Monday, January 28, 2013

tools for awakening and you do not have to be good

I was just siting down on my deck to write this when a flock of geese passed overhead calling to me stridently. Because of something that occurred yesterday, I planned to focus this blog on tools of awakening. Yet the way the geese circled overhead three times, honking to me with beauty yet urgency told me I must include Mary Oliver's poem too. The first time I read it, I burst into tears and I used it for several years to break me of my previous need, no doubt spawned from my Catholic upbringing, to be good, to color in the lines, to follow the rules and to be squeaky clean. I now laugh at such limitation and wonder that they once so confined me. I feel almost the opposite and revel in my more wild, passionate, untamed side. I know this poem became so popiular that some began to consider it almost trite yet that takes nothing away from my experience. I include the poem here in case any of you are also plagued as I once was by the need to be "good":

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes, 
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting  
over and over announcing your place 
in the family of things.

from Dream Work by Mary Oliver 
published by Atlantic Monthly Press
© Mary Oliver

Witnessing another's pain yesterday made me very aware of how easy it is to be swept away by our own personal lies, by the voice of doubt and self hatred, by inner demons. From what I am reading and witnessing, the energies are supporting us both in breaking free by shining more light on us yet conversely, this brings the shadow more into the fore and it is increasingly urgent that we know how to mitigate these shadows. I want to review and consolidate my favorite tools for transversing this challenging terrain.

Primarily, we must allow. This can be quite a task when everything inside wants to run from these uncomfortable energies. To merely sit and witness them takes practice. Please do not use any of these tools to beat yourself up when you don't use them at all or don't use them "correctly” (this is an easy error to buy into; merely do your best and know it is enough.) To me one of the most practical ways to be stronger in witness mode is to study meditation and/or meditate as a group. It is so much easier that way. I had never meditated at all until an afternoon workshop in Katmandu (I still think it is the coolest thing in the world that I was even in Katmandu, doesn't it sound delicious?) and then two 10 day silent retreats on Koh Phangan (I might have spelled that wrong) in Thailand. The silent retreats were torturous and amazing and deeply ground me in the meditation practice. As I wrote before, I could easily mediate 20 minutes while in Asia and yet found 5 minutes difficult when I returned to the States after many years abroad. Start with one minute or whatever works for you and build up. Why meditate? Without the ability to witness ourselves as an observer, we are lost in the story of our lives. When we can witness our own lives, we are at choice and can begin to transform our previous conditioning.

The other three tools from Way of Mastery are intention, desire and surrender. Intention and desire are probably the easiest for many people. Get clear what you want and keep your focus there. Intend the live of your dreams. The work of Abraham and the Hicks is excellent to strengthen these skills.

Surrender is one of the trickiest for me. I first surrender with my will and mind yet often it is false surrender with conflicting intentions. Like the emptiness that is slowly dissipating within me. I did my best to surrender and allow it yet I did it holding my nose with large parts of me saying, no freaking way!! I wanted to run and hide and sometimes I could only surrender a minuscule part of myself to the emptiness. It reached a crescendo yesterday and then I turned it over with genuine surrender. Miraculous results then flowed. My mouth fell open when I saw what unfolded the minute I sincerely surrendered. How to know if the surrender is real? For me, there is a feeling of release, of energy flowing, of clarity and often tears of joy as I experience the freedom that comes with true surrender. When I am partially surrender, my body has tension, pockets of resistance with a concurrent body pressure and discomfort. For example, I was in a very good space and someone in the house just did something that created a charge in this moment. I feel my body tense as though given a blow. I feel myself intend and desire to surrender yet the lack of flow tells me I am not there. I accept that without judgment and just observe the whole process. I feel strong resistance as I was finally feeling better and I able to observe how quickly I went into judging this person's behavior and feeling hurt by it. Now the good news is I am not judging myself for judging him! Progress!

The easiest tool right now is time in nature. I am sitting on my deck as I write this with frozen fingers. I hear the wind chimes, the cawing birds and the soothing sound of the wind. This is such a vital and easy way to stay ground and restore inner balance. Use it!

The care and feeding of the physical body is another important tool. I plan to write more on that later.

An offshoot of intention and desire is focusing on what you want. Our thoughts create an energy field and if one focuses on what they don’t want, the corresponding energy field begins to pull that in, through law of attraction (again see Ester Hicks and Law of Attraction.) When you notice yourself focusing on what you don’t want (ex stop smoking which keeps focus on smoking as opposed to having healthy, clean lungs or focusing on unpaid bills rather than on abundance) shift your focus to what you do want. Feel the energy of fulfilled desire as a great way to actually fulfill that desire.

The last key tool for me, at least for now, is shifting beliefs. If you keep believing in the same old limitations and scarcity, negative self images or excuses to hate yourself, you will keep pulling in evidence to support those beliefs. For me, Byron Katie is the quickest way to shift those beliefs. Observe them when you see patterns in your behavior and then question them. Is it true that I am .... (insert negative thought)  NO, IT IS NOT TRUE. You are gorgeous, amazing, a gift to the planet!!! Anything that doesn’t line up with that is just not true.

Last but not least (o.k., I forgot to say this and had to come back and add it, opps =-O:-P)  REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE, REMEMBER YOU ARE LOVE, REMEMBER YOUR TRUE IDENTITY, KNOW IT AND EMBRACE IT. hope that is enough said on that topic.

(Update: the charge that flowed through my body a while ago is completely gone and forgotten until I reread this to correct any errors. Further update: later this person came up to me thanking me profusely for basically nothing, It was then clear to me that what I had experienced as rejection was really thoughtlessness, unconsciousness that is just such a part of the human experience. Why take it personally? I always use to want to correct other's unconsciousness yet now when I realize how gracious it feels when people overlook or forgive my unconsciousness, I prefer to let it go whenever I can.)

Alright my loves, got it? Those are your marching orders. Do your best to enjoy the whole sweet, messy, challenging, delicious, frustrating, overwhelming, liberating process.

No comments:

Post a Comment