Monday, 30 March 2009

Back to my old habits....of being lax in writing this blog...

I haven't been my word around writing my blog and I could hide behind all the work I am doing for this college course but that would be a lie. The truth is that I could have written if I hadn't chosen to eat instead of write. Everytime it is the same and I make the same disempowering choice. I arrive in London and know that I have limited time before starting whatever it is I am up in London to do. I have a moment of truth where the thought 'food, or blog' comes into my head and I'm ashamed to say that most of the time I opt for food. The cost of this is that no blog gets written and the longer it goes on the harder it is for me to come back and write it again.

And yet it should have been easy to write it on Friday evening because I was on a high. Early in the morning we had our news writing class. The class had begun with the tutor singling out a couple of peoples' work as being what we should all aspire to. I am finding some of the people on the course quite a challenge. However, I know that I wouldn't see these challenging traits in these people if they weren't also in me. This is the way it goes. We can only recognise something in another because we also have it but don't want to look at it, therefore we project it to others. So I am recognising this challenge and am working on it. It was the work of one of the people that challenge me that was singled out as being 'very good'. I could almost feel the bile of jealousy welling up from the back of my throat. This is just horrifying for me who has spent many years thinking I am the next St Teresa. Nice spiritual people don't have these awful feelings they are ascended and transcended and I plainly am not. But I recognise this and am not cocooning myself in some spiritual bubble because of a few powerful experiences I have had. I am far from enlightened but am 100% committed to achieving that state of mind which I firmly believe is possible if I want it badly enough and am willing to do everything that it's going to take to get it.

I recognised the feeling of jealousy and acknowledged it like I was a witness, I know that it comes from me but it is not me. To acknowledge something and allow it to be is to transform it. I feel so grateful that I have enough self-awareness to see all of this dynamic and not react. For me, it is like weeding a garden. Each time I recognise a thought or feeling which doesn't empower me given who I say I am and I give it up, then that weed is gone out of the garden. It will come back because weeds always do which is why there is such a need for continuous vigilance on the spiritual path.

Anyway, I got over that and the tutor moved on to speaking generally about news writing and how to be an effective news writer. He said that news writing is much easier when the person can write. He then looked at me and in front of everyone said 'Margaret, you're a good writer, I really like the way you write'. I was stunned and couldn't believe what I had just heard. I've had it for a lot of this course that being a good journalist is different to being a good writer and now I was told that his perception of me being a good writer will make it easier for me to learn how to write news pieces more effectively. I was on such a high. Everything and everyone in the room looked different, brighter, sharper. I had a fleeting memory of the years I spent working listening to others being told they were good at their job and wistfully wondering whether I would ever be given such an accolade and there it was 'I am a good writer'. day....

I went to my team meeting and then to stay with my best friend in London who I have known since childhood. It is funny when you go and stay in the home of someone you have known for many years but the longest time you've ever spent with them has been the length of going for a drink or a meal. To actually stay and be a part of a home for a weekend was a truly delightful experience. His warmth and kindness in the face of not being well moved me so deeply. I saw the beauty of what he has created in his home and his commitment to me as a lifelong childhood friend. People for me fall into one of two categories, those that move me and those that teach me, this friend does both and I feel so lucky to have such a long lasting and rewarding relationship with him. I want to acknowlege that before moving on....

Today was the start of another week and we were all instructed to prepare a 10 minute presentation on a magazine. It will form part of the assessed work for the course. I don't know where the time went last week or more honestly what I did with the time but last night come 11pm I didn't have a presentation. This morning at 7am, I did.....well not so much a presentation as a collection of A4 sheets with some bullet points. I transferred all onto a USB stick having fought with powerpoint and the internet to get the necessary information and trundled into college. I didn't want to speak to anyone because I had a sinking feeling that there was going to be some powerful presentations and mine wasn't going to be one. My excuse or reason is that I have never used powerpoint and given my natural intuitive grasp of all things computer I had it that I just didn't have the time.

The first presentation started...aagh...what kind of things was this person able to do with the computer, it was amazing so professional and well thought out and researched. And so the agony continued, as one by one the works of art were presented. With every presentation my heart sank deeper into my shoes. Suddenly to my amazement I found my feet taking themselves out of the room a few minutes before I was due to present my creation. I wanted to be anywhere but in that room. By leaving I think I hoped that the lecturer would move onto the next person on the list and then I would be at the end where I wouldn't have to sit for too long enduring humiliation. To my horror I walked back into a room where everyone was waiting in silence FOR ME!....aagh..this is my worst nightmare. I fumbled around trying to find the hole for the USB stick....doesn't get much more basic than that. Some poor soul took pity on me and came to my rescue when blind panic meant I was in danger of losing my vision of USB stick, computer, room and everything.

I did it and got through it. I have no idea how because I sat down and had no memory of anything. Waking down the stairs afterwards I was so touched when one of the guys told me that he had got more from mine because it was so short than some. I looked at him with so much gratitude. Even if it wasn't true, it was good to hear....balm to my turbulent mind......

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

This beginning to bite....

I haven't written this blog because the course is becoming so intense now. I find that the days and nights go so quickly and there is so much to do just to keep my head above water. On Tuesday I worked in an office on a culture website and I really enjoyed it. I would really love to get a job as a staff writer in a magazine but I'm under no illusions that this is going to be easy. To be a successful freelancer one needs to have amazing discipline and I don't at the moment. I still have the interview that I did with the monk to transcribe and I have been putting off going into town to speak to people about what meditation means to people. This will make the article more real but I have been procrastinating about it. And yet, when I get down to it and begin writing I just love it and I know that I made the right move to change my career.

Since getting the insight into my point of view I have been so much more relaxed at college. I am putting together a team game with some people to plan a celebration for when we finish the exams at the beginning of July. Before I got this insight I wouldn't really approach the team members because underneath my awareness I had this story called 'I'm not included (a part of), I'm alone'. Paradoxically acknowledging and accepting that this is what is there but was hidden from my view is what has freed me to be relaxed happy and approachable with my team members. I was much more assertive yesterday to the point that a couple of team members got annoyed with my intensity but this had absolutely no effect on me and I was able to laugh it off and have fun. This is just unheard of for me.

I understand now that it is also this point of view that made me feel uncomfortable in most social circumstances. Now, I walk into any circumstance and I am totally comfortable. I'm really looking forward to my evening of Vortex healing. I think that it is the energetic shift that brought about the mental shift. I knew that something was happening because of how tired I was after the first session. Tiredness for me is always a sign of an inner turmoil or conflict. Tiredness is the inner battle of the identity wanting to hide and the possibility wanting to expose and it plays itself out within the human frame.

After the healing last week I wasn't in the least bit tired and I was also fine when I woke up on Friday morning so I am looking forward to this evening...but....before that, I have to get through 2 hours of shorthand which is getting very complicated now and there is no way that I can get away without doing my hour each night. I noticed that a couple of evenings that I didn't do it, I have really suffered when it comes to later chapters. Then I have 5 hours of design which I am struggling with because it is a computer package that relies on logic to progress. So by the time 6pm comes this evening I will be well ready for the Vortex healing.....

Monday, 23 March 2009

College was no different today.....I was..

I woke up this morning feeling so relaxed and happy. Got myself showered and dressed and ready for college. I have such deep relief that it's hard to write and yet I'm not entirely sure what I am so relieved about. I arrived into college and saw it like it was for the first time. I felt so connected to everything and everyone. Our first class was shorthand and I chatted away to the shorthand lecturer and it was just so great. I saw everyone differently. I wasn't viewing everyone and everything from the point of view of 'I'm not included, I'm alone' and what a difference that made. College was the same, the people on my course are just the same but my context has shifted and this has brought about a different world and reality for me.

At lunch one girl commented on how happy I looked and then I ended up sharing everything that I had seen from Saturday. I noticed how passionate without sounding heavy and intense I was and for the first time I realised the power of passion without zealousness. There was so much passion in me when I was speaking but nothing evangelical. Yet, given the power of my insight I think I'm pretty good not to be evangelical. I spoke to my mum about it later on and she could see exactly what I was talking about and told me how difficult it was to be around me when I was a growing up that no matter what anyone did to try to include me in things I never seemed to be happy. This created an uncomfortable atmosphere in the family. Just one instance where I said to myselfl 'I'm not a part, I'm alone' and that created the framework and context for the way I lived my life. It's unbelievable that one thing we decide about something can have such power, but it does, until it is undistinguished. But the identity does not give up its secrets easily. There's much darkness before the light, much soul searching, much confusion and bewilderment. But if we stay with a commitment to transform it then sooner or later it will happen. I firmly believe this. What I am not so sure on is how long it is going to take. It could be one lifetime or many lifetimes. The most important thing is to begin the process now.

What is amazing to me is that everyone of us by virtue of being human have formed a point of view about ourselves. It is what gives us our individuality. Without the structure of identity with its point of view, ego and opinions we would all be the same. We would all be just essence, we would be nothing and yet everything. The moment the wholeness of consciousness was broken when the point of view formed is the moment we knew separation. From that moment on there is what appears to separation and from separation comes suffering. The whole of the journey from human to spiritual is rediscovering the wholeness that never really separated, the point of view makes us think that we are play the game between the self and not-self....

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Very unsettled....since my insight on Saturday

I've been reeling since Saturday. Sometimes I get so tired of this continuous battle between my identity and possibility. The identity goes to unblievable lengths not to transform. I can't believe that I have gone almost 2 years trying to work with an incorrect point of view. All of the frustration I have felt when I've been stopped and my coach has asked me to re-present my point of view and I felt nothing when I did. I didn't feel anything because it wasn't the point of view I had sentenced myself to when I was a young child. The purpose of getting in touch with the point of view when I was being stopped is because it is only our point of view that stops us from being powerful in every area of life. My identity knew it was safe while I had my point of view being 'I'm not loved, I'm alone' because it wasn't the one. On Saturday I got what was really going on and really I should have been able to spot it myself by the efforts I have always made to belong wherever I went. I turned myself into a chameleon in order to belong and sink into the background of acceptance and it never happened. I denied my power to myself and others and yet I knew my own power and I'm sure that others see it also. It was so inauthentic not to be this power and to sell out on it to be included, when I was never going to be included anyway.

I saw myself in the interview I did with the monk, in that although he tried to put himself down and disparage himself I could see just how powerful he was. I have been behaving in exactly the same way and only because I have wanted to be included. To finally see this means that I can be proud of my power and present myself as powerful without thinking that it's going to stop me from being included. I created all of the experiences I have of being excluded, or more specifically my point of view created this for its own survival. I had a concrete example of this on Saturday. Early Saturday morning I sent a text to my coach with a request. I didn't hear anything back from her. When I met her later that morning, I believed that she was different towards me, she seemed to be more impatient and I immediately thought 'she wants to say 'no' and doesn't know how to tell me. We were talking and then she said 'I left my mobile phone at home and I've been here in the office all morning'. I couldn't believe it, l looked at her open-mouthed. I created that she was different towards me and it was because of the text and she hadn't even seen it. I shared this with her and she laughed and said 'see what your identity does and when it does that, you lose your power and make all kinds of assumptions that are not true. It was a tough lesson. Tough lessons seem to be what is around at the moment.

Even though I've had this huge insight I've been really unsettled. The Vortex healing has stirred such a lot of things. I never used to feel jealous of anyone and yet there is someone in college I feel so jealous of. This person is bringing me face to face with feelings that I thought I was too spiritual to have...yeah right....sometimes I really wonder about my self-declaration that this is a blog about spiritual development. This is just my assertion, a finger didn't come down from the clouds point at me and say 'it's you'. It's something I decided, on the strength of a powerful experience I had on a meditation retreat which shifted my understanding of spiritual writings and readings and also convinced me of the truth of spiritual development and that it comprises of 3 stages - Know thyself, know THE SELF and know THE ONE. This blog is mainly about the first stage and the tension and battle that the identity engages in not to transform. I have flashes of stages 2 and 3 but in all honesty most of my consciousness is taking up with trying to achieve stage 1. Just having a will to complete stage 1 is not enough, action is needed. Mostly actions that put ourselves at risk and have no element of looking good. If I was writing this blog to look good and not to be authentic I wouldn't be true to what I have said is its purpose. But oftentimes it's not easy to write because I want to write that I have all the answers, that I have got at everything that is hidden from my view but I can't so I don't but it doesn't make it any easier to write. comes down to a mind of faith......that can't be approved or disproved to anyone.

I went for a walk on the beach, I can't run because I have blisters on my feet but the walk was so beautiful. Once again there was a brilliant sunset which reflected mystically on the sea. As I was walking I remembered the words of the monk that with a mind of faith or a spiritual mind....the ordinary becomes extraordinary and magical.......

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Transformation.....never ends..

I've just returned from my agreement in London and while I am waiting on the bus to take me home I've come into an internet cafe to write this blog. I won't get very far before I am kicked out but I will make a start. I travelled to London for my agreement and after it I went up to the 1st day of the 1st of the communication courses that I speak so highly about. This is the course where participants get to experience the impact of the model of communication that we are all born into it, a model that is based on fixing and surviving our communication with others and ourselves. Central to this way of communicating is what is called a point of view. This is something we decided about ourselves when we were very young and it then gives us our identity and from there our lives. I thought that mine was 'I'm not loved, I'm alone' but I couldn't understand how it operated in my life. As a result my coach on the team programme I am on was frustrated that I operated on my own all the time and couldn't see why.

I walked into the course at the exact point where the course leader was speaking about the point of view and how it gets formed. I listened intently because I wanted so much to have a breakthrough around this. The course leader spoke about how it is formed by the words we say when we decide who we are and asked participants what they saw in what he was saying. One lady shared something and what she said hit me like a hammer blow and I thought that's it that's my point of view. It's not 'I'm not loved, I'm alone, it's I'm not included, I'm alone'. As this hit me I had a picture of when I was very young and I saw how close my brothers were and I said 'I'm not included, I'm alone' and this has been my experience in every area of my life. Not feeling included. Although at 4 years of age I probably wouldn't have said 'I'm not included'. What I more than likely said to myself was 'I'm not a part, I'm alone'. The power of that decision gave me a life where no matter what I tried to do I always felt that I wasn't a part. Some of that had been coming through this blog. All I have ever wanted to do is to belong and all I ever seem to do is to stand out.

What I see now with perfect clarity is that my point of view has created it to be like that. I'm living with a family and I had it that I'm not included, even though they have made so many efforts to include me. I have it at college that I am not included, but this is the experience my point of view is giving to me. It has to in order to survive, it is not the way it really is. This is just such a huge insight for me and will transform the entire way I am with people and in groups. When this ran me even though I would try to include myself what was running in the background and will always run until it is distinguished is that I was trying to include myself inside a context of 'I'm not included, I'm alone' no wonder all of my efforts were doomed to failure and never brought the result I hoped for, leaving me feeing small separate and alone when surrounded by people.

When I think of the guy from the gym and how my way of being with him is that I'm excluded from his life even though the constant text messages and calls gave me all the evidence that it wasn't this way...I just couldn't see it until today. I've treated everyone and everything like I'm being excluded and it's been horrible for them and for me. Viewing everything that happens through the filter of being excluded and alone has made for a lonely life. But I am so grateful that I have seen it now. I am so lucky in being given the opportunity to give it up and create something new and wonderful., a possibility for me of being connected and included. That point of view is always going to be there, it is like a trap that we create when we are young that becomes who we think we are and it acts like a trap in that we are caught within it and even when it is identified it doesn't go away, the difference is that once it is identified it loses some of its power.

I assert that whatever self- development programme one does, whether it is with Landmark Education or whoever that this is the ultimate aim. Uncovering the game between the non-self and the self, or between identity and possibility. I also believe this to be the aim of all spiritual development.

I came into the house and shared this with the lady here and she gave me a huge hug and said how much they wanted to include me and for the first time I really heard it and knew that it was genuine and now I am upstairs writing this blog. Transformation or seeing the familiar in a new light never changes. I'm not going to say that just because I saw this today that I now have power over this point of view and that it won't operate anymore. It will, because it was put in place for survival and it will morph again into something more subtle that once again will be hidden from my view. I feel so grateful that I was aware of feeling alone and separate from people to an abnormal degree. That it was so acute that I noticed it and this awareness together with my commitment to be willing to look and see no matter what the cost, is what produced the breakthrough. But it takes this. To want to break free and transform the identity just as badly as a drowning man wants air - it demands and takes nothing less than this......

Friday, 20 March 2009's not possible...

On Thursday evening I had my 2nd Vortex healing group. I arrived early and was sitting reading a book when the person who is taking the group walked in. She gave me a beaming smile and sat down and earnestly asked me how I was. I explained that I had been incredibly tired and was apprehensive about coming again. She then said that she had been worried about me that I hadn't been grounded and that she was going to make sure that I was more grounded this week. I looked at her with huge gratitude that she should care so much when it's only a 4 week course. She then explained how in the west we spend most of our time in our head and don't connect with the body. This made sense to me but I wanted to be sure so I said to her 'so if I put my focus on my body I won't be as spaced out and tired as I was last week and my body won't do the violent convulsing that it did. She confirmed that this was so and I knew what I had to do. It was in line with the promise I made to myself to absorb myself in the experience and not stand apart from it.

The lady went to get the room ready and after a while I went up. The others arrived and we all lay down. I immediately put all of my intention on my body and I immediately felt a tingling sensation in my arms and legs. I sensed the woman behind me and then felt gentle hands on my head. After a few minutes she left to go to someone else. Then the current of energy started but I kept my consciousness focussed firmly on the body and was able to control it and finally stop it altogether and relax into the experience. I felt a huge difference by keeping my attention on my body. I realized just how little I feel my body and how I have been so much in my head. The next thing I knew my name was being called. I know that I hadn't been sleeping because I was wide awake when she where did I go......

Everyone in the room sat up and we started to talk. One of the guys asked who the photo was that was on the mantelpiece. I had walked in and never seen the photo. I went rigid with shock when she said that the photos were of Mother Meera. This was amazing because some time ago I wrote a blog entry about my visit to Mother Meera and how I couldn't fathom why she had so many devotees when she never gives any teaching, just silent Darshan. I couldn't understand what people got from her. So for me now to be sitting in a room having a done a healing that was overlooked by the picture of Mother Meera was just a bit too much. I could feel the hairs rising on the back of my neck. But I know that it is because I am on this self-declared path that I see these co-incidences or synchronicities. Someone who is not on this path and not looking for signs for next steps wouldn't see anything strange in this. I didn't know this lady was a devotee of Mother Meera before I came. I didn't think Vortex healing had anything to do with Mother Meera. Has Mother Meera got a power that I have underestimated and when I knelt down at her feet to receive Darshan did she see a pair of sceptical eyes looking at her and want to prove something to me.

It reminds me of the story of Ram Dass who when brought to India to meet the Guru of a friend of his refused to bend down and kiss the feet of the Guru. Later that night the Guru spoke to Ram Dass and told him the night before he had come to the Ashram he had been outside looking at the stars and thinking about this mother. Ram Dass joined the Ashram after this, all of his doubts gone by the power of the Guru. This will be my third encounter with Mother Meera. The first time was when I took in a guy who was doing the same course as me and had nowhere to live. On Morning I got up and in one of my dessert bowls were some dried flowers. He declared himself a yogi and spent the entire time he stayed with me without working. I was annoyed to see one of my dessert bowls with these flowers. When I saw him I asked him what it was. He replied 'they are flowers from Mother Meera'. I exploded, Mother Meera, what about getting a job. That's how much I knew or cared about Mother Meera. I can't remember what happened to the dried petals. When the course was over he returned back to his country and I promptly forgot all about him and Mother Meera. I don't know how it happened but I came across a visit the Mother was making to London. I've written all about the lead up to this visit and my feelings, before, during and afterwards. Given all that I wrote there it is most strange that once again I found myself in her presence.

Feeling slightly unnerved and not knowing why I woke up this morning and had the strongest urge to go out for a run under the cliffs and let the sea calm my turbulent mind. After the healing I felt great, not at all tired which I was really grateful for. I woke up this morning feeling exactly the same. I got up quickly put on a tracksuit and began running. I immediately felt much calmer. I reached the sea and I felt the most incrediblel peace and bliss. While I was running I wondered about everything that is happening, or I am creating in my life at present and where it's all going to lead. I returned back to the house because I had no lectures and started to do some shorthand. But I was restless. I remembered what the lady had said about how we might feel after the evening as things were brought to the surface when space becomes available. She said to watch everything without entering into it and that is what I did for most of the day, just watched the turmoil in my mind without engaging with it.

This evening again I had a strong urge to go out to the sea. When I reached the sea the most amazing sunset was just beginning. I have seen some fabulous sunsets when I was in Varanasi, India but the one tonight was just incredible. I stayed for such a long time being still, silent and transfixed. There was nothing else but me and that sunset, nothing else mattered. The power of the connection I had is something that will stay with me for such a long time. I watched it with a heart filled with love and gratitude.....not knowing what is next but completely surrendered to the process...

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The spiritual path is a choice.....there is nothing chosen about it...

Today I interviewed a monk who followed the Kadampa Buddhist tradition. Kadampa was developed by Tibetan master called Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and introduced to the west in 1977 - since then he has gone on to establish over 1000 centres worldwide. I knew that I wouldn't get the Master himself for an interview but I thought I would get a senior monk. Instead what presented itself to me for interview was a rather portly unmistakeably English robed monk with the most beaming of smiles. Setting aside my first thought that a western monk can't possibly have eastern insights I started my interview by putting my dictaphone with the new tape and batteries confidently on the table.

As the interview progressed I was struck by just how human he is in terms of trying to cultivate what he calls a virtuous mind as the way to enlightenment. A mind full of love and compassion and when he says this he looks dreamily out of the window and I am present to just how much this inspires him. Then he talks about the all too human side and tells me that yesterday he got angry because he had been out and nobody had kept him any lunch. It's a simple example but it demonstrated to me so powerfully the continuous tension which drives human being. I was struck by the humour and humility of someone I had initially written off.

He spoke about how he became a monk and what struck me with this is that he had known for many years that he was being called but then asked for a sign. That sign came and he followed it. He had a choice and chose the life of a Buddhist monk. He is not long ordained and realises that he has a long way to go. His love for his teacher Kelsang Gyatso is evident as he speaks about the inspiration that he gets from him and how he feels when he is in his presence. From this I understand the power of complete surrender to a higher power. I have been so reluctant to surrender to a teacher in flesh and blood which is why my spiritual path has been lonelier. If I stopped resisting and gave myself up to life in a spiritual Ashram perhaps it wouldn't feel as tough but there is huge resistance on my part to do this.

I wound up the interview after an hour but there was no denying that the monk had moved me. Without any earth shattering energetic experiences he has embarked on this path with nothing more than faith and a burning desire to end the suffering for himself and others - to become enlightened in this lifetime. For this goal, he has given up everything.

I left the centre quite spaced out again. What is it about me in these environments that makes me so tired and kind of spaced out. I came home and my inner voice said 'go for a run' but my legs were sore from my run the day before so I didn't listen to it. Instead I had to take some money out from a cash point machine. Still thinking about the interview and the monk I put my card in the machine keyed in the amount, took my card and promptly walked off without taking the money. A couple of minutes inside the shop and I realised what I had done, I rushed out but of course the money wasn't sitting in the machine waiting for its rightful owner to come and claim it...some other person had conveniently taken it probably not believing their luck. Oh well, all I can hope is that whoever took it needed it more than me. I saw again that when I don't do what my inner voice is urging me to do there is an impact and a cost to me.

Earlier in the day I held my first Team game meeting to discuss an event to celebrate the end of the college course that will also double up as my team game in the world. It was nerve racking as getting a team together is something I have never done before. I was so grateful to everyone for showing up and we have decided on a lower key meal and drinks rather than a complicated difficult to organise gig. Before this meeting I had 2 hours of shorthand and I had the frustration of once again not being able to intuitively guess at outlines that I hadn't practiced before. It doesnt' bode well for the 2nd shorthand test tomorrow.

By the time I reached home after all of this I was so tired. I took out my shorthand book and notebook but suddenly got so tired that I could hardly keep my eyes open. I'm just going to finish this and go to bed. At this moment I couldn't give 2 damms about the shorthand or for that matter any other test tomorrow. Is this darkness completely the result of me not listening to my inner voice and going for a run or is there something else at play. I have the 2nd Vortex healing tomorrow night and to be honest I haven't felt myself since the last one. It's stirred me up physically and mentally. It is interesting that I have paid up for a 4 week course because I think, given the way I am feeling tonight that if it was a pay on the evening course I don't think I would go. I am feeling scared and confronted by something and I don't know what it is......

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Today.....I experienced heaven on earth

This evening I did something that I have been promising myself to do since I moved down here and that is to go out for a run along the beach. There is definitely a reason for me being in this environment. The woman of the house who regularly runs by the beach has been speaking to me about it continuously so I haven't been able to forget. She also told me about organic Guarana she takes for increased endurance and stamina. I seem to be getting lots of messages about my spiritual path from this environment that I find myself in. College finished early and feeling the kind of restlessness that I am since doing the first evening of the Vortex healing I had such a strong desire to go for a run. It was a beautiful day here so I got home quickly changed and ran outside. The moment I saw the sea all the angst and turmoil that has been my constant companion for the last week disappeared and I knew the reason why I was now out running. Words or at least mine, don't do justice to the immense feeling of peace, calm and bliss I felt running beneath the protection of white cliffs with a vision of the sea as far as the eye could see.

The sea was twinkling and shimmering and the faster I ran the more mystical it felt. At one point there was total absorption to the point of nothing else. I experienced a one-pointedness of focus which was nothing short of bliss. I felt so close to something so much bigger than me yet also a part of me if that makes sense. I finished my run grateful that the pent up tension and restlessness was gone. I hadn't written about it but I had been feeling strange currents of energy that I didn't know what to do with, running calmed it all down and now intend to go for a run at least 3 times a week. I came back to where I am staying and had a shower.

Earlier in the day I had gone into Brighton to get some new tapes for my dictaphone. There is no way that I am even going to attempt shorthand. On Monday we did mock interviews with this actor who was playing the role of a drugged out rock musician. That morning I checked the tape for all of a minute...seemed fine. At the interview, I confidently put the tape down in front of him and started asking questions. It was nerve racking because the tutor was in the room watching and making notes to give us feedback as to what worked and what didn't with our interviewing techniques. I was nervous already so didn't attempt any notes putting full and unfailing confidence in my gadget. 5 minutes into the interview, glanced at my tape...aagh..not working, I looked again willing it just to be that I didn't see the little wheels going around..nothing. Major, blind panic set in....lurched across the table to where thankfully a pen was lying dormant and started to scribble furiously. After that I didn't hear much of what he said and I certainly wasn't focused to get all the information I needed. At the feedback the lecturer told me how important it was to make sure that all of the equipment was working. He then gave a dig about how shorthand would have saved that situation....nightmare

So now I've got new tapes, new batteries and I am ready to roll. The strange thing is that on Saturday I had a thought about getting new tapes but dismissed it by saying 'the old one's will be OK for this interview'. Lesson about intuition......ignore it at your peril. My intuitive voice was very strong to get new tapes and I ignored it and paid the price. In the beginning when one begins a spiritual journey this voice is very quiet because the identity and ego is stronger but if we persevere and have the commitment to act from intuition then gradually it will get stronger. I want to make a difference between lower and higher intuition. The intuition I am speaking about is higher in that it doesn't involve any feelings on my part. It comes through like a kind of instruction. Lower intuition always has a feeling component associated with it and once feelings get involved the pure intuitive urge is somewhat tainted. This is not to say that emotion and feelings don't come into intuition, they do but only at a later stage.

Many of the great breakthroughs have come through intuition and then action which comprises feelings and emotions come next. Today at this interview I will listen intently to what questions my intuition is guiding me to ask. The fact that I am getting what is a very rare interview given that I don't think anyone would interview without offering it to a magazine makes it more special. I want it to be the best feature in my examination portfolio as a kind of thank you for everything that Buddhism has given and continues to give even though the only practice I do any kind of regular basis is meditation......

While I was in Brighton I stopped off at a shop that sells organic Guarana. The lady I live with had shown me hers and had invited me to have some. These days without a teacher I am very much alert to messages that come to me via others from the universe. I bought a small jar of the powder and had a little in water when I came back from my run. When it gets to late at night I am usually tired but perhaps after the run and the Guarana I am full of beans is very late......

Monday, 16 March 2009

I've been in such a strange space since the Vortex healing on Thursday evening. I awoke on Saturday feeling much better in as much as the awful tiredness had gone but in its place was a new awareness around everything. I went to do my three hour office agreement and for the first time since I started this education realised that I was coming to the end of what I can get from it. In a moment I saw that that when I finish this year that this is it for me. I thought that I would go on and become a Forum leader but I am clear now that I won't. This shift is unsWhWat ettling for me and has thrown me into major uncertainty. It is amazing that it is in my final quarter that I find myself doing something energetic that has nothing to do with trying to figure things out. It feels like I have got everything I can from this training and now it is time to start something different, to go along another path. What is important more so now than ever is to begin the journey - the journey to separating who we are from who we think we are. This is the most important thing and there are lots of ways of doing this. For me the training provided by Landmark has provided a rapid acceleration of this process but it is not the only thing available. To begin to look for training which resonates in beginning this journey consciously is more important than the actual vehicle chosen. I was in danger of mistaking collapsing the vehicle with the journey. They are separate. The journey can involve the use of different vehicles at the different stages of transformation. What determines whether or not the journey continues or gets stuck at a certain level is the courage to leave and start again when it feels right.

This is scary. It is far easier to stay in something that is familiar and comfortable. But when comfort starts, transformation stops and I realise how easy it would be for me to get comfortable with this training. I saw this so clearly on Saturday which is why I am choosing not to do anything else when I complete in May. Before the Vortex healing I wasn't able to see this and yet I have never really felt wholly comfortable and I haven't been able to put my finger on why. There is no doubting the commitment to transformation and the will of everyone involved in the training for everyone to have and live the life they love, that is not in doubt. For me, I don't have the feeling of having come home like I did the first evening I was introduced to Buddhism. When I was first introduced to the concepts and tenets of Buddhism I had such a strong feeling of having come home. This then begs the question that if I had felt so at home why did I leave. Is this leaving when something begins to get serious me just running away again. The truth is that I don't know. I don't think it is. Buddhism had got to the stage of also being comfortable which is why I left. I firmly believe that comfort and transformation cannot live in the same space, you either have one or the other. One essential requirement for walking a spiritual path is to have enough self-awareness and integrity not to stay in something when it becomes comfortable. To recognise that a method or teaching has run its course and to move on for what more is possible to make a difference in the world. It is like anything, if we go to the gym and do the same exercises every day, day in and day out, the body gets used to it and stops working, vary the routine and everything starts up again. It is exactly the same with the spiritual path. To stay in something once it has become comfortable and familiar is to delay the process of raising consciousness to bring about spiritual awakening.

What I also find interesting is that on Wednesday I am going out to interview the head monk of a Buddhist centre. I know that since the Vortex healing I am much more relaxed and chilled. I have felt a strong need to meditate each morning and evening since Thursday which I hadn't felt in a while and my meditation is deeper. I have committed not to be on the side-lines anymore watching the experiences but to enter fully into them and write from my memory after the events. It is resulting in a new and different absorption.....

Friday, 13 March 2009

Too tired to write....well almost..

My alarm clock went off at 5am and if I was given a million pounds to get up I couldn't. My body felt so heavy. I reached out to turn it off and promptly fell back to sleep. I woke naturally at 6am and just lay feeling like such a dead weight. My first thought was 'how am I going to get to college today'. I had a tiredness that was different to anything else and I had it that I don't do tired. I dragged my bones out of bed and into the shower and afterwards I felt a little bit more enthusiastic about facing the world. There was nothing I would have liked better than to turf myself back into bed for the rest of the day. I went downstairs to have some breakfast and the lady of the house made herself a cup of tea and joined me. She knew that I was going to be doing the Vortex healing and was very interested. Before I came down I had a conversation with a friend in London and I told him what I had been doing. I was amazed at how I could barely put the words together, everything was so slow, my speech, my thoughts, everything. I was explaining to him how tired I was and because he is a fitness instructor he was able to tell me that all of the physical jerking I had done last night was the equivalent of a work out which was why I was so tired.

This made perfect sense to me. I went onto say that I watched myself having this experience because I want to be able to write about it accurately and I can only do this if I am a witness and do not enter into it. He was able to see something that I wasn't which was that it is the effort of keeping myself separate instead of engaging fully with is why I am so tired. The tiredness is the result of the huge resistance I put up last night against engaging fully with the process, staying conscious so that I could write. But this doesn't work. It's not authentic in the fact that I'm not giving myself the opportunity to engage fully and then write afterwards when it's all finished. I can liken it to someone who goes deep sea diving who doesn't want to breathe because they want to be able to report accurately what it is like, it's ridiculous and if the deep sea diver did that he/she would die. Not to sound too dramatic but I nearly died last night with the effort I put into resist what was going on. I left it all to my body and used my mind to be a distance observer and that clearly doesn't work. Yes, it is possible that if I completely lose myself that what I end up writing up about the experience will bear little resemblance to the actual event but that is a chance I have to take to be authentic. The deep sea diver waits until he surfaces to speak about the experiences, I am going to do the same thing.

Downstairs speaking with the woman of the house I saw that the tiredness that I felt was a deep feeling of being chilled and with a flash of insight I saw the mood that cannabis induces and this is how I am feeling as I write this. I am so chilled, but also slow. I am going to London this evening for a classroom and am staying over to do my three hour agreement and then am returning back here. For the next Thursday evenings it's not going to work for me to be a witness or observer I am going to have to participate fully. I try to write this blog on an 'as it is happening basis' and it's not working. I think that this constant monitoring of every mood, state, thought is not what the spiritual path is about either. I will continue to write but I will not write anymore about the Thursday evenings until after the group is finished......

I'm writing now while we have a break in lectures because I wil not be scribing again until Sunday evening when I will once again take pen to paper or in this case fingers to keyboard. happening in such slow motion today....

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Like a moth to the flame......I was drawn to Vortex healing...

I was so well ready for my hour of Vortex after the day I had in college. My shorthand reached a new low when not only were we asked how a specific outline might be written but when it was written and on the board, I still didn't understand where it had come from or the logic associated with it. I was definitely on a planet of one when all around me were gasps of 'of course, it's so obvious'...whaat...nuthing's obvious to me. In an effort to be authentic I stuck my neck out and said 'I don't get that'. To which the lecturer wheeled around to the board and with a flourish of the whiteboard pen exagerated the outlines that were on the board, as if the weight of brute force and loud voice would penetrate through the fog of my denseness. There is something particularly lonely about not being able to get something even when told it.

Following close on this was 3 hours of design and production which to be fair wasn't too bad. I still didn't get my copy to line up but at least it looked vaguely the same as everyone elses. I think it worked to have told him about my eyesight disability because he did hover around me but then again I stuck myself right up at the front so where else could he hover! The day over I made my way outside and just outside the college is a beautiful view of rolling hills. I took a deep breath and realised that I only seem to breathe properly and relax when I'm outside. It's like I'm so tense and uptight in any indoor environment and I pretend that I'm not.

I took out my trusty directions that a woman at college had kindly given to me at college and set off to my Vortex healing evening. I had never driven the route before and at the top of the hill my eyes were treated to the most gorgeous view of Brighton. I arrived early and safely at the venue where the healing was going to be held which was in a room in a health f od shop. I walked in and immediately the guy behind the counter was so friendly declaring the food in this shop to be the best in the world. Caught between a mixture of annoyance and admiration at his passion for something he obviously loves doing I had an insight that it is having passion and excitement that makes life work. I saw immediately that it was my identity that is at play everytime I allow the feelings of being alone and separate to operate. I gave all of my irritation about this guys exuberance up and let him lead me in terms of a good healthy drink. I drew the line when he suggested an 'all green' smoothie....I know in my head that it was a good choice but after the day I had it would have all been a bit too much. I opted for a combination of apple, carrot, cucumber and some other bits and pieces. When I walked in I asked first whether the Vortex evening was happening in there. He said 'yes' and then asked me if I had met the woman who was running it. When I answered 'no', he said that she was 'very powerful' and that he was going to part of the group also. He told me that he worked in the area of coaching and other things alternative.

I'm so aware now when I'm writing of the importance of not identifying anyone in case I offend. Yesterday morning I was listening to the radio and there was a debate around writers who use events and people in their lives as fodder for their writing. The debate was whether this was writing or betrayal. For some reason, it stayed with me all day. The concern that I may be unwittingly be betraying people is the reason why I took my picture of the site. My neices heard of the blog and were embarassed because from my picture they could be identified as my family so the picture came off. I will not willingly cause embarassement to anyone. . I was also asked to stop writing this blog but that I won't do because of the purpose I have declared that it has. This blog is not about me, but about a process.

I sat down with my super healthy smoothie and looked at the array of spiritual books that were on the shelves in the shop. Immediately the book 'spiritual nutrition' caught my eye and I picked off this thick tome from the shelf and settled down to read. The author Gabriel Cousens went on to describe the full experience of a kundalini awakening that he got from Shaktipat from a famous yogi. I didn't get to read a lot of it but the gist of it is that nutrition is so important to the continuing development of the kundalini. For the umpteenth time I wondered why when I am so not into all of this that I would have had such a powerful experience when I hadn't spent years watching my nutrition, or doing any of the things which are vital for this experience. I put these thoughts away and returned again to the book. Behind me I could hear the constant echo 'this is the best food in the world' and I had to smile.

The door opened and I heard the name of the lady who was going to do the healing and I stole a look behind me. All I saw was a mane of dark hair as she swept through the shop and went upstairs. After a few minutes I returned the book to the shelf, paid for my drink and made my way upstairs. She met me at the door and established who I was. I walked into a small, warm room and I immediately connected with a statue of the Buddha that was there and I felt an immediate ease and relaxatation. The lady asked me some questions and I told her about the experience and how it had called for me to be at this group. As I was talking she was looking at me very attentively and I knew that it was genuine and I felt so comfortable and safe. She was a woman who was dressed in simple jeans and a jumper. There wasn't anything to resemble anything showy. There wasn't the eastern jewellery which seems to go with the territory of people who do this kind of thing. I know that is a major generalisation from me but I've always felt uncomfortable with people who turn up bejewlled with every semi-precious stones hanging from every orifice. There was none of this with this woman.

The door opened and the guy from the shop walked in. Then another woman. We nodded an acknowledgement to each other. There was one other to come but as it was late she said that we would start. I lay down on the mat and immediately the face of Manuel Schoch came to me and I heard him say 'let go'. I started to practice the going out of the body consciousness he had taught me but my mind was just too active and thoughts came from nowhere. Then I felt hands on my feet and I suddenly felt incredibly hot. She left to go to another person and then suddenly I felt my left arm jerk, then my right and I immediately knew what was going to happen- I was going to start convulsing like I have done many times before, mostly just before I go to sleep. I had a fleeting thought of 'what is she going to think if I allow this to happen' but then I knew that I had to allow it, I could control it, but I had to allow it'. Suddenly I felt my face twitching like mad, this was new and then the convulsing started. I surrendered to it, calming it down when it became too intense. What I noticed that everytime I took a deep breath to calm it down I relaxed much more deeply.

She came over a couple of more times and placed her hands on various parts of my body. When she placed her hands on my stomach I felt this searing pain and the convulsing seemed to begin from the stomach and then extend down my legs to my feet. I was aware of this pain, in fact I was completely conscious of everything that was happening and surrendered to it all. My stomach growled very strongly in spite of having had half a vegetable garden within me. At one point the vibration changed from being quite intense to being quite gentle and it seemed to be circular but then it changed again to the quite violent convulsing. Throughout all of this I didn't see anything in terms of any psychic phenomena, no images of ascended masters, angels. It was all happening within my body.

I was aware that I found the time long and at one point when it was quite intense wanted the evening to end but I put this thought away and connected again with what was happening. I know that there is nothing to be afraid of. I understand the purpose of this, it is the cleaning out of the nervous system. This is its purpose. It calms down and clears out the nervous system. Afterwards I was so unbelievably tired. The woman confirmed to me that I was shaking very strongly and asked me if I was aware of this. I replied 'yes' and said that I go with it and don't resist it. This response met with favour from her and not much surprise which I was pleased about. She said something similar to one of the others so it's not that uncommon which made me feel not so separate. She said that in the next few days things could seem to get very unsettled but just to go with it. I said goodbye to everyone and walked out. I took out my water and drank almost the whole bottle. I was disorientated and really very tired. Where did the absolute tiredness come from.

I stopped off at a cashpoint to get my rent for tomorrow. Afterwards I went into the shop and had a strong urge to buy some nuts and oranges. I felt a real need to ground myself. I don't think I have ever been so tired but I also know that my nerves got a clean out this evening and that can only be good.......on this path the two most important qualities are trust and surrender. If you are not prepared to do this.....don't venture consciously onto the path......

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Every situation.....teaches something...

Last night I went to have dinner with a friend. Afterwards I was waiting for a bus at the bus stop to go home when this car stopped alongside me and a man looked out. Think 'Pretty Woman' except for I am no Julia Roberts and he certainly was no Richard Gere. A man was walking up the street and also looked at the car. No words were exchanged between me and the man in the car but my face must have conveyed everything that needed to be said because he crawled away. I caught the eye of the man on the street and said 'is that what I think it was'. He replied 'yes'. In astonishment I said 'but I'm at a bus stop'. To which he shrugged his shoulders and said 'his kind don't care about that'. I was amazed at what had happened. I lived in London for almost 20 years and I've never had anything like that happen and I'm one month living in Brighton and I've been mistaken for a hooker, it's just amazing. I didn't make it mean anything which is why I could be bemused about the whole thing without getting upset or angry. I'm under no illusion that had I been anyone vaguely resembling a female with a pulse he would have done what he did. I must admit to feeling a bit vulnerable after it standing at the bus stop on an eerily quiet street even though it was only 10pm at night. After what seemed like ages the bus came and grateful I quickly got on. I wondered what was the lesson in this for me. I believe that everything happens for a reason and when we can stand back and not get caught up in making it mean something but just look at it for what it was then the reason for every event will show itself. Unfortunately although I racked my brain for what its purpose was my intuition was unusually quiet.

I couldn't believe it when I let myself into the house and the smell of dope was strong enough for me to get high without smoking anything. I found myself feeling angry not at the fact that they were smoking again but because I had been told that the smoking is confined to the weekend when clearly it isn't. This is the one occasion when I find it hard not to make lying mean anything. Finding someone out in a lie is for me a betrayal of trust and it changes how I see that person. This is ridiculous because it is in the nature of human being to lie to make ourselves look good to others. This is the main driver of human behaviour, the need to look good and avoid looking bad to ourselves and others. This looking good is the price we pay for not being authentic. Unfortunately the cost is hidden from our view which is why we are not aware of it and why the need to look good can operate so effectively from beneath our awareness.

But why I find myself in this environment is also there for me to look at. What is it that this environment is going to teach me. For one brief moment last night I wondered whether it was a message to take another drug that maybe my consciousness needs another artificial shove to get to the next level of intuitions and insights but for some reason I am reluctant to make it mean this. Now I have a different context for behaviour. Tiredness I don't see as natural tiredness I see it as the tiredness of either being constantly stoned or the withdrawal of being stoned the night before. And yet, there is a kindness in these people that I am staying with. I see their love and commitment to their kids and the mother and father to each other. It is my issue why I am feeling judgemental and critical, nothing to do with them or smoking dope. It is times like this that I crash head on with the lovely tolerant Buddhist I want to paint myself as and the small critical identity which is never very far away.

And yet in spite of me being like this everything is taking off at a speed that is breathtaking. Having gone on a rant yesterday about not being able to get an interview at a Buddhist centre, I received an email from the centre reconsidering the request for the interview if it's not going to be published in a magazine. I was thrilled about this and immediately replied reassuring them that I wouldn't send the article to any media. In the meantime, I had contacted another Buddhist centre requesting the interview. They agreed without any hesitation so all I have to do is to confirm the time. So yesterday I had none and this evening I have 2!. Also today I had a call from the reviewer of my book requesting that the publisher send 10 copies to his book shop - all of this is quite incredible and I know that it is all happening because of me being in integrity over how I spend my days.

The only continuing nightmare is shorthand. The words that I live in dread of every day are 'how would you write'..aagh...all my hours spent drilling (fancy word for shorthand practice) the outlines and fooling myself that I'm actually getting somewhere only to be completely stymied when the lecturer asks us to work out something that we haven't seen before'. My competence bubble comes crashing down and I suddenly have mega headache and want to be anywhere but in the room. I think I'm so intuitive in every area of life and then when it comes to guessing what are the main outlines of a word...intuition goes right out the window and whatever I scrawl down bears no resemblance to the perfect outline that has gone on the board. I just dread the actual shorthand exam but this is not very powerful given all the training I have had for how to create the life I want which I must admit I am creating pretty well at the moment.

I've even managed to get a team around me to plan an end of exam party for all of us. This was something I was sure that I couldn't do. My identity had given me a point of view which was all about doing everything on my own. The thoughts of putting together a team to do anything made me feel sick. But the training I am doing is all about learning how to lead and empower and cause a team and as it's my last quarter I gave a commitment that I would push through any resistance to make this happen, and there has been huge resistance. I was convinced that Icouldn't put a team together and organise something and suddenly now I have 6 people all up for organising this event. Life is truly magical at the moment in spite of all the hard college work. I've also received confirmation that my work experience placement is all approved and an interview has been set up for me with a view to writing an article for that magazine for their next issue. This will be a challenge because it is working for a trade magazine and my interest and experience has been in writing for a consumer magazine so once again I will be challenged. I was sitting in the library yesterday writing and I was stuck for a word so I gazed out the window, then not only a word came but the whole sentence and it was perfect for what I was writing. I was so in awe of this because of how different it was when I was working in a different field. The magic of what is possible when you are doing something you love was not available because I had no integrity around what I was doing. I did it as best I could but deep down I knew that it was the wrong environment for me. When things get challenging for me in this field I can't fall back on the reason that it's the wrong thing for me. I know that it is so right for me if I can find the right magazine.

What I have found amazing is how ready people are to speak to me. When I recreate what people say so that they can see that I have listened and understood what they have said, they are so much freer in what they saw. Nothing builds closeness more than to be listened to and understood. It makes for a much better and more interesting interview also.

Tomorrow I start my first evening of the Vortex group healing. I'm in that place where now that it is almost here I'm wondering why did I sign up for it. But I know that this is just my identity that doesn't want to go because of some threat. I assert that when we feel any resistance to anything it is the identity that doesn't want us to have the breakthroughs that are possible if we push through that resistance and do that one thing we have been resisting or putting off. I was so resisting putting together a team to plan this event and I gave it up and just went for it and the results in every other area in terms of everything else moving and flowing are nothing short of magical. The tragedy is that we all too often give into the resistance and in that moment when we do that.....we die a little and the big game we are all destined to play if not in this life then in another shrinks. For so long I have kept myself small and safe rejecting lots of invitations to find out what's on the other side. These days I'm more willing than I have ever been to go to what's on the other side.....

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

The light is too uncomfortable...for those who want to stay in the dark...

The title for this blog entry came to me when I was gazing out at the sea from the window during one of our breaks at college today. What I am referring to is the killing of a police man in Northern Ireland last night - the third member of the security forces to to be killed in 48 hours. It is sad because it is a reminder that the identity which is not personal has no interest in peace, bliss, joy or harmony. It operates as an individual purely concerned with 'I and mine'. It has no interest in unity or connection and will use every means both fair and foul to ensure that such namby pamby values such as peace, and harmony do not survive. This is human nature so why should the killings have shocked and sadenned me so much. The identity thrives on uncertainty and has no interest in all of humanity living peacefully together. What I feel is a frustration at being able to see what is operating and yet being powerless to do anything about it except to raise awareness through this blog. But ever mindful that what I am asserting is a view, it is not the truth.

I didn't write my blog last night because I was so tired. I was in a dark place for most of Sunday so that on Monday even though I felt so much better I didn't have the energy to write this blog. Monday is a long day even though it doesn't start until 11.15am, it doesn't finish until 6pm. I am no owl and I find writing or studying late at night not easy. I am far happier getting up in the early hours of the morning to meditate and do some study but late at night forget it.

Yesterday I contacted a Buddhist centre here with the aim of having an interview with the spiritual director for an article I would do for my portfolio and then submit to one of the Alternative magazines. I called up and introduced myself and requested the interview. I was politely told that the spiritual director doesn't give interviews for magazine articles. I wa so amazed at this. The world is crumbling, people are desperately looking for something else now that the materialism bubble has well and truly burst and someone who could provide some words of hope and inspiration not to mind swell the numbers of people who might register for their courses is not prepared to do so. When I heard this I racked my brain for some words from the Buddha to the effect of 'you shall not give interviews to wannabe journalists' but unfortunately I couldn't find any. It is true that you will never find a Buddhist on a street corner handing out leaflets promoting the philosophy but I would have thought that refusing to be of service and lessen the suffering of people who are looking for something new and different is kind of going against the Dharma or Buddhist wisdom.

What's really going on here is that I'm pissed off that I can't get an article out of it and I'm coming over all righteous and superior. This is how the identity operates, covers up what is really going on with a veneer of altruisim which is nothing but hypocrisy really. But I will persevere I will visit the centre and see what I can glean from a visit there. I hate to give up on something once I have made up my mind that I'm going to do watch this space.....

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Today the sea.....mirrored my mood....

Last night I didn't recount something that happened that turned out to be significant this morning. I was in my room last night when I had a strong urge to go downstairs and have something to eat. This is not something that I have done when I have come back after a trip to London. I reasoned that it was because I had some fruit that was on its last day for eating. I went downstairs prepared the fruit and then opened to door to the living room where I sit to have my meals. An umistakeabke smell gripped my senses, it was the very distinctive smell of cannabis. I thought the best way of handling it was to acknowledge that I recognised the smell and not to make anything of it, which I didn't anyway. I thought it was funny how when I smelt it I immediately went to 'of course, they are not English, this is common for them' but of course this is ridiculous but it showed me just how innate is the need to make everything mean something and find an explanation for everything. I finished my fruit, said goodnight and went to bed.

This morning I went down early to make my breakfast and the woman came into the kitchen. We exchanged pleasantries about how well we had slept and then she looked me full in the eye and said 'are you OK about us smoking'. I looked her full in the eye right back and said completely. How could I say any different when I have taken cannabis in the form of a half a hash cookie in the past. We talked about this and I ended up telling her all about the experience I had in Devon. Part of my dilemma about the experience I had is because 2 weeks prior to that retreat I had taken that 1/2 hash cookie at a barbecue party. The effects on me were just awful in terms of the waves of paranoia that washed over me. I have written all about this experience in my book. I had booked the meditation retreat many months before the barbecue party. After the experience in Devon I became quite hermit like as I read every spiritual and mystical book I could get my hands on and I built up this image of myself as the saviour of the world and special and more important than anyone else.

I was heavily into this when I met a guy who had a philosophy degree. I told him all about the experience including what had led up to it. He looked at me and said 'you don't get it do you'. I looked at him blankly and said 'get what'. He continued 'get that what happened to you was drug induced and not spiritual'! This rocked my world because I had never made the connection between the 1/2 hash cookie I had 2 weeks prior to the retreat and there still being remnants of it in my brain which became activated with the change of environment. This burst the egotistic bubble I had built around myself as being some kind new age saint or mystic and I came crashing down to earth. There is much more to the story than I can go into here.

People taking drugs to achieve lofty mystical states is not new. Aldous Huxley wrote 'Doors of Perception' about the altered states of consciousness that are possible through taking drugs particularly hallucinogenic drugs. This view is controversial but from my experience I assert that the shift of consciousness which is necessary for a spiritual awakening that is permanent and not fleeting or a glimpse requires something stronger than meditation. Meditation does alter consciousness but mostly only for the time the person is meditating. Many of the Sutras given by the Buddha were either in or following a meditative state. After the meditation the consciousness slips back to where it was before. Altering the consciousness with a drug shifts it more profoundly. Maintaining it at that level naturally takes work but is possible. It is raising or shifting it in the first place which is hardest thing to do.

My world came crashing down because I had always promised myself that I would not take drugs to achieve a mystical state. Now it turned out that I had done exactly that. After this realization there followed a period of deep depression for me. I felt that I had been kicked out of the spiritual kingdom and I couldn't go back to conventional life, I felt too different.

One Saturday night I was in my flat alone and thinking that I was in hell. Not belonging anywhere really had to be hell. Out of nowhere came either a loud thought or a voice. There were only 3 words said. These were:, 'do Landmark Forum'. This was amazing because 3 years before someone had invited me to an introductory evening. Half-way through it I walked out. I heard the sentence 'anything you want for yourself and your life is possible through this education'. I thought to myself 'yeah right, load of marketing crap' and I found my feet taking me out of the room and out of the door. I had never given the evening another thought and amazingly given all the people who have done the Forum I never met anyone who had done it. So it was unbelievable to be so forcefully reminded of it when I was truly at a crossroads and felt like I was completely bound and stuck.

The rest history. From that weekend I saw that I was only a spiritual path because I was avoiding dealing with pain from my childhood. I dealt with all that, saw that it was all a story I had made up about things that happened and shifted the context I had for my young years of life. After this my spiritual insights and intuitions increased in their frequency and my consciousness expanded and my entire being was filled with peace, calm and bliss. The training provided by Landmark is not spiritual, they are clear about that and so I am. It is training to understand our limitations and how they were put together to prevent us from being the most powerful we can be.

Remembering the experience in Devon by bringing it alive when I was speaking with the woman really unsettled me for the rest of the day. I should have done some shorthand, law, public affairs instead I did nothing except surf the net and feel uncertain and unsettled. I was once again gripped by a frustration of having an experience and not knowing what to do with it or even how to be in life. I so understand where Harry is coming from. Having the experience be once again so alive made everything else in life such a poor second today. I walked up to the coast road and gazed at the sea fully expecting the blueness and calm of the sky to be reflected in the sea. To my amazement it wasn't. The sea was what i would describe as angry, the waves were crashing high up on the rocks and the ebb and swell of the waves was so obvious. Under the calm a storm was brewing and I thought just how like me the sea was today. Calm on the outside but inside....a raging tornado

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Between two cities....wonder in both....

I left my house early this morning to go to London to do my three hour office agreement. It was a beautiful sunny morning and I felt such a sense of urgency to get to the top of the road where my consciousness would be treated to the sight of the sea. I wasn't disappointed, there it was in all its power and magnificence. When my eyes see this sight it is like my consciousness is on an elastic band. It leaves and connects with what it sees so that my eyes, the sea and how I see all become one and there is nothing but complete and utter absorption. It is so hard to write about the power of this. In that space of nothing I am in the presence of everything and that is what is just so amazing and magical. Shift happens when there is a mind with no-thought or to put it another way utter absorption and connection creates shift. Looking at the sea with nobody around I felt such joy, bliss and stillness.

On the train next to me was a group of what I can only call just achieved puberty boys. The conversation was so enlightening in terms of how they see members of their opposite sex. None of the girls talked about had a name, it was ' that the one with skanky hair'! One boy who looked like he had only just been prised from his mothers breast declared that he had two girls on the go and that the first time had had lasted 'five minutes, but he had to 'talk to her for ages first!' I was highly amused at this and had to really bury myself in my shorthand book not to smile. Someone else might have been horified at such attitudes and tut to themselves about 'the youth of today' but for me it was a real privilege to have the opportunity to be in the world of the young people. In this world where a lot of people are jaded and tired of a recession that has now lasted almost 15 months to be around young people who are excited about what life has to offer and their confidence that they can have it work for them was inspiring to me.

I arrived at the office for my agreement and to my disappointment found that I was the only one doing the agreement at this time. I found this really amazing in that I speak about how the identity creates situations to keep us small. My identity uses my point of view which is 'I'm not loved, I'm alone' to ensure I play small by not putting myself forward with people. Here it was again, I was on an agreement and there was nobody with me! I had a fleeting thought to leave but then immediately knew that this is what the identity wanted. It was my moment of truth to be my word and stay or give into my identity and leave. I chose the former. I did something I wouldn't usually do in that I picked up the phone and called my coach to say that this didn't work for me and I wanted some support around being powerful to do the agreement. This resulted in another phone call to another person who called me and I ended up having a powerful conversation which resulted in me having conversations with graduates about what they want to have in their life and sharing how I am creating the life that I want purely through the power of communication.

I was thrilled because on this agreement I really listened to what it was people said they wanted to have in their lives. Usually I don't listen and just go on and share what I have got from the training. I recognise that I do this out of fear that if I listen then I'm not in control of the conversation and I might say the wrong thing. When I'm in control of the conversation then I occur to myself as being more powerful. However this is just how it occurs for me it's not the way it is. How it may occur for the person on the other end of the phone is of being talked down to or me just being concerned with what I got without having any thought about how it can be applied so that they get what they want for themselves. For the first time on agreement I really saw that and I took on training myself in listening and out of it I had two graduates confirm that they will come along to the evening session of the next communication curriculum so that they can have love and affinity in all of their communication at all times. This is what the communication curriculum promises and it is what it delivers.

I finished my agreement and went out into the brilliant sunshine with that feeling that only comes when we make a difference to someone. By saying all of this I do not mean to be evangelical. There are lots of ways out there to make a difference, the training I am doing is not the only one. However having studied and read lots of things, for me it has been the most amazing year of training in achieving what I have achieved and what I am going on to achieve. Transformation doesn't stop, it can't. It is the energy that fuels the consciousness to shift from human to spiritual. A shift that is happening whether we like it or not. To co-operate and not resist is how to transition with freedom and ease.

I arrived back in Brighton tired but happy and let myself into the house where I am staying. I had a lovely chat with the family. My last words before I dropped off to sleep were...'how great thou art'....I didn't know to who I was addressing this but that doesn't matter.......

Friday, 6 March 2009

Some synchronicities are simply.....beyond belief...

Some blog entries ago I talked about starting my final quarter of the Team Management and Leadership programme I am doing. The programme is very structured in terms of holding people to account for promises made but not kept. The principle on which it operates is that without integrity nothing works in life. Integrity means doing what I said I would do when I said I would do it and doing it in a way that is complete and impeccable. It also involves keeping an empowering and powerful context for everything I do and say. One of these structures is a short telephone call each morning with what is called a committed colleague. On this call I give my promises for what I am going to do that day and I create a possibility and empowering context within which I will do what I said I would do. She does the same and the next morning we hold each other to account on what has not been done. Not in a way that makes not keeping our word bad and wrong but in terms of getting the impact of not doing what we promised. Each time I don't do what I said I would I lose power and am not effective, to get this impact and re-commit to whatever it is I did not do is to keep myself in power in life. I see the power of this in how I have coped with the major life change I made towards the end of the last quarter.

On the weekend that starts each new quarter we get assigned our committed colleague. This quarter I am the committed colleague for a new incoming quarter one. It is very interesting now that I am quarter 4 seeing myself in my quarter 1 committed colleague. All the overwhelm I felt but unlike me whose mantra was 'leave me alone, I'm only quarter one' she is throwing herself into the programme, taking on different responsibilities and transforming in the process. This morning I was telling her what I was going to do and I said that I was going to follow up on an email I wrote to a magazine requesting a work experience place for Easter. When I mentioned the name of the magazine, she started laughing and said that she worked for that magazine group in the past and gave me the name of the editor who took over when she left. This is simply amazing. Before this morning I didn't know that she was involved in publishing. I knew that she had her own company that she had sold but I didn't know that it was a magazine publishing business she had sold. After the call was finished I sat totally stunned for a few minutes trying to understand this amazing synchronicity and how it had come about.

I had no say in who was going to be my committed colleague and out of 46 people on team I have a committed colleague who is knowledgeable in the area that I want to write in. I really feel that inspite of appearances that there is a structure and order to everything that is happening. All we can see at any one time is one piece of a jigsaw the whole picture is hidden from our view. This is why trust and remaining true to ourselves and not to sell out on ourselves is so important. I called up the man whose contact details I had and pending agreement with the HR department of the publishing group will have my 2nd work experience placement sorted out.

I spent some time in the library today because I wanted to work on a book review that has to be in for Monday. I was staring out of the window willing for some inspiration when into my mind popped an image of Barack Obama and I knew immediately the book I was going to write a review for. It would be Dreams from my father - A story of race and inheritance. With a triumphant flourish I opened a blank word document and sat with my fingers poised on the keyboard. The image of him looking reflective and meditative on the cover of his book seemed to be the spur that I needed to bang off 600 words quite quickly. I did my usual thing of writing a couple of sentences and then going back to edit it so it has ended up being a restrained piece but I am so relieved that it is done and gone to the lecturer.

We had another wake-up call in the form of a newspaper editor who came in to speak to us. He spoke about the newspaper and magazine industry being in an unprecedented state of flux. But instead of wanting to dishearten us he wanted to encourage us that there is a huge need for good reporters and writers. He gave some really good tips for approaching the industry after qualification but the mood he left me in was sober but determined to succeed and secure a job as a staff writer on a magazine when I qualify.

I'm tired tonight because last night I spent a frustrating 2 hours trying to use skype to chat to my friend in London without any luck. I'm off to London tomorrow to do my 3 hour office agreement which I am excited about. I love finding out from people what it is they want in their life and being of service and contribution in sharing what I've got and what is possible and encouraging people to create the life they want instead of sitting around waiting for life to happen.......

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Being.....the plaything of the Gods....

I stared down at the red result on my shorthand test and couldn't believe it. Was that really 86% that was staring back at me. How on earth could I have got such a high mark with outlines that are so shaky. My brain had no answer and instead got fixated on a mark that I have never seen in my life before. Feeling really chuffed and delighted I stole a look at the outlines that the lecturer had given us that she had did and noted how neat they all looked. The teacher saw me looking at them and made a sweeping comment about 'some of us needing to be careful about our penmanship'. For those not in the shorthand know this refers to the drawing of the outlines. I could feel the give away red blush start at the nape of my neck and slowly travel up my face as what she said resonated and I saw myself included in her statement of 'some of you'.

It is only a mark on a page and in truth means nothing but the psychological effect it had on me was real. It was confirmation that I am keeping my head above water in spite of what my critical inner voice is telling me. It is confirmation in the face of the power that is that inner voice that we all which is not usually complimentary but critical. When I say this I want to make a distinction between the voices that characterize certain mental disorders such as schizoprenia. The voice I am referring to is not that one but the one in the head that always has a running commentary on everything that is going on. The tragedy about life is that we don't listen to what others say to us, but to what that voice is saying about what others say to us.

Buoyed up my success in shorthand I went into the design class more positive than I thought I would be. I was debating when to tell the lecturer about my disability in being partially sighted. Followed close on this thought was huge resistance and a real reluctance to tell him. Maybe it was my imagination but he seemed to go slower this time and I could follow better. At one point something he was asking us to do just wouldn't work so with a sick feeling of anticipation I stopped him in mid-flow and explained what wasn't working. Far from it being something simple it turned out to be something which can cause frustration if you don't know the tool to use to make it happen. So what I thought would be something simple turned out to benefit everyone in the end.....could life get any better. I stole a look out of the window and connected with the blue sky and sent out a beam of gratitude from my heart. I had also moved desks so that when I was at the computer I could look out of the window and connect with nature and that seemed to make all the difference. all went pear shaped. Suddenly everyone elses computer was wrong and mine was right! I had the right text on my screen and all the others had pink text...aagh...I was suddenly the plaything of the Gods and I didn't like it. I don't want to be different and stand out. I want to be the same as everyone else and belong. Yet I have an identity that is strong and creates me to spend much of my time alone and I collude in this because it is safe.

Yet I know that soon I am going to have to speak up. What happened here in Britain today was unprecedented in terms of the Bank of England printing money up to the tune of 75 bn pounds. I heard this move being likened to something similar that happened in 1932 to pull the country out of recession. I have real fears about this move, not from an economic point of view because I am not an expert on economics (what's more honest, is that I know nothing about economics) but from the point of view of prolonging the agony of a world in shift. I am also asking what happened to the 34 million of tax payers money that was used to bail out I think it was Northern Rock bank (I haven't checked this as a fact). I have spoken in this blog about the shift of consciousness I see happening as things are put in place to make ready for this shift. I see everything that is happening as part of that shift. My gut feeling and I have to be very careful because I know that words create world. The words I use determine the world I get. There is no 'real' world out there, there is only the world I create with my words so I have to be careful about how I put them together to create meaning.

I am creating this shift of consciousness which is coming to bring about a more self-aware world to be positive in spite of the appearance of it being a catastrophe. To hold onto the reality in spite of appearances is to have power in the midst of turmoil. The shift is bringing about increased self-awareness. If I am to consider this shift in relation to the brain I see it as the evolution of the pre-frontal cortex of the brain. I assert (again I'm not a neuroscientist) that it is the acceleration of this part of the brain that results in greater self-awareness. I am convinced that most if not all spiritual/mystical experiences have a brain component. The experience I had was a brain one in that I didn't see any angelic beings, ascended masters but I felt the energy rise to the brain and descend. As a result I have insights and can understand so clearly the shifts of consciousness which a human undergoes to make it fit to enter the next world....that of the spiritual. This is why the consciousness with events that are happening in the world is being forced to look at life, themselves and the world differently.

This different way of looking is shifting consciousness to the next level. It happens when we look at the familiar in a different way. Not as immediately as the transformation that happens when the consciousness gets caught in a vortex but at a slower more gradual level. But this is painful and there will be casualities. Change is painful.....but without change there is no growth. The old has to make room for the new. New wine cannot be put into old bottles. What determines whether this shift is going to be pleasant or painful.....the choice...not to resist the events that are bringing about the shift of consciousness on a mass scale like we are seeing today.

Yesterday evening I was treated to the most brilliant sunset where the sun was a ball of red suspended in the bluest of skies. I saw this sight and there was nothing in my consciousness just an absorbing connection and an overwhelming love....

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

When just not funny...

Yesterday, I didn't know my proverbial ass from my elbow I was in so much overwhelm. Even the sight of the sea didn't calm my turbulent mind. I think that had something to do with how cold and bleak it was here yesterday compared to the day before. My overwhelm came when I realised that I have yet to touch my public affairs and law lecture notes. My life and world has become consumed by shorthand. It's a battle between shorthand and me. The anticipation after having had a sentence read out and then having to read it back either out in the class or privately to myself. Our eccentric shorthand teacher has given up looking at my outlines as they resemble the shakiness that is often associated with Parkinsons disease. For some stupid reason I get so nervous. I think it's all about wanting to be in control and in control of shorthand so that it doesn't get the better of me but this only results in it getting the better of me time after time.

What is most frustrating is when I can drill the words I know and then she throws out something that we have to work out the outline for. Aagh...bloody mind blank, panic ensues, have a fleeting idea to go to the loo, steal a look at my colleague but can't make out her outline to copy. I then resign myself to the inevitable of putting down my pen and waiting for her to put the correct outline on the board. I am left with my frustration and a sense of impending doom and the it always going to be like this. It is said that at some point it 'clicks' I was told the same with maths and that never clicked.

Yesterday I told the lecturer about being partially sighted and how I struggle with what I call left brain things like computer and logic (shorthand is also logic of a kind, or is this me preparing my defencefor when I fail!). It felt strange saying it because I never said it before. It might have been my imagination but I thought there was a kind of awkward silence, as he gazed down at his sheet of paper which required a cross or a tick. My revelation resulted in the pen suspended above the page without making any contact. After what seemed like an age he suggested I speak to the lecturer who is teaching the design module and see what help is available. I thought I would feel huge relief at this but instead I didn't feel anything.

I was really tired so just guessed it...some more shorthand in the library and then took myself home. Earlier in the day I had called the editor of a mind, body, spirit magazine and asked about the possibility of reviewing my book. I am so grateful for the training I am being given in how to communicate clearly and directly. On the phone call I used one of the distinctions of powerful communication which is 'being of contribution'. I explained how the book would contribute to the magazine. I could tell from her response that she had been listening intently. She gave me the address of the book reviewer for the magazine to send a copy to. Then she gave me the current state of play with regard to magazine publishing. When I also asked her about writing articles she told me that freelancers don't get paid and the only articles they are accepting are one's that advertising can be put against. It appears that the climate is bleak for magazine production. Just today there is the news that ITV are to shed 600 jobs and they attribute the reason to plunging advertising revenue. If this is price that ITV is paying for the decreased advertising revenue, what hope do other publishing houses that rely on advertising to produce their magazine have. This has really brought home to me just how unstable a career in journalism is these days.

Consumed with all these thoughts I went home and posted a copy of my book to go for review. When I checked my email I found an email from the woman who is going to be running the small group on Vortex healing. The email was to let me know that she had found a venue and would be running a 4 week group with no more than 5 people starting next week. For some reason my entire mood changed when I read it. I can't explain the pull to do this work. Since realising for the first time that the experience I had in Devon was that of being drawn into a vortex I have an urgency to understand and experience more. I have never felt so comfortable with labelling the experience as kundalini because I did not experience a lot of the symptoms mostly negative that are associated with the kundalini energy. What feels more honest and authentic is to say that I was drawn up into a vortex of energy. As a result my entire consciousness shifted so that the inner life and what is present at the base of all of our spines has become my consuming interest. I want to be the space that will enable others to have a similar experience and I can only do that if I stop being on the sidelines and go into the action. I don't know what the next 4 weeks beginning on Thursday evening is going to bring but I know the urgency and excitement I feel.

The whole purpose of this blog is to raise awareness of the energy that is at the base of the spine. It is powerful, I am clear about that. It needs to have a clear and unobstructed path when it rises. I would assert that it is the presence of the Vortex which clears the way for the kundalini energy to rise safely and naturally. I only write this blog because of that experience. If I didn't have this experience, there would be no blog. Through this blog I want others to begin to speak about similar experiences and not to hide away. A comment was made to me some time ago to the effect of 'lots of people have these experiences but they don't write about them in the way that you have'. For me, this begs the question why? (Harry, if you're still reading this blog I would love to hear from you or anybody else) !I want to change this. To do this I can only lead by example which is what this blog is about.

I am aware that all experiences are subjective which is why I am struggling to have my book widely promoted because it is mostly about my own personal journey but I believe that it has wider significance and application. Before that experience in 1999 I was just someone interested in Buddhism who had studied for many years and gone on some meditation retreats but really didn't have a clue what what I was doing or to what end. All I knew was that I was powerfully drawn to Buddhism. Then out of the blue comes an experience that completely shifts everything so that life is never the same again and without a teacher to guide, this blog is my attempt both to understand the shifts in consciousness for myself and to inspire others.

But beware, the path is not an easy one. Socrates said 'to thine own self be true' and this is the toughest part of the journey. There is a cosmic battle going on within all of us - a battle between the dark and the light. I say a battle, but it really is a game. But that doesn't take away from the pain when the 2 parts of us, that part that wants us to play big and do big things and our identity that wants us to stay small uses the human consciousness as its playground. The tension that this produces is real. But it's also growth and without that tension we are dead....

I'm now going to leave to go home and this is my favourite time of the day. For the next 20 minutes I will be high on a hill and have a clear view of the sea aagh...why aren't I a creative writer. I know what's playing out here it's my obsesson with being restrained and in control of my writing and my refusal to let go and just write. The price that is being paid for this is the blog isn't delivering all of its potential and who I am selling out to by not just writing without restraint are my loyal readers. But don't give up.....there' s always tomorrow!.......