30 12, 2009

A feeling of power achieved by surrender

December 30th, 2009|beliefs, dealing with life, Self, transformation, wholeness|1 Comment

I think everyone’s life can be summed up by a few sentences.

This may seem limiting. A label. Not to me. It’s like saying that every life is a poem. The words aren’t always a prison, but instead are a beacon, a lighthouse, a cry that lets others know what the rallying call is. It’s like an archetype that brings in the numinous. It’s both a lesson and an energy source to the deepest soul. It’s like the recognizable “hook” in a song or a symphony. Beethoven’s Fifth has thousands upon thousands of notes and progressions, but we all know it by just four notes. Those four notes conjure up an entire world of emotions and ideas when we hear them, even out of context. To me, a life’s phrase can be like that.

One of my inner rallying calls is, “Power is achieved by surrender.”

At first this sounds trite. It’s a common spiritual aphorism. It’s simple and may even be simplistic. But that’s also what archetypes are — through the simple we can access the numinous. It is easy to take words as limiting rather than accessing the preternormal. I first heard this concept that power is achieved by the deepest surrender before I was ten years old. I heard it without thinking about it at all. I saw more of the energy behind it when I watched the movie Gandhi in my teens. Something ineffable touched me in the moment when I saw how powerful that man was. He invited others to show the violence in themselves upon his own body, surrendering to their physical power but in the process bringing forth something exponentially more.

Gandhi had shown me a different side of Power, but at this time it was limited to an intellectual concept. It lacked any sense of the sacred, that access to thaumaturgic change that touching something transcendent can bring. This took time to access for me, through my childhood into my adult life.

In my childhood I was surrounded by family members who seemed overly powerful — at least to a child. My mother was a very aggressive person who didn’t respect boundaries at all, and even took them to mean a personal attack. “I’m your mother!” she would yell, as if that meant she had rights over every aspect of me. Every aspect of me: my body, my space, my mind, and my emotions. I was her life.

Acting powerful in an outward sense did not help. Screams or a stubborn “NO!” made it worse, even to the point of threats of being kicked out to the streets at a young age. So I became a bit of a martyr; I gave in before conflict could arise. I split myself; a part of me would be the mother-pleaser, The Explainer, who would present me to the outside world in a logical, sensible fashion with no rough edges. The appeaser. The rest of me could be screaming, hurt, or could be feeling any other emotion including joyful ones. I was still there, but unconscious. I was filled with a kaleidoscope of exploding emotions, but through The Explainer’s voice those emotions came out as reasonable and confident, and explained things so they wouldn’t trigger much in the people around me. There were times when the glass walls around The Explainer wouldn’t hold, but largely they did. I survived.

This was the beginning of my focus on Power. This was an intensely disempowering state. I walled away much of myself — and thus my power — in order to be safe.

After I left home, the sense of imbalance related to Power was palpable almost all the time, like a steady drop of acid within my stomach. I accumulated skills through universities and I learned more about social interactions and transactions of status. I studied the times when I felt powerful and when others felt more powerful than I. I wasn’t interested in being upwardly mobile or accumulating money — I simply wanted to experience what it felt like to feel powerful, irrespective of what others did and irrespective of what importance they accorded me. This was what made me notice the difference in a few spiritual teachers, such as Krishnamurthi and Ramana Maharishi, whose ashram I stayed in for a while in India.

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

– Walt Whitman

One of the barriers I felt was simply in how little I connected to myself. I explored my splits, the cuts I made in myself. These were the subpersonalities in me, or even sometimes what Jung would call a complex. These are far, far more common than we think. Who is truly whole within themselves, in all their selves? For me, The Explainer excelled in mathematics and computing, the dry emotionless presence that could be as close to a computer as a humans can be. I grew up in an autistic household — it seemed natural to me. Other parts of me also wanted to feel powerful, so my inner protector emerged that could ward off others by planting bombs that scared them away.

But other parts of me also wanted to come out and play. I studied acting to give expression to many other emotions and the selves connected to them. I studied monologues that helped bring these aspects out. The abandoned child raging for a connection. The schizophrenic looking for something solid to hold onto. A man stepping off his heavy-trodden life and starting anew, boarding the nearest ship that would hire him.

Surrender in an Indian dance

My teachers never taught it as such, but I would say now that great acting is all about surrender. It takes great surrender in order to let a very real but different self to come through. This was why I was never a great actor then — only a good one. I wanted to drill holes in my psyche to access myself, tight steel lustrous pipelines that would erupt emotion on command, like a geyser. Others were supposed to feel that it was real, and feel awe. But something made of steel is always built around control. To surrender would have been to turn the world upside town, to bring the underworld into unbounded air, not to send emotions through a rigid pipeline. Surrender would have meant not treating the director as God, but treating being real as God. Truth is God, whatever it may be in that moment.

You can see the idea of surrender appear here in my life. Surrender is connected to acting for me because this is where I was first taught it on an experiential level. My best example was through a clowning teacher. I saw many spiritual teachers, read many books, and got involved with many groups such as Gurdjieff and the Michael Teachings, but surrender goes beyond any teaching. It’s like diving off an airplane.

My idea of surrender has changed through time. It ranged from the physical, to the emotional, to the conceptual. That is, it held the ideals of ultimate relaxation, peace, and seeing all sides and beauty in everything. But these were ideals, and so The Explainer clung to them and protected the inner selves in the only way it knew how. Words can be a defense when they protect you. They don’t have to be at all, as I’m learning.

Now I’m going to another level of surrender: the surrender to myself. To allow the different selves in me, that label of subpersonality, to dissolve those glass walls and roam free. And it is scary, like all freedom is. Going to London Drugs in the post-Christmas rush, did I really know if I would bring someone out from inside me who panics under that Group-Think rush to buy? I looked down and noticed my arms protecting the shell of my chest, but I didn’t feel like screaming.

Part of me resists: “I am a teacher. I can channel great wisdom. I can help others. I can see others clearly. The labels I put on what is underneath imply that I am screwed up for the rest of my life, and I refuse to be that.” We think teachers should conform to a definite image.

So now, if I feel like a drowning man within my ocean of emotions, I let myself feel it and cry desperately to be saved even if another part of me knows it is already perfect as it is. It is All That Is. It’s about the experience, not desperately clinging to the part of me that truly does know. I already am the teaching I seek — but there’s more wisdom in letting go to the unknowingness.

This is how my life has shaped around that phrase, “Power is achieved by surrender.” Saying that to myself has as much power as the mantra “I AM”. Or for the gnostic Christians, “I AM THAT I AM“.

What are some of your life phrases?

28 08, 2007

beliefs … a new perspective

August 28th, 2007|allowing, beliefs, bigness, emotions, love, positivity, transformation, wholeness|Comments Off on beliefs … a new perspective

More material to be in the book “Loving Awareness”.

In the self-help community, there is much emphasis on how you need to change your beliefs to change your life.? “Change your thoughts, change your life!” is a maxim of Wayne Dyer.? ?Beliefs are how we interpret the world – every one of our experiences is filtered through our beliefs.? This is why ten different people coming from different backgrounds can have fundamental differences of interpretation of the same event – the jury system in the courts gives regular examples of this!? So changing beliefs can indeed have a powerful impact on lives.? However, most people think of a belief simply as a pattern of thoughts, and it is far more than this.? So what are beliefs, if we look deeply at them?


In the western cultural framework, we tend to think everything is intellectual.? We’re a society that usually values intellect above all.? So when we talk about “mind” we generally refer only to thoughts and leave the emotions and the body divorced from the equation.? Not so in many oriental traditions.? The word “mind” in those cultures encompasses all of the mental, emotional, and physical parts of ourselves. ?From these perspectives, we are a fully integrated system, with every part of ourselves affecting any other.? When there is recognition of this, there is more possibility of transformative changes occurring within ourselves.? Thinking it is only our thoughts that affect us and denying the real effect the body and the emotions have upon our thoughts and each other can easily lead to mind games, with no changes resulting, and thinking that all that it is needed is more effort in doing the same thing that hasn’t worked in the past.?


Now, on this expanded field of who we are, beliefs exists everywhere in who we are, even outside thoughts.? In a real way, they are analogous to habits â???? a pattern that repeats in how we process information .? I liken them to rivers across the continent that is the Self.? Over time, trenches and canals appear that are the result of the water flowing in a certain pattern.? There is then a tendency to continue on the same course (whether in thoughts, body movements, or emotions), but any of them can be changed with consistent effort.? If dams have been constructed, blocking the flow, there will be alternate ways things flows.? Many of these can cause more harm than good, of course, but our bodies are quite adaptable – within reason.? There’s actually a lot of similarities between the “flows” of our emotions, thoughts, and body processes.? For instance, an emotional memory might cause someone to feel anger and disappointment when someone doesn’t look them in the eye.? This “gut reaction” occurs without thought.? Similarly, a sound of a traffic accident might cause adrenaline in someone and they’d jump up to run outside, without thought or much emotion.?

Because we’re a complete system, it’s all interrelated.? For example, a man may have fixed thoughts about how a woman “should behave” in a relationship.? These thoughts may be a protective layer around a core pain in the body relating to abuse by a mother-figure in childhood; in this abuse there would be both emotional pain and body memories.? Now, trying to change the thought patterns of this man will likely run up against a brick wall because it’s only addressing thoughts.? This wall of course, is perfect â???? the thoughts are self-protective, and there is definitely pain that needs protecting, for it isn’t appropriate to bring up just anywhere or with anyone.? This isn’t to say changing thoughts is pointless; it creates ripples which may create a domino effect in other parts of the system.? But thoughts aren’t the master control of it all, especially when there’s not much consciousness in them.? We’re a great tapestry of interweaving energies we call thoughts, emotions, and matter, and we become more adaptable and powerful when we work with this whole, rather than a smaller part of ourselves.


So then how to do this work in this quagmire?? The answer – which will be familiar to regular readers – is via allowing.? We’re not like machines that break and then require a mechanic to go in and fix. We’re constantly healing and balancing simply by being who we are, in every moment of every day.? Most alternative healing recognizes this and tries to support the body’s natural strength instead of imposing harsh chemicals, for example.? If everything’s out on the table – and everything includes thoughts, emotions, and the body â???? it’s quite a change provoking event in itself.? Anyone who’s been a witness to a person being deeply vulnerable cannot help but be affected by the experience.? Once the full wholeness of self is brought forward, there is a space of creation in that present moment that literally enables new worlds to be created.? These are worlds forced on your body by ramming affirmations inwardly; this is a process of mutual creation, and thus, a process of Love.


To put this in action, here’s an exercise I wrote:




This exercise is about being big about whatever process is going on in the moment, in ways that encompass the physical, intellectual, and emotional aspects of ourselves.? To be precise about being big, here is my definition:


Being big is about bringing the full totality of who you are to the world.? It has nothing to do with being loud, or pushing others, or speaking inspired thoughts.? You can be big no matter what your experiences in the present moment are.


For instance, someone desperately angry might be very loud and attempt others to change.? They would feel small to others, because they are not showing vulnerability about where this emotion is coming from.? On the other hand, others might be feeling worthless, full of condemning thoughts and not feel like they deserve to take any space around them.? They might be very shy and quiet.? Bringing that forward, in its totality, without any apology or protective face, would be big.? They might tell others they need to express this, then crawl into a corner, crunch themselves into fetal position, and mumble the thoughts they are having.? So long as they bring the full totality of who they are â???? which includes the knowing that this is only an experience and not defining in any way – they are big.? They are showing they are bigger than their own experience.? This is vastness.


So the exercise is to be big.? Bring whatever it is going on in its totality and express it.? If you need to scream, scream.? If you need to crawl into a fetal position in the deepest corner of your garage, do so.? If you need to hit pillows, do that.? But do it from a space of allowing.? Allow emotions to flow, whether through written words on the page, wordless sounds, or through the voice.? Let it come through your body; place your body in a position that encapsulates your experience.? Let thoughts ramble forth from your mind.? But above all, allow all this from a place of play.? Be a child again.? This is through a choice to let it all come forward, laughing at yourself from the dual perspective of seeing how whole you truly are while allowing all the “imperfections” come forward. ?You know that this is not defining you, and yet it is just perfect the way it is. ?If you can’t inhabit that space, allow whatever you can.? The point isn’t to change anything in this moment, but to allow it and give full expression without judgment or control.


The magic of fully allowing is that it transforms.? If you are fully you in one moment, there is no limit to what you can be in the next moment.? It’s amazing how someone’s experience changes by the end of the exercise, especially if there’s someone you trust watching, which is encouraged!?


Beliefs permeate the being on every level.? Transformation can manifest through altering one level or another of perception, and it is possible to alter beliefs within the space of an eye blink, thereby creating irrevocable transformations that reverberate through all levels of the Self.? And it is true also that transformation within the Self will create transformation within a wider space known as a family, a community, a world, or a universe, or all of them – for they are all essentially the same.? For this, then, we can change the phrase into “change your thoughts, change the world”.

28 05, 2007

“negativity” – NOT!

May 28th, 2007|beliefs, bigness, innocence, wholeness|2 Comments

This time this writing got started in response to a post on a group on here, which was representative of many thoughts. Here’s the post :

Negative emotions like anger and fear are a very low vibration and if you are feeling those things, it lowers the vibration of your energy field and you have less Light from God.

Red is pretty, but it is a low vibration. The fact that it is pretty is beside the point. There are some very beautiful or maybe even tasty but poisonous flowers or plants, but it wouldn’t be a safe to have them around or eat them. It’s the same concept of just because it feels good doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

It actually makes me laugh when people talk about everyday experiences and things as “low” or “high” vibration and relating this to “goodness” and “bad. Not laugh in a derogatory way â???? simply laugh.

Perhaps the best metaphor is white light. Most spiritual people associate this with the “highest” vibration. However, if you look at what it is made of, white is all vibrations – all colors in one. If you remove the frequency of any color from it, it is no longer white. So saying any color is “bad” really is not seeing the totality of what we’re heading towards. We are moving towards true integration, where we use every single aspect of ourselves without conflict, in harmony with every other aspect. This is the equivalent of white light.

Likewise, to say any emotion is “bad” is really not seeing the spectrum. Anger and fear are here to help. Anger is essentially here to help set good, healthy boundaries, and fear is here to help us stay alive. The danger is that when these emotions come on strong, it can be easy to get lost in them and not get support from the entire spectrum of who we are. Also, if we dislike those emotions and wish to get rid of them, they’re usually still there, just operating in a very separated, unconscious matter. The truth is that who we are is very large â???? there is no way we can “get rid” of anything, nor should we want to. Bringing these emotions to a conscious level so there is a conscious choice on how we use and interact with them is all we need.

In one of the Krishmamurthi video nights I had a few months ago, one person made a comment that we need to “overcome aggression”, linking it with violence and wars. I simply responded that Krishnamurthi’s energy was also aggressive â???? it is the same basic energy. Krishamurthi speaks with incredibly dynamism, saying “See for yourself! Be present! Awaken!” with forcefulness. The only difference is that this energy – dynamic, aggressive , explosive and outward focused – is not in conflict with anything, either internally or externally. It is a prime example of an energy, often labeled “bad”, that has brought into operating in a fully conscious manner.

There are no bad emotions. Only energies not in harmony with surrounding ones.

I’m actually still working on a lot of this myself; I know there’s a good deal of repressed memories from childhood trauma in my body. However, I’m generally fine with them being there. I don’t need them to be changed. There are a lot of “negative” emotions there, and they will come out when they’re ready. I feel a hell of a lot more freedom inside myself after realizing that none of these trapped energies actually restrict who I am; they are simply there as fodder for learning.

Some people think they’d better wait until they’ve “perfected” themselves before they offer their own teaching and gifts to the world. But often the best teaching is showing the world your own ‘problems’, and how you’re transforming them in each moment. This is being a living teacher, instead of a signpost.

So when interacting with such emotions, instead of restricting and protecting, it’s good to include and harmonize. Adding compassion and conscious action does a lot more than fearfully avoiding anything (including areas of one’s self) because it’s of “low vibration”. There’s a lot of fear-based teachings out there which use a the word ‘love’ frequently. Love is about unconditional acceptance from a place of non-duality. So avoiding anything because it is “fundamentally bad” (ie, not accepting it) is not a loving action. This is very different from being truly accepting, but taking care of yourself and choosing not to invite something in. I can love a person who behaves violently â???? I completely accept the rage and pain there â???? but I do not want this person near me, nor in a place where he or she would inevitably hurt others. It’s a place of “loving the sinner but hating the sin”, and it applies internally as well.

Raising “vibration”, or consciousness, always starts from the present moment. Which means allowing anything truly going on inside yourself, Now, to come to the foreground – even if it is ‘dark’. To take a more extreme example, a lot of ‘spiritual’ people thumb their noses at thrash metal – and yet, for many people into this sort of music, it is a perfect expression of the jarring inner conflict inside themselves in their present moment. The expression helps them look at it and transform it. So for them, it is a way to higher vibration. I don’t listen to it myself, but I am seeing how everything on this planet has value.

Here is a table of emotions, showing the “positive pole”, or a freeing, expansive expression, and the “negative pole”, a more restricted expression.

Positive Pole
(Keeps Energy in Motion)
Negative Pole
(Keeps Energy




Looking at this table can help see what allowing emotions can do. There is always a transformation that occurs when a state is allowed, which will without exception move into the “positive pole” listed above.

11 01, 2007

The secret – my own thoughts

January 11th, 2007|beliefs, black and white thinking, boundaries|Comments Off on The secret – my own thoughts

For the last few months, there’s been considerable amount of hype about the movie “The Secret”. I finally saw it not long ago. For those who haven’t seen the movie and don’t consciously know about “The Law of Attraction”, or “like attracts like”, I would generally recommend it, along with the comments below.. However, it brings to mind certain other patterns common to new age movements that I wanted to share my thoughts and insights on.

The first of them, obvious to anyone who’s seen the movie, is the subtle (and not-so subtle) assumption that being rich is better. As a lot of new age workshops evolved from marketing, this is fairly common. If you truly get it you can be as rich as you want!” is voiced. It’s a subtle push of spiritual greed. At the core of things, there is no “better” â???? there is only “does it help for doing ____”. It’s certainly more comfortable not having to work overtime to survive or being able to buy organic foods, but 5 million dollar homes aren’t better than a comfortable 1 bedroom apartment. In fact, from the soul’s viewpoint, it’s all about the lessons; sometimes money issues distract from the true learning going on. (That’s why it’s good to be very in touch with one’s entire being before placing intentions; a mixed message from different parts of the psyche generally brings mixed results. )

Secondly this movie has a LOT of hype â???? even in the movie itself, the first 10 minutes is just that. Hype in itself is quite interesting. When there’s hype there’s always a message of lack. You need to know this! Your life will be better off with this knowledge!” â???? a message spoken with passion and zeal. However, if you look deeply into this, there is always the flip side: your life is not perfect just as it is.” All hype contains this â???? the perception of emptiness and lack that must be cultivated before a desire is born. Advertising knows this process intimately. So anytime you hear hype and sales, look inward and see what part of you buys into it; it’s the same part that doubts its own perfection.

The way things are spoken communicates far more than the words themselves, too. The maxim of “be the change you wish to see in the world” speaks to this â???? the embodiment of a message teaches more than words do. For those of you who have seen the movie (parts of it are available, as shown below), see if you can see the difference in the subtext between, say, Neale Donald Walsh or Esther Hicks and another subtext given by Rev Dr. Michael Beckwith, a fairly new age pastor. With Esther Hicks speaking, there’s no “push”, no need to convince anyone. Esther seems to breathe compassion, not because anything is wrong, but because it’s the unfolding of her natural being and who she is creating as “her”. As far as I can see, she’s speaking to give others more tools for joy, but totally seeing their perfection as they are. With Neale Donald Walsh, there seems to be a bit of humor thrown in. This is all a game, and we create our experiences, collectively and individually, and everything is truly perfect â???? let’s play consciously!” is a message I got. There’s a great acceptance and presence.

With the Rev Dr. Michael Beckwith, I felt his positive intentions glowing â???? he was obviously in touch with his sense of higher good. At the same time, there was a “push” and hype involved, leading me to feel a “I absolutely know what’s best for you!” energy. It’s a desire to help without a positive humility and perspective.. While this may feel good to those who want another to take away difficult choices, to me it doesn’t truly help at all, because of the subtext involved.. I know what’s best for you” in a passionate voice that hasn’t investigated each person individually is the same as “you don’t know what’s best for you.”

Back to myself, it’s been part of my lifelong learning to see that everything in life is just perfect as it is. This includes George Bush, poverty, inequitable distribution of wealth, and all the problems we perceive out there. It also includes, of course, the soul’s natural desire to help others out of love â???? it’s not meant as an excuse for complaisance. Lately I’ve actually been feeling intensely grateful for my problems and limitations. The tension in my body, coming out regularly, is a great sign of lack of trust in the universe â???? and having it made physical makes the learning of that concrete and deep. Perhaps it’ll only take a few more lifetimes to learn â???? who knows. And in effect, who cares? Simply knowing we’re on a continual expanding process of knowing and loving is enough, simply as it is. Patience is another thing we’re all learning.