Sunday, June 26, 2016
Underneath the rich emotional landscape, the hopes, the fears, and the dreams, you may notice a subtle burning, a longing for aliveness, to fully participate in this world. As you fall asleep, as you wake in the morning, speak with others, and move through your day… the burning is your subtle companion.
This movement can appear as an actual sensation in the body or more energetically as the activity of reorganization within you. Something is calling, drawing you close, but you can’t quite reach it by way of the known. It is just too creative. You can sense the aliveness, but it is not solid or resolvable in any way. It does not provide answers, but only endless reminders of how vast the question really is.
For some, this experience is associated with profound melancholy, for others an actual ache in the heart, and for others feelings of hopelessness, despair, joy, or bliss. You are being called back home, but it is not the home of what has come before. It is into your homeless nature, as a wanderer and explorer of the mystery.
For those who are attuned to this movement, it can appear as an actual substance, a type of nectar – come to seed new pathways, dissolving what you thought you knew about yourself, this world, intimacy, “spirituality,” and why you’re here. This substance is a primordial drop of integration, symbolizing the end of one world so that another can begin.
As you learn to stay embodied, present, and kind to the fires or reorganization, you may come to see the burning as a sacred friend, though at times a very wrathful one – an old unmet part of you, not come to harm but to reveal something that you may have forgotten about the wild, untamed, relentless nature of love.
The burning is not an obstacle on your path, but is the very path itself. As you surround it with your warmth and holding, it will purify your heart and your connection with beings everywhere, so that you can be here fully, and help others in unknowable, infinite ways.
Saturday, June 25, 2016
So much of this path involves coming to trust again in the wisdom of our direct experience, as we reorganize outdated relationships with the members of our inner families: the shamed one, the raging one, the terrified one, the lonely one, and the one who is unworthy of being seen.
Slowly, in each moment, we can make this journey. Knowing that it may not always “feel” safe, we can push ourselves a little – making use of even a bit of anxiety as a wrathful sort of heart-guide – but not so much that we become overwhelmed and re-traumatized. We can learn to rest in the holy middle.
While clear awareness of these narratives, perceptions, emotions, and sensations is important, in the end perhaps it is not clarity and insight that heal. Rather, it is the unfolding of the embodied heart. It is not just a detached, pulled back, safe witnessing that will open the door into the sacred world, but warmth, compassion, and a relentless sort of kindness toward our surging experience.
In the radical commitment to no longer abandon yourself – to not pathologize your vulnerability nor hold it as evidence that something is wrong with you – a new pathway appears. Out of the crystalline purity of awareness the qualities of that awareness flow: slowness, curiosity, attunement, tenderness, and warmth.
Surround your inner world with these qualities and over time the new circuitry of love will be encoded.
Photo of Ke’e Beach on Kauai’s north shore – by Chuck55 c/o flickr
Friday, June 24, 2016
Much is being said these days about healing and spiritual awakening, and the causeless joy, clarity, and peace that are the inevitable fruits of the inner journey. Not all that much is mentioned, however, about the disappointment of awakening – or of the ways it can break our hearts – cracking us open to the reality of the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the transfiguration we are likely to encounter along the way.
In the rush to convert the negative to the positive, to manifest everything we (have been conditioned to believe we) want, and to wiggle into some permanent state of “happy,” we forget that there is no transfiguration without a radical embodiment to the cross of the movement of the darkness within.
In the full embrace of life - right inside the messy, shadowy, nether regions of the psyche - we are invited to meet the wholeness of what we are, which includes the dark and the light, the activity of separation and union, and the entirety of what it means to be an embodied human being.
As we look carefully, beyond the veil just a bit, we may sense something longing to emerge, out of the mess, from the chaos itself surging up from the dark, rich soil of the body. But will you provide a home for it, warm space in which it can unfold and illuminate the path ahead?
As Jung so poignantly reminds us, we do not become enlightened by "imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious." He went on to say that the integrating, non-negotiable journey of the dark and the light is one that is often “disagreeable" and thus would never be popular.
The ancient path of the heart may never conform to our hopes, fears, and dreams, for it is emerging in the here and now as an emissary of the unknown itself. Yes, awakening may always be a disappointment, from the perspective of the way we thought it would all turn out. In this sense, the journey is eternally hopeless, but it is in the creation of a spacious sanctuary for our hopelessness that we will enter the sacred world that is always, already here. In this sense, the disappointment is sacred, the deflation is a benediction, and a harbinger of wholeness.
As we journey together as fellow travelers, let us find a way to embrace both the joy and the heartbreak of spiritual awakening, and bear witness to the wisdom shining out of our immediate experience, whether it appears as sadness, bliss, despair, or great joy. It is true that grace will appear in both sweet and fierce forms, but regardless of its particular manifestation, it is still grace, sent from beyond to open us to the radiant fullness of being.
Do whatever you can to help others along the way – for you can do so much. Never underestimate the transformative power of your words, the way you touch others and hold them, and the most precious gift you have to offer to them and to a weary world – the fire of your very own presence.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
As an open, sensitive human being, there will be times when heartbreak will visit – coloring your perception, soaking your emotions, and painting the sensations of the somatic world. As you wake in the morning, look up into the moon, and fall asleep at night… it’s just there waiting for you. This vague sense that something is missing. Of disappointment in the way things are unfolding.
Before you send the heartbreak away – before you process it, dissolve it into space, convert it to joy, and spin away from it in shame and blame – turn toward it and see. Go slow. Breathe into it. Provide safe passage for the heartbroken one that has been looking for you for so long.
Perhaps at a much earlier time, with a star or a tree or the water as your witness, you made a prayer of wholeness. The response to that prayer has come, but not in the way you expected. It has arrived by way of the shattering of an old dream, the dream of how you thought it would all turn out. While this dream is painful, it is alive, sacred, and holy.
No, heartbreak and disappointment are not easy. As two of the fierce emanations of integration, they will throw you off at times. They will pull the rug out from under you and remind you of how open it really is here, of how anything could happen, and of how unresolvable the activity of love truly is.
As you make experiential, embodied, intimate contact with the tender one within, you can finally meet her. You can hold him.
There is nothing wrong with you. These ancient feelings and emotions are not enemies working against you. They are not evidence of your failure, or that you have fallen from the path. They are the path. But they are not the path you thought. They are of the unknown and seeded with creativity.
They are relentless in a way, the forms of love, but will never give up, they will never stop looking for you and calling you home.
Sunday, June 19, 2016
May we hold all fathers in our hearts today, in recognition of the gift of life they have given us. Some of us are close with dad, some are not. Some have very fond memories of him and some do not. Some of us never really got to know that person we call(ed) “dad,” what moved and inspired him, what he wanted from this life, what gifts he had to give, and what his unique relationship was with the movement of love.
But the one thing we do know is that, just like us, dad only ever wanted to be happy, to be free from suffering, and in his own way longed to know the mysteries of loving and being loved, just like us. Also like us, dad is/ was only able to use the tools he had been given to take the journey that was his. It is not likely dad was raised by enlightened parents or in an environment which fully mirrored the unfolding aliveness that he was at the deepest levels. And, like us, dad has acted out of his own pain, in ways that have caused suffering for him, for us, and those around us. Just like us.
We may never understand the nature of dad’s journey, why he acts as he does, what scares him, opens him, or touches his heart – what his deepest fears and longings are (or were), what keeps him up at night, or what causes him to fall to the ground in awe. We may never be able to make sense of it. But perhaps today is not a day of answers or understanding, or even of healing, forgiving, or accepting. Perhaps today is a day of just one moment of sacred pause, heart-connection, and shared presence.
Whether dad is still on this earth or love has sent him elsewhere, it is possible to fully connect with him right here and right now, for he is alive inside every cell. For some unknown reason, love has placed him into the strands of your DNA, and in many (but not all) cases he has done his best to love you, given his own limited abilities and influences, developmental and karmic. Perhaps he has succeeded, perhaps he has failed. Or perhaps it has been mixed, as our love has been for him.
No matter what has happened in the past, or the nature of your relationship with this one we call “dad,” he has provided the gift of life, a precious human body, and the opportunity to take this rare human journey, to explore the mysteries of love in form. While some of us may not be able to meet and connect with dad in this way, if our time with him was just too painful or too destructive, we can hold this aspiration in our hearts, if we are so called, and allow the seeds of love and healing to flower in their own way, in their own time.
May we honor Father on this day in all of his emanations and in all of his forms – personal, collective, transpersonal, and beyond – and may we be guided by the wisdom qualities that have come down through Father everywhere, since beginningless time.
Photo: my Father and my son, circa 2001, all my love. See you both soon!