Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Don't believe everything you think!

“The mind has an experience, and we translate it into an image. There is a deeper sense of something that’s happening, but the mind can only experience it in terms of thoughts and images”.

Gabor Maté  (When the body says No, 2004)

Melanie 2012

As a person living with chronic illness I have noticed that it is tempting to let the mind follow the body’s symptoms and make up stories about what is happening, or what may happen in the future. It likes to be dramatic at times and I am reminded of the bumper sticker that says, “You don’t have to believe everything you think”.

If we can just sit and witness our minds frantic attempts to make sense of its perceptions, it’s easier to touch into the deeper knowing that lies beneath the discomfort. It’s tempting to get hooked by the drama of the story, but most of the time it is only thoughts and images trying to get our attention to a deeper layer of meaning.

If we are able to remember that we are spiritual beings having a human experience it’s easier to come back to center and get back in touch with our true nature. Perhaps we can hang out with the panicking part and hold it in our mind with love, just as if we are comforting a small child. Sometimes we need to call on someone else to assist us because we feel too overwhelmed to cope.

When I am consumed by fear and dread it’s a sure sign I think I am cut off from my source. I cannot hear, see or feel clearly. The doorway to my inner guidance seems closed and I feel alone and scared.

This is when I am grateful to my regular meditation practice. It makes it much easier to come back to center and not run around outside of myself looking for answers. When I do this, my worst fears are more easily confirmed because I invite others to join my fear experience in order to confirm it and make it appear even more real.

Instead, I can sit with my own dear Self and be curious about what wants to happen. I use my felt sense to dive a bit deeper down and ask Spirit to guide me, teach me, show me.

In this way infinite possibilities are available to me and I am more likely to see the situation differently. I don’t paper it over by having a ‘positive attitude’ but look honestly and with trust that I will be shown what I need to know. I don’t have to rush off and fix anything because it will reveal itself when I am ready. I am deepening my awareness that I there is much more to me than just a body.

Perhaps it has been trying to remind me about this all along….

Saturday, January 19, 2013


"The traditional image for equanimity is a banquet to which everyone is invited. That means that everyone and everything, without exception, is on the guest list. Consider your worst enemy. Consider someone who would do you harm. Imagine inviting them to this feast.

Training in equanimity is learning to open the door to all, welcoming all beings, inviting life to come visit. Of course, as certain guests arrive, we’ll feel fear and aversion. We allow ourselves to open the door just a crack if that’s all that we can presently do, and we allow ourselves to shut the door when necessary. 

Cultivating equanimity is a work in progress. We aspire to spend our lives training in the loving-kindness and courage that it takes to receive whatever appears—sickness, health, poverty, wealth, sorrow, and joy. We welcome and get to know them all."

Pema Chodron (The Places That Scare You)

Welcome to 2013! As we suspected, the world did not disappear along with the end of the Mayan Calendar. However, at Light Tree it does seem as though a new era has arrived. As we have been collectively clearing away some of the heaviness there seems to be a new clarity emerging. We want more transparency, accountability, truthfulness. We don’t want to participate in the BS anymore because it just keeps the story spinning even longer.

One of our practices has been the acceptance, blessing and transformation of things we have have held in judgment. Pema Chodron might call this dwelling in equanimity. We simply take what appears on the screen of our awareness and view it with benign curiosity. We witness. We 'feel into it' to find out what might still linger there for us, waiting to be healed.

It has been helpful to join regularly to share how we are doing with this process. It can seem difficult sometimes, especially when we feel stuck or triggered by something that seems unjust. Perceiving others as left out of society, physically violated, or impoverished can be viewed as our inner self crying out for some kind of recognition. For us, joining and asking Spirit to show us another way to see the situation is essential. We want to see with new eyes…

We don’t have to do it all at once. We can go at our own pace. Sometimes the images seem terrifying and overwhelming. Instead of turning away, we can practice hanging out with them a while. After a while, the boogie man isn’t nearly as powerful or scary; we notice how he is simply a reflection of our inner world waiting to be transformed.