Monday, March 30, 2015

The Embittering Process

spiritual process, spiritual healing, plant photo
The embittering process is the path on which people become more hard-hearted, cold, cynical, and closed. It is the path that most people are on.

But they don't know it. It starts simply by having a difficult experience that you can't handle or don't want to handle. That pain gets stuck in you. As a result, you tend to avoid, hide, or attack situations that bring up that pain, and you create a variety of behavior patterns to maintain your distance from anything that might bring back this inner upset. Over time, other difficult situations arise, and a person continues to try and avoid their own fear, anger, shame, sadness, and other uncomfortable feelings. You keep shutting down. Life gets narrower and narrower. Possibilities for joy and inspiration disappear. Life gets hard. You may feel increasingly trapped. More shit happens, but since that's your attitude already, your cynical mind accepts it in stride. To your mind, this is simply how life is.

But that is not the case. It is only the viewpoint of the embittered person. Most people not on the spiritual path travel this road because it seems the safest. It seems to be safer to hide from, avoid, run away, and attack uncomfortable situations rather than experiencing old pain, facing fear, and challenging one's edges. To be sure, not everyone follows this path. Plenty of people attempt to wear rose-colored glasses and see all of life as beautiful. But that is not seeing the truth. And it can also avoid a lot of painful things inside through aversion to seeing them. Plus, the embittered state of Western Society tends to view such people as irrational (and that's not all wrong).

But the spiritual path teaches us to see things as they are and to stay open-hearted to life even when it is difficult so that we can truly live. As such, I'll write a little bit about the embittering process and how to step out of it in preference to a fuller and more loving life.

The First Wound

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

5 Types of Spiritual Awakening Sleep Problems and Insomnia

Spiritual awakening shifts around a lot of stuff in our inner worlds, and having all the inner furniture moving can certainly cause a lot of ruckus in other rooms in our inner home. One notable room is how we sleep. Because sleep is one of the fundamental elements of being a human being, not getting enough or not getting the right kind of sleep directly impacts how you feel and experience life. Sleep issues often underlie the chronic fatigue issue that also can show up for a lot of people during an awakening.

Chronic Fatigue and Spiritual Awakening

Today, I wanted to offer some thoughts and some potential solutions to help you cope with the challenges of not sleeping well enough, not enough, or too much. As always, I want to emphasize that this is not medical advice, and it's always a good idea to check in with the Western MD. We have them for a reason, and they are as much a part of the spiritual path as any healer out there.

But when we are otherwise perfectly healthy and our sleeping patterns change after awakening, there can be a couple of reasons for this. Also, it tends to be the case that several of these issues are going on at once. What I am doing here is attempting to parse out something that may feel overwhelming and completely intertwined into something easier to look at.

On a brief side note, if you are new to my blog and want to stay in touch, feel free to sign up for my free newsletter:

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Without further ado, let's talk about 5 types of spiritual awakening sleep problems, changes, and insomnia.

#1 Intense Energy Shifts

Monday, March 23, 2015

How to Manifest Your Dreams and When Manifestation Becomes Control

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I'm sure that more than a few of you have heard the term "manifestation." People love to toss this term around, and it simply means getting what you want. That's basically it. All spiritual mumbo jumbo aside, people want to believe they can get what they want.

But how many people really know what they want? Certainly, lots of people know what they've been taught to want. People have been taught to want a soulmate, lots of money and financial security, a family, a well-kept home, notoriety among friends and society, and a host of other things. But what are these things really?

They're feelings. People want feelings. They want to feel good mainly. They want to feel safe, loved, seen, and other things. And this is where we get into murky territory for a lot of people. Because I have to ask, why do we want that? If so much of our life will still feel uncomfortable regardless of these wants, what does striving for them do for us? If we are always striving to feel good, we also tend to make our present moments miserable either trying to manifest an old moment long past or striving to get to a future one that will be better. All of this is to say that most of the manifestation people are trying to do on their spiritual path is a not-even-remotely-subtle version of control.

Thus, if we want to talk about how to manifest your dreams, we have to find out what you are running from first. And we have to find out who you really are.

Who Are You?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Webinar Recording: Spiritual Awakening and Powerful Relationships

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The spiritual path brings many interesting lessons and situations into our lives, and of course, all of those are dependent on the people who are part of our experiences. Especially after a spiritual awakening, there often are a lot of powerful relationships that arrive for people. For some people, those relationships were already here, but when you are open to receive, those relationships can finally expand to offer greater depths than before. For others, it really does seem like the universe can send a wave of amazing, unsettling, and even terrifyingly powerful relationships your way.

The types of powerful spiritual relationships are actually quite varied. They can include one or many spiritual teachers or healers. They obviously can include soulmates, twin flames, and other romantic relationships. They can include many deep re-alignments with current friends, co-workers, employers, business partners, and family as you come into a deeper harmony, and some transitional relationships will be vital in helping you leave some of your more unconscious relationships, easing the transition from unconscious behaviors to healthier relating.

Truly, there are many, many kinds of powerful relationships that can show up, and in this webinar, I talked about a few of them as well as understanding the power of your relationship with yourself.

Spiritual Awakening and Powerful Relationships Full Webinar Recording


Wednesday, March 25, 2015


10:30 AM Pacific Time

Monday, March 16, 2015

Positive Thinking: The Amazing Power and Utter Uselessness of Positivity

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Positive thinking is one of those spiritual tools that has a time and a place. Typically that time and place is early on in someone's spiritual journey. The further down this road someone comes, the more the concept of labeling some things as positive and the necessity to label others as negative becomes an absurdity. As such, this is one of those spiritual tools that I consider to be scaffolding. It can be really useful to have scaffolding when you are building a house. But you certainly don't keep it around after the house is built.

From the outset in this spiritual blog post, I want you to understand that labeling something as positive immediately creates a shadow--it's negative. This thing is good makes that other thing bad. It keeps us locked in duality and the thinking of the judgmental ego. It can become a terrible trap, and it's one that some of my spiritual students have discovered as they go deeper in their journeys.


Positive thinking can have its usefulness, and for those struggling with depression, it can be the right crutch to work their way out and broaden their perspective on life. Because as your perspective on life grows, you see that things simply are as they are and that life is simply too vast to be defined by human ideas of what is positive and what is negative.

The Purpose of Temporary Spiritual Tools

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Getting Out of the Rat Race and the End of Competition

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One of the hallmarks of Western Society has been an emphasis on competition. The idea is that competition brings out the best in us. That has hardly been the case. The reality is that competition is immensely wasteful. It triggers people's survival fears to keep them agitated enough to work long hours and attempt to "get ahead" because people don't want to fail, which is associated with being poor, not having enough, and so forth. Ultimately at the root of this is the fear of death.

The enormity of energy that people exert from this fear-based thinking exhausts people and leads to further issues as people try to keep going as hard and fast as society appears to be telling them. This leads to all kinds of substance abuse and addictions for many people. Additionally, this competition causes us to waste resources competing against each other rather than combining resources towards a common goal. Every day, duplicated efforts are performed as businesses, governments, and people compete against each other for some goal--a goal that often isn't very clear.

At other times, the goal is all too clear; it's money. But why people really want and need money is often forgotten or obscured. Furthermore, people get so lost in this rat race that they keep running 'round and 'round the circuit constantly trying to get more of whatever it is they think they should get. But it never ends. They can never feel at rest and are, in truth, quite lost.

And perhaps you may not be in the business world which is what the rat race uses means. Perhaps you are a stay-at-home mom, student, or something else. But you probably are still competing to get ahead in some way. Women are often competing against each other in subtle or not-so-subtle ways to be the prettiest because society tells them that being pretty is important. Or maybe they want to have the "best" kids. Families tries to keep up with the "Joneses," which means if the Joneses get an inground pool then you have to get an inground pool. So, so wasteful, and why? Why are you doing this?

But the rat race and competing against others and yourself will not get you what you want, and today, I'll talk about getting out and finding what it is you are really after.

Realizing the Hamster Wheel You're On

Monday, March 9, 2015

Bullied, Beaten, and Abused: The Prevalence of Physical Violence in Western Culture

laurie sumiye, artist, artwork
As I continue to blog about the body and what embodied spirituality means, it is an important and necessary stop along this journey to talk about physical abuse and physical violence. There are so many kinds that I won't attempt to list them all, and many of them are actually encouraged and glorified in Western Society. Particularly for men, enduring pain and being able to inflict pain on others has often been considered a praise-worthy attribute. Consider all the big summer blockbuster movies; the superheros aren't inviting the villains to a peace negotiation process.

Clearly, using violence to create peace is a very deluded idea of how peace is created in the world. Violence only perpetuates more violence. Look at the raging violence in the Middle East and consider how many wars have been fought there. Do you think that killing or maiming someone's brother ever makes that other person feel like befriending the killer? No. It does not, and it is deep medicine to heal those types of schisms. A missile can't do this.

But while these are bigger examples of violence, there are tons of little instances that build themselves up until people are thoroughly bullied, beaten, and abused. From that pain, people often want to inflict pain on others as if they can get rid of their own pain that way. Furthermore, when we are mired in deep physical pain, it is much easier to ignore the physical suffering of others.

There is a way out of this pain, however, and this is what I'd like to talk to you about today.

Diagramming the Many Areas of Physical Violence

I think there's a lot of confusion that somehow only women feel the brunt of physical abuse. They do not, but I am glad that people document the various abuses women have endured. It should also be noted that women also inflict physical violence on other women. I've had more than a few stories shared with me about mothers who have beaten their daughters. But for too long, the abuse of men has been considered a form of manliness. Yes, we have to toughen up our boys, or so the thinking goes. So if punishments in family households came down, a lot of times boys got the heavier hand. I'm sure that's not always the case, but let's be honest with ourselves about how our society views these things. Women aren't generally expected to endure lots of physical pain. While it happens, the social belief is that hitting women is wrong. With boys, it can be quite the reverse.

As such, if boys get into fights, a lot of parents aren't thinking about resolving the issues by helping the boys get better stress and coping skills or teaching them how to compromise and negotiate. Some of you are probably laughing because the above ideas sounds too silly. This is what social conditioning does to us, people. No, instead, we enroll our boys in karate and martial arts classes so they can fight back. We seem to believe that fighting is the ultimate conclusion to resolving many of our difficulties. Just look at how the U.S. handles international terrorism with its own kind of terrorism (detaining people without charges at Guantanamo Bay, torture, bombing areas with drones, invading countries like Afghanistan, and so on). Has this made people happier with the U.S.? Of course not. Do you think more people would like to someday send drones over the U.S. to bomb this country? You bet.

Violence does not work. It only creates more violence.

Sports and Violence

It seems like each year sports become a little more violent. Or perhaps the sports being promoted most are more violent. The UFC and ultimate fighting stuff seems to have caught on in the last decade, and American football is super popular here in the U.S. The highlights from those events are not high fives and hugs between the two opposing teams. No, people are shown giving or taking grueling hits, and the person who inflicts the worst hits are cheered for as someone else is knocked down or knocked out. This is not healthy, yet early on, our young boys are being brought up to play these types of sports. There's some confusion about having testosterone and naturally wanting to fight or something. But regardless of how naturally aggressive this hormone (which women also have) makes anyone, much more of aggression is socially taught, especially through sports.

And not only is it taught, but it's rewarded. If you give the huge knock out blow, you may see yourself on TV, and that kind of adulation and validation from other people can be quite addictive. Financial rewards tend to come with it too. Look no further than a lot of college sports and the athletic scholarships and rewards handed out legally and illegally (yes, I know not all sports are like that; I'm simply calling into question some of the ways that violence is rewarded).

It's a quick downhill slide into more and more pain as boys grow into men. Physical pain stays in the body, and men's bodies become more and more broken. The truth of the matter is that the person inflicting pain is still receiving it. Hitting another has an impact on your body as well as the other person, and so the two people become one in shared pain even though it seems like there is the giver and the receiver. Your body remembers all of this. If something is hurt too badly, that part of the body may never be the same the rest of a person's life. Especially at the joints, many people are going to have all kinds of chronic knee, shoulder, ankle, and other pains their rest of their lives from all of this "recreational" violence.

Family Physical Abuse and Punishment

But as we drill down into this issue, we have to end up at the family and how children are raised. It's not that long ago in the U.S. where it was widely considered okay to beat your kinds into obedience. Every now and then, I even hear a joke about a dad going to get his belt... It's not funny.

Can you think about that? Can you think about how horrible it is to be a full grown adult beating a helpless child? Even if they are now teenagers, that's terrible. It's terrible at every step of the way. There is no time to take off your belt and whip a child. Yet this example and many others (spanking) have been done as a way to form "good habits?" Oh my goodness, this is sick thinking.

And of course, the old saying of, "Well, this is how my parents raised me" holds no water at all. Doing something wrong once doesn't make it right with repetition. But this is often the nature of suffering. It is cyclical. It is learned. It is passed on one punch, kick, slap, and belt hit at a time, and this has created so many beaten and angry people who want to pass this pain on because it is all that they know.

Breaking Cycles With Education

In terms of childrearing, discipline, and setting appropriate boundaries, there are so many resources online and in books that you don't have an excuse for not finding new behaviors to help your children grow up well. This is the power of education, and yes, it does take effort to learn new things and implement them. There is a lot of trial and error, but that is just how it goes. Part of the problem with this issue is like with many other issues--it is a familiar pattern. We tend to fall back into familiar patterns, and so it can seem like a great deal of effort to step out of an old issue. But this is an effort that is imminently worth making, so get to it.

Additionally, when we are still carrying physical abuse within us, we are still in a place where we want to act that out. You see, every punch you gave or received is living in your physical body memory. It is trapped energy that is also wound up with your emotional body. So there is probably a lot of sadness, fear, and anger (sadness that it happened, fear that it could happen again, and anger that you have all this pain) just trying to burst out of you. People don't like dealing with all this inner upset, which leads people to all kinds of distracting and deadening methodologies. For many people, alcohol is that outlet. Drugs can be popular too. Anyway to numb out the pain that wants to come up, people can and have done it. As such, there's going to be a learning phase that people have to go through to learn better coping mechanisms and to heal themselves.

Because when we don't we keep passing that pain on to our children. We can't keep fighting with others and going to war. The cycles of physical pain and suffering need to stop.

Hidden Physical Violence and Forgotten Memories

Sometimes, a person (often a child, but it could be a soldier or prisoner of war) is so badly beaten or wounded that the mind shuts down. They survive, but all the physical pain is trapped inside. The mind couldn't handle what was happening, and even after the event is over, the whole of the scenario is blacked out from memory. It may be blacked out for years or a whole lifetime. Most people aren't taught to heal pain and face severe physical trauma. It's sad that anyone should have to face this kind of horrible trauma, but it happens...too much.

Because there is no way to access the memories, healing this kind of pain is exceedingly difficult. A lot of doubt and perhaps shame masks the memory, so the person won't even look at it or believe the feelings that occasionally come up. On some level, a part of the person's mind has made an unconscious decision to repress all aspects of this pain. Because of how severe it is, it's my opinion that this can lead a person to more unhealthy forms of repression such as alcoholism. But the good news is that the body wants to heal. It wants all this darkness and dis-ease to come up. As such, helping someone to have the tools and build the confidence to handle the upset pain that will come boiling to the surface is key. If the person you were wasn't ready and didn't have the tools during the trauma, part of being able to bring back these forgotten events involves developing the tools and inner tenacity to face this inner horror.

It's not fun. It is, however, rewarding and immensely freeing.

Turning Off to Violence

Interestingly enough, I was a big fan of American football for some time, but obviously, my viewpoint has changed. All I see now are people inflicting pain on each other. Whatever the benefit of organized sports, there are plenty of other sports that can be played that don't so deeply damage the body. As such, I don't watch that kind of violence. And this is part of the way I encourage you to help re-shape society. Don't watch "entertainment" that focuses on violence. Don't support conversations about how someone really "f'ed up" some other person or in any glorify violence. In general, pay attention to where you inflict or support violence.

This includes self-inflicted violence. People regularly hurt themselves in a whole variety of ways such as avoiding dealing with chronic pain, eating disorders, over-eating, and even how we exercise, inflicting pain on our bodies to achieve certain body ideals. There's a lot of violence going on, and it's time to turn off to those ideas and the media that support them.

New Kinds of Engagement With Conflict

To engage successfully with external conflict, we have to engage with our internal conflict. The subtle violence of the unconscious ego sows the seeds for physical violence. The more unhappy we are with ourselves, the more we are willing to participate in or allow physical violence around us. We have been immersed in a sea of pain. But since the external world will not change until we all change, we have to start with ourselves. It is the only sane thing to do, and I want you to consider the violence we inflict on ourselves as emanating from a lot of poor ideas. Being strong in the face of difficult emotions doesn't mean shutting down. That is not being tough. That is being stupid. Yes, that sounds like a judgment, but if you want to enjoy life and stay in a space of love, shutting down will keep you in pain. "Tough it out." "Man up." "Don't be a sissy." All these sayings come from ideas that we have to endure pain. It, of course, is aimed at men, but let's be honest: a lot of women have adopted this mentality too. As such, we have created a whole host of hard-hearted people, and that callousness makes it extremely difficult to deal with external conflict because in truth we are so deeply at war with ourselves.

These wars do not stay confined to ourselves, and for those who do go to war as soldiers, inner pain and trauma already within someone gets compounded upon during those tours of duty. However, healing from combat is profoundly important work, and it can't just be medicated away. All this inner pain about things someone saw or had to do need to be addressed. Otherwise, people descend further and further into pain (such as PTSD) and then very likely into alcoholism, drug abuse, and other distracting and numbing activities.

The Way Out of Physical Pain Is the Way Through

Much like all healing, the way out is the way through. We learn to relax into physical pain as we experience it coming up. This is different than breaking a bone. We know to go to the doctor to get the bone set. But when the body starts to release pain that has been stuck in shoulders, hips, or wherever, we have to learn how to breathe through it. If we tense up, avoid it, or try to think it away, the issue remains. We continue to limp on through our lives. But if we have the courage to breathe into it and allow it its full expression, it can and does release. And the releasing of physical issues is an extraordinary and wonderful thing.

I don't expect the physical bullying, beating, and abusing of others to stop overnight. I'd love it if it did. But I do know that we need more people who know how to release this trapped energy and pain. That's where all of you come in. The deeper you can release whatever overt or subtle level of physical pain that may be trapped in you, the more you become an example to others. Which is badly needed. Until others see a way out of pain and other ways to resolve issues rather than inflicting more pain on others, we're not going to get out of this mess. We're going to continue to behave like monsters and commit atrocities on one another. But it doesn't have to go that way. You don't have to go that way, but it's up to you to face your own inner demons and physical pains. If you do, then we've all just taken one more important step towards a healthier world community.

Today's artwork is a gift from Laurie Sumiye. You can check out more of her lovely artwork on her Website:

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Webinar Recording: Becoming a Modern Day Spiritual Teacher or Healer

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Many of you will discover that you have a calling to become a spiritual teacher or healer as you grow on your spiritual journey. Others of you have always felt this pull within. And some of you will be quite surprised when people start putting you in places to teach or heal. Any way that you end up on the path of the spiritual teacher and healer is sacred, but it still involves work.

In this webinar, I discussed the dedication, self-care, and business of becoming a spiritual teacher and/or healer in our modern society.

Becoming a Spiritual Teacher or Spiritual Healer Additional Comments

Offering yourself to others as a spiritual teacher and/or spiritual healer is a profound service to the world. It should not be taken lightly in terms of responsibility or dismissed as some trivial service. Truly, this vocation can help people to change their lives, release old pain and trauma, and live in greater peace and harmony.

But before you go running off to save the world, you need to know yourself. The better you know yourself, the more clear it is what type of teaching and/or healing you want to offer. You understand your gifts, but you also understand what your limits are. The combination is critical to staying in integrity with yourself and others when you are often working with people who are badly out of integrity with themselves.

Some topics I discussed include:
  • The importance of self-care
  • When healing work may get confused as life work (Click on the link to go to a spiritual blog post on the topic)
  • The wounded healer/teacher
  • Learning how to say yes and no to the many opportunities and challenges that come your way
  • Appreciating the role of money and avoiding the impoverishing trap of scarcity issues (for instance, thinking money is "bad" is an issue that will trap you in scarcity)
  • Appreciating the business of being a full-time healer or teacher and discussing some important business aspects (such as how to ask for donations, set up a sliding scale, etc.)


Wednesday, March 11, 2014


6 PM Pacific Time


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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

7 Common Spiritual Awakening Experiences

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There are many spiritual websites discussing all kinds of spiritual awakening signs and symptoms, and I know that it can be quite confusing. In my spiritual awakening blog post "5 Signs of a Spiritual Awakening," I offer my definition of some of the most basic aspects of an awakening. These are what I call primary spiritual awakening signs. From these signs, all kinds of byproduct experiences arise. What do I mean by byproduct experiences? I simply mean that an experience results because of the existence of the other signs of awakening. Without those signs, fatigue may simply be a sign that you aren't sleep well and not that any kind of spiritual shift is going on. You see what I mean?

After a spiritual awakening, people often have a number of spiritual awakening experiences as they start to transition from living a daily life based on illusion and fear to one of truth, clarity, and love. Today, I'll discuss seven experiences that I've heard and discussed the most in hopes that you can simply relax more deeply in your spiritual awakening and engage with whatever is being revealed, healed, and shifted within you.

Spiritual Awakening Experience 1: Bliss

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hidden, Subtle Levels of Physical Fear and Agitation

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You probably don't realize it, but right now, subtle levels of fear and agitation are probably moving through you. They're so invisible and so seemingly natural that you may think you are relaxed. But you are not. You are habituated to this level of fear and agitation, and it only tends to become apparent when we truly stop, sit, and be.

Our environments, families, and culture have dictated what level of agitation to live at. Since human beings are very impressionable, people learn to maintain a similar level of agitation in their behavior patterns. Consequently, these deeper levels have probably gone unnoticed your whole life.

For instance, it's easy to notice if you have a very anxious neighbor if they are operating in more fear and anxiety than you. You may think to yourself, "This dude just needs to chill out." But if you asked your neighbor how he was doing, he'd probably say that he was fine. Clearly, you can see that this is not the truth, but that level of agitation is so normal to your neighbor that he has no perspective.

Developing perspective on yourself is one of the big steps on the spiritual path. Being able to drop into a space of awareness and witness your thoughts is the central tool in doing so. At earlier stages, other people can be very helpful in offering reflections about you, but the more subtle you go, the more you need to rely on your own awareness to sense the truth and where agitation and fear still reside. If you are sincere, you will begin to release more levels of fear and agitation from the body and your energy and move into a more settled state of peaceful awareness.

Far From Your First Issue

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