Friday, July 19, 2019

An ally of the depths

While it is common in spiritual teachings to “accept” and even “love” our deepest fears, shame, rage, vulnerabilities, and shortcomings, we cannot do so without first meeting the material as it is, without any further agenda to transform it into something else. We must experience it, digest it, touch it, allow it to touch us, making experiential contact with the life that it carries.

The invitation is into relationship with the thoughts, feelings, images, and sensations. Close, but not so close that we merge, become fused, or become flooded. An intimacy without fusion.

To feel and sense its textures, colors, qualities, and energies and how it comes to us in a moment of activation, genuinely curious as to how the visitor dances and plays and discloses itself within a sensitive, open, tender nervous system. To allow our perception to be reorganized within the aliveness and creativity of the interactive field. To see the visitor not as an enemy coming to harm, but an ally of the depths.

We cannot expect to move immediately from a triggered state into acceptance and love, for this would require that we circumvent the critical stages of getting to know the material first, to truly feel our feelings, sense our sensations, and practice embodiment to how soul is manifesting itself in one unprecedented here and now moment.

It is honorable to aspire toward acceptance and love as noble virtues, however these experiences can remain disembodied concepts until they arise organically as the result of tending to the uncertainty, confusion, pain, and emotional vulnerability existing just under the surface. As long as there is an unconscious motivation to work with the material solely so that it will be purged from our experience, it is unlikely we’ll be able to get close enough so that it can be thawed out and clarified by the warmth of the heart.

Initially, we must train ourselves to stay with the intensity for short periods of time, checking in for a few moments in a way that is a bit provocative, but not traumatizing. Pushing ourselves in a way that does not overwhelm but builds resource and resilience. An artistic surfing of our own unique windows of tolerance. To allow ourselves to touch in to those parts of ourselves that have felt unapproachable and unsafe in the past.

Here, slow is good, increasing our tolerance for emotional and somatic intensity bit by bit over time. No rush to the finish line or shaming ourselves because the process is taking “too long” or we’re not doing it right. There is no “too long” in the heart, in the soul, and in the nervous system, only just long enough. 

Photo by Peggy Choucair

The next retreat - The Deep Rest Retreat: Slowing Down and Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times - September 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado - registration open 

My online community, co-facilitated with Jeff Foster - Befriending Yourself: Meditative, Nondual, and Depth Psychological Perspectives - is currently closed to new members but will likely re-open later in the year. To be on the mailing list to learn about the program, please visit the site here

My most recent book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is available in both paperback and Kindle editions. 

My next book, A Healing Space: Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times, will be published by Sounds True in 2020.