Tuesday, December 29, 2020

You are More than your Sorrow

“Suffering is not enough.
Life is both dreadful and wonderful.
To practice meditation is to be in touch with both aspects.
Smiling means that we are ourselves,
that we have sovereignty over ourselves,
that we are not drowned in forgetfulness.
How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow?
It is natural— you need to smile to your sorrow
because you are more than your sorrow
.”                                         Thich Nhat Hanh


"The world is not a problem to be solved;
it is a living being to which we belong.
It is part of our own self and we are a part of its suffering wholeness.
Until we go to the root of our image of separateness, there can be no healing.
And the deepest part of our separateness from creation lies in our forgetfulness of its sacred nature, which is also our own sacred nature."                        Thich Nhat Hanh 

“… perhaps one can say that reality is not designed to accomplish a defined goal so much as it is made to serve the incomprehensible fact of what is. … We must learn to accept and love what is rather than always wishing for something different.”
    Robert A. Johnson, Jerry M. Ruhl. “Balancing Heaven and Earth: A Memoir of Visions, Dreams, and Realizations.” HarperCollins, 1998.

The more you understand, the more you love;
the more you love, the more you understand
They are two sides of one reality.
The mind of love and the mind of understanding are the same.”           Thich Nhat Hanh 



Sunday, December 27, 2020

Transforming from Fear to Love

     The underlying crisis in the world today is an unspoken feeling of being afraid, alone & powerless in a messed-up, meaninglessness world. Individually & culturally, we're naturally averse to complicated unpleasant emotions; reject anything deeply meaningful as if it were taboo; are seriously addicted to distractions; and have very low attention spans. So most of us "keep busy" which somewhat distracts us from this corrosive feeling in our gut. "FOMO" (fear of missing out) is actually a legitimate fear, but most of us MISINTERPRET this as missing out on owning 10,000 square foot mansions, $150,000 cars, trips of a lifetime, etc, etc. These are just bigger, shinier distractions. Only the rich can directly experience the fact that these don't work any better than playing video games, getting drunk or being a workaholic.
     HOWEVER, as in many other serious challenges, the only way to get past our aching dys-ease, is to go through it. And it requires courage, patience & perseverance - stepping up, waking up & growing up.

         “If this world is to be healed through human efforts,
          I am convinced it will be by ordinary people
          whose love for life is even greater than their fear.”                 Joanna Macy

     “... grief, if you are afraid of it and pave it over, clamp down, you shut down. And the kind of apathy and closed down denial or difficulty in looking at what we’re doing to our world stems not from callous indifference or ignorance so much as it stems from fear of pain. ….
     That became perhaps the most pivotal point in the landscape of my life: that dance with despair. To see how we are called to not run from the discomfort, and not run from the grief or the feelings of outrage or even fear. If we can be fearless to be with our pain, it turns. It doesn’t stay. It only doesn’t change if we refuse to look at it.
     When we look at it, when we take it in our hands, when we can just be with it, when we keep breathing, then it turns. It turns to reveal its other face. And the other face of our pain for the world is our love for the world. Our absolutely inseparable connectedness with all life.”
     Joanna Macy, interview by Krista Tippett, On Being podcast:


Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, 2020

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Words about "the nameless"

     Most of us were born into a religion and traumatized by it, and/or were traumatized by others' religions. So it's very common & understandable to be stuck in cynicism, aversion, anger, hatred etc towards religions. Nevertheless, it's vitally important to FREE ourselves from the prison that our afflictive emotions create: http://healthyhealers.blogspot.com/2020/12/natural-evolution-of-understanding.html


The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.

Laozi, Tao Te Ching


     Below are two deeply insightful mystics, the late Robert A. Johnson, and Cynthia Bourgeault, who happen to use Christian terminology - just ONE of MANY - for "the nameless" - that which cannot be named. 

     “Apparently, one must separate from God so that there is an objective standpoint from which we can observe. In my own homespun theology, I believe that perhaps God wanted human eyes in order to be able to see the splendor of the Golden World. If so, then it’s our business to be the eyes and ears, to see and hear the splendor or God, but it requires that we stand apart from God. To be a discrete observer necessitates that one is separated from what one is observing. That is the alienation of a human life. One is reminded of the Zen comment on the intermediate stage of development when ‘rivers were no longer rivers and mountains were no longer mountains.’
     That sense of being separated is the ego. In arriving at adulthood we all have built an ego structure, a separate sense of ‘I,’ but it is precisely that distance from all else that makes us feel so lonely and alienated. One then must find a way to restore the unity with God, to worship. This is the Zen stage when ‘rivers are again rivers and mountains are again mountains.’
     It is our human duty to witness the splendor of God, which is my sense of worship. What makes all of this so difficult is that our duties are in conflict. These principal duties are to separate from oneness (the childhood paradise), develop an ego, and live a cultural life; and then to reunite with the oneness of God. Generally the early part of one’s life is taken up with the necessary distancing from God: learning about the cultural requirements of the society in which one lives, leaving the house of the parents, developing one’s independence and sense of personal self. There is a constant pull back to the sense of unity from which we came, and in Jungian psychology that it called the mother complex. There is a regressive pull in each of us to quit this business of winning independence, to escape the painful human process of becoming a distinct, separate personality. Physical suicide is the ultimate expression of the mother complex, but it takes many other forms, such as the use of drugs and alcohol or mindless consumption of food or other material goods. When people come to my consulting room with a drug problem, I tell them that they are addressing the right problem but in the wrong way. They are trying to go back to a paradise when they need to go forward to a paradise.
     We must separate from God before we can reunite with God. We must create a useful life, learning the customs of the society in which we live. You cannot put back together again that which has never been adequately differentiated. Consciousness must separate before it can reunite. Many of the spiritual communes, monasteries, and spiritual practices in this country are nothing but institutionalized mother complexes, with selfishness and ego regression running rampant in the name of spirituality.
     It is a legitimate question to ask just how far one really needs to push this differentiation before one can legitimately seek to reunite. That is an individual matter. A very simple person may not be differentiated to any great degree, and I have seen this among the traditional peasants who live in the small villages of India; they have the right to put things back together again without a great deal of differentiation. But educated Westerners go much further in developing their consciousness, becoming so split that it is difficult to become whole again. The cultural laws of Western society encourage us to get as separate, as specialized, as unique as we can get. To get a good job today you must have a college education, and a professional degree or a Ph.D. is better still. We are trained to become more and more specialized. Then on Sunday at church we are advised to merge ourselves with God. It’s no wonder we’ve become a neurotic society; the wonder is that we are not all schizophrenic
     Once we have built a strong ego, we must then link it back to the matrix from which it has grown. Differentiation of consciousness is only one-half of our life journey. But to say, ‘I want an experience of God’ is a total oxymoron; if there is an ‘I’ seeking an experience, that is precisely the problem, since an ‘I’ that sees itself as separate from God is the cause of the suffering in one’s life. There’s a Christian proverb that says he who searches for God insults God, because a search implies that God is separate. Zen Buddhism also is very articulate about this, stating that the very motivation for satori or enlightenment is suspect. You find the kingdom, not by seeking, but only by grace. Seeking after the splendor of God is a highly egocentric and fragmenting thing to do. I now understand that the most profound religious life is found by being in the world yet in each moment doing our best to align ourselves with heaven, with the will of God.”
     Robert A. Johnson, Jerry M. Ruhl. “Balancing Heaven and Earth: A Memoir of Visions, Dreams, and Realizations.” HarperCollins, 1998.

     Cynthia Bourgeault (CB): “I became more and more intrigued and disturbed about why it was that Christianity, a religion that clearly has one of the most loving and inclusive gurus that’s ever walked the face of the planet, at its epicenter, should tend to develop itself in formats that were so rigid and exclusive and non-generous. And why didn’t people walk the talk? It became more and more of a heartbreak to me. So it was actually through reading Jacob Needleman’s 'Lost Christianity' in 1980, that the first pieces began to come together. He said at one point, ‘telling people to wake up and be conscious is like telling stones to pick themselves up, sprout wings and fly to the sea.’ There’s a missing piece, and until you can get that missing piece online, you can’t do the teachings of Jesus. ‘If one aspires to live the beatitudes or any Gospel teaching it is necessary to establish the level of consciousness from which they emerge.’ is virtually a direct quote from Symeon the New Theologian in the 11th century, who was the first one to be on to the fact that the Jesus teachings emerged from a very high level of consciousness, and that until you could basically run that program, you are going to be constantly dumbing it down to a place where it’s basically an inversion of itself. So Needleman was onto the fact that something was broken in the way that we pay attention that kept our consciousness scrambled, low, distracted, and not under our free command, and it was this that was constantly making hash out of the Gospel that Jesus was teaching."
     Rick Archer (RA): “A speaker, or anyone, can only speak from their level of consciousness; a student, or anyone, can only listen or hear from their level of consciousness, which brings in the whole ‘pearl before swine’ thing, the parable of the sower, if we want to quote Biblical references. There’s always going to be a gulf, not only contemporaneously in the life of that teacher, but then as time goes on, and the teachings get passed down like a party-game from one ear to another, over time it gets more and more distorted. I think it’s happened in every tradition.”
     CB: “Even our understanding of what ‘esoteric’ means. Nowadays, people will think esoteric means secret information that’s withheld from people, which is ridiculous. The esoteric dimension of every faith, which is very simple, is hidden in plain sight. Nobody’s hiding anything. But until you reach a certain level of receptivity, and the teacher reaches a certain level of broadcastability, you can’t see it, you can’t pick it up.
     They say that until a student has enough collective well, and is able to sort out on their own and discriminate between a billion different things out there, the thing that has their name on it, they’re not going to be able to appreciate, they’re not going to be fit for work anyway. It’s like a chicken picking its way out of the egg, you have to do that work before you’re ready to be where the teaching is going to put you.”

     RA: “How do you develop that discrimination to find the thing that’s right for you, among all the different influences out there?”
     CB: "Gurdjieff had a teaching about A and B influences. And he said most of us are out there in the world surrounded by A influences, which are all sort of competing things making a play for our attention. And it’s not until you can recognize something that’s a B influence, which has a qualitatively different taste for you, that you can follow it. You’ve got to get there yourself. How that happens? – A little luck, a little management. I certainly think that meditation is a really good starting point, because it allows you to filter out a lot of the garbage that’s obviously just playing at superficial parts of you, and to listen to something qualitatively deeper.
     I think actually we have the direction wrong of the journey all along. We start from the impression that we are here, and God’s over there, and that we have to go towards God. And if you can make enough noise and jump up & down loud enough, you’ll attract God’s attention. But I think rather it is always the opposite - we’re flowing out from the divine at any given moment, as a particular path, as a kind of instantiation of divinity in form. We’re always guided, and the path is always specific to ourself. What we have to learn is simply to stay in alignment with it. That’s what learning B influences is all about. It’s easier to stay in alignment once you get the hang of it, than not to stay in alignment with it and try on a billion different paths because they seem interesting. I venture to say that God is your heart of hearts.
      Cynthia Bourgeault - Oct 23, 2017 Batgap interviewhttps://batgap.com/cynthia-bourgeault/

Friday, November 27, 2020

Reconnecting with Our Unconscious Mind

     “Most of us have an intuitive feeling about what is meant when we hear the term unconscious. We correlate this idea with myriads of experiences, small and large, that are interwoven with the fabric of our daily lives. We all have had the experience of doing something unconsciously when our minds were ‘someplace else,’ then being surprised at what we had done. We remember getting worked up during a conversation and blurting out some strong opinion we didn’t know consciously that we held.
     Sometimes we are startled: ‘Where did that come from? I didn’t know I felt so strongly about that.’ As we become more sensitive to the surges of energy from the unconscious we learn instead to ask, ‘What part of me believes that? Why does this subject set off such an intense reaction in that unseen part of myself?’
     We can learn to look at the issue more closely. What ‘comes over me’ is a sudden invasion of energy from the unconscious. If I think I wasn’t being ‘myself,’ it is because I don’t realize that ‘myself’ also includes my unconscious. These hidden parts of ourselves have strong feelings and want to express them. Yet, unless we learn to do inner work, these parts of ourselves are hidden from our conscious view.
     Sometimes these hidden personalities are embarrassing or violent, and we are humiliated when they show themselves. At other times we wake up to strengths and fine qualities without ourselves that we never knew were there. We draw on hidden resources and do things we normally could not have done, say something more clear and intelligent that we’ve ever been able to say before, express wisdom we did not know we had, show a generosity or understanding of which we never knew we were capable. In each case there is a startled reaction: ‘I am a different person than I thought I was. I have qualitiesboth positive and negative – that I didn’t know were a part of my definition.’ These qualities live in the unconscious, where they are ‘out of sight, out of mind.’
     We are all much more than the ‘I’ of whom we are aware. Our conscious minds can focus on only a limited sector of our total being at any given time. Despite our efforts at self-knowledge, only a small portion of the huge energy system of the unconscious can be incorporated into the conscious mind or function at the conscious level. Therefore we have to learn how to go to the unconscious and become receptive to its messages: It is the only way to find the unknown parts of ourselves.
     To get a true sense of who we are, become more complete and integrated human beings, we must go to the unconscious and set up communication with it. Much of ourselves and many determinants of our character are contained in the unconscious. It is only by approaching it that we have a chance to become conscious, complete, whole human beings. Jung has shown that by approaching the unconscious and learning its symbolic language, we live richer and fuller lives. We begin to live in partnership with the unconscious rather than at its mercy or in constant warfare with it.
     Most people, however, do not approach the unconscious voluntarily. They only become aware of the unconscious when they get into trouble with it. We modern people are so out of touch with the inner world that we encounter it mostly through psychological distress. For example, a woman who thinks she has everything under control may find herself horribly depressed, able neither to shake it off nor to understand what is happening to her. Or a man may find that he has terrible conflicts between the life he lives outwardly and the unconscious ideals he holds deep inside himself where he never looks. He feels torn or anxiety-ridden, but can’t say why.
     When we experience inexplicable conflicts that we can’t resolve; when we become aware of urges in ourselves that seem irrational, primitive, or destructive; when a neurosis afflicts us because our conscious attitudes are at odds with our instinctual selves – then we begin to realize that the unconscious is playing a role in our lives and we need to face it.
     Jung discovered that the unconscious is not merely an appendage of the conscious mind, a place where forgotten memories or unpleasant feelings are repressed. He posited a model of the unconscious so momentous that the Western world has still not fully caught up with its implications. He showed that the unconscious is the creative source of all that evolves into the conscious mind and into the total personality of each individual. It is out of the raw material of the unconscious that our conscious minds develop, mature, and expand to include all the qualities that we carry potentially within us. It is from this treasure trove that we are enriched with strengths and qualities we never knew we possessed.
     Jung showed that the conscious and the unconscious minds both have critical roles to play in the equilibrium of the total self. When they are out of correct balance with one another, neurosis or other disturbances result.

     Robert A. Johnson. “Inner Work. Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth.” HarperOne, 1986. - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED



Friday, November 6, 2020

The Mature Human Being

     “Do not confuse motion and progress.
     A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress."         Alfred A. Montapert

"Now we will count to twelve

and we will all keep still,

for once on the face of the earth,

let's not speak in any language;

let's stop for a second,

and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment

without rush, without engines;

we would all be together

in a sudden strangeness.

Fishermen in the cold sea

would not harm whales

and the man gathering salt

would not look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,

wars with gas, wars with fire,

victories with no survivors,

would put on clean clothes

and walk about with their brothers

in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused

with total inactivity.

Life is what it is about...

If we were not so single-minded

about keeping our lives moving,

and for once could do nothing,

perhaps a huge silence

might interrupt this sadness

of never understanding ourselves

and of threatening ourselves with death.

Now I'll count up to twelve

and you keep quiet and I will go."


Pablo Neruda


      "Non-doing" is not doing nothing, rather it is the sense of effortlessness, arising from the felt sense of rightness, balance, authenticity. Non-doing is wise, nurturing behavior which minimizes suffering & maximizes long-term flourishing, peace & joy for ourselves & others. Our 'wise elder' part becomes stable, and holds our own & others' 'inner child' in safety & unconditional love. Inner & outer conflict, friction & noise are minimized; silence, stillness & peace maximized.
     This is not science fiction, this is just us being mature, civilized human beings.



Saturday, October 31, 2020

On Our Way Home

      “There is a light in the core of our being that calls us home ..."
       John J. Prendergast. “The Deep Heart – Our Portal to Presence.” Sounds True, 2019

     “The center is the focal point that stands for whatever is of enduring importance – the core, the meaning, or the hub around which life evolves. For archaic humanity, the creative mound represented the feminine principle, the womb of life and the center of the world. Later, as the masculine principle emerged, the mound was surrounded either by upright stones or an enduring central pillar, symbolically connecting earth and sky as the world’s axis, ensuring the continuity of life.
     A human personality, initially an ego, that cannot journey toward the center of its own being, the Self, is left unconnected, at the mercy of unconscious compulsions and motivations as well as social conventions. Paradoxically, however, these same drives may create the suffering that reflects our inner healer’s efforts to get us into sufficient conflict to begin the voyage home.
     An ancient legend speaks of the old Hebrew shepherd who, in speaking of his small village on the edge of the desert, remarked, ‘I am happy living here.’ Then he added, ‘But if I saw Jerusalem, I would not be happy anymore.’ His simple words are filled with a natural wisdom.
     Jerusalem, Delphi, Mecca (the eternal cities), Mount Fuji (the central mountain), the Holy Land, and other numinous places have been considered symbolic centers of the sacred world. Ironically, many people among us live – metaphorically – in small villages far from their center, on the outer fringe of their personality, and seem quite happy there. Others of us seem chosen by life to be thrust into an inner journey. We become seekers. Initially, we seek peace and happiness. But once we see Jerusalem, once we see through ourselves to the center, we cannot be happy again where we were. We see beyond the external, material destination we are likely to have been seeking and become aware that the pilgrimage is eternal – and inner. We may even feel alone in this crowded world, with only our inner Hidden One for a companion. However, if we can learn to continue, turning our (often reluctant and too rational and willful) focus inward to cooperate with this inner healer, then we begin our pilgrimage to completeness, to
wholeness, toward feeling at home in ourselves and in the world.”
     Bud Harris. “The Journey into Wholeness: A Jungian Guide to Discovering the Meaning of Your Life’s Path.” Daphne, 2020. 

      Mindfulness practice is "cultivating a certain kind of intimacy with the core of our being."
Jon Kabat-Zinn PhD

The Way It Is              by William Stafford

“There's a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn't change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can't get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time's unfolding.
You don't ever let go of the thread.” 


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Feel the Radiance

     Check in with yourself first thing in the morning - HOW DO I FEEL? Is it:
'Shit, I'm tired. I don't know if I can handle all this #@><* today.'
'Yes! A brand new day awaits me! I wonder what new adventures I'm going to experience?'
      Your felt sense is probably somewhere along the continuum between:
• closed, up-tight, afraid/anxious/angry/pessimistic, and
• open, relaxed, kind/warm/realistic/gentle.
     NOTICE how the mood you choose to stay with, powerfully impacts the quality of your day, and ultimately, the emotional tone of your life.

     "My research has convinced me that we all have extraordinary creative, humanitarian, and spiritual possibilities but are often alienated from them because we are so focused on a very narrow slice of who we are. As a result, we aren’t fulfilling our full potential. We spend so much time looking outward for validation that we don’t develop the incredible strengths that already lie within ..."
      Scott Barry Kaufman. “Transcend. The New Science of Self-Actualization.” A TarcherPerigee Book, 2020.

“One way or another, we all have to find
what best fosters the flowering of our
in this contemporary life, and
dedicate ourselves to that.” Joseph Campbell

      According to Abraham Maslow, most of us are partially alienated from our full potential, even after our basic needs for physical health, safety, belonging, & esteem have more or less been met.

     One of the author’s clients “was able to identify a core belief that had plagued him his whole life. Despite being raised by loving parents, he did not think or feel that he was lovable enough, and he felt compelled to compensate for this apparent lack. As a result, he could never rest as he was. He was always trying to be a different and better self. This is the self-improvement project that few of us are immune to.
     Almost everyone struggles or has struggled with an underlying sense of lack, of not being enough in some way. This belief can take various forms. Instead of thinking that we aren’t lovable enough, we may feel that we are not worthy enough. Have you ever secretly believed this? If we are honest with ourselves, we almost always feel like we aren’t ____ enough. You can fill in the blank.”
      John J. Prendergast. “The Deep Heart – Our Portal to Presence.” Sounds True, 2019

     It's easiest to see the paradox when others appear blind to how much they have: a billionaire acting as if penniless; a thin person being convinced they're fat; a strikingly attractive person being sure they're ugly. Their perspective, their capacity to see reality, is distorted or even blocked, by past ± ongoing traumatic conditioning.

     Much of our attention is absorbed by the repetitive, self-centered STORIES we keep telling ourselves - "the story of me." We habitually dissociate (www.johnlovas.com/2019/12/complete-experiencing-healing-trauma.html) into "self-talk," and too often neglect to directly engage with what's actually taking place in real time. We're so worried about ourselves (based on past traumas & other aversive conditioning), that we find it difficult relating & responding wisely to reality.

     At the same time, the advertising industry so expertly conditions us to believe that buying & owning more & more of the latest stuff is the only path to happiness, that we distrust & ignore all other options. A lot of us become perfectionists & workaholics, since working harder & better + achieving more & more + buying bigger & better is the only current socially-sanctioned path to happiness. But noticing that we're no happier, we double-down to work even harder & better + achieve even more + buy even bigger & better.

      “In an age of great material excess, we suffer dislocations from the energies of our deepest being and, in return, suffer emptiness, anomie, aimlessness ... (And) our culture’s treatment plans ... are materialism, hedonism, narcissism and nationalism, as well as a coursing nostalgia for a world that never really existed.”
     James Hollis. “Living Between Worlds. Finding Personal Resilience in Changing Times.” Sounds True, 2020

     Surprisingly slowly, we start realizing that no matter how many widgets we crank out per hour, no matter how "perfect" each widget, no matter the recognition at work, no matter how huge our house, no matter how fancy our cars, and no matter how extravagant our vacations, we STILL feel that gnawing "lack"

     Some sadly will nevertheless ride this train to the bitter end: cynicism, bitterness, burn-out, heart attack, stroke, death. 

     Some, however, try to understand & investigate - "lean into" this unpleasant persistent lack and realize that all of us have qualitatively higher needs than more money, recognition, & material possessions.

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and
the joy will burn out the pain.” Joseph Campbell 

      What if we directed attention towards the subtle feel of our own life energy? What if our deepest desire was authenticity to who/what we (all) basically are?

     “There is a light in the core of our being that calls us home – one that can only be seen with closed eyes. We can feel it as a radiance in the center of our chest. This light of loving awareness is always here, regardless of our conditioning. It does not matter how many dark paths we have traveled or how many wounds we have inflicted or sustained as we have unknowingly stumbled toward this inner radiance. It does not matter how long we have sleepwalked, seduced by our desires and fears. This call persists until it is answered, until we surrender to who we really are. When we do, we feel ourselves at home wherever we are. A hidden beauty reveals itself in our ordinary life. As the true nature of our Deep Heart is unveiled, we feel increasingly grateful for no reason – grateful to simply be.”
       John J. Prendergast. “The Deep Heart – Our Portal to Presence.” Sounds True, 2019

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

From Alienation to True Intimacy

     "Americans suffer inordinately with what therapists call problems of the self - an inability to self soothe; an inability to sustain a satisfying and cohesive sense of self over time; an inability to warmly love the self; an inability to maintain an ongoing sense of belonging and a deep sense of meaning and purpose in life. … we live cut off from a sense of our true deep mutual belonging and interdependence, and we suffer from a painful sense of separation – a separation from the life of the body; a separation from the hidden depths of life, its mystery and interiority; a separation from the source of our own guidance, wisdom, and compassion; and a separation from the life-giving roots of human community.”
       Stephen Cope. “The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living.” Bantam Books, 2006.


      “If you pin your hopes on things outside your control, taking upon yourself things which rightfully belong to others, you are liable to stumble, fall, suffer, and blame both gods and men.
      But if you focus your attention only on what is truly your own concern, and leave to others what concerns them, then you will be in charge of your interior life. No one will be able to harm or hinder you. You will blame no one, and have no enemies.”
       Epictetus (55 – 135 AD), Greek Stoic Philosopher


     "... the philosopher and psychologist Eugene Gendlin, creator of a therapeutic approach called ‘Focusing,’ beautifully clarifies the nature and character of what is known through interoception, the viewing and experiencing of the body from the inside. Gendlin developed the widely influential notion of ‘felt sense,’ referring to what the body knows directly of itself, without the mediation of the thinking mind. For Gendlin, the felt sense, the ability to know one’s own interior, somatic experience, is the open sesame of successful psychotherapies.
     Through (body-centered meditation practices), we learn how to extend our awareness into our body and we begin to sense what is there ... we are softening the boundary between our highly intentional, restricted, conscious ego mind and the limitless, unconscious domain of the body. When we do this, our conscious mind begins to tap into and connect with the somatic awareness that is already going on - mostly unbeknownst to us - in our body. In this larger field of consciousness, we are still conscious but in a very different way.
     It is as if we are waking up, within our Soma, and we suddenly find ourselves in a new world. We are uncovering a completely different experience of what our body is. We begin to see that what we formerly took to be our body was just a made-up version with little correspondence to anything real. We find in our body previously unimaginable vistas of spaciousness, experience arising that is ever surprising and fresh, an endless world of possibilities for ourselves and our lives.”
      Reginald A. Ray. "The Awakening Body. Somatic Meditation for Discovering Our Deepest Life." Shambhala, 2016.


       “When we sit in meditation, we can discover a way of being that is very different from our typical interactions with the world. For the period of time that we sit, we agree within ourselves to quiet the familiar internal chatter that goes on most of the time. We sit so that we can discover in ourselves this capability for stillness, for intimacy with our self. We can uncover the heart.
     This process of stilling the mind and opening the heart brings a great feeling of ease that courses through the body, releasing the sensation of holding back, of fragility or tightness, and freeing us to work with the challenges of life. I call that true intimacy. When we can actually feel what we are feeling, experience what we are experiencing, and recognize what we are thinking, then we become intimate with ourselves. This intimacy is a closeness, a quality of interiority, a nearness. To be intimate with yourself is to be so attuned to your own feeling-state and mind-state and perception-state that nothing is hidden, your whole being is available to your life. In this intimacy with self, we begin to recognize the habits of thinking that stop us from living confidently, generously, and vigorously. And we begin to trust ourselves.”
      Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara. “Most Intimate. A Zen Approach to Life’s Challenges.” Shambhala, 2014. 


     "In human relationships, as mutual love deepens, there comes a time when the two friends convey their exchanges without words. They can sit in silence sharing an experience or simply enjoying each other's presence without saying anything. Holding hands or a single word from time to time can develop this communication. This kind of relationship points to the level of interior silence ..." Thomas Keating 


"The flute of interior time is played whether we hear it or not,
What we mean by 'love' is its sound coming in.
When love hits the farthest edge of excess, it reaches a wisdom.
And the fragrance of that knowledge!
It penetrates our thick bodies,
It goes through walls —
Its network of notes has a structure as if a million suns were arranged inside.
This tune has truth in it.
Where else have you heard a sound like this?" Kabir


“May I meet this moment fully;
May I meet it as a friend.” Sylvia Boorstein


Susan Paterson "Strawberries and Cream" fogforestgallery.ca