Saturday, May 31, 2014

Healing and the luminous nature of emotion

I was speaking with a friend who was feeling so much anger; she was so upset with herself and with a person in her life that she was struggling with. She asked me to help her understand what was going on and how she could get rid of her anger as she could see how it was destroying her, and eating her from the inside. She had also heard that if the anger remained in an uncontrolled way that she could even develop cancer or heart disease. She was worried. She knew that anger was not a very 'spiritual' quality and that it was really important that she work with it, transform it, forgive it, melt it into kindness, and so forth. 

For all of us, there are times when that energetic quality we call 'anger' explodes throughout our bodies, our minds, and our hearts—often uninvited—and can be so destructive. As with other difficult emotions, there are two primary ways that we respond: on the one hand, we either repress the feeling, cover it up through addictive activity, or otherwise act as if it isn't there. We can even use spiritual practice to this end. Or, we act the emotion out, seeking to discharge the very disturbing energy and to remove it as quickly as we can from present experience. But if we look carefully we can see that, while it may appear that 'getting really angry' is a way to be in direct relationship with our anger, we can start to see that it is not; rather, we are spinning 'around' our anger and actually abandoning it. We are practicing the ancient art of self-aggression toward our lived experience and this so painful, for ourselves and others. 

It is of course very natural to want to get rid of anger, change it, 'heal' it, spiritualize or meditate or pray it away. But the one thing that I’ve seen about anger over the many years is that when slow way down and rest and open—and start to care so deeply about our experience and what is actually happening—we can discover that anger is most often a cover for deep, unmet hurt, grief, shame, and sadness. In many ways (not always), anger is a very surface-level experience for many, a defensive reaction to protect oneself from deep unmetabolized hurt. It is not too difficult for many to touch and to feel anger and rage, but it can be very challenging to embrace and open our hearts to a deep sense of hurt or shame. It's so risky. It requires that we step all the way inside our embodied vulnerability. This can be icky. This hurt is often a very primordial one, the essence wound of love itself. 

In this radical commitment to our experience, exactly as it is unfolding, it is possible to receive the secret transmission of the somatic-emotional world: there is no suffering inherent in that wild energetic movement we call 'anger' (or grief or despair or sadness or hopelessness, etc.). The suffering we associate with this movement comes only in the abandonment of it, in the subtle movement away from it, and is wrapped up in the emotional conclusions we've come to that its mere presence is evidence that somehow we've failed, this time as a spiritual person; that we are fundamentally flawed, that some great mistake has been made, and that we are ultimately unlovable as we are. We feel as if we have 'lost the path' in the face of these disturbing emotions. Remember the secret, friend: these ones are the path itself, emerging out of the grace of the beloved, pointing to the pink moon of love resting inside your heart. Stay close. Receive that transmission. Allow your cells to soak in that grace. Nothing has gone wrong. No mistake has been made. Grace has chosen to come in a disturbing form, that is all. 

So with my friend I suggested that we could go into her anger and talk about it and really try to understand out what was going on—the historic causes and conditions of this particular feeling state; we could learn more about it, its role in her early life and the responses of her caregiving surround to it, and we could explore behaviorally-oriented strategies for how she could work with it in less destructive ways. But first, I looked at her and we connected in our hearts together. We were so close and right there; we slowed way down. She felt me fully attuned to her and I felt her right there with me. I asked her: have you actually ever turned toward your anger? Have you ever actually made contact with it, somatically, inside your body, and opened to it all the way through? Have you ever been so curious about the actual nature of this passing energy we call 'anger?' Would you be willing to open your heart to your anger, to finally befriend it, and offer it just a moment of kindness? Could we do this together, right now, friend? 

It was then as if time stopped. She looked at me and started to cry. These tears became an avalanche of grace. These were ancient tears, which contained joy, sadness, bliss, and grief—the crucifixion, resurrection, and transfiguration all rolled into one. In an instant of true intimacy with her anger, in that willingness to touch and hold this movement inside her, loving herself so much, and being so courageous to stay right there, and to no longer abandon herself (as she had intelligently chosen to do so many times in her family of origin), she fell apart. She allowed herself to cosmically disassemble, to be taken apart by love. In that falling apart, she could no longer find the anger; it was no longer there. There were rising and falling sensations in her body, but the 'angry one' was no longer organizing the show. Yes, that energetic quality we call 'anger' was moving and dancing, but it was doing so in empty space. She came to discover in that moment that this space is what she is, that eternal and infinite capacity for all form to arise, play, and dissolve. She could meet this anger, befriend it, and watch it self-liberate in front of her eyes, no longer any need to repress or act out. What she was in this moment was pure brilliance, utter majesty. We were astonished. We cried together. We fell apart and came back together, only to fall apart again. We gave up being put back together. We just rested in the eternal revelation of love as it moves in this world of time and space.

When we can somehow find a way to turn directly into our emotions and into our feelings, a tremendous freedom is often waiting for us. When we can stay at the sensation level of our experience, we may become bewildered as we are no longer able to find a 'problem' there. Our feelings and emotions are not what we think they are. They are not nearly as solid, continuous, and enduring as they appear. Like all form, they are made of light and, ultimately, of the particles of love themselves. They are our long-lost friends, our ancient heart-companions, emissaries of the beloved one herself, just waiting for us to take a moment out of our busy lives to touch them. Once they are seen, heard, validated, and held, they are then free to share their gifts with us, and to serve the purpose for which they came: to be radical vehicles for our own freedom, and luminous pathways through which love can dance in the playground of this very special world.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Move into radiant creativity

When was the last time you connected with the aliveness of your own body?

When did you last lay your hands on your heart and attune to the vastness that you are?

Give yourself the gift of holy pause on this new day. Turn into the vibrant alive world of raw sensation, transmitting heart-wisdom underneath the interpretive level of your experience. Move into radiant creativity.

Friend, the freedom you long for will never be found in the eradication of the darkness and the unwanted, but only in the revelation of the love it carries.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

These ones have come to walk with you on a blessed journey

At times, a broken heart will appear as your teacher, and you will be asked to practice the transformative yogas of sadness and vulnerability. Your ancient companion aloneness has arrived as a clarifying, melancholic wisdom-guide from beyond, along with your fellow travelers the moon and the stars. These ones have come to walk with you on a blessed journey. 

At times, the yoga of a broken heart will emerge as the highest path for you, and will ask that you set aside all others, placing your tenderness upon the altar in front of you. 

If you will befriend your broken-open heart—and not rush in to mend it too quickly—it will reveal its primordial secret: in every moment there is an opportunity to break open even more. For it is through these cracks that more grace can come in. 

~ wandering with my special love-friend Sophia Loulou, sunrise, Taos... eternally astonished that one more day has been given. It is so fragile here, this life, for we never know if this sunrise will be the last. We sure hope not, for it is so precious here. Yet if for some reason it is, we will drown in the ocean together, willingly, and give ourselves to the great return, recycled in the womb of the beloved, and sent back out as shards of sweet and fierce love throughout the four directions. We have already been given so much more than enough. 

Let us open all the way on this new day, that we may be crafted as vessels of kindness, for ourselves and for others, and to this very rare opportunity to know and to touch the beloved as she moves in this sacred place. Let us behold her untamed activity, as she emerges from the vast, pregnant, creative unknown, painting our bodies with her swirling colors, unleashing her fragrances in the form of endless invitations, and dancing as a crazed one, drunk with love, resting ever so wildly in our hearts. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It may just be a cliff of love

In my connection with many of you, together we have come to touch, illuminate, and hold a part of you that wants more than anything to surrender, to fall into the unknown, and to give everything to know what you are as love itself. We have also befriended and opened our hearts to other parts that are holding on for dear life, to what has come before, to keeping it all together, and to the safety and certainty of the known. Together, we have made the commitment to stay with whatever arises in your immediate experience, infuse it with a holding field of kindness, offering a resounding "YES," and to no longer abandon the sacredness of the alive and creative somatic world, exactly as it is. 

While it can be so hard at times—and can demand everything we have, and more—we are discovering together that your despair, your hopelessness, and your sadness is intelligent, utterly valid, and worthy of your attention and care. It need not be sent away out of the dripping mandala of your one precious heart. For these guests are particles of a certain frequency of luminosity, come in disguise, to reveal the golden substance of wholeness, and the blessed of movement of pure love as it moves in the relative world of time and space. 

Let us honor each and all aspects of your essence—the dark and the light, the confused and the clear, the neurotic and the awakened, the surrendered and the holding on—as sacred envoys of the beloved. For we are seeing that she will shape-shift into whatever form she must in the weaving of a sacred home for the entirety of what you are. She will do anything to reveal, again and again and again, primordial integration along the ancient path of the heart. 

As we've dropped into the center together—and are taking the risk that burning, transformative love will always ask of us—we inevitably find the beloved waiting right there, for she has always been right here—always on your side, your eternal friend, and never giving up on you. She is working with her emissaries in this very moment to illuminate each of your seemingly contradictory parts, in order to weave the multiplicity back into the one, and then the one back out again into the many. For this is the cycle of birth and death which she is initiating as your life in the exploding, pregnant here and now. Let us look carefully and we will see—and in this seeing we will be astonished. 

This is the way of the return, and you are the mad crazy wayfarer of love. This is your home and your lineage now, wandering from here to there, following the beloved and planting seeds of loving kindness, which will bear the sweetest fruit in the right time. You are willing to give your body and your love to others and to this place, and to honor the holy vow you made to break open, to stay tender, to hold another so close, and to give everything to touch the mysteries of the sacred world. 

While it may seem you are falling off a cliff, it may just be a cliff of love. You need not hold yourself back from this life, friend. Give everything. Give it all. Let everyone and everything matter. Take the risk. Take a swan dive into the very center of your heart, even if you're scared, even if you have no idea whether you'll survive on the other said. Oh, friend, you won't. Please give your heart now, for this world needs you. It requires your tenderness and your wild vulnerability, so that love may somehow find safe passage here. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

The only scripture you'll ever need

When the known
crumbles away,
all that remains
is your burning heart.

This burning
is the only scripture
you’ll ever need.

Even the stars will plead for
this teaching from you!

There is nothing more alive
than your open body,
and nothing more sacred
than your holy wildness.

~sunrise, from the space-desert that is Taos; empty of concept, full of love