Thursday, August 22, 2019

Into the vessel

When doing psychological or spiritual work, as the alchemists remind us, we must apply the proper heat to the material arising within the vessel of the body.

If the heat is not subtle enough, too intense, not intense enough, or of the wrong quality, the transformation we long for may remain out of reach.

The specific nature of this heat must be discovered by each of us in the fire of our own direct experience. We cannot take another’s word for it, use someone else’s fire, or apply a second-hand flame. It takes a lot of courage and trust to allow this fire to disclose itself within the crucible of the heart.

An improper or premature fire, someone else’s fantasy of the flame, or a heat that oriented in self-abandonment and self-aggression will scorch, deaden, or re-traumatize. Discovering the most skillful medicine for our unique psychic and somatic organization requires that we become artists of the inner landscape.

At times, a more passive, slower, yielding fire and flame, resting in the background field of awareness, infusing thoughts, feelings, and sensations with space, presence, receptivity, and compassion.

At other times, a flame that is more active, imaginative, fiery, and alive. Not a mere resting in the display or surrounding it with witnessing awareness, but entering into intimacy with the material, nor oriented as much in clarity, but in relationship. Not witnessing, but penetrating. Unearthing and differentiating the images, figures, colors, and fragrances that dance within the psychic world. Dialoguing, unfolding, unpacking, listening.

The invitation is never into mastery or perfection, but only into humility and experimentation.

In this way the images of fire and flame are metaphors for the activity of love itself... as alchemists of the inner world, archaeologists of the soul, twirling and playing with the many flavors, essences, and substances of life experience.

The heart is endless in its depth. You are endless.

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.