It is the Autumnal Equinox, officially at 1:20 CST today.
This is a time of balance. It is also a time of letting go as we move from the warm activity of the summer into the period of hibernation of winter. Our spirit which has been out in the ethers and astral realm, will now begin to recede, to come back into itself. It will bring with it all it has learned, and perhaps more than you desire it to bring.
Don't worry, now is the time to let go of all that is not serving you anymore. I have been working the program of codependency for almost 6 years now, and as it states in the promises, I have seen a miraculous change in my life and my relationship. However, there are some old behaviors I still seem to repeat, almost without knowing. I seek validation from others, especially my partner, when truly it is un-necessary. So I made the decision not to do it any more. How freeing.
Besides being the Fall Equinox, it is also a full moon. So set your intention today to let go of something you no longer need. Let it fall away from you like the leaves falling from the tree. You no longer need it, and as you let go of the old, know that you are making space for something new and wonderful to enter.
We are supposed to be exploring the Astral realm together this month, but somehow that aspect of our Consciousness Explorations programming got lost in the ethers. That seems to happen often with creative ideas if they don't have the right attention.
I have many creative friends and I have shared with them the struggle of getting things done and out into the world. Creativity is such an expansive and elusive thing. Creative ideas come so quickly, like a flash of inspiration, and then can leave us just as quickly if we don't take the effort to anchor them into existence. This is where Inspired Action is so important.
I have had over the past month, dozens of ideas for posts on the website, and yet I have only posted about 5 times. Some of those were just necessary or practical posts, designed to get information out. Maybe 3 of them, including this one, have been more inspired by the realm of ideas.
Having been sick with a nasty cold the past week, I have been isolating at home, and after getting bored with Lifetime movies, I have done a bit of creating. This act of moving an idea from the space of pure consciousness into a physical manifestation or representation of the idea is a powerful process. It feels to me much like the process of channeling, getting out of the way, or "moving aside", as in the way Lee Carroll describes as his process for communicating with Kryon.
What allows us to be able to stand in that space of inspiration, and not just receive these beautiful ideas, but to let them come through us onto the page, or canvas, or out into the world. How can we anchor all of this incredible insight, and learn how to become channels for our highest ideals as they express themselves first in that space of pure potential, in that collective consciousness, in the creative idea space.
So our course Aligning with Your Divine Blueprint has not been such a great success, it has faded off like so many good ideas. The truth is, the idea is still there, it is moving it into action that has faltered. Why did it falter? It didn't have participants to give it energy.
A lot of artists like to say they are just doing their art for themselves, but creativity is more than simple self-expression. Creativity lies in all that we do. We create our lives and the world around us through creativity. I can't imagine something more important in the world than to try to understand the process of creativity and to apply it to our lives and our world to create the world we want to see.
Come and join us on Saturday September 11th, where we can meet this day of destruction with an act of creativity. Come sing with us from 1 to 3PM at the Community House, 2223 N. Sheridan Rd.
Also I will share one of the songs I wrote while sick. It came out whole and complete on the first try, with only one line being altered. Sure it is short and simple, but sometimes those are the best ones.
So here you go!
If I can sing in my cold voice so can you!!! Don't be scared, just sing!
Also just for some context, it has been just over a year I have picked up ukulele, before that I had never touched a ukulele or guitar. Here is a song written about a year ago when I had one month of practice on the Ukulele.
Use this as a reference. See Old Dogs can learn New Tricks. Woof Woof.
You can start to sing and be creative at any age.
We have been listening to the Power of Now during our meditations this past week, and it has created a great sense of stillness in the practice. Probably, Eckhart Tolle's voice has something to do with it, but the reminder of the power of presence and stillness awakens that state within.
I encourage you to listen and begin your own practice. Or come and join us Monday, Tuesday or Thursday at 11:11 AM.
It particularly interested me the section he shared about creativity, as it aligns with my own views and personal experience.
45:00 - starts this thread of thought...
"Thinking and consciousness are not synonymous. Thinking is only a small aspect of consciousness. Thought cannot exist without consciousness, but consciousness does not need thought. "
"Enlightenment means rising above thought, not dropping below thought at the level of an animal or plant. In the enlightened state you still use your thinking mind when needed, but in a more focused form..."
" When you do use your mind, particularly when a creative solution is needed, you oscillate every few moments between thought and stillness, between mind and no mind."
"No mind is consciousness without thought. Only in that way is it possible to think creatively, because only in that way does thought have any real power."
"Thought alone, when it is no longer connected with the vast realm of consciousness, becomes barren, insane, destructive..."
"The mind is not at all creative. All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from the place of No Mind, from inner stillness."
"The mind gives form to the creative impulse or insight."
"Even the great scientists have reported that their creative break-throughs came at a time of mental quietude. A surprising result of a nationwide enquiry among America's most imminent mathematicians, including Einstein, to find out their working methods, was that thinking only plays subordinate part in the brief decisive phase of the creative act itself. So I would say that the simple reason that the majority of scientists aren't creative is not because they don't know how to think, but that they don't know how to stop thinking."
If you enjoy creating, or want to engage in creative play, please join us as we create music together the Second Saturday's 1:00 to 3:00PM.
We are starting into exploring the etheric body. This recognizes the energy flow within and around me. However, I am struggling with some physical aspects of my being that are demanding my attention. I have held a great deal of tension in my right shoulder, and in starting to work with my physical body with more awareness, it has now become awakened. No amount of massage ever was able to awaken this frozen position of tension. No forcing of the muscle would work. Rather what did cause it to awaken was the work of Thomas Hannah's Somatics practitioners. This simple practice of noticing the connection between the spine and the shoulder girdle has brought to my attention all of the frozen positioning. You can check out the class here.
It makes me think a bit of Wilhelm Reich and his concept of body armour or character armour. i do feel that this frozen tension reflects some emotional defenses. Look for his definition of this concept here. Maybe, this reflect a type of trapped emotion (as detailed by Bradley Nelson) Reich was a contemporary of Freud, and why Freud received so much more attention than the brilliant insights of Reich is beyond me. His conecpt of body armour draws us into such an important awareness between the body and emotions. Now we have ample research in this area from people like Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps The Score), or Peter Levine (Healing Trauma: Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body). There is so much to be understood in mind-body research. And exploring this in our own selves can lead to incredible insights and healing experiences.
In these days of being in our mind, and almost disconnected to our physical being, and in some cases physical world as we spend more and more time in virtual reality, I wonder if we wouldn't benefit as a whole spending an entire year learning to be more present in our body and the physical world.
Nonetheless, I do see a connection between this stuck energy in my physical body and the energetic nature of the etheric. I think I just need to go out and lie in the grass for a while.
As I follow the step by step journey of coming back into connection with my body, both physical and energetic, I connect more deeply with something more true. I develop a greater our awareness of myself and of my true nature.
It is August and we are starting the journey into the awareness of the etheric plane. Of the subtle energy bodies, the etheric is closest to the physical. We can feel this as the aura of others, and it is a dominant part of plant energy. Many of us are unaware of the etheric plane. Even if we are unaware consciously, it is affecting us. To become intentionally aware of our energy at the etheric level is the goal of this months practices.
I have some favorites when it comes to becoming aware of the etheric body, or what I would call the invisible physical, or energy body. Awareness Through the Body, is one, and Eurhythmy is another. Both of these practices have exercises to draw our awareness to the way in which our energy extends beyond the body, and to begin to notice that energy.
We are swimming in a soup of energy, and our energy body is participating in and responding to this soup. To become aware of this can have profound effects on our lives. When I am aware of how my energy is responding to different situations, I can use that information to help me make sound decisions on what I need to do next. If I am feeling drained, it is probably not the time to make life-altering decisions. Likewise, when I am feeling energized, I can notice the surroundings. Perhaps there is something or someone I am with that resonates with my higher self.
One exercise that I found particularly interesting, was given to me by an energy healer, Mark Earlix. The practice was simple. I was to go about the house, or outdoors, or in public, sensing the energy of the objects all around me. I had some interesting results in doing this. Notice the boundaries of where you sense energy in both living and non-living things. Test out handles, rails, or special and sacred objects. What about spaces? Do you notice different energies in different spaces?
To get this month started, why not give it a try? Be sure to bring a journal with to write down any noticings. Indeed, some of the insights were invaluable.
During our embodied awareness sessions at the Community House we start and end with a breathing exercise. Lately we have been using the 11 minute Wim Hoff technique.
He is a fascinating guy. He speaks clearly to this importance of embodied awareness, or presence here. youtu.be/fC5vyMERa94
He suggests that most of us live our lives being entirely in our thoughts. Hence, we disconnect to those parts of our being and even our brain that are related to emotions and embodied experiences. His realization came after swimming in a frozen pond, and feeling more alive and present than ever before. He went on to repeat the experience and found himself further filled with life energy.
His basic premise fits nicely with what I understand about the brain from my own studies in neuroscience. I had studied the attention systems in the brain, and studied both schizophrenia and attention deficit "disorder". Both of these psychological states of being have terrible issues with focused attention. My research was focused on the biochemistry, and how we can bring people into a focused state through the use of drugs.
In the work in schizophrenia, I looked at the effects of nicotine. My belief is that nicotine actually increases the sensory drive. If you look at the brain, it has multiple states of being. In one state we are dreamy and creative. In another state we are focused on what is right in front of us. In that part of the brain responsible for bringing the sensory input into the conscious part of awareness, there are also different states. One that lets the internal imagination rule, and another that more systematically represents the external world. So nicotine acts to increase the power of the external input.
For those smokers out there, you may have the feeling that nicotine is "grounding".
Wim Hoff talks about the power of his techniques to bring people back into their body, and how this can eliminate depression and help people with trauma. This makes perfect sense. For people who have experienced trauma, there is often the experience of disassociation. The person had developed the ability to disconnect from their physical situation in order to escape into their mind. Autism may be an extreme form of this escape, and schizophrenics are definitely trapped in their own imaginary world.
Breathing or intense sensory experiences help bring the person back in touch with their embodied selves. Notice how autistic children love spicy food, super sour pickles, or strong sensory experiences. I believe they are having difficulty incarnating.
So the importance of connecting to the physical is not really about having a nice body, or even a clean bill of health, these are of course by-products. Rather, connecting to our physical being we enter more deeply into who we are. We activate those deep brain regions and begin to thrive. Our experience of life becomes more powerful, and our will to live a full life grows with each embodied breath.
So give it a try for a week. Start your day out with some Wim Hoff breathing.
Here is the three cycles we have been using. Enjoy!
WIM HOFF BREATHING
I completed my first full 108 Sun Salutations, and was highly energized afterwards. In fact, I had difficulty sleeping for two days following the session. Something that was particularly impactful was the manner in which the practice affected my breathing. I was suddenly conscious of my breath. Not just occasionally conscious, but it seemed constantly conscious. This may seem like a good thing, but truthfully, it made me feel like I was laboring, or forcing my breath.
I was reminded about the connection between breathing and consciousness. I recalled all the beautiful experiential knowledge I gained during my experience at UQAM in Somatics. One of our texts, Bone, Breath, and Gesture, edited by Don Hanlon Johnson, really changed my life (check out his interview on breathing if you like here.)
I pulled the book off my bookshelf again, and the section by Carola Speads particularly spoke to me. Carola has written beautifully on finding the natural breath. She encourages us to first notice how the breath responds to all sorts of life experiences (emotional, or mundane). It is changing constantly. The goal is to come back into the state of natural breathing as quickly as possible.
Before we can move into natural breathing, we have to recognize how and when we are breathing in less beneficial ways (i.e. shallow, rapid, breath holding). So first we develop conscious awareness, then we discover how to move back into the deep natural breath through a process of experimentation.
To proceed Carola first distinguishes between breathing experiments, vs exercises.
"Most physical education systems use exercises to achieve their aims. These involve executing predetermined, fixed sequences of activities. Improvement is expected to be gained by repetition. The more you repeat the exercises, the better, supposedly the result.
"Such a mechanistic approach is futile as far as breathing is concerned...Breathing varies continuously, automatically and perfectly adjusting to our activities, provided we do not interfere. Though we often do interfere with these adjustments, we cannot inhibit these changes altogether...
"Breathing...changes not only with physical activity, but also with every emotional impact...
"We cannot 'make' breathing as we can 'make' a movement. Breathing can only be provoked, coaxed, induced to change on its own. This can be done by certain beneficial stimuli. After providing a stimulus we must try to let the reactions to it develop as freely as possible. These reactions will be involuntary. They happen to us: we cannot make them; we can only try to let them through. This way of working with breath is what is called experimenting."
Here is a quick run down on Carola Speads experimenting breath.
1. Provide a light stimulus
2. Allow the body to respond
3. Wait for the body to respond
4. Notice the response
5. Try the stimulus again
6. This is experimenting not exercising
She also reminded me about how my consciousness is directly attached to my breathing. I particularly notice this in relation to the "pause" I remember playing with this during those years and noticing how my thinking found clarity during the pause. It is pretty fascinating.
All breath work, according to Speads, has to occur in a natural way, there can be no forcing, or that could simply make things worse. But for me, recovery of the natural breath came with the use of a few deep sighs whenever I was feeling tension. Thank you Carola.
As this month's focus on the physical body comes to an end, I invite you to begin to bring awareness to your breath. The connection to consciousness is fascinating and uniquely human. More will certainly be revealed.
I have started the 108 Sun Salutations Challenge and so far I have only gotten up to 54. Mainly because I just feel like that is enough. Please join us at the Community House for our Embodied Awareness sessions at 11:11 Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. We have been listening to Rudolf Steiner's How to Know Higher Worlds while stretching. My favorite part though, is that after the stretching we have spent time sharing our thoughts on the book. It is kind of like an embodied book club!
For those engaging in the 108 Sun Salutations challenge who are wanting a way to keep count that may be more meaningful than simply trying to hold a number in your head, I have adapted the prayer of St Francis of Assisi as utilized in the Meditation on Twin Hearts into 27 phrases. Each phrase should be meditated on for one Sun Salutation cycle.
1. Lord, make me an instrument of your peace (feel yourself an instrument, a clear channel)
2. That where there is darkness (sense any darkness in the world-- feel the desire to change it)
3. Let me sow light (feel yourself a beam of light, light flowing out of each fingertip, from the tip of your toes to the top of your head, you are light)
4. That where there is sadness (feel the sadness of those you love, know it can be taken from them)
5. Let me sow joy (feel the joy of all those miracles in your life)
6. That where there is doubt (feel the way doubt holds us back from standing in our abilities, from living in the world we desire)
7. Let me sow faith (feel yourself and all those around you let go of their doubt and stand as open vessels for God's truth to flow through)
8. That where there is despair (feel the despair, care enough to want to change this)
9. Let me sow hope (know that hope is the start of the process of moving towards the light).
10. May every person, every being be blessed (send blessings to the world, every being large and small, even in the higher and lower worlds)
11. With divine LIGHT (sense the light of knowledge, this is your crown chakra)
12. With divine LOVE (feel your heart chakra opening and blessing the world)
13. With divine POWER (feel your solar plexus chakra filled with power, this is our good action in the world, see yourself and other people doing good things together to make the world a better place).
14. May every person every being be blessed (bless the world).
15. With a better life (see the lives of everyone around you becoming better and better).
16. Lord help me seek not to be consoled (help me to let go of seeking solice, let go of self-pity)
17. As to console (see yourself comforting others).
18. To be loved (see yourself letting go of the desperate need for others affections and attentions, knowing that you are love)
19. As to love (open yourself as a channel of love, as you send love out into the world know you are a channel of God's divine love).
20. To be understood (let go of needing to be right, of needing others to see things your way, of needing others to understand you).
21. As to understand (see yourself listening deeply to others, understanding them, and understanding the whole big picture of our shared purpose).
22. For it is in giving (see yourself giving generously of yourself in all areas of your life)
23. That we receive (see how your giving comes back to you many many times as you become a channel for all that you give, including money. Money flows to and through you to do and bring more goodness into the world * you may focus on your basic chakra here as it is associated with financial and material wellbeing)
24. It is in forgiving (see yourself letting go of old hurts and truly forgiving those who have hurt you knowing we are all here to learn and grow)
25. That we are forgiven (see how your letting go opens up to seeing our connectedness, how we all help each other grow).
26. It is in dying (see the material world for what it is, how it is temporary)
27. We are born into eternal peace (see how the spiritual world is eternal).
This sequence can be performed 4 times in order to complete the 108 Sun Salutations.
Here is a great video from Anita Moorjani.
I have had many spiritual teachers (living and dead) during the past 20 years or so. The internet has allowed me to connect to teachers far and near. First there was Rudolf Steiner, then Master Co, disciple of GMCKS, founder of Pranic Healing, then Jennifer McLean, Debra Wayne, Christof Melchizedek, Matt Mantara and Gene Ang, just to name a few.
Gene comes from a scientific background, like I do. His training in neuroscience provided a grounded approach to his spirituality. Rudolf Steiner was also a scientist and philosopher first, and a spritualist second. In fact Steiner called his approach Spiritual Science.
Consciousness Explorations is intended to allow each of us to explore together the qualities of our conscious experience that show us the nature of reality. We are each scientists on the journey of understanding ourselves. We are scientists doing experiments in our own lives. This view of ourselves and our lives has the effect of taking some of the pressure off. As scientists we are objective, observing the effects of our different approaches. If our approach to life doesn't give us the results we are looking for, we redesign the experiment and try again, always taking note of the effects of each effort.
From Pema Chodron's Book "Becoming Bodhisattvas"
When we approach life as an experiment, we're willing to try it this way and that way because, either way, we have nothing to lose. This immense flexibility is something I learned from the example of Trungpa Rinpoche. His enthusiasm enabled him to accomplish an amazing amount in his life. When some things didn't work out, Rinpoche's attitude was "no big deal." If it's time for something to flourish, it will; if it's not time, it won't.
The trick is not getting caught in hope and fear. We can put our whole heart into whatever we do; but if we freeze our attitude into for or against, we're setting ourselves up for stress. Instead, we could just go forward with curiosity, wondering where this experiment will lead. This kind of open-ended inquisitiveness captures the spirit of enthusiasm, or heroic perseverance.
Well, I am at a crossroads with this coursework. People are so pressured by the demands of life (including myself) that it is difficult to find the time to come together for spiritual practices. It is possible, though, through the internet to make these consciousness exploration "experiments" available for individuals whenever they are able. So in the spirit of treating life as an experiment, If one way isn't working, try another. We can always find ways to meet synchronously again as it feels right. Feeling the path into life's most powerful streams is how to live in alignment with the highest expression of one's self.
So for the next 6 months, the activities for the Aligning with Your Divine Blueprint will be posted online. Our first month's exercise will be to notice our physical being, and our physical surroundings. Then each month we will move our attentions to one of the higher subtle bodies (etheric, astral, mental, causal, divine).
Check out the framework of the course here. This page will then lead you to the exercises for the month. Happy New Moon!
Happy Summer Solstice. Today, Consciousness Explorations will be starting an in person movement and meditation program. This will meet from 11:11 to 12:12 Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. We will be using movements from Thomas Hannah's Somatics, Yin Yoga, and other gentle approaches that work to awaken our senses to the world around us. Hopefully we will have some guest visitors to share their own gifts.
To begin we will do silent stretching while listening to Rudolf Steiner's beautiful text "How to Know Higher Worlds".
I have been feeling rather "crunchy" and it seems that my physical body often reflects my emotional state. That stiffness and lack of fluidity translate so quickly into a kind of irritability in my emotional and mental being as well.
This will also be the kick-start to our next course offering.
Aligning with Your Divine Blueprint.
This offering draws you through a sequential awakening of your different "bodies". Physical, Etheric, Astral, Mental and Causal with the last month focused on the Divine as we will be entering the Holy Days at the end of our time together.
Please do join us for any and all of our upcoming programming.