Wednesday, 14 March 2012

An interview

How might we (or I) experience more connection, oneness with the Universe, with people, objects all things all of the time?

Be still. You are already one with the universe. Shhh! Be quiet and notice. Sit and notice. Behind the facade of our thoughts is a stream of running energy. Beyond that stream of running energy is an even deeper fabric. People ask how to reach this. Be still! Then notice. Then feel. Not in the urgent sense of feeling, of needing to feel something. But become open and drop your preconceptions of what the feeling is like and just feel. Put your foot in the water and see what sensations arise. That is connection in contemplation. But wait! Who says connection must be contemplated? When you look around, noticing the colours is connection. Smelling a flower gives us connection. Greeting the next person you meet with a smile and really seeing them as though for the first time, and not just seeing what we think is there is connection. Listen! Really listen to the wonderful words, the nuances, the tones. When you take focus away from yourself and go into primary sense, that is connection. Connection can be lovely and wonderful, and it can also be turbulent. Connecting is not about repressing thoughts of emotions. It is about letting them be heard, to hear them, to feel them, and to face them for what they are. When you ask a question, listen for the answer. When you feel sorrowful, notice! Feel! Connection with others also begins with connecting with ourselves. It all starts with being honest. This state of connection is about honesty and truth, within and without, always.

What of allowance of all people – as opposed to being in judgement, polarity, fear, resistance, agreement? Are there any ‘tools’ or processes to help?

There are plenty of tools and processes. All of them bring you to presence, to the moment, to the now. All of them ask you to stop taking yourself so seriously for a moment, to stop running the movies about what is so scary, so hateful about the world, to take a look out there. All of them ask you to notice what is in your awareness, then realise that it is what it is, and there is a bigger picture. Allowance is not about tolerance. Tolerance assumes that you are right, but out of your “goodness”, you are “allowing” them to go on. That is not allowing – that is merely putting yourself in a space capsule of even greater conceit to avoid feeling resentful.

Perhaps the question that people miss is why it is so hard to allow. And the answer is us. We do not want to feel vulnerable. In fear, we do not want others to push certain buttons. In anger, we have raised so much energy in a given direction that when the course of our expectations is interrupted we have to express this energy violently, without knowing how to efficiently rechannel it. And between fear and anger, there are all the myriad transformations. Learn about yourself. When you willingly experience truth with an open heart and a humble soul, allowance will follow. Compassion will, too, for when you awaken you cannot help but be compassionate when you see how much torture people put themselves through, all for the sake of ego.

For example if I work with someone who is always irritable or angry how might he encourage me to turn my attention towards the energy of love and self acceptance and not be drawn into this energy?

Firstly, resisting anger or irritation is exactly how to get into trouble with it. If you are going to be angry, be angry! This may not be the response some might expect me to give, but how else can you start being honest with yourself? If you’re mad, you’re mad! Pretending you’re just “put out” or “long-suffering” is just another story. You can’t deal with an emotion you won’t allow yourself to feel. The same goes for fear, by the way. Now notice the anger, and notice where it comes from. Anger is always, in my experience, an interruption of a flow of energies, usually channelled by some subconscious structure of how things should be, or towards a goal. Notice what has been challenged in your personal paradigm. And question that. One might, for example, think a co-worker should not always push work on them. Or that an employer should be more reasonable and not demand extra time. Well, why? And spare yourself the “it’s the right thing to do” reasons. I won’t debate their accuracy with you, but they won’t help you. If you are really interested in liberation, then look at the part of you that wants those reasons to be right. Notice how you cling to them like a baby clings to its safety blanket. Notice how distressed you feel when someone like me dares to tell you to observe and question those thoughts. Begin with honesty, and you will have a good start.

Also, sometimes sensitive people experience other people’s realities deeply inside their own body and it can feel deeply uncomfortable and feel like a bigger challenge to stay happy or at peace in one’s self. What tips to help bring oneself back to my soul, my higher self?

Make the decision not to feel that. Empathy is great, but oversensitivity is useless. There are plenty of visualisations to help yourself with that. The famous white light meditation is one. Has it occurred to anyone that if someone is indeed so sensitive, and so talented at connecting with someone, they could just as easily connect to the universe? Instead of connecting with others’ suffering (which incidentally does that person not one whit of good and doesn’t help you either), connect with the patience of the saints, the joy of children, the compassion of Buddha, the peace of Lao Tzu, the love of Jesus, the benevolence of the universe. If you are good at that, you will become a truly awakened being. Then empathise with people if you so choose, and the light will naturally spill over.

Some communities talk about ET’s and a specific race of ET’s having interferred with our earth and humans – any knowing or opinion on this and is this something we should be afraid of and if not, why not? How can we NOT panic about an unseen force?

I do not claim any knowledge where this subject is concerned. As I connect with the universe, this answer arises: There is nothing mightier than the universe. There is nothing greater than God, and by that I mean the God of your understanding. There is nothing that can be almighty forever. There is nothing that cannot change. This is the nature of existence. The only thing constant is change. To understand all the permutations of the changes possible are likely beyond any single human being. However, to develop the view of the fabric of reality is possible, and very achievable. If you so choose, these realities will respond to your touch, but only when you have a deeper awareness and recognition of it. And to do that, you must first drop the obscurations of the emotions. Note that I did not say to drop the emotions. There’s that honesty thing going on again. Experience whatever is your truth. But instead of trying to hold your head above water, relax into them and see how they feel. Learn to function in them. Then, when you feel ready, you can look past them and get on with your path. When you connect with the view and really know (as in recognise) how everything is a movie, then the movie becomes a lot less scary. Try that if you want the next time you are watching a really scary movie. Notice the screen and let your awareness go onto the fabric, and the surroundings. When you move your awareness away from its involvement with the colourful projections, it becomes a lot less threatening.

What of Fate and Destiny? Do we arrive with a Soul’s purpose and if so why does that idea feel so significant and heavy? What’s true and untrue about this idea?

Lots of masters of various levels are likely going to be upset with me for saying this, but I believe it’s time to put this one to rest. Do you have a fate and destiny? Insofar as you enter the earth experience with certain energetic tendencies, yes. Insofar as energetic patterns will influence your psychology in (usually) predictable patterns (because we human beings make it so easy for the cosmos, being unaware and all), yes. Are you bound by your fate? Nope. If you do some kind of spiritual practice, it usually allows liberation from the dictates of those tendencies. That process is more famously known as purifying karma.

Is there a purpose? In a relative sense, yes. There is a purpose to this lifetime. There is a reason why you’re here. If it feels heavy, it is because you don’t want to pick that up. You might be afraid to fail, perhaps. You want to do it your way, perhaps. You’d just as soon not have someone else tell you what to do, thank you very much. Goodness knows, I empathise! So, yes, you have a purpose, but each lifetime is like diving for pearls. You might get carried away one of these dives by the beauty of the fish, and forget to get the pearl until you come up for air. You know what? Dive again. Or not. There is always choice. The content of our awareness is a reflection of our choices.

That said, nothing is written. From an absolute viewpoint, you have absolutely no purpose. The universe is not so small that it needs us to be this or do that. It contains all the permutations, remember? Do you think the sea cares if a turtle to eat a fish? Fish, turtle, sea. All are one mass. It is just another conversion of energy, another play, another flourish of the pen, another flash in the pan. And once we get over ourselves being offended that “we” the identity means so little, we can find that the whole play is actually rather meaningful. And beautiful. Let’s not forget beautiful.

What about this talk of Acsension? What does it mean and how is it relevant to us?

Ascension is very specific to certain traditions, and they will have specific responses to it. It usually has to do with raising vibrations. I do not specialise in the light body that these traditions have and so cannot comment on it with authority. I will say that “ascending”, as far as I’m concerned, has more to do with be-ing, than do-ing. We ascend and we descend to different depths of reality. Whoever gave us the idea that up is better than down? From an absolute viewpoint, there is no difference. There would be no up without down. When we realise this, and examine our motives for going in a certain direction, we often find that really, right where we are is just fine. And if we don’t like it, we are free to choose a different direction at any time.

What is your experience of G-d?

I can answer this question from two viewpoints, that of a theological God or even gods, and that of my experience of the Highest Truth. Because of the phrasing of the question, I will go with the latter.

God for me is an experience of truth and of oneness. When I reach for God, I release my preconceptions of what is, was or should be, and open my mind to What Is. As the sense of self drops away, “I” stand naked and vulnerable before the ultimate structure of existence. I feel myself reaching into the expansiveness of this existence, becoming aware of the minute and subtle fabric upon which life plays itself out. It is beyond words, but more like a subtle something in the back of my mind.

Within this great expanse I see potentialities playing themselves out, even as my own awareness shines on and picks up on different patterns of energy and vibration emerging from within this great sea. The sea itself is unfathomable, but with every heartbeat, I feel God emerging into physical existence. With every thought, I feel God expressing a perspective. With every emotion, I feel the rush of energies as God plays with existence. Yet God as an “it” does not work. No one word describes this something which contains everything, and without this there would be nothing. We do not have the language for this description. It is a sublime experience not because of love or kindness or even compassion, even though they are there. It is a feeling of ultimate openness and permissiveness.

In a society which has individualised God, we have many gods of our understanding. Within many traditions, there are various practices for connecting with these gods as a step into truth awareness. I have learnt these methods myself, but I think if we could return to our little children’s minds and see the wonder of a sunrise, or a dewdrop on a blad of grass, we would have come much closer to the most fundamental expression of that which sustains and thus governs all life. In that moment of wonder, in that heartbeat when the universe stands still as an eagle takes flight, we sense for a moment the larger wisdom that governs all these. It overwhelms me with wonder, and humbles my usually oversized sense of ego. And if I let the facade of who I think is me really drop and surrender into this strange vacuum emptiness from which so many wonderful things arise, I glimpse the essence of my own awareness, and how it is perfectly placed within this universe, functioning perfectly, and a sensation of overwhelming contentment arises. That is my experience of God.

I would be interested to find out what meditation technique he would recommend to channel chi!!

The interview was over when I received this question, but it offers such a unique opportunity to point out a couple of issues that I could not resist. Chi, or qi, as the Chinese call it, is generally known as life energy. It permeates life forms and leaves imprints on inanimate objects. Masters of qigong are basically masters of qi (energy) – gong (work), or energy work. However, when the average healer or even master talks about energy, they fail to distinguish between primordial energy emanating from the emptiness that is the canvas of life and the “relative qi” experience of daily life. Primordial qi is what we are interested in if we are looking to affect life on a fundamental level. Relative qi is the qi that has already gained form and some more physical characteristics. Like everything else on the relative level of existence, this qi has an illusory quality to it, although it may produce very real physical effects.

When asking what meditation would channel qi, it is necessary to first consider what qi you are talking about. Relative qi is moved largely through thought processes, will and intent. It can also be directed through hand movements, sound and colour, amongst other things. Feng Shui is the process of guiding such qi forms in a harmonious manner. At this level, there are things like “blockages” and “stuck energy patterns”. Most healing systems are largely concerned with this level of qi.

If you are truly channelling primordial qi, there is very little will, and faith and gratitude become larger components, for there is much more intelligence as the qi goes towards its primordial state. It becomes more an issue of “traversing parallel realities” and less and issue of “raise energy and pump”. One simply chooses the experience of existence one prefers. Ironically, the more neutral one is (read: detached) between the choices available, the greater one’s ability is to choose effectively. This may seem like a non-answer, but at this level any technique or method simply defeats the purpose, for it is a restriction on that which cannot be restricted. For that reason, many practitioners begin and end with relative qi channelling, and over time develop a maturity which then, if they are open, allows them a glimpse of a deeper reality. Such was certainly the case for me.

My question would be what advice would he give to someone who is trying meditation but feels that they are not making any progress, and that it is all leading to frustration? Why do some people manage an hour and others always seem to struggle with 5 minutes (which can seem like an hour)?

It depends on the type of meditation you are trying. Most meditations quiet the mind in some way, but some actually make it active in others. Depending on how active your mind and energy usually are, meditations may not be your cup of tea. Although I began meditating when I was twelve, it was very functional and practical. I never meditated for meditation’s sake in those days. It was always to apply my mind for some specific purpose or to gain some specific result. Meditation was a business transaction, so it’s hardly surprising I didn’t really meditate for long. However, I was fortunate enough to have a relatively quiet mind, and so I got my results.

Over time, as my spiritual awareness matured, I began to become aware of specific types of meditations. Frankly, the purpose-based ones still bore me! But I began to realise that I usually couldn’t sit still because I felt I had to contort my mind to “do” a certain specific thing, so although some parts of it were relaxed, other parts were subconsciously tense, and still preoccupied with the idea of moving on to the next thing. That’s why I have begun to stress the power of relaxation and love so much. It doesn’t matter how powerful a meditation it is, provided you relax and open up fully to all aspects of yourself mentally, physically and spiritually. Meditation is first and foremost an exploration of self, so if we do not relax and open, we sort of miss the point. Love is important because we open up to it. If one could meditate like a cat basking in the sun, or a dog lying quietly by a bubbling brook, one could do much. Love yourself – just the love would heal so much. Become sensitive to how you are feeling and acknowledge that. It is no use trying to fight a busy mind. Just love it and breathe with it. If it is going to run, it is going to run, but enjoy the sensation of the mind running away, and eventually you will see what it is running away from, and then it will quieten itself.

“Progress” is a relative phase. I’ve been gifted with amazing and life-changing experiences in meditation, but when I plunge into meditation, sometimes my mind wants to run away too. That’s okay. That’s me for now. Waiting for it to slow down is also a kind of progress. If you move your mind to the rat race of the world, where I sometimes play too, that is what the mind does to survive. Asking it to switch between states immediately is like asking a train running at full speed to come to a full stop. Cooling down is a part of the process too. If the meditation has steps, take your time on the steps. You don’t even have to do all of them at once. To thy own self be true.

Time is also relative. I rarely sit for hours in meditation except when I am in deep retreat or transformation mode. I’m just not that kind of guy! But if I want to feel my place in the universe, it can be done in an instant. Time has nothing to do with it – many meditations make time-related recommendations because the mind adjusts to what is comfortable, so the theory is to train the mind to stretch to a new default. If your mind doesn’t work like that, forget it!

Some useful things that might help:

- Meditate first thing in the morning or last thing at night, or just after lunch. That is when the mind is usually at its quietest.
– Do some light exercise or qigong before meditating, to work off excess energy. I sometimes do some qigong with my eyes closed. That produces alpha brainwaves automatically and so I segue conveniently into meditation when I get tired of moving my arms around.
– Bouncing in place also helps to work off excess energy. – Avoid caffeine prior to meditation.
– Do a walking meditation. Now THOSE I’ve been known to do for hours on end. I must have walked through most of central London in full meditation mode at one point or another.
– Take some time off to a relaxing place for a weekend where you meditate multiple times in a day. How long doesn’t matter – it is the number of times you get the mind to slow down that matters. Ask a monkey to sit down a thousand times and eventually it will get the idea. – Really focus on physical, mental and emotional relaxation and openness. Notice any hidden tension or worry and keep relaxing that and then going on, then coming back again to relax it.
– Get a massage. Sometimes meditation literally becomes difficult when there are physical knots in the body. If you have that, a good physical massage session will give you a good night’s sleep and also become the ground for good meditation sessions.

Could you please ask for ways to break down old hidden belief systems?

All belief systems start out as a path the mind takes. It is sometimes not even thought, just mental stance of convenience for the situation at hand. Other times, of course, it is a very well fleshed-out thought process, for better or for worse, that is either developed by us or handed to us. The key is to realise that beliefs are hidden only because we let them hide from us. And so a good starting point is to ask ourselves why they are so hidden. The fact is, most erroneous or disempowering beliefs evaporate when they are truly recognised and acknowledged. There are several beliefs (there’s that word again) about why our minds seem to hide our belief systems from us. Some say the mind protects us from the software that has kept us alive. Others say that we do not see it until it is time. Ultimately, the basic denominator is that beliefs are defended by fear. Whether it is the ego defending itself or the mind trying to preserve us, we do not see our beliefs because they are hidden by urges and emotions that almost force us to look the other way. We want to be right. It is safer for the world to remain the way we think it is, or at least so we think. So, open-mindedness is the first step. If we go in with something to defend, we have by default made some of our territory off-limits. Unfortunately, the belief may be so deeply ingrained that we may unwittingly defend it and prevent it from detection. Secondly, we must be willing to deal with the fear. It is not easy, and people do this with varying aptitudes until they come to the spiritual “test” of level 3.5. But that is a subject for another time.

Willingness is the key. There are many emotional technologies out there which will support this process, but all require honesty and a commitment to honesty. Most only come to someone else for help with their beliefs when there is too much pain not to change them. Otherwise, they’d just as soon keep their paradigms, thank you very much. If they are really ready, they will let it go once they actually realise how much damage it has done to them. If they are not, they won’t. There is no real guarantee that beliefs will change – they do or they don’t. Byron Katie’s Work is one avenue I recommend for those who are looking to question their beliefs about reality. Of course, for those who are spiritually ready, I’d recommend my training too, but you’d not be surprised at the gratuitous self-promotion! Seriously, though, rooting out deep beliefs can be painful work…I should know. I’ve given enough relationship coaching over the years to know you want not to be in the same room when you tell someone they may not be in the right!

I am becoming more and more aware of helping to hold a light space for 2012, which was actually a question I was going to email you about for the interview. What should we be doing for 2012 and what can we expect?

As I look at 2012, I see the energies going quietly until March, where there is a ballooning of light within the universal consciousness gridwork. It is not threatening or harmful, I am somewhat relieved to say. In spite of what most people say, 2011 has been the bulk of the shift predicted for 2012. I see, to my surprise, the resilience of the human spirit. I must emphasise surprised, because 6 months, or even 3 months ago, it didn’t look that way. The energetics were chaotic and even those with the ability to see had their abilities clouded. This was true for practically everyone I know in the circle. There is now an energy grid in place that is supporting humankind, and indirectly the earth with it.

This was always going to be a transition period, but we are over the chaotic bit. It is far from over, but conscious awareness has started to adjust. I sense so much less fear in the overall system. And even better, I sense quiet dignity and optimism, even in spite of the economic unrest much of the world is undergoing. Subconsciously, people have shifted. They may not even have recognised this subtle change in stance. However, many have accepted the environment and adapted, and are showing signs of movement in the correct direction.

Personally, I rejoice at this change, for there is little more masters of my level can do to aid this period specifically, although I suspect a few will be reluctant to admit that. Right about the beginning of 2011, many of us who were called to teach and to help this transition stopped hearing the call, and I believe I am right when I say that about that time, the energetic level of humanity was locked in, as it were, for this period. In other words, you would ride out the storm with whatever level you were at. Some may accuse me of being fatalistic about this, but I simply report my experience. Throughout the period since then, the overall level of understanding of humanity has progressed relatively slowly, but the energetic overtone of maturity has changed much. I believe people are instinctively finding and getting what they need to make it through. Being true to yourself and maintaining stability of awareness are the themes of importance.

During this period, aim not for earth-shaking lightning bolts of enlightenment, in spite of what ancient prophecies may say. Aim instead to stabilise yourself in feelings of love and light and gentleness. This is a period of the return of the feminine principle. For generations we have worshipped the masculine principle and developed a society based on the concepts of power and strength. We are now returning to a period where feelings, intuition and grace are the guiding light. Look for what is good in your memories, in your imagination, in your vision and in your personal life. This is Christmas-time, and whatever your calling, it is a good time to get in tune with your inner light. The more you ground your awareness in what you really feel, in the core of your being, the more easy you will find the coming period. In 2012, as the earth grid stabilises to a new default, so too should you. Look for stability and what means “home” to your soul, and look for it every day.

I realise I may sound Pollyanna-ish in what I am recommending, but those who know me also know that I call ‘em like I see ‘em. We have developed into a very cynical and jaded generation, with all the technological advances of the past 30 years. The internet has opened our eyes, but also to an extent it has made a very fresh reality seem old. That is pretty much all I want to say about 2012 at this point. Astrologically, it is better than 2011, some may be shocked to hear, although it is far from good news from that perspective. Frustrations will certainly arise as we adjust to the new mean, but if we can keep our minds steady, the future is looking rosier than expected. Finally, when responding to situations, do not respond mindlessly in the way you have always responded. Always reground in inner light and choose your actions.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Conceptual Thinking - Friend or Foe?

It is often mentioned in the scriptures that without theories, without concepts one cannot even start. So start with concepts and then build up theory. And then you use up the theory and it gradually gives way to wisdom, to intuitive knowledge, and that knowledge finally links with reality. So to start with, one should allow and not react against things. And if one wants to help a person, for example, there are two ways of doing it: one is that you want to help him because you want him to be different, you would like to mold him according to your ideas, you would like him to flow your way. That is still compassion with ego, compassion with an object, compassion finally with results which will benefit you as well -- and that is not quite true compassion. This plan to help other people may be a very good one, but nevertheless the emotional approach of wanting to save the world and bring peace is not quite enough, there has to be more than that, there has to be more depth. So first one has to start by respecting concepts and then building from there. Though actually in Buddhist teachings, concepts are generally regarded as a hindrance. But being a hindrance does not mean that it prevents anything. It is a hindrance and it is also the vehicle -- it is everything. Therefore one must pay special attention to concepts.

Chogyam Trungpa, "The Manure of Experience and the Field of Bodhi," Meditation in Action