Inner Reflections

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“Many people try to become wiser and more loving, and they remain in a constant battle with themselves. This approach never works because it assumes a separate ‘you’ who wants to be a better person. It is the you that is the dream, a thought only. In taking yourself to be a separate entity, you blind yourself to the Truth of your being, which is love and wisdom.” Adyashanti

Within the eyes of our own reflexivity we shall see a wider array of our outer reality; revealing what we magnetically attract to ourselves. In greater awareness, when we can become more of a witness, we can perceive the interconnected attraction that we generate every second.

“The law of attraction is this…you don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

After spending most of my life as an easily reactive individual, despite doing my practice on a regular basis. A situation occurred where I decided that I would make a concerted effort to become more of a witness, than a reactor. In time, I realized that as situations began to unfold, it was as though a part of me was watching this occur. Within this awareness, there was a very subtle moment where I could choose how to react. Through this process, I started to notice all the people who were drawn to me or attracted to me; everyone was going through something energetically similar. As aspects of my life changed, again I attracted people going through apparently similar life experiences.

“Usually where we experience lack, there’s something we already have that we’re not appreciating fully.” ~ Marianne Williamson

Even further, through the Holistic Integrated Therapy that I have been practicing for many years now, most of my clients were also drawing versions of themselves, literally to themselves. The work I do is a combination of counselling, intuition and medical intuition. It’s incredibly effective when going through very challenging aspects of life or situations with other people. Through observing the challenges of many of my long term clients, as well as the numerous friends that also come to see me. I noticed one thing that was very interesting. The most challenging individuals that they came across, ALL had the same qualities that these people also embodied.

The problem, is that most of us are not willing to really face our darkest inner selves and see how we are on a deeper level. Of course, within the ability that I am gifted with, I can see very clearly each person’s energetic qualities. Actually, I have had this ability very fine tuned since I was a very small child and have used it throughout my entire life, with absolute accuracy in every situation.

“We are made for goodness, love and compassion. Our lives are transformed as much as the world is when we live with these truths.” ~ Desmond Tutu

I noticed that we struggle with the abject of ourselves when we meet it face to face in another person. We fight back against them, with a dislike that we actually have towards these qualities that are hidden deep within ourselves. From a spiritual perspective, none of the mind stuff is our true identity. However, from a practical perspective, all of it is associated with our ego. The ego loves to hide its darkness away; out of sight out of mind. Therefore, we show a facade of a friendly demeanor and project outwardly how we would like others to perceive us. Ironically, I have always been able to feel the whole energy of a person, seeing what was hidden beneath.

“When you accept everything for what it is without labels,you are outside your ego.”~Eckhart Tolle.

When we are aware of our own darker tendencies, we learn to have compassion and acceptance towards others negative tendencies.  I am not saying that we accept others bad behaviour, yet we can accept the whole of the individual, even if we see that this person can lose their temper at times or is also human like us. If we can find a place of taking self-responsibility for who we are and all of our tendencies, then it’s easier to see the humanity of others. The reflections of the abject are the strongest in partnership, we see the negative qualities and start to point the finger in blame, “you are like this”. When really, we are most likely the same, in some way.

“When a ship is in the sea, it has to weather storms, rough seas and may even encounter whales or sharks, while the ship anchored in the harbour doesn’t face any such challenges. However, who would make a ship just to moor it in the harbour? When obstacles appear in life, we need to kindle our inner strength and spread the fragrance of selflessness and love. We should be able to lift up others who are drowning in grief.” Amma

One of the most powerful healing qualities is awareness, as once we are able to shed light on our own inner vulnerabilities we can work on changing them. Rather than finding constant fault with others behaviour. It’s far more self-empowering to continuously focus on our inner self and allow these patterns to deteriorate and eventually let them go.

In time, all things are possible if you make the sincere effort, all you need is the persistence and continual awareness. In time, you will attract much more harmonious relations and the depth of compassion and love will allow you to work through difficulties with others in a positive way.

In addition, it is important to maintain a certain level of discrimination and have healthy boundaries around those who we want in our lives.

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The Numinous

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“Numinous /ˈnjuːmᵻnəs/ is an English adjective, derived from the Latin numen, meaning “arousing spiritual or religious emotion; mysterious or awe-inspiring”.”[1]

“Real love exists in the heart. The love that exists in the Heart cannot be spoken; it cannot be put in words. The heart is not the place for words. Words are in the intellect. The intellect can speak, but it is nothing more than a tape recorder. It records and spits out words and words and words – words that don’t have any feeling in them. The intellect cannot feel compassion; it cannot feel love or kindness.” Amma

As a spiritual aspirant, how can one even broach this abstract topic with mere words. I am capable of writing on many holistic topics, however it is the essence of spirituality and human transformation that captivate me, leaving me in deep water. Thus, I am at an impasse, trying to construct and galvanize something that in practicality, can not be caught and trapped by the finite demarcations of human language.

I will attempt to discuss the relationship of the devotee with their divine aspirations. Hence, the idea of the Numinous; the divine love that we all seek at some level, which is the unification with our own true sense of Self.

This experience is not something that one can even talk about. I rarely write or speak of my own deep personal connection to the Divine. However, I felt drawn to write this, due to a misconstrued sense of egoism I witnessed recently. The Numinous is not about hierarchy, popularity, power, or recognition for who we are, in the eyes of others.

“Lift the veil that obscures the heart, and there you will find what you are looking for.” Kabir

This relationship is so subtle, so personal and delicately intimate. The only similarity may be between lovers who are experiencing a higher expression of human love, not sensually based. The feeling of such a deep opening in your heart that you can not breath, you can not even speak of it, for it has possessed your soul. You are exhilarated, yet the subtle dance is only between you and your Beloved. There is no possible mechanism to translate this sublime love into any words that exist, for the feeling is one of being completely consumed. The dance of love, is so delicate and awe inspiring, it feels so deeply personal that to speak of such a precious thing would reduce its true essence to something of the worldly domain; losing all intrinsic value.

“What is the root of all these words? One thing: Love. But a love so deep and sweet it needed to express itself with scents, sounds, colours that never before existed.”  Hafiz

To engage at this level with the Divine; to taste the Numinous, is a delicate art that only very prolific poets may have half a hope of conveying, such as Rumi, Hafiz, and Kabir. The likes of, I used to literally have a stack of their books, which I would constantly be reading. Then life took me away from such things, down a different path, away from the essence of my heart.

“In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.” Rumi

It has taken a long time to return to this sacred place, to find my way back to who I am and honour my own unique sense of expression in this world. Poetry is the essence of true expression for such an experience, as other such writing and words do not suffice.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi

True love and contact with the Numinous is not something anyone would yell off the roof top. Instead,  one turns inward and can only be absorbed into the abstract experience.

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A Conscious Life

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
Pema Chödrön

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What does it mean to be here, living this life. Is there a sense of deeper understanding, inspiration, or moments of tranquility where thoughts fall away. Are we living a conscious life where we are aware of our actions, not only what we are supporting, but also our every action that we direct outwardly.  Are we able to have some sense of control over how we choose to interface with the external world and the beings and objects that we find there. Are we motivated by a deeper inspiration and meaning to live our lives with a sense of growing awareness, where we fully comprehend our intention and how powerful our each action can affect change, in all ways.

I have spent most of my life interacting and socializing with a large volume of people. This is something that comes effortless to me, yet on a deeper level I am not really a people person. I prefer to find deep moments of introspection, solace, and inner awareness. Thus, within my own life I have spent more time in solitude, than interacting with others. Ironically, I have been know as being rather talkative and a friendly person, which can be true. Yet, for most of my lifetime, I have observed long days of silence, reflexivity, and silent practices that enable me to find some sense of inner peace. The time that I choose to spend alone, seeking inner solitude allows me to have a sense of dynamic energy when I relate to others.

Through interacting with numerous people, I am aware of so many people who are filled with a growing consciousness, which is incredibly powerful and beautiful. I have watched the actions of these people, literally change the world, in many small ways with their collective ideas, which eventually are becoming more ‘mainstream’. Thus, when we all have a choice within the folds of how we choose to live our lives, we no longer need to fear being ‘different’, if we choose to live a more conscious, aware, or ecologically sound lifestyle.

What path are we walking down in our lives, does it serve our higher good, or someone else’s? I ask this question, as I know the feeling of limitation, where we are working at a job that does not satisfy our own values or inspirations.

I have witnessed, many times, the conceptional sense of a microscopic sense of perceived power, that is so destructive, its unbelievable.  Through all these experiences, it has shown me, as a very clear mechanism of how not to be as a human being. I have had people behave many ways towards me, yet in each interaction I too have had a choice how to react in exchange.

In all of our lives, regardless of where we are or what we are doing, we all have the choice to remain true to who we are, strong within ourselves, disallowing others to try to take what they can. To find some sense of strength that is beyond others actions. True power, is silent, humble, yet there is self worth and confidence. To find inner strength, we must be aware of when to not react and when to stand our ground. This is the key to finding a deeper sense of inner freedom, for when others can no longer trigger or touch us, or these experiences become less and less; we feel more inner peace. Of course, for many of us, there will be times that we react and are trigger, yet each one of these experiences allows us a deeper insight into what we still need to be aware of and integrate at a deeper level.

To truly find inner strength and wisdom in life, we must learn what wisdom is, yet we also must practice and experience this phenomena many times before we can understand it. If we choose to live a life that is more conscious, as opposed to a life where we have little awareness over anything that is taking place; blindly running along with the masses. If we choose to find a deeper sense of autonomy, we must cultivate a sense of perception that is wider than our mere egocentrism. We must find a place within ourselves, where we can find a space that allows us to perceive the whole, integrated within our own sense of individuality.

We always have a choice, within each moment and each action; we are the ones who are in control to shape our reality through our conscious action. Even when our lives are apparently chaotic, we always have a choice how we choose to perceive our sense of suffering, even if we can’t find a solution or the change that we feel we would like to implement within our lives.

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Into The Stillness

“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found.” Pema Chodron

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Like all of us searching for a life of meaning and inspiration, there have been many times in my life where I have found a sense of deep joy; despite there being many factors in my life that would instead, compel a sense of unhappiness. As we all have realized in life, happiness is not dependent on our external circumstance. Of course, there are numerous connections that we experience where we are intrinsically tied to some event or shared experience with another that makes us feel happiness.

However, the truth of the matter is that regardless of our ability to see the external experience as bringing us joy, or if we can feel that the joy was actually already there. The reason that we were able to perceive this sense of happiness, that already existed within us, is that we were able to focus our minds on the present moment to such a degree that we experience a slowing of the mind. Similarly, when we invoke any kind of meditative, spiritual practice, or anything that allows us to use extreme focus, bringing our minds more to the present moment with a concentrated focus. It is during this silencing of the mind that we can tap into the inner joy that exists within all of us and is not dependent on any external stimuli.

I came to realize this experience through spending most of my life doing hatha yoga. This practice has fluctuated in my life, since I started almost thirty years ago, despite the fact that I am only forty years old. Yet, something has remained consistent, the deep inner peace generated. I noticed this when I was very young, through holding each asana for a duration of time, I would experience a deep sense of peace. Now, I don’t hold any posture for long, yet feel plunged into the present moment with each asana, each breath is a mantra and the focus becomes very concentrated. Through this practice, there is a bubbling of such inner joy, its like a warmth that spreads throughout my being, delivering a deep inner peace and contentment.

Most of us who have tried doing yoga maybe have not felt this type of experience. There are many reasons for this, the most obvious is that most of us go to classes, where our attention is very much outwardly directed. The second, is that the focus on proper posture has overtaken the body culture, that yoga has always been in the West. Proper posture is important, yet there are many schools of yoga that focus to such a degree on posture, it actually takes you completely away from the internal experience.

Despite having started doing yoga in the late 80’s, including going to classes in the early 90’s, my first opportunity to properly study Yoga was in India in 1997 when I did my teachers training at the Sivananda Ashram in Kerala South India. Since this time I have continued to study with numerous well known teachers who specialize in various styles. Currently I do a combination of postures that have some Iyengar with a very energetic focus on the breath, using mantras for each inhale and each exhale.

This practice is very physical, yet allows the practitioner to go within to such a degree that your awareness can exist physically and energetically. However, doing any practice is a cumulation of repetitions that generates a specific energetic result. Each posture, like continuously chanting the same mantra, invokes a certain energetic response. Thus, the more one practices doing asana the more power the energetic experience one will have. The most important aspect of any practice is to allow our minds to slow down, where we can experience a deeper sense of inner peace and happiness.

When we can just let go of our self imposed ideas on what ‘mood’ we should assume, based on the day’s events. If we can just allow ourselves a small moment of being in the present moment; all possibilities open up and we realize that we can experience happiness and inner peace, regardless of what preconceived stress and ‘suffering’ we may be enduring.

The human mind is a very unpredictable aspect of our human experience, thus no one is static and perfected in any idealistic way. Thus, through the storm, we can find ways of experiencing peace and joy, even while we are surfing the eye of the hurricane. Inevitable, something inextricably amazing may be waiting right around the corner for us.

It has been my experience in life that if we cling too hard or long to painful experiences, we miss out on the beautiful gifts that are waiting for us to discover them. Thus, the goal of doing any spiritual practice or self improvement, is to move beyond extreme reaction, to have more equanimity, where we can experience suffering, yet allow it to be released; to make space for joy. Through our practices, may we find deep inner peace and joy.

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A Life to Be Lived

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ” Pema Chodron

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When you sincerely seek to live a spiritual life, be sure to make sure that you are strong enough to handle the extreme challenges that are sure to follow in your every wake and step. To truly be free of our inner negative tendencies, to be fully purified; we must be willing to confront everything within our consciousness, the layers upon layers of tendencies that we have accumulated throughout numerous lifetimes. We must be willing to go beyond this finite perception of ourselves, expand in awareness, only through extreme grace; to realize that we are not this illusion.

Of course, few of us are so close to perfection, instead we feel that we are filled to the max with an overabundance of ‘issues’ and other such aspects that we are becoming aware of. Once you start to dedicate a larger amount of time doing practice, it seems that the level of challenges increases exponentially. It is said that there are three ways of burning off karma; poverty, chronic illness, and sadhana. Most people have gone through at least one of the three in this life. However, the last one, sadhana, or spiritual practice is the key to finding a connection beyond the exterior of who we appear to be, to connect deep within, to the essence of existence. Even if this experience is very finite, it is still a profound point of stepping into the abyss of timelessness, into the infinite divine, to dissolve into a place that is beyond the reality that we find so believable.

I am not an advanced practitioner, I am a beginner; constantly returning to this place of newness, without anything to grasp onto. It seems that I am always at the beginning in life, even if I have reached points of height. One example is where I was advanced at Yoga asana for most of my life, however an arm injury brought me permanently back to being a beginner. I know the steep, jagged, and extremely painful road towards developing humility, where my ego has been grated along the most painful of terrain. The deeper my inner commitment towards searching for the Truth, the farther I seem to fall; endlessly into an abyss of timelessness, finding a sense of detachment, and expanding my awareness where I can fully understand the mechanisms that are so easily triggered. Its profound and beyond any linguistic explanation, to reach so high that you fall so far down. Yet, in that fall I have experienced an explosion of most, if not all of my negative tendencies.

“At some point, we need to stop identifying with our weaknesses and shift our allegiances to our basic goodness.” Pema Chodron

The path to purity and purification is a deep endless abyss where the most grotesque versions of ‘ourselves’ must be released from their bondage to our attachment, before the beauty of our inner Selves can be revealed. We are the one’s who inevitably imprison ourselves with our attachment to our fallible, inconclusive, problematic and erroneously static ‘identity’. Through this clinging, we close the door to true personal transformation and growth, for we have already created the variable narratives that we all use to structure the fabric of our social identity and life. We are social architects, constantly attempting to maintain the construction of who we envision ourselves to be or how we perceive ourselves to become. The real truth is that we are none of these projections or tendencies, yet since we rarely go within to a deeper and much quieter place; where we slowly start to see the facade and the underlying energy beneath it which is in contrast, very different, without qualities.

“Whatever is happening is the path to enlightenment.” Pema Chodron

It has been through such challenges that I have stepped through in my life, that have been the purifying gift that has allowed me to move closer to a sense of renewal. Even though, I am at the beginning once again, each step is a powerful walk towards a sense of awakening to who we truly are.

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A Portrait of The Abject

“When we come into contact with the other person, our thoughts and actions should express our mind of compassion, even if that person says and does things that are not easy to accept. We practice in this way until we see clearly that our love is not contingent upon the other person being loveable.” Thich Nhat Hanh

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The concept of the ‘abject’ is a fascinating theory well known in academia within the domain of the social sciences. It belongs to a highly thought provoking series of discourses on the mechanisms of ‘othering’. The concept of the ‘other’ suggests that such an individual or group of people are different from us in some fundamental way. We are all the ‘other’ to someone and we can never fully know the ‘other’, even if we try as the ‘other’ is constantly evolving and changing. The act of ‘othering’ is a direct manifestation of power relations between our social notion of ‘we’ and ‘they’, often portraying the axes of discrimination and power differentiation that exist ubiquitously within our current cultural paradigm.  

Over the many years since I first came across this particular theoretical concept, it has been something I have witnessed within myself and within society as a standard behavioral normalcy. The concept of the ‘abject’ takes ‘othering’ to the next level, as the ‘abject’ becomes that which we too embody, yet its something that we are not willing to accept within ourselves. The relevance of observing this type of projection is so wide spread within Western society, that almost everyone does this in some form or another. Moreover, If we lack the awareness and inner strength to confront ourselves at a fundamental and honest level; what we do instead is assign blame to something or someone in the external world. Thus, we create a scapegoat, known as the ‘abject’ to project our negative tendencies onto, instead of realizing that they actually originate within our own mind.

As a social and global collective throughout the world, we have very little desire to take the necessary responsibility for our actions or negativity, instead we reassign them to the external world around us, through the medium of people and situations. Hence, the ‘abject’ is a reflected component of ourselves through our own sense of discrimination, hatred and latent negative tendencies. All of our interactions act as a refraction of what lies within ourselves, revealing similar tendencies and the reflection of the ‘abject’ when we have a very strong negative feeling towards someone.

On most, if not all spiritual paths its clear that the only persons reaction that should be understood is our own. Thus if someone’s behavior makes us very mad or is upsetting we must first look at ourselves and why we are reacting so strongly, even if we did nothing seemingly wrong. To truly find any peace or happiness in life we must stop ‘othering’ people, reacting to the ignorance of others actions, and to take full accountability and responsibility for our own reactions and action. Of course we will slip and fall back into the conditioned and learned patterns of social behavior and find ourselves pointing out something about another person who has done or said something that we find disturbing. In this case, we are reminded that we still have a lot of work to do and that we must keep trying to maintain focus on our shortcomings and negative tendencies, rather than on making someone else the target.

I am sure in my life I have done this many times, yet I realized a long time ago that by finding blame in others, my own inner suffering did not lessen. Only by looking within at my own negative tendencies can I eradicate them through using proper discrimination in my actions and behavior towards others. In such situations even if I have fallen prey to pointing the finger at another person’s behavior I have later come to realize that it does not make the situation any better and that by reacting, I am the only one losing anything. As long as we are caught in this pattern of fault finding, we will never have inner mental and emotional peace, yet by lessening this association there will be much less desire to perceive the ‘abject’ in others and through greater self awareness we will gain much more inner peace and a sense of inner unity.

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