Friday, October 4, 2019

Coming Back Home

     Many of us are chronically stressed, anxious ± depressed, so we're prone to react to people & situations with the 3 Fs: flight, fight or freeze.
     “Freud identified what he called ‘the repetition compulsion,’ the drive within us to replicate the old, even if it is painful and leads us to predictable but familiar dead ends.
     Sooner or later, we are each called to face what we fear, respond to our summons to show up, and overcome the vast lethargic powers within us. This is what is asked of us, to show up as the person we really are, as best we can manage, under circumstances over which we may have no control. This showing up as best we can is growing up. That is all that life really asks of us: to show up as best we can.” 
       James Hollis. “Living an Examined Life. Wisdom for the Second Half of the Journey.” Sounds True, 2018.

     A clearly more evolved, effective alternative to reacting with the 3 Fs is responding with the fourth F: form friendships ie co-operation, 'pulling together,' working for the common good. Unfortunately, many of us may also feel, to some extent, 'alone in a hostile world,' lacking a solid social support network of extended family, partner, meaningful friendships or meaningful spiritual organizations.

     “Feelings of connectedness, like feelings of kindness, activate the brain’s attachment system. The ‘befriend’ part of the ‘tend and befriend’ instinct has to do with the human tendency to affiliate, to come together in groups in order to feel secure. For this reason, people who feel connected to others are not as frightened by difficult life circumstances and are more readily able to roll with the punches.
     Of course, it’s wonderful when we can get our need to belong met by loved ones such as friends or family. But if you’re someone who has trouble sustaining good relationships, this type of social support may be missing in your life. And even in the best of circumstances, other people aren’t always able to make us feel that we belong and are accepted. In the cavernous halls of our own minds, we may feel isolated in any moment, even if this isn’t the way things actually are. Our fears and self-judgments are like blinders that often prevent us from seeing the hands that are being held out to help us. We may also be ashamed to admit our feelings of inadequacy to those we love, for fear that they wouldn’t love us anymore if they knew the way we really were. Hiding our true selves from others then makes us feel even more alone.
     That’s why it’s so important to transform our relationship with ourselves by recognizing our inherent interconnectedness. If we can compassionately remind ourselves in moments of falling down that failure is part of the shared human experience, then that moment becomes one of togetherness rather than isolation. When our troubled, painful experiences are framed by the recognition that countless others have undergone similar hardships, the blow is softened. The pain still hurts, but it doesn’t become compounded by feelings of separation. Sadly, however, our culture tells us to notice how we are unique from others, not how we are the same.” 
       Kristin Neff. “Self-Compassion. The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself.” HarperCollins, 2011.

      "As we learn to balance and harmonize our mindbody, and to become more still within ourselves, and more awake and clear minded within this stillness - we become more empathically attuned to the people we share our lives with and more capable of harmonizing with their state of being in ways that bring greater harmony and balance alive in the field of our relationships, families, teams, organizations, and communities. And, if we find ourselves overwhelmed by our empathic resonance with the inner pain and needs of others that we experience through being in their presence or through encountering media that conveys their state of being, then the greatest protection from that empathic distress will be found in responding to them with actions, words, thoughts, energy, and prayers that flow from compassion and genuine intention to help to ease their pain or to reduce the causes of their suffering." Joel Levey PhD

     “Occasionally we feel movements of pure, awakened consciousness – free of conditioned thought – and we are fully present without separation. This may happen during meditation when the mind chatter stops, when we feel a silent and deep state of intimacy with life and nature, or in a crisis demanding our full attention and immediate response. Awakened consciousness responds from an immediacy that is unaffected by personal history. It is intuitive, spontaneous and direct. Awakened, pure consciousness exists before and continues beyond personal identifications. In this state, we may:
     • have multi-dimensional experiences and also see the simplest creation, like a flower or a child, as wondrous and miraculous;
     • know ourselves as profound stillness; and
     • sense presence without any attachment to the one who is present; it is something that has always been with us, but we have been unaware of it because of the many distractions of the mind and emotions.

     Consciousness can wake up under many circumstances. Before and after an awakening, many of us experience a state that is free of ego, as if there is no ‘me.’ It is a sense of vastness and space, which is commonly described as emptiness. Emptiness can cause us to feel lost and ungrounded because the sense of ‘I’ is gone, but this emptiness is pregnant with potential. Releasing ego-identity is essential as consciousness becomes ready to realize the truth of itself.” 
       Bonnie L. Greenwell. “When Spirit Leaps. Navigating the Process of Spiritual Awakening.” Non-Duality Press, 2018.

Don Penz "Long Point, Green Bay"

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