Friday, 23 January 2015

Energy Mastery

I recently attended an event entitled “Energy Mastery”. I will admit I had some reservations about this title. The word “Mastery” draws to my mind images of control and manipulation and suppression. Of reigning in something wild and untamed or in some other concentrated and disciplined way molding an unwanted thing into something more preferable. It is not surprising that in the Western world with its long history of violently forcing it’s selfish will upon our beautiful planet and many of it’s human and non human inhabitants, that one’s mind would be tarnished with an unsavoury connotation of the idea of mastery.

It is also not surprising then that so many of us take this same forceful view of our emotions. Like everything that exists, emotions are energy. There are some who may be interested in learning how to control and manipulate energy in more “supernatural” ways, no doubt fuelled by stories within ancient mythology and modern fiction of beings with the ability to transform and bend the material and non-material world at will. I'm sure that for these people many teachings can be explored that would intrigue and titillate this particular desire. But for most people it would be more beneficial to understand the kind of energy that has the most direct influence on our daily sense of well-being: our emotions. It is observable that many people continue to hold onto the belief that the mastery of our emotions means that we have to learn how to control and manipulate and suppress or completely obliterate any emotions we deem as undesirable. The world is full of examples of how we try to do just that. The devices we carry in our toolboxes to this end are numerous: Medication, distraction, abstraction, psychotherapy, fiction, addiction etc. Anyone out there having much success with any of these?

The reason these methods fail is that they are based on a false premise. And that is the belief that the emotions we perceive as undesirable are unnatural and do not have a place in our experience. What I am suggesting is that all emotions, ALL emotions, are a natural part of the human experience. That part of the reason we chose to incarnate in this space-time reality is to have the opportunity to explore and taste everything that grows in the garden of human emotions. Not so that we can destroy any of the emotional flora we deem as distasteful, but so that we can nurture and grow the seed of awareness and inner spaciousness planted within each of us, into a place that can hold enough light and love and peace and stillness to allow all that we feel to be experienced with gentle compassion and peaceful equanimity. In this way it no longer becomes necessary or even desirable to control our emotions. For when we understand that this inner spaciousness is not only part of us, but the very essence of who we are, then we know that the ebb and flow of human emotions does not have to be manipulated, for it is not and never has been in control of us. We only believed it was. As emotions rise and fall we can smile gently from within an unwavering space of non-judgement and allowing and stillness and quiet joy. We can accept that there will be times when we feel we are being swept away by undesirable emotions. That is okay, for we won’t be gone for too long. We will always be drawn back to the stillness within. When we stop swimming against the current of our emotions we will be carried gently back toward love and light and allowing.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Editing: How to survive the 21st century

I’m not sure if I’ve ever met anyone for whom meditating in the lotus position is comfortable. Yet the idea seems to exist that we should be able to mindfully ignore or rise above our aching back and numb backside.  If you have the option to sit in a comfortable upholstered armchair then why suffer unnecessarily? Likewise, why should we strive to rise above any other circumstance that can easily be changed. I’d rather save "rising above" for those things over which I do not have control.

The 21st century is undoubtedly one of abundance. If fact, we are bombarded daily with an overwhelming and never-ending tidal wave of data and information. Our homes are packed to the rafters with consumer goods. Our agendas are as overstuffed as our refrigerators. There is an abundance of examples of abundance.

The word “minimal” only seems to apply to our bank balances, our free time, joy and love and peace of mind, and all those other good things that self-help books talk about.

Don’t you think it’s about time we reverse this trend? Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted”. How about we strive to have less of the stuff that can be counted, but does not count. And more of the stuff that cannot be counted, but counts. I am not talking about adopting any form of extreme minimalism and I’m certainly not recommending deprivation. Rather, what I’m suggesting is “Lagom”.

(From Wikipedia: Logam is a Swedish word meaning "just the right amount". Whereas words like "sufficient" and "average" suggest some degree of abstinence, scarcity, or failure, lagom carries the connotation of appropriateness, although not necessarily perfection. The archetypical Swedish proverb "Lagom är bäst", literally "The right amount is best", is translated as "Enough is as good as a feast".)

Every material object, idea or concept carries not only an intrinsic energy signature, but also a subjective energy response that is unique to the individual who is experiencing it. Think about the stuff you have in your home. Does it weigh you down or does it induce in you a feeling of lightness and spaciousness? When embracing Logam, your material possessions are sometimes a good place to start. Take it room by room, storage space by storage space. Give away, throw away or donate everything that you do not use and do not need and do not like. Purge, purge purge! Be ruthlessly selective about anything new you bring into your home. The idea is to only have those things in your home that serve a useful purpose and hold no unpleasant memories for you.

Don’t stop there. Move onto your digital life. For example, wouldn’t it be nice if your Facebook newsfeed contained only stories that uplifted and inspired you? Hiding unwanted posts from your newsfeed can be achieved with a few easy mouse clicks.

Next take a close look at your agenda. Cancel everything that is not essential or in some way mandatory. Wherever possible, avoid multi-tasking. Research shows that multi-tasking is in fact counter-productive and has a negative effect on your mental, emotional and physical health. Wherever did we get the idea that doing one thing at a time was not enough?! Ever heard the Zen saying “Before enlightenment, chopping wood, carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood, carrying water”? Notice that it did not say anything about trying to chop wood or carry water at the same time. That would be the fastest way to end up wet and missing a few toes!

Now, shall we discuss our incessant intake of media? I promise you the world will not stop spinning on its axis if you stop reading newspapers and magazines, and stop watching the news. I promise that you’ll be much happier. Try it and see for yourself.

So, listed above are some of the things that are easier to change. Do not underestimate the immensely liberating effect of freeing yourself from that which is unnecessary and wasteful and overwhelming. Once you have created space in your life you will be able to face the more squirrelly aspects of the human experience. You will find it easier to look into yourself and uproot and discard false beliefs and negative thoughts. I firmly believe that awakening or emergence is a process of purging that which is untrue. It is not about adding more things, but instead it’s about discarding what no longer serves your highest interest. Emerging is about purging.

Editing is defined as the preparing of (written) material for publication by correcting, condensing, or otherwise modifying it. I believe that the process of editing can also be applied to our lives. In fact, it may be essential to surviving the 21st century.

"Perception is a tool that is pointed at both ends"

It could be said that the price we pay for sight is seeing. For highly sensitive, intuitive or psychic people it can be difficult to interact with a world in which we can see all that lies behind the social masks of others. Although there is always an energy exchange that is occurring “behind the scenes”, a great deal of human interaction occurs mask to mask. The “Hey how you doing?  Love your shoes!” kind of mindless chit-chat that often fills the spaces between people. There is of course a time and place for these sorts of superficial exchanges, but what is disturbing is that for many this appears to be as deep as it goes. They look at the social mask and believe that this is who a person is. They behave as if the mask is all there is. They start to feel incredibly uncomfortable when you look past their social masks and attempt to interact with that which lies beyond it.

It is natural and easy for me to see beyond the superficial. What feels incredibly unnatural to me is superficial interaction. I have to fake being fake, which is an awkward and exhausting exercise. I would even go as far on a bad day to describe it as painful. And so for the most part I do what feels most natural to me and respond instead to the energies that lie beneath people’s words and actions. This produces mixed results. Some people find it invasive and disturbing, while others are fascinated and intrigued and sometimes even deeply moved.

The human experience is one of both light and shadow. In our darkest moments we may take comfort in the idea of a loving god, or a guardian angel or a spirit guide who is able to see inside of us and understand our suffering. Perhaps it is not the role of spirit beings to focus upon the shadows, perhaps that power belongs to us. Perhaps perception is not a pointed tool at all, but a torch. Perhaps our role is to shine the light of awareness onto the shadows we can see within others. Whether or not we deem it in the highest interest of ourselves and the other to speak or act on what we are able to see is up to us. But even without words or actions, seeing and understanding and acknowledging the shadows allows the light of awareness to shine on what would otherwise have remained in darkness.

I want you to fall in love with yourself

I want us to play together, to be playful in our interaction.
I want us to exchange energy for the joy of exchanging energy.
I want the presence within me to be present with the presence within you.
I want you to learn how to nourish and cherish and honour yourself.
I want you to learn how to be kind and gentle and forgiving to yourself.
I want you to see yourself the way spirit sees you.
I want you to accept and allow the beauty and magnificence that you truly are.
And above all else, I want you to fall in love with yourself.

On Being

There was no beginning and there will be no ending. All of the truths of all of the ages lies as a single grain of absolute knowing within the heart of every human being. There are no questions that need to be answered. Even the most banal of questions has the same answer as the most profound of questions. And that is that life is nothing more than an expression of being. Living is an expression of the eternal Beingness of all that is. Every shade, every nuance, every seemingly paradoxical situation or circumstance is merely a subtle variation on the same scale of expression. What is the purpose of this plethora of variations in the experience of being? They serve no purpose other than to experience being. There is nothing you have to do or achieve in this lifetime or any other. Simply being is enough.

Stop looking outside of yourself for some imagined form of fulfillment. Stop trying to effort specific circumstances into your experience. Allow the flow of your life to merge with the flow of the lives of those with whom you share this space and time. Say Yes to what is not harmful. Though in essence you cannot truly be harmed, there are certain things that may cause the illusion of discomfort. You do not need to say Yes to these things, you would be wise to avoid them without resisting them. Simply step away from them if they show up in your experience. But do not allow the fear of discomfort to stop you from showing up and saying Yes to life.

Even the most enlightened masters are not able to avoid the discomfort of unwanted circumstances. Though you are able to influence your energy vibration to some degree, it is not always possible to be on guard all of the time. In fact, the level of impeccable vigilance that is required to maintain a consistently high vibration can in itself create what you call “stress”. And this dis-ease will negatively affect your vibration. See the dichotomy? So just relax and take it in your stride. And know that sometimes your vibration will be higher and sometimes it will be lower. You are doing the best you can. You are not meant to be in perfect alignment all of the time. You are meant to experience contrast. That is why you have incarnated into the physical world. Your higher self would not be served by experiencing no contrast while you are incarnate. So don’t be so hard on yourself, you have done nothing to deserve or warrant any unwanted circumstance. Do not blame yourself and do not blame others. It is simply the contrast of the physical world expressing itself through you and thereby granting you the opportunity to step closer to the knowledge of who you truly are, which is an eternal being that has chosen to experience contrast. Some experiences will feel good and others less so. But each experience is in fact neutral. In other words, there is no good or bad, wanted or unwanted on the scale of experience.

Be kind to yourself, be kind to others, be gentle to your planet. There is no need to leave your mark. Every shift in your vibration, whether it appears to be felt by millions or seems to go by unnoticed, sends a ripple of realignment out into the Universe. This is a source of immense joy to all that is. The gratitude that is felt toward you is immeasurable.

That which wants nothing

Behind everything that I think I am lies a Still Awareness that wants nothing. Not wanting is the ultimate freedom. Being free is the ultimate joy. But it is a quiet joy that should not be confused with the temporary high we get from satisfying a desire. It may be true that our souls have preferences. But again, this should not be confused with wanting. Our soul’s preference is merely to lure us back into awareness of our true nature, which is the joy and freedom of simply being. When storm clouds are gathering, remember what it is that lies beyond all your current thoughts and beliefs. Lean gently toward that Still Awareness that wants nothing, and it will embrace you with open arms, and you will be filled with the incredible lightness of Being.