Wednesday, May 30, 2012

“If I develop bad feelings toward those who make me suffer, this will only destroy my own peace of mind. But if I forgive, my mind becomes calm...I now have full conviction that destructive emotions like hatred is no use”.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama: The Wisdom of Forgiveness (2004).

Willing to Look

Our conversations this week concerned themselves with the practice of forgiveness; we discussed why releasing hostility toward someone whose behaviour we find frustrating is both helpful and necessary.

We all know someone from our past that we hold grievances against and find difficult to see as whole and innocent. As students of A Course in Miracles we have found that a crucial part of our practice is to be steadfast in using the felt sense to notice uncomfortable sensations arising as a result of our fears.

The person that irritates us is really only a projection of our own mind. Connecting deeply to our discomfort only shows us where we still have some healing to do. This is why the person is our greatest teacher and healer. They set us free from the deep hurts that we cling to by bringing our awareness to them.

It is not only a regular practice, but a discipline too. Projecting anger and resentment can really feed our need to feel self-righteous and superior. It takes commitment and the support of others to turn the ship around and choose love instead of fear. We are mistaken when we believe these thoughts keep us safe in some way.

When we forgive ourselves for believing in a seeming reality that is not true we reap the benefits of a calm mind and heart. We detach from our irritations by refusing to buy into them. We take Pema Chodron’s advice and “don’t bite the hook”.

Over time we begin to notice a deep peace transforming our consciousness and a tendency to laugh with compassion at our attempts to judge ourselves and others. It gets easier to spot our ego (the false self) at work and we are quicker to step in with forgiveness. Where doors to our spirit were once shut tight, another place of open-ness and healing reveals itself.

When our minds become calmer in the face of a former hatred, we can sink even deeper into the heart where the work of true alchemy takes place. From here the person who showed us the places we were hurting becomes “a saviour, come to set us free”. Who else could show us the depths of our seeming hurt so it can be brought to the light of transformation? Be glad and send them blessings.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Only I Will Remain

“Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past me, I will turn to see fear’s path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.”

Frank Herbert (Dune).

We know from our study of A Course in Miracles that our only choice is between love and fear. In truth fear does
not exist, being an illusion of our ego-mind. When we rest wholly in our true nature we can experience a fraction of the immense love that we are.

Tragically, when we feel threatened, like a fly caught in a spider’s web we struggle and panic; from here the web tightens even more. Terror is the real enemy.

Our fight, flight and freeze response is so strongly hard-wired that the flood of chemicals it releases can send us into frenzy. Once the storm is past, if we can allow it, a natural equilibrium takes place which calms and restores peace to our being. If this is interrupted we remain stuck and cannot move past the obstacle that is now lodged in our body-mind, even though the event is long past.

As Frank Herbert notes, when we turn to face our fear and feel it pass through us, it is really nothing at all. The problem emerges when it remains as a ‘brain glitch’ and we store its energy in our bodies so it can be released at a later date.

As long as we inhabit bodies there is always a tendency to feel fear and terror that can mobilize our primitive responses. Transcending this fear helps us develop mastery and makes us wiser and more fully human. The trick is not to be fooled by our capacity to reflect and rationalize by turning the response into a full-fledged story. Our stories do not serve healing; they only embed the fear and unhealed trauma deeper into our minds and bodies. From here, the spider has us, hook, line and sinker. This is how fear becomes suffering.

If we can take our stories of unhealed hurt and hold them with awareness, they too can be resolved and unwound. It may take the guidance and support of a trusted friend or trained therapist who can hold our fragile psyche while we heal. After this, we may remember the event, but the ‘charge’ will be gone. We may never like spiders but don’t get lost in terror when we see one. We don’t keep spinning an outworn tale of how we almost died because we thought we saw one, Once Upon a Time.

Instead we choose love. We know that fear is only a story and that there is much more to us than this limited mortal frame that we inhabit. The beasties that used to terrorize us are no longer all-powerful. Our world expands from its contracted fear state and we unwind to a fuller expression of ourselves.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Ocean Within

 “Listen more deeply, unwind inhibitive patterns and activate your inner knowing and vital energy.”


At Light Tree we are continuing with our practice of cultivating body wisdom through the ‘felt sense’. As we carry on with our journey of the heart, we are learning more about being present and listening to the inner dialogue that constantly flows from source, whether we are aware of it or not.

As we ponder the nature of healing, we are struck by this explanation of how blocks to being fully alive come to reside within our bodies. We know that physical ailments mirror mental or emotional hurts, but Michelle seems to get to the heart of the matter with this description…

Inward-outward (

“If you are triggered by one of your brain glitches (repressed self- judgments) …you automatically react by controlling what you feel is too uncomfortable to receive…You banish it from your consciousness and attempt to hide it by storing it deeply inside the tissues of your body as an energy block.”

The bodies attempt to unwind appears to take place in many ways. For example, sometimes the ‘brain glitch’ appears as a persistent or repetitive pain. We are exploring what happens when we sit with discomfort and do not judge or try and ‘do’ anything about it. Instead of trying to fix it, we can sit and just notice with our felt sense and wait patiently for it to reveal its message. Once it does, the pain or discomfort shifts and often disappears altogether. It is our resistance that makes it persist.

Sometimes it is helpful to consult a professional who is skilled in acupuncture, massage therapy, cranio-sacral therapy or other gentle methods of releasing trapped tension and stress. Suppressing or drowning out the body’s wisdom does not make it go away. It simply waits patiently or reappears in another form until we are ready to listen.

At the end of the day, our body is simply a communication device. It is a wholly neutral thing which conveys our innermost thoughts, beliefs and emotional states. It reflects the vast ocean of being that is our true nature and is communicating this awareness continually. All we need to do is be still and listen.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Finally, a way in.

…the heart is not the seat of one’s personal emotional life, but an organ of spiritual perception…Its purpose is to navigate along the vertical axis and stay in alignment with “the Image of one’s true nature.” Itself a resonant field, it functions like a homing beacon between the realms; and when it is strong and clear, it creates a synchronous resonance between them.

Cynthia Bourgealt: from Chapter 4. The Gospel of Mary Magdalene.
The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the heart of Christianity (2010).

At Light Tree it is becoming clearer that our collective purpose in taking human form is to learn how to attune to life through our heart. We are deepening our understanding of how this takes place, and dedicating our daily experiences to ‘feeling fully’ into our true nature which is aligned with the heart.

We are developing greater confidence in our ability to trust our inner guidance to bring us into the harmonious flow of life. We are constantly astonished and delighted how easily we are brought to peace when we surrender our attachment to ‘how things should be’ and experience with open-ness and non-judgement instead.

Christine has been reviewing some of her paintings to illustrate what happens when we have the courage to sit with the fear that inevitably arises as we expand and make being heart-centred a daily practice. If we allow ourselves to journey inward, deep-seated fears will reveal themselves. From here we can sit patiently until we are guided to move forward. The support of our friends, family and Mighty Companions can be very beneficial at this stage.

Our lives give us constant opportunity to practice noticing what being open feels like, then being shut down by fear. We can open again, notice what’s happening, then feel it with fear instead. This process is called titration. Eventually we start to choose openness and trust more often because it feels better and leads to greater happiness. By paying close attention, it becomes clear that our generalized apprehension does not serve us. We are waking up instead of moving zombie-like and mindlessly through life.

This illustration shows what happens when we stay open to what is happening around us.

After painting mostly ‘sweetness and light ’for almost a year I allowed a little black paint onto my palette. Up to that point I had not included black or dark red among my chosen colours. It made its way into the painting in the form of a black spider which had appeared in a dream and at the time, represented fear.’

Christine painted this picture during a different phase of her life, and was surprised and pleased to review it and see how her feelings about the spider had changed. This time she saw that it appeared as an opening to her heart instead of a symbol of fear. Her awareness was no longer limited and compressed by the same sensation of being closed. By taking a risk and engaging with her mistrust and discomfort she found her way back to ‘sweetness and light’ after all.