28 10, 2007

Connecting With Nature

October 28th, 2007|connection, love, nature, wholeness|5 Comments

I’ve been thinking lately of my connection with nature, exploring that connection more deeply, especially following a recent and quite profound experience I had in the forest (and here’s yet another quite amazing one; can you tell this is a bit of a theme here?) and I invite you to think now about your connection with nature.

I suspect that for the most part we really don’t give this much thought. Nature is simply ‘there’, and our day-to-day awareness doesn’t often extend to a real connection to nature beyond, say, noticing the gorgeous deep velvety reds of the Japanese maple trees, or the clearness of the autumn blue sky that provides a backdrop to the clouds in a usually overcast sky. We notice these things, notice their beauty, even perhaps notice their perfection, but fail to go that extra step and really connect with it: feeling the trees and their dance of interconnectedness, bursting into bloom yourself along with the geraniums in the pot on your windowsill, becoming the bird intent on seed-gathering to acquire energy to store for the cold winter ahead. We don’t usually feel what it is like to BE an aspect of nature, even though we are an aspect of it ourselves.

By denying a true connection to nature we deny an essential aspect of Self.

There is tremendous value in connecting with animals, trees, and other elements of what we consider to be nature. These elements, are part of our home, part of our world, and are as such connected to us, to humans, in a very intimate way. We share space. We share air. We share resources. Not only that, but we share in the creation of our world, the global creation of the reality we know as life. And because of that there is an undying connection between us as humans and ALL of the so-called ‘natural’ elements of nature.

Think back to a time when you were connected with nature. For most of us this happened easily and naturally when we were children. True connection to nature is a childlike state, a natural state, a state of innocence. Rediscovering your own true connection to nature now will help you reach that state again more easily, time and again, and provide for you a spiritual home to which you can return over and over, always having this base of existence and perception to belong to. And being more often in a state of childlike innocence leaves us so much more open to vulnerability and openness in every aspect of our lives, allowing us myriad opportunities for growth and understanding.

But how can we re-connect to nature if we think we have lost this in the mundane aspects of living life?

It is not enough, for some, to simply state an intention and then order the universe to ‘make it so.’ New pathways of perception need to be forged, new roads to awareness.

For me, what has helped remake these pathways has been two things: being open and being present.

I invite you, then, to find your own corner where you can feel nature. This can simply be a spot near a sunny window in which you can feel the rays directly upon you, but feel free to use your yard, a park, any open spot where you can sit awhile undisturbed. There need be nothing ‘magical’ or special about the place, for truly, nature will find you wherever you are.

Sit comfortably in your chosen spot, then, and imagine the time when the things around you didn’t exist. There were no buildings, no electrical lines, no lawns, not even the trees you see now were there. Once, in time, things looked very different from the way they look now. If you allow it, you can imagine this time, for you possess a connection to it. It is in your genetic memory, in every cell of your body. Imagine each cell, then, unlocking this distant memory. See in your mind’s eye the immense past, every possibility, every moment of time, hanging between you and time’s dawn. You have access to all of it. Now notice the thread that runs through these pages that flutter in front of you, the pages of the past. There is a single thread that weaves its way through ALL of time, through every moment, through every experience, and that is the thread of nature, of our connection to the Earth and to every element of the Earth, every tree, every plant, every stone, and every living being. Keep looking and you’ll notice that this thread is connected to you as well. Do you see it? Can you feel it now, tugging gently at you, a little insistent, reminding you of your immense past, of your deep connection with All That Is?

There it is, then. Your connection to nature is there whether or not you have felt it all along. It is undeniable, this connection we all possess to one another, to the Earth, to every living being on the Earth.

The lessons from connection to nature are many and varied and often depend on the individual, but regardless of perspective there is always growth opportunity through human connection with nature. After all, it is your home. It is your life. To deny nature is denying an aspect of Self, and to fully embrace nature, to accept it in all its splendor, ugliness, and beauty, is a huge step in actually accepting your Self.

I invite you to embrace your connection with nature, then, to embrace the fullness of your humanity, which will in turn bring fullness to every aspect of your life.

11 10, 2007

Reconnecting to Your Source

October 11th, 2007|allowing, connection, Self, wholeness|2 Comments

All of us, each one of us, is connected to one another. We each are created from, formed of, and connected to the same genetic source material. This is such a universal truth that it appears in both religious literature and myth alike. The story of Genesis and the formation of us as humans is part of us, part of our heritage as a people, and the truth remains: we are connected, we are One.

Then why the pervasive feeling of separateness, of disconnection from where and how we began? Why can’t we feel connected to our source, connected to others and to the Universe, at all times?

The answer is both simple and complex: we chose the separation, each one of us, yet we can have that reconnection if we so desire.

Separation is a way of allowing us to become caught up in the illusions of the life experience so as to present ourselves and one another with growth opportunities. Simply put, we learn from interaction from one another, and if there was no interaction, we would not evolve. It is impossible to learn all there is about being human simply from interacting with the self.

We learn a great deal through conflict. Conflict arises from a feeling of disconnectedness, and without conflict there is often little impetus to interact and grow from that interaction. While it is certainly possible and often preferable to learn from places of joy, it is difficult for us to remain in that state long enough to allow the growth to permeate us; when in Joy we often are simply caught up in the wonder and beauty of it and neglect to utilize that time as well to grow and learn. It is a very human trait, then, to require conflict in order to grow.

That is not to say that conflict is desirable, simply that from it springs much to build a lifetime of evolution and growth.

While separation is part of the design of human evolution and growth, it certainly is not the natural state from whence we came, and often we feel a longing to return to that state of utter connectedness yet fee we have lost the way to get there.

It is one thing to say and acknowledge, “I am One with you, we are all One,” and it is quite another thing to hold that belief inside us, in our hearts and even down to a cellular level. How, then, to get there? How can we hold that knowingness inside us, so that it may be present to comfort us, to guide us, to allow us to remain connected with all that we are?

It is really quite simple.

All you need to do is to allow the connection.

“Allow the connection”? What does that mean, in real terms?

It means stepping into that place rather than forcing your way in. It means holding the idea of being connected to source at all times, holding it within you as a real possibility. It means, also, letting yourself deserve that reconnection.

Let’s talk for a moment about what we deserve. We all are here on this planet on a level playing field, meaning that we all, since we are of course connected and part of the One, deserving of the same experiences, the same opportunities. You likely believe this on various levels pertaining to human rights, civil rights, and the like. We are One. But going to you, yourself, thinking about only yourself, do you give yourself the same opportunities for joy and happiness that you allow for others? Or do you see yourself as perhaps having to work a little harder, a little longer, for the same growth that you fully believe others are deserving of?

Do you really believe that you deserve to be connected to your inner source?

If you are human, then you are deserving of the human experience. Period. And allowing a reconnection to our source is certainly and most positively part of the human experience.

Again, then, allowing the connection to Source means letting go of who you think you are and letting in all the myriad magical possibilities of who you could be. For all those possibilities are also You. You are far larger than you perceive. In fact, you are not only who you think you are and the millions of imagined possibilities of who you are, but you are also all the yous that ever have been, all the yous who ever existed in your imagination or otherwise, throughout your entire life. All those possibilities, whether real or imagined, are all a part of the larger You that is. And when you acknowledge all those possibilities, acknowledge your Self in all its grand bigness and perfection, you allow connection to Source, for it is through the You that is that your connection exists.

It is through the You That Is that your connection to your Source exists.

And it is by allowing and acknowledging all your myriad possibilities, tens of thousands upon millions of them, that you regain your connection to the One that is you.

30 09, 2007

Being present with emotions

September 30th, 2007|allowing, emotions, wholeness|3 Comments

Emotions are somewhat of a problem for the vast majority of people in this culture. They can be very pleasurable in the initial rush of love in relationships or in successes in sports and the workplace, but for the most part ‘painful’ or ‘messy’ emotions are thought of as something to avoid or fix. Many, many people have gone to counseling because at the root they see their emotions as a problem and thus think they have issues to resolve.

I personally love emotions. I love them for the huge gift of perceptions they bring, being a measure of dynamics happening externally. I love them for the self-knowledge they bring. But most of all I love them because inviting them in, fully, in their totality, brings such a vivid sense of aliveness that is not possible without them.

Simply put, there are no â??˜problems’ with any emotions. The only problem is our own judgment, the perception of separation that divides parts of ourselves into â??˜good’ and â??˜bad’. This categorization has a strong influence in every experience of emotion.

I’ve written before about related topics, so for further reference you can look at The Allowing of Pain and Negativity and a table of emotions.

To look in detail at something, let’s look on a basic personal characteristic that is treated with suspicion and often repressed: the quality of aggression. It is recognized, truthfully so, that aggression can cause conflicts, crossing of boundaries, and a fundamental lack of listening. And yet this is only one aspect of aggression, an aspect fundamentally based in the perception of differences and separation. Someone mired in this state views others as unconnected to themselves, and therefore an enemy. This is always accompanied by a deep division in the self, where there is some denial of huge swaths of one’s being. Although this is all too common, it is actually not a natural state. Looking into nature and its purity, it is easy to find examples which are not based at all in separateness, but rather of following the natural way each creature is meant to be. Spending time watching tigers or black panthers in the wild gives a wonderful example of this. Their aggression is a thing of beauty, and harmonious.

My totem animal!

 

Within people, when aggression is allowed to its full fruition – without any perception of separateness – there is never any possibility for war because there is no one ‘out there’ to make war with. Perhaps a better word for the state is dynamism. Dynamism is itself part of the spectrum of aggression, a great expansion of energy which includes and brings others together for a purpose. It inspires and provides a basis for positive change in the world.? Dynamism includes all the aspects of aggression mentioned above, but is not at all based in conflict, so the same energy that is used for conflict in one case is used for creation and beauty. 

?A wonderful example of this state is the spiritual teacher Krishnamurthi. There was a strong outward force around him which was joyful to be around, much like watching a panther in the wild.

All emotions â???? and personal characteristics – have this dichotomy. When blocked and based in the division of right and wrong, ‘me’ and ‘not me’, any emotion can create conflict. When fully allowed to the degree where there is no control and no judgment, there is a transforming that occurs to move us into the potential of the experience of that emotion. This will always be a movement towards love of self and others. Allowing always creates a space for this transformation and movement. All too often, there is a desire to take action to transform emotions into something â??˜better’. At its roots this is a non-acceptance of emotions as they are occurring in the present moment. Any action based on non-acceptance is likely to perpetuate that state.

Saying ‘we are complete and perfect just as we are’ is not an empty statement, nor is it based in a positivity that is about avoiding focusing on ‘negative things’ – though it has often been used for this purpose. It is a statement of fact. As we learn greater experience of allowing, we also gain more direct experience of this completeness. And thus, joy begins to be a regular occurrence.

23 09, 2007

the prison of emotional denial

September 23rd, 2007|emotions, love, pain, relationships, wholeness|12 Comments

These last two weeks I’ve been witness to a few rather emotional discussions. Which is not at all unusual for me. However, in these weeks I’ve also been seeing how much push there is to suppress emotion in them – even for discussions of an inherently emotional nature. This kind of reaction seems to be pervasive in our culture. As a society, we’re extremely uncomfortable with emotion, and this shows up in a lack of appreciation of simply allowing it. To take an example, say there’s a conflict between two people you know and like. There are no ‘easy’ solutions in such a situation. Both of them usually have valid perspectives, which are linked to their own emotions, who they are, and their own boundaries. It’s easy to get alienated from such situations because there’s no ‘right’ answer, no “good side”, and it’s easy to feel trapped between the opposing forces. Aligning yourself with one side usually generates more problems. Emotions, therefore, are something best to avoid. At least so many thoughts go.

If we look deeply at the mechanism of suppressing emotions, it’s easy to see why. Who we are, which includes emotions, is actually extremely flexible â???? we can do almost anything we want to ourselves. We can develop ourselves to be almost anything desired, but we can also push emotions, memories, and thoughts away from sight and try to squish them into nothingness. Our training in this culture involving doing such things almost from day one. However â???? and this is the root of almost all ‘problems’ â???? we cannot truly disconnect ourselves from ourselves. There is no way to cut off and discard any disliked portion of ourselves. There is truly no escape from who we are. We can try to surgically disconnect a painful emotion, and we get a reasonable facsimile of this disconnection. But it will not be a true disconnect. Any emotion we’ve tried to shove away is always there, waiting to come back, and in fact pulling on us in every moment.

For the visually minded, I liken this process to a great white elastic band. We can stuff part of ourselves in a box, bury it, and walk away, but we’ll have that ‘pull’ from it. It will exert pressure on us in every single moment, bringing attention to it. The farther we push it away, the more pull there will be. This is why the elastic band image helps. This pull isn’t a harsh ‘you must deal with it’ one, but rather a force of nature that simply wants us to be in wholeness, bringing us back to our greater Self. This elastic can be influenced by others, too â???? if someone else walks through the area of the denied connection, what occurs is the elastic force snapping back, similar to a real elastic band. This is another description of what ‘triggering’ is.

Now in almost everyone there is not just one such pocket of emotion buried and abandoned, but multitudes. Each one exerts this pull back. Try to imagine how that would feel with real elastic bands. Because of the constant pull in many conflicting directions, there’s very little freedom to move in any direction. A little movement can be made, but even small can movements pull against hidden emotion which will then pull back, producing an emotional reaction in response. This can generates fear of any emotional movement at all. Most people are quite literally trapped in a static place by buried emotions. In such a place, life is filled with emotional minefields and geysers waiting to erupt. Words must be watched and controlled in every moment. Walls and wired fences mark off areas where unwanted emotions lie fallow.

inside a prison

Now imagine on top of this picture that you are close with someone else, who also has a huge amount of buried emotions. It would be very easy to get a reaction in that person if you tried to move through any of their “elastic bands”. So in most relationships, there is a general, unspoken agreement for both parties to act in such a way that no one will be triggered. The initial rush of being ‘in love’ at the beginning is usually the time such agreements are formed. It’s quite natural, of course; being triggered is not enjoyable to anyone, and it is normal to demonstrate you’re not going to trigger pain to someone you love. However, this restricts motion even further. After some time, there’s often a realization of how emotionally static such a posture is. This is when relationship questioning happens. It can either lead to greater freedom if both sides are open to questioning or to the end of a relationship if one person blames the other for opening up emotional cans of worms. There was an unspoken agreement, after all!

These unspoken agreements are actually pervasive in all aspects of our society. Social groups often have a number of these. To see this, try to imagine you showing the raw spectrum of an intense emotion without filtering (and without blaming others) to a group you’re part of. If you feel that this would cause a lot of alienation, or you simply cannot even imagine it, that is a sign of unspoken agreements. In such cases, someone not acting in accord with these agreements are the vast majority of the time thought of as ‘the problem’. To someone in a prison, those outside of it can indeed be a problem! Unfortunately, the label of ‘the problem’ sticks far too often to anyone with even a little self-doubt, encouraging further denial of emotions. And thus the cycle continues

The road less travelled, of course, is simply to not push away any emotion that occurs. This applies to both emotions within and emotions in others. Without the network of opposing forces described above, an incredible amount of freedom begins to take root. There are no longer any self-created chains rooting you to a particular emotional landscape. At first this is terrifying, but as the infinite amount of choices now available are gotten used to, the dance of freedom truly begins.

Of course, it takes a good deal of time to reincorporate denied aspects of ourselves back into the fold. Try to imagine trying to rush this process and having many of these elastic forces snap back all at once! It takes gentleness and patience. Nevertheless, each part of Self allowed back into a space of wholeness always adds to your sense of freedom, and brings a greater strength for any further challenges. This is the path of wholeness. When the freedom and joy of this is seen, then there is no need to even try for disconnections from Self. For we are complete, just as we are.

22 09, 2007

The beauty of gray

September 22nd, 2007|allowing, beauty, black and white thinking, love, positivity, wholeness|6 Comments

Recently it’s hit home just how pervasive black and white thinking is.?It’s fairly intrinsic to the American culture, so attitudes like the following list can be accepted without a second thought, or reacted to instantly:

  • “You’re either for me or against me”
  • “If you saying someone is wonderful, that’s fine, but bringing up mistakes made is blaming and should be stopped.”
  • “I’m through be controlled by my fear!?I won’t listen to it any more!

The latter two are less obvious than the first one, so let’s look at them.?In the bringing up of mistakes, there are an infinite number of ways this can be done.?It can certainly done out of blaming and desire to punish.?It can also be done out of a sincere desire to help others via gentle teaching, much like we naturally do with children.?It can be done simply as a desire to bring people together, for walking on tiptoes around issues in order to be “positive” usually drives a group apart in time.?It is sincerity and goodwill that brings people together, and there are myriad ways this can be expressed – sometimes in ways that may result initially in conflict.

For the last example, there’s an assumption that fear is simply an enemy to overcome, all in one step.?Of course, our fears are usually not as simple as being afraid of heights.?They pervade our entire perception.?The humor in this is that rarely does someone proclaim overcoming fear except when they are motivated by fear.?”I’m afraid of fear, so I’ll make war on it!” might be that reasoning brought to light!

Bringing up the concept of fear is of course intentional, because it is central to black and white thinking.?There’s always a core of it in that thought process.?Within the desire to go to extremes, there is a universe avoided in the remaining spectrum of life, which clearly has infinitely more colors than just two.?Even in the spectrum of gray there can be a swirling of colors, so to speak, and a great beauty.?There’s little beauty in a black and white world; it’s a harsh world of enemies and allies in a constant battle.

?

reaching

Everyone is affected by fear.?I too am affected by it on a daily basis.?And yet, by allowing myself to experience fears, without refusing them or trying to get them to end, I’m finding more and more there’s a perfect completeness in that.?Fear helps me.?It’s meant to bring awareness to threats, to pains, to issues needed to be resolved, and that’s what it does if it’s allowed to.?It’s not necessarily pleasant, but there is a great feeling of aliveness when I fully invite and surrender to it.

There is no one on Earth that has no lessons to learn, that never makes mistakes.?There is also no one who makes nothing but mistakes.?(Yes, that includes George Bush!)?We each have a limited perception, and acknowledging that is loving, because it allows the full totality of someone, warts and all.?It’s wise to be aware of potentials, for there’s always room for growths, but focusing entirely on them and not being present (and thus allowing) with the here and now is a form of cutoff and division.?

Though I rarely make reference to the Bible, one section I like (and usually find in a different interpretation than my own) is the part on Adam and Eve eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.?Most people overlook that description of the tree – the awareness of good and evil.?To me, that simply speaks that it is the splitting of our perception into “Good” and “Bad”, “Black” and “White” that takes us away from “Eden“.?Letting go of judgments and filters, and simply allowing whatever occurs without labels instantly brings us back to that state of primordial innocence.