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.

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?