Monday, April 30, 2012

The Moment of Choice

“If we were to make a list of the people we don't like, people we find obnoxious, threatening or worthy of contempt, we would find much about ourselves that we can't face. If we were to come up with one word about each of the troublemakers in our lives, we would find ourselves with a list of descriptions of our own rejected qualities. We project these on the outside world.

The people who repel us unwittingly show us aspects of ourselves that we find unacceptable, which otherwise we can't see. Traditional lojong teachings say it another way: other people trigger the karma we haven't worked out. They mirror us and give us a chance to befriend all of that ancient stuff we carry around like a backpack full of granite boulders”.

Pema Chodron

We can expand on Pema Chodron’s idea about how we project our unhealed hurts onto others by being curious about how we ‘stew’ in our stories. We can ask ourselves if we are wallowing in self-pity or using the experience to heal our need to project our unpleasant thoughts outward.

In this sense, everyone we encounter appears on the screen of our life story to show us where we still need to bring our awareness. Our emotions can assist us by signposting these unhealed aspects of ourselves. They show us the ‘moment of choice’, where we can feel into the unpleasantness and move through it, or carry on spinning our story of victimhood.

Sometimes it is helpful to tell our story so that we can notice where we are hooked or triggered. This is where it is essential to have a trusted friend who sits with compassion as we traverse the inner terrain of our heart. Their role is to keep reminding us to use emotions as a guide to the places we need to bring our awareness.

We can stop, even for a nano-second, and breathe long enough to feel the feeling that arises during our story telling. Amazingly enough,the hurt does not arise and overwhelm us as our ego would have us believe!   

One thing we know for sure: What we resist, persists. If we notice a pattern of discomfort that keeps arising over and over again, perhaps it is a friend after all. What if we just sat with it and waited patiently for it to tell us why it keeps showing up? It is possible that when we feel it fully, it will reveal something we have been resisting and dissolve back into nothingness.

Clearly, healing is a process of undoing: When we keep peeling back the layers of seeming  unworthiness, anger and disappointment we find our True Selves. We simply forgot what is true and lost our way for a while. We don’t need to stay hooked into old hurts because we know there is a way out that is safe and gentle.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Journeys into the Heart

But the soul has discovered the great secret: that she can tap directly into the image of her true nature and can manifest the freedom of oneness in the teeth of the gales of this world.”

Cynthia Bourgeault, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the woman at the Heart of Christianity (2010).

It takes a great deal of courage to journey into the heart to
join with our True Self. Fortunately for us, beyond the rational and analytic mind lays a vast realm of knowing. Intuitive wisdom guides us to activate a new centre of intelligence that leads to Self-knowing and peace (Bourgeault).

Our work together has shown us how scary it can be to face our fear and trust the felt sense to guide us. In order to avoid being triggered by our deeply hidden inner terror it’s essential to make the journey with someone who will ‘stay awake’ during our crossing. From here, if we can stay with the feeling without squirming away from it, we enter a sacred space of alchemy.

A Course In Miracles calls these Mighty Companions; those we can rely on to stay grounded in their True Self enough to help us walk through our perceptions of fear and not join us in denial and projection.  Experience has shown us that Mighty Companions can also take the form of an inner teacher such as Jesus, Buddha, The Dalai Lama or Mary Magdalene.

Safety is important. Even with steady guidance we must only go as far as it feels safe in the moment. If we can stay with uncomfortable feelings and avoid wallowing in self pity and story-making, the rewards are immense. Even a few moments spent sitting with discomfort can be transformational.

As we learn to stay present with fear, it dissolves into nothingness and allows our heart to expand into a deeper experience of love. Guidance from our inner self, witnessed and supported by those we trust, is the gateway to sanity.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I feel, therefore I Am

 "[The heart] represents our capacity to “let go and let God”. With its energy we accept our personal emotional challenges as extensions of a Divine plan, which has its intent our conscious evolution.

By releasing our emotional pain, by letting go of our need to know why things have happened as they have, we reach a state of tranquility. In order to achieve that inner peace…we have to embrace the healing energy of forgiveness and release our lesser need for human, self-determined justice”.

Caroline Myss: Anatomy of the Spirit (1996). 

At The Light Tree we are becoming increasingly curious about the power of the ‘felt sense’ and it ability to help us transform our physical and emotional hurts into awareness of ourselves as Divine beings.

We are learning to use the felt sense to open our hearts and move ‘out of our heads’ and into our bodies. What does this mean to those of us living our daily lives in the ‘real’ world? We have noticed that emotions can reveal places that we habitually avoid because they are filled with fearful, suppressed images. Instead, a paradigm shift in awareness has called us to view them as signposts to the gateway of the heart.

Emotions show us a path to transformation and healing that holds immense potential to behold our true selves. They can help us to transcend the shackles that appear to bind us to self limitation and suffering. We don’t need to search for meaning in our discomfort. Instead, we can journey into the heart of our resistance and find ourselves going through a doorway into an authentic experience of ourselves. We can use the felt sense to recover lost, traumatized pieces and bring them to wholeness.

Previously we might have believed that our emotions are sentimental and ‘gooey’. We now know that they are a powerful guide to places we have avoided looking at for fear of further pain. In fact, a journey into the heart reveals a plethora of ways to experience ourselves more deeply by expanding our awareness beyond the usual five senses. Beyond the rational and analytic mind lies a vast realm of knowing.

We are happy to report that we don’t need to wallow in unpleasant feelings and get lost in our story. What we resist only persists and waits for another opportunity for release. By drawing on inner guidance and the support of trusted friends, teachers or fellow students we can use our felt sense to reveal a direct experience of our True nature.