Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Spirituality Webinar: Enhancing Your Discernment

discernment photo, telescope photo, spiritual photography
Some time ago, I wrote a blog post called "The Difference Between Discernment and Judgment." Because this is such an important topic, I wanted to dedicate a webinar to these concepts help you better understand what discernment truly is and to help you improve your abilities to be discerning.

The simplest way to describe discernment is that it's the closest we come to seeing life as it is within our human limitations. Judgment is how we use our preferences to cloud what we see, but so often people believe that their judgments are the actual truth. I like to use the example of looking at the sky. The person who is judging may say, "The sky looks ugly." This is unhelpful. You don't know much more about the sky than before, and even if you know this person's preferences for a beautiful sky, you are left at a loss. The person who uses discernment may say, "The sky is full of smog." Here there is no judgment about whether the smog is good or bad, and it allows others to know what is actually there.

If you are interested in enhancing your discernment, read on and register below:

Webinar Title: Enhancing Your Discernment


Monday, October 28, 2013

The Spaces in Between

space, spirituality, photography, awakening, enlightenment
The spaces in between moments are where we often find some of the greatest riches of life. Life is naturally spacious, and it's the space that helps to give meaning to definition. Consider if I wrote with no spaces between words, and consider also if there was no separation from the letters and each other. It would be an unintelligible black mass of stuff on this page that you could do nothing with. Then perhaps, maybe you notice how I use spaces in between paragraphs to give you a rest.

A pause.

Then I go on to the next sentence, which is also given space by the period. This punctuation is more than a metaphor though; it can be an allegory for your life. How do you learn to find space in between moments, between breaths? Or do you just rush on and on. Even in awakening, it is easy to feel swept away by energetic movements and major realizations. Can you breathe in here and find the space between the moments of action and energetic shift? In so doing, we come to rest more deeply in awakened awareness.

That Which Is Is Always Here


Monday, October 21, 2013

Dissolving Into Pure Consciousness

Dissolving into pure consciousness is a fun topic to talk about because it is very different than what most people think it is. Dissolving into this space of "is-ness" is not about going some place. Rather, it's about knowing in the fullness of you that you've never left it, never been apart from it. That is the truth of consciousness. Consciousness is in all things including the unconsciousness ego. This may seem paradoxical, but paradoxes are often much more true than anything else. Paradoxes allow us the freedom to step out of overly rigid ideas and thinking structures/rationales to embrace a much fuller universe, that (for as far as I can tell) has NEVER played by human rules or reasoning and rationale.

As a corollary, dissolving into consciousness isn't a word-play game or a mental idea. You can't simply say, "Oh, well, I'm already consciousness, cool. Great. I'm done." This is one of those ways where the ego tries to "win" at spirituality, but in our hearts, we always know. We know if we've truly accepted and embraced this truth fully or if we're playing a game with ourselves to try and feel good and accomplished or whatever it is the ego is trying to get. And there's nothing here to get either. Becoming spiritually free isn't about getting free; it's about seeing that we've always been free.

After the Jailbreak


Sunday, October 20, 2013

How Meditation Got Easier for Me

meditation, flower, picture, spiritual photography
I asked my student, Brandy, to talk about how meditation has gotten easier for her because I know that many of you struggle to sit down and be with all the mental racket. I always like to remind people that meditation isn't about achieving a state of awareness, but in letting go of needing it to be anything, amazing things may unfold as they have for her.

If you'd like to read more on how to meditate after you finish with this blog, check out the following post:

How to Meditate

How Meditation Got Easier for Me


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Spirituality Webinar Recording: Embracing Your Shadow

One of my students requested a webinar about embracing the shadow, so in honor of that request, here's my announcement for my next spirituality webinar about just that topic.

It should be mentioned that the shadow (at least as I'm defining it) is simply that which is ignored, avoided, or repressed. Much of the time, people have left some of their greatest gifts and true light-full Self in the dark, and often times, it is their light and love that is most difficult aspects of themselves to reclaim. As a result, it's not all dark trauma and hateful thoughts hiding out back there (although there is often some of that as well). But we all must learn to embrace the shadow because we all must embrace the totality of ourselves. Nothing can be left out.


Webinar Recording: Embracing Your Shadow

This webinar was recorded on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 from 10:30 to 11:30 am PST. I hope you enjoy it and sign up for one of my future webinars.



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

One-on-One Weekend Intensives

I offer one-on-one weekend intensives to help people go more deeply into themselves and to break through old patterns. It's a deeply supportive energetic environment, and it's a way for you to learn how to move into a different energy within yourself. This can be critical for some of you to break out of old ways of thinking, acting, and living. As a result, there is the potential for a weekend intensive to be life-changing, although no expectation should ever be held for that.

Things in the weekend intensive unfold in their own divine timing, and it is up to you how you learn and integrate from the experience. If you don't choose to make changes and to melt into your love after this spiritual intensive, then there's no intensive, retreat, or other humanly thing in the world that can do that for you.

Description

This is a two and half day experience going from Friday (either afternoon or evening) to Sunday evening. A schedule/curriculum is tailored to each individual depending on their needs. Activities are secondary to being. This may confuse you if your ego believes action is the way to spiritual understanding, which is also in part the point of this. Being is. To the untrained eye, this is a weekend of hanging out with me, but on the energetic level, there will be conversations of all levels and all depths at work. Strangely enough, it can be very fatiguing, which is why there is typically a sizable break during the full days on Saturday and Sunday

Some activities that generally come up are:
  • Hiking
  • Walking
  • Eating together
  • 1-hour dedicated sessions
  • Reading spiritual texts
  • Visioning (talking about what a person really wants to do in their life)
  • Talking
  • Energy sensitivity and awareness exercises
  • Meditating
  • Chanting and other things as they arise

Benefits

The main benefit is that you have a chance to be with a teacher who is grounded in the awakened space. This doesn't mean I'm perfect, btw. You're not going to a spiritual teacher such as myself to find a "perfect" person or to make yourself perfect, whatever perfect may mean to you. You come to remove any obstructions to your love. We will typically spend more time dealing with your darkness than your light. However, meeting one's inner light tends to also be an overwhelming experience. All-in-all, this is deep, sacred work that moves a lot of things and requires a lot of self-care and open communication, especially as you feel more and more connected to me.

Eligibility 

This is open to current, regular students. Typically, this means that you have sessions every two weeks with me, but exceptions get made from time to time. This is not ideal for someone who is new to spiritual work and working with me. My energy is very powerful, and your energy is very powerful when unlocked. The amount of shifting that can result can be surprising and deeply unsettling. As I've mentioned in my FAQ about my sessions, here is another space where it is easy to be unskillful. That can manifest as thinking that this is a romantic connection or that this is a torturous journey and the teacher is being cruel in someway. It's essentially two sides of the same ego coin; on the one hand, the ego gets something that it likes, and on the other hand your ego gets something it doesn't like.

As a result, those of who are new to me and are interested in this intensive work are advised to begin working with me as a regular student first and building up to this.

Finding Our Space

I used to do these intensives in my apartment, but now, I am keeping more of my private space to myself. Thus, part of developing an itinerary will be about deciding what type of space you feel most comfortable opening in. That could be renting space in a yoga studio for some activities, spending time in a park, or connecting in nature on regular hikes.

Housing and Food

As I live in a modest apartment, there is no housing on-site, but there are hotels nearby to which I will point you towards.

Food costs are shared to some degree. I may buy lunch or dinner to bring to a site to share. When we go some place, it is expected that we will take care of our own costs. In general, we'll figure it out together as we discuss the itinerary for the weekend.


Weekend Intensive Testimonials


July 2015 Weekend Intensive

"My weekend intensive with Jim is hard to put into words, but it was beneficial in many ways. While it can be an intense thing to spend so much concentrated time in the presence of someone as sensitive and observant as Jim, he created a very gentle, attentive, conscious, and loving space. For me personally, I did not doubt that it would be worth it to do a weekend intensive and that I would be fortunate to have access to such a unique experience. However, my main concern going into it was that I would not be ready to fully open up, communicate as thoroughly as I needed to, and receive the fullness of what was being offered to me through this connection. At the end of the day, though, you can only do your best, and where the student is at the time of the intensive is the perfect starting point.

Jim was very reliable, prepared, and consistent, and he provided great hospitality while I was there for the weekend. He took care of everything including putting the agenda together that encompassed plenty of my input, providing ideas and suggestions for the most appropriate and beneficial activities, and picking me up from my hotel for each block of time. He also cooked all of the meals we shared and accommodated my dietary restrictions. I didn’t have much to worry about except being open, willing and ready to face my own emotions, and being as communicative as I could. Leading up to the intensive, Jim kept the agenda fluid and open to change as the flow of our work and what I would need changed. He provided plenty of opportunities for input and feedback. Most importantly, I felt safe while in his presence.

Some of my favorite parts of the intensive were the unique opportunities to have him assist me with new meditation postures that would help me improve my meditations, as well as assisting me with new yoga postures specifically designed for joints that I hadn’t learned before. Having him examine my postures and give his input was a unique opportunity for me that I don’t normally have at home and was very helpful. It was also helpful to get his take on my posture and energy outside of these activities. This was a new kind of feedback that helped me to understand better how I relate to myself and others. Jim focused much of our time together on helping me to relax, adjusting my posture, and helping me to understand what it feels like to be open versus withdrawn or shut down. This has been very beneficial to me as I can continue to pay attention to these internal shifts and changes in my everyday life.

I think my favorite thing about working with Jim is that pretty much nothing phases him or causes him to pass judgment on what you’re sharing or feeling. It’s a very accepting space that allows anything and everything, and whatever shame or fear or judgment you feel is almost always coming from inside you. It’s a rich space in which to learn about yourself and interact with someone with a very malleable energy and consciousness. Facing and vocalizing some of your deepest, most challenging issues in Jim’s presence and allowing them to be there can be one of those most healing actions in itself because nothing is condemned; nothing is criticized; and nothing is met with hostility, judgment, or contempt. It is an extremely vulnerable place to be, but it allows what needs to be acknowledged and seen to come up. It can definitely feel like stepping into the unknown, but there is a refreshing quality of newness to it as well.

Spending this time with Jim also helped me to get to know him better as a person, and it has helped me to see him on more of a human level, which has enhanced our work together after the intensive. Overall, this was a beneficial and positive experience. It will be a very different experience depending on the student, and it will probably be very different for the same student at different points in his/her growth. Jim is growing and changing too, so it is definitely a fluid process from every angle. More than anything, I found it to be safe, attentive, gentle, and loving."

Alyssa C.
Michigan
USA


September 2013 Weekend Intensive
"Overall I found my weekend intensive with Jim to be an incredibly moving and deeply personal experience that I don’t feel words can encapsulate. And I am definitely going to use too many words trying to do so, but I’ll do my best to strike a balance….

I left home without any expectations of the experience since I was engulfed in fear and nervousness which also made it difficult to see anything beyond fear and nervousness for the first 24 hours. However, I also found a lot of meaningful work to do within myself because of the first 24 (in the weeks after I returned home), so I wouldn’t change this if I could do it over again.

Once I actually relaxed and opened a little, it felt like everything within began to shift at a pace that seemed to render me both speechless and paralyzed. While it may have appeared otherwise, there was a boatload of processing and movement happening within me. I remember staring out the window at the rain A LOT and feeling relieved that we didn’t go hiking since I also felt physically exhausted.

The journal guidance was great. This was a great way to practice being vulnerable as well as learning how to go more deeply in my journal. As a matter of fact, my most moving journal entry to date came about just a few days ago that I feel is directly related to the intensive.

So then there was the session. This is where I’m not sure if this is a matter of spiritual maturity, and I’m still a bit too skeptical to suggest that it was some sort of mystical event. Luckily I stopped caring what it was either way some time ago, and as I sit here thinking of it a year later, I am still touched when I recall this session. The best way I can describe this is by comparing it to something I remember reading in Jim's writing a while back. Jim told a story about how a student was sitting in a room, and the student could feel that the chair was a part of him. It was as if Jim, me and all the surroundings sort of blended together, and there was nothing but a deep echo of stillness and peace. I seemed to feel weightless while the most interesting sensations moved through my body at the same time.

The food was excellent. I appreciated having clean-eating/awakened-eating food options and the company in which to enjoy it with. And as a mom, I will forever appreciate someone else preparing a meal.

As for the activities, I wouldn’t change a thing. I didn’t feel like doing much during my visit, so there was a perfect amount of outings/activities for me. I needed to see a spiritual teacher in a public setting putting one foot in front of the other the same way I do. I also needed to witness someone following their intuition and the chain of events that followed (Jim opted to forgo a hike, then it ended up raining during the time we would have been on the trail). These things were critical for me to witness in my initial stages of growth, though I didn’t realize it at the time.

The experience now has me curious to discover what a follow-up intensive may hold since I have grown more, and we’d be able to move right past those initial layers of fear and nervousness to begin the work on a different level."

Brandy D.
California
USA

Suggested Donation

As with everything I do, I worked by a suggested donation. The suggested donation for this intensive is 1,250 USD for those with the means. For everyone else, we can come to an agreement on what is fair and manageable within your finances and in being in integrity with my time and energy commitment.

If you are eligible and want to schedule a weekend with me or if you would like to ask me more questions about this offering, you can contact me through my contact form on this blog.


The hand-drawing is a gift from my student, Vale.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Spiritual Masters

I felt like writing about spiritual masters to help those of you who are truly dedicated to your spiritual paths to understand those beings and how they are in this world.

A spiritual master truly is someone who has stepped out of the confines and attachments of this world. Their interests in the concerns that are thought to be essential (romance, making money, having a great social network, etc.) are few to non-existent. Their interests tend to focus on what is nourishing, what is healing, and what is real. So if you ever happened to run into a spiritual master staring for long periods of time at a field of unfolding sunflowers, this may not make sense to you because social conditioning has taught you that this is unimportant and that you should overlook it and otherwise assume that this blooming should always happen. But the spiritual master is not that way. The spiritual master assumes nothing and embraces every moment as a beautiful unveiling and unfolding, which will never happen quite like it ever again.

Which brings me to part of the point of this post, and that's about when and how to approach a spiritual master as well as why most of you don't really want to ever meet one.

The Profundity of Spiritual Mastery


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Spiritual Poetry: Journeying Home to My Heart

hand drawing, spirituality blog, spiritual flowers
Today I have two treats for you. One is the latest poem from my student, Rach, and the second is this beautiful hand drawing by my student, Vale. I have several more beautiful drawings from her which will accompany upcoming blog posts, so stay tuned for that.

Since Rach has been our poet in residence for awhile, I wanted to point out some of her earlier spiritual poems for those of you who are new to the blog and haven't seen them yet.

Home

I Am

Trust

You can always enjoy work from my students on the "Thoughts from a Student" link on the right-hand side of the blog. 


Journeying Home to My Heart


Monday, October 7, 2013

Preparing for Your Life's Work

spiritual awakening, ascension picture, enlightenment, spiritual photography
I've discussed finding our lives' respective purposes and what-not in many other posts, but for the interests of this blog post, I wanted to share a little bit in regards to how we naturally prepare for the work that we are here to do. On one level, we are all very ingenious and creative people who naturally can use past experiences and talents to create something in this moment. It will always be a unique creation as we are ourselves are always a unique creation in any giving moment as we are also constantly changing. So the work that we do in one moment will be different from the next, and that is part of living a fluid, dynamic, and natural life.

While that may sound like you may be constantly changing jobs, the point really is that you can change and do whatever you want. Many people won't have one set purpose to fulfill in this lifetime. Some will have several. Some will have a couple simple things to check off the list, and some will have no purpose, as defined by the ego. In this space of purposelessness, these individuals' only work and purpose in this lifetime will be in being because being is its own purpose.

With that said, those of you who have awakened and are watching many interesting and new experiences arise and pass, in your lives, this blog post is for you.

The Work Finds You


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Spirituality Webinar: The Real Spiritual Awakening Signs

spiritual awakening photo, spiritual opening picture, spirituality,
You've probably seen the lists out there. Everything from insomnia to changing social circles to hemorrhoids (probably) seem to now be a sign of a spiritual awakening. It is all rather absurd, and generally, it just fuels this new level of ego that thinks it is spiritual by giving it new ideas and reference points to justify itself. "Ah, yes. I haven't been sleeping and have been eating lots of kale too. I must be awakening!"

But awakening is something that arises from within and stays. It has less to do with these external world changes and energy changes as with the quality of awareness and depth of love within which we effortlessly reside. Many people go through spiritual shifts, openings, and growth cycles as well as healing cycles, which have a lot of similarities with awakening and all of which should be honored. But there are different flavors to each and different ways that we engage with them, and so in the interests of helping people to better understand the spiritual path as a whole, I wanted to talk about what are really spiritual awakening signs.

Webinar Title: The Real Spiritual Awakening Signs


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