Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Leaning in

“Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we're holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we'd rather collapse and back away. They're like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we're stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it's with us wherever we are.”

Pema Chodron


Our explorations using the felt sense as a guide to self-awareness have shown us the value of ‘hanging in’ when we are in physical and emotional discomfort. As Pema Chodron advises, we are learning to “perk up and lean in” rather than run, hide, or create a new story.

Sometimes we are not all that successful, and we uncover our disappointment just under the surface. We are frustrated that we missed it again, were seduced by a familiar story; got lost in its allure. We don’t like this person, or are disappointed that we sold out in that situation. We missed a chance to stay true to ourselves…AGAIN!

When we find ourselves expressing this kind of disappointment, it’s helpful to remember that all we have to do is hang out and observe what is happening. We stay present with it. We may not like it but we don’t let ourselves be hooked for another ride on the merry-go-round. We are patient and resist the urge to repeat the usual response. 

We can notice how we have felt compelled to deal with it. We don’t try and dress it up and fix it somehow. Sometimes the feelings that arise are very powerful and uncomfortable. If we just sit tight they unravel right before our eyes. No magic, no fuss, just patience.

If we can make this kind of response our default strategy we can find our peace much more quickly. Hanging out with discomfort isn’t always fun, but eventually it gets tired of the game and moves on. From here we can hang out in a place of relief and insight. We see the drama more clearly when we are not hooked into it.

Sometimes it takes a few days and we may need a trusted friend to help us make sure we are not just wallowing aimlessly in the feeling. Rather, we are sitting patiently, neutrally, trusting it will unfold. Certainly this is an opportunity to forgive ourselves for getting lost once again. We can choose peace instead of this.

We can stay alert and ‘lean in’ by being curious. We resist the urge to develop strategies to ‘deal with it’ into the mix. Insights and strategies will unfold all by themselves, effortlessly and clearly. We just have to get out of our own way.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Diamond in Your Pocket

“However your daily life presents itself, whether it is a life devoted to monastic duties or a life in the midst of the world, every moment is an opportunity to realize who you are. True investigation reveals that whatever prior limitations you feel keep you from who you are, however grand or lowly, they are nothing but concepts, concepts that when not maintained by mind activity cannot cause suffering. These concepts can be liberated so that you, as you are, can shine fully. This is the invitation extended to you”.

Gangaji  www.gangaji.org

At The Light Tree we are continually learning and practicing how to be more present with the essence of our True Selves. Our journey together has brought us to the teachings of various practitioners. Apart from our weekly meditation group with Jewel, we continue to meet regularly. Christine and Marcy recently journeyed to New Mexico to join Nouk Sanchez and Stacy Sully in retreat. Now it is Annie’s turn to go away for a few weeks. Before leaving, she wanted to share this passage from Gangaji, one of our favourites.

In this passage from The Diamond in Your Pocket, Gangaji writes about the distrust we have of love…..

"But love is not a person. Love is the individual, collective, and universal soul. Love is God. Love is truth, Love is beauty. Love is peace. Love is self. To know your self, to surrender to the truth of yourself, is to surrender to love. …..

What is the worst that could happen if you surrender to love? What we seem to fear the most is the broken heart. Yet the very unwillingness for the heart to be broken is the broken heart. The tragedy and the irony is that in order to avoid a broken heart, people live in a state of broken-heartedness. In the willingness to have the heart be broken a million, trillion, zillion times, true love is revealed.

Let the whole world break your heart every instant of the remainder of your life. Then this life can be lived in service to love. It does not mean you stay in abusive relationships. It means only to stay true to that which is always true to you, and that is love. Anything else is a story...

The great good news is that love is free and it has not gone anywhere. In all of these aeons that you have been hiding from love, love is still here, it is still open, it is still waiting for your commitment, still waiting for you to say, "Yes, I give my life to the truth of love. I vow to let love live this life as it will, for better or worse, for richer or poorer."

 With love, Annie

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Rainbow Bridge

Many sense the fact that all Souls are part of the one human Soul, but this fact is not yet generally recognized and accepted. This causes certain segments of the human race to feel superior to others and hold unreasonable prejudices. There has been a lot of talk about brotherhood but very little practice of the concept as yet. Ultimately… individuals will know their fundamental brotherhood as Souls and act from knowledge, rather than belief”.

The Rainbow Bridge (1982).

Trying to go in www.opentothelight.com

Our discussions at The Light Tree have revolved around our awareness that the journey of the heart leads us to a deeper awakening of ourselves as aspects of One Whole. We have been using our felt sense to become aware of how fear becomes lodged in our bodies and can distract us from experiencing the deep peace of our true nature.

It is helpful to become aware of these bodily sensations and sit patiently with the message they hold for us. Because the feelings we are engaging are very often uncomfortable to experience, we have been asking ourselves, “What’s wrong with suffering? The reason we do this stems from the realization that we are so terrified of what we might find, or the sensations that arise, that we frantically push the feeling away before we begin.

We can ask ourselves, (or have someone ask us) “What is the wound I am trying to escape experiencing?” We can also be curious about the strategies we use for this escape. If we can recognize these sensations and not yield to the impulse change them, it is possible that they have a clear message for us.

Direct experience has shown us that if we can hold space for the felt sense to show us the message below our discomfort, it dissolves into nothingness. In reality we are simply innocent; guiltless and without need to prove our worthiness to anyone. Accepting this level of inner peace is so delicious that we resist it like crazy. It can’t really be true! Can it?  

At some level we can accept the idea that there is something fundamentally wrong with us and we are in dire need of fixing, but not our own clear, sweet, divine nature. This is the real blasphemy. To reject the truth of who we are is to postpone the healing of our hearts and minds. We stay blind to the One-ness and continue dabbling with smallness and separation.

We can employ kenosis and be willing to let things come and go without grabbing on. We do not cling, or resist. We accept things as they are without judging and trying to rationalize or make sense of them according to our narrow view. When we meet the belief head on we realize we have spent our whole lives trying to avoid suffering. If we can hold the space open (even for a brief moment) without judging what arises we can be supremely confident that everything is ok just the way it is…..