Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Fear of Breaking Free

There is a point on the spiritual path where someone knows that they have to make a change. It's a critical time. It's right at the edge of breaking free, and while there often are many of these types of moments as the many veils of illusion are shed, there is usually one really key moment where a person knows there's no going back. They suddenly see that there is a price to pay--or at least, this is how the ego views it. In truth, at this stage, the ego is still very much holding sway in the individual. The deeper awareness is still kind of an idea/myth/or some other distant possibility. At this moment when the person starts to see what awakening really means, that deeper awareness is preparing to come forward. And it's right at this moment, that a person often realizes just how truly scared they are of breaking free.


You Were Not Looking for Freedom

Here is the unfortunate reality of 90% of the people on the spiritual path: they were not looking for freedom. They simply weren't. What most people are looking for on the spiritual path is the way out of pain. Buddhism talks about following the path to enlightenment as the way out of suffering. Christianity talks about turning to God to find salvation. But leaving suffering and finding salvation does not mean that your life will be free from pain and difficulty. Jesus ended up facing great adversity and pain in his life, but clearly, he was walking the spiritual path. I think it's important to really appreciate this reality as many people will find that their spiritual freedom leads them into great difficulty. This is where those of you who still look to the outside world to confirm and affirm that you are doing the right thing will suddenly have great doubt. If the world is always supposed to like you and be easy for you to validate you as walking the "correct" spiritual path, then suddenly you may think that you are doing something wrong. This is a grossly unfortunate misunderstanding, and it is why the many great teachers out there will remind people that success in the external world does not reflect success in the internal world and vice versa.

As people suddenly find this adversity, this is usually where many people stop, shut down, and turn back. It is of course right when the opportunity to transcend this difficulty has arrived. So this possibility is also not realized, and it is because many of you were not looking for freedom. Furthermore, you had no idea what would be asked of you. You thought that the spiritual path would be some kind of endless ecstatic trip to an amusement park. Or you thought it would simply make everyone like you all the time. Or you thought that it would make your healing process completely easy.

Very rarely are any of these things true, and if any of these resonate for you (and resonance in this case will probably mean making you angry or upset), then it is time to get out the pen and paper (or computer word processing program) to write down what you really want.


The Arising of Fear: The Great Gatekeeper to Spiritual Liberation

Fear is one of the great gatekeepers on the spiritual path. There are some interesting ways where fear keep you from places that you are not ready to go. There is much on the spiritual path that is intensely challenging, and I've come to have a great esteem for fear and how it keeps people who are not prepared for the road ahead away from it. This may seem odd to you, but I encourage you to appreciate that every emotion and every part of life has its sacred role to play. I am not here to keep you locked in the bondage of fear, but I am definitely willing to say that it has its role. If you cannot face your fear, you are not ready for the next part of the spiritual path.

Because you will find that you cannot carry that much luggage on the plane. There is no way to fly with all those bags full of your fear. As you do take off in that plane, you will find that you have to keep throwing things out to keep flying. You will find that all your attachments keep you chained to old and unhealthy ways of being. You will find that you feel like you are "losing" everything, and that will include the idea of loss. Because its the ego that's trying to gain things, and if you came to the spiritual path trying to gain a new identity for yourself or anything else, you will be sorely disappointed when suddenly this idea and attachment must be severed.


Scared By the Long Drop

One of my students said that she felt like I was asking her to jump off a cliff. It sure does look like that. It's the unknown really. Most people would rather cling to the familiar misery of the known life that they live in than to jump off into the free space where anything is possible.

And anything is possible. That includes the good and the bad. So the ego will feel very triumphant when something bad happens that you could not have foreseen. It will run in and say, "Ah-ha! Look there. I told you this spiritual foolishness was a mistake. Look what has happened. You have lost your job and your wife is divorcing you. Go back to your old life. It was much safer." Only the truth is that that is lie. You may still have lost your job and your wife/spouse if you'd stayed on the edge of the cliff. Perhaps, you were already falling and you just had assumed that the rush of the air was the wind. Many times, we find that we are falling as we come into our awareness. The spiritual path didn't push us off a cliff; it simply made us aware that we are already plummeting to our own destruction.

The only thing to do now is to learn to fly.


The Long Inhale Before the Plunge

So here you are looking at your fear of breaking free. Here you are staring at the wall and metal, iron-barred doorway that keeps you inside. And you are holding the key.

Turning that key will take courage, love, hope, faith, God, and every other ounce of strength and support you can call on.

And yet it can be so easy.

I had a beautiful story share with me recently by a spiritual friend who found her truth in a courtroom speaking up for herself and her daughter. In a space where she had had so much fear and trepidation, in the moment of speaking, she was unafraid. She did not have an attorney to represent her. It was simply her speaking her own Truth. The court ruled in her favor.

This is a small snapshot of what may be asked of you to break free and firmly step onto the your soul path. It doesn't have to be hard, and in truth, when you are fully present, the difficulty and fear that we create in our minds dissolves. From that space, you are a rock. You are unmovable in love and Truth, and from that space, you are free and limitless.


Living in the World, But Not Being of It

You may feel that you face many tests, but that too is the ego trying to define itself. You do not need defintion; you are already a profound, loving, and infinite being. What you may need is time to understand how to act from this space. You may need practice, and you may need community to help you break down old patterns and develop new patterns. That's a big piece of what this blog is dedicated to. I am not here to awaken you. If you wake up while reading these words, that's beautiful. But the awakening comes from within. It always comes from within. There's no other place from which it can come.

Consider that you are seed in a garden. All the sunshine, rain, and fertilizer cannot make a seed sprout. That comes in its own sacred time. But once it springs forth, there is much work and much growth that it goes through as it learns to develop its roots and live in the world it is part of. This is the real spiritual awakening process--this is the embodiment process that I am always talking about. Because it is so important to learn how to be grounded in truth and love in this world. In so doing, you can be in it, but not get lost in it--even if it feels like you get a little lost from time to time. So long as you have those deep roots in spirit, you will find your way back.


Loving the Fear: Melting it From Within

In the instance of this blog post, this may be the first time you have ever truly gone within a fear. You will likely do this again many times. Meeting the doorkeeper this time is just the first time, not the last. You will likely find many fears and many other doorways on your spiritual path. You may try to run back to the door that you have just walked through. But that is impossible. When that shift within happens that starts the internally opening process; there is no going back. Sure, you can close your eyes and turn up the music really loud, but the new harmony and sights and sounds of your true life are already there. So let go of the struggle.

And if you are not past this first main fear yet, let go of the struggle here too. That's part of what is energizing fear. Our attention and our struggle to escape it have given it form and life. Now it's time to learn how to surround it with love. Now is the time to simply breathe into that space and dissolve it from within. That really is my best tip for facing fear. Imagine you can breathe into the fear. Imagine you are within it, and simply breathe all the love you can into this space. See what happens. If emotions come up, just be with them, and continue breathing. Let the relaxation that comes with deep breathing soothe away this fear, and see what comes next.


The Safety of the Jail Cell

For many of you, the jail cell feels safe. It has its walls and bars. You know where you can go. You don't really want to have wide open spaces in your life. This too is fine. This is not me being facetious. This too is part of the grand unfolding of life. So do not run from your cage. Sit in it. Be with it as it is whether it is a horrendous job, a bad housing situation, an unsavory lover, uncontrollable children, or some other situation. Look at all aspects of it. Be with it completely until you no longer can accept any aspect of the cage. Be with it until freedom is the only thing you want in the world. Then and only then turn to face the jailkeeper. Face your fears that have keep you in this imagined box.

Until then, consider your fear of breaking free a gift. Consider that it is keeping you safe until you truly want to focus all your love, attention, and awareness on finding your spiritual liberation. Then go. Go with everything you have inside of you. Take nothing else.

Because you cannot fly with any extra weight. You can only fly with love, and that has no weight at all.

The photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. You can check out her beautiful work on her flickr link.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Forgiveness

spiritual forgiveness
I had intended to write about the topic of forgiveness solely in regards to spiritual awakening and the embodying of spirituality in the heart, but given current recent events, I wanted to take a few moments to talk about the shootings at the elementary school in Connecticut.

There are no words to fully describe how sad and awful this is. That an individual could be so grossly and dangerously unconscious to choose to act in such violent ways is a reminder of the depth of the insanity that is in this world. But in saying this, the only real thing to be done is to forgive.

Yes, there are already big issues coming up around gun control, mental health, and so forth. They should all be looked at and attended to. Big issues too often are ignored until something really bad happens. Also, there's a big national dialogue that needs to happen about the culture of violence and how it is glorified in the U.S. But more important is forgiving this individual because without forgiveness, people cannot fully grieve and heal. Without healing, hatred and despair grow up and morph and twist into new terrible expressions. If anything, this individual represents all of our represented and hidden insanity and sickness. We cannot rationalize him away. We cannot say that he is an aberration. The path of divine love accepts all as part of us, including this individual.

And let's not forget that all violent murder is terrible. The fact that this happened to young children is a wake up call. It's dramatic, but it's no less tragic than the death going on in Syria or that happens to anyone else at any time in any place. No one deserves such a terrible fate, and I hope many of you remember that because it also helps to de-rationalize ideas like war, which is when we wrap up murder in a whole bunch of layers of rationalization to decide that it is okay to commit violence to others. It isn't.


Forgiving Others and Forgiving Ourselves

The path of forgiveness tend to have two big avenues: forgiving others and forgiving ourselves. Even in the elementary school shootings, administrators, parents, and even the students will have to forgive themselves. They will have to forgive themselves for all the things that they could not do and could not prevent. They will have to forgive themselves for their powerlessness. And of course, they will have to forgive the perpetrator. This is no other way around it. This world is so mired in old wounds and hatred that forgiveness is absolutely urgent. It's one of the ways that we break the cycles of pain. Because if we do not forgive, we sink even more deeply into pain, and then we react to the world from spaces of pain and fear and hatred, which spreads the dis-ease even more.

I never told you that the spiritual path would be easy, and if you are reading this and have been closely touched by the horrible tragedy in Connecticut, you have my deepest and profoundest love and condolences. I could not imagine experiencing it for myself. But with that said, you are at a pivotal place in time and history. With the eyes of the nation and the world on you, you have the amazing opportunity to forgive and show others the power and depth of that forgiveness. You have the power to show people a better way to face extreme emotional pain than to simply lash out at someone else and blame something, which only continues the cycles of pain. I know it is amazingly hard. I know you feel like this is something that should never have happened. Bus it has, and for your own sake, those in your life, and all those around the world, your forgiveness can be a game-changer and the opening of a greater doorway to a better life for us all.


Awakening to Your Emotional Pain

With that, some people will have major spiritual openings and awakenings because of this tragedy. Tragedy has the power to pull us into the present moment. It tears away the many veils of illusions. Suddenly stock market portfolios, soccer schedules, and what to watch on TV become extremely ridiculous concerns. And they are. With tragedy comes a kind of sacred revealing that is also part of the grand unfolding of the universe. With the greater the tragedy, the more difficult it is to deny it, although denial is still an amazing agent. If some people can say that the Holocaust didn't happen, denial is possible with everything. But in the face of tragedy it is much harder to ignore and to deny. That opens our eyes. That opening may lead to many things on the spiritual path including the realization of all the other emotional pain still within you.

In so many ways, we have all been living in constant pain. It's a very humbling thing, and as I warm up to the topic of embodying divine love and awakening in your heart, I once again want to remind you that awakening has not brought the pain. The pain was already there. The awakening has simply brought a flood of light into you to clearly see the pain and to provide you with the extra push to release it. Wherever you resist this impetus to heal, the pain grows worse, and individuals can fall into very deep and dark places depending on the darkness that they are carrying in their own hearts. As I often remind people, you are not meant to suffer in this time of a transition. Instead, there are times to let go, and there times to ask for help. Be sure you stay present for which you need to do to allow this transition


Clearing the Emotional Body: Purging and Grief

As many of my students know, it can get messy on the spiritual path and definitely when working with me. I should probably send out regular reminders to my women students to not wear make-up because of it. There's really no point, and it really turns things into a hot mess visually speaking for sure. But seriously, emotions come up on this path. In connecting with me, I'm kind of like some extra energy to lift up things that have been hiding in the darkness of the heart. It helps to see what is there and release it, and crying is one of the easiest ways to release pain. I often also work with students to create visualizations to release darkness and unconsciousness. Breathwork helps. Drinking lots of water also helps.

In short, the inner world is getting a major clean out during awakening. Even if you are not embodying awakening, you will very likely go through these cycles on your spiritual journey. The difference tends to be that those not in awakening need help to get these cycles moving properly while those in awakening tend to have the cycles happening naturally. For those in awakening, working with me can really make it feel like things are on overdrive, and in truth, many times I'm helping people slow down and stabilize first before dredging up anything new. It really depends on what I am called to do and say, and I never really know until I am in that moment.


Discovering Your Hatred and Anger for Others

It's truly humbling to see what is hiding down in the depths of the heart. Even people who have considered themselves kind people and have worked to be loving and open-hearted throughout their lives will find things hidden inside. Old family ties, old issues, and forgotten karma--all of this stuff can hide out in any of us. Suddenly, deep anger arises, and you want to lash out with words or fists. You may be overwhelmed. Perhaps than you are ashamed. Depending on the issue, there may be things that you need to talk out in a safe space with someone. Through that connection you can offer your forgiveness to whoever for whatever happen. Sometimes that space isn't there, so a letter you never send or recording a video that you never post can be another way to offer forgiveness.

Whatever the issue is, you have to let it go. That's the only way to open your heart wider. Grudges and grievances are chains wrapped around your heart, and they will only constrict you, exhaust you, and keep you locked in cycles of pain. Forgiveness is one of the ways we break free, and in forgiving others, you free them as well.


Discovering Your Self-Loathing

But then we go another layer deeper, and suddenly, you can see all your own hatred for yourself. In so many ways, we often blame ourselves when we are hurt. Even in places where there was no possible way that we could be responsible, we blame ourselves. We get angry that we couldn't control something. We get angry that we couldn't make our spouse or partner love us. We get angry that we couldn't make a business succeed. We get angry that we couldn't make our children be more safe, more successful, or something else. This self-loathing pointed inwards can become the blackest kind of hatred. It has led people to do many violent and unconscious things. That's why your awakening may feel so intense and inssistent to look at this aspect of your heart. Because the true you knows that nothing can be left out and that self-love is the only space from which to truly be at peace and harmony with the world. Any external love we offer to the world must be founded in true self-love, and self-hatred--those places where we despise and reject ourselves--goes counter to that space of love.

Which is why forgiveness is a powerful, powerful tool. There will be many tears, and you will also have to forgive yourself for not knowing all the painful things that you did to yourself. This is part of the destruction of the myth of ignorance is bliss. The more you see the repercussions of the actions and non-actions you've chosen in your life, the more you understand just how massive the pain and suffering has been that you've endured at your own hands through your ignorance.

The Many Tears: A River to Salvation

For many men, crying is not okay in this culture. For many women, they've also adopted this unfortunate idea. That idea must go. Tears can be the clearing rain to wash away the mud. This is not getting lost in emotions, which is a topic for another blog post. This is allowing your emotions to arise and then releasing them through forgiveness. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. And then repeat.

Do it as many times and in as many ways necessary until you feel the unmistakable release within you (If the idea of release is new to you, please read this blog post about releasing pain). Because your heart needs room to open. It needs space to fill itself with the beauty of love, and while love accepts all things, you will find that you do not need to carry any more pain than you absolutely have to. The further you embody your awakened self, the more you will see how much pain is hidden within you. Furthermore, you'll want to get rid of more and more. Relaxing into your divine awarness becomes a sole focus, but not a goal. It is where you intend to rest your consciousness, and from this profound foundation, you can move clearly and lovingly throughout your life.

Forgiveness is a key element along the way to this beautiful space of inner rest and ease. So if there is pain in your heart, turn to forgiveness to release it and to set your heart free.

The photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. You can check out her beautiful work on her flickr link.

For more thoughts on this topic, you can check out this video:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Working in the World From Your Awakened Self

spirituality, spiritual awakening, flowers, photo, spiritual photo
I want to start off by writing a few cautionary words about the idea of your "awakened self." It creates this duality of awakened and unawakened, and a lot of people beginning this path can get lost in the idea of "getting rid of" the unawakened self to experience the "awakened" self. Linguistically and practically, it sets up all kinds of unnecessary hurdles, and it's just not how things are. The awakened self is always there, and even the "unawakened" ego is part of it. That is the truth of oneness. But I do know that many of you can tell you aren't moving from the awakened awareness that is within you. That's really all that you need to know. Then you can go within and pay attention. Things start to move pretty quickly from that. I know. It's too simple. And that's the point.

For those of you settling even further into the space of awakened awareness, I wanted to write to assuage common concerns that somehow you won't be able to work or earn a living from this space of consciousness. This space of consciousness is not interested in yoking itself to lies, deceit, and things that are not real. Wherever you are most in love with life, you will most easily go, and the universe will support you. It can be into accounting or entrepreneurship as much as it is into music or spiritual healing. You will go where you've always known that you should go, and you will be provided for.


The Lie of the Brainless Awakened Self

Let's take apart some of the confusion around awakening. Many people's illusory and incorrect ideas about awakening are that it's like a spiritual high state experience that they had once or that they had at the outset of their great spiritual shift. In that high experience, you feel way expanded. You've lost the "I," and you truly don't care if you ever get it back. It is that amazing experience of oneness from what I would call a kind of disembodied place. It is almost like you aren't really in your body anymore. It's not exactly like that though, and I encourage you to understand that my words cannot explain this experience. I'm just trying to give you a few pointers. But more importantly, I'm encouraging you to see that this particular type of experience is just one type of experience that the awakened self can experience. It is not THE ONLY type of awakened experience, and as you integrate and embody this love that you are, the experience of living from awakened awareness shifts.

However, because so many people only associate this type of experience with awakening, the next ego lie that gets in the way of many of you truly embodying your awakened self is that you can't function in the world. The lie says you will be a brainless mash of an amoeba with no will of your own lying on a couch for the rest of your life, and that is just not so. Many things may change, but the awakened state is not inherently like this. It is not inherently drifting mindlessly through life. It simply is, and how that manifests to you is up to you and the soul path you are here to travel.


Spiritual Integration Completes and Stepping Into the Workworld

Like all transitions and transformation, the phase of actively embodying spiritual awakening will end. There will still be ups and downs and shifts in your life as you change and embody deeper realizations of truth, but this major transformation will come to a settling point. From that space, you can step back into the world in whatever way you choose. You may even try to go back to your old way of living, and that may or may not work for you. I don't know of too many people for whom that does work, but all things are possible, especially when done from a space of love.

Love is the big thing, too. When you are following your heart, it is actually very easy to work in the workworld. I am not saying that you will enjoy all aspects of it, but without your ego resistance to how life should or should be, many situations are instantly that much easier to be with. You won't be antagonizing the world with ideas of this is right or wrong either. For instance, you won't much care if a business meeting is being run right or wrong. However, you will be very attuned to what is truly right (helping someone in need) or wrong (intentionally inflicting pain on another). You will also be more deeply attuned to when you must witness the pain and struggle of others and when it is time to intervene. This truly isn't the touchy-feely-do-gooder attitude that also gets confused with spirituality. That attitude is constantly trying to manipulate the world into its vision of how the world should be, and no matter how noble-seeming this attitude may be, it is still coming from a place of ego and imposing a kind of vision onto others.

No. The awakened self is not like this. It comes from a place of true-seeing and spiritual clarity, and this makes it ever so clear what does need changing and what does need allowing.


Doing What Needs to Be Done, Ignoring the Rest

There are so many things that do not have to happen. Many of us learned to fill up our days doing things, but many of the actions we take are nothing more than time-fillers. They serve no real purpose. That includes a lot of the intense energy that goes into making more money. After you cover your means for you and your family's survival, you don't really need that much more beyond building a little safety net (which also doesn't need to be a vast sum of millions of dollars). Many of you will be surprised at how much free time you have, and this brings another adjustment period as you get comfortable with the vastness of space around you. It's why the little old wise men and women are often depicted as sitting on benches in the park. It's not because they are old and don't have energy to do anything--you'd be surprised at how energetic awakened people can be at any age. It's because they know what they need to do, have probably already done it, and now are simply enjoying being where they are.


The Unfolding of the Divine Plan and Your Life Work

 Many people are obsessed with finding their life's purpose, but that does not come from the awakened self. That comes from the ego still trying to validate itself. It isn't even validating you--the real you. The real you needs no validation. It needs no reason to be or to love or anything else. It already is, and as you are resting more deeply in this awareness, it becomes more and more effortless to just allow the unfolding of the divine plan in your life. It becomes clearer and clearer where God is assisting you right now, and it becomes clearer and clearer where you are still resisting. The old ego self tries to attack, change, and fix these parts (even confusing this as a type of healing), but the true you does not do these things. It notices the resistance, and the power of that awareness is so powerful and free-flowing that it will dissolve that remaining resistance. It will do it in its own time and pace and in its own way. It certainly does not operate as the ego mind thinks, but that too is part of getting comfortable with awakened awareness.

Furthermore, from this space, your life work is simply being. That is the truth for all of us. I find it enjoyable to write and to teach. When I no longer find these things enjoyable and true to me, I will stop. I am not actually a spiritual teacher or healer. Those are types of clothes that I wear, and while I am particularly well-equiped to wear them given some of my natural gifts as an energy shifter, intuitive, communicator, and so forth, they are still clothing. I will not always wear them. I do not always wear them in my daily life, but here on this blog, I happen to have them on. That is the truth of the matter for me in this moment. More truthfully, I simply am. And the more I simply sit in that space of being, whatever arises is perfect as it is. That doesn't mean that every moment meets with my personal preference because I still have an ego--a set of ideas and personality traits distinctive to me. But I can accept that what has arisen is what is and address it accordingly if it needs addressing.


Life Goes On

And life goes on. Some people like you. Some people don't. There's peace in some parts of the world. There's war in other parts. If you feel called to help bring more peace into the world in a specific way, you will do it, but being and presence is the surest way to teach this lesson to others. Being awake allows others to experience this state by being around you, and usually, the most vital change that needs to come in the world is in the life closest to you. You don't proselytize this. You simply are in peace. You are in love, and that's how you work in the world.

The idea of work metamorphosizes as well. It's not that things won't require effort. They do. This world requires all kinds of effort if you want to build a house, an organization, or a family. This also is part of breaking down the misunderstandings people have about effortlessness. They confuse that term with meaning that life is all easy and luxurious and everyone will like them after awakening. That won't happen. It's not how this plane of existence operates. But as you simply accept everything as it is, your internal space is much more easy and free. And that's an amazing thing to feel and to live from in every moment.

The photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. You can check out her beautiful work on her flickr link.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Discovering the Unconscious Stories of Your Body

spiritual awakening, spirituality, spiritual teacher
The Waters of Awakening Rush Forth
A lot of people go through physical discomfort on the spiritual path. In awakening, this can become very intense. The ego's common action to blame everything on an outside source, and ironically it often blames the awakening. Many people think that somehow God is punishing them or that the awakening has brought in all this pain. But it has not. What it has primarily brought is awareness.

Consider that your whole life you've been walking on a broken leg. But you've been numb. You've been on painkillers the entire time. So maybe you noticed that you walked funny, but you put no attention there. You were too busy. Oh yes. You were so very, very busy that you had no time for yourself. Then imagine one day, you ran out of painkillers. Could you imagine how excruciating the pain would be and how extensive the damage would be?

That's kind of what a spiritual awakening does. It takes away the painkillers (which at the very least is ignorance) and brings awareness to all aspects of you, including your body.


Striving for Denial

Denial, in and of itself, is a form of active ignorance. This is where many people go during awakening. They may try to ignore what's happening, and they may return to whatever their favorite painkillers of choice were before--relationships, work, exercise, thrill-seeking, drugs, alcohol, and so forth. But for those who truly are awakening, it won't work. It will make life so dark and miserable that you could become dangerously depressed. Awakening can already be a challenging time because to embody this awareness and live from it means that you've got to do a major house-cleaning. Sure you can still close your eyes, but the light in the house is now on.

As a quick aside, this is one of the central ways that I differentiate an awakening from a spiritual opening. A spiritual opening is like me shining a floodlamp in through your window--assuming the blinds aren't firmly closed against it. Awakening is like the light switch is turned on in the house. So you see, one is an external influence and the one is an internal circumstance. It's very, very different, and for those of you awakening, you know it to be true.


The Body Begins to Purge

But despite many people's attempts to deny what is happening, suddenly the body may not be functioning the way it used to. You may be feeling pain and discomfort in places you didn't know you could feel pain and discomfort. Unfortunately, many unconscious egos try to claim that they are having spiritual awakenings these days (which is really ironic--the unconscious thing proclaiming it is conscious), so I always like to emphasize that all tools in this world are spiritual. That includes going to the Western Medicine Man/Woman, and after checking in with the MD and getting the "Gee, there's nothing wrong with you speech," then it's safe to say that your physical ailments are part of embodying awakening. But until that point, be extremely cautious about what you choose to blame on spirituality. It has the potential to get you into a lot of trouble.

Of course, you should always be checking in with your inner knowing and cultivating that space. Without intuition, you can really feel like you are lost without a compass as the body starts to "throw up" (sometimes literally and not just metaphorically) all the energetic junk that is in your system. Every hit you ever endured or gave out is in your body, and there is a reckonning that is happening within you. If you have abused it and beaten it into some kind of socially-approved body shape, then you're going to be hearing a lot from your body about how it really wants to eat, sleep, exercise, and look. Because your body has no interest in comforming to an idea. It simply wants to be naturally as it is.


The Long Trek Back To Your Natural Body

Could you imagine a pine tree leaning over to another pine tree and saying, "Do my bottom branches make me look fat?" Of course not. You are already laughing. Maybe you can see the visual in your minds. It's ridiculous, yet that's what we do to ourselves. We look, judge, and evaluate ourselves constantly, and these thought patterns are extremely unhealthy. Whether you're super athletic or super over-weight, your body is only interested in returning to a natural equilibrium, whatever that is for you. And if it's not your life path to be super athletic or super over-weight, then you are very likely to go through some dramatic changes, which will challenge your ego greatly.

Because that's almost always the first big hurdle in the way: the ego. All these ideas about who and what you are are so problematic. When you let them go, then you can start to grow. And here's the next thing, each part of your learns, heals, and embodies awakening in its own way. So many of you are at that point where you're saying, "You're right, Jim. I am not all those lies. I do what to embrace my body as it naturally wants to be. So why is this still so painful?" Because the next level of integration and healing has begun.


The Many Layers of Healing

As I've mentioned in other blogs, healing goes through multiple layers in us. It's all taking us back to union within ourselves--the most important division and war of them all that needs to be healed. So as the mind is pacified and a gentler ego structure is created (kind of like scaffolding around a building, although a lot of this is really more about sacred destruction at first.), the next layers down can begin to surface their issues, be seen, and be re-united with the whole of you. If you have really been getting to know yourself ("Know Thyself" is such a key mantra on this path), then your mind will become a tool to help you further be and delve into what is arising.

A lot of the times, the issues that arise in the body are the same ones that you've dealt with in your head and your heart. So if you were severely beaten as a child, you had to accept this intellectually and forgive all parties involved in your heart. Now you can deal with the trauma that is stuck physically and energetically in your body. For some people, it will be like reliving the trauma, but from this awareness, you can be in a space where you can release it. You don't need to hold onto it as part of a victim identity or another identity. For those of you with clear visualizations of your energy, it may look like someone is pumping black sludge out of you, and the whole process may be very exhausting. To go this deeply inside and pull out stuff that has been influencing how you act and interact with people your whole life can take an immense about of energy. If it ever gets too dark, be sure to find a good and safe healer to help. We all can use a little help from time to time.


The Power of the Awakening Pressure Cooker

Additionally, there's something about the awakening that is also like opening a flood gate. So with all this awareness flooding your whole body, it's also got a kind of weight to it. It's showing you where you are stuck. I can't tell you how much of the last several years of my life until recently have felt like being in a pressure cooker. It felt like being crushed from all angles, but what was being crushed was my resistance. My resistance was causing the pain. It was like damming a river. In my body, a lot of the pain that I felt I honestly had no idea what it was at first. Even as I knew intellectually what some of it was, there was only so much meditation, yoga, sexual energy cultivation, and so forth that I could do. After doing my part, the rest is really up to the intelligence of this awareness and God (because in this space the two are becoming one within you; that is how you become part of this world, but not of it).

So you may feel like you are under enormous weight at times. Don't resist. Let go into it as much as you can. You still may feel pain, but if you resist, you will feel way more. Keep checking in with your inner knowing about what you need. If it is hard to hear this part of you, then you still have more work to do on fear and the ideas that you are believing in. All ideas are meant to help us and serve the divine. An idea for the sake of having an idea is also more useless rubbish and needs to scrubbed out of the mind. In this way, I'm never interested in any of you remembering everything I say, believing in everything I say, or doing anything I say. Remembering or  collecting all my blogs is another way of cluttering up the space because ultimately you have all this wisdom in you. You didn't come to this blog to hear my wisdom; you came to hear your own.


Dissolving the Blocks and Physical Releases

Every time I've had a block and unconscious story release, I've felt so much better. It made me feel more and more amazing in ways I could never have imagined. Just as some of you have no idea what I'm talking about, I could have read this blog post 10 years ago and been like, "Ah, okay, dude. I want whatever you're drinking." But there's no outside substances involved in this. It's an all-natural, inside job, and for me each level of healing and release brought more awareness of my body, relaxation into my own skin, and ever more flexibility. The embodiment process really reinforced how interconnected everything was for me.

As I mentioned in The Process of Healing Pain From Your Energy Body, this goes in cycles. You will expand out past the dissolved issue until you hit something new. You will keep going in these intense cycles until you come to whatever your natural cycles of growth and contraction are in this lifetime. Everyone needs time to rest, and there are certainly times for growth. In the old ego mind, we were forcing things into constant growth, which can be another reason why so many of you are so exhausted during the embodiment of awakening. It's not just the shift occurring inside; it's the accumulation of years of fatigue that have finally come up to your awareness in blinding exhaustion. Seriously. You may just be that tired.

With each release, you may be amazed at what your body feels like. It may also highlight how dense and uncomfortable the rest of your body is. This is another irony of the path. Consider if you are an iceberg that has never moved. The initial crack is greatly traumatic, and a little running water can feel extraordinary at first. But as things continue to dissolve, the ice grinds against its other parts. This feels terrible, and it's another reason the old unconscious ego wants to run away. It can't imagine that this intense inner friction is a good process, but it is. Eventually, more ice keeps melting in the heat and intensity of your awakened awareness. It is doing it naturally, and whatever you can do to just be with it and allow it at times truly is the "fastest" way to embody this. I use "fast" very loosely because there is no timeline in this. There is only whatever you need and however fast you need to go, and that is part of trusting and having faith in your own natural process.


One Last Thing

Don't abuse your body. Don't push it and yank it into ridiculous yoga poses or do anything overly intense unless you are guided to. Physical abuse has been the norm for many, many people. And even if this doesn't apply to you, I simply encourage you to remember that the body is sacred. It is your one beautiful vessel for this lifetime. Let it have it's own shift in its own perfect timing so that you can get to see and feel what it is like to be fully grounded in a physical body full of divine awareness and love.



The photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. You can check out her beautiful work on her flickr link.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Freedom from Desire

A long time ago, I wrote a blog called, "Healing Desires: The Differences Between Desires and Urges." It got pretty popular. So I suppose it was a breath of fresh air for many people to suddenly see that their urge to eat was different than the desire for a specific type of food and that you could have one without the other. Probably somewhere in the thinking is that without desire, we'd stop eating and breathing or something. Such is the hyperbole of the ego mind.

But desire is not a permanent state. It is a learned practice. It is the practice of placing our fulfillment somewhere else. It is the practice of saying, "When I have this thing, experience, or relationship, I'll feel this feeling that I want to feel." That feeling is usually some type of happiness or pleasure. It usually is very fleeting, which in turn, puts people in places of constant yearning and grasping for more. Consider what it's like to eat food that is low in nutritional value. You feel good for a couple minutes, and then the hunger comes back.

And this is where most people are in Western Society; they are constantly hungry for everything.


The Awakened Space and the Dissolution of Desire

In awakening, there is no desire. There is simply presence. It is so amazing and simple that the old ego immediately tries to rush in complicate things. Many people have the old ego saying things like:

"This is too good to be true."

"This won't last."

"This isn't real."

"How will I survive (make money, eat, and so forth)?"

It's giving you its core arguments to validate its existence, and while many of you know that you will always have some sort of ego, all the unconscious programming from the original identity pretty much needs to be deleted so that you can embrace all of you. Because if you don't, you will drop down in cycles of yearning and desire once more.


The Cycles of Healing and Peeling Away Desire

I know that in my own journey that I've gone through multiple healing cycles to peel away the many layers of desire. Each time, more space opened up in my life. Each time a layer of desire gets peeled away, the thing, experience, or relationship I had "desired" is now closer to me. At the very core of this illusion is that the love we really, really want is out there somewhere else. It's in some other moment, but love can only ever be here and now. So I encourage you wherever you are in your spiritual journey that you pause and breathe into this moment. When the ego runs in to say all the different things you need to really be happy and feel loved, just notice the laundry list. This list is actually what is standing in the way of you and the present moment. It's not the achieving of the items on the list, but the idea and necessity of the list that creates the separation from you and love.


Facing the Desire for an "Awakened" Feeling

Many of you have touched deeply in the awakened state, and then you will often be thrust back into desire and fear and all the old programming. You may now have the awareness to see how toxic it all is to you. This can lead to a time period of inner frustration as we create an idea that we should feel a certain "awakened" way. This is a really big trap on the spiritual path. Too many people think that "awakening" or "enlightenment" should feel a specific way. In truth, the awakened awareness accepts all states of awareness. It simply notices and accepts them, and that is the purest form of love there is. It rejects nothing. This doesn't make you passive or stupid. Instead, the level of clarity you have from this space when desire is no longer blinding your eyes can be intense. Getting used to seeing in this way may be like putting on prescription glasses for the first time in your whole life. You may feel like the Truth is giving you a massive headache as you adjust to seeing reality. From this space, you can finally make genuine changes and conscious decisions in your life. So you see, it is really unlikely that you will be a passive, brainless drifter, which always seems to be part of the ego's fear of the awakened state.


Relaxing Into the Space of No-Desire

When you no longer are placing criteria on what you want life to be to make you feel happy or loved, you feel extremely alive, vibrant, aware, and loved. It's a wonderful space. If you want it to last a little longer, relax. Trust that this awareness will shift, grow, and transform. From this foundation, you will have other actions, feelings, and experiences that spring forth. Things may not always be comfortable, but when they come from this space, it's a whole other way of moving through life. It is a type of grace. Grace may not allows be well-received by the outside world. Many of you love this blog, but others do not. They feel confronted or challenged by it, but what is feeling confronted or challenged? The ego. The unconscious ego sees threats everywhere. The awakened self sees threats no where, but it doesn't blindly walk through a demilitarized zone. It sees what is there, and it acts according. From this space, you will see what is there and act when needed. You will still have intentions and the arising of ideas that you may want to manifest, but the frantic, frenetic struggle of the desirous ego is gone. The path and the current step you need to take become infinitely clearer.


Desire's Continued Self-Sabotage

The funny thing about desire that you may run up against again and again is that it gets in the way of what it wants. I know of so many stories of people who see a potential romantic partner, but they have so much desire for that individual that they can't even talk to the person. So the very desire that is professing to help you find romance is blocking the way. In other situations, the person is so nervous that they can't be him or herself on a date, which makes intimacy and connection impossible. This can happen even in committed relationships. The desire often manifests as an idea of how you want your partner to act before you engage in intimacy. If your partner doesn't follow that internal checklist that you have in your head, then you don't want to connect deeply. This desire for a certain way of acting gets in the way of achieving the very intimacy that you want.

It's all very humbling. In using your mind to look at how you are co-creating situations through desire, you can start to unearth the lies of desire as they arise and re-arise.


The Effortless Quality of Being

In the space of awakening, part of the practice of retraining the ego is to get used to having no desires. When the ego comes--and it will for most of you as it did for me--it will say, "I don't know what to do." Or something like that. To which I encourage you to reply, "That's okay." The ego may come with more insistence, but you are always bringing your attention back to resting in this present moment. There's nothing to do a lot of the time. This idea alone flies in the face of the popular cultural myth that we need to "do" lots of things all the time. Hiding under that idea is the fear that we won't be okay if we don't. "Okay" can mean that we won't survive; we'll be all alone; and so on. But most of us are okay. Most of us have food, shelter, fresh air, water, and safety. If we don't have one of these, then the urge to address the situation will naturally arise. Then you will take care of this issue while still moving from the space of no desire.

By acting in this way, you are changing everything around you. This isn't by imposing your will of how other people should act. It is simply an acknowledgement that the energy that you are now moving and flowing in is an awakened awareness. That influences everything you touch in your life. Some people will like you. Some will hate you. Some places will no longer be interesting to you, and you may go to new places. Lots of changes begin to naturally occur. It's like having cleared away asphalt from a field, and now little seeds can start to bud. A new growth cycle is unlocked.

Which may require a lot of energy at times. You may be surprised at how much you have to do. If you have neglected a lot in your life, awakening may take you into times of intense change and conscious action. But for as much as you may be called to do things, it is very important to trust the moments of softness and inaction. They are not much appreciated in this culture, and they are not laziness. They are much more wise than laziness. Laziness is an abdication of your power to act and often an avoidance of things that do require your attention. Doing less from the awakened state is simply coming from the awareness that there really isn't that much to do, and without desire and fear constantly whipping at your heels, you see how little really needs to be done to be okay and alive.


Relaxing and Resting Again and Again Into Awakened Awareness

We are so trained by the habitual worrying of the desirous mind to do things that you will likely get pulled out of this awareness again and again. I gently encourage you to become aware of this game. Just relax and rest into this awareness again and again. Notice the resistance that arises, and be with it. There's nothing to force here. There's nothing to do. It would be pretty ironic for me to say that there was something to do. The more you trust yourself and have faith in your deep connection to spirit and to God that is inherent in this space, the more you will naturally rest in this awareness. Doesn't this sound wonderful? It's a pretty stress-free environment.

For those who have touched this space, it is real, and it wasn't just a one-time thing. Don't struggle to attain it. Don't turn it into a new desire. Just let go and trust that it will arise when it chooses to arise. Trust that it is already here even if the current feelings have changed. Emotions are always in motion; the timeless Self free of desire is still here regardless of the latest feeling moving through you.

And for those who don't believe this is real, it is. I encourage you to go within and find it for yourself. Everyone has this space that is free of desire and fear, and the more we all learn to rest in this awareness, the more peace, harmony, and love will inhabit our whole world.

The photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. You can check out her beautiful work on her flickr link.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dietary Shifts and Food Needs in the Spiritual Awakening Process

spiritual food, spirituality, spiritual awakening, blog
The Maize of Dietary Needs
As with everything else on the spiritual path, the body is also changed and metamorphosized. In spiritual awakening, we are realigning to what is true for ourselves: heart, mind, and body. Consequently, some of you have bigger or lesser shifts in your diet, depending on your relationship to food. For me, I have had quite a few shifts in my dietary needs, although it is probably more accurate to say that I had a lot of new insights into what my dietary needs actually are.

So with that and with humility, let us start to delve into the topic of shifting into awareness of our body's true dietary needs.


The Food You Eat and What Your Body Wants

In a spiritual awakening, the light flips on, and you are suddenly confronted by many of your true needs and your great issues. Until then, you've been stumbling around and choosing to blame life for the stumbling blocks you often hit. You may even have gone the road of creating a huge "spiritual" persona and gone and done a whole bunch of things to prove to yourself that you are spiritual instead of actually paying attention to yourself. Awakening changes that, and if you haven't really paid attention to what you've been eating, you may be shocked to suddenly find mealtime is a whole new ballgame.

Because most people are eating what they are familiar with and what they think they need. They are not actually eating what their bodies' want. With awakening, the body's needs--like everything else--are screaming loud. So if your body now needs kale regularly, that is what you're going to be eating. It can be really humbling for many people in this meat-and-potatoes culture to suddenly find out that animal protein and starch are really not what their bodies need. Or perhaps, some of you have been floating so high and avoiding heavy issues that you need the meat and potatoes to pull you down back into your bodies. Whatever you need, your body will be telling you--EMPHATICALLY.


The Many Food Myths of an Unhealthy Culture

Western society is gradually poisoning itself. In a world of information and wealth, some of us in the wealthiest nations are increasingly ignorant about the most basic and essential things such as how to nourish ourselves. I'm not inclined to blame anyone or point fingers, but I can say that much of how many of us now eat is completely new. Most human beings for millenia were not eating as much sugar, simple carbohydrates, salt, fats, preservatives, and many other things. Now, I don't proclaim to be a historical nutritionist, so those of you better informed can let me know if there were other cultures who did this in the past. But the simple fact is that we don't need to eat all the alcohol, hamburgers, ice cream cones, and french fries that we're eating, and furthermore, it's just flat out unhealthy.

Of course, the myth in our culture is that this is somehow normal or healthy or otherwise okay. This--like any myth in life--is a problem because until you realize that these are problems, you cannot make changes to heal or come into alignment with yourself. Which is why I'm writing for those of you who have awakened and are super confused as to why you can't eat the way you used to. Well, it wasn't healthy to eat that way, and your body is now telling you that. It's as simple as that.


The Trend Towards Vegetarianism

I'm not into building dietary needs into identities. Lots of people are doing that now, and they're creating mental constructs to demonize people who eat meat as somehow immoral or cruel. Any time you see this type of thinking, you know that the ego is at work. However, my experience is that my body generally needs much less animal protein than I'd been taught growing up, and there are certainly plenty of ways to get most of the nutrition you need from plants. I'm not vegetarian, by-the-way. I'm just me, and I listen to my body. If tomorrow my body wants pork chops, I'm going to find some pork chops that came from a farm where the pigs were humanely raised. Otherwise, I don't really worry about it, and I encourage you to not worry about it too much. Just stay tuned in to your body every day, and it will tell you what it wants.


The Energetic and Physical Flushing of the System

However, some of you will have so much unhealthy stuff stuck in you that you may be more extreme in your initial dietary shifts or even lose your appetite. This is often part of the initial shift from asleep to awakened states because your body is trying to clear out a whole bunch of built up junk all at once. Some of you may even want to not eat food at all, but I encourage you to be very cautious about this. I am always careful about mentioning fasting during this time for a couple of reasons:

  1. Old ideas about body image like to hang around, and this isn't meant as a weight-loss program to achieve a body shape.
  2. It's really easy to get out of balance and ungrounded.
  3. And if your body needs to, you'll naturally do it anyway.
 So, for some of you, food will become a major challenge, and while I can't tell any one of you specific food to eat, I always recommend drinking LOTS of water as you shift and clear out stuff. That always seems to help people detox.

Additionally, it can feel very overwhelming to have your whole mental framework, emotional foundation, and physical body being run through the wringer, so I definitely encourage you to not idealistically take more extreme measures, like going raw foods vegan to clear things out faster. You are going as fast you need to, and your body is built to naturally heal itself given the chance. Trust that it is doing this.


Rediscovering Food Again and Again

I've found that just as I figured out what foods worked for me for one shift, another shift comes along and changes my dietary needs again. That's part of the reason that I don't want to generalize too much. I can tell you that heavier foods like animal protein can be helpful if you get too ungrounded, but you still probably won't want a lot of meat. The ole beans and rice combo tends to be a really solid grounding food instead of eating meat, however. Salads and most plant-based foods are really great to help elevate your energy, and for whatever reasons, that helps to move and heal issues that are stuck in the lower energy centers such as shame. Don't ask me why this works, but that's been my experience.

Consequently, I encourage you to explore new foods and recipes. If you have a friend who is a good cook, it might be a good time to set up some trades with that person to help you navigate the expansive world of food. I don't profess to be the greatest cook in the world, but I've done all right in figuring out new stuff to nourish me. I have to admit, it sure would have been nice to have someone else helping to figure out the food stuff for me in the last five years with everything else that was going on internally.


Everything Is Interconnected

If you are still wondering why the body gets influenced so much by awakening, it's simply because everything is interconnected. It is the densest form of energy in your life. Just because you can mentally understand where you are and emotionally be with something doesn't mean your body understands it yet. It understands the world through the physical and through sensation. When awakening is rooted in the body, however, it is an amazingly powerful and grounded experience. From this foundation, you truly can move mountains, and when you do decide to, you will have the integrity to do so wisely.

That's the big thing here: wisdom. Wisdom is responsible. There's been too much irresponsibility in the world in general, and this includes how we've fed ourselves. I encourage you to embrace this opportunity to learn how to wisely nourish yourself. You only get one body in this lifetime, and your awakening is simply helping you see how to really live and thrive in it.

The photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. You can check out her beautiful work on her flickr link.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Delightful Experience of Having No Worries

spirituality, spiritual rest, spiritual awakening, awakened self
For most people, having no worries is an experience that is only glimpsed briefly, is surrounded by some kind of euphoric haze brought on by a temporary experience, or simply an illusory idea being sold by some charlatan spiritual teacher. But the truth of the matter is that we are all love. At the center of us is an abiding force of love and light that does not worry. It is not caught up in controlling the future because it knows that the future does not exist. Furthermore, the deep awareness that abides in all of you knows that the future is built out of the present moment anyway. The best way to build the future is through continued presence and awareness of the present moment. There is no other way to do it.

In letting go of the ideas of past and future, many of you who have moved through the many stages of awakening will begin to rest in a place of having no worries or concerns. This doesn't mean life doesn't have hardship of uncomfortable moments. I will continue to emphasize this point in all my blogs. Too many people confuse spiritual awakening with luxury, ease, and perfection. It isn't any of those things, and as for perfection, most people don't understand that word. The awakened self is simply aware of what is real, and it doesn't waste energy in the vain attempt to control what is not.


The Dissolving of Control and Fear

Fear is always leading to control. The ego thinks that if it can control life, then it will be safe. But as many of you know, attempts to control life fail more often than not, and the amount of energy and effort it takes to control others is exhausting. It will feel like stacking marbles in the corner. The minute you stop, everything breaks down. In moments like this, we are finding out how little control we have and where we are not necessarily integrity with the flow of life. I've always found that where I join with the flow of the divine will, things become soooo much easier. Where I'm trying to impose my will on something that the divine has no interest in, then it's just so much grief and struggle with very little gain.

It's best to let go of this illusion of control wherever you are on your path, and it is helpful to practice having faith that you will be taken care of.


The Space of No Action Is Not Without Action

The more your awakened self moves forward into your life and becomes your stable vibration, the more you will find out how little you really need to do. A lot of the desire to do things dissipates and disappears because most of those things are built on ego ideas.

Yes, you need food. So you earn enough to buy food and eat.

Yes, you need a home. So you earn enough to pay rent.

Yes, you have children. So you take care of them and love them.

But you don't pile up activities to mindlessly keep yourself and your loved ones running about for no reason other than to feel busy. This is one of the ways that may people avoid themselves. In dissolving fear and old karmic issues, you will find a great deal of inner contentment. You will relax into the beautiful being inside of you, and you will be content to just be. This space does not need action to fulfill it. It is happy to be where it is. When the urge to do something arises, you will do it. That is it. It may require some thought, so you will plan it out. But you will not get lost in a frenzy. You will not feel the need to over-plan to account for every possible thing that could go wrong.

You will also not be a mindless drifter who has no sense of purpose and floats about. People get concerned about this, but in my experience, the stable awakened space is simply a space of clarity, not a hazy fog that is avoiding the physical world. So, as I said, you will know when to take action, but you will probably find out that the amount of action you really need in your life is much smaller than you have imagined.


The World Will Continue to Try and Distract You

Many of you will notice that the world will try to draw you into its games. The government will still want you to pay taxes. The bank will still want you to pay your mortgage. You will learn how to navigate these games. You will start to smile at them. During the Surviving the Awakening phase that I often talk about, there is usually a split occurring in people. You still are committed to the ego's ideas and yet you have a foot in the spiritual world as well. During this time, you will often feel like you have to go back into this physical world. But it is always a matter of how you do something and not so much of having to do something. Furthermore, you will always be part of the physical world. And no matter how far away from civilization you may go--and retreating during the intensity of your spiritual transition can be a really good thing--you are still part of the physical world. Transcending the body doesn't mean, forgetting, ignoring, or debasing it. You are still here in this body and in this world, and you will continue to learn about yourself even in the stable awakened awareness.

That's why you will likely get distracted by the world. A beautiful woman walks by, and you feel desire again. Someone buys you a shiny new car, and you may suddenly care about having things again. It can be many things, but the awakened self will be very active. So if you do get distracted, at some point, you will realize that you have gotten distracted. You may say to yourself, "Oh, what a silly game I have been playing." Then perhaps another veil of the illusory world is pulled away letting you rest even more deeply in your awakened self.


Taking Action in Causes

Yet, many of you see great pain and suffering in the world and are called to attend to it. If when you rest in your awakened self you are clear about what you want to do, then do it. That is all. There is no need to waste fear on worrying for others or for yourself. However, this awareness does not try to please itself or pat itself on the back. It's not using a cause--such a supporting breast cancer or testicular cancer research--as a way to get applause, awards, and otherwise make itself feel good. You would do these things because you feel called to do them. Some days, you will be complimented. Some days, you will be insulted. If you are doing something to make yourself feel better or distract yourself from issues of your own, the days when you are not complimented will show you the error of your ways. You will doubt yourself. You will curse the other person, and you will fall back into the ego shell or simply see where it still is alive and running the show.

In truth, there is no way to fake your way into the awakened state. It simply is. It doesn't require effort, but I see many people trying to smile and say spiritual things to act like it. They are, in fact, avoiding the most important cause of all--going inward. By avoiding this space and avoiding themselves, they are simply living in a fantasy world, and it doesn't matter how many spiritual retreats and teachers you've sat with, you know the truth in your own heart.


The Last Worry: Worrying About Having No Worries

During the transitional phase of making space for your awakened self in your everyday life, you may suddenly worry about having no worries. What a delightful thing? Here is the last worry. Here is the last ego attempt to draw you back into a space of fear. It says, "I must be forgetting something. I am feeling too good for this to be right. There are children to feed. Sicknesses to be healed. Why should I feel so good when there is still so much pain? What if I am ignoring or forgetting something?" And you will find your answers to your last worry as it comes up. I would simply say that having no worries is natural. It may feel unusual at first, but as you come to rest in your eternal awareness, you will find such ease and comfort here that you couldn't imagine covering it up with illusory worries once more. You couldn't imagine living in perpetual fear again.

As I said, there will be things to do as an awakened being. There will be grief. There will be change. There will be times to act. There will be times to pause and rest. There will be times to witness. There will be times for joy. There will be times for reunion, and there will be times for parting. All of these will flow in and out of your life as you rest more deeply in your awakened self, and you will simply allow that flow in you and around you to take you where you truly want to go in this lifetime without any fear or worry for the outcome.

The photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. You can check out her beautiful work on her flickr link.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Spirituality Blogs About Healing

healing, spiritual healing, spiritual awakening
Pain Dissolves to Rejoin the Flow of Love
I can never understate the importance of healing on the spiritual path. For just about everyone, there will be some level of healing that will happen for you. Healing isn't a matter of solving problems or fixing that which is broken. It's a matter of dissolving separation and coming into internal union and harmony. Sometimes that means you will suddenly be confronted by a flood of pain that you've tried to keep walled off in your subconscious, but regardless of the intensity, you can move through it. And the space that you clear will create more room for you to connect with all of you and to simply be.

Here are a number of blogs about this topic. Enjoy!

Spiritual Healing

The Multiple Layers of Healing

Healing Silent Wounds


After Healing Abuse: The Collapse of the Victim Mentality


Speeding Up the Cycles of Healing

Healing Sexual Abuse

Healing a Crisis of Faith


Stopping the Mental Chatter


The Healing Power of Silence: Finding Your Inner Knowing

The Voices in Your Head: Time for a Meet and Greet

The Problems with Blind Faith


Over-Thinking and Over-Analyzing: The Problems of the Frenetic Mind


Psychic Healing: Energy Awareness, Boundaries, Past Lives, and More

Finding Your Lost Voice

Abuse of the Voice and Healing on the Spiritual Path


Stopping Your Constant Chatter: Time to Face the Silence


Healing a Broken Heart

Opening a Closed Heart

Reclaiming Your Power: Victim Identities and Abdication of Your Personal Power


Reclaiming Your Power: Tips and Techniques on the Spiritual Path


Abuse of Power: Reckoning With Your Actions

Atoning for Power Abuse: Ego and the Path of Penance

Healing Sexual Dysfunction: Promiscuity, Pain Practices, and Other Perversions


Healing Sexual Dysfunction: Abstinence and Self Denial


Sexual Healing With Your Partner

Healing Family Issues and Karma

Healing Bad Eating Habits and Patterns


6 Tips to Healing Bad Eating Habits


Surviving Scarcity: Healing the Pain of Lack

5 Tips for Healing Your Fear of Scarcity

Clearing the Family Imprint and Expectations of Work


Healing Substance Abuse Issues: Clearing Your Body's Energy



Today's photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. Please feel free to check out her beautiful work on this flickr link.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Resting in the Flow of Awakened Love

spiritual awakening, love, awakened love,
As many of you know, I've written this spiritual awakening blog with three main sections:

Cultivating a Spiritual Awakening

Surviving the Awakening

After the Awakening

This post is in the last category--one that I haven't written too much for as I've really moved through the second phase a lot in my own recent life. While nothing really is linear in spirituality or in life, I've found that these three categories sum up a lot of spiritual awakening, or at least they feel useful to me right now. So much of the awakened space is about using something as long as it is useful, and then letting it go. And the letting go really isn't a big deal. So if these aren't useful categories for you, then don't use them or buy into them. That's really fine by me.

With that said, I'm writing to you more about awakened love. It really will be a new topic for many of you, and I encourage you to approach it as a new topic. Accepting the newness of something can be a way where we are humble. We come to an idea as a child--with curiousity and wonder. But we don't have to accept it. We're not mindless computers that just download everything. Remember that too as I describe some of this space, and for those who are particularly attuned to energy, drop into the energy of these words and let them rock you in their arms and nourish you with the energy of love.


Finding Love Everywhere

In the awakened space, love is everywhere. Love simply is. However, love is not the juvenile idea of like or dislike. Love/hate is simply a stronger form of like/dislike. It is the ego's attempt to control life into getting what it wants. If your ego approves, you open your heart. If it doesn't, you close your heart. This isn't the practice of awakened love, although awakened love is always present in everything. It runs through these moments, but to really bring it out into your life, you are in a space of non-judgment and acceptance. That is all love really is: total acceptance. Through totally accepting everything, you can see all of yourself and all of the world--at least as far as we are able through the lens of being human. It changes everything to look at the world through the lens of love. This isn't a passive thing or a rose-colored glasses thing. It's a very deep and profound thing that can lead you to take action to whatever feels true to you, but you certainly aren't trying to change the world. This last sentence may be shocking to some of you, but what is being shocked? The ego. The ego has an idea that something is wrong and something needs to be fixed.

When the great teachers are talking about the madness of the world, they are looking at the world through love. They see what is. The mindless killing and hoarding of resources is madness. This is discernment, not a judgment. They are not saying how we should change the world, although I'm sure some have made suggestions. But suggestions aren't mandates, and they do still come from the human parts of those teachers. That's okay too. Because through awakened love, actions that need to be taken on the human level become much more obvious. Without the desire to change or fix, addressing issues appropriately becomes much cleaner.

And taking no physical world action also becomes a "solution" because that is one way to de-energize cycles of pain.


Pain Feeds on Ignorance and the Energy of Unenlightened Action

In many ways, the cycles of pain and suffering in this world are fed by by ignorant action. This includes the actions by those who desire to do good. The desire poisons the action because it brings with it a believed outcome that the ego wants to see achieved. This can be to make the person feel good or to see other people interact in some other "better" way. This is non-acceptance. This is only love in the sense that all things are part of the unfolding of life. However, this continues an us-vs-them mentality that feeds the conflict itself even when the individual thinks s/he is trying to resolve it. Perhaps the immediate perceived problem gets solved, but then sure enough, a new one pops up because the core issues are still at work in the situation.

This is why we are always working on the level of presence and love when we want to bring about the greatest possible peace and harmony in the world. That level of awareness and divine acceptance allows us to see what is really at work and de-energizes the superficial levels that are distracting all of us. When I say "de-energize," what I mean is that every action, thought, and intention is like sending out a little spurt of energy. It starts re-inforcing, changing, or creating something. That little energy is powerful. But so often when someone is struggling to make something happen, that energy comes with the discontent of struggle. Other people react to it or feel threatened by it. They resist. The struggle deepens and widens. This happens all the time in families, amongst friends, and at the international level between countries.

Right now, there are a lot of struggles going on that have been grown and fed by all the different ways people have been trying to control and manipulate life with seemingly good intentions and with unconscious ideas. But the goodness is awakened love can change all that.


The Phases of Love

To truly act from love is to know what love is on every level--heart, body, mind and soul. However, most people don't know what love is. Most people don't even know that they don't know what love is. It is a great leap forward for many people to admit that they don't know what love is because from that space they can step forward humbly into the exploration of love. Clearly, I'm not writing about a romantic, sexual relationship. That is the most common idea of love followed by the idea that love are the emotions a parent has for a child. These are extremely narrow ideas of love. Another common idea is that love is only what makes us feel good. So there's this confusion that when something doesn't make us feel good that it must be bad or evil.

Here are some of the phases of love many of which often get repeated. Wherever you feel like you are, I encourage you to walk humbly. There almost always is a new lesson that love has to teach us:

  • Doesn't know what love is but thinks s/he does
  • Knows s/he doesn't know what love is
  • Thinks s/he has tasted love once and wants more
  • Pursues love (this is a dangerous phase because the ego often turns "love" into a singular focus on one person. The individual can consequently get stuck again at the first phase.)
  • If pursuit fails, the individual's focus and definition of love may expand or shrink depending on the person's reaction.
  • If the pursuit succeeds, the individual's focus and definition of love may expand or shrink depending on the person's reaction.
  • Love shrinks when a person thinks s/he has found an outside source of love
  • Love grows when a person turns inwards to find love
  • If the individual genuinely terms inward, many cycles may begin as the inner love ignites and shows the person where all the barriers to love are within her/himself
  • Melting into awakened love, all is oneness
This last part is beautiful. You may melt a million times into it, and then an old ego element will rear up and pull you out of it. Then you have another chance to include that aspect of yourself into love. The separation--which is what the ego is defined by, i.e. you are this and the world is are that--melts again, and you are returned into oneness.


Navigating and Accepting the Flow of Awakened Love

Awakened love is a flow. It is an intelligent flow that takes you where you truly need to go in life. If that means throwing you into the rocks and rapids of your world, then that is where it will take you. It may feel like you are getting beat up, but that is how love shows you all the crap you are holding onto. Even the rapids aren't so difficult when you come into acceptance of what is. Now, there will still be difficulty in this flow, as many of you who are in it right now can attest. That simply is part of living in this world, but the suffering is gone. You aren't trying to fight life. You aren't trying to fight yourself and project out a set of ideas onto the world about what you want instead. You are in deep acceptance of what is, and the beauty of that acceptance allows you to shed things that do not serve you and to embrace those things that do support you.

Love becomes like the breath. You inhale new situations, new life, new people, and then you exhale out the old situations, old relationships, and old patterns of action. In and out, perpetually, and so long as you are live, you can flow like this effortlessly. As I've mentioned before, you are not mindless. You still make decisions, but your decisions and actions are completely different when you are coming from this space. You will not be perfect. You will not always be well-received, but the more you are in this space, the more you are at peace with any action, reaction, or result that comes in response to your interactions in this physical world of existence. And it is so much easier to laugh at yourself when you do get beached on dry land.

"Oh, look at this folly I have brought upon myself."

And rolling along in laughter, you drop back into the currents of the river of awakened love again.

The photo of the sky comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. You can check out her beautiful work on her flickr link.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Spiritual Awakening Tempest and Trying to Wait Out the Storm

spiritual awakening, spirituality, touching the sky
Catching the Sun
To the ego mind, spiritual awakening is an unending tempest that is destroying everything in sight. To the awakened self, there is change, and there is peace and love within the change. The awakened self is like the person perpetually at the center of the hurricane. Here in the eye of the storm, there is the peace and quiet of awakening. This awareness can see how things are changing all around you, and from this space, you are okay with that. The old aspects of the ego that try to cling to control are like running out into the center of the worst of the gale force winds of a category 5 hurricane. Everything is being uprooted and thrown around. Nothing lasts long in your grasp when you resist and hold onto your old life and way of thinking and acting. What can you do but return to the center again and again and allow the storm to do what it choose to do?

Now obviously, spiritual awakening isn't quite so random as a storm. It is very intelligent. So when it is uprooting things from your life, consider it a gift. Consider that it is helping you shed the things and relationships that no longer serve you. Perhaps it doesn't feel that way to the ego-mind, but your deeper self can see this and be with this. The initial phases of the awakening can truly feel exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Your senses are alive in a brand new way, and there is an energy unlike anything else that you've felt in your life. This is no minor opening or spiritual high from a 10-day retreat. This shift is with you and within you 24-7 whether you are in the bathroom on the bus or at work. And nothing will stay the same.


The Ego's Continuing Tactics of Control

It's kind of amazing that during so an extraordinary time of rebirth that people still keep clinging to the illusion of control. Again and again, I've been told stories of how people would try to go back to unhealthy relationships, jobs they hated, and so forth because they still bought into the story that that's what they should have in their lives. The intimate relationship and family issues often are some of the most held-onto issues, and they are often the most immediately hit because they are closest to the center of the storm, which is you if you haven't gotten the metaphor yet. =) This shift requires others to change even though we never ask them to. It's because you've changed. How you act and how you live in integrity now changes all the agreements you've ever had in your life. To try and go back, brings suffering .What's worse is now you are much clearer about how much suffering you have caused in yourself and others. It's like having had the callous torn away from the skin, and you are suddenly super-uber sensitive to everything. This isn't a bad thing. Our desensitized society might have you believe that it is, but that's a lie. It's another way we have been taught to be mean and cruel to ourselves and others. Now, you are learning about love.

How much can you let in?


Control and the Closed Fist of the Ego

But many of you are unprepared for a spiritual awakening. This is not your fault. Our society doesn't do a very good job of preparing people for much of everything. Even our school systems don't prepare people well. They prepare people to learn more and continue to go to school. They don't prepare people for working in the work world (although some are doing better with career placement and such things because there are plenty of smart educators who see this issue). So here is an example of something we've got lots of practice at and is socially accepted. Yet we still don't serve our communities well a lot of the time.

Spirituality is even worse. For most of history, spirituality and religion have been about obedience to an organization, not to cultivating a new heaven on Earth and within ourselves. So along comes an amazing shift, and we react to it the way we've been taught to deal with most things--to try and control it.

Now control is an amazing thing. Even when people are "out-of-control," they are still playing a type of control game. In this game, they are choosing a type of experience where they aren't taking ownership of their lives. Many of you have played this game your whole life, allowing others to make major decisions for you and to show you where to go. Others of you have tried to force life to align with your will to seemingly varied levels of success. So when an awakening comes, you may try to fight it off, wait it out, or even work too hard when you simply need to allow it. There are all kinds of forms of control, and I am sure that you'll find one in there that resonates with you (I know that I just did). And the thing with control is that it is like a closed fist. A closed fist can receive nothing, and you will simply go through a tumultuous time period and then wonder what happened.


The Wait-and-See Game

One of the interesting forms of control that I've noticed with a lot of people is the wait-and-see game. It comes after the "What-the-Heck-is-this/What-in-the-world-is-happening-to-me?" phase and/or victim game. In the first part, the person has no idea what is happening and chooses to respond to the situation with fear. If awakening came and that wasn't your response, you probably surfed around in bliss for awhile. Ah yes, I remember that part...

The next game comes after you've acknowledged that you're changing. Quite a few people try to become utterly passive and ride out the storm so to speak. That will have it's lessons, of course. It's not what I recommend because I believe that you need to make space for the storm. I believe that it's important to invite it into you to continue the change and to deepen it still. But if you just batten down the hatches and hide in your cellar, the waters will rise and then pass, and you will limit the space for the shift to integrate and become a part of your everyday life.

What's interesting is that the wait-and-see game is one that only the person his or herself can know if he or she is playing it. Because sometimes, lying on the couch sleeping about 14 hours is being in a space of allowing. Other times it's a kind of victim mentality that says, "Oh just let me get this thing over with so that I can get on with my regularly scheduled life!" It's a very big difference in mentality as you can see.


The Waters Rise, The Pressure Grows

Of course, you--the deeper you--was ready for this (being ready on the soul-level is very different than being prepared on the physical plane). So a part of you is trying to invite the waters in. To switch metaphors, a flood can bring nutrients and new life to the fields of your life. If you have been tilling the soil and setting up channels, that water rushes in and enriches you for the rest of your life. If you haven't, you can still go out and till the fields. In some ways, no matter how prepared any of us are (and I consider myself slightly prepared, although I had no idea I was getting ready to awaken when that shift occurred), the fields still need tilling as you find new rocks and new openings are unearthed in you. Anywhere that you have a dam or blockage inside you, the pressure grows more and more unbearable. I recommend finding the blockage and letting it go. Things will get muddier and messier before they get cleaner. We don't leave in a clean world of black and whites--it's a multi-colored universe, baby. So if things get blurry and indistinct, that's just coming into alignment with what life already is. It too will pass.


No Control Does Not Mean No Guidance

I differentiate between control and guidance. Control is trying to force our will onto the world around us. We try to manipulate situations and people to align with what we think we want. Guidance is much softer. We ask for the things we want and need instead of demanding or manipulating. We paddle our boat in the stream of life, but we don't try to direct the course of the river. We know that is futile.

Consequently, we aren't forcing the awakening. We aren't trying to create a new rigid spiritual structure of practices to make ourselves the penultimate enlightened being. We are accepting the shift and seeing what it asks of us. We're observing where it is naturally taking us, and we are paddling along to miss the occasional rock or low-point in the river. By taking ownership of the awakening shift, we find much more ease. If we don't take ownership in co-creating a new sense of ego-self and a new life based in love, we feel like we are holding onto a rock for dear life and are being stripped naked and half-drowned by the storm that is surrounding us. It's not cruelty. It's actually what you really want. It's not God punishing you either. If anything, the inner pain is coming from you and is being caused by your inner resistance and fear striking against your own deep readiness to burst forth into a new life.


The Movement Towards Love and Difficult Lessons

Where this is all taking you is down the path you have chosen to travel in this lifetime. This is something that you know in your heart, and sometimes, that path has a lot of difficult lessons. If you have any illusions that the spiritual path will make your life easier and less troublesome, let me break those illusions now. The spiritual path takes you where you have chosen to go. If that is to fight for women's rights in Afghanistan, you probably are going to face quite a bit of resistance and hardship in your life. Yet, in your heart, that is what you are called to do. I had one friend say that knowing what she is supposed to be doing makes her feel almost incapacitated and overwhelmed. Such can be the feeling of our greatness coming up against our smallness. In those moments, all I can say is to keep breathing. You are moving towards living from a space of love one breath at a time.


Continuing Reminders About Discomfort

Spirituality is not the latest drug. It isn't about painfully torturing yourself through hours of meditation either. It is about being love and acting from that space. The discomfort you face while practicing being in a space of love while others are not is the type of discomfort that I'm talking about. There are all kinds of useless forms of discomfort. Useless discomfort is when we are trying to gain something or prove something to someone else. The awakened self has nothing to prove or to gain. It doesn't want money beyond having money as a tool to help with survival and to assist in the soul's path. That's about it. And money isn't that important or that difficult to gain, which are often other illusions people have. Because when you trust this process of integrating a spiritual awakening, everything you need will show up when you need it. Sometimes that requires you to take conscious action, and sometimes it requires you to learn how to consciously receive. It is always changing, which is why you need to keep practicing being mindful of yourself and listening to the emergence of your inner knowing.

But you can try to wait out the storm. Plenty of people do. It's not my place to tell you what to do. I can only tell you that I am so glad that I did embrace the great shift. I worked with it as consciously as I could to shed away old fears, karma, and resistance. I am so so very different than who I once was, and those who really know me can see this while others who are still projecting their stories onto me probably can't.

That's one other thing to mention. Your change does help change the world, but many people will not choose to come with you or embrace you in a new way. I encourage you to let them continue on their journeys without blame. They are only doing what they know to do. And as you may have learned, there is a lot out there that we don't know about. For many of you, spiritual awakening was one of those things, and now you know a little more about it. And it's up to you what you choose to do when the inner storm comes to take you to your brand new inner world.
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