Saturday, 30 August 2008

The cosmic battle......played out in each human

Every day I become more aware of an inner battle between what I will call my identity or ego and my possibility or soul. The battle between the identity with its concepts of 'me' and 'mine' and the possibility with its concepts of 'love and connection'. I assert that in each of us this battle goes on. At the moment it is playing out for me in such a way that I am torn between my identity which wants to play small as I have said before and my possibility that is urging me to be a force for the transformation of human consciousness on the planet and thus the transformation of life itself. The effect on me of this intense inner battle is to leave me incredibly tired and uncertain about just about everything. Yet I know that this is a necessary stage in the transformation of consciousness because there is no shift or growth in the mind that is certain. To accept to be in a place of 'don't know' is to be in a powerful place with a consciousness that is vulnerable and accepting of shift.

For so many this place of 'don't know' is a scary place and so as humans we do everything to ensure that we don't go there. The most effective ways we do this is to form opinions and judgements and to be right in those opinions and judgements. In this way there is the comfort of certainty but the impact of this is that there is no growth and no shift of consciousness. In short, there is the stagnation of the consciousness whose very nature is to shift and transform. It is not so much the place of not knowing that is threatening but the length that the consciousness remains there which holds the unease. I look around me at everyone I know and on the outside they appear to not be in the place where I am at the moment. I have given up making myself wrong for creating this inner conflict within me and I am accepting that this is what is there for me at this time and trusting that out of it some transformation will happen which will touch, move and inspire others. This is transformation. It is not a one-off event but a continous unravelling of the consciousness until it shifts and shifts finally arriving at the point of nothingness or emptiness. When the consciousness reaches this point powerful creation is then possible.

We all create the worlds that we have. For some reading this who are dealing with some difficult events it's a hard thing to take on, that the world we have is what we have created but this is my assertion. To take responsbibility for that creation is the first step to shifting the consciousness towards this state of nothingness. All of the inner turmoil I experience within myself I have created as well as all of the external events that happen to me every day. I am 100% responsible for ALL OF IT. I'm not claiming this to be the truth but an idea to be played with and to see if really taking it on gives some freedom from feeling that we are only the play things of the Gods' I know that there may be some who are thinking 'but what about hurricane Gustav that is currently ripping through the caribbean, has the collective human consciousness created that also and I would assert that yes. But I must stress that this is just an assertion I am not claiming it to be the truth just an idea for the consciousness to play around with.

There is no objective world 'out there'. There is only what is created by consciousness. What would the world look like if everyone took on the responsibility that comes with being a creator and really took on that the human consciousness is powerful enough to create the world. I think that it would look like and be a totally different place......

Thursday, 28 August 2008

The nature of spiritual emergency.....

Last month I attended an evening in central London on spiritual emergency. I have spoken of the team management and leadership programme I am currently doing with Landmark Education and this was the team game of one of the participants. The woman who organised it was interested in the topic having had this experience in the past. I would never have known it was happening if she hadn't been asked to share with the group what her team game was. Once I heard it there was no doubt but that I was going to be there. What was amazing was that there are 48 other team members and we all play a team game in the world each quarter and yet nobody else was asked to explain what theirs was.

I arrived at the Friends Meeting House in London for this evening which was billed as the first public talk into the nature of spiritual emergency. The evening began with chanting from the woman who organised the evening. It was obvious to me from the depth and reverence of her chanting that she through the nature of her spiritual emergency was singing from a place of deep peace and stillness. The depth and resonance and beauty of the soul that came through was so moving.

Chanting over, J C Mac was then introduced. He is a long standing friend of the woman who organised the evening and as is quite common in cases of spiritual emergency he was operating quite normally as a life coach when suddenly something happened that totally shattered his consciousness. I can't remember the exact words of what he said about the experience. He described feeling an experience like a very strong wind within him and in an instant the world as he knew it had completely changed. The shift in consciousness was instant and intense. For him it resulted in a completely different perspective on life.

In an instant he realised the unity behind what seems to be separate. There was an automatic and intuitive realisation of deep spiritual Truths. Hearing him speak it was obvious to me that he is still trying to understand and piece together what happened to him. He claimed that it happened spontaneously and without warning and I don't doubt that this is so. My experience though is that this rising of energy from the base of the spine which is often accompanied by a kind of swishing or hissing sound comes after much focussed and concentrated meditation. From my research into the phenomenon there is always a background of intense spiritual practices and seeking.

J C Mac admitted that he had been looking into Zen and Buddhism and other spiritual practices but that he hadn't been doing any of it that intensely. I was a bit sceptical of this when I heard it. Something always precedes this experience, usually a shock of some kind to the mind that shifts it to allow the transformation to happen. This is the way it was for Eckart Tolle when he was struck by the thought when he was depressed 'I cannot live with myself any longer' and the shock of realising 'who am I; am I 'I' or am I 'myself' was enough to shock the mind to allow the transformation to happen and he describes in his first book 'The Power of Now' the rush of energy which coursed through his body and caused him to lose consciousness. When he woke up he was in the same room but it wasn't the same room, everything looked totally different'. This is spiritual emergency in its most concise form. Something happens that involves a movement of energy from the base of the spine to the brain and then back to the heart. This movement of the energy results in the heart awakening and deep feelings of love and connection for all people. For me it marks the shift of the consciousness from the human to the soul.

But the shift if it happens before the consciousness is prepared can prove too much. The shift shatters the mind and this results in the kind of bewilderment and not such a great grip of life that I saw in this man at that event. However the way he was being and his authenticity in not pretending that he had all the answers or any for that matter resulted in a space being created for others to share similar kinds of experiences. What was common to all who shared was the deep sense of love and connection that was experienced by those who claimed a spiritual emergency. What I was concerned about though was that no experience was without its consequences in terms of how well those who went through it were functioning in life. In all there seemed to be a kind of dissociation with the world.

There is no doubt that the experience of spiritual emergency is profound and the insights and realizations that come along with that are shattering to the consciousness. The best way to deal with all of this is to be like a witness, watching the chaos that is arising without entering into it. At this time all kinds of thoughts and realizations come through which are not of the ordinary and the temptation is to get involved with them and take ownership them. To do this is not to integrate the experience so that it becomes a hugely powerful context from which to live life and to be powerful in life. If the experience is not integrated then the consciousness becomes permanently dissociated from reality. It is this integration that was missing in my view from those who shared their experiences that evening.

When the spiritual energy which is dormant at the base of the spine rises it wakes up certain centres in the brain that are normally dormant. It is this that results in the understanding of spiritual truths and insights. A successful awakening is when the energy rises up through the nerves in the centre of the spine rises to the brain and then descends to rest in the heart. This pathway results in the experience of deep joy, peace and love. However what happens if the energy is forced to rise before the channels are ready to receive it either through intense meditation or some other intense spiritual practice is that the energy rises through either the right of left sides of the spine. When this happens the energy cannot find its way back down to the heart and stays in the brain. This results in the experience of tingling, crawling which is often reported in cases of spiritual emergency. The lady who organised the evening told me privately that she was hospitalized when she had hers and she went onto explain to me all of the visual and auditory hallucinations that she had while having it. She knew about the witness though and for all the time kept a journal of what was happening. I have asked if I can read this journal.

I consider myself hugely lucky with the experience I had in 1998 where on a meditation retreat in Devon called 'awakening the heart' I had the experience of energy rising from the base of my spine. I didn't have any visual or auditory hallucinations, see visions of any deities, have any images of past lives or anything psychic or paranormal. Thinking about it now after it I became quite manic with ideas and theories and reading everything spiritual I could get my hands on. I recognised that this was some kind of mania which I watched like a witness without getting involved with it. I also had periods of tearfulness and feeling incredibly sad which I also watched as a witness. Gradually the whole experience has become integrated so that I am able to be in life and be fully present in life while my consciousness is in another dimension.

The most moving account I have read about this process is a book written by a woman called Hazel Courtenay who is an award-winning health journalist. She titles her book 'Divine Intervention' - The true story of how one woman walked between worlds and returned with messages of hope from Diana'. The bit about messages of hope from Diana I am highly sceptical about. The mind when it is shattered is capable of anything and I firmly believe that all such claims no matter what they are or of who they are claiming to contact are products of a mind that is desperately trying to survive. That said, the book is a very good recount of the experience of a sudden and intense spiritual emergency, what it produced and the difficulty afterwards to return to life as it was before this experience.

During the evening I looked around and recognised a man from the Royal College of Psychiatry who I had met and spoken to at a conference on mystics and scientists. Afterwards I went up to him and I said 'this experience has been given such bad press this evening'. I have something different to say but don't know how or where to start'. The unease I had felt from him when I first spoke to him at the conference was there again and he made it obvious that he did not want to speak to me for very long. However one thing he said is something that I am going to take on. He said 'you can be the hope for people that having the experience of spiritual emergency is a rewarding and enriching experience that transforms consciousness and doesn't have to have the lasting and uncomfortable consequences that many spoke about this evening'.

I have taken that on and for my team game in the world I am going to put on another event. I am going to research some statistics for this phenomenon in terms of how many people have experienced it. I dimly remember someone in Luton doing some research into this and so I am going to put on a spiritual science evening around this phenomenon so that those who come have a feel for the scale of people who have this kind of experience. This will be my contribution to an experience which shifted life for me from one where I was just existing and getting by to the one I have now which is filled with joy, peace, love and a deep abiding feeling of contentment that is independent of external events.

Finally....I have removed my pic from this blog. Not because I have anything to fear or hide but out of concern for my family. I have teenage neices and nephews and I don't want them to feel embarassed about any of my writing or for people to make life uncomfortable for them if they recognise their relationship to me from my picture. I've also found now that I feel freer writing knowing that it is not there.....

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

The power of a comment......

This morning I received a comment to my blog entry about my visit to Mother Meera in March this year. The comment prompted me to resume this blog which I have neglected for some time. I am still amazed at the statistics for the number of people who return to read past blog entries. Strange as it may seem given all the insights and experiences that I have on a regular basis I experience huge resistance to sitting down and writing. Once I am here it flows and I enjoy it. When I received the comment I re-read what I had written about this visit and I want to use this blog entry to distinguish between Mother Meera's Darshan which is done in silence and silence as an entry point into the state of being. Silence is a powerful transition space that takes the consciousness from the state of doing to the state of being. However to get to this point of entry with silence requires the quietening of the mind's internal and incessant chatter and its continuous forming thoughts. The mind will never voluntarily allow silence to take it to this point so extreme measures are called for. This is the purpose of long silent meditation retreats. The long days and nights of silence bring the mind to breaking point, then it quietens.

This is how it happened to me. In 1996 I was on a silent 10 day meditation retreat in India. For the first 3 days the mind was busy observing, commenting, selecting those people it would speak to when the silence was broken. Then on day 4 I started to feel incredibly restless. I had thoughts like 'what are you doing here', 'it's a complete waste of time'. I persevered with this but by the time day 7 came I thought that I was losing my mind. I kept fighting and resisting everything. In the end on day 8 I decided that I would leave the retreat because I had more travelling to do alone in India and I wanted to make sure that I would be able to do this safely. In that instance when I gave up fighting with my mind I experienced this deep sense of peace and calm. Surprised I didn't know what it was but decided to go to bed and see how I felt in the morning. The morning came and the sense of peace and calm remained. I decided then to stay for the remainder of the retreat. My abiding memory of that time was of a mind that was relatively free of thoughts at least compared to the intensity and frequency of the thoughts that had been in the mind before this shift. I saw the direct relationship between number of thoughts and experience of bliss. Less mind activity equals more serenity.

As a result of this experience I consider silence to be more powerful than speech and in that regard Mother Meera understands the power of silence also. Where my unease lies is that as far as I understand it she never speaks to any devotee or permits any devotee to speak with her. Sri Ramana Maharshi was also a strong and ardent advocate of silence. But he also spoke the wisdom he had accessed through silence. I don't believe that the state of enlightenment which is nothing more than the absence of thoughts and the mind returning to its original home - the Self, can be brought about by silence alone. Some discourse, some context to set the spiritual journey within and some stimulation for the mind is necessary. At a certain stage all of the knowledge that is gleaned from discussion, debate has to be given up and the consciousness has to come from nothing if that abiding state of peace, joy and bliss is to be experienced.

The spiritual path is as real a path as any other. At the moment I am doing a one year team management and leadership programme with Landmark Education. What it is bringing up for me is the conflict between my identity with its ego that wants me to stay and play small and my possibilility or soul that is crying out for me to play big with the insights and experiences that I have. What I have seen is that because I am so aware of the narrowness of the spiritual path I have spent much of my time being wary of being big headed or getting ego inflated. Ego inflation sounds the death knell to the spiritual path. So my way of ensuring that this doesn't happen is to constantly make myself wrong thus sentencing myself to a life of suffering, and having no fun. Seeing this now is so ridiculous given what the fruits of the spiritual path provide;, making wrong and suffering is the complete opposite of what the path has to offer. I see my unconscious commitment to suffering as the way that my identity ensured that I do not live into the life that is possible when I don't suffer or make myself wrong. The further along the spiritual path the consciousness travels the more subtle are the ways that the identity sabotages it. The spiritual is a game for the Truth...

I consider humility to be the most important quality on the spiritual path. It acts as a protection against ego inflation. However what I had been doing is making myself wrong in order to ensure I remained humble!..duh... and this just just doesn't work. So through this blog I am declaring that my new possibility for myself from here on is the 'possibility of being humble without making wrong'. In this way I can honour and acknowledge myself and not fear that it will result in ego inflation. I am using this year as the training that I would get from a Guru or spiritual master if I had one. The team programme with Landmark is not a spiritual programme but is about becoming a master in certain communication distinctions which are given when one takes on the training involved in the communication curriculum. What it is showing up very intensely and directly for me is the permanent conflict between my identity and my soul.

My identity has been resisting creating possibility because each time a possibility is generated and put into action the identity gets that little bit weaker. What I have seen is that my resistance to creating possibility (a way of being) reflects the commitment of my identity to keep my consciousness in a state of suffering and make wrong. This is a safe place for the identity. I used to vaguely wonder why every time the concept of possibility came up that I would experience an irritation perhaps this explains it......

So thank you for the comment on Mother Meera that has prompted me to return to this blog. Thank you also to those loyal readers who have returned to read different postings. May this writing which is from me but not of me touch, move and inspire all who read it to take the spiritual path on with reverence and earnest, with the faith that the state that mystics and saints have written about through the ages is as real now as it was then.