The Fear of Joy

from Viva Arte Viva by Fred Romero

I talk here about bliss in articles like 100x the Bliss, Life is Bliss, Nested Bliss, and so forth. Joy is fundamental to our well-being and innate to life itself. When we experience pure life, it is pure bliss. And yet because bliss arises at a more subtle level, joy can be a difficult emotion to access. It requires openness and vulnerability. But opening can trigger fear of being hurt. Brené Brown calls this foreboding joy. That’s the catch. Even though we crave joy, we can also fear it as it makes us vulnerable. Feeling happiness can seem like tempting … Continue Reading…

Who Am I?

La Petite Concierge painting by Francis Smith

This is one of life’s big questions. Most people identify with things like their name, work, background, nationality, skin colour, tastes, and so forth. But these are stories about ourselves or roles we’ve adopted. They have little to do with who we actually are. New Age approaches usually focus on upgrading the filters and stories we tell ourselves. A better story for a better life. Eastern paths can take this further with self-inquiry: who are we behind the stories? But as I’ve mentioned before, if there isn’t a practice that takes us beyond the mind into source, what is culturing … Continue Reading…

Maturation

Rejection by William Bromley

I talk here mostly about waking up and healing. But there is another key part for a rich and healthy life – maturation. If we look at standard models of human development, we can see there is an inner progression.   Stages of Development   Age Area (Alexander) Cognitive (Piaget) Kosha 0-2 Behaviour and Senses Sensori-motor Anna- 2-7 Desires and Emotions Pre-operations Prana- 7-11 Mind Concrete Operations Manon- 11-18 Intellect Formal Operations Vijnana- 18-25 Feelings and Intuition Post-Formal Ops a/a 25+ Individual Ego [Myness]     Universal [Amness, Iness] Ananda- As new-borns, we learn to operate physically, then emotionally, then … Continue Reading…

A Conversation on Bypassing

feather

The Association for Spiritual Integrity (ASI) is holding a series of peer-to-peer discussions. In this conversation, Craig Holliday, a spiritual teacher and therapist, and I discuss how spiritual practices and concepts can be used to escape from the world or our unresolved trauma. Neither of us was happy with the quality of the recorded video so we may have a second conversation. I wrote about the ASI when they launched last fall. Other peer-to-peer discussions can be found on the ASI blog. Davidya

Mind Awareness

Sunday Morning Pleasures by Caroline

Most people experience awareness through the mind. We may well think our mind’s awareness and understanding is consciousness. Our daily experience can easily verify this impression. As the physiology cycles though the states of waking, dreaming, and sleeping, the mind is drawn along for the ride. This carries mind awareness too. Consciousness does seem to be a side-effect of brain functioning. The brain is an interface like a radio receiver – it doesn’t produce anything we experience. Our senses gather information and the brain filters the data for relevance and passes it on to the mind. The mind builds the … Continue Reading…

More on Death

Death Valley by Peretz Partensky

Over the years, I’ve written surprisingly often about death. This is because there is a lot of fear and misunderstanding around the topic. Yet we’ve all been there before. Recently a good friend sent me a site on the Vedic approach to death. I wasn’t born into the culture in this life so I don’t follow the rituals much. However, there are useful points we can draw from that understanding to support ourselves and others through this process. Settled Space It’s useful to create a settled environment for the dying. Prayers and meditation are more supportive than expressions of grief. … Continue Reading…

The Humanity of a Teacher

Humanity by Bryan Ledgard

I’ve written a few articles about modern issues with spiritual teachers. Students often see enlightenment as a superhuman perfection. We see the teacher as beyond mistakes. If a teacher buys into such ideas, they can create a large blind spot. Unresolved identity or unconscious needs are bound to be acted out with students. Expecting perfection, students may excuse the behaviour as “crazy wisdom” or similar. The Westernization of spiritual teaching has meant that most teachers are now independent, sometimes affiliated with a lineage and sometimes not. They’re often outside of any peer-support structure and often lack understanding of relationship power … Continue Reading…

The Sex Chakra

bears kiss

Sex is fundamental to our nature as humans. We have an imperative to reproduce. Most cultures set expectations around sex to ensure healthy outcomes. For example, a committed relationship. This ensures the resulting off-spring are cared for and people are treated respectfully. Too often, expectations become rules that lead to suppression. The powerful energies of creativity are distorted by unnatural guidelines. For example, in the grand cycles of time, spirituality came to emphasize renunciation and celibacy. Yet only a small percent of the population is suited to long-term celibacy. Adopting it inappropriately leads to it leaking out in unhealthy ways. … Continue Reading…

The Wisdom of No Escape

pier

Susanne Marie writes occasional short articles she calls Reality Bites. I particularly enjoyed this one: “Sometimes the only way to be free of something is to allow yourself to be fully trapped. Our desire to escape suffering creates it’s own bondage. Most of us are initially drawn to spirituality with the understandable desire to feel better and in general to be released from suffering. But this desire in itself plays into the belief that something needs to be done about how we are feeling. That we need to somehow disappear a feeling by replacing it with bliss or peace, or … Continue Reading…

Healing Mind, Healing Emotion

velvet cross

In a discussion on Healing Trauma, the subject of talk therapy came up. While I’m not a psychologist, I can see the value of related therapies in digesting difficult experiences. Being able to talk it out with someone accepting can be valuable. That may be all it takes. However, if the issue has any depth, talking it out will only resolve it for the mind. If we don’t heal the deeper energetic source, that experience will come around again and shadow our life. Similarly, if there is a need to keep talking about it, the source or driver hasn’t been … Continue Reading…

Fixing Ourselves

1950 Ford Convertible

On this blog, I regularly speak of the value of healing and cleaning up to support our spiritual journey and quality of life. However, when we have an identified ego, we’re driven by a mind and intellect who see themselves as separate and in need of protection. The intellect divides and the mind judges, often as bad. You see this in spiritual circles in insisting on the “one truth,” the “nonduality manscape,” spiritual materialism, and so on. When the ego co-opts the healing process, there is the tendency to see ourselves as broken and needing repair. Ego knows it’s not … Continue Reading…

Action and Bliss

Turtle.

Another conversation brought out further points around action.  They mentioned the “Law of Reversed Effort” in this short article*. “The harder we try the less we shall succeed.” “The harder we try with the conscious will to do something, the less we shall succeed. Proficiency and the results of proficiency come only to those who have learned the paradoxical art of doing and not doing, or combining relaxation with activity, of letting go as a person in order that the immanent and transcendent unknown quantity may take hold. We cannot make ourselves understand; the most we can do is to … Continue Reading…