Welcome to An Inner Walk-About

There is an inner landscape that sounds the wild call for stillness. It is both empty and cognizant at the same time. We may fall into its desert and become lost. Here, we may disappear, dissolve, die before we die. We are searching for a life, fully lived.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Heartbreak on the Relation-Ship

Have you noticed that human beings seem to learn more in one minute of happiness than they learn in weeks of misery? The moment the suffering lightens, an actual access to a creative insight opens up. At a certain point in my journey I began to suspect that the social mind had trained us to accept oppression. We have adjusted to statements like, “life is hard”, “ you have to compromise”, or “you need to negotiate for what you want”. This language becomes “normal” and this is the same language we impose on relationships. The common belief seems to be that relationships are hard and require compromise and negotiation.

I also noticed that when we attached to popular beliefs about the necessity of rules on board the RS to protect us from relationship suffering, it eliminated the possibility of actually investigating the origins of this suffering.

As I kept probing into the inner workings of my own beliefs about relationships, and asked others to share their experiences, I noticed the stirrings of strong discomfort. My thinking appeared to be heading down the road toward some kind of conclusion about punishment and loss for questioning the social mind’s love story. Significant anxiety raised its head along the way, as I began to dig into the deeper layers of our whole relationship conditioning. I took a deep breath and dove in.

I had to begin with some radical honesty about the beliefs that were the foundation for my relational life. I noticed my tendency to adapt to disappointments and limitations over time. I became aware of the habit of pretending not to see the many layers of self-imposed revisions, for “the sake of the relationship”. I noticed an interesting sequence of behavior that shut down the intimacy I so longed for. As I kept coming back to real honesty about my relational life, I became aware of a natural order to the experience of intimacy with myself and another human being.

Standing still long enough to observe my heart breaking, without adding any opinion, self-judgment, blame, solution, or rationalization, I stopped sliding around on the deck of the RS. I stopped attending to its needs, stopped obsessing about how to meet its overwhelming number of rules, according to the social mind relationship patrol. I took my attention off the RS and back onto me. I wanted freedom.

What became apparent was that freedom from the RR rule was the ground of real honesty, and honesty was necessary for integrity with myself first and then my partner. And this integrity gave birth to an inner personal power, which became creative connecting, and real intimacy. From this viewpoint, I concluded that real connection and intimacy would arise from choices made out of clear vision, not obstructed by the rules. Intimacy would arise out of a person’s pure desire and commitment to their own joy, their own integrity, and the freedom to be who they really are. Perhaps in this landscape, I could finally stand authentic and free.

What could happen to our relational experiences, if we looked in our partner’s eyes naked, with no reference to the rules of how to sail the seas on the RS? Would we be free from the usual chaos onboard the RS? Could we finally touch genuine connection?

I became very curious about how the rules actually produce the chaos? The question took me back to the social mind’s viewpoint about suffering and the root belief that chaos is our nature and needs to be “monitored” by a set of rules. This root belief expands into a whole underground system that holds our life in the grip of assuming that pain, anxiety, fear, worry in our life is inevitable and we need to be protected from it.

On close examination we might notice that chaos is actually the result of living a lie. We could question whether or not this lie is perhaps another innocent misunderstanding, which erodes our essential friendship with each other and ourselves. Or, we may begin to suspect a deeper agenda and question the social mind’s intention for convincing us about the validity of a required behavioral code on the RS.

Please stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sailing on the Relation-Ship

When my family immigrated to the United States, we ended up on the Gulf of Mexico, and I ended up as my father’s sailing buddy on our 34-foot boat. My mother, who was an accomplished sailor, refused to sail with my father. She had determined that he was a terrible sailor and so I was elected to be the shipmate. It was during my teenage years that I first began to notice how similar sailboats, or any kind of ship, were to relationships.

We seem to scramble around, polishing the deck of a “Relation-Ship”. We try to find our sea-legs in the midst of the overwhelming number of duties that arise to keep this ship afloat. We gaze out into the fog of countless rules and regulations governing this ship. We pledge allegiance to the belief that there are sacrifices which must be made for the good of the Relation-Ship.

The social mind yardstick called “the couple” measures the success of our sailing vessel. This “couple” now tries to communicate and intimately connect with their minds focused on this Relation-Ship structure. The ship has sailed into the harbor of our hearts and now floats between us as we try to live our love. The ship’s survival needs become our daily chore.

Our natural horizons begin to change as we become compliant about the ship’s endless demands. These demands become the captain of our vessel and often leave us compromised and negotiated. We cease being individuals and become instead the singular entity called ‘ a couple”.

What we really want and what we truly feel gets tossed overboard. How to keep the ship safe and happy becomes the primary focus. It drops onto the deck like a morning fog. The vibrant energy in our heart sinks beneath the rolling waves as our ship sets out to sea.

The therapeutic community points to numerous reasons for relationship failure. They conclude that we are co-dependent, wounded by incest, afraid of intimacy, programmed by our dysfunctional family patterns, or addicted. There is no doubt that these problems make the Relation-Ship very difficult to steer. However, little attention has been given to the social mind structure that insists we live our relational lives according to its prescribed form. Perhaps we could expand our inquiry into an area that might offer a welcome wind and set our sails for unknown territory. Might such an investigation produce a warm breeze on the deck, one that offers new energy to our intimate lives?

Let’s see what happens to our Relation-Ships as we sail out on the waves with curiosity about the exact nature of this social institution we call a relationship. Perhaps we will find that relationships are profoundly influenced by the social mind form that has been deliberately imposed on our loving, open hearts.

Society’s relationship agenda and our own collaboration with one of its most protected institutions has become a favorite exploration. Please join me for the next few sailing trips on board the RS.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Heart and Change

I enjoy thinking of the human experience in musical terms. It seems to offer a language that goes beyond the usual descriptions and concepts that much of our therapeutic community holds. We had looked into the indoctrination process that unfolds during our developmental years (see the story of Amy in "Journey to the Well" in earlier posts) and wondered what possible escape route from the limited “lower octaves” might present itself. What happens when we stand at the door of the “higher octaves” of our being?

Let’s imagine ourselves as a fine musical instrument. At this point in our life we decide to put it in the hands of a competent, talented musician. The key to our artist’s fine performance on this amazing human instrument lies in executing a resonance that allows the heart to vibrate and increase its magnetic field. Since the heart is the gate to the “higher octave”, the whole creative vision now focuses to produce a tone that unlocks the door to the energetic heart. As it develops a richer, deeper, tone, the entire quality of this human instrument begins to change.

Contrary to social opinion, it is the heart, not the mind, that provides us with the avenue to become fully human. It is heart intelligence that produces a sound beyond the objective intellect and entrains the mind. Heart intelligence is a multi-layered composition that reveals itself when we enter more and more fully into its space. This space, or the lack of it, is the foundation that governs our entire relational life. Navigating this heart space is nothing less than a divine science. It is the alchemist that gathers and refines the debris of all our wounding experiences. This heart-alchemist transmutes the pain into expressions of love and wisdom. Within its fires our meticulously fabricated defense strategies give way to our true passion and creativity.

Perhaps this is the relationship that can re-parent and re-define our early developmental imbalance. Perhaps here, heart engages the mind to re-think, or perhaps “un-think”, and generate re-conciliation in our life.

How do we decrease our resistance and expand our ability to say, “ yes “ to this heart? How do we practice to develop our most beautiful sound? How can we keep bringing the attention back to this energetic heart and building up its magnetic field? What divine sounds will resonate from its open door?

I invite you to explore these sounds with me as we look deeper into the mystery of becoming fully human in the next postings.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Our Attempt to Change

Today, a friend sent me a beautiful quote, “life is not about waiting for the storm to pass; it is about learning to dance in the rain". I sat with this simple, yet profound wisdom for a while. For me, sitting is different than thinking; it is more like curiosity and waiting. I find that it usually opens into landscapes that I could not reason my way into. I could feel the texture of “learning to dance in the rain”, not the concept, and a deep appreciation for life with all its expressions began to rise.

Then a pivotal question, perhaps for all of us, who are considering change, arrived. This question holds the foundational nature and principle of our spiritual investigations. It examines our motivation for change and the integrity we bring to the change process. Here is the question: What is the actual reason we attempt to change?

So, what happens when we observe that a thought, word, or action no longer represents an accurate picture of who we are? . The awareness that something is no longer congruent with who we are now is an open armed invitation for change. However, what happens if we seek change because we evaluate something as “wrong”? What happens to awareness in the presence of such opinion and judgment? Do we not re-enter the wheel of suffering when we look in the direction of the mind’s preoccupation with endless evaluation?

When I look back at change in my own life, it does not seem to arrive on the battlefield. The instances in which I have labeled myself as “wrong, deficient, incapable, unworthy, or unlovable never became fertile ground for change. It was the moments when the heart opened once more with compassion for creating such pain in my life, that the energy and inspiration for a new direction appeared.

I have concluded that the only reason we can step into change is the heart’s longing to remember who we are. It is the split second reflection of our true face that gives us the courage to reach into our deepest inner resources.

It is here that we recognize our innocent mistake, the belief that an aggressive stance with ourselves has valuable. It furthers the war and establishes us as perpetrators within our own being. If we consider that we are always in the process of creating, anytime our “creation” is labeled “bad”, we become “bad creators”. This experience being a bad creator is so painful, that we prefer to disown our “bad creations” rather than meet the pain directly. This act of disowning our creation traps the energy and arrests any change. It takes tremendous energy to keep the pain of being a bad creator suppressed.

In the greater picture, all that we have labeled as “wrong” will become our stories about victims and villains. I invite you to consider a very subtle trap: Could it simply be that choosing the difficult/bad experience is not the actual mistake, but rather labeling the choice as wrong/bad is. Could we just notice that this creation is no longer congruent with who we are now. Feeling this subtle difference requires impeccable attention.

Could we cultivate a new way of relating to ourselves, not through a punishing hand, but through a gradual change from fighting to feeding?

May we be transformed through the deepest nurture and self-care.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Imitation Security

Throughout my years of research in the field of consciousness, I come back to the question of what constitutes the stability of our inner foundation. If we consider all the obstacles that our friend Amy encountered in her early developmental stages (previous postings titled “Journey to the Well”), we may wonder how any foundation could find a solid ground in the environment of the social mind.

Every spiritual tradition offers some type of architecture for our inner landscape with which to point the way. The models include such frameworks as the American Indian’s use of the Four Directions, the Buddhist Mandala, the Sufis’ Dimensions of the Heart, and the Kabbahlistic Tree of Life.

All of these architectures ask us to discover the source of our security, guidance, wisdom and power. Each tradition approaches these qualities in a unique way. Nevertheless we can speak in some general terms. Guidance refers to the source of direction for our life, the internal frame of reference (perception) that governs decision-making. Wisdom describes an integration of principles that allow wholeness to be the organizing axiom of our life. Power refers to the capacity to act. It is the vital energy of choice, which includes the ability to move beyond deeply embedded habits.

In all these systems, security takes the position of the cornerstone of the foundation. It seems to refer to the origin of identity and to the emotional anchor it creates in our experience. As we become more aware of the agenda of the social mind and our participation in its beliefs and institutions, we notice how a false identity has solidified itself, one that places much of its trust in the external world for its security. Such an identity’s relationship with the world is utterly dependent on external circumstances for its sense of security. It cannot be used as a stable cornerstone.

If we consider the purpose of any spiritual architecture, we can see that it functions as a kind of map. Within these maps, both our distortion and wisdom reveals itself. The maps' purpose is to cultivate a new way of relating to life, not through the force of will, but organically, through a gradual expanding awareness of our distortions. The repeating patterns of our fear, impatience, anger, doubt, and loneliness reveal themselves. Our habit of projected opinions or justifications to medicate these uncomfortable feelings and to avoid any direct encounter with them becomes apparent.

This combination of disowned feeling and projection has created core themes, stories that have familiar melodies. And yet, it is in the “conscious” present moment of these repeating top tunes that we can dissolve the patterns of all our imaginary identities and their fixations. What presents the possibility for change is a conscious awareness of these tunes. When we notice that a particular tune is currently playing, that awareness unveils Who We Really Are. In that moment of observation, that melody transforms itself from a jailer to a liberator. if we have no opinion, no label, about what we observed, that becomes a moment of freedom.

Can we consider that our current experience in the world is very similar to our own inner landscape? We can appreciate that the death of limiting false identity liberates that which is the flower of our human consciousness. Might we also open our arms to a more authentic worldview and see what is happening through the eyes of opportunity? Would we see expanded possibilities in the collapse of the structures that offered us only imitation security?

Is security that arises from the ground of Who We Really Are, individually and collectively, not our deepest refuge? Is it not the only candidate whose guidance, wisdom and power can navigate our amazing life and that of our planet with a sacred hand?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Journey to the Well: Final Thoughts

The story of Amy’s developmental stages in several previous posts called “Journey to the Well” has perhaps shed some light into the harsh landscape of our conditioning. As I ponder the nature and purpose of the social mind programs, which operate to modify the lens we look through at life, I am astonished at the magnitude of their reach into all aspects of our experience.
Just like Amy, had I continued to seek refuge in the social mind agendas, I would have come to a dry well. The thirst for a vibrant life would still burn in my heart.

How honest can we be about the social mind fears that take authority over our lives? Do we even consider that each fear harnesses a percentage of vital life force from our energetic circuit? Are we aware enough to notice when we have hooked into the program, and when limited energetic integrity is actually left for our own use?

If so little energy is left, how do we access guidance about what life brings us? Will we be able to access the intuitive voice that lets us know the appropriate time to move our family, exit a relationship, end a job, begin a new career, risk a new direction or a new friendship, if we run this intuitive energy through the entire social mind fear agenda? Can we illuminate the dark shadow created by the consuming chatter from the fear agenda and touch our natural trust. The shadow is precisely what we have repeatedly hooked into and empowered.

Often, we end up ignoring the ringing internal guidance and postpone our natural alignment with life. Now the pressure from the ignored guidance builds up. Each ignored intuition adds to our system’s fire. The result of this refusal to attend to what guidance points us toward, will literally railroad us through the feared hardships in order to complete an act of surrender. Life will force us to our knees in a sheer act of love. It will drag us from resistance to receptivity. Can we see these experiences as “love coming back for us”? Can we recognize these experiences as water from the well ?

As life faithfully creates an environment that invites awareness about resistance, it frees up the external focus in our life. It offers many opportunities to retrieve the disowned, lost and denied fragments. Our awareness becomes “soul retrieval” work. We become our own shaman.

Let’s consider that we have participated in fueling the social mind programs instead of our own life. We can do so without making ourselves wrong or feeling shame about this participation. We could observe this fact through the compassionate lens our evolutionary history. For thousands of years allegiance to the village or tribe was necessary for survival. It guaranteed our biological safety. This is deeply programmed into our genetics and continues to operate in our desire for assurances about the external world. With this in mind, are the institutions that offer such things as insurances, savings accounts, contracts, and safety rules, not operating with the same survival-safety agendas? Are they not hooked into physical outcome in the external world? Can we notice that this "savior-ship" model may no longer be congruent with who we are becoming?

Dare I extend these observations to our religious institutions? I am not speaking about the enlightened beings that walked the earth. I am referring to the doctrines that arose around these enlightened souls and became enslavers of our own internal guidance? Did the original message become absorbed by a group mind that institutionalized our spiritual lives? Has this mechanism entombed the” living” spiritual truths of our blessed prophets into dead doctrines? Where is the living water?

To disengage from all these programs and beliefs would shift the power from the village back to our precious lives. Responsibility could be handed back to us as individuals. And as the social mind viewpoint about how life works comes into question, we can stop blaming the village. We can quench the thirst and drink from our own well.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Journey to the Well: Part Three

In the last few postings of "Journey to the Well", we have followed our precious Amy and witnessed her precarious first two developmental stages unfold (postings 3/29, 4/3 and 4/29). In the final phase of Amy’s story we watch the development of her intellect, personal values and attitudes. This third stage acts as her ego’s powerhouse and governs her thoughts. Here, she may develop the will to reveal the truth. Here, also, she may develop the automatic response to retreat from truth through her defense strategies.

By the time she arrives at this level of consciousness, she has already been deeply impacted, perhaps wounded, at levels one and two. At this next level, she could solidify an image or identity and experience a limiting, fixed sense of self. As this false self continues the dance, Amy could spin further and further from the core of her true nature. Now the dance-steps take on a more dramatic texture, solid features and routines.

The energy of this third stage is intended for the development of Amy’s personal integrity, an honor code with herself. The boundaries, the ethics of what she will actually negotiate or where she will draw the line, spring from here. Her self-respect, self- trust and her confidence for acting with personal power in the world originate here in her solar plexus, which is the energetic source of this third stage. What will happen to her intuition and inner guidance if her eyes stay fixed on Mr. SM?
Will she channel her intuitive voice out of her own being for use by Mr. SM’s safety/comfort paradigm?

Addictions to external status symbols, the need to categorize, materialism, and performance anxiety could all erupt from here. Will Amy become confused or will she begin to question who she really is and how she can connect to others authentically?
This is the point where Amy can buy into what the social mind has decides is the correct, attractive image. This is the stage at which she can be totally absorbed and subjugate her personal guidance to the social mind standard. Allegiance to its fears could become Amy’s lot. Fears about being alone, about failure, about being wrong and criticized, about being abandoned, being worthless, unwanted and unloved can haunt her. Fears about being rejected and punished, and beliefs about overwhelming loss could become the anxious undercurrent of her precious life.

The society’s demand for obedience to its institutions, structures and forms can appear so real, that Amy may fall into the habit of pleasing others instead of herself. We wonder if she will compromise her personal honor code. Will she become trapped by a lack of self–awareness, siphon off her internal energy and be pulled into the external world? Will she allow other people and situations to become energetically charged by the attention she projects out toward them? Will we see her create an imitation reality that cuts her off from what is actually real?

We hold our breath and pray that Amy’s life remains her own. We plead with her to not become compelled, to not attach to stories that make gods out of a world obsessed by power, dominance, and separatism. We beg Amy to not allow society’s success symbols to become the addictions that medicate the pain of a fragmented life-dance.

Dearest Amy, please do not dedicate your life force to fuel who you are not. See through the hypnotic dance rhythm of your partner, Mr. Social Mind, and keep just the lightest touch on his arm. Break free of his embrace and leap into your own masterful steps. Take refuge in your heart’s intelligence and let it lead you into the mystery, the unknown territory that is so vibrantly alive.

May this small window into Amy's story activate the deepest compassion and understanding for all our conditioning and the suffering it brings. May it offer more awareness to the tight rope we walk as long as we remain invested in the social mind fears. May we recognize how we will attract the mirror image of these fears to our life in the form of relationships and events that prove them true. And may we remember that in this human experience we would so often rather be “right” than “happy”.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Journey to the Well: Part Three

Let's catch up with Amy in this next chapter of "Journey to the Well" (see last posting 4/3/09) as she stands at the threshold of a defining experience. Will she abdicate responsibility for creating her life to Mr. Social Mind, or will she embrace this responsibility? If she allows her partner to be in command of all the movements on the dance floor, she will not only hand over her responsibility but also her energy circuits. Her dance partner will use these to fuel his own agenda. As a result, Amy could limit her life and creativity and simply be used to fuel Mr. SM’s institutions.

Consider the possibility of Amy becoming invested and controlled by Mr. Social Mind's evolutionary process instead of her own. What meaning might this take on for her body, relationships and available resources in the second developmental stage, the sacral chakra? It follows, then, that the more she is energetically invested in the external world of Mr. SM the more authority over her reality he can hold! This external authority significantly affects her access to personal, internal guidance. After all, Mr. SM’s agenda is safety and security, not individual development. Amy could loose sight of her true face and give up her lifeblood very early on in the dance.

As Amy’s feeling nature now develops in the second stage of the dance, it will dictate her boundaries, her relationships, her power in the external world, and her sexuality. The possibility of entanglement, the misuse of allure and attraction, confusion between pain and pleasure, melodrama and thrill seeking all appear on the horizon. Will she have enough of her own energy source available to say “no” when necessary? Will she be susceptible to energetic violations and betrayal?

Two important questions begin to arise for Amy at this stage. These inner question are: What do I feel? What really excites and fascinates me?

Will she be capable of discerning the answers? Will she be seduced by Mr.SM’s beliefs and pledge her allegiance to the social mind propaganda? Will she accept the cultural belief that financial energy equals sexual energy, that the competitive edge dictates success, and that being “on top” of your game is essential? How will she respond to the accepted behavior model of being in someone else’s business?

At a personal level, the sacral chakra, or second energetic developmental stage, energizes the feeling nature and the creative urge to express. Should Amy become unbalanced, she might identify with intense feelings and urges and appear frantic, overly sensitive and needy. This development stage is the energetic source of co-dependency patterns. Here, Amy’s developing ego learns to experience life as relational. Constrictions or build-ups at this level can flow into negative expressions and sexual extremes.

They often become Shadows, collecting unexpressed feelings and holding them in the subconscious mind. Amy could express a host of patterns that might include disassociation, deep depression, inappropriate sexual behavior, and other emotional addictions.

The push to create, that defines this second energetic level, can take various forms, the most obvious one being the urge to recreate ourselves in our children. The energetic spark to put an artistic or musical creation out into the world also rises out of the same flame. If Amy’s creative urge rushes through an unbalanced second chakra, she might have the tendency to reach for titillation and gratification from outside objects or people. If she becomes identified with such strong feelings, her personal power will be given away to them. In her hunger for intensity, Amy may take “a walk on the wild side “. Such dramas will mask her real emotions.

As Amy waltzes through this second developmental period, the base chakra’s survival/security aspects around money move into a more individual version of the society’s belief system. In general, what originates in the base chakra as social mind indoctrination about money, now impacts her life force in the second chakra in money interactions with individuals. All her expectations around money and security, which began in her first dance steps with Mr. Social Mind’s base chakra program, are now fine-tuned. These steps are now played out in the relationships Amy attracts into her life. She will get to prove the beliefs she accepted through “human homeopathy”. Her beliefs become a tuning fork for life experiences that hold identical vibrations. These proofs about her beliefs are drawn to her in packages such as betrayals about sex, power and money.

As we watch Amy’s next steps, we wonder just how she might navigate the manipulation and control we all become energetically familiar with at a very young age. Let’s keep in mind that the method of education in our families, our schools, and our religious institutions is based on the same dynamics as any political propaganda program. Amy will bump up against the indoctrination style of repetition, reward and punishment. It will be justified to her as the need for “ behavior modification.”

Be ever so still, dear Amy, least you become overwhelmed in Mr. SM’s fast moves and accept his agenda for creating good citizens instead of freedom and creativity.

Amy’s second developmental stage, her sacral chakra, empowers her one-on-one relationships. It impacts her need to control another human being, events, and the environment. As her dance takes on more complex patterns, if she follows her partner too closely, she will forget her heart’s vision and the capacity to nurture herself.

We now notice that Mr. Social Mind’s pace across the dance floor is rapidly increasing. What exactly is Mr. Social Mind trying to control with the steps he insists Amy pour her life force into? Does his motivation perhaps include an attempt to control Amy’s rate of evolution?

Please join us for Part Three as Amy’s journey moves forward.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Journey to the Well: Part One

In the previous post, we were turning the introductory pages of a story we called, “The Hidden Treasure”. We had followed our precious child, Amy, through an initial scene of early development and left her wandering in a disorienting landscape of social conditioning. All her attention has been harnessed. Her eyes are now pointing in the direction of the external world. How this affects Amy’s energetic resonance and her body/mind is our story’s next focus.

If we follow the architecture of Amy’s development, we will notice that it seems to be hierarchical in nature. Any distortion at one level is carried forward into the next. For example, unbalanced security and survival issues at the first physical/sensual stage will take on more emotional force in the next developing feeling stage. These will then be brought into Amy’s forming mental/cognitive nature and self-image.

To help us grasp the full picture of how Amy creates her personal history, the story establishes a structure around which to organize her experience. It utilizes an energetic framework and creates architecture for examining the false self, the ego. This framework organizes Amy’s developmental stages into an energetic language, known to us as the chakra system. It allows us to follow how she manages the vital force, as it encounters the social conditioning. Amy’s dance into the landscape of “ the social mind program” begins.

The story describes Amy’s dance as a waltz with a partner called Mr. Social Mind. The first few steps determine just how tightly Mr. SM will hold Amy as he waltzes her across the dance-floor. As the music starts, we begin to wonder how easily she will be able to extract herself from his embrace and spin into her own free style solo. What now unfolds in the story brings us deep understanding and compassion about her struggle for genuine happiness in this partner’s arms.

With the first spin around the dance floor Amy begins to create her primary sense of safety and survival. The basic grounding rod begins to take shaped. In energetic terms, this dimension is called the base or “ root “ chakra. It actually controls the adrenal gland, and the health of the spine & kidneys depends on its integrity. This is the root of Amy’s sense of security, her feeling of being grounded and having a firm foundation. With this energy she will attempt to stand on her own two feet in life and be clear about her willingness to fully inhabit her body.

If her development remains stuck at this stage, feelings of despair, rage and isolation will create the world as “ unsafe “. So, now a projection of “ the self against the world (others) “ moves her into a sense of separation. If Amy attaches to this viewpoint, her behavior could expand into extreme aggression and the urge for immediate gratification.

At this point in the story, we are following Amy at a particular level of consciousness, one dictated by its focus on survival and security issues. This is Amy’s initial dance as creator of her own reality. Here, she could easily become hypnotized by her partner’s tight hold and abdicate responsibility for her own steps in the dance. Her partner, Mr. SM, might take command and hijack the innocent energy that drives her step. Our concern for Amy now escalates. If Mr. SM is successful in taking command, he will also usurp the energy needed to fuel her biology. She may become his life support instead of her own.

As Part One of “The Hidden Treasure” closes we wonder about Amy’s future. Who might she show up as, if she extracted herself from Mr. SM? If she took responsibility for directing her life force, instead of letting her partner lead, what would she create with this model of awareness?

Please stay tuned for the next chapter.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Journey to the Well: Introduction

The more I ponder about our indoctrination over the years, the more acceptance and mercy I find for the magnitude of our struggle to be free. I feel our deep thirst for pure water. And I see the conditioning that promises water but leads us to a dry well.

The detours we take are the subject of every spiritual tradition. Their stories all point in the same direction. With great eloquence, they attempt to call us to the well. But, how do we take the detour in the first place? What reality does this misalignment to the well actually fuel? What does it appear to nurture? And what is the authentic impulse that has innocently been misdirected?

Let’s imagine we hold a book in our hands called, “ The Hidden Treasure”. As we begin to turn the pages of our book, the early years of one precious child, named Amy unfolds. It shines the light on her early scripts. We are shown the formation of her physical/sensual, emotional/feeling, and mental/cognitive natures. Step by step the story opens windows into what really determines the kind of sensual body, emotional body and intellectual body that Amy inhabits

First, we see that Amy registers no distinction between her physical structure and the emotional feelings she holds. Later, she creates an interconnected but separate emotional and mental nature. The defense strategies that form to protect any wounded fragments from these early stages become the limitations in her adult years later in the story. These wounds constrict her natural inner space, its awareness, aliveness, and freedom.

Amy’s spacious home begins to look threatening. All the adults guard her against any attempt to walk into this vibrant landscape. They interpret the leaps into this inner space as dangerous, overwhelming, and isolating. What appears to be the primary agenda of all the adults in Amy’s life is to establish some solid ground under her feet, some acceptable identity, some way of feeling significant. The society’s institutions point her toward the external world as the authority. This indoctrination from inner to outer world is intense. And so, Amy’s inner world becomes dim.

Now we watch what follows. A false self, with little ability to navigate the journey to the well, begins to appear. The thirst is still there, but even the recognition of that thirst is diminished. The architecture of this false self fills the natural space with so many structures and forms, that it overwhelms the sense perceptions of our growing little girl, and the well becomes a mystery.

The opening chapters of the story close on Amy who is desperately looking for an authentic life script. In the dense landscape of all the social conditioning, how will this precious one find the way home?

Please join me as the story continues in the next posting.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Programs and Indoctrination

I am always amazed at the small amount we take in from all the stimuli around us. Most of us right now take in less than one billionth of the stimuli surrounding us. And this one billionth reinforces what we “think” is out there! It upholds all that we have been indoctrinated into and it develops our Belief System. We might even consider that all of our social institutions and our sciences are yet another method of reinforcing the current interpretation of what we believe the truth to be.

So exactly what can we really say about our picture of the world? Perhaps the world is not at all how it looks to us. Perhaps it is only our way of looking at it. Might we conclude that our world may simply be a result of our limited interpretations? Could our reality be the result of a certain type of programming which is unable to hold the much larger field of infinite possibilities?

Let’s consider one area of our programming that overshadows many lives. Our medical model still operates largely from the assumption that we are a physical machine. This model assumes the machine has learned how to think. It assumes that the body is material, and that consciousness or thought is a secondary phenomenon. How profoundly does the old guard of this institution still affect our lives? What allegiance do we still personally pledge to its program?

Quantum theory turns this model totally around. It sees us as thoughts that have learned how to create a physical machine.

We can conclude that consciousness, interacting with itself, conceives an idea and then gives us the appearance of molecules, a physical body. How impeccable or exquisite the awareness is, dictates the resulting material form.

From this viewpoint, our physical body is a projection of consciousness. The work of Dr. Candice Pert (Molecules of Emotion) clearly shows that thoughts have receptors in all the cells. These messages of the mind are carried to the whole body.

So, let’s consider what happens when we begin to question or investigate our thinking. We use voluntary attention to re-gather the energy that was split off at a moment of a projection. Could we consider that an already existing program initiates any projection? And when we question the thought, are we not rewriting the program in that very moment?

If we become aware that our body and our experience is the result of the interpretations or our internal dialogue, our experience shifts dramatically. As a result, we will likely conclude that all our responses, including our body, are not the result of external stimuli. They are the result of our own consciousness.

Now at any moment in our experience, the question “who is thinking this thought?” becomes enormously significant. If the ego is in charge of the moment, its perceptions will print out a program, dictated by the distortions of promoting its little agenda. If this is a moment of awareness and authenticity, beyond the ego’s habits of identification and survival, the doors to our usual prison open.

We can all see this dance in our every day life. The ego labels an experience as “acceptable” and responds by moving towards it. If, however, it labels the experience as “dangerous, bad, or unimportant, it responds with resistance, becoming either aggressive or indifferent.

If we watch even more carefully, we can also become aware of how ego tries to protect itself against any overwhelming contents from the unconscious mind. So, what might we encounter should it fail to meet its needs?

Is ego likely to resort to addictive behavior patterns in an attempt to medicate the perceived pain? Such a defense program leaves no room for the beauty of our authentic free-style dance. A programmed dancer cannot access the unlimited choreography within the unified field that is our natural playground.

May we reach out with compassion and recognize our innocent misunderstanding. May we wake up from all that we have been indoctrinated into and have left unquestioned.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Our Locked Rooms

I have been thinking about optical and auditory illusions lately and how we seem to participate in these through consciousness. We seem to see ourselves as something separate from the universe. How does this viewpoint, this personal myopia, shut out everyone else and everything else on the planet? How do we penetrate through to listening beyond the filters of “my story”? Does our circle of compassion not become contracted to the point of pushing all else out of our room, in order to create a sense of ‘personal” safety. Could we basically say that we live on a planet that competes for the best prison to keep “the other” out?

All traditions invite us to widen our circle of compassion. And each tradition points to this skill as an inside job. Our beautiful collection of traditions offers a variety of useful methods. Each method uses words that will find an appeal in the vast variety of human ears that are listening. They are listening for the language that tunes to their particular ear. And yet, the quenching water does not come until all the words have stopped and the sounds of silence open the doors of our locked rooms.

How do we come out of our locked rooms, where other’s viewpoints are not allowed because they have been classified as dangerous? Our conclusions often seem so rational.
And the variety of reasons to keep the doors and windows bolted speak volumes about our relationship with life.

We might imagine that a certain something or someone will overwhelm and disorient us. Perhaps we conclude that this “other” might make us insignificant, not sustainable in some way. Or, if we opened the doors and windows the space would reveal our isolation and the fear of being forever alone. Maybe, if too much air moved freely in and out of our room, we would have no solidity, no ground under our feet.

All these possible interpretation about what might happen to us in a room that would freely breath in all and any outside air are terrifying. They supply all our “good reasons” to keep the room tightly shut and separated.

Can we examine the result? Can we recognize that our natural perception of intrinsic interconnectedness remains frozen in our hearts?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What I Do Is Not Who I Am

People often ask me what I do. I find the question difficult to answer in a traditional language of institutional degrees, training certificates, and professional labels. My answers may frustrate some. How does one respond when one has long left the allegiance to the social mind standards behind.

This is not to say that these concerns have no value. I simply have other interests. For many of us, answering this question in labels does not reveal the passion at the heart of our work. It does not include the personal journey within the labels that speaks about “who” we actually bring to work and what illuminates the label.

As soon as we say, “I am a _____”, we become absorbed in the solidification urge that tries so desperately to create some ground under our feet. And the fluidity that preceded the answer to the question begins to evaporate.

It is always an adventure when we stand across from another human being. The energetic dance is fascinating and the result of our experience is dependent on whether or not we solidify or remain fluid.

In a past posting (February 22: Solidifying or Dissolving “I”) I shared my thoughts about the energetic resonance of an experience as it interacts with something or someone. As it connects with our energetic field, it either coalesces through our system fully and completely, or it becomes trapped by our mind in the form of judgments, opinions, justifications, and projections. If it travels all the way through, a natural fluidity results. If it becomes trapped by the mind, it solidifies into a limited identity. We suddenly become “somebody”, either good or bad. And we react through the eyes of that identity. Now, our main agenda becomes the formation of defensive, adaptive behaviors. The primary interest is the promotion of “I, Me, and Mine”. We literally live that moment out of touch with reality and roam around in a dead landscape

But all is not lost. At any point we can bring voluntary attention into the mix, like a new ingredient into a cake recipe, that changes the flavor and consistency. We can question and observe the result of the solid identity usurping our life. That awareness releases its solid energy. Our natural fluidity returns and the heart softens into its open, receptive fullness. We have become a co-creative partner with life again.

So, can we deliberately use language to assist this dissolving process? How can we describe ourselves in a way that produces more fluidity, less ground under our feet? I now prefer to use descriptions that allow a lot of room in the mind, that speak to the mystery of our amazing human capacity. I like questions rather than answers. They open the windows and doors and invite more air into my room.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Inquiry and Byron Katie

Early on in my life my mother often asked questions that seemed to create a natural gap, a split second in which the mind chatter stopped. She was a student of Ramana Maharshi's methods of Self-Inquiry, what he called "the natural way to enlightenment".

The questions I heard were simple: Who thinks that, Anke? Who is feeling that? Who believes that concept? At the time, they were annoying, especially in my teenage years, but they planted a seed. That seed grew and feel in love with the process of Inquiry.

There are many styles of Inquiry. One of my favorite is Sri Nissargadatta Maharaj's question: Without your thoughts, your emotions and feelings, your opinions, your sense perception, your beliefs, your judgments, do you exist, not exist, or neither?
One can sit with this question and totally empty out.

One of our current most amazing teachers of investigating your thinking, Byron Katie, will be in Louisviile, Kentucky, in April. She offers four questions that turn suffering into understanding and compassion.

Consider these thoughts: I need more money; I’m too fat; My partner doesn’t appreciate me. The world’s not safe. Thoughts like these may run through our minds hundreds of times a day, fostering fear, anger, stress, and depression.
How different would your life be if these thoughts never bothered you again?

The Work of Byron Katie is a powerful way to deal with our painful thoughts.
It can be learned in less than an hour and can change your life forever. Katie gives us the tool to open our minds and set ourselves free – and Katie is coming to Louisville.

Time magazine named Katie a “spiritual innovator for the new millennium.” Who would you be without your story? Come and find out.

An Evening with Katie Wed., April 22 / 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. * $25 (Wednesday is free with purchase of Thursday)
Doing The Work with Katie Thurs., April 23 / 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. * $75 (Lunch Available Onsite)

At Unity of Louisville Church
757 S Brook Street, Louisville, Kentucky
For More Information & to Register: http://www.unityoflouisville.org/katie
MarthaCreek@Yahoo.com (502) 905-0783

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Mirror and the Mind

I was thinking about all the amazing traditions we have on the planet for expanding consciousness. It occurred to me, that in practical terms, a spiritual process might be described as an act of consciously polishing the mirror of awareness. This mirror is like a very sensitive screen. What appears on it are our thoughts, emotions, desires, expectations, and various conditioning.

We can define consciousness as the context in which we hold an experience. It is not the content. Only through being conscious, aware of the context of the experience, can we recognize what we habitually hold in our awareness.

So, focusing our attention on the sensitive screen of awareness, rather than becoming completely absorbed in its content, breaks us free of so much limitation. Our feelings and our thoughts are the content of the mirror, but not the mirror itself. If we begin to recognize our stories and projections as reflections on the mirror, we begin to clear the mirror, sometimes only momentarily.

Don’t we ordinarily experience an assortment of personal compulsions and the conditioning from the social mind? Might we conclude that by developing the skill of polishing the mirror of its superficial contents, we will discover much deeper levels of ourselves in the mirror of the Heart?

Our experience shows us how the reflective capacity of the mirror is reduced by the quantity and quality of thoughts. We can start to notice that all the layers of mental-emotional conditioning obscure this beautiful, sensitive surface of awareness.

A reflective object can be polished. So, we can regularly wipe the mirror of awareness clean, and in so doing, begin to reflect the light of Being itself. And this light of Being will reflect outwardly as light pouring out of our eyes. Such eyes see with tolerance, optimism, compassion, kindness and love.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Sacred Shadow

Sometimes the urge to act out overwhelms us. We want to scream, to run, to lie, to hide, to control. If we become unconscious at that moment, our Shadow's suffering gets projected onto something or someone else.

This Shadow is part of the emotional body, any time we want to act out, the Shadow has been activated. It is the container of the stuffed, loaded emotions, and when we go unconscious, these get projected. So, although the Shadow is always in touch with what we are feeling, it may at the same moment be instrumental in our denial of emotional truth. With conscious attention, a willingness to be present and receptive to the painful experiences of the Shadow, we can begin to observe its sacred nature.

I remember the first time that I read Carl Jung's definition of projection. The pieces came together for me in a way that gave me the courage to really question any thought, even my most treasured beliefs.

Jung said that a projection is an unconscious, unperceived, and unintentional transfer of subjective psychic elements onto an outer object. One sees in this object something that is not there. This creates a “hook” on which one hangs a projection like a coat on a coat hook (Projection and Re-Collection in Jungian Psychology).

How do we harness enough energy to recognize a projection and stop our identification with a Shadow part of ourselves? Can we notice that if we have become hooked, the need for a defense strategy immediately arises? So now we take on the identity of both the wounded one and the strategy that protects it.

Can we recognize that we are dancing a "linear dance" between pairs of opposites, back and forth between two viewpoints created by the negative (shadow) and the positive (positive persona) poles? We run back and forth along this line seeking some comfort, ease and rest. We may spend our lives fearing that we are worthless, incapable, unlovable and trapped in endless strategies to prove that we are worthwhile, capable and lovable.

Hypnotized by this dance of duality we forget to recognize that life can be expanded to include a third point of view, one that offers the ability to hold the tension of these opposites, the Shadow and the positive Persona, and one that can free us from identification with either one.

Anytime a Shadow part rises and we keep the attention in our inner landscape, we touch a wound with an awareness about ourselves. We include the wound in our space instead of casting it out. The voice of that wound has now been consciously heard, without resistance. If , in that moment, we can hear and observe the voice of the Shadow, we cannot BE the Shadow. The wound, which was first announced by the Shadow's desire to act out, transmutes from being an unconscious and often destructive element in our lives to one of being a conscious teacher. And so, the Shadow steps into its role of a "sacred self".

We need these holy moments in our lives. They are a direct experience of what is so amazing about our precious human
condition, our ability to turn distortions into wisdom. They are the evidence of our unique capacity to dissolve the seemingly solid demons and turn them into allies.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Solidifying Or Dissolving "I"

Isn't it curious how our sense of "I" varies enormously from person to person and also from moment to moment? It seems to range from a very contracted sense of self all the way to an expanded "spiritualized" self. However, regardless of the point along this scale it rests to become the "I" of the moment, it assumes itself to be permanent. And it has an interesting method for creating this illusion of permanence. This "I" identifies itself with something impermanent like a thought, an emotion, a belief, a concept, and then creates a story that allows it to appear permanent.

How does the mind largely identify itself with this "I", and how is this movement responsible for so much suffering in our lives? What would it be like to have no story at all? Would our life become a living meditation?

Ordinarily, we create storylines and projections and become trapped within those. We imagine that our external conditions and others are causing our feelings and creating our situation. Now, imagine dropping all concepts about who we are. Imagine relaxing completely, letting go of our usual participation in the creation of the outer drama we call “reality”.

If we bring any experience with a life situation or person to mind, we will notice that it carries a kind of vibrational signature. If we attend to the experience very carefully, we might notice the first feeling or response resonate in our energy field. If there is a degree of resistance to that feeling, our habitual reaction is likely to be one of immediate judgment, opinion, justification, and so the projection and story has already begun. Now our attention has moved out into the external environment. There is an inability to stay curious and present with the experience. So immediately that experience becomes a totally new creation. It becomes "what it is not" and we become "who we are not".

Energetically, a locking mechanism arises. That moment creates another solidification of the "I". The flow of energy moves into a kind of limited circuit. We have become trapped by something that compelled our attention and are cut off from a full life.

If, however, we take any experience and practice simply holding still in the feeling, just before we leap into our story and projection, our judgment and justifications, we begin to use attention in a fascinating way. Attention immediately moves from the external environment back into our inner environment, and the "I' , that a moment ago seemed so solid, begins to dissolve. The story stops and the truth emerges. What a moment of freedom!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Obstacles to Presence

I have often been curious about how we all have favorite styles of undermining the present moment. One of my methods is restlessness. Here the mind spins in circles, often running over the same material endlessly. The body is full of angular, jumpy energy. Anxiety and worry fall into this pattern and the mind runs endless stories and regrets. The attention is like a jumping bean hopping from one object to the next. Concentration is scattered, and even just sitting still is a challenge.

Sometimes a slothful style emerges. It includes laziness, a lack of vitality, and a general fogginess. It ushers in an uncomfortable sense of confusion. And yet, I experience doubt as the most difficult of all the obstacles to presence.

When a doubt appears and I believe that particular doubt, I really get caught by it, and all awareness stops. I seem to become paralyzed. In this case, what is actually being revealed is the doubt about myself, my abilities, even my path. When that skeptical, doubting mind catches me, I'm trapped. If I question the doubt, awareness opens up again. What a relief!

I have noticed that aversion is the easiest obstacle to observe. It includes anger and hatred, and holds a tight burning quality which utterly closes the heart. Fear, judgment, and boredom are all forms of aversion to the present moment. When we examine them, we see that they are really based on our dislike of some aspect of our experience. They are the resistance to what is. This dislike wants to separate or to withdraw. It is unable to concentrate or to explore the present moment with any kind of investigation.

And finally there is desire. All kinds of desires stand in our way of being really present. The desire for sense pleasure, pleasant body and mental states, sights, sounds, tastes, and smells are great blessings in life; and yet, they are very tricky. They can so easily move us into a salvation mentality: If only I had the right job…the right relationship...a vibrant personality...more intelligence... better body...a mature partner...a daughter that listened to me.

Doesn't the social mind tell us that if we string enough pleasurable experiences together, our life will be happy. And happiness would look like this: We would work out in the morning...meditate...have a delicious breakfast...followed by productive work...then an enjoyable dinner, a movie and mind-blowing sex...and finally restorative sleep.

But isn't it the energy pattern of the mind, "the wanting mind", that presents the problem, not the object of desire itself?
This "wanting mind" keeps us continuously grasping for our own wholeness and interferes with our ability to deeply open to what is actually here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Fascinating Question

In my early thirties, a beloved teacher asked me a question that was foundational to a new direction in my work.
He asked me if I was interested in "becoming the truth".
In the fascinating conversation that followed, he made a distinction between three levels of interest, all excellent in their own right.

The first level , he said, is interested in the question “What should I believe?” This is the domain of religion.
The second is interested in the question “What is the truth?” This is the domain of philosophy.
The third asks the question “How shall I become the truth?”
What is sought here is sought through direct experience and the deep investigation of reality, known in all mystical traditions as Inquiry. This, he said, is a process of maturing through a gradual change of perception and a growing awareness about WHO is experiencing any particular moment.

It is a skill of connecting ourselves with life without resistance, and it has nothing to do with belief. It is actually empty of belief. From his experience with this method, the only limitation to a direct encounter with one's deep, essential wisdom is awareness.
He was a great story teller and began to talk about the life of a seed. He asked me to consider that a seed has no energy of its own, but it can come alive in the right environment. Can you find the environment that allows the seed to grow? he asked.
Can you penetrate beyond religion and philosophy and become the truth?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Invitation to the Dance

The subject of ATTENTION and how it operates has always fascinated me. Have you ever noticed how ego, or that Identity we call "ME" really has no attention of its own? It seems to simply get caught by what it likes or dislikes. These two poles seem to be the primary forces that propel it along throughout the day.
Can we observe how much of our attention is absorbed in this struggle between like and dislike? Here is the on-going life dance between Yes and No. In any moment I notice that I am either Receptive or Unreceptive. If I get very still, attention flows freely until it strikes upon something that either attracts it or repulses it - then it is caught again.
Becoming still seems to be the refuge. It allows me to notice how and when attention is caught. That observation alone points me back in the direction of freedom again.
I have been watching this inner movement closely over the years. We all appear to share the pain and the pleasure that are its effects. As we begin to see what compels our attention, the tyranny of this ego and its agenda to preserve itself becomes clear. And that clarity cannot become an opportunity to judge ourselves for its struggle. The moment we have an opinion about what we observe, we are again caught, and the painful cycle continues.
What an amazing dance! Can we empty out enough of our agenda to stop stumbling across the dance-floor?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Heart Longs to Know

There are questions about reality that can open a window into freedom. A few of them I have encountered over the years are these: Precisely what are we keeping alive by the perceptions we hold on to? Can we hold on to painful memories and still be awake? What kind of landscape do we live in and does it offer freedom?
It appears that the perceptions we channel our energy into create a specific "energetic fingerprint". And this "fingerprint" seems to attract a mirror image of itself in the form of another person or situation into our life.
In other words, the present experience we find oursleves in, is an invitation from Life to notice and then to look back in our own direction for a clue.
The moment we can look in our own direction for the clue about "what is", we are already walking in the direction of freedom. It is the beginning of the end of being a victim.
That's a moment worth celebrating.