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A Guided Practice to Connect with Our Deep, Inner Bein...

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When we attune to ourselves as fundamental consciousness, we find that this pervasive space is not empty in the sense of void. Even though it is experienced as stillness, it is lively, luminous stillness.

In my method, the Realization Process, I attempt to avoid metaphysical assertions about what fundamental consciousness actually is or what qualities it actually possesses. However, an important part of the Realization Process, for both healing from trauma and for spiritual awakening, is to attune to specific qualities that appear to be inherent in this lively pervasive space. These qualities, which we can attune to pervading everywhere, are experienced as the fundamental qualities of our own being. In this work, we name these qualities: awareness, emotion, and physical sensation. Attuning to these three qualities can help us feel whole within ourselves and unified with our surroundings.

Before we go further, by “quality,” I mean the “feel” of our experience. A distinguishing characteristic of a quality is that it cannot be translated into a direct description of the experience. For example, the quality of love, exactly how it feels, cannot really be conveyed to someone who has not experienced it. We can talk about the experience—we can say that love is warm or that it causes us to want to connect with someone that we feel this toward, but we cannot put into words the exact experience of love itself. In the same way, we cannot convey, to someone who has not experienced it, the color red, the taste of vanilla, or the sensation of coldness. This is true for all of the many qualities that make up our experience, including the unchanging qualities of fundamental consciousness.

We attune to each quality through a different section of our body. We attune to the ground of awareness in, around, and above our head. By awareness, I mean that part of the ground within which perceptions and thoughts occur. We attune to the ground of emotion in the mid-third of our body—our chest and midsection. By emotion, I mean that part of the ground within which emotions, such as grief, anger, and joy, occur. We attune to physical sensation through the bottom third of our body—our lower torso, legs, and feet. By physical sensation, I mean that part of the ground in which physical sensations such as heat and sexual pleasure occur.

We need to be attuned to all three qualities of fundamental consciousness in order to reach our most subtle and most complete experience of ourselves and the world around us. The blend of awareness, emotion, and physical sensation pervading everywhere helps us attune to and resonate with the awareness, emotion, and physical sensation in other people and in all of nature.

PRACTICE: Attuning to Fundamental Consciousness

Sit upright with your feet on the floor. Keep your eyes open.

Feel that you are inside your whole body at once. Find the space outside your body, the space in the room. Experience that the space inside and outside your body is the same, continuous space. It pervades you. Experience that the space pervading your own body also pervades your whole environment. Do not move from within your body to do this: attune to the space that seems to already be there, pervading you and your environment.

Attune to the quality of awareness. This means becoming aware of your awareness. Attune to awareness around, within, and way above your head. Experience the quality of awareness pervading your whole body so that it feels like you are made of the quality of awareness. Experience the quality of awareness pervading your whole body and environment at the same time.

Attune to the quality of emotion. Sense the quality of emotion in the middle of your body: your chest and gut. Experience the quality of emotion pervading your whole body so that it feels like you are made of the quality of emotion. This is not a specific emotion; it is the subtle ground of emotion. Experience the quality of emotion pervading your whole body and environment at the same time.

Attune to the quality of physical sensation. Come down into the bottom of your torso, legs, and feet to attune to the quality of physical sensation. Experience the quality of physical sensation pervading your whole body so that it feels like you are made of the quality of physical sensation. Again, this is not a specific physical sensation; it is the subtle ground of physical sensation. Experience the quality of physical sensation pervading your whole body and environment at the same time.

Now experience the quality of physical sensation pervading your whole body and environment and the quality of awareness pervading your whole body and environment at the same time. Add the quality of emotion pervading your whole body and environment. At this point, the qualities blend together; they become indistinguishable from each other.

Sit for a moment in this rich field of awareness, emotion, and physical sensation, pervading your body and environment.

This is an adapted excerpt from Trauma and the Unbound Body: The Healing Power of Fundamental Consciousness by Judith Blackstone, PhD.

A Guided Practice to Connect with Our Deep, Inner Being Blog - Judith Blackstone

Judith Blackstone, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychotherapist in New York and an innovative teacher in contemporary spirituality. Her published works include the books Belonging Here, The Enlightenment Process, The Empathic Ground, and The Intimate Life, as well as the audio learning course The Realization Process.

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If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is ...

If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is “thank you,” that would suffice. -Meister Eckhart

We are quite sure that tomorrow will come, that the most sacred in-breath and out-breath will be there, that grace will take shape as the sun falling into the ocean, that the love that animates this body will continue to take form in such a rare way. But some part of us knows that it is really so fragile here, so precarious, so extraordinary, that this life is not what we think, and that it will be returned to love very soon. It is too much, though, to let this in all the way, as we know that do so would change everything.

We really are on borrowed time, a loan of grace directly from the cells of the heart of the beloved. Yet we know that she will be asking for this unbearably precious gift to be returned soon, so that she may recycle the uniqueness that you are and swirl it out through this and all universes. She will paint the stars in the sky with the essence of what you are, with the signature of your unique soul, and with each and every light strand of your DNA. She will take every word of sweetness that you have ever uttered, every act of kindness you have ever performed, every moment of humility and longing in your heart, and use it to touch sentient life everywhere. And what you are will then pour through every shooting star that will ever fall through the sky again, into eternity; the dust of the stars and the dust of your heart weaved back into one substance.

So let us take just a moment and say thank you, and to get real clear about what it is we are ready to give, what is really and truly most important, and what is falling away.

borrowedtime

Is What You Seek Actually Already Here?

 

As we let go into the current of truth, it gains momentum, and an increasingly intimate inner dialogue unfolds between our conditioned mind and our unconditioned nature. If you want to cooperate with this process (which I assume you do), it is important to honestly examine your motives.

 

MEDITATIVE INQUIRY

What Do You Really Want?

 

Find a quiet, comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Let your attention settle down and in, resting in the heart area. When you are ready, ask yourself: “What is it that I really want?” Let the question go. Don’t go to your mind for an answer. Just wait, listen, sense, and feel. The response may come first as a sensation or as an image before it becomes a word. Or it may come first as a word or phrase.

 

Whatever comes, check for inner resonance. Does it ring true for you? Something usually lights up, enlivens, releases, or opens up in the body if you have touched an important inner truth.

 

***

 

It is crucial to be honest with yourself. Usually we have mixed motives. I certainly did. Even as I was highly interested in discovering what is true, I was also looking for approval from others and wanting to survive. Social acceptance and physical safety are fundamental, closely intertwined desires, and we often need to play them out until we see through them. This usually takes time.  

 

If you believe that your happiness depends upon finding the right partner or career, or upon accumulating wealth or power, you may need to explore these options in order to discover their limitations. Conceptual insight—knowing that happiness does not depend upon circumstances—is rarely enough. Your life experience is a vital curriculum, and there will be a number of opportunities to experience its fierce grace.

 

You may be able to speed up this process by asking yourself what you imagine you will gain if you acquire the objects or meet the goals you are seeking. As a thought experiment, complete some of the following sentences that resonate for you:  

 

If I find the right partner, I will feel _________.

 

If I have children or grandchildren, I will experience _________.

 

If I have enough good friends or belong to the right community, I will feel _________.

 

If I have the right job or career, I will be _________.

 

If I have enough money and own a home and nice car, I will be _________.

 

If I have better health, I will _________.

 

If I eat enough delicious food, have great sex, travel to enough interesting and exotic places, and work hard enough, I will finally _________.

 

If I am at the right place at the right time in the future, I will _________.

 

If I discover my soul’s purpose, I will _________.

 

Then ask yourself: 

 

Is it true that what I seek is not already here?

 

If you let your heart wisdom answer, this last question can be a mindbender. The strategic mind will be stunned. If you trust your heart’s answer and act on it, you will master life’s curriculum much more quickly, avoiding some of its remedial dead ends.

 

As intention clarifies, attention focuses.  

 

Of course, we can gain some degree of transient satisfaction if the above if-then statements are fulfilled, but there will always be an underlying sense of dissatisfaction until the Deep Heart is consciously recognized. My teacher Jean Klein often observed that “the object never fulfills its promise.” Certainly not for long. Have you noticed that once we attain an object or reach a goal, the hunt is soon on again? Although part of us enjoys the drama of the chase, it is the respite from the search that we most want—the true homecoming.

 

Once we discover an underlying wholeness in the depths of our being, the relationship to desire changes. We are much less attached to getting what we want and much more grateful for what we have. It is a path of natural contentment rather than willful renunciation. An inner sense of fullness arises that is increasingly independent of circumstances, and we feel happy for no particular reason.  

 

Journey into the depths of your own heart with Dr. John J. Prendergast’s guide, The Deep Heart: Our Portal to Presence.

John J. Prendergast, PhD, is a spiritual teacher, author, psychotherapist, and retired adjunct professor of psychology who now offers residential and online retreats. For more, please visit listeningfromsilence.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Ways to be in Financial Integrity this Holiday Seaso...

3 Ways to be in Financial Integrity this Holiday SeasonIn the whirlwind of holiday parties, gift-giving, and cooking, you can lose your grip on financial integrity faster than slipping on ice. But, your integrity is essential to your happiness and your self-worth. Here are a few easy ways to regain your center and empower your choices to give from your heart instead of your wallet.

Treasure Connectivity

When your presence is truly a gift to others, you won’t find yourself needing to overspend. Practice loving presence with the little interactions you have through the day. Slow down. Listen more. Smile more. Appreciate the uniqueness of the person in front of you. When you treasure connectivity, you won’t find yourself spending money on things that aren’t in alignment with your values.

Affirm Your Unique Values & Convictions

Speaking of aligning to your values … what are YOUR values? What do you value about the holidays? About gifting? About receiving? About money? Take a minute and write down your values and your convictions about the holidays. Read your convictions before bed, and upon arising. You’ll be more likely to live up to your convictions with money. And when you don’t, you’ll be very clear exactly what value you violated. When that happens, stop. Notice. Course correct.

Gift from Your Values

Whether you’re baking cookies or filling stockings, make each an act in alignment with your convictions. At first you may be aware of how your extended family or friends have different trends, values, or convictions. That’s ok. Notice. And be YOU. Be in your integrity. Make your people paleo gingersnaps or whatever you find nourishing and delightful. Tell your people why you gift how you gift. They love you for being you. And you being you will help them find their own financial integrity.

Cate StillmanCate Stillman has been teaching audiences how to create health and wellness through yoga and Ayurveda since 2001. She is the author of Body Thrive, and hosts the Yogahealer Real Thrive Show, a weekly podcast featuring dozens of experts in the field. She splits her time between the Idaho border country and Mexico.

A Meditation + Writing Exercise to Conquer Your Fear

A meditation + writing exercise to conquer your fear, banner

To prepare for the dog days of summer, we move from amusement to audacity. Being a dog owner and lover, I particularly enjoy the expression “dog days.” I always picture a pile of lazy dogs panting away in the shade of a chestnut tree, waiting out the heat of the day to go for an evening walk. Venturing into the heat of creative and spiritual practice takes courage; it is an audacious undertaking.

This July, I invite you to take on a “BHAG”—a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal. Write forth your truth and wake up to expanded awareness in the process. Whether that means starting a journal or writing a poem, novel, memoir, or letter to your grandmother, audacity will drive you forward. I want you to commit here and now to do your best in any given moment. Move forward with your best intentions of creativity and spiritual awakening at heart. This combined meditation and writing practice will help you get there.

A Meditation on Audacity

Let’s begin with where we are—in a grounded and courageous place, fully embodied. Find your comfortable place to sit. Rest your hands easily in your lap and your feet flat on the ground or cushion. Gently close your eyes. Take a few breaths inward and release. Find that natural rhythm of your breathing, connecting with your breathing body. Tune into your immediate sensory experience, just noticing what your experience is right in this moment. Let your breath be your anchor and ground.

See if you can bring to mind a particularly scary or vulnerable situation. Think of one in which you recently felt exposed, sensitive, even fearful; not one in which you were in a dangerous situation, but a memory of you putting yourself out there in some way—confronting someone, speaking to a group, asking someone new out on a date. As memories of the situation come to you, breathe deeply into your belly and know that you are safe now, breathing here in this moment in this body. If you need to, you can open your eyes, but try to remain grounded in your breathing body. Notice the rush of sensations and allow whatever arises to arise with love, patience, and compassion. Be gentle with yourself and remember that you are safe. See if you can stay with the feelings and simply explore how your fear or discomfort exists as a bodily sensation.

Notice where in your body you feel them. Breathe nurturing air into those places. Allow yourself to become familiar with the sensations of fear and vulnerability without the need to disconnect, distract, or avoid altogether. Be patient and kind with yourself as the emotions and feelings stream through. Gently note any physical changes: increased body heat, increased heart rate, tingling in your arms, increased sweating, and so on. Notice how the sensations linger, change, and dissipate. Become curious and open while kindly grounding yourself in the breath.

Put both hands on your heart, left on top of right, and take a deep breath. Say to yourself, “May I be well, may I be at peace, may I be bathed in the light of lovingkindness and compassion right now.” Take another deep breath, exhale, and release your hands. Bring them back together, palm to palm, at your heart and bow to yourself in gratitude for your courage and love. Open your eyes to complete the meditation.

You might try this meditation for five minutes at first and then extend it as you feel more audacious and courageous. The more you allow the feelings to arise and exist, the more familiar you will become with them. In turn, you will be better able to let them go and dissipate and see them for what they are—waves of energy and information arising and passing away.

Now for the writing . . . Write down three things you can do in the next month that scare you. They don’t have to be drastic acts such as speaking in front of 400 people. How about just sitting down to write that first scene of your novel? Typing up your first few poems? That can be scary enough. And these frightening endeavors don’t have to be related to writing. Maybe it’s a little terrifying to sit in meditation with your eyes closed for more than five minutes. Check in with yourself and see what’s a little scary for you—where can you push yourself a little further? Book a trip overseas, sign up for a rock-climbing adventure, agree to read at your local open mic. Keep in mind that you don’t have to actually do these things right now. Simply start by writing them down and sitting in their presence for a bit. Then you can take action to feel your fear and do it anyway!

This excerpt has been shortened and adapted from Writing as a Path to Awakening: A Year to Becoming an Excellent Writer and Living an Awakened Life.

A Meditation + Writing Exercise to Conquer Your Fear, Albert Flynn DeSilver

 

 

ALBERT FLYNN DESILVER is an internationally published poet, memoirist, novelist, speaker, and workshop leader. He has published several books of poetry, Beamish Boy, and his newest book, Writing as a Path to Awakening. He teaches at the Omega Institute, Esalen, Spirit Rock, and writing conferences nationally. He lives in Northern California. For more, visit albertflynndesilver.com.

 

 

 

A Meditation + Writing Exercise to Conquer Your Fear, Writing as a Path to Awakening, Albert Flynn DeSilver

 

 

Buy your copy of Writing as a Path to Awakening: A Year to Becoming an Excellent Writer and Living an Awakened Life at your favorite bookseller!

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Singing Bowl Meditation Sounds True Spotify Playlist

Sounds True is on Spotify!

Need some tunes for rest and relaxation? Check out our Singing Bowl Meditation Playlist! A variety of artists who make a soothing mix of infinite rhythms using Tibetan singing bowls. Perfect throughout a meditative practice.

 

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