr or sacrifice yourself. In taking care of yourself, you take of others. We are not separate. We are all one. But in taking care of yourself, you are also preparing to bring your services outwards to others in the world. There is a lot of work to be done...a lot of healing is needed. And you are most needed now. So don't be afraid to embrace your gifts. Just trust. You have everything you need. You are everything that you need to be, and people need everything that you have to offer so that they can finally be healed.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spirituality and Responsibility

I'm a broken record about a number of topics such as the importance of journaling, the necessity of spiritual community to support you, and the fact that awakening is a whole body experience--not just something you can think your way to. Along with those topics, I'm equally passionate and forceful about the importance of responsibility on your spiritual path.

Spiritual Power: A History of Abuse
I probably don't need to list out all the abuses that have gone on through history in the name of "spirituality" or religion. It should be obvious. It should be obvious that every imam, priest, pope, pastor, rabbi, monk, or other spiritual clergyman or woman who has tried to control people through fear or to enhance themselves in some way has abused their power. Whether it's the Crusades to "free" the Holy Land (keep in mind that the Arab world was the rich elite during those times--the Europeans were poor and backwards) or a Jihad that sends suicide bombers to blow up buildings, those are horrible abuses. That's made a lot of people pretty skittish about the topic of spirituality. Just bringing it up has a way of immediately eliciting a reaction whether its a forceful statement of belief or its shutting down from the conversation.

I won't say that spiritual power has always been abused though. I think think there have been and there are plenty of genuine teachers. Jesus and the Buddha are two prime examples from the past that most people know. There are plenty of others, and spirituality shouldn't be something that everyone is afraid of. Nor should religion (you can read how I differentiate the two on this link). Religion is just a tool--it's a structure to give space for spirit to manifest, and as a new wave of teachers wake up, that's part of the responsibility we have to everyone in the world.

Responsibility to Yourself on the Spiritual Path
The biggest responsibility you have to own on your spiritual path is your responsibility to yourself. I like Marianne Williamson's quote:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us."

And why does that frighten our ego-selves? It's because of responsibility. It's because once we admit just how beautiful and amazing we are, we now have to live that truth. We are responsible and beholden to it. We can no longer hide behind justifications that we're not good enough or that we don't know what our truth is. We do know. We are beautiful, luminous beings, and we have to be responsible to that.

I'm sure that you can immediately see how that would change your life. Many of you are not in good jobs. You hide your truth because it's unacceptable to speak out in many power structures. Awakening to your responsibility to yourself will make waves in the world around you. You will rock the boat. It will make waves in your relationships, especially if you've surrounded yourself with toxic people (toxic doesn't mean bad, but if people are always putting you down, that's a poisonous relationship to you). Being responsible to yourself is the quickest way to change the world, and that's part of why it's so scary.

Abdicating Spiritual Power Is Irresponsible
Many of you are also spiritually or psychically gifted. You can do things that no one else can do. Those gifts are part of your responsibility to the world. It's why you're here. You're not here to hide those gifts; in many centuries past, there wasn't any space to share them. If many people did share their spiritual gifts, they'd be persecuted or killed. Certainly, the world has not been kind to lightworkers, but that is changing. There's so much need for healing that enough people are willing to give "it a try" because they don't want to hurt anymore. That's where you come in.

I know you've seen the history of spiritual abuses (or perhaps I should say spirituality used as a means for the ego to glorify itself), and you've seen the persecution of people offering their gifts to the world. I won't say that this path doesn't involve courage. Actually, it requires quite a lot, but it is irresponsible to deny your gifts and what you're here to do. If you are denying your awareness and gifts, you'll find that much of your life continues to blow up in your face or that you're constantly feeling unfulfilled by your life. Denying your gifts for healing, foresight, speaking with spirits, leading, teaching, or whatever it is that you can do is like cutting off a limb. It's painful, and it's time to stop.

Taking Up this Spiritual Cup
In taking up the responsibility of the gifts that you have and the spiritual path, you'll find that this is just step one. You'll also have to own the responsibility of what you offer to others. You'll have to own the way that you do things and ensure that you're doing things in a clean and honest manner. Integrity is crucial because you may work is some dark and confused places with some dark and confused people. They just want to be healed, but they're like drowning people, trying to latch onto anything. That will be intense, and you'll need to keep yourself clean and clear of desires (like the desire to help) so that you know what to do and what not to do. It gets muddy out there fast, and when you take on someone to be healed in someway, you are taking responsibility of that person. This doesn't diminish the person's responsibility to themselves, but if you're the swim coach taking someone out into deep waters, you have to be able to get them back onto dry land again.

This is no small thing. You know it. You feel it in your bones and the marrow of your soul. But it is what you're here to do.

You're Not Alone
I've also been a broken record about this: You're not alone. A lot of us are awakened or are awakening. It's amazing to see it happening. So, in taking up the responsibility to yourself and to others, there is a growing network of people who are doing the same. Reaching out and seeking the spiritual network is crucial. If you're a healing practitioner, it's especially crucial that you get support from like-minded individuals. It is a long road at times. Even though time doesn't really exist, we live in corporeal bodies, and we interact in a world that predominantly believes in separation and limitations. So you'll need some more people who don't believe in limits if you're going to go beyond those that you've created in your ego-mind.

Responsibility, after awhile, isn't scary. You'll find that your fears of responsibility are just another ego-program to keep you small. It's another program that thinks it's protecting you, but it's actually diminishing you. In all the ways that I like to use computer software metaphors, here's another program ready for deletion so that you can take up the responsibility of your spiritual path. In so doing, you can become an agent of light and of the deeper, truer good that exists in life past the subjective ideas of good and bad. It is a beautiful path, and if you're reading this, it's most likely the path that you've chosen to do in this life.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Searching for Awakened Love on the Spiritual Path

I think the title of this blog is kind of a misnomer. You don't really "search for" or "seek" anything after you wake up. It's a totally different feeling. It's like the difference between curious discovery and driven, craving and desire. A person moving from the former feeling is okay if s/he doesn't find exactly what s/he wants. The latter is constantly devastated by being unable to fulfill those desires or the impermanence of fulfillment. This is yet another way that being awakened is a completely different space from how most people live their lives, and subsequently, you can see how it's a completely different space to seek romantic partnership.

Love Is Everywhere and Nowhere
When you wake up, you see love in everything. That is the nature of awakening. You see the true nature of everything. You will also see how rarely most people act out of this true nature. A lot of times it's like there's this huge amount of light and beauty around or within someone, and there's also this layer of black filth ontop of it. If there's too much junk in the way, it's not particularly easy to even see the natural soul beauty that everyone has. If you've suddenly awakened and can see the deep beauty, you may be really confused as to why people aren't acting from that space when they have so much of it.

You may also be confused when people rebut you or don't like you for trying to interact with them at that deeper level of their true self. After the initial awakening, you kinda have to recalibrate your whole understanding of life, and one of those understandings is that most people aren't ready to be met at their deepest and most true level of being. It's the truth that that pain and unconsciousness is also their greatest teacher and will be there until they are ready to let it go. And no one--no matter how loving and sincere--can make someone let go of their pain.

Awakening Love Still Rare in Embodied Form
So, it's equally surprising that while awakened love is who everyone is in the purest and truest sense of the moment, it's still in many respects a rare commodity. Depending on how much of the ego self is still hanging on, you may easily lapse into a place of loneliness and isolation. The more total the spiritual awakening that you've had, the more unlikely this is. In all the ways that our original ego holds on, we can fall back into focusing on differences and whatnot. It's not that awakening gets rid of all the separateness that we feel in the world. It's that we now understand that separateness is an illusion. We re-learn to appreciate separation because it is also part of the gift of this world. Separateness gives us the opportunity to explore the world as an individual and not be a completely blended energy mass with no point of view. It's all part of the journey, but after awakening, you've taken a step back down the road where we came from. It's a step back towards returning to the Source.

In many respects, humanity is at a critical juncture. Many of us are seeking to turn that corner and tilt the balance on this planet that has gotten so dense and lost in its separateness, individuality, and illusion. So embodied love, in my opinion, is the way of the future even if it's not particularly abundant yet.

What Is Embodied Love?
Embodied love is knowing what is in your heart, speaking from that place, and acting upon it. When loving kindness permeates your words and your actions, you treat yourself and others in the highest of integrity. You're not perfect. I don't even know what "perfect" means. You're still human and fallible in all the ways that we are all fallible, but your wisdom and love are combined so that you move from integrity. It's not blind love either. You see people for exactly who they are and where they are, and you can choose your actions. There aren't any rose-colored glasses. The reality of others is obvious if not painfully obvious. The rose-colored glasses are situations that people create when they want to see something about others or a situation.

When things don't work out in a relationship, you move to address them through loving kindness and not from a need to fix a situation. It's all about being and being present in the moment. I guess you can say that when you are in the moment that you are perfect, but I'd prefer to ditch that word entirely. It's got too many additional connotations and has caused enough problems already.

Embodied awakening isn't perfect. It's simply being you. And from that space, you are in the "perfect" space to find romantic love. ;) (And now you're like, didn't he say he wasn't going to use perfect anymore. Oh, the hypocrite!)

The Awakened Lover Within You
Part or most of the desire for partnership is gone. You may still be interested in partnership, but you won't come at it with the same longing and desperation that marks most relationships. Part of it is that you've met the awakened lover within you. A beautiful, amazing blending has gone on with the energies within you. You can call it the merging of the yin and yang. You can call it the activation of the kundalini. You can call it the melding of your masculinity and femininity. But you know that you're different and that no human lover can bring you fulfillment.

If you aren't in a place of awakening, that last sentence is jarring. You're like, "What's the point then?" The point isn't the same. It's simply something you want to do. If you want to have a romantic partner, then you choose to do so. That's it. It's not a big deal. Very little is a really big deal to you once you wake up. You still really care about a lot of things, but there's no ego drama around it. The way most human love is, there's tons of drama. There's tons of emotional garbage and karma. It's like watching a tug of war between partners. People are always trying to get something from each other. It makes people miserable when they are "in love." So many people try to get out, and then they're drawn back in still idolizing and expecting some perfect lover to appear in human form. It's why so many people by their late 20s and 30s are already so very jaded. It's sad really.

Searching for Love Becomes Discovering Love
But after you wake up, the search becomes much softer. You enjoy the different people who show up for what they have to offer. You no longer are trying to force them into a way of being. They can be exactly as they are in the moment. And of course they'll change. You can accept that too. Finding a partner who is in the same space isn't that readily available at the moment, but that's So many people are waking up that romantic relationships are having a chance to evolve. I listen to a number of different stories from friends on the spiritual path, and it's wonderful to hear how they are connecting with their paramours in such new ways. It's not perfect (I know, I'm still using this word). It never will be. But since the discovery and the sense of service that come with the awakened state are much more predominant, it is much more loving. And after all, isn't that what it's all really about anyway?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Dissolution of Ego and Loss of Reference Points

The ego knows itself because of what is around it. That's how egos work. That's the essence of duality. There is me, and there is the other (everything else). Here's an example: I am smart. I know I am smart because I have a series of reference points of other people and a framework with which to judge them by. I got an A in math. Doug got a B, and Chet got a C. Therefore, I am smarter than both Doug and Chet. From this point, the ego builds more and more of "me." Because being intellectually "smart" is valued, an ego will decide to do more math, especially since the reverse--failure--is not socially approved. Pretty soon, this ego will be a math major and get into related jobs simply because of that first reference point that also brought along with it social approval.

Social Approval: A Key to Understanding the Ego
In many respects, most people's egos are built up for some kind of social approval. Even people who go counter-culture usually have a group of people with whom they can identify with and get social approval for going against social norms. Social approval is a kind of success and reassurance to the ego. Failure of any sort is degraded in this society, and since more and more stuff is being put into the analytical test tube of judgment, every choice you make is a chance to succeed or fail. Why do you think there are so many self-help books out there about how to succeed?

But the spiritual path isn't about getting social approval or succeeding by society's rules. It isn't about giving the finger to everything in society either ("giving the finger" is a form of insult in the United States if you aren't familiar with it). It's about coming to terms with who you really are, where your passions are, and what your truth is. When you do this, in many respects, you are becoming a greater champion for all of humanity than you might know, but you will also be undermining a lot of faulty social structures. Simply put, you're gonna piss some people off.

Finding and Owning Your Truth Outside Social Values
This subhead won't be true for ever. Social values change. You can look at images of beauty through the centuries to see just how much the idea of "beauty" has changed. So too will the social values of our time continue to change. As a spiritually-aware being, you can be part of that conscious change to bring more love and light into the world. But first, you've got to find out what your truth is.

Above all else, no one can give you your truth. You've already got it inside. The work that I do with people is to help people clear away misconceptions and unconscious social belief systems so that people can hear their own inner truth. I don't have anyone's truth. No teacher, healer, guru, or self-help maven does. Certainly, there are helpful tools and ideas out there to assist you in getting a clear reflection of who you are and what you need to do. The outside world can be a really important ally, but most people haven't approached it that way. Society has taught most people that their fulfillment and answers lie outside them. And again and again people are disappointed by their lives, or their brief successes are so short-lived that they are constantly striving for something--after awhile they don't even know what it is that they are striving for.

The Spiritual Big Bang and the Ego Blows Up
Spiritual awakening is like a big bang. It realigns everything inside your heart, body, mind, and soul. You aren't the same again. It's a brand new universe for you, and you can't go back, although a lot of people may try initially. It's not that people want to go back to their old lives, but since no one has ever been taught what to do when their ego dissolves into a little pile of ash on the carpet, they don't know how to be with that. They may immediately go back into searching and striving, which will lead to another cycle of karma and pain until such time as they're ready to fully let go. And then the spiritual ego can step in.

To me, the spiritual ego is the ego that knows s/he isn't doing the driving anymore. It's a helpful marker. It's helpful to have my name. It makes it easier for people to find me online and talk to me. It is, however, not who I am. I am much bigger than "Jim." So to the spiritual ego will have preferences, but you know that you're making those choices. You know that they can change, and you know that you can let go of this ego when you need to. You also may intellectually know all this, but you may still feel really disoriented since that big blow up. You may wonder if you're doing anything right or going in the right direction.

Ego Value-Structures Lose Meaning, You're on Your Own; You're Also Free
In a very real way, you are free after you awaken. You no longer need to be right or wrong, good or bad. This won't be confused with hurting other people because you don't care what anyone else thinks or some sort of nihilistic impulse. I know that some egos would want to twist these words that way, so I encourage you to walk down this path and find out what's in spiritual awakening.

My experience is that I don't need to be a good or bad writer. I don't really know how I'm writing. I'm simply writing. It's a nice feeling to have people compliment my writing, and it generally lets me know that what I'm offering is resonating with people. But I'm not writing to be good at it. I hardly edit what I write. I know I'll have mistakes and gaps in reasoning in logic. But that doesn't matter. I don't need to compare myself to other writers or other spiritual teachers. In the space of awakening, I simply do this because it's what I am called to do, and I do it as honestly and passionately as I can. The end results will be whatever the divine plan chooses.

In many respects, this is a lot about letting go of control. Without the value structure of good or bad around something, you have WAY more freedom to just be what you are and do what you're doing. It's really scary for any remaining ego that is holding on inside of you. You really have no idea what's coming next. You're just doing what comes. You're painting what comes. You're dancing how you feel drawn to dance in the moment. You're spending more how you feel you want to spend money--you won't care about getting the best deal or the best product; whatever you choose will be okay. And if something breaks down, you'll make changes and address that situation then. This isn't mindlessness; you'll know how to do research, etc.,etc. Instead, it's the release of the iron grip on valuing everything in your life.

Disconcerting Turns to Deeply Freeing
Still, you may wonder what you're doing or where you're going. This is where the gift of the present moment comes in. You only have to worry about this moment. You don't even have to worry about it. Just be with it. If you're hungry, then eat. If you don't have food, find the means to attain it. After awhile, you'll find that you can do so much more with your life. I remember talking to a friend about how wonderful it was to play a sport or game and not care if I won or lost. It immediately makes it way more fun than caring if I'm doing it right or well. There's so much more freedom and joy with the loss of the ego and the need to value everything.

If you're no longer worried about pursuing tons of money in your career--assuming you can pay rent and provide for yourself, you'll suddenly notice just how much freedom you have to do any job that you like. Sure there may be licensing and education for some (you can't just walk into surgery tomorrow after leaving your accounting job), but you get the point. You no longer need to judge your career success against your neighbors, father, mother, brother, sister, President Obama, or Alan Greenspan. You can do whatever you want to do.

Spiritual Freedom and the Path of Awakening
For most people, they aren't free. I find it ironic that people talk about "freedom" so much in the United States, yet they are shackled to a way of living. You get on a commuter train after a long day of work and tell me how many people look happy versus fatigued, angry, and despondent. That's not living your dreams or being free. Living what you truly enjoy and living in your truth is hardly an easy path in the way that people seek luxury, but it is immensely rewarding. It leaves a sparkle in the eye at the end of a long day, and really, we're all ultimately here to light up the world. So I leave it to you if you want to hold on all these external reference points that tell you how beautiful, intelligent, or successful you are, or if you are ready to let go into a new, unknown reality.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Healing the Schism Between the Mother and Whore Archetypes in Women and Why Men Should Care

I was listening to David Brown on Youtube not too long ago as he talked about the two main roles or archetypes that women are allowed to embody in Western Society: the Mother and the Whore. I won't say that I agree with everything he says in the video I watched, but I did like his distinction about what's going on for women in who they can be. Everything else that women do, they have to do in a male framework. So, if a woman wants to be successful in business, she's expected to act more like a man. The same goes for sports and plenty of other things. I think being a nurse might be an exception, but then what's going on is that she's essentially still the archetype of the Mother.

Obviously, this isn't healthy to allow so few ways for feminine energy to be expressed in society. In a deeper way, the archetype of the whore is an extreme bastardization of women's sexuality, and it's had horrible repercussions. And this issue isn't limited to women; it very much affects men and how they relate to themselves, women, and sexuality in general.

The Emerging Divine Feminine and Healing Women
I am careful about how much spiritual jargon I use. Phrases like "emerging divine feminine" or "emerging consciousness" fall into that category because when I say them, how many of you really know what I mean? When I say the emerging divine feminine, I'm referring to the natural energy of women that's come to balance out the energy of the world (which while male-dominated, isn't dominated by men; it's dominated by incomplete boys--but I'm getting ahead of myself). This energy is bringing with it a lot of love, deep intimacy, nurturance, and connection. It's not that we're going to be worshipping women; it's that we're going to all know how to honor and respect the roles of the divine feminine in every aspect of our lives. For men, that can mean we will honor our bodies better (I mean, dude, you're sick; go to the doctor for goodness sake). Obviously women will be honoring their bodies better too. In the realms of receiving, nurturing, and sexuality, we see the natural realms of women.

Gendered Stereotypes and Transcending Sexuality Perceptions
I typically stay out of men are this and women are that stereotypes, but for the sake of what's happening, it's useful. Ultimately, we all have masculine and feminine aspects to ourselves. Bringing them into balance and alignment brings us into alignment with the world around us and our relationships. Women can be strong and forceful warriors and leaders too. I'm not skewing women to only be one way; I'm focusing on certain aspects of femininity because they've taken such a beating for so long. I think the re-emergence of the divine feminine  is also why so many young women are waking up so soon. Lately, the women reaching out to me are really young (early 20's); it seems like that consciousness is just pushing them along quicker (or maybe the guys are more afraid to reach out, who knows?). But what happened to cause a lot of these problems in the first place? Division.

In Christian culture, the idea of the mother and the whore is reflected in divine Mother Mary (who doesn't have sex to become pregnant with Jesus) and Mary Magdalene (the Whore, who is interpreted to have had a wide variety of relationships with Jesus depending on who tells you the story). This is an absurd division to make. I love the concept of a divine born baby, but we're all divine born. So to divide sexuality from Mother Mary is a grossly unfortunate thing to do. Piled on top of the guilt complex around Eve and the story of her tempting Adam, Christian culture has denigrated women to secondary roles. This has to stop. A lot of Christians and churches know this and have righted those wrongs. And I'm not in any way saying Christianity is bad, I'm saying that there is a problem and am looking at one of the root causes. I'm saying that this division between mother and whore has been damaging to all of societies where it's played out, and it needs to stop.

The Whore: Used, Abused, and Even Worshipped
The whore is essentially female sexuality. All the connotations around her are bad. She is unclean, evil, and lost. Her body is both sought after and abused. You can see her in advertising these days. People covet these thin young female bodies, and yet pretty soon they are quickly abused-verbally or physically. I think Britney Spears has ridden that curve in her career.

For men, the female body is secretly worshipped and idolized until they get her. Then their own sexual shame drives them to use or abuse that sexuality. It's a big f--ing mess, people. In many ways, the whore is within men too (Guys, you really have to own your femininity; it'll make you real men, not sissies--you already are that if you don't appreciate and love your female energy). Because guys use their bodies to get a feeling, and an underlying sense of shame is often there except in one situation--making children with the Mother.

The Mother: A Restricted Role
In some parts of religion, the only kind of sex that's okay is procreative. In that way, men and women are finally sanctioned to have sex. It makes a lot of young couples run into marriages that they're not ready for because that's the only outlet for their sexuality. From the space of the Mother, women can find a role that society accepts. It's a restricted one, and while women have done a lot to expand what other roles they can have outside of the home and the hearth, a lot of it involves losing their femininity to take on those different roles. It's a shame. It's a shame because there is so much wisdom in women from head to toe. Our society has lost that wisdom. Now, we're trying to get it back.

Sensual Mother and Empowered Lover
First off, sex is okay. That's important to come to terms with. Until you're okay with your sexuality, no one else will be. You may also judge people badly depending on how they are with sexuality because you're not okay with your own. This applies to men and women. Men, you aren't giving up your power to women. Instead, you're being challenged to understand your own inner sexuality and maternal instincts. In this way, we become strong passionate lovers and amazing fathers. We defend our hearts by knowing them, not by using our fists. And we worship our lovers' bodies by the depth in which we know our own.

For women, the sensual mother is the merging of the divine mother and whore. It loses the terrible connotations of the whore; it doesn't make you promiscuous. It makes you discerning about your lovers and when how you give your love to them. You can take on the aspect of the mother without necessarily having children. You can see this in the way some women are with nurturing others. Lord knows, there are so many places that need to be nurtured in society that we all won't be able to get enough of this. You will also not be abusing your own bodies to fit the images of others who are trying to remember what beauty is. A size zero dress is not beauty--it's a failed attempt to remember what real beauty is. Real beauty is already within you. Let go of the ideas that have been enforced on you and fall into this space.

In an even deeper way, some women will be called to use their sexuality as a way to birth themselves and men. Sexuality is a doorway to enlightenment, healing, and rebirth in general. There is such deep longing in so many men to be men, but the aspects of connecting with women and into man's own femininity have been lost. So men abuse sex, drugs, money, power, and their bodies to try and feel like men. If you want to see how bad it is, go watch "Fast Five" when it comes out. In the previews that I've seen, it pretty much outlines every possible way that men are out of control, and it'll show plenty of images of the whore. But in some women (not all), they will take men into their sexuality and help them to become true men. It's a beautiful offering, but one that's been lost and confused as some kind of prostitution. People who think that simply don't understand that there are ways in which sex is a ritual rebirthing for men--a lost rite of passage and part of the reason that so many boys from very early on think that they have to have sex with a woman before they can become men.

Sexuality Is a Piece, But Not the Whole of the Equation
If I'm focusing on sexuality, it's because this is where the hammer has fallen the hardest on women. It is hardly the whole of the equation. As women come to heal the fissures within and the divine feminine embodies within them, many other roles and ways of being are going to open. Those roles will open in a brand new way so that if a woman is a Teacher, then she teaches in balance with her male and female energy. If she is a healer, the fullness of female energy is available there too. It won't be locked away as taboo anymore (Just think of some really distant and stodgy doctors in the case of the healer--not much female energy happening there). That energy also will be able in balance and not just running to a new extreme because that's the gift of the times today. It's an amazing shift to be in. It's one that will leave both men and women happier, healthier, and more fulfilled in their lives. You simply have to be ready to allow it to come into your life, and one way or another it will.
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