Thursday, 27 November 2008

The highs and lows....of the spiritual path

This is going to be one of those blog entries that I don't particularly want to write. However I have given my word to be authentic and write when I'm feeling in a dark tunnel as well as when I am in glorious sunshine.

Last night and today is like this. Last night was the completion of the weekend communication course. For some reason I was feeling restless. On these evenings the Coaches are required to be at the centre for 5.45pm. This put me in a conflict with work as my contracted hours are 9am - 5pm and I hadn't cleared it that I would be leaving early. I left it as late as I could and then experienced rare stress as I waited for the tube. I usually leave myself plenty of time so that I don't experience this rushed feeling. At Euston I had a moment of truth, if I stopped to buy something to eat I would not arrive at the centre for 5.45pm which is what I had given my word to. Torn with the conflict of getting something to eat and being out of integrity - the horror of being out of integrity won and I set off running to the centre.

Admirable you might think, but once inside and sitting down my inner voice went on a vicious rant with thoughts like 'what did you run like that for, there's hardly anyone here', you're not comfortable among these people anyway so what was the big deal about integrity, yada, yada, yada..on and on it went. Then I received a voice mail from a friend who had said she was going to come up and hear what the communication curriculum was about and now wasn't coming. In this training I am learning to be committed without being attached. However I'm afraid in that moment that I learned she wasn't coming what I felt was the sharp thud in the stomach that signals attachment and then the corresponding plunge into thoughts like 'what am I doing here', I don't feel I belong, I'm not related to these people'. It was horrible.

This feeling of being in a dark tunnel persisted throughout the evening. Things came to a head with an incident which was quite minor but which my dark frame of mind made much bigger. The result was a comment about me doing 'my martyr thing'. This made no sense to me but I could feel the anger energy rising very quickly. I left the situation and went back into the room. The participants were just about to start an exercise which was on acknowledgement. I had the greatest desire to leave but then said to myself'no acknowledgement is powerful, stay and do this' It was a gorgeous exercise but my identity was in full and total control so that the full magic of acknowledgment did not move me. The word 'martyr' was ringing in my ears. Here again through the presence and actions of another is a lesson for me. For me this is the journey, taking on what someone else says and sitting with it until an insight breaks through and frees up the energy that is running this way of being that I sometimes have.

Herein lies my dilemma in using this programme as my spiritual training. The dilemma is that the programme is not run as a spiritual programme yet this is what I am using it as. I know that training is essential on this path but I do not want to go to an Ashram, this programme is my Ashram. I am clear that what was running the show last night was my identity, the soul was nowhere in sight. Even though I got angry I don't think I showed it. I just noticed that it was there for myself. There was no defending or hitting back at her for what she said. I didn't defend or hit back because I know that if I can stay with it even though it is painful and confusing that I will have a breakthrough and the energy that is freed up can be used to create. So to some readers it can look martyrish to just take what could be seen as an insult like that on the chin so to speak but this is exactly what is required on the spiritual journey. The spiritual journey is the transformation of identity. This can only happen in complete and total surrender.

Today I was tired as I do the work of getting into a street fight with myself to uncover that which is hidden from my view in relation to this way of being. I don't know how long it is going to take for the relevant insight to emerge from the depths of my unconscious that will free the energy. All I know is that I am committed to doing whatever it takes to have that insight no matter what the cost to my identity. It is this single-mindedness of purpose that is essential for the spiritual path.

This evening on my way home from work I was thinking that I would have a bagel for my tea. I went into my local garage and I couldn't believe it when on the shelf where all the bread is kept there was only 1 bag of bagels. I looked around me to see if I could see another shelf where all the bread was and someone had just taken the bag of bagels and dropped them on the empty shelf - but no there was no more bread to be seen. Bemused I brought the bagels to the counter to pay for them. Walking home I mused to myself.....did I create the bagels being there or did the universe conspire to have them there for me. The more I see the correlation between me freeing up energy that is trapped around different points of views I had, ways of being, and giving it all up the more magic and miracles there seems to be in my life. It feels like I am creating this from the energy that has been freed up. I have no evidence for this, it just feels this way.....


Anonymous said...

Hi Margaret

When I was living in London I did some LGAT trainings (large group awareness trainings), namely, 'Est','The Forum' & 'The Life Training', I did most of these
trainings in hotels around London, including that big hotel at Liverpool St station. They were two very long weekends 9am - 12 midnight both days with
limited breaks for tea, lunch et & no going to the toilet or moving out of your seat until the trainers authorised a designated break. All these trainings
were very expensive & like you, I went on to assist at other trainings & was given some quite heavy responsibilities.

I can identify with what you are saying about 'not feeling comfortable & not belonging or being related to these people' because I went through all this. I
felt at the time that some of the people I was 'on team' with were amongst some of the most judgemental unconscious arseholes I had ever met. Despite them
doing these training's & purporting to be enlightened & having 'Got it! (est) & being on a spiritual path etc & taking responsibility for their experience
etc etc. I found them angry, blaming & highly competitive in terms of their positions & authority within the training context. Some were very pushy. I was
also not comfortable about the pressure to communicate my experience with a view to enrolling others onto the training I felt, in the end that I was really
on a training course that was about selling & making money all wrapped up in a lot of psycho babble & bullshit. I do acknowledge that I definitely have some
issues about working & giving up my time free of charge on these types of courses. It seemed to me that they were making a fortune by enrolling people onto
these courses & all the staff were volunteers working for free. The only people who were paid were the trainers. I found out about all these trainings

my own research & still 'believe' that people who are really interested in this kind of thing will take the time to find their own way forward.

In the end I stopped participating in these groups & courses, I acknowledge that all this stuff was my experience, that somehow I must have been creating it,
but then I also have the free will to choose not to participate with them any more & have a happier experience away from these people, I create this
experience also.

Now all of this sound very negative, I know. I have learnt things about myself as a result of doing these trainings & that was valuable. I had a massive
breakthrough when I did 'Est' even a long term health issue dissapeared overnight after doing this training, which must prove it was psychosomatic. No Doctor
ever cured me of it. I also had an incredible experience on a 2 day workshop called 'Opening The Heart' run by the 'Life Training' people, I will tell you
about this another time.

We are all on a spiritual path really. Life is one long learning curve. In a way 'Life' is the real 'trainer' or 'guru'. Sometimes we place ourselves in
positions that speed this process up & then life can become a roller-coaster. I think at one time I was in danger of becoming 'a trainings junky', I was
always looking for the next thing or enrolling on the 'advanced course' etc. All of this is fine, but walking away from it is fine also. I have found better
understanding about myself by reflecting & meditating on my experiences. Maybe I'm on the 'slow path' again, but then I have got eternity to discover the
truth & in the process of slowing down my training I am learning to enjoy the simple things in life in 'the present moment'.

Best wishes


Margaret Dempsey said...

Hello Harry

Thank you very much for your comment. I wondered whether or not to answer it through a new post but I think there is too much gold in it not to give some response directly to the comment.

The way that I came to Landmark Education was strange in that many years ago someone told me about an introductory evening for the Forum. I went along (I don't remember anyone being with me). The first thing a man with an Australian accent said was 'you can have anything you want for yourself and your life from doing this education'.

My immediate reaction 'was yeah right, no way' and then for the first time in my life I found myself standing up and walking out! I made some rude remark to the man on the door about everyone being mad.

Fast forward 4 years later. I have had a number of spiritual experiences and as a result have been living the life of a hermit, holed up in my flat reading every spiritual book I can get my hands on. Then my spiritual bubble bursts in the most cruellest of ways that I won't go into here and I am plunged into the deepest and darkest despair.

In my flat alone one Saturday night I thought to myself 'I am in hell, this has to be hell, I have been thrown out of the spiritual world and I can't get back into the conventional world', this must be hell'. Then I heard either a loud thought or a voice that said 3words with great authority. These words were 'do Landmark Forum'.

I then remembered the introductory evening I had walked out of 4 years ago. Up to that point I had never thought of that evening nor had I met anybody who had talked to me again about it. Remembering brought me a huge sense of relief and the next day I called the office in London and asked when the next introductory evening was. The lady said that there was 1 the next Wednesday evening.

I went along heard it all so differently and signed up and did the next weekend Forum which was in September 2005. Since then my spiritual insights and understandings has accelerated beyond anything I ever thought possible.

Why have I told this? I want to firstly show how the identity, that which runs us is ever alert and vigilant for any threat to its survival. The Landmark technology provides an ontological study into the nature and operation of being. How you and me have been put together as human beings. In this process our identity is under the spotlight like nothing else. The identity is aware that this is a threat because the end result of such an ontological study is transformation and this is a threat to the survival of the identity.

I have not done the EST training so am not going to comment. I am aware that the weekend Forum is a modification of the EST training but again I think the EST training realised that to cause transformation the process has to be severe in order to uncover the unconscious drives used by the identity that rule our lives. The irony is that we think that we are in control of our lives when it is the identity that is running the show the whole time.

One aspect of the identity is called a 'point of view' this is a view we have sentenced ourselves to in order to deal with some failure in our environment when we were young' My point of view is 'I'm not loved, I'm alone' and so there are very few occassions when I do feel related. I understand how we are all connected but connection isn't the same as related. So I see my inability to feel related as a function of the operating of my point of view and not anything to do with the people who are on this training programme with me.

The challenge for me is to recognise that this is the 'point of view' operating and create a way of being that is opposite to it.

The people who do these programmes are committed to making a difference in the world. Much of the way, in results, that the programmes produce depends on the interests of those who do them. I have stated that I am consciously taking on the spiritual journey so this leads me to taking the insights I receive and applying them spiritually.

Not all people use the programme like this so without a vigilance over the ego identity of course some arrogance and failures and frailties of human being are there. It is not promoted as a spiritual programme so while the safeguards of honesty and integrity and being true to one's word are there the identity is also always going to be there.

Thank you for being balanced in your comment and giving acknowledgement for what you did get from the trainings. I find that the more I go on and do the fiercer my resistance becomes and I understand that this is because I am getting very close to the origin of the identity.

With regard to your comment about enrolling people to go on these training courses. I was also in that space. What I have learned is that transformation is not something that can be bought in a shop. It comes alive when it is shared with others. Given that we are all connected and it is an illusion brought about by maya that we are seen as separate, when I touch, move and inspire another I am doing the same for me.

If transformation is not shared, it dies. If I don't share what I got about my pretence in wanting my book to be published but the truth being that I wouldn't give up control, see that, give it up and invent a new way of being that is the opposite of control which is being free and sharing that, it wouldn't be as strong as it is.

The purpose in sharing and enrolling is for others to see how the technology makes possible ways of being that are victories over the past. And the next step is to want everyone to have those victories over the past and be free. I am a stand that people don't wait until they are on their death bed to be free...

Plato said the unexamined life is not worth living. The landmark technology as well as others provides the tools for this examination, this is its purpose, to provide the tools so that everyone can get what it is they want from life.

The spiritual journey is a cosmic battle between the ego and the soul. It is the game between the ONE and the many and it is a game which is not given up easily. The most effective weapon the identity has in its arsenal against transformation is projection, criticism and judgement. Look and go beyond the appearance of all of this for what is possible.....

Thanks again Harry, I enjoyed reading and responding to your comment. I am aware that I didn't speak about 'The Life Training' but I don't know about this. I am intrigued however about the experience you allude to and hope to hear about it some day. Find a way to share this because it will give an access to others to become present to the beauty of the spirtual journey within themselves.

I acknowledge you for choosing powerfully to walk away from all such trainings to instead reflect and meditate on your own experiences. That is authentic and will bring you many insights and however be vigilant about the identity!

All the best


Anonymous said...

Thank you Margaret!

and thank you also for taking the time and trouble to read & respond to my comment in a lot of detail.

The life training (at that time) was a large group training, quite similar to EST in many ways and on the face of it, more spiritual & less confrontational
than EST. Both of the founding trainers (K. Bradford Brown & Roy Whitton) acknowledged that they had done EST & that EST & Werner Erhard
had inspired them to create their own transformational training. I was lucky that when I took the Life Training it was the first one held in the UK & both
Brad & Roy were the trainers. Brad was a total inspiration to me. At that time he would have been about 55 (he is still alive now) and was a Clinical
Psychiatrist in America. I have never met anyone with so much insight as Brad. He was like a Father to me, but scary too, because he seemed to be able to
look inside of people & know exactly what to do or say to them. Sometimes he would push peoples buttons to get them to look at issues they had or feelings
that were unresolved. At that time because the training was new they were the only trainers. I wanted so much to be like Brad that I put my name down to be
trained as a trainer for the life training. You could do this & they had a programme called 'The Trainer Striker Programme'. There was no curriculum as such
but you had to get very involved in the UK side of the Kairos Foundation that organised the trainings & assist & put out for more & more demanding positions
within the organisation & trainings until you started being comfortable with leading introductory evenings etc & in the end basically create yourself as 'A

I started to feel very inadequate during this time because a lot of the people involved in the trainings seemed to be wealthy or well qualified & I felt they
had more to offer than me. They also seemed much more confident with presenting talks in front of large groups than I did. I realised that my goal of
becoming 'A Trainer' was going to be a step learning curve. Also I found the other people on the Trainer Programme to be very competitive & quite a lot of
ill feelings & petty resentments surfaced for me & others.

I realise that it is the ego that is protecting it's own illusion of separation, I realised this when I received Shaktipat years earlier - I had a direct
experience of being at one with everything & everybody around me. In fact I had the certain knowledge that I was 'at source' that I was in fact creating
everything, I could feel the connection inside of me, it was as real as anything else I have ever experienced. When I say 'I', what I don't mean is who I
think I am i.e. Harry, but some part of me that is also a part of everyone & everything else. This must be a part of god that is within us all. the creator.

It was because of this experience that I wanted to try & help others experience the same truth. But how?

Like you I have spent years searching for answers, reading countless books, trying things like EST & the other trainings, Reiki, Rebirthing. Now I don't
really read those books any more. In many ways I have less answers now than when I started out. I have realised that their is no knowing, god will decide when
s/he will reveal herself to us. Like with me after Shaktipat, but I can't dial it up like ordering a pizza. What I have never understood is why have these
things happened to me? I have not had a particularly exotic life. I have never been to India. When I received Shaktipat I was living in a flat in Clapham. I
was totally depressed & on my own. I had no interest in spiritual matters at that time. I had become a vegetarian 3 or 4 years earlier. One day I walked
across Clapham common to the bookshop & bought a book called 'The Guru's of India', this was totally out of keeping for me. I went home read the book & most
of the dozen or so guru's that the book profiled didn't appeal to me at all. Apart from one 'Swami Muktananda', what he said made some sense & I liked the
look of him, something about his face seemed totally familiar & his eyes seemed to be looking straight into me. Anyway, I thought I don't do guru's & anyway
their are none around here. I put the book down & went out to the corner shop to buy a pint of milk. In the shop window was a card that read 'Introductory
evening next Saturday - Swami Muktananda's UK Siddha Yoga Ashram - 1 Bonneville gardens - Clapham. Bonneville gardens being the street next to the street I
lived in.

I was totally awed by this synchronicity. I started thinking that perhaps there was no free will in life at all. That my whole life & circumstances must have
been planned by some higher force & that even the flat I bought in Clapham must have been planned by some higher power so that I would make this connection
with this guru.

I went on the Saturday night to the 'Introductory Evening' it had been cancelled because they were having a meditation weekend. But the ashram manager was
friendly & I loved the atmosphere of the large Victorian house that was the ashram. Muktananda or Baba as they called him did not actually live there, he was
in India, but all around the walls were photographs of this amazing guru & his guru 'Nityananda'. The ashram manager said, 'if you want you can go upstairs &
sit at the back of the meditation hall, some of the ashramites are chanting' just sit in if you want. I was nervous but went up & sat in the corner, the room
was lit by candles & incense was burning. About half an hour later it ended & the ashram manager came up & said 'if you want before you go approach the puja
at the front of the room & take a mantra card'. I walked up and took this little card with photo of Muktanada on, some writing & the mantra. I thanked the
people at the Ashram & went home. That was the night I received shaktipat. I went home & started having amazing visions of Muktanada standing in front of me,
with his eye's burning into me. It was totally profound, at one point he touched me between the eyes & it was like being hit by a bolt of lightning. I
thought I had gone mad, I was laughing, crying, everything seemed to be shimmering & vibrating around me. Sparks were coming out of the wall. I couldn't
sleep because every time I opened my eyes I could see Muktananda's eyes staring into mine. Later I tried to sleep & I dreamt I was bitten by a snake. This &
other experiences (which I now know to be kriyas) went on for about a week, I never knew what would happen next. The final thing that happened was when I sat
one evening, cross legged on the floor, with my little mantra card photo propped on a small table & a candle in front. I closed my eyes & after about 10
minutes I felt something gently pushing against my back. Gradually my head went forward until It touched the floor in front of me & then WHAM!!! energy &
sound exploded from the base of my spine up & out through the top of my head, at that point I was one with god, I did not exist as an individual any more,
although, somehow, I still knew I was me witnessing this. After I just sat on the floor for hours. I went back to the ashram & told them about all this &
they just smiled & said 'you have received spontaneous Shaktipat. I continued attending courses, early morning meditation & chanting & satsang at this ashram
for about 4 years (they gave me a key to the door like the other ashramites because I lived around the corner). In the end so many people were coming that
the local residents complained about the parking & they had to move away to a large country house in Hampshire.

I realise this is rather a long 'comment', I hadn't meant for it to go on for so long, I just started writing & then one thing led to another. Please feel
free not to publish this if it is too long for your blog & don't feel obliged to send a long comment back, I am sure you are busy with your own stuff.

Thanks again