Thursday, June 27, 2024

All therapy is grief therapy

After meeting with people for all these years, it seems to me that all therapy is grief therapy when all is said and done. No matter what particular issue or complex that we’re working on, the ally of grief is nearby.

Its primordial home is in the deep soma, and from there emerges as the figures in our dreams, a burning in the heart, an emptiness in the belly, and as certain sort of homesickness and longing for union.

Grief is the ultimate shape-shifter and will appear in infinite forms as it seeks a vessel in which it might incarnate and indwell itself here, which it does by way of our bodies and nervous systems.

Not as an obstacle to our path, but as a radiant manifestation of the path itself.

In providing sanctuary and safe passage for the metabolization of grief, a bridge begins to form piece by piece which connects us with others and with all of life everywhere. We do not create or design this bridge but only bear witness to its qualities.

This bridge – or the open doorway – will look and feel differently for each of us, displaying unique color, fragrance, dimensions, and engraved symbolic expression. It is by way of embodied attunement that we will be able to see and sense the bridge and passage.

When we take the risk of allowing another person and allowing this life to truly matter to us, we open ourselves to be a location, or a vehicle for the purifying ally of grief to find its way into this world.

And to bring with it a firestorm of compassionate activity for the benefit of all beings.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Holding the figures of the unlived life

At times, the ground will fall away from underneath us and we’re unable to find the center. It’s the death of an old dream, of me and my life and how I was so sure it was supposed to turn out.

In these moments, we’re asked to place the entirety of our unlived life on an altar in front of us, and help the shattered soul-pieces to find their way into the next world.

Despite the temptation to prematurely transform, transcend, or rise above the material in the vessel, the invitation is by way of descent – into the body temple, to provide sanctuary and safe passage in which the grief can be alchemized, felt, and integrated.

This grieving unveils a process that the alchemists called the solutio, symbolized by salt and the flowing of tears – physical tears in the eyes and also tears of the subtle body, an aching, burning, and longing deep within the soul, weeping for union.

It’s so easy to conclude in these moments that something has gone wrong, that we’re not okay, and that we’ve been forsaken. This psychic groove is the legacy of familial, cultural, and intergenerational networks of trauma and wounding in attachment, held in in the somatic unconscious.

In moments when the figures of the unlived and unfelt arise within us, the neural network opens, is supple, porous, and becomes translucent and permeable, evidence of its own yearning to be re-encoded.

It is love that is the great re-encoder.

In order to break through the density of habitual consciousness and tangles in the soma, the subtle body, the soul must at times upset and dissolve the psychic status quo.

By turning inside out the dreams and fantasies of me and the life I thought I was living, we are taken into an open field where for just a moment we might be given a glimpse behind the veil, at what’s truly happening here and the intelligence which is orchestrating it.

Photo: catching the light, Southern Finland

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Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Solar and lunar cycles on the path of embodied transformation

In the cycle of death and rebirth – the archetypal basis of all healing and spiritual transformation – there are two aspects to that sequence, each being an equal portal on the journey of an embodied wholeness.

There’s the aspect of death, where a part of ourselves is no longer able to accompany us and must fall away: the putrefying of an old dream, of me and my life and how it was all supposed to turn out.

At the other pole is rebirth, renewal, and the emergence of new life.

It’s understandable that the rebirth aspect is the one we most welcome and are drawn to: healing, union, the coming back together of what which has fallen apart.

To embrace dissolution as path, as initiation, as a manifestation of the ally will feel contradictory and counter-instinctual. It will ache in the heart.

However, in many alchemical and mystical streams, dissolution and the death of the material (the known) is the very essence of the path and required for our perception (and subtle body) to be cleansed.

Rebirth is not possible without full participation in the process of death. There is no doorway in and through without embodiment to the cycles of grief. There is no union unless and until something has first been separated.

We see this experiential discovery for example in the writings of Rumi, St. John of the Cross, in Teresa of Avila’s vision of the interior castle.

This energetic movement of putrefaction, or of reorganization, is the Kali aspect of love, the body of a figure like Vajrakilaya in Tibet, or Mercurius in alchemy, the shadow side of God and the transpersonal Self.

This activity and specific manifestation of the Divine Ground plays a vital role in our individuation and awakening, but is not easy to be in relationship with. There’s no real reference point for that, including in a lot of our contemporary traditions, which remain oriented exclusively to the upward, clear, and ascending currents.

In addition are the currents of the divine descent, the illuminated black sun, the lunar cycles that unfold within the somatic unconscious as well as the soil in the deep earth, extending down into the shadowlands and underworld, with Persephone and others.