2 01, 2008

The essence of compassion part 2

January 2nd, 2008|allowing, buddhism, innocence, love, pain, suffering|21 Comments

The topic of compassion is of course very close to the purpose of this site âs it is an aspect of Love. However, this was instigated recently by the ‘Spread the Love Now!’ project of Wade of The Middle Way, Kenton of Zen-Inspired Self Development, and Albert of Urban Monk.Net. This site, as the ‘About’ page shows, has two writers, and we thought we’d each contribute something to this. So there are two articles about compassion, one for each of us. This topic is, after all, central to the purpose of this site – why else would we call it Loving Awareness?

If you haven’t read the previous entry on compassion, please do so. I’m going to add to it, starting with the first comment as a basis question – on the subject of child abuse. It’s a very good question, and representative on most people’s initial response to thinking of compassion in terms of awareness and acceptance, rather than having a duty to do something to solve a problem. I realize this is a touchy subject, and that what is written here may be controversial because of the massive cultural pain that exists. However, bringing compassion to such a painful area brings a huge amount of clarity to how it is applied in the world. (more…)

26 07, 2007

the innocence of anger

July 26th, 2007|beauty, innocence, listening, love, Self, spectrum, wholeness|4 Comments

For this blog I’ll write about anger. It’s a greatly misunderstood emotion in our culture. It’s both decried and cultivated at the same time. There are enormous mixed messages we get on a daily basis, and because of this, many people have walled away any possibility of this emotion being shown. To an extreme, there might even be a message that it’s best to always step back and “see the perfection of the other” – which involves walling away anything critical – rather than show any anger.

Now, let’s look at anger directly. I hope you can pause here to look at it with me; we all have it inside ourselves. Think of someone or something that simply pisses you off. Please sit with it a while; listen to it. This isn’t about a venting process, which is what happens when the easiest words are found. Listening is a deep, meditative process that doesn’t wish anything to go away or be fixed. Pay attention to what it really wants to say. Listen to it equally if it’s to someone else or to yourself.

(I hope you take a few moments to breathe deeply and listen to yourself here)



When I hear anger, it’s a voice with power that says “Something isn’t working here. Please listen!”. That’s all. No violence at all. What isn’t healthy about that – speaking out when something doesn’t work?

What most people confuse with anger is projection. Projection naturally happens when there’s a total non-acceptance of a real process going on within. It says “this is not mine! It must be yours.” And thus a violence caused by the rupture that begins totally with Self. Thus, if something isn’t working internally and there’s denial that it IS within, there is a constant push externally that is the anger turned into projection. Of course, in this case, there is nothing the outside world can do to change the internal world of the person, so “help” turns two ways: either to encourage listening and care of Self, or to encourage numbness so the inner turmoil isn’t felt. Many “safe” atmospheres encourage the numbness by creating a whitewashed atmosphere where all possible triggers are removed.

To look at healthy anger, a good example is Gandhi. Gandhi made it very clear the behavior of the British in India wasn’t working; it caused tremendous suffering, he did everything in his power to encourage people to listen and see it clearly. He focused solely on the behavior of the British, not the British themselves, who were generally wonderful people. He did not make them wrong (i.e., use projection), but focused on behavior that was changeable – and so documented the systematic methods of poverty and oppression that occurred in those colonial times. People wouldn’t think it was anger, because there was no rage or violence at all. He moved from a place of power that no one could take away, and part of that was his non-violence. But the root energy was anger – simply in a very evolved form. It was again, “This isn’t working – Please listen!”. This goes back to earlier posts expressing there are no “bad” emotions. Any emotion can be transformed to a place where it services mankind. Without exception.

An example closer to home might be a mother watching over a child. If the child places itself in danger, the natural response tends to be anger. In a mother with no shame of their anger, this comes out as a clear “get back! I care about you!” I’ve been lucky enough to see people without any shame of their anger, and the response children have to this is lovely. They will tend to smile, because the anger clearly comes out of Love. However, if there’s significant guilt and pain surrounding anger, all of this inner division comes out in the communication. The result is that it feels awful, because with the disharmony expressed in that shout, the love in the communication doesn’t shine through. The crux is that the problem is with the disunity, not the anger.

One of the false images people have of anger is that it’s a way to attack the other person. However, if you’ve ever seen someone “let it all out”, without defenses, it is an incredibly vulnerable state. We tend to go through life guarding against others knowing what we care about. Showing anger without guile or protection puts it all out on the table. You are making what you passionately care in plain view all to see and touch. People subconsciously protect against this because of the possibility the other person will use that vulnerability to attack. This is of course, very valid; it happens fairly regularly. Those who wish to use this vulnerability to attack may bait others, waiting for others to let loose so they can then give a “sucker punch” of a sort. This doesn’t take anything away from those who reach this kind of vulnerability; it takes great courage to be fully open this way. Most people get angry half-heartedly. They let the other person know they are angry, but they don’t get to vulnerability. Others tend to feel this lack of vulnerability and react defensively. Many activists are in this state.

When it comes down to it, anger deserves a deep and profound listening, like everything else. It is often a healthy desire for boundaries. Sometimes it is the simple message that something isn’t working, and thus can be a “cover up emotion”, pointing to a geyser of other emotions that are crying out to be released. But the anger itself is not a problem. It is something that needs to be given a loving space of listening, not “fixed”. There is nothing that needs to be done with it, other than listening. Allowing it transforms it, and lets everyone involved see what truly wasn’t working. This is a gift to the world.



Now, the events of the last few weeks as described in the last blog for me brought up a lot of anger. Quite frankly, I love my anger. And because of that, no one would ever describe me as an “angry person”. I love that I speak up when something doesn’t work. I love that I do my best to do it from a vulnerable space. Sometimes I fall flat on my face, but that’s what learning’s about. Look what happened in the previous blog – there are great benefits to getting to a place where support is needed!

Be whole.

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)
Emotional
State
Negative Pole
(Keeps Energy
Stuck)

Detachment

Numbness

Withdrawal

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.