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.

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.