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How little personality really wants to know

personality enneagram fixation ”….don’t worry if, at the end of any day, you suddenly realize that you can’t remember a word I’ve said. That doesn’t matter. It’s the journey itself that’s going to change you.”  Ishmael – by Daniel Quinn (A gorilla comments on the current state of affairs)

It seems obvious – our attention is skewed by our enneagram fixation AND it functions in a manner to reinforce and perpetuate the fixation. When we are blind to so much, how can we ever hope to see? Our personality, ego structure, and false self always function with an agenda.

This agenda, whether positive or negative, and the underlying motivation for it is habitual, unconscious, and insidious. But, we are addicted and though we protest otherwise – refuse to let go of the pain and suffering and story associated with it. The pain, the suffering and the story are inseparable from it – they are part and parcel of one manifest phenomenon– who we take ourselves to be.

 ….”I know of no such story,” I told him at last.
“You mean you’ve never heard of it?”
“That’s right.”
…”That’s because there’s no need to hear of it. …Every one of you knows it by heart by the time you are six or seven. …And you hear it incessantly, because every medium of propaganda, every medium of education pours it out incessantly. And hearing it incessantly, you don’t listen to it. There’s no need to listen to it. It’s always there humming away in the background, so there’s no need to attend to it at all. In fact, you’ll find – at least initially – that it’s hard to attend to it.”   
        Ishmael

The desire to actualize our potential; the longing for freedom and peace; the hunger for love and contentment arise from within the soul as an optimizing force which is quickly co-opted by the ego – incorporated into its agenda and activity for self-improvement. Improving the self is self-defeating – a point of appreciation I owe to Claudio Naranjo’s presentation of the enneagram.

cOur understanding of self is a Gordian knot – the more we struggle with it, the tighter it gets. So, how does one unravel this knot? How can we help to align our exploration with the optimizing force and relax ego-activity? How can we avail ourselves of the wisdom of the enneagram without perpetuating the fixation?

We need to get below the surface of the self – surface that includes all of those great characteristics and traits so wonderfully articulated in the enneagram of personality types. We need a crack or two in the shell of the self – for we have been existing for a long, long time as a bounded entity. When a bounded entity turns inward – that movement of attention is, at first, also a movement away from the true self – another conundrum on the path of self-improvement.

What we need is to NOT do. Allowing our self to see the truth – our situation as it actually is – invites the optimizing force into our experience. Developing the capacity to be in full contact with our experience while not acting out the ego’s agenda – our story – is being in the service of the soul. (Appreciation for the work of A. H. Almaas)

Our intent is not to do but to be. Our motivation is not self-improvement but freedom and authenticity. Our desire is not to define and explain our self, but to clarify the transparency of the soul. And – believe it or not – knowing your fixation can help – but, as usual, one must take the road less traveled.

Wanting
To be, to become, to know
Is torture
Sitting in the Night
Being revealed
Is the sweetest
Satisfaction 
                          jh

The Obvious

The enneagram is a treasure-trove of insight and information for a self-improvement campaign. I mean, my God, we have your strengths and weaknesses, our high side and low side, our movements toward integration and disintegration. We have our existential issues, our chief feature, our passion, our delusion, our…well, you get the point – no need to write another book.

personality-defenseBut how do we work with that information in a real way? Go where we don’t want to go – meaning let our attention go there – feel it fully and immediately. When the mind tells us – that makes no sense, when anxiety rises, when we notice places we avoid – we need to get a clue! The personality (ego), according to Freud, is basically a defense – the whole enchilada. It’s a collection of semi-successful ways in which we have learned to cope with life, to survive, to manage our affairs while increasing our pleasure and avoiding pain.

Take one of your type’s favorite or dominant characteristics or traits and explore its opposite. Love strength? Give some attention to helplessness. Prefer being in control? Explore powerlessness.

Here’s a way to explore this:

Get a pen and paper. For 30 minutes answer this question with whatever comes to mind.

“What’s right about not being ___________?”

(Fill in this blank with something you avoid, something your personality has learned to compensate for – weak, needy, wrong, stupid, and etc.)

Right now, some personalities have already rejected this exercise or are in the process of modifying it – say ten minutes instead of thirty. Well, there you have it – just how little it really wants to know about itself.

In the process answering (be sure to write it all down), make the answers short. Be sincere, get the ego’s position paper on this issue. Anything over a few words is just more story that helps to avoid the full power of the exercise.

To continue the exercise after answering the question for thirty minutes, explore your family history with what’s in the blank. See how family attitudes and values influenced you on this issue; how they supported you to be a certain way or coerced you to be another. Then, specifically examine your judgments around what is in the blank. Do this by feeling or observing how the judgment affects your level of energy or vitality.

To complete the exercise: now that you have all of this insight and information, do nothing with it. Oh, and don’t do ‘nothing’ with it also. Observe how you react – your thoughts, feelings and actions. Don’t reject or stop anything – unless it is totally inappropriate, illegal, or dangerous to yourself or others. Remember, do not use this information to improve yourself or as a hammer to beat yourself up.

The Unfamiliar

The enneagram talks a lot about the three centers (head, heart, belly) and most people are dominant in one. Explore your least developed center. Observe how it is to function from this center. How does it affect you? What comes up in you – thoughts, feelings, motivations for action? Allow yourself to be a total klutz or ignoramus– no judgments needed here. Take this center out for a test drive.

Explore your history with this center. Explore the judgments. Explore the personality’s position – How do you explain your position to others?

 “….you assembled this explanation like a mosaic from a million bits of information presented to you in various ways by others who share that explanation. You assembled it from the table talk of your parents, from cartoons you watched on television, from Sunday School lessons, from your textbooks and teachers, from news broadcasts, from movies, novels, sermons, plays newspapers and all the rest.” Ishmael

Again, for the time being, avoid acting on the desire to become “a whole person” by integrating your three centers. Intrigue yourself for a while with how it has been for you to run on one or two cylinders instead of the three you came equipped with.

The Unspoken

This is more subtle and difficult. This is in the realm of pre-verbal experience and deals with knowing our personality at a very deep and uncomfortable level.

Did you know that the foundation for who we take ourselves to be is mostly in place by age three – way before the capacity for abstract thought develops? This foundation exists in us as an energetic charge – a pattern of tensions and a comfort range of energies. When we start poking the light of attention into this area, we are very likely to get a rapid response along the lines of: “Well, this is just who I am. This is what I prefer. I like myself this way. And, etc.”

An easy ways to gently rattle this cage to see just how sensitive you are to being outside of our energetic comfort zone (habit) is to change your driving habit. For a whole week slow down ten miles an hour or, depending on our personality type, speed up. If we’re not sure, experiment with both. It will be obvious within a day or so. Do it all day, every day and just observe yourself. Watch how you will attempt to create other situations and venues in your life to bring your energetic sense of self back into the comfort zone. Observe how irritable, antsy, and uncomfortable you can be over something so simple.

(See Chapter 20 – The Pearl Beyond Price by A.H. Almaas for more insight into this)

So there you go, a way to explore personality to see just how little it really wants to know about itself, but how it always has grand designs on how to improve itself – like that is really possible when it is so blind to reality.

An important point to keep in mind when poking around into this personality and ego is to be gentle with yourself. Be kind, but steadfast – appreciate the fact that this bounded entity has been working its little heart out as best it can for survival and well-being. Treat it like the sensitive three-year old it is.

The superego, the inner critic, the internal judge is another story all together. Learn how to kick its ass out of your experience. Otherwise, life will always remain a prison and we will always be confined to a type.

personality types enneagramWhy resist
The unraveling
Of the great ruin
Your life
Has made of you
God has sent His
Wrecking-crew of angels
To renovate
The dog house you call home
Into an exquisite palace
Crystal fountains
Jeweled domes
Diamond spires
And walls of Divine Transparency

Why resist?
This Architect’s Plan
Always includes
The razing of
Existing structures
                                           jh

Head, Heart and the Process of Understanding 

inquiry heart head psychologyThe prompting to pen this came from a recent question posted on Facebook:

Does the Diamond Approach’s focus on psychology and the issues of the personality feel overly-emphasized?

This led to thoughts along tangential threads of discussion – Is the Diamond Approach too head oriented? Does the Diamond Approach (DA) lack heart? And similar questions I have heard voiced over the 26 years I have been a student of the DA.

I think these these two threads and others like them arise, in part, as a result of of the DA’s use of open-ended inquiry and psychodynamic exploration in service of liberating the soul from its identification with history and ego structure.

To begin, let me say clearly that these are my thoughts at present. They will most likely evolve over time, perhaps before the last line is written on this page.

It is important to notice that part of the process of realization of Pure Being is the metabolism of some object relations. This means psychodynamic and structural work can lead to this dimension of experience. This is usually completely ignored by spiritual teachings, which makes the realization of this dimension difficult and extremely rare. We see here that a large part of the barrier against this dimension of Being is the existence of nonmetabolized past object relations. Most spiritual teachings focus on the existential and epistemological barriers, which are only some of the relevant issues. In the Diamond Approach, we see that consideration of the psychodynamic and structural issues is very helpful in realizing these deep aspects of Being, and integrating them in a deep personal way. The Pearl Beyond Price – A. H. Almaas

cGurdjieff referred to man as a 3-center being – head, heart and body. This concept serves us in the DA in helping to discriminate and open up experience of the self.

Gurdjieff spoke of humans as “three-brained” beings, possessing three separate “centers” — the physicalemotional, and intellectual centers. In most people, who are seen as still “asleep,” these three centers work at odds with each other, out of harmony, interfering with the individual’s possibilities for higher development.

Humans, and particularly those of us raised in the Western world, seem to have more dominant head centers – most likely as a result of living more and more in a conceptual world view with more and more information flooding us and an idealized sense of being an individual with control and choice.

It is little wonder then that many, at first, view inquiry as a head-centered activity and process. Isn’t it? The short answer vis-a-vis the Diamond Approach is no. Inquiry is a 3-center process and later, as we mature in our understanding and capacities, it is a 4-center process and eventually can be a no-center process.

When you are inquiring, it is important to keep sensing your body—to stay in direct touch with its movements and sensations. This includes the numbness, the dullness, or the tensions you may feel. To ground your awareness in your bodily experience is important because your essential qualities are going to arise in the same place where you experience your feelings, emotions, and reactions. They are not going to appear above your head, they are going to arise within you. So your body is actually your entry into the mystery.  Spacecruiser Inquiry – A. H. Almaas

Most people come to the DA or any spiritual path for one of two reasons:

  1. The vast majority are dissatisfied or suffering in their current circumstances and seeking something more expansive.
  2. Some are simply drawn by some unknown force or have had some kind of primary awakening that radically shifts their world view.

What one discovers, sooner or later, is that the dynamism underlying both of these is love. One quality or function of love is it calls us to know ourselves and reality as deeply and intimately as possible. In fact, it calls us beyond knowing and being to the soul’s deepest longing – absolute absence, but that is another story.

For many, at first, it is difficult to see, much less, experience this functioning of love, though most are quick to acknowledge this conceptually or intellectually. To actually experience it immediately and completely is beyond challenging for the normal self – it is impossible as it dissolves that self. That self’s desire to be central to the “enlightened life” is problematic.

Inquiry serves the heart and soul by opening up our experience and consciousness in a manner that is unique to our personal structuring, attuned to our process and at a rate that is optimal for our developing capacities.

So, inquiry and psychodynamic work help to open the doors, create space, and let the light in for more heart to emerge in our experience.

Where many, if not most of us face challenge is our deep addiction/need/reliance on conceptualizing experience for understanding. It’s what the mind does, but the identification with the mind and this process is the great challenge for spiritual seekers – knowing knowing beyond concepts. Knowing knowing as experiential being and awareness. The mind really doesn’t get this. It’s concepts of this are simply insignificant until it is transformed by experience – and the transformation is not fundamentally dependent upon 1 or 100 or 1000 spiritual/essential experiences. 

Let’s look at how inquiry helps to open and nurture the heart on the journey of ascent.

In this journey of ascent, the process has been primarily that of discrimination, separation, purification and resolution. Her (the soul) nature reveals itself as more simpler, more subtle, and increasingly devoid of forms, qualities, determinations, and concepts.  Inner Journey Home – A. H. Almaas

psychodynamics ego structureWe begin the journey of ascent within the world of ego and personality. Some fundamental elements of ego structure are:

  • Object Relations & Self-Image
  • Identifications & Fixations
  • Ego Ideal & Superego
  • Reactivity & Defense Mechanisms

Each of these elements limit our understanding of love and the capacity of our heart.. Understanding these ego elements assists us in developing our skill for inquiry, but can also support the tendency to intellectualize inquiry – a two-edged sword.

As we work with the soul, two significant issues involving heart arise – innocence and vulnerability. For most of us, the exploration of these brings up a great deal of inquiry involving all the aspects of ego structure. In fact, a goodly portion of our journey, growth and understanding always engages these elements as ego beliefs, conditioning and resistance are challenged as we take each step and break new ground.

The exploration of innocence and vulnerability certainly holds the potential for more heart.

Two essential qualities that we work with early on in the DA have obvious connection to the heart center – green (compassion) and yellow (joy). The exploration of the red essence involves the heart as well around courage, passion and expansion.

Two of the “mother aspects” we explore on the journey of ascent are pink love and merging love – both are loaded with psychodynamic content for deep inquiry.

The work on the Pearl involes work on our capacity for contact, certainly an area calling forth a lot of heart work.

Working with the Stupa and the Water Chandelier, Diamond Vehicles, takes us deeper into the treasure of the heart.

Then there are the boundless dimensions and what do we usually engage first? Divine Love. The dimension of the Absolute brings us to the apex of the journey of ascent to the most subtle experiences of heart and love and the deepest longing of the soul.

In all of these inquiries heart is a central thread and open-ended inquiry is a primary component in our process of understanding.

journey of ascentThe process of inner work has two threads: seeing the negative causes of suffering, and seeing the positive causes of suffering. The negative causes of suffering involve the negative experiences, often from childhood, that created suffering. What I call the positive cause of suffering is the actual blockage of our potential, our essence. The positive cause is the alienation from true reality. After a while the process of understanding involves these two threads working together. You understand personality, and you understand essence. You understand your history and you understand your nature. You understand your mind and you understand your beingness. These two threads are inherently intertwined in our work in the Diamond Approach.   Diamond Heart V: Inexhaustible Mystery – A. H. Almaas

In the journey of ascent, there are two to three dozen distinct explorations – some of which extend over many months of group exploration. Here I have mentioned a dozen that I see have a very direct connection to expanding our awareness, understanding and capacity of heart.

In reflecting on inquiry: the black lataifa, Brilliancy, Diamond Guidance, the Diamond Dome, the Supreme, The Nameless and the Logos – all have specific work that challenges and frees inquiry from being trapped in the head.

The function and service of inquiry is to take us deeper into the immediacy of our experience. Perhaps part of the answer to the question first raised is that we have reified inquiry, repeating questions and monologues. Perhaps we have settled into some kind of object relation with inquiry that needs to be inquired into!

For me, I think the question of whether or not the Diamond Approach is too focused on the psychological or psychodynamics or not enough heart has more to do with how much distance there is between me and the immediacy of my experience. Maybe it’s different for others.

The Abandoned Meditator

Does Meditation Need Me?

 Is your day ever like this?

I wake up. Lie in bed a bit. Sense, Look and Listen.
I get out of bed, go to the bathroom, brush teeth, put some water on hair and comb, splash some water on face…
Now it’s time to meditate. I go to the meditation chair and get situated. I do an Om salutation and I meditate.
My meditation practice ends. I rise from the chair, leave the bedroom and…

I had many of those days until I looked more deeply into the process and considered a different perspective. Here is the rub with that whole scenario – ‘I.’

Do you see it? ‘I’ wake up. ‘I’ get out of bed. ‘I’… I’m even meditating!

My whole day begins with ‘I’ and chances are it’s going to tend to stay in that groove.

Consider this: everything is already enlightened. This would include us. Perhaps we are not aware of this and this is part of why we meditate – to ‘do’ our part toward waking up.

meditator meditation sittingWhat is meditation?

From a dictionary: Meditation – the action or practice of meditating.

Note: there is no ‘I’ in that definition. Can action and practice happen without an ‘I?’ Every nondual teacher says so. Let’s take them at their word. Our ‘I’ automatically inserts itself into any action or practice. I believe I’m needed!

These days I think of meditation and meditating as something that is always happening, like enlightenment. In fact, I think enlightenment is meditating me. Every moment of my day, I’m in meditation – whether I’m aware of it or not. I’m being meditated from the inside out, the outside in and every other way possible.

Waking up, brushing teeth, sitting to sit – it’s all meditation happening.

The perspective of everything is already enlightened and meditation happening at all times helps to end the divisiveness that ‘I’ provides. With this, I can simply sit, or walk, or brush my teeth and let meditation do what it does. Meditation is more relaxed, more open to influence, more curious about mysteriousness.

It’s true – I still wake up, do those things and wind up in that chair, but each movement has less ownership by ’I’ and more inclusion.

 

 

 

 

 

ass meditator meditation

My Ass

 I used to have
The most obnoxious
Worrisome, and stubborn
Ass
It was a bother and burden
I would wish on no one
So, I could not
In all good conscious
Rid my self of it
Then, a Friend
Told me of a method
To break my ass
Of all its contrariness
So, I bought a chair
And every day
I made my ass
Sit in that chair
Oh! what fights and struggles we had
That lazy ass so resistant to ever
Going anywhere or doing any real work
Now, could not and would not
Sit still
But, my Friend
Had warned me of this stage
So, I persisted
In putting my ass in that chair
Ignoring all of its
Childish braying and petulance
Slowly over time
That chair
Responded to the weight
Of my ass
Molding itself
Into the only place
My ass was ever
Really relaxed and comfortable
Now
I could not get my ass
Out of that chair
It refused to be
Anywhere else
So, I left my ass
In that chair
While I went about
My daily affairs
Until one day
My ass
Disappeared
And
Took me with it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ass stuck in meditation

Continual Practice

 Going Nowhere Meditation

meditation chairOne gift of continual practice is that stopping and starting, beginning and ending our practice is no longer relevant.

All practice involves awareness and presence.  As we know, these aspects of True Nature are fundamental to experience. Attending to and cultivating awareness and presence is practice. What difference does it make if we attend and cultivate when we sit or move, in silence or in chaos, at morning or at night?

I used to think I needed to quiet my mind to meditate and practice – ha! Presence and awareness are just as much a part of both. When I meditate in this chair with the window open, what difference is it to me if a truck goes by, or people walk by talking, or birds sing or it is the middle of the night and dead calm? Practice is being with awareness and presence.

And, it’s not like there is only 10% presence in cacophony. There is 100% presence in any situation or circumstances. Practice is not to go from 10% presence to 100% presence because there is nowhere to go, it’s all 100%, but I may not experience pure presence as I am there to some degree. What I can do is bring 100% of me to whatever degree of presence I am experiencing and forget about changing anything.

If our mind is chattering, why not tend to the presence in that experience? If our mind wanders, instead of leaving that experience and starting over, why not simply tend to the presence in the wandering?

So as we learn to value not arriving, we arrive, for true arriving is a matter of not leaving, not departing. Usually, we are always leaving ourselves, always departing; and we think we are going someplace. When we try to go someplace, all we end up doing is separating from our true nature. We are always trying to find our true nature by going away from it. So inquiry takes us to the point where we simply recognize how we are leaving—and the ideas and beliefs that make us feel that we should leave. When it truly reveals its fundamental ground, inquiry teaches us not to go anywhere—because there is nowhere to go. – A. H. Almaas, Spacecruiser Inquiry

meditation practice

Think of continual practice as a river. As we move through our day, the river flows. When we sit, we are like a pool in the river. The water is presence, the state of dynamism doesn’t decrease water being 100% water.

On this planet, water flows according to topography and gravity. Water doesn’t care about obstacles, why should we? If we encounter an obstacle, why not be like water behind a damn – let our awareness of presence build in the immediacy of being with the obstacle. Eventually, we may discover the obstacle is merely presence, or the obstacle will no longer be able to hold back the presence or we will simply reach a point where we overflow the obstacle.

Why concern ourselves with outcomes when we can simply be with presence and allow nature to take its course?

Tantra of Everyday Life

Beyond Sex Tantra and  Tantra & Yoga in Everyday Life

I’ve been working with the Ridhwan School to help promote their upcoming 5-day retreat on Tantra of Everyday Life. My initial efforts focused on distributing the flyer and getting it posted on Facebook and a PR release.

The next step was working with others to help create this video interview by Tami Simon (Sounds True) with A. H. Almaas and Karen Johnson.

 Then I turned to getting the retreat listed on online event calendars and reaching out to blogsites with comments and emails to bloggers. While doing this I found this great article from 1995 by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati - Tantra and Yoga in Everyday From the article:

In yoga we gradually open all the doors of our personality. Therefore, jnana, understanding and awareness, is the first principle, and sadhana, systematic practice, is the second principle or practical aspect of tantra. But we are not confined to a meditative process in which we sit and internalize and begin to observe the body, mind, emotions, nature etc. Tantra is also living meditation – it affects how we live moment to moment. The instincts that manifest within and control our actions and behaviour, instincts of love, desire, security, fear and sexual satisfaction, are all to be observed and known.

There are many misconceptions about tantra. Tantra is generally seen as indulgence, as a way of life which allows total freedom. But the practical yogic components with which we work in tantra in relation to our daily life are awareness and meditation. Tantra and yoga are complementary. In tantra you will find a very broad system which allows you to understand and accept your life as it is without imposing change. Rather you allow transformation to gradually happen as you become intensely aware of your experiences and expressions.

beyond sex tantraI also came across Beyond Sex Tantra by Tanja Diamond. 

My definition of the concept of Tantra is: “Tantra is the ultimate love affair with yourself and all of your existence. In the process of igniting your internal flame, you come to experience all ordinary moments as extraordinary experiences. Immersed in that experience, you realize that you are the divine, there is nothing else to need or want, but that moment.”

Only 3 percent of Tantra is even related to sex. Yes, you say, but sex is the part you want to learn about.

Well here’s the thing. You can not have a truly spiritual sexual relationship with another until you have a truly spiritual life with yourself and others with your clothes on.

Then I created another video and posted it on FB and the web.

 I suppose, like many, I associate the word tantra first and mostly with sex, Kama Sutra and such. I guess this is the the result of good advertising by sexual tantrikas over the years and the erotic and exotic attraction of far-east mysteries.

A. H. Almaas and Karen Johnson authored The Power of Divine Eros last year. I’m assuming that Tantra of Everyday Life will delve deeper into the subject matter of that book and take Quasar2014 attendees somewhere revelatory within themselves while keeping their clothes on.

 

Can LovehandlesHelp Parkinson’s Patients?

My friend, Florentin, is trying to raise over $40K for stem cell treatments for Parkinson’s. There’s a process for collecting stem cells from your lovehandles and using them for treatment that offers some hope. I don’t know what all Michael J. Fox has done or helped to prove or disprove, but we sre need more $$$ for this research.

 

If you have a few $$$ to spare, this is a great opportunity for a random act of kindness.

 

Mindfulness of an Empty Mind on Auto-Run

meditation awareness mindfullnessThis one is for Janice and Kathy.

I remember when external noises were a nuisance and distraction during meditation. Like many(?) or most(?), I used to think I was supposed to block out noise. What a hoot! Nothing leads to deepening meditation like effort and contraction. At some point, I realized that I can’t stop my ears and brain from doing what they do – registering sound and other convenient processes.

All (most?) of us have had experiences where we were so engrossed in something that all other activity seemed to cease. So the exercise seems to be one of increasing our absorption into ??? eventually awareness of awareness?

It’s interesting how curiosity does not have to involve thinking. We don’t have to engage the content of the mind with our minds(?). I noticed that for many years my meditation seemed to be linked to my eyeballs – always looking for something inside because I seemed to be located right behind those eyeballs in my head. What a relief to discover that those eyeballs, head and body do not contain, nor confine, me.

Imagine my pleasant surprise, one day, to discover that my mind could keep on thinking and planning without me having to be present and overseeing the process. This increased my curiosity about what was meditating – and that seems to be key – a real interest in meditation. Of course, this interest is not so much about understanding meditation with the mind, nor observing the process to improve it. The interest is deeper, subtler – more like our soul has an interest or the meditation has an interest.

All(?) spiritual teachings say that God, the Divine, Allah, True Nature, WHATEVER you name IT -  is right HERE , right NOW. Most, also assert, that the Divine is always in a process of revealing itself to us. That being the case why would I need eyes to go looking for it. Why should I need to work so hard. Perhaps I should relax, you know – rest and abide in attentive awareness with no thought of getting anywhere or finding anything – just hang loose in a relaxed way as traffic goes by and dogs bark.

It’s more pleasant now that meditation is not goal oriented. I meditate not for the pleasure of it or for gain, but for… hmm, my mind has no rational reason it can offer. The impulse seems to be coming from elsewhere – perhaps that other end of the candle where the Divine is burning through my veils.

Awareness of mindfulness – a mind with or without content.

The beauty of meditation is that all of life, even our thinking mind, can keep on keeping on while we tend to something much more significant.

 

 

The Paradox of Paradise

The Dance Between Heart, Mind, Reality and the World

paradise paradox loveWe’re in love and life is grand, majestic, full of light and… we often worry about the loss of love.

We’re in love, getting to know each other and STUFF comes up – and joy and pain are dancing in an intimate embrace.

We’re working through some deep wound from the past. It’s challenging, agonizing and yet, we continue – often with joy

Bliss & Joy are NOT Dependent Upon Circumstances

The heart dances to a different drum than our normal mind and conditioning imagine. In the world of separate entities, love is often dependent and tied to the past – unconscious needs and demands muddying the waters of current experience. Love becomes a shadow of its true nature patterned with blemishes, dark spots and holes.

Love cannot be learned or taught; love comes as grace. ~Rumi

When we begin the work, the return to the true nature of the heart – the heart rejoices in every step regardless of pain and suffering. The heart loves to be free, to be naked to its nature – transparent to reality.

Don’t worry about mending

A broken heart

Or wearing it

On a shirt sleeve

That heart

Is only on loan

When the Owner

Wants it back

He’s going to

Reclaim it

Regardless

Of the shape

It’s in

Moving Deeper into Intimacy and the Sacred

My friends, Dixon and Valorie, partners in life and at Integral Partnerships, are concentrating some of their attention and efforts on working with couples interested in deepening the connection to the sacred in relationship.

Moving deeper into the realm of intimacy and divine eros via relatinship has been a conscious desire in me for many years now. Liberating Joy in Relationship is the first workshop Dixon and Valorie will be offering for couples seeking to deepen the sacred in their relationship. Part of the workshop will focus on how the inner critic can cause havoc in relationships and disconnect us from our natural state of joy and eros.

The other day, I was talking with Dixon and Valorie about one of my favorite sayings – “50% of something is nothing.” This speaks directly to how both parties can lose in compromise. In a very real way, most compromises result in each party losing something, especially at an emotional level. What I have found is that open-ended inquiry by both parties can open up each side of the dialectic in a way that an unforeseen option can arise where neither party is compromising and yet the situation is resolved in a very real way.

Many times, if not most of the times, our positions that we compromise are laden with baggage from the past and arrested development we would just as soon keep unconscious.

Take a look at some of the articles being posted on Integral Partnerships and if you have a Facebook profile, give Journey or Two a like.

The Value of Suffering

Suffering Serves the Soul’s Journey

Between flights the other day in Detroit, I picked up the latest issue of Rolling Stone with Louis CK on the cover and read this gem:

The worst thing happening to this generation is that they’re taking discomfort away from themselves… Louis Ck

Meher BabaIt reminded me of some ending comments and observations in this video about sociopaths – that our culture, more and more, supports moving away from emotional conflict through drugs. Feeling anxious, feeling depressed, feeling forlorn – take a pill. I’m not knocking the pills or that some people certainly need the support, but the point in the film and what I hear Louis CK noting is that average people are being seduced by big pharma that any emotional suffering is a good reason to pop a pill. Their message is quite a bit different from Meher Baba‘s – Don’t Worry, Be Happy.

 

 What do those that look beyond the suffering or those that understand the deeper nature of suffering say?

Until you’ve found pain, you won’t reach the cure
Until you’ve given up life, you won’t unite with
   the supreme soul
Until you’ve found fire inside yourself, like the Friend,
You won’t reach the spring of life, like Khezr (the green man) – Rumi

So to really deal with the issue of suffering, we need to understand reality. We need to go all the way through the process of realization. The process of realization, of understanding the truth, is a process of understanding and relieving oneself from suffering. There is no shortcut; there is only one way. What’s causing suffering cannot be surmounted, cannot simply be dropped, cannot be ignored, cannot even be erased by some essential awakening or realization. Suffering is a fundamental factor in our lives that has to be dealt with. We need a lot of study and understanding; we need to go through all the dimensions before we can exit the realm of suffering. Many of us hope we can exit right away, hope we can transcend our problems through spiritual experience. But unless we actually penetrate our beliefs and identifications, our life will always involve suffering. - A. H. Almaas

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