Tuesday, August 30, 2016

There is always an open doorway

We want to know so badly… how things will turn out, when we’ll be awakened, when our heart will no longer be at risk of breaking, when we'll be "healed," when the partner will come that will finally complete us, when we can finally step into life all the way. It is so easy for even our spiritual lives to become yet another expression of our own unmet emptiness, boredom, unmetabolized pain, undigested addictions, chronic self-aggression, and sense that we are ultimately unlovable as we are.

It is no “secret” that our culture is one of acquisitiveness – please, somehow, give me more. What is here now is most definitely not enough. I know there is some Divine glorious reality waiting for me, where angels are singing, harps are playing, perfect soul mates are appearing, groovy spiritual careers are presenting themselves, all of my dreams are manifesting abundantly, and above all I am experiencing only high, spiritual states of consciousness, safe from the unknown devastatingly creative activity of love, which is never, ever going to conform to our hopes, dreams, and fantasies. For that is its great gift to us.

In this way, even our spiritualities (as well as our intimate relationships) can become the receptacle (in often subtle and unconscious ways) to remedy these core feelings of unlove. But perhaps there is no “secret.” Perhaps the intimacy and the aliveness and the connection we seek will never be found through the activity of acquisition, through that mind that is forever spinning into some “new” and “high” state of consciousness.

Perhaps Life has no interest in us living up to some second-hand image, that it doesn’t want or need us to be “perfect” or “divine” or “awakened" or "healed." Or manifesting all the things we think we want that will fulfill us. And that it is only ever offering its invitation to fall heart-first into an immense field of not-knowing – not knowing how to live, not knowing how to forgive, not knowing how to accept, not knowing how to get awakened, not knowing how to "heal," and not knowing how resolve the ways of love. And in this not-knowing, life is there waiting for us, revealing its mysteries and its majesty.

I hear from so many of you how exhausted you are, so tired of chasing around some fantasy of a “spiritual” life that you were told was the right one by some teacher, author, or expert who has figured it out and come to some fundamental resolution to love and its untamed creative wildness. You are longing for rest. To rest in your true being, which is only ever found right here and right now, and in the very core of your commitment to stay radically embodied to your precious vulnerability, your miracle senses, and the vast creativity of the somatic-emotional world.

In the very center of your heart, there is always an open doorway. It has nothing to do with wiggling into some conditioned state of consciousness other than the pure one that is here now, or with seeking some mythical sustained transcendent experience, or with any sort of movement beyond this messy world of intimacy, confusing unresolvable love, and human vulnerability. It wants so badly for you to walk through, to meet for the first time this unbearable longing to go home, to behold for the first time the miracle of this precious human body, of *these* thoughts, of *these* feelings, of *these* passing states of consciousness, exactly as they have been given by an unseen, raging grace.

For in just one moment of caring enough – of somehow resisting the call to exit this experience for another – what you see is that it is all made of love, crafted out of the substance of love, all the way through, from the inside-out and outside-in. And no matter what the details, love has somehow configured itself as your unique life, and has offered itself as a gift… only forever waiting for you to enter inside and hold it, exactly as it is.

Photo credit - "Dream" - by Lizzy Gadd

Sunday, August 28, 2016

For this is what you are

The forms that love take are by nature arising and dissolving in each moment. For this is the way of form. But love itself is that which never comes and goes.

We never know what form love will choose to take in the future, for there is no love in the future. Love is only now.

We will never be able to resolve or control the movement of love, or use it for our own agenda, as it is infinitely creative and has come here as an representative of the unknown. It is revolutionary and has no bias for oneness over multiplicity or joy over sorrow, and will use whatever form it must in order to seed this world with its qualities.

If you become too fused with a specific form you believe you need love to take, your heart will always break when love recycles that form for something new, which it always will. This is non-negotiable. In this way love is relentless, as it erupts with creativity and the bringing forth of what is new. It is not capable of serving the status quo.

Before you seek to “heal” your heartbreak by way of spiritual processes and techniques, turn first into the vulnerability as it surges, hold the disappointment, and provide a home for the shattered pieces to illuminate and reorganize. Dare to see that this breaking is not an error, but is pure sacred activity, sent from the unseen to dissolve old dreams, so that new forms may emerge.

As another new day is given, which is the true miracle for a human being, please honor the forms of love while they appear, for they are an expression of purity and of wholeness. But allow them their own organic process of death and rebirth. And even if you are not able to allow them to be what they are, they will continue to do so, into eternity, to remind you of how rare it is to take birth in a place where love is alive.

Seek refuge not in love’s forms, but in the field of love itself, that which never comes and goes. For this is what you are.

Photo by Richard Seagraves

Saturday, August 27, 2016

And so it goes on the path of the heart...

It can be so exhausting, the unrelenting project to become something other than what you are. To heal your past, to become “awakened,” to become less vulnerable, and to resolve the unresolvable activity of love as it comes into form here.

This search will always be available should you choose to continue it. But a new invitation has arrived. You are being asked to give yourself the gift of primordial rest. One holy moment of respite from the weary journey of becoming. This rest is not passive or resigned, but an expression of sacred activity, and a radical act of compassion.

Slow way down and open to what is here now, what was never unhealed, what was never untransformed, and to the erupting wisdom surging in the core of the raw, the naked, the tender, and the vulnerable.

Inside the palace of your own body, the beloved awaits. And cares not for your future awakening, healing, safety, and resolution. Only for your alive, burning, erupting heart… in all its groundless, collapsing, majestic glory.

In this palace you are always falling apart and coming back together again, only to fall apart once more. And so it goes on the path of the heart… each week, each day, each moment realizing how little you know about the mysteries of love, and how much deeper the journey really goes.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Held with curiosity, kindness, and space

When you are triggered and emotion is surging within, you stand at the precipice of a new world.

On one side is the old pathway – of self-aggression, shame, blame, complaining, numbing, denying, and acting out. Of disembodying and returning into the storyline of what happened, as a way to take you out of the raging, sacred data that is alive within you. For it is usually much easier in the moment to tell a story about rage, about sadness, about fear, and about confusion, than to descend into the body and into communion with the alive, rippling, unknown energy.

But co-emerging with the protective path of fight, flight, and freeze is the new pathway which is crafted of neural grooves of presence, warmth, kindness, and self-care. To descend with your awareness out of the looping narrative and into the somatic landscape is a radical act of compassion and the activity of inner and outer revolution.

The story is also sacred, and can be re-authored and re-told, but only from a place of calm, of presence, of curiosity, and of care. You can come back to the story and offer a more up to date and integrated vision, once you have fully metabolized the emotions and the feelings, from a place of slow empathic presence. It is then that a new story can be woven.

Right in the core of the very hot, panicky, and claustrophobic sensations – erupting through your belly, your heart, and your throat – the unmet ones have come again. They will never give up on you, for they are emissaries of love, come this time in a wrathful form to remind you of wholeness and of how full-spectrum the journey of the heart really is.

In a moment of slowing way down and taking care of yourself in a new way, you may discover that these ones have not come in order to be understood, transformed, shifted, or even healed. But have come as part of the sacred return – to be met and held with curiosity, kindness, and space – as they long for reintegration into the majesty that you are.

Photo by Saqib Zulfiqr

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The path of true compassion

It is important to realize that the path of opening the heart is not the path of becoming an emotional doormat for the unloading of others’ unconscious, unresolved beliefs, emotions, “teachings,” and behaviors. The only way to care for and metabolize the “other” within us – that which we have previously disavowed and sequestered into the wilderness of the shadow – is by way of profound levels of self-compassion.

For many, this sort of self-love does not come easy, as it was not encoded into neural circuitry in environments that lacked consistent, empathic attunement to a little one’s unfolding emotional world. But it is something you can learn, now. Wherever you are. The pathways are fluid and are awaiting reorganization by love.

The qualities of empathy, attunement, and kindness are not passive, yielding, and always sweet and peaceful. At times they take on wrathful forms, but always remain grounded in compassion. They are hardwired in us, however have become obscured due to misattuned relational experiences and our subsequent ways of organizing those experiences in a tender brain, nervous system, and developing heart.

In the tantric tradition, there are four pathways of relating with unresolved energy: pacifying, enriching, magnetizing, and destroying. Pure, transformative compassion will make use of each of these energies at different times in order to act in ways that are both wise and skillful. True compassion is not always soft, capitulating, and surrendering, but at times is fiery and fierce. But this fire and ferocity emerges from a heart that is wide open, and a longing to dissolve suffering in all its forms, for both self and other.

While perhaps appearing “compassionate” on the outside, being an emotional doormat usually involves the re-enacting of early, unconscious dynamics. We learned that devaluing ourselves, often in very subtle ways, was the best route to get our needs met, to fit in, to receive attention and affection, and to maintain a precarious tie to an unavailable attachment figure.

As a young child, this was very intelligent and creative, and served to protect us from all sorts of overwhelm and dysregulation. From this perspective, these strategies may be seen as a certain form of grace; not wrong, bad, or “unspiritual,” but simply out of date and no longer of service to an adult longing for intimacy, connection, and aliveness.

Because the pathways are luminous – neither solid nor fixed – it is very possible to encode new circuitry that is organized around empathy, kindness, and presence. But this possibility occurs only by way of self-compassion, not by re-enacting old strategies of being a doormat.
Look carefully and see the ways you habitually place others’ needs over your own… not out of true compassion for them, but as a re-enactment of an early environment of shame and unworthiness.

With the beloved as your guide – in whatever raging form he or she may choose to take – pour your holy awareness and loving presence into the beliefs, the emotions, the sensations, and the behaviors which are now arising for update and integration.

Surround your immediate experience with spacious warmth and holding, surrender the habitual abandonment of yourself once and for all, and seed a new pathway.

For it is through this pathway that love will erupt here.

Photographer unknown