Saturday, February 25, 2017

Doing nothing a radical act of kindness


There is such a deeply rooted belief that we must do something with intense surges of feeling and emotion as they wash through: understand them, determine their cause, link them to some life circumstance or person, change them, transform them, eliminate them, or even “heal” them. Somehow we lose touch with entering into relationship with them.

This organization was weaved into our sensitive nervous systems as young children when we did not have the capacity to metabolize the intensity in an environment of empathic, attuned presence. Out of this we created our unique strategies of reaction and avoidance, often rooted in quickly removing ourselves from very intense, dysregulating states of vulnerability and psychic overwhelm. This was not neurotic, but adaptive. It was intelligent, and represented the best ways we knew to care for ourselves at the time.

But here you are, no longer a child in your family of origin, and longing to fully participate here. To feel fully alive. To practice intimacy with external others as well as the “other” inside you that is surging to be held and integrated.

What if for just one moment, you did absolutely nothing in relation to the arising of emotional intensity? If you neither repressed nor denied it, nor urgently scrambled to seek relief from it? If you did not spin to apply spiritual teachings to your vulnerability, but moved toward it, with a fiery commitment to no longer abandon yourself. To curiously explore what is appearing and its qualities, trusting in the activity of the wisdom-guests and intelligence they carry.

What would happen if you replaced the demand for relief with the curiosity of relationship? Even for just a moment. To dare to allow in the possibility that there is purpose and meaning wired into this relationship and into the somatic, psychic, and emotional material as it comes into awareness to be met.

What if the most wise, loving, attuned response was to take no action? For now. To not rush to mend your broken heart, transform the sadness into happiness, or seek relief from your rage, hopelessness, or confusion? To not give into the ancient demand that you fall into the extremes of denial or seeking relief, abandoning the uninvited ones through the fueling of a story about what has happened, who is to blame, why they are there, when they will go away, and what their presence actually means about you as a person? Or applying techniques to convert the experience into some other that you have been told you should be experiencing instead?

These feelings and emotions are pure energy flow and information. They are not enemies or obstacles on your path, but are the very path itself. They have not come to harm you but only to be allowed back into the majestic vastness that you are. To remind you of something you may have forgotten and lost contact with along the tired journey of becoming.

This “doing nothing” is not a cold, passive resignation, but is an alive, sacred activity, infused with presence and a wild sort of compassion. It is an expression of embodied intimacy and care. This open-hearted doing nothing is a radical act of kindness and love, and a holy gift that you can offer yourself and others.




The Way of Rest summer retreat – registration open now 

New book – The Path is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – to be released in April

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Way of Rest: A 5-Day Retreat with Matt Licata and Jeff Foster


at the beautiful Sunrise Ranch, Loveland, Colorado 

July 26-31, 2017

Information/ registration - we do expect the retreat to sell out (it's currently around 50% booked) and will take registrations in the order they are received. Please note that this will likely be mine and Jeff's only retreat together (and my only public event) in America in 2017. 

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What would it be like to live a life that is not based around fixing or improving yourself, transforming into someone else, healing all your childhood wounds, or completing some mythical journey of awakening?

What would it be like, to awaken from the trance that you are broken, unworthy, unloveable and far from enlightenment?

Join authors and speakers Matt Licata and Jeff Foster as they share a radical form of mindfulness, which is also an ultimate act of self-compassion: an invitation to be exactly what you are, and awaken from the trance that you are less than Divine in your beautifully imperfect humanness.

On this popular 5 day retreat, we will take time out of our ordinary lives to turn towards the stillness of the heart, and discover the peace, joy, aliveness and, yes, humor, that is always, already here. We will come to realize that freedom is wired into us and is not dependent on whether we first improve ourselves, become worthy, find all the answers, or get “enlightened” by way of some sort of spiritual process.

Visit the retreat home page here
When it comes to the present moment, we are all beginners, all amateurs. There are no teachers and no experts, here in the aliveness of Now. Matt and Jeff do not have pre-prepared answers for you! They are not here to fix you or make you into something second-hand. They are original human beings, just like you, sharing from the depths of their lived experience, inviting you to come closer to yourself and perhaps find your answers there. On retreat, you become your own guru, your own therapist, your own loving parent. Matt and Jeff simply facilitate this Homecoming, inviting us in their gentle yet direct way to a radical self-love in which even our ‘unlovable’ parts are welcome…

During the retreat, we’ll rest together in silence, share intimate dialogues and guided meditations, all the while tuning into to the power of the field of loving presence that is always around and within us. We will bathe in a radical yet simple truth: that we have already arrived Home, that we never left Home in the first place, that we are perfect exactly as we are, even in our imperfections… and that we can return to this realization in ANY moment of our lives!

We will turn courageously toward our unmet heartbreak, grief, despair, and hopelessness – as well as toward our natural joy, peace, wonder, and bliss – and come into contact with the wisdom, the love, and the wild uniqueness that is always here. As we befriend ourselves and our immediate experience, through curiosity and an uncompromising and unapologetic kindness, we will touch a profound rest that is filled with the revolutionary qualities of love, compassion, and huge creativity.

While not formally a silent retreat, we will be returning time and time again to the silence of the Heart, meditating and contemplating reality together and exploring the a life beyond belief. In addition to regular group meetings – facilitated by Matt and Jeff – there will be plenty of time to explore on your own, both the inner landscape of the heart as well as the natural world in the beautiful Colorado mountains.

It is important to note that while these retreats often result in deep, therapeutic healing, they are not therapy groups. Rather than engaging in our personal narratives of past and future, we will be diving into a field of presence together in which we can rest in the dimension of the heart that has never been unhealed and is not in need of transformation, healing… or even understanding.

ABOUT JEFF

Jeff Foster studied Astrophysics at Cambridge University. In his mid-twenties, after a long period of depression and illness, he became addicted to the idea of ‘spiritual enlightenment’ and embarked on an intensive spiritual quest for the ultimate truth of existence.

The spiritual search came crashing down with the clear recognition of the non-dual nature of everything, and the discovery of the extraordinary in the ordinary. In the clarity of this seeing, life became what it always was: intimate, open, loving and spontaneous, and Jeff was left with a deep understanding of the root illusion behind all human suffering, and a love of the present moment.

Jeff was voted #59 on Watkins Review’s 2014 list of the world’s 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People. Jeff has published five books in over six languages. His latest book Falling in Love With Where You Are is now available from Non-Duality Press. His new book - Way of Rest: Finding the Courage to Hold Everything in Love - was published by Sounds True in 2016.

Jeff's website can be found at: http://www.lifewithoutacentre.com/

ABOUT MATT

Matt Licata, PhD is a psychotherapist, author, and teacher, with clients and students worldwide. For 25 years, he has been on the forefront of the dialogue between therapeutic and contemplative approaches to healing and spiritual transformation. He mentors students seeking graduate degrees in psychology and spirituality, and is editor of A Healing Space, a blog dedicated to the exploration of the journey of embodied spirituality in contemporary life.

Matt is author of the The Path is Everywhere: Uncoveringthe Jewels Hidden Within You, which will be published in April of 2017. He is also author of the forthcoming The Only Way Out is Through, a behind-the-scenes look at the ways spiritual beliefs and practices can serve a defensive function in the avoidance of unresolved emotional wounding.

Matt's website can be found at: http://www.mattlicataphd.com