Sunday, February 27, 2011

Coming to Completion

As many of you know, I recently finished my ebook, Everyday Spirituality: Cultivating an Awakening. I'm still a little in awe and shock. For years, I've dreamt of writing a book, and the way this thing has tumbled out of me over the past months is just amazing. It's awe-inspiring what happens when you align with spirit.

This book really isn't about me either. It's what has come through me. I just got out of the way most days and tried not to second guess what I was writing. I've done enough second-guessing for most of my life. Whenever I did that in my writing or otherwise, things didn't go as well as when I just trusted. This, as I've mentioned before, has nothing to do with blind faith. Your inner knowing and your guidance makes you extremely clear-eyed. You see things for what they are, and you act accordingly. You just trust what you do and say in those situations, and usually, things turn out better than you can possibly imagine. So was it with writing this book.


Completion Instead of Ending
One of the important parts of the spiritual path is coming to understand when something completes. Most things are enforced endings. You graduated high school because some mysterious force out there decided that so many credits, years, and courses meant that you now had the academic acumen to move on. It's silly, of course. Some people really have learned enough for their life paths in two years at high school. Some people need more years, yet we all try to cram ourselves into the 4-year process. Then when we toss off our caps and celebrate, we assume that we're done. That's a human ending; that's not completion at all.

Later on, you find out if you were really done. If you weren't, you end up taking more classes later on to fill in the spaces where you didn't really get all that you needed from a class. And still this metaphor doesn't work particularly well because someone else is still telling you where you're done. Completion, however, comes from within.

Your Inner Knowing Speaks Up
I'm a broken record about a lot of things; your inner knowing and intuition is one such thing. They're so critical to being able to find truth and understand what's right for you. They help you to turn your attention away from the noise of the world to find the deeper meaning inside you. As such, your inner knowing is what pipes up and says, "I'm done." It says things like:
  • "Now I'm done in this relationship."
  • "I'm complete at this job."
  • "This book is done."
When it speaks, you know it's the truth. This inner knowing is like all others; it's deep, quiet, and clear. There's no fear to it, although your mind may run in yelling, "Wait! Wait! I need this job. I can't be done here." But you are. And it will be really painful to try and stick around in something where the energy has suddenly left for you.

The Everyday Spirituality Book Completes: The Weight Bears Down
I felt the book finish on an energetic level last Wednesday. My little ego mind ran in saying, "But don't we need to edit it about 3 trillion more times?" No. I don't. That's not what matters to spirit. Spirit rarely cares much about perfection. Perfection is such a human idea; it's rather silly. To Spirit, all of creation is perfect. In the case of my book, it is a tool; it's a means for energy transmission through words. Later on in life, perhaps I'll be able to write in baby babble, and people will feel the energy all the same. For now, I use concepts and create a loose framework for people to understand spirituality. The perfect grammar and syntax isn't so important; the energy is already there. It's complete

The weight I feel is in the responsibility. I know that I've sent out a pretty major energy shockwave. It's already rippled out past my immediate friends as they've forwarded it on to other people. And that's what's meant to happen. It's meant to be passed on and on so that others can read it and share it. It's meant to help everyone wake up to who they really are. With that kind of force flowing through me to others, I also have to be responsible to helping people as they shift. I can't just light a fire and run off in the hills; I have to tend it. In so doing, I'm also fanning the flames; there's a lot of change already coming. I'm very much part of it; soon you will be too.

Because we are all trying to wake up together. A few of us waking up is not enough. We all have to come to completion with our karmic cycles as soon as possible or more pain and bloodshed will continue to transpire. Haven't we had enough pain? Haven't we had enough sorrow, misery, and anger? I know that I've seen enough in my few years here; I hope you have too.


One Path Ends, A New One Begins
I'm at a point in my life where I'm about to shift gears in a serious way. I don't exactly know what that looks like, but I know that with the completion of the book, a big part of my current path has completed. To tell you the truth, I'm pretty damned tired. I feel like I could be on vacation for a couple of years. To tell you the truth, I know that won't happen and that things are about to really accelerate for me. It is equally exciting and daunting even though it is all exactly what I want.

Because I chose this path. Sometimes, it's just so intense to have everything feel like it's happening the way it should. For a good portion of my life, I felt stymied and off-course. I felt like nothing was going the way I wanted. Well, a spiritual awakening is a major course correct, but it doesn't look like what you think you wanted. I've learned how little I knew about what's actually right for me. So, this path that I'm finishing and the path I'm about to start don't really look familiar. I think that's one of the mischievous things about karmic cycles; they may suck and be miserable, but you know what's coming. So people stay in those loops because of that bizarre comfort of predictability. But I no longer want to get whacked in the head the same way, and so I changed course. Which also means, I really don't know what's exactly coming.

All I do know is that I've come to a new sense of completion. A doorway has quietly shut, which is as it should. A new one is just about to open. I wonder what is in store for me now.


Special thanks to Arran Edmonstone for today's picture. You can see more of his photography on this Flickr link.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Everyday Spirituality: Cultivating an Awakening

My ebook, Everyday Spirituality: Cultivating an Awakening, offers advice for people to bring spirituality more fully into their lives. For those interested in spiritual awakening, it can help them create a space for that opening, although nothing can make a spiritual awakening happen.


Amazon Kindle Version

FYI: This is a link to Amazon's Kindle version, but you don't need a Kindle to read a Kindle eBook. On the page, there's a free app you can download that will allow you to read a Kindle ebook on any device.




Click here to get app and/or buy Everyday Spirituality: Cultivating an Awakening on Amazon.com.




Everyday Spirituality Overview
More than 200 pages long, this book is full of down-to-earth tips and practical ways to be more mindful and loving in your life.

If you're just starting out creating a spiritual path, the ebook offers tips to build a spiritual practice that works within the confines of your busy life and to become more conscious about yourself and how you create your life.

If you need to heal, this book has a section that offers different ideas and practices to heal everything from your heart to your sexuality to your mind's constant chatter.

If you're ready to go deep, the Awaken section takes you further into yourself to amplify your energy and create space for deeper connection and potentially an opening into a profound experience.

I hope this spirituality ebook is helpful to you and assists you in seeing that spirituality is with you in every day and every second of your life.

Read Reviews of Everyday Spirituality: Cultivating an Awakening

Monday, February 21, 2011

Stagnation

My student, Susan, offers her experiences with a lull in awakening and how she's learned to trust the slower moments of the spiritual path.

After experiencing an intense return of energy over the past few months, I've come to a point of stagnation.The initial awakening seemed like a blast of overwhelming Light. The sensation has changed in a way that I am now experiencing a much softer and subtle energy. At first I felt a sense of frustration with the concept of stagnation. My ego was frustrated with the sudden change and the difficulty with defining such calmness.

With further contemplation, I discovered that describing stillness is like defining the concept of air. It seemed practically impossible to do such a thing, especially since my sensation of air is different than anyone else's. Then I realized the same can be said for delineating the flow of energy. Air is also energy. To describe the concept of air as being stagnant can be the equivalent to trying to do the same for still water in a pond. It seems like water is just resting there, when in fact, the infinite amount of molecules are colliding constantly. That's not even mentioning all the life that is moving between those molecules in the depths of the pond water (insects, fish, algae, etc). This analogy with water is similar to that of air.

I explored the concept even further by applying stagnation to my daily life. My life is chaotic on the surface in that it is packed with my clinical field work for school, work on the weekends, studying, errands, and managing everything else that life brings. All this planning and completion of one task after another is necessary to bring some kind of organization in my life. At some point, the cycle of being busy seems to be routine. Sometimes, I find myself unconsciously feeling as if I am just "going through the motions." In the past, I used to feel a sense of anxiety when it seemed that nothing much was changing. Sometimes my ego even tried to stir up drama to make things interesting. Now, when I feel that tinge of boredom, I counteract it with awareness. I not only become aware of the feeling, I am aware of everything around me. Then suddenly, things don't seem boring anymore.

For example, I was sitting in a coffee shop today doing my normal studying routine during my normal lunch break from my normal day at work. Everything seemed to be as usual until I became very aware of my surroundings. I became aware of the people around me, the variety of conversations, energy, even the sensation of the sun beaming through the window. In just moments, I perceived my whole environment to be as if I was experiencing it for the first time. I came to understand that even when things seem stagnant, there is still so much that is moving. The veil of stagnation is only a perception that can be lifted with awareness.

During this time of stillness, I have also noticed the ego trying to restore its control over my mind more than ever before. This time it is in the form of the spiritual ego, attempting to refuel the pain-body. I am at a crossroads where I must choose to be present with the ego and notice it for what it is rather than let it consume me like it used to in the past. The responsibility is exhausting at times since the ego can be seen at any given moment. However, instead of looking at the ego as a burden, I'm learning to see it as my most precious teacher. It gives me an opportunity to finally let go. I realize the more I am present with my lower self, then the more I will understand it is anything but my enemy. The ego is a part of me. Anything that is a part of me is part of Creation. So how could I label as something "wrong" for that very reason?

The last few weeks of settling into this placidity has been a process to say the least. It has taken time and patience, but also has been a welcomed lesson. I am learning that to ride the trough of this wave can be just as exciting as riding the crest. It is just a matter of perception and knowing that all is transitional.

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.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Awakening the Mind: The Intellect Knows Its Place, Internal Waters Still

The mind has begun to know its place. You've had a few moments of profound quiet, but you're still noisy. Noticing the noise, however, shows the emergence of your deeper stillness. Before this, you didn’t notice or didn't know what to do. Now there's an active awareness, and the further you engage with spirituality, the more stillness can manifest as you let go of old thought patterns--as you let go of all thought patterns.

The Mind Like the Ego: Just a Tool
I've said before that the ego is just a tool. So too is the mind. They get mixed up together. I see the ego as a grouping of personality traits. The mind is the record that repeats those traits and stories to the ego to reinforce it. They've worked pretty succinctly together, but now they're being turned to service of spirit. That's what they should have been doing all along, but things have been screwed up. We're all coming together to fix that now. In so doing, the mind is being returned to its rightful place as a tool. It's back to being a hammer guided by the hand instead of hitting the hand and everything else around it. In so doing, it becomes an invaluable tool to rebuild yourself and our world.

The Keen Intellect and the Rise of Discernment
As the ego drops away and genuine intuition, love, and understanding grow, discernment arises. Discernment is different than judgment. Judgment is viewing a situation and placing your personal filter on it. You see a girl start crying after a guy walks away. You think, "Well, he's a jerk" or "She obviously deserved it." You have no idea. However, with discernment, you can see it more clearly. Details become sharper, clearer. Perhaps you notice the diamond ring in his hand and her shaking her head, "No." Perhaps, your intuitive awareness can feel how rejected he is. Or perhaps, you can feel how un-ready she is for the commitment. It's very interesting what discernment will show you as you let go of your own need to categorize and define a situation.

The broader context is that you're going to be smarter about a lot of situations in your life. You're less reactive. That's crucial. In all the places where you react via an old mental program, you can learn from that. You can learn from that reaction because that's where your ego is still in charge. That's where your mind is just replaying a learned program that says, when this happens, I should respond like that. But without the ego trying to play those games anymore, when something happens in your personal life, work life, or any other aspect of your life, you may find yourself meeting those situations with more curiosity and the ability to choose your responding actions.

Curiosity: A Natural Mental Aspect
In many ways, the spiritual path takes us backwards into our childhood. Back there is where we remembered to play and to be with what was. In all of that, most all of us had this insatiable curiosity. To me, that's the mind enjoying the unfolding in front of it. It's saying, "What's this?" The exploration around that question is genuine, and the mind appreciates what it finds. The child isn't trying to stuff the experience into a box to store away in its head, although being able to loosely categorize experiences is helpful. The awakened mind doesn't strip away all mental functioning. It's starting fresh. It's coming at this with a looser grip on mental constructs and logic. You use them where they're necessary, like balancing your bank account. Then you put it aside and just explore your life and the world around you.

That's half the point of being alive; to just explore and enjoy the amazing opportunity it is to be human. Anywhere the ego is holding the mind hostage, it's less effective. The mind can't use all of its tool to discern and to discover. Subsequently, you're still looking for a specific result and a way to explain things to the satisfaction of your ego. This desire will fall away on the spiritual path. As you go down this road, all that kind of control is breaking apart. Let it go. It's not necessary. You won't be a brainless mess; you'll actually be in charge of your life for the first time.

I know your ego can't believe it. But it's true. With your original ego still in control, you haven't been in charge of your own life. You've been lost to the programming and the control. So now, you're getting your life back. You're getting your mind back.

Stillness Thinks
For those who've gone further, you know where the still point is. You're accessing it more readily. From this point, thoughts still arise. You can choose to act on them or not to act on them. They're much less layered in fear, guilt, and desire. You no longer need to be motivated that way. And because you no longer need to be moved to action through those old karmic triggers, the stillness in your mind deepens. This is a profound thing that arises as you let go even more deeply. You can't make yourself stop thinking, but you can face all the things that you didn't want to think about. You can release them, and you can stop energizing old thought patterns. They've run their course.

Many things run their course in spiritual awakening. You can see how almost all pain has simply wanted to be acknowledged and released. In acknowledging pain, you have one of the greatest powers of the mind on the spiritual path. The mind sees the pain, and it knows it. In knowing it, you can release a lot if not all of it. Some types of pain require other tools as I've mentioned in this blog, but the mind is now serving its deepest function of healing at this junction. In so doing, it's coming into the space of awakening where all thoughts come to stillness and the waters of thought move with the deeper, sacred currents of life.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Awakened Voice Speaks and Also Listens

As you speak with integrity, the depth of integrity in which you can listen also grows. To me, they're conjoined twins. They really can't go anywhere without each other. The deeper your ability to be present to someone and to listen, the more you'll hear. But your hearing won't be limited to just the words. We all know that people say more than just words. They speak with emotions, intonations, their bodies, and their energy. As you deepen your ability to listen, you'll begin to hear what's really being said on multiple levels from the pain in someone's body to the pain in their heart to the pain of a lost love.

Boundaries to Active Listening
Dissolve
When you practice active listening, you create a safe space for someone to simply be themselves. The more of your own issues that you clear from your life, the more you can be with someone in any issue that they may have. Most times, a lot of people won't listen to someone who is upset because that upset energy activates the pain inside them. They've been avoiding their own pain, and anyone else who has a similar pain will re-ignite that issue. So they run away.

You will find as you awaken into this space that more people will want to talk to you, oftentimes about their problems. This is a reflection of the integrity that you're now working in and the level of awareness that is radiating out from you. It's a reflection that you are moving from a space of authenticity, and it is part of coming into union with the sacredness and the healing available in life.

Reflective Listening: Beyond Being Active

Coming down the spiritual path and doing the work to know yourself fully gives you more ability to be with someone in whatever pain they're in. There's less inside you to get activated by the energy and emotions that are coming out. Deeper still, as your energy body really ignites and your soul is engaged, you start to exude energy. It's natural. You can't force it. It'll happen. From that space, you'll not only hear and receive, but you'll reflect their energy back.

I oftentimes talk to people about this "reflective listening." On one level, we're all used to talking to someone who isn't interested in us nor understands what we're talking about. On another, we know what it is like to talk to someone who doesn't understand us, but s/he is interested in us. Further along, you'll get to a point where you talk to someone who is interested, understands, and can reciprocate in the conversation. Reciprocity doesn't even need to be in words. You know when someone gets it. And when someone understands you on an energy level, there's a whole other level of reciprocity, and that is, in and of itself, extremely nurturing and healing.

The Power of Presence
For some people, they might call this style of listening the power of presence. Once again, this is another way where multiple levels of our energy system are blending together. The seven levels, which are loosely based on the chakras, start to melt away. The scaffolding of the path starts to get taken down. It is only meant to help you come into yourself and to build a path to that doorway inside you. As your full presence and spirit manifests, a lot of things are no longer necessary, but if they are, that's okay. Use them as much as you need to.

So while listening at first was simply something of your mind, you realize that as it awakens that you're listening from your whole body. Everything is open and listens to what someone says. You are finding it much easier to interpret and express this information as well, although you now also have a very deep awareness of how much can't be expressed in words. So too, you're understanding the purpose of silence and the purposes of other means of communication such as touch, gentle eye gaze, and energy movement. Your abilities to communicate are magnified and multiplied even as your listening your abilities do the same, and in many ways, it's because your ability to listen is expanding.

Using the Same Tools, Nothing Special Is Ever Needed
Listening and talking in awakened awareness can still be helped along by many of the tools that I've mentioned before. The work gets more subtle. So perhaps, you find yourself doing vocalizations in your own intuitive sound healing. This means that you simply find a tone that feels good to you to sing or chant. You let your voice make whatever sounds it needs to make and fall into the beautiful rhythms of the vocal energy coming from you.

In many ways, you're morphing the tools into the shapes that you need. Your intuitive awareness and inner guidance has stepped forward. You know what you need to speak your truth and hear the truth in others.

Similarly, you're going to know where the pain is in yourself and others. It will be easier to talk about now if you've been doing the spiritual work. You'll be able to point to something in another with more compassion and love. You'll be able to do the same with yourself. Journaling will take on a different tenor. What you wrote about before and focused on will shift as your voice shifts. You may even find yourself channeling some of your inner guidance through your writing as you let go and just let whatever wants to flow come onto the page.

It's all becoming very, very simple. No retreat or long stay at an ashram is needed as you come more deeply into your awareness, but you'll also know when you need it. You know what to say and when to listen. As you trust and have even more faith in this, your voice opens up further and whatever you need to say in this lifetime will be available.

Next blog: Awakening the Mind: The Intellect Knows Its Place, Internal Waters Still

Monday, February 7, 2011

Awakening Your Voice: Speaking with New Integrity

An awakened voice begins to pull together multiple pieces of your overall intelligence. You can speak in very grounded and authentic ways. There is no lie in your voice. To speak falsely will choke you up, and coming down this corridor, to speak disingenuously about how you feel becomes harder and harder to do. You won't be able to say you like the turkey if you don't really like it. It's not cruel, even if the other person doesn't like to hear that. It is simply being in your truth.

Your Voice and Responsibility

The more awareness that manifests for you, the more responsibility comes with it. These are tools for the healing of the world and not playthings to show off. If you can regale a whole crowd with a story, then you will find that only certain types of stories are okay. Most often, these are the ones that are moving you forward with your soul's purpose. Sometimes that purpose is to bring joy to people through laughter. Other times, it's to share a message for healing or action. It will depend on what you're supposed to do with your voice.

For many, your responsibility to your voice will simply be to be honest. It is a simple little thing, and all the major religions pretty much agree that it is essential. Whether it's the Buddhist tenet of practicing "Right speech" or the Christian commandment that "Thou shalt not bear false witness," people have known for millennia that honesty is essential. So too in the awakening of your voice, wherever there is dishonesty, that is a blockage to you opening fully into all the things you need to say.

Opening to New Levels of Speech
Opening to the deeper abilities in your voice will vary. It may be that you find you're a natural singer. You may be an amazing orator. You may also be a powerful counselor or therapist. Being with people, you can use your abilities to listen in conjunction with your words to help people heal or become more aware of something. The ways that speech get used in life are many.

Even if you're already very proficient with your voice, the more deeply you are in integrity and intention with it, the more you'll be able to do with it. I've had spaces in my life where I'm kinda like "Wow, did I really just say that? I didn't even know that I knew that." Which is leading to an even bigger aspect of an open, clear voice: you can become a conduit for divine messages.

Prophesying and Channeling: Tools Anyone Can Do
Prophesying and channeling allow words to come down from your connection to the divine. People in these spaces often have no prior knowledge of the information that they're talking about. Edgar Cayce was an amazing example of this. He could go into a trance to pull down information to accurately heal people or predict many events. However, in my own life, I can tell you that you don't need to be in a trance to pull in this information. The important part is having a clear path that you hold without judgment.

As your upper energy centers are clearer and clearer, things can more easily flow down through you. Everyone will have different levels of ability to do this. It depends on what you're supposed to do, and everyone has their specific gifts. Some people will be naturally gifted at doing this, and others will have to put more energy and intention into it. But as you learn to simply say what arises, you are clearing the way for this to manifest. This, of course, is different than just bluntly blurting out whatever unconscious, random idea comes to you. In earlier sections of connecting with your voice, you should have been working on understanding why you say what you say and clearing away negative feelings. If nothing else, the awakened voice speaks with love.

Once again, having friends where you can just talk through things really helps. At first, talking through things helps to heal things and open your voice. As you go along, more becomes possible.

But you got to take the muzzle off.

Your Silence Serves No One
There's a lot of wisdom percolating in people these days, but some people come to think that they have to be silent and say nothing on the spiritual path. They are afraid to get into an ego-battle, I think. I get that. Certainly, an awakened voice doesn't care about being right. It cares about simply expressing itself. Its words are its expression, and the clearer you are, the more you truly have to offer. In that space, your silence serves no one. It's also not about being perfect in what you say. That's another ego idea that keeps people locked up. There is no perfect expression, at least not for the ego. The perfect expression for you is trusting yourself, speaking from the heart, being in your vulnerability, being in your truth, and just letting the words come out.

Too much silence from kind, open, spiritual people has let a lot of other noise hold sway. Those of us speaking and writing now are aiming to make more space for authentic voices. Let yours join in this growing chorus, and you may begin to feel your Truth activate even more deeply in your life.

Next blog: The Awakened Voice Speaks, But Also Listens

Friday, February 4, 2011

Awakening Love in Relationships

As love awakens within you, the door to deeper, loving relationships opens wider. You have to understand, though, that this isn't just in the romantic context. While love definitely is growing in a romantic relationship, it's also growing in all your relationships. It's growing because that's the space that you're choosing to come from. As you fully embody that choice, you then move from that space without any need for an active choice. For example, when someone is first kind to you, you may need to choose to be loving in response. You may not be used to kindness, so that's why the mental choice is necessary. Over time, the loving response is the natural reaction; it is what arises for you.

As you've worked through other issues inside yourself that block you from love, the depths of love become more available to you from others. Here are some ways that you may see that manifestation of love.

People Like Working With You

Continuing to break apart the notion that love is only something for romance (don't worry about it, I'll talk about romance soon), one of the ways that love manifests is in people wanting to be around you. People say things like "You're easy to work with" or "We always want her on our projects." You might not be the best at what you do, but you're pleasant to be around. What is this pleasantness? It's the love that's exuding from you. People's kind responses to you are the manifestations of love being returned to you from your genuine actions with your co-workers and bosses. That's the spread of awakened love. Even if others don't understand what's going on, you do. And it's important to be able to understand that reflection you're seeing.

Keep in mind, that not everyone will love you all the time. It doesn't work that way. Being a loving individual will sometimes show others how dark and mean-spirited they are. Lots of people won't like that, so they may work against you or avoid you. But my overall experience around this is that most people will just really like having you around.

New Loving Friendships Appear
As you've learned to love yourself, you no longer tolerate people who don't treat you well. It's just not worth your time, and you care too much about yourself and them to just grin and bear it. You understand that being around people who are mean or who are mean to themselves oftentimes is just fueling the cycle. You aren't going to try to save them or change them. You can simply love them and let them go until such time as they can meet you on this new footing focused in love.

Meanwhile, other people will notice. Perhaps people that you'd had little to do with suddenly take an interest in you. You may feel surprised. You're wondering where this sudden interest in you came from. It comes from a similar energy vibration. It comes from the heart. Consciously or not, they can tell that you're in a more loving space. In turn, you'll experience these friendships differently than those in the past. Depending on where you are in your life, this may be shocking at first to have so much love offered your way. Love offered could be free tickets to the opera, an invitation to carpool, babysitting offers, and plenty of other manifestations. You may wonder, "Where did all this come from? Where did this abundance of love and kindness come from?"

It's simple. It came from you.

That's not saying that other person doesn't have a role to play, but love is fluid. It's always flowing. The more you step into that flow, the more you connect with others who are in it. And love comes from you to them, and then it comes from them back to you. As I mentioned in an earlier topic, this is the fluidity of giving and receiving.

Spiritual Romance: Love Awakens More Deeply
Abiding that you're with a partner who has a similar dedication to spirituality, your romance will deepen. There will be spaces of union, compassion, and understanding that get opened that you could never have imagined. The flow of it will be beautiful. The ability to conflict resolve will be more peaceful. The ego has let go of so much of the relationship that it might be initially scary (at least where the ego is still trying to control it), but it will be far more true to both you and your partner. You'll be able to ride the ebbs and flows of the relationship with much more integrity and grace. You'll know that when something is happening for your partner that it's not about you and vice-versa. The lack of personal claims and grievances clears the space for whatever needs to grow and flourish between you.

And when it is ready to complete, the relationship is let go with little to no effort. Because in awakened love, you understand that all relationships are transitory. Even if they last 3 lifetimes, they will come to an end. The point is to appreciate all aspects of it until we come to that ultimate space of union at the end of our lives and the cycles of soul learning.

Spiritual Love in All Things
Deeper still, you now can see the love and spirituality in all things. You are feeling a profound sense of interconnection with the high rise skyscraper as well as the meanest thief. This is a profound place. It may be part of the actual awakening taking places if you're starting to feel this. If so, just let everything fall away. Be in this love.

If you're not in this space, you can start to make a practice on focusing on different things, people, and places and sending love to them. Can you look at a pair of scissors and feel in love with even that? Try it. See what happens. What comes up? See all the ways that doubt runs in to trivialize the exercise. That is yet another place where the mind is at work and blocking the deeper connection of love.

In all things, there is love. That is awakening to love. Not when you know this concept, but when you truly feel it in your heart do you know that you've begun to come awake.

Special thanks to Arran Edmonstone for today's picture. You can see more of his awesome photos on this Flickr link 

Next blog: Awakening Your Voice: Speaking With New Integrity

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Awakening Your Heart

You will start to notice that these topics all blend after awhile in this awakening section. While this section won't "awaken" you per se, it's blending together important elements. My hope in all my writing is that these ideas lead you to a richer life if nothing else. And at the center of a rich happy life is a life full of love, full of heart.

Awakening to Love in Everything
I've talked about how to open a closed heart and heal a broken heart. I've talked about how this path leads to unconditional love of everything and everyone--including yourself, especially yourself. In every way, the further down this path you go, the more you realize that love is the central hub for everything. It's at the center of this wheel, and the more you activate it, the more everything flows into and out of your life.

It's Time to Love Everyone--Including Your Enemies
I had a subhead in an earlier section about not having to love everyone yet. Well, now it's time. If you've done all the work to open your heart, this will start to come naturally. You'll start to see how most people you consider "enemies" or "antagonists" are merely projections of yourself. They become counterpoints to you and show you the blindspots in your own personality. You learn how to handle them with a sense of love, and you learn how to treat yourself with a sense of love around them. In really abusive situations, this means leaving the situation and the person. Because being abused never is love. And that person may need to get some serious help.

You may need serious help too, but as I said, if you've come to this part, hopefully, you've already been working on the healing that is needed.

Opening Up on Every Level to Love
This is a big thing and a transformative thing. Opening up on every level means you'll be speaking with love, thinking in love, acting in love, and so much more. I know this is using the word "love" an awful lot, but it's truly who we are when we strip away the cynicism, the self-hate, the despair, the sadness, and all the other crappy things we've piled on top of ourselves. We really understand that we are all love, and from that space, we re-create our lives.

And this isn't the co-dependent kind of love that clings to others. This love is strong and accountable. Someone who truly loves themselves and is awakened won't tell you what to do. They'll connect to you through invitation. It's such a very different space--things are never taken, they are offered, received, and given. An awakened heart person doesn't want to hurt anyone, and this person sees how everyone is interconnected. They are interested in a deeper kind of harmony than the external one that most people are used to. Peace on the surface is not peace underneath. Internal peace is the goal, and so the loving actions taken by an awakened heart are always towards this internal peace, which at times will likely stir the waters.

Giving and Receiving Flow
If you are ready to move into a deeper space of heart, practice giving and receiving equally. Both are critical. There is this unfounded notion that you should always be giving. That will simply deplete you and deprive you of the joy of receiving--and the joy of someone else being able to give to you. They are a beautiful pair, so where they both are, bliss can truly manifest.

Having a spiritual connection with friends is an amazing thing on the energy level. Sitting across from someone who is open allows the energy of connection to naturally move. It always feels like it is growing. So if the other person offered energy to me, what I give back is now bigger because of what was offered. And what the other person returns is even bigger because of the combination of our earlier offerings. The energy grows and grows as walls come down, and our souls naturally move towards union.

When I say union, I don't mean sex. I know it's hard to even wrap your mind around some of this. We've all been separate for far too long. But since we are all interconnected, our hearts and souls are always looking to re-merge together. It's like a whole set of magnets wanting to pull back together. From the space of connection, two friends or even business partners can do amazing things in the world with great integrity.

Giving and Receiving: Tips to Open the Heart More Deeply
I want to ground this blog post since the idea of energy moving between people may still be rather esoteric for most. Essentially everything is energy, so you can do this with a physical object. Find a friend to share gifts with at least once a week. It can be buying each other dinner, creating something like a poem or piece of art for one another, or even buying beer for each other. Whatever works for you. But when you make the offering and when you are about to receive one, really focus on what you're feeling. This will help you to see where you are still holding back.

If you're a giver and you suddenly don't feel like you can give, just note the feeling. See what happens when you do it anyway. You should talk to your friend about this.

If you are the receiver and you don't want to receive, note that emotion. Where did it come from? Why do you feel that way? Then see what happens when you receive. Discuss your experiences together, and continue this practice for at least six weeks. See what comes up.

As you go along, you should start to feel a growing sense of connection with your friend too. It may feel very different than other relationships because so many other relationships end up lopsided. One person is always the giver; the other is always the receiver. The sharing isn't mutual, and that can be depleting. The receiver may want to be able to give back but not know how. The giver may get sick of always having to give or do everything. A relationship breaks under this strain.

Love Always Starts With You
Heart awakening always starts with you, so as you go, you're going to discover more of your internal barriers to love. As you release them, you're going to have more space in your life to give and receive. Much of the awakening path is about creating more and more space for us to be with any situation in integrity and in love. To do so, we have to melt away all those places inside that are still full of pain. Just let it go. You've been doing the work. You don't need a reason to keep this stuff anymore. You don't need to hurt. Just let it all go so that love can come back in, and if you're in the right space in this life, the spark of awakening may come with it too.

Next blog: Awakening Love in Relationships
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