Sunday, December 24, 2017

Primary experience and the nervous system

Emotionally-sensitive, somatically-grounded inner work is unique to each nervous system. We must discover for ourselves the most skillful, direct, and compassionate ways to open and enter into the body, psyche, and heart. No one can tell you what the right way is for you. The journey is individual by nature, requiring experiential, primary experience; a collective spirituality will never meet the longing within.

It is difficult to do emotional-shadow work on our own, and is often best approached via an empathic, attuned relational field, where our experience can be co-regulated, in very small doses, titrating and pendulating emerging feeling states by way of the relational field itself. To “borrow” another’s soothed, calm nervous system as we enter into the uncharted territory of the body and psyche.

The way of direct revelation and embodied, experiential discovery is not the easy way. It is not the path of five-steps to empowerment, manifestation, or thinking our way into permanent happiness, abundance, and bliss. It is a humble journey, heart wrenching at times, as we will inevitably be asked to compassionately confront the disowned selves that are longing for reunion with the inner family.

The goal is not to become dependent upon another in an unhealthy way, but over time to learn the art of self-regulation and be able to shift wisely, skillfully, and compassionately between the two.

Wherever you are on your journey, you can ask a guide to bear witness as you move into unknown territory, honoring the truth that reorganization requires an immense outpouring of courage and support. Find a therapist, lover, mentor, or friend; a tree, a bird, a mountain, or dog; the sky, the sun, the stars, or the moon. A God or Goddess, wise inner figure, or being of light. Allow your symptoms to merge into these protectors and enter into dialogue, practicing intimacy with the inner material, but without fusing with it.

It is unlikely we’ll ever fully understand or resolve the mystery of self and other, of separation and union, of sun and moon. But we can break open into the questions together, as beginners, as amateurs, and as servants of the mystery.

My new book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is now available 

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO.