ASK ABDI A QUESTION
You may be answered (anonymously). Below are answered questions.
Comments or questions are welcome.
I am in a committed long term relationship with an anxious person. There is a lot of friction at times due to my partner’s constant bouts of anxiety around some seemingly innocuous situations. How can I deal with this issue and how can I help my partner?
Holding space for another without reacting is the golden key while understanding our human limitations. Holding space involves having clear boundaries and allowing others their journey in all its distorted ways while we take ours in all its own distorted ways. In all relationships, one person will be more evolved in certain areas and the other person in other areas. Learning to power share is quite helpful as well i.e. not hiding under finger pointing the other person’s flaws. Again, all this has to take into account our own fallibility and blind spots. Lastly, in intimate relationships we have to be open to the fact that many times our partner can carry a piece of our unconscious that is “too hot” for us to carry. We need to honestly examine this part and see if we are adding to our partner’s woes by not willing to look at our own displaced issues. So in your case, is there, if any, place where your partner might be carrying some of your own anxiety? This is not an acquisition as much as an honest inventory of something that we might be missing.
I am a yoga practitioner and teacher. Having gone through a full hysterectomy almost one year ago I can not say enough about how yoga is helping me stay centered and calm the challenges that can come over me sometimes. Its given my own body the chance for natural self healing without any modern medicine.I am so grateful for that. My confidence was lost for a while but is now returning, thankfully too.
I have Hepatitis C and wondering if could you please suggest any chi movements to help shift ‘old wounds ‘ in the body? I’m about to make new changes in my environment in the Fall, so my liver is talking to me. It feels a bit heavy at times, because I am doing something that my ‘body’ doesn’t like: changes.
I obviously can not give you medical advice without actually examining you but there are several things I have found helpful for liver conditions over the years that I will share with you. Let me start by putting on my clinical cap on:
In terms of Hepatitis C which is so prevalent right now, having annual blood work and an ultrasound of the liver is important to keep abreast of what is going on. I understand your stance against modern/allopathic medicine. It is a powerful tool for acute trauma/infections etc but is sorely lacking for chronic issues. At the same time, its strength does lie in clinical diagnosis and as such can be useful here. So finding a physician that works with complementary medicine or a naturopath can be helpful in order to do those tests to see what physical shape the liver is in. The liver is an amazing organ in that it can self heal more than most given the proper attention.
On a nutritional level, sugar, fried and processed foods as well as alcohol do severely affect the liver so stay clear of those as I am sure you already are. Green lightly steamed veggies are excellent in all forms as are small amounts of green fresh vegetable juices. Digestive enzymes with meals are good to make sure the digestion is complete and taking pressure off the liver. Also, beware of cooking in iron pans: high iron is contra indicated for liver health. A liver cleanse using nutritional/supplemental support is also desirable. Many times without such support and using diet alone, much of the toxins are reabsorbed by the body.
Supplement wise, a high potency daily Milk Thistle supplement is crucial. There is much research on this and it has no side effects. Ultra Thistle by Natural Wellness is one I use myself. Keeping Gultathione levels high is also crucial but since this substance does not do well in the digestive tract, the precursors of NAC and Alpha Lipoic Acid are readily available and quite useful. Again, I recommend that you work with a practitioner familiar with supplements to get the appropriate dosing for your situation.
As an energetic structure, the liver is prone to disturbances from stress more than most organs. The term “livery” where a person is agitated is connected to this link. Remember that chronic thinking is the biggest stressor which in turn leads to shallow breathing. As such, any form of daily relaxation/meditation/exercise does wonders. Deep breathing is helpful as stress leads to shallow, irregular breathing. Pranayama is useful and since the liver tends to run “hot” energetically under stress or viral attack, cooling breathing exercises such as Shitali are helpful.
In terms of chi exercises, The Six Healing Sounds meditation is a powerful tool addressing the main internal organs. Mantak Chia has some clear material regarding its practice. These types of practices are best learned from a practitioner so that one gets clear direction. There are practitioners that have studied his techniques spread across the country.
Any emotional work is also important. Whether accessing this through therapy or the myriad of techniques available now a days, releasing old emotional junk helps lighten the load on the liver literally.
I had a question around the idea of moving to a new home or space. Are there any rituals that one can do when making this change?
I recently read a book on the topic of enlightenment and its attainment. The book covered Advaita Vendata and professed it to be the only true path. The author said many modern teachers are appealing to the Western mind because of our lack of attention, want it now attitude. He was even critical of Ramana Maharshi and Niagargadatta Maharaj due to their lack of being true Advaita teachers. Ive read many authors and teachers and find them useful.
My question is do you think in the West we are looking for an easy way to enlightenment and is there only one true teaching?
We can spend a long time dissecting what enlightenment is. Is it an event or a process? Does a glimpse of one’s true nature mean it is ever lasting or does it come in stages? In what I have observed it is the latter for most of us. Instant enlightenment: here is the irony, the part that wants “it” is the exact thing that keeps the perceived desire at bay. It is that exact opaque mass that keeps the light from being seen that desires it and hence keeps it from being seen. But the light is always there, always has been and always will be. Stepping away from thinking is the most direct path. But that can entail decades (in fact life times) for it to be to gently be put aside. Or just moment to moment to moment.
Advaita and its teaching of non dualism is a direct and elegant explanation of what is. However using words to describe what is beyond words is impossible. At best it points to the general direction and at worst enforces the illusion of separation. But words can be helpful if one realizes their limitations. Words are like a path on land that leads to the ocean. One walks on land to reach the ocean but still has to jump in to get wet. One has to make sure that the path is not leading deeper into the desert although many times that too is part of the journey. Advaitic teaching itself can be quite tricky as the ego can really do a number with its sharp edge to groom itself. It seems straightforward enough in concept but the thing that we are looking for/that needs to be re-membered is not a concept but direct experience. This simple but important fact can escape us.
When death comes knocking on our door, only we are responsible for how our journey was. With that as your guide, keep digging until you reach water. When the desire is strong enough, rest assured that your thirst will be quenched. Even if that quenching comes in the manner of the realization that the you that was thirsty was in fact the ocean. The irony: you are that you seek.
My partner and I are in the Sacred Valley in Peru for several weeks. I have someone who is setting up a visit with a Shaman for us.
With your experience, can you offer any suggestions or guidance so that we can get the most out of the experience?
I really enjoyed your meditation class. It feels like such a deep teaching to be in my body. It’s not the first time that I have been reminded of focusing on the need to be in my body but each time I do it amazes me how much is going on in this body, how much I am unaware of what is going on within my body and how much work needs to be done with “getting into my body” as the intention and focus.
1) Being that we have an aura and an energetic field around us, and I believe in homeopathy there is the discussion of different zones that extend to even where we can see, and in martial arts that are energy is where we are looking, with those concepts in mind, sometimes when I am feeling, and I will use the word “uncomfortable” for lack of a better word, when I focus not only on my body but the idea that I am more than my body and specifically the aura field and the energetic field around me, it seems to loosen my uncomfortableness up.
Almost as if only experiencing myself as my body is part of what was making me feel uncomfortable and constricted……(this is followed by many more paragraphs of questions).
By being in the body we start to FEEL what is good for us and what has stopped serving us. We can FEEL our way around issues that our minds can not help us with. Practice this first for a while, then FEEL what needs to happen next. Stepping aside from thinking is a radical departure from our every day automatic headiness. Drink from this ancient well fully first and then feel what needs to stay, come in or go in your life.
I was curious to find out your thoughts on this…two days ago while I asleep I dreamed of a spiritual examination. I was told in the dream by one of the examiners that I have an attachment.
I am interested to find a way to get the attachment to leave. This attachment is not really affecting me too much I have just noticed that I have been a bit more negative and tired lately. I am pretty sure I can do this myself with a meditation. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
Regular meditation is actually one of the most potent forms of keeping these energies at bay. Emphasis on regular. Breathing practices such as pranayama are also helpful. Spending time in spiritually charged spaces such as places of worship can be useful. Sometimes when we are over fatigued, we might need some help removing them. Treatments such as acupuncture, shiatsu, craniosacral work etc can be helpful here. In extreme and rare situations where actual entities are involved, shamanic extraction is required.
One method that is helpful to keep spaces clear of such energies is to play mantras in them. Even at low volume these sounds do charge and keep the area clear. Sanskrit words when spoken are specially charged. One of my favorites is the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra which is constantly playing both at work and at home when I am not there at a high volume and a low volume when I am sleeping. Hein Bratt’s version is particularly lovely (many people mistakenly believe it to be the Dalai Lama chanting) and can be purchased online.
I have been with someone for almost three years, and its not perfect. He has cheated, I have resented, we’ve numbed, we’ve lied, violated privacy, threatened to leave, abused each other. A lot of our past issues of abandonment, lack of self-worth, lack of trust, depressions have come up the whole time we’ve been together. I look around me at other people’s relationships, and they don’t have these kinds of things going on, at least as far as I can see. None of our friends like the other.
Sometimes, i wonder if its worth all the trouble. But at the same time, this relationship forces me to be honest with myself and allows me to voice my feelings (really hard for me) and notice the untruths I believe about myself, (like I’m really really nice and have my shit together, all the time!) The thing is, we are actually both working on our crap, and though it can be slow moving, it’s happening. The journey’s rough, but I know I’m getting better, and so is he. Mistakes have been repeated, but they are losing their charge, meaning the reasons behind them become less unconscious and are more recognizable, which helps with understanding and dealing with them. But sometimes, I think I’m fooling myself and I should be in a much easier relationship, where these painful things aren’t brought up, and I won’t have to be working so hard.
I have been trying to figure this out for months, and I wanted to get your two cents, because I remember you wrote how important relationship with others is in getting to know your self, even though at the end of the day it’s all about your relationship to your self. That really stuck with me. But sometimes so many difficult, painful feelings come up, I can’t tell if it’s serving me or not.
The first thing is to be wary of asking other people’s opinion whether a relationship should end. That is a decision that needs to come from one’s own core. That is the only clean way to end such an involved relationship. The second thing is that not knowing, when approached with the intention to know, leads to the answer. Sometimes we can rush to a decision because the anxiety of not knowing can be overwhelming. Or stay in a situation too long because we have confused not knowing with a yes to a situation that demands closure. Lastly, do not compare your situation with other people’s ( “I look around me at other people’s relationships, and these kinds of things going on, at least as far as i can see”). I can tell you first hand from sitting with people intimately day in day out that we are all master actors. Most times we our selves can not distinguish between the story we tell and the underlying reality.
On the positive side is all that you are learning and the way the charge to certain behaviors is being healed (” forces me to be honest with myself and allows me to voice my feelings etc.”). That is the function of relationships when approached from a self realization perspective: to be a mirror as well as a refiner of the personality. And it is always about our relationship to our selves expect that in a relationship it is externalized and hence can be seen and examined if one is so inclined. “Painful feeling coming up” is not a negative phenomena as long as there is healing involved.
It is not clear from what you write whether the cheating and lying is a habitual and recurring issue or something in the past. And how much healing has been done around it. Are you numbing to the pain or is there actual healing that has occurred? How committed are both of you to healing and letting the past go? And how capable are you both to do that and how realistic is it at this juncture?
It is true that relationship with certain people is easier than others for one person. It is also true that with deep wounding we just change scenery by changing relationships. We keep repeating the same patterns until we have examined them fully. Only you can know which camp you fall into. I know that you are suffering and that you want relief by looking outside your self. This usually is a recipe for more pain. Set your intent and sit with it until you know in your bones which direction you need to go.
I am writing because I would like some advice on dealing with relationship issues.
A few months ago my previous partner and I broke up and I am still struggling in getting over it. I knew that relationship was not the most beneficial for me. However what has really hurt me is her cold and indifferent attitude, after we broke up she ignores me though we still frequent the same places. She is now in a new relationship and it really hurts me to see her together with this new person.
I have tried to be mindful of what my feelings are and meditating on them but I don’t know if that is also causing me more pain. I feel like she takes up a lot of my mental space and I feel like the more I meditate on these thoughts the worse I feel. I need some help in dealing with this situation and need relief from the anxiety this causes me. Any help is appreciated.
Take this person out of the equation and face your abandonment issues. Yes, it is painful for many of us to see an ex with another. But why? Go in and examine the root of it. Your healing is not connected to another person’s behavior but your own. Many times we falsely believe that we need closure with another to move on from a painful situation where in fact the resolution can only come from within our own self. The pain and anxiety that you are feeling are not “caused” by this person but are from within your self and it is there that they need to be healed. As painful as these feeling are and as much as we all want them to go away, it is only by understanding their internal cause that we can heal them. I understand that this is not an easy time for you, it certainly is a meaningful one. Do not be in a rush to move past this for surely you will repeat this somewhere else. Don’t get lost in the feelings but do make room for them. Do not confuse harping on things with facing them. These feelings do have a bottom. Feel, breathe and release them with out getting lost in the story. We are all master story tellers, stories that have little in common with the situation at hand. Own your fifty percent in creating this situation and examine your role in this predicament. One can not leap over these conditions, only crawl through them on one’s belly.
I have been a student of spirituality for many years and shamanism has been of special interest. I have felt stuck for many years now around several issues in my life including relationship and work. I have been in a co dependent relationship for years with no sexual connection but my lover had been sick for years and I felt obligated to stick around. As soon as that was done but different family members got sick and I felt a responsibility to them even though I am not fond of them. So I keep delaying what I need to do which is care for my self.
I have done much work around these issues including years of working with healers, therapists, shamans as well as spending time with shamans in different countries. But I stiff feel stuck. I am thinking of doing another trip to spend sometime with a shaman that I have journeyed with before and see if this time I can get some clarity.
Something that really bothers me is an aspect of fear and my path. I have lately been troubled by what I can only call bouts of “bordering on insanity” and the fear that I can make a choice for “power” – not so much the way of the shaman, but this other piece that is more akin to the Carlos Casteneda / Don Juan Matus idea of sorcery or the path of a brujo.
I am NOT talented enough, powerful enough, smart enough, etc. to be able to tell where one stops and the other begins.
So I’m stuck in this middle place of fear. And that’s where – again – the Carlos Casteneda / Don Juan Matus idea of “giving-up everything / all attachments” is terrifying.
And it seems that no matter what i do – that’s the direction I’m being led to…So yes, very frightened and very sad.
What are your thoughts?
Stop running away. Face this fear and grief head on. Your pushing away of this has caused an exponential amount of the same.
Yes, no matter what you do, you are led there. And you keep managing not to take the step into the unknown. No more journeys. No more excuses. No more hiding under the guise of worrying for another and care taking where your own soul is screaming for some attention and respect. Drop all of that and answer your soul’s calling.
Stop taking a pass from your own soul’s directive under the guise of paying attention to your soul. Akin to a soldier that returns to base a thousand times to make sure that he has received his orders to find that the orders have not changed, you need to execute what you know instead of dancing around the base camp.
We all carry great fear and grief. Many times “all” that is required is for us to push through the fear. There is no magical cure that lifts the fear. We tremble and wail as we push through the comfort of the known into the great unknown. Similar to coming through the birth canal, there is effort and great discomfort involved.
No more excuses, no more time outs, no more ifs and whens. The time is now.
I’ve been trying to live more consciously and I feel like a lot of “consciousness” speakers always mention the bright positive side of a spiritual awakening without really talking about the actual work you have to do in the darker places of yourself while you are on the path.
I am writing because I saw the wake up documentary and Jonas mentions that he learned meditation from you and that it’s been tremendously useful for him. I wanted to ask what kind of meditation you usually recommend. I have tried guided meditation but am always open to other kinds as well.
As for meditation, I have found mindfulness techniques to be useful. Different meditations techniques have varying intentions behind them. The beauty of mindfulness is to connect us with the moment. Guided meditations are wonderful but they can also disconnect us from our own experience. Just sitting, breathing and feeling as a way of connecting to the moment is quite profound. Try it and see how it feels to you. There will be a video segment on this in the next month on the website.
After my first session with you, I had the grace of underemployment and could spend a lot of quiet time reflecting at home, praying, sleeping, meditating. I didn’t have anything to pull me out too far into the fray. I felt a high for about 2 weeks. It was as if my head had popped or pooped open and all my inner thoughts spilled out in the world I was perceiving. I would be thinking of something and overhear a conversation between strangers that related to what was in my mind.
Visually objects like artwork or gargoyles on buildings seemed to be alive… to contain breath. I have had this before but not with the visual and not with the same clarity or volume. Synchronicity was bountiful and I was hunting for it. At a certain point I felt I was able to see into the exact nature of my reality. I began weaving some colorful stories around this for fun. I was seeing the metaphorical/mythological as literal and the literal as metaphorical/mythological. I had the idea that perhaps there are many layers of reality happening simultaneously…. that an interaction between myself and another soul can sound and look differently depending on what level I wanted or was able to be on. Regardless, the same karma moved.
Then I lost the need or desire for that much sleep and food. At a certain point I crashed and got the message to work on root chakra grounding as a spiritual practice,… responsibilities and worldly matters such as work, relationships, budgeting, organization, self care ect.. this stuff so hard for me to surrender to. I got the message that I was using this new state of consciousness to get high and this is a dead end that only exists at what is the beginning of waking up.
“Synchronicity was bountiful and I was hunting for it” is an example of how attachment to certain things can be problematic. The first part of being aware of how held we are and the bountifulness of synchronicity is a helpful observation. The addictive attachment to seeking it out and hunting for it keeps the illusory separation firmly in place. On the path, keeping it simple is good practice. Letting go of aversions and preferences is a safe bet. Yes, there are many levels of reality happening simultaneously but we have a hard enough time with just one. So keep the focus on what is in front of you. Be here now.
So, is there anything more painful than love? I can’t bare the pain. How can two people who love each other so much hurt each other so badly?
It is not love that is painful but vulnerability after a life time of self protection stemming from early childhood wounding. Two people who “love each other” are unconsciously afraid of what love entails: opening up and being vulnerable which is frightening to the unconscious. So the inflicting of cruelty and the ensuing distancing that we have perfected is how we push away true intimacy. Keep the focus on you: how are you contributing to this pattern? How can you pull your piece out of it and not contribute to the distancing? And how can you care for you self so you don’t get triggered by your partner? As you know, these are not easy measures to put into effect but certainly worth the effort. Step back, take a breath and reenter the relationship from a centered space on a daily level. Feel your way back and do your best to remember why you are in this relationship.
I fell in love last fall. It’s been 20 years since I fell in love like that–feeling faint all the time, breathless, heart racing, entirely consumed. It’s a long distance relationship so all the feelings were super-charged. after four months my love started to fade and now my boyfriend is upset.agitated, insecure. Nothing has faded for him. he is groping for an intensity that I can’t give him anymore. I am pulling away but i don’t want to. What should one do in this situation? actually I don’t know if my love has faded or is just entering another phase. Or if I’m just incapable of being in a relationship with someone who wants me so feverishly. Who is devoted. Loving.
In such situations, it is best to keep the focus on one’s self and not the other (“my boyfriend is upset, agitated, insecure, nothing has faded for him”). Any thing is possible but the most likely scenario here is what you wisely describe: your love has entered another phase. It is certainly not easy to give up those feelings of excitement and some of us jump from relationship to relationship to keep experiencing those feelings. But the change in those feeling does not warrant throwing out the baby with the bath water. Take your time as you keep the focus on you and see what the next step is. Being in the unknown in any situation is not comfortable but it certainly can be the most fruitful until the next step is revealed. And the most compassionate to both of you.
As for your last line questioning whether you are “just incapable of being in a relationship with someone who wants me so feverishly. Who is devoted. Loving.” something is not clear. If he is devoted and loving, then he will be patient with you as you figure out the landscape of your emotional life. The feverish descriptions reeks of an addictive quality which is not mature love but a co-dependent type of needing an other to complete us. At the same time, we must always examine our own abject terror of being loved. That applies to most of us on some level.
Commit your self to love, allow the rest to be revealed by paying deep attention like a hawk. Both with in and with out. Work arduously at not telling stories and seeing as well as feeling the matter at hand as clearly as possible.
I just read your interview on sein.de and it’s exactly the inner core of zeitgeist now! What you say reflects my inner thoughts and believes and shows me that I’m on the right path. After two decades of spirituality i just wake up and see that my psychological problems haven’t been solved and that I’m not able to delegate them but have to take full responsibility for them. I must now go on, where other people have been as teenagers. Tough shit! I have experienced unity with the wholeness and so much more but am not able to live a social life. Man, this will be a hard road. Again.
Years ago I was abducted by aliens (there are witnesses). I healed people (even with angels and the spirit beings of “john of god”), I was guided by many teachers and others in dreams and visions over years. I had unity with part of the galaxy. I was on spaceships, made time travel, saw different incarnations, freed souls (soul parts on different planets and planes, dimensions) and dead family members of clients. I had so many visions I stopped counting. I was touched by an angel. I was at conferences of the white brotherhood of light and even at the galactic council…
And now I wake up and realize that I am unable to live a normal relationship, that I’m egoistic, narcissistic, arrogant, childish and so on…not to mention the heaviness of developing a normal, balanced sexuality. These days i realize the extremely elitist side of esoteric worldview … and obviously I must confess that the idea of “light work will change the outer world” is nonsense. Its nothing than a overlay of inner knowledge converted into wishful thinking.
In an interview I read by you, you said I don’t know anything. But if anything one once knew was build on a spiritual worldview that now completely is questioned, then this is a serious thing…
You say “I was abducted/there were witnesses”. No need to justify your experience. You were there, you were the witness, end of story.
There are more realms than there are hair follicles on our head. You have all these experiences. And you are here now. So be in the moment, let the stories go. All those realms are no more real nor false than the one where you are reading this. And having experienced those realms does not make us any more special or wise. Just more experienced like a person who has traveled the world. That too can become a way to distract one’s self. Interesting but in the end what does it really explain except that reality is not what we supposed it to be? And that consciousness is eternal? That is a hard one to swallow, surely was for me and all those that I have witnessed.
The fact that you realize and admit your “egoism, arrogance and narcissism” means you are far along in the best sense of the word. How wonderful.
Lastly, when I say I don’t know any thing, what I am saying is that I do not need to know any thing. I am learning to trust being here moment to moment. The control freak in all of us wants to know every thing. Because regardless of what we say or how we act, we are scared and feel fragile. The strength lies in diving into that fragility, not defending it with stories, memories or grandiosity. Real or imagined is not of importance. All we have is the moment but how many of us actually practice that?
Alas that is like building a castle in the sea. Deep within all this eternal drama unfolding in all of the realms of creation,we are loved, we are love. What else do we need to know? What and whom is there to miss? If truly it is all one, then it must be just a trick of the mind this whole separation business, no? More words to confuse it all….
Chop wood, carry water, those are one of the most wise pieces of advice I have come across in my travels.
I hit the bottom.. again.. I find myself back to the same point when I can’t wake up in the morning and live another day…I am exhausted and I hate my job – too much work; I can’t make it anymore; I thought that by meditating and doing yoga I would find a way to cope with everything, but I managed just to bit myself up trying to find time for everything which led me to exhaustion; my immune system is going down and I am fed up with everything; I know only work-work-work and have no satisfaction; a couple years of ago I said to myself I would not come back to the same job/same industry but I haven’t managed to find something else; how do I change this work pattern? By going to something that I would love doing with all the risks involved (I could go to India for a yoga teacher training but i am scared by the unknown when I come back – no place to stay, no money, no job, no savings etc) or by staying at the current job and take it as an opportunity to make friend with all the negative emotions that arises within me? Dear …how do I change this pattern?
What you describe about using yoga and meditation as a coping mechanism is common to many of us. But these disciplines, as invigorating and life sustaining as they can are not magic tricks nor were they designed to be. The limitation of the human body and spirit has to be honored.
Be gentle with your self. The berating of one’s self which we are all adept at (“a couple years of ago I said to myself I would not come back to the same job”) only fortifies our negative pleasure. Step back and examine your condition with no judgment. You are here, you have been here before, how do you do your best not to be here again? The either/or set up that you describe (staying where you are or going to India/making a living which is killing you or having no money, home etc.) leaves out a massive amount of possibilities in the middle. It is also the mark of addictive thinking: yes/no. Where is the room for maybe? The middle road has to be examined and one does this by stepping back and allowing it to reveal itself to us. Your exhaustion is definitely coloring your judgment and you have to be aware of that as well. You know things are not working and need to change. Be open to that and allow the next step to be revealed to you while making sure that the old behavior patterns do not creep in. One step at a time, otherwise it will continue to be overwhelming.
I just listened to the emotional healing podcast (the one with the death exercise) and what if you are someone who thinks of dying (meaning I have a huge part of self that no longer wants to live)? I have contemplated ending my own life many times and grappled with the permanency of the decision — to leave a life never to be lived again. Many times I wasn’t able to completely “let go” — but there were times when I was ready and it was only the weight of knowing the damage that action would do to those who love me that kept me from doing the one big plunge. Ironically, now, when I am finally ready to leave the world I have come to the realization that I am unable to end my life (a very difficult act to do) with my own two hands and no matter what happens I must live it out — whatever it may be.
My struggle/mission (I can’t say I’ve been on a spiritual path — just trying to get out of the prison I built in my head) is to find a way to simply “be” — to feel life, self, and others as they pass. I have had many difficult experiences in my past and always believed that if I ever let all those things in my head be true I would die. I fought very hard for this life — held onto hope (a silly little world that possesses amazing power) that I might make it; but I never thought I would. I have finally been able to let all those scary awful things in my head land at my heart center. I recently realized that I survived. This doesn’t make me happy (this is confusing to me). I think that my focus on getting out of my head and into the world which I never thought existed for me did not prepare me for life. In many ways I’ve always been prepared for death. So… how to embrace life and learn to live for the first time? I know life is a beautiful thing — I just never thought it was for me. Thanks for your comments.
What you describe, the ” always being prepared for death” instead of living is a part of all of us. Very few of us are fully living, most of us are merely surviving if not courting death on some level. Romancing death is not just about the intention to end life but the many ways that we betray our life force. This can take many shapes, be it assuming roles or relationships that are killing us or the fact that we never risk being vulnerable and hence never reveal our self to any one. Especially our self. One function of the death exercise is to make us realize how impermanent life is. From this experience we can gain the permission and courage to live as a free being. Instead of a slave to some repressed part of our self or the culture that we are steeped in.
Your “struggle/mission to find a way to simply “be” — to feel life, self, and others as they pass” is he ultimate spiritual practice. And it is not easy given all of our wounding which makes us judge our selves so harshly and hence every one and thing around us. So the healing of one’s self is the ultimate gift to those around us as it allows us to accept others in their limitations since we have done the same for our self.
You say that you “recently realized that you survived but that this doesn’t make you happy” and you find that fact confusing. You have just come out of surgery. And maybe you have some rehabilitation under your belt. Now is the time to find out what brings you joy. Go out there and be present to life. Make connections. Experience things. We give up much to be in these bodies and sometimes can forget to make use of them. You have survived, now find out what it feels like to live.
Thank you for your courage in the decision to choose life. Not to just stay alive but to actually choose life. I for one know this plane is a better place to walk on because you have faced your Self. And that you are out there walking it with me.
I have been meditating every day but my ANXIETY and ANGER seems to grow more and more. Needless to say after a while I fell into drinking 5 beers and smoking a bunch of joints.
I have been asking every one I know what to do with my life and where to live. I have moved in with my mother which is pure torture. I over think everything. I go from therapist to psychiatrist to family and friends for advice. Everybody is asking me what do you want to do? Where do you want to live? They give me their judgement or advise on what to do but always from their point of view! I am terribly insecure about what to do of my life and what kind of job can I do. I m afraid of failing again.
I have been dreaming of wild animals who are running after me and giving me anxiety and fear. But they were not ferocious against me, just scary. I ask you to be honest and even if your advise is to stop jerking off. I know I am a mess and I would like only to find a way to approach my self. The point is I don’t know anymore if I should listen to my self or not.
These issues are not about where you live or what you do. It is about WHO you are. Don’t think that if you make a decision about these places all your problems will be solved. Only you can help you self. All other people can do is help you help your self. They can not help you. When you are finished with suffering and creating more pain in your life (drinking, living with your mother, torturing your self..) you will make the next move. In the meantime, stop over thinking every thing and live.
You had suggested a while back for me to get out of the house I have been living in. The way you said it, I understood that there is a sickness here that is not even associated with my own experiences… however I am still here. I was away for 8 weeks and when I got back, I have been spiraling after much clarity and resolve. I am getting devoured here by energies of my family and those around me. I see it clearly now.
I can’t get out as soon as possible but I have to get out of here. I was just beginning to have balance. Is there anything you could tell me that would be helpful? I feel very very sick and the wounding is so pronounced.
Keep looking at your attachment to suffering as well as your familiarity with it. Intend deeply every day to be able to tolerate joy. You do not need to nor can you do this on your own. Ask your inner knowing to help you to let go your love of pain and to be shown how to tolerate joy. The known is not working out for you so now is the time to take a different tack. Take a deep breath and leap into the unknown.
Short words…Dec 2007..the birth of our daughter. 6 weeks before my boss told me that after the birth i don’t have to come to work again…my job was gone….but the situation brought many new things including problems…but also a new job. So now I work on my own. I am my own boss.
But the situation now, five years later isn’t good. The clients are going away and new ones aren’t there and I don’t know what to do. The business does not work any more. Once now again, in December, the planned birth date of our second daughter. Why? Why again the same situation when the child is coming in? No future nor money? In about two month I don’t know how to pay our rent…how the buy something to eat… What’s going wrong? What will life tell me??
Go inside and quiet your mind and see what this situation is telling you. And call in on the spirit of both of your daughters, born and unborn to help you navigate this part of the journey. Ask for their help as well as their energy in your meditations to help you put food on the table. And more.
My partner tried to break up with me, saying that he is just not attracted to me and he is sick of being at war. We hadn’t spoken for several days when he pulled away from me in his wounded, can’t look me in the eye way. I asked if he would be willing to see our couple’s therapist one more time before we ended it. His swing away from me seems a bit extreme but it has been ongoing for some time. I am either the love of his life (he says at times “I am the luckiest man in the world to be with you”) or he does not want to be with me (“I am not attracted to you” he says at other times).
Here’s my dilemma, in all honesty. While he went away for the several days, I was a little lonely and frustrated and embarrassed about being in such a relationship, but I was all-in-all at peace. I had a very nice time with myself. I am not sure if I want to be in this relationship anymore. I am starting to want more than he seems to be able to offer and I am starting to feel like I deserve it. Maybe he is giving me a gift but ending it. That said, I love him to my core and I don’t feel like our journey together is finished. I guess I need to hold both of those feelings at the same time and see what happens.
The expansion (“I am the luckiest man in the world to be with you”) and contraction (“I am not attracted to you”) are a dance that we all do. We open up, expand as much as we dare and then the unconscious steps in and shuts us down because it is terrified of being hurt again. We all do this to some measure. Observe this in your own psyche, you are powerless to do anything to do about it in your partner.
I am dealing with the big mess of an unbalanced handling of the issues fear, control and pain and the addictive behavior that follows that.
I find myself in this situation right before the next big step concerning my vocational life. I mean it goes far beyond everything I have experienced until now. I also know that I have to try to be courageous in this process. Usually there is a tremendous amount of fear in my life. Even though I am not feeling a lot of fear. So I ask myself, what is it? What I have discovered so far is pain. That pain? Personal pain? Yeah, it is probably that.
This morning an energetic picture of my body came to me. I tried to step more into it. Beside all kind of interesting floods of energy in all kinds of texture and color what makes me having a closure look is following: 1) In the lower part of my body are all kind of long-tackled roots going deep into earth. 2) The energy in the right part of my brain seems to stick there and already looks like what happens to standing water. 3) The space in the right side of my chest seems to be – unused? Empty? Waiting to be filled with…?
Any advise? Any insight?
The first and foremost important thing in such situations is to still one’s self and mind. Of course that is a hard thing to do as the pain and anxiety can seem overwhelming. But it is crucial to take things one step at a time. In order to make different decisions and land in a different place, we have to be open to not knowing. It is difficult to be in such a place of not knowing since it can amplify the anxiety. But with practice you will see that it actually heals the anxiety and gives you more room to move. For this to happen a regular meditation and breathing practice is essential. This helps us to keep hearing our own voice. That voice is always present, our constant movement does not allow us to hear it.
What you say about fear and acting out of fear is true for most of us. Most of us act out of that place because regardless of our beliefs we are terrified and do not trust any thing or any one. So courage is not an act of bravery but a place that we usually come to after what we have tried to will our selves into keeps failing. It is not a macho act but actually a place of vulnerability from failing over and over. So all the pains that you describe can not be avoided: they push us to the place where we get the courage to do something different. Sometimes it takes a couple of times of doing the same thing that brings us pain, sometimes a hundred. Examine it all, bless it all and then work on releasing it all.
The roots that you describe coming from the bottom of your feet is your energetic body grounding itself. We all do it to some extent. Taoist and martial arts practices work on strengthening this energy by meditating and visualizing these roots. One can do this standing or sitting and feeling/visualizing the energy going down. Quite delicious and relaxing since we are all so heady. The energy always flows towards where our mind is and since we are mostly thinking, there is much energy up there and very little at the feet. Spend ten minutes feeling your feet (not thinking about them but actually feel them) and see how different you feel.
As for the perceived energetic imbalance in your brain: alternate nose yogic breathing (Anuloma Viloma Pranayama) is fantastic in re balancing that. Again, due to over thinking which taxes the left side of the brain, the right side is underused. Doing creative work will address this issue as well.
Both these exercises should also help with the energetic imbalance you describe in your chest.
I find that my physical attraction to men is based on a narrow spectrum so that even if a man displays many other attractive qualities….if I (frankly) do not want to suck him….no number of those other qualities will measure. I definitely do not want to be connected intimately to someone under those particular circumstances and I recognize my damage and understand (intellectually) my choices but I still cringe at the idea of choosing to be with a partner because they’re the “healthy” choice, while feeling a physical disconnect.
Remember that this is not an either/or equation (great sex with a psycho/no sex with Mr. Perfect). There is a middle ground. In my clinical as well as personal experience, when one is wounded one does not have much conscious choice in the matter. What you describe (” to be with a partner because they’re the “healthy” choice, while feeling a physical disconnect”) is not a possibility. Most likely, one keeps choosing the same unhealthy pattern over and over or stays in the same one over a long period of time. Once the pain pushes us until it is unbearable, we start making different choices. What you describe is attempting to remedy this through will power which never works. The healing process is gradual. It is akin to being diagnosed as a diabetic and having to give up the consumption of sugar. Some people do it soon after finding out about their condition, many struggle for years and some might have to lose a toe or worse before they give it up.
As to your point specifically, there is no doubt that sucking and fucking an inappropriate partner is highly charged due to the nature of early wounding. It is the definition of “negative pleasure”. The question is at what price? How much of our actual relationship do we spend in that zone? And how much pain are we willing to endure for it the rest of the time? Again, it is not an either/or situation: great sex and pain/no sex and ease. That binary thinking in itself is one of the symptoms of addiction. When the pain is turned up enough, we make different choices. Or not.
I have been developing a more serious meditation practice over the last year, and during two recent retreats with Buddhist monks I had some very deep experiences which for the most part were pleasant if intense (seeing nimitas etc). But following this, I have been noticing that when I am just alone at home without any major distractions I “see” spontaneous images of something bad happening to me, and then when I sit I sometimes also get images or the feeling of being attacked. When this happens I try to recall positive things about myself, evidence of my good karma, and also connect consciously with the light of the divine but it is still unnerving. Most of the literature about spiritual experiences talks about feeling warmth and bliss, so I would really like to understand what this is and how best to deal with it.
In fact, your “negative” experiences and the fear that they bring up are more useful than the visions as they show you the unconscious fear that we all have of annihilation. When we work on loosening the knot of the ego through any practice, we have to be ready for a strong and opposite reaction from the part of us that is comfortable with staying asleep. The ego wants things to stay as they are where it feels safe and does not like change. The meditation practice that you are doing brings up a deep possibility of change. So the ego will try to disrupt it by throwing up all kinds of things. Experiences like the fear of being attacked can be one of those impediments.
Face your fears. Do not fight mind with mind (positive thoughts, affirmations, etc). Look at these fears and see where their source is. Where are they coming from? Investigate the terror as you would smoke until you find the fire. It is not pleasant to sit in that experience but that too shall pass. This is the work.
Lastly, meditation does make us more sensitive so it is also possible that you are picking up energies in your surrounding that do not feel safe. Take a recording of a mantra that you like and let it play in your space for a couple of days. It does not have to be loud and disruptive. Let it play softly 24 hours a day, this can do wonders to clear the space. The Maha Mrityeonjaya Mantra is one I use daily and you can purchase a beautiful rendition here: http://www.heinbraat.com/en/discography-cds/
I enjoyed reading your book. I can’t say where I am on the path at this point. Many dark shadows still follow me as I am trying my best to eliminate each one with cautious care. I have a calling that beckons me even though I resist because my professional career would be seriously compromised if my personal beliefs were to be known. I am an elementary school teacher in the “bible belt”….need I say more. Having been “somewhat” intuitive all of my life, my intuition seems to be intensifying as I meditate more and study books such as yours. Do you have any advise?
“Cautious care” is the best way to own and integrate our shadows. The more we dive internally, the more is revealed. For many, the intuition intensifies. It might not even be that our intuition sharpens. It could be that our hearing becomes more acute since we are not numbing our self to our intuition’s loud voice by constant distraction. Spend some time at the end of your meditations asking for guidance from your inner self to be shown what the next step is. And the courage to follow that step when it is revealed. This process can take time so be patient but vigilant. Any time a doubt or question comes up, get in the habit of asking to be shown.
Meanwhile, fancy your self as an under cover agent, spreading light and love by your presence with out informing others of your mission. In the end, the forms that we choose to shine our light do not matter, neither do our aversions and preferences. Keep true to your self internally, all else will reveal itself.
I have a great longing for connection with source energy and have been on a journey for the past 10 years or so to find my way there. I have had experience that have helped me understand something of what you mean when you say “words are lies” and in general that the material world we live in is just one section of a much wider continuum.
My struggle is that I have been working really hard to stay grounded: to make sure I take care of my daily life — pay bills, get sleep, be super-aware of my emotional behaviors and the way I interact with other people, and the like. This is work I needed to do in order to learn how to exist on multiple levels at the same time, so to speak. But I feel like I’ve gotten a little *too* rigid — that the container I was trying to build has kind of taken over the process, and now I have a hard time letting myself go. Mixed in with all of this is a healthy dose of anxiety around life-long questions of who I am, am I making the right decisions — I know I sometimes drive myself a little batty trying to tune in so closely to “the way.” What scares me is that I also find myself becoming cynical and really judgmental about people who are also on the path and say things like “I know I’m a healer” “I want to be a shaman,” etc. This judgment feels all kinds of bitter and can’t be good for anyone.
I know I need to shift something but I don’t know what. Any advice would be much appreciated.
The rigidity bit, which many of us suffer from, is a reaction to managing existential as well as repressed childhood fear and anxiety. Similar to a wall, it can define and put things in some sort of order but also keeps things out. Awareness of it is alone will start shifting it since one starts to witness how stifling it can be. Your job is to encourage the loosening of that tight knot. And be aware of the emotions that are being kept at bay by being too rigid.
In my own work with that issue I started by taking one area of my life and stepping back from being on top of every aspect of it. In my home, I started not putting every thing in order every free minute on weekends. I stopped making my bed every time I got up. I didn’t take a shower or shave first thing in the morning. I didn’t wash the dishes the second I got done eating. I set up a lab where instead of everything being in tip top shape (i.e. being in control), I let things be messy. And I observed my reaction to not being on top of things: anxiety and unease at first and relief gradually. After some time I went back to my orderly way but with the awareness of not using it as a way to ease anxiety. Any time I caught my self doing that, I backed off and sat with the feeling.
The judgment of others can be aspects of our self that we have not accepted. Or overwork/control and lack of joy in our own life. Look into both and feel what holds true. You are correct in your assumption that judgment it is not good for any one. It intensifies disconnection and the feeling of separation in us. The judged party also feels the energy being thrown at them even if it is on an unconscious level. We don’t have to like every one that comes our way or agree with what comes out of their mouth. We certainly have to love them though, even if we don’t want to keep their company.
Remember that after the work you have done “the way” takes over. Allow “it” to do so. Our job is not to work so hard to keep being aware of it, we just need to make some room by not numbing our selves to “its” loud voice. And never underestimate our attachment to the pain and unease of our habitual forgetfulness/sense of separation. Know what poisons and what nourishes. Be gentle and firm while knowing when to yield and when to hold fast. All else will follow.
I am having an episode of anxiety due to financial issues that are overwhelming. I have a history of it from my childhood that had eased up but the recent bad news has brought all of it back on again with a vengeance.
I just listened to your podcast from the Shala on anxiety and then I realized, again, that you actually think it is good to have a real relationship with anxiety. I guess I just wonder how to cope when I can’t sleep, eat, when the veil comes down. But in some ways you actually think that that is spiritual thing? Maybe each time you learn something new?
Last night I got my adrenals so calmed down, thinking that for that moment it was fine. But the minute I went to sleep the anxiety just turned on and woke me up every 15-20 mins. And that’s when I start really freaking out cause I am exhausted.
The hardest practice and the most effective is to sit and feel the anxiety. This is quite difficult initially since our whole life is based on running away from this feeling. Yes, certain circumstances can bring up or magnify this anxiety but for all of us it is an underlying state. As with other feelings, we either repress it or act it out. And similar to other feelings, we rarely actually sit with it and feel it. The feeling of it is crucial here as it loses its hold on us. Start with a couple of minutes a day of the breath work I described above while feeling your body followed by just sitting and feeling your body and what ever feelings that come up. It is normal to feel resistance and want to get up and be busy. Sit through that feeling and it will ease. A regular practice of this can make it much easier to navigate your way through. And do not isolate, let others in. Vulnerability is good medicine any time but particularly during these times. Be gentle, be present.
We have talked about my unconscious/somewhat conscious rage and how I am hiding in all these places in my life. I’m struggling with trying to find my way through – all these places in my life that I’ve considered “train wrecks” – family, intimate relationships, work, friendships (lack of), calling/purpose/fulfillment, spiritual practice, etc.
It seems that I create my own drama, my own issues, my own “train wrecks” – and for everything I learn to “grow” – it seems that I am still stuck, if not moving backward. Like you have said, I can’t make people ‘wake up’ – but man, I certainly try to force the issue – and unnecessarily create more pain, more drama. Seems like the only thing that works for me is akin to a monastic journey or movement in that direction – but again, as you have pointed out, it’s another form of hiding – perhaps the ultimate form.
How to live one’s life with some measure of peace when everything seems to be falling apart is challenging. What to do / what not to do. I don’t know if there’s a question in here or not…
This trying to fix things/care taking/waking people up etc (family/partner) is just masking your anxiety. The spiritual journey is that as well. Meet this guy you call your self and give him some love. It will get easier all around. Instead of trying to buy or earn your freedom just give your self your freedom. People love their pain, why try to take it away from them? Stop loving your own pain, that is the ultimate gift to every one around you.
Something unpleasant has come up recently in a healing session I was doing- again. I thought I would check your website and see what you posted and maybe it would help. And there was something similar…I recently did a healing on two different patients and I took on their issues! One had chronic groin pain and the other vertigo. How do I protect myself?
I want to find my life’s purpose. I have always felt it was to be a global leader and educator. Teaching what I don’t know. I need support to get in touch with my inner most feelings. Can you help guide me?
Ultimately and regardless of finding our place in the world, we all need to work on remembering who we truly are so that we are not coming from a place of lack/need/forgetfulness but rather acting from a place of wholeness. Nothing outside of us (work, relationship, money etc) can help us here but re-membering this eternal connection.
I’m putting together a piece about ethics in energy work. I’m asking practitioners I respect and admire, what code of ethics they adhere to when dealing with intuitive information about a person. I’m interested both in diagnosis and treatment. I have more specific questions if you need them, but at this stage I’d like to know the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “ethics” in dealing with people’s energy.
The other point is to approach our clients having met our own needs and hence not being in a place where we place any demands on them physically, mentally and most importantly on a psychic level.
This last point is especially crucial in dealing with intuitive realms as the client will feel our energy and intention. An intentional decoupling of our self from the client after our session is the best insurance here. For me personally, I go over the name of all the clients that I have treated on a certain day, bless them and release them with the intent of placing them in the hands of their true Self.
I am an energy healer. I was visiting a friend whom was seriously ill. I felt compassion and tried to help by putting my hands on him. I soon felt pain in my arms and felt depleted. I told him I could not continue but grabbed my hand in terror and placed it back and did not let go. In the aftermath I became terribly ill. After several months of intense suffering I managed to heal myself.
Now I am having anger towards my friend. I felt very violated by that experience and have not seen him since. I am also realizing how he emotionally manipulated me. I am sitting with this….wondering….is that the true source of my anger? My friend is very ill now and is near death and wants to see me. I am not sure if I can see him again and am afraid of repeating the pattern. Can you shed some light on the situation?
Let’s break down what you wrote:
“I felt compassion and tried to help by putting my hands on him” is care taking not compassion. Sitting with some one and holding space is compassion. Laying on of hands is taking them on especially when one is not asked to do so. It is difficult to feel one’s helplessness in such situations and just be present. That act is in fact what can be quite helpful. Also, learning to know one’s limitation is crucial. If you are feeling drained, you are not helping any one. Know your limits and abide by them.
“I find myself having anger towards my friend. I felt very violated by that experience” is anger towards your self by not taking care of your self. That is your responsibility not his or any other person. Same for the violation, that is you allowing yourself to be violated.
If you decide to visit your friend, set strict boundaries for your self and stick with them. You don’t have to see him in person if you don’t want to, just connect with him on the ethereal field and send your blessings. This is about you learning how to take care of you, not about caring for another.
I am going to a 10 days Vipassana retreat; I see how I am getting more and more afraid about the process:).Would you please pass me some advice?
I have came a long way since I first contacted you. I still struggle with the thought processes that seem to run through my system and sometime questions why. I do believe it’s all for a reason and a good one at that. I have been sitting with some of the things that you mentioned to me in our talk. You had said that I would be getting into healing. Can you tell me a little bit more of what you meant by that? Also what are some of the obvious signs that a girl is healthy and may be interested in a healthy relationship? The reason I ask this question is because I have never had that. I have started to write my story and I have already sent some samples to someone in the writing industry who was very impressed.
I just read an interview with you in the German magazine “Connection”. Just love your authentic way of telling what really comes if one seriously works things out. Yes people do really f.. their clients (sexy isn´t it?) and they really think they are special because of a few kundalini moments. I see that in my family every day. My parents in law are life coaches and healers, my sister, my husband …
But finding good people (healers/therpists) with “good intentions” is .. maybe impossible.
What is the way? Coming to you? maybe, i´m quite often in new york… but no.. this is quite exotic My trust in other people is about zero, to be honest.. I know I know.. poor me
But i really need someone who is like a role model.
In the words of Nisargadatta Maharaj “Don’t try to understand! It’s enough if you do not misunderstand.’
We are that we seek.
I am fairly certain the reason I haven’t been meeting anyone or anyone that desires emotional intimacy and commitment is because I am terrified of being completely vulnerable to someone and being hurt (again). I am conscious of my pattern in that I know that I want (on a conscious level) something (romantic partnership) that I am terrified of on an unconscious level. Now that I am at a point that my conscious and unconscious are having some sort of dialogue, albeit disjointed, my question is how do I go about healing this in myself? Where do I start? The obvious answer would be to open up completely to a romantic partner but I don’t have one and even if I did, I’m not sure I’d be able to fully open up at this point so what kind of “work” can I do on my own to foster the healing of this wound so that I can desire something outwardly that I also desire inwardly.
Your assertions are correct and hold true for all of us. What we desire on a conscious level is many times what we reject or fear on the unconscious. The partnership bit is something that is more common than not to varying degrees for different people. The fact that your conscious and unconscious “are having some sort of dialogue” is obviously a positive sign. In fact just the awareness of this push-pull dilemma can help go start to shift it.
Any thing that supports and deepens this dialogue is helpful. That includes psychotherapy, mediation as well as reading and educating your self on the machinations of the unconscious. To your point, one does not need a romantic partner to practice opening up. Start by making your self vulnerable to the friends that you trust. It can be as simple as asking for a glass of water or letting people know how you feel when they greet you. Many times it is too overwhelming to do these practices in places we don’t feel safe (like a new romantic relationship) so start where you are. And remember, the communication between these aspects of our psyche is a process and not an event.
A question I wanted to ask is about fear. Fear has been a theme that has been coming up a lot lately for me. I have fear of my job situation, my job duties and title will change in July, not sure what that will look like but it can be unsettling for me if I spend too much time thinking about it. Also, I am in graduate student and I have fear of the future after graduation and school debt. Most of the time I am busy with school, work, and personal life I do not have time to think much about the fear of the future. However, lately I have felt this in my spirit and I am not sure what to do with it. I find peace with it when I am meditate and pray but then when I come back into the real world, unconsciously I found myself fearful within myself. Any suggestions or ideas on what to do with it?
Fear is an evolutionary tool that has kept us alive. Unfortunately, it can run our lives on so many conscious and unconscious levels. It is helpful to remember that the more conscious one becomes (and the less one numbs with mindless activity) these already preexisting conditions further reveal them selves.
A helpful practice is to do one’s best to stay in the moment. Fear is usually a projection of what can happen in the future based on something that has happened in the past. Neither one of these is about the moment. As you have found out, one can not be in the fear space when one is present. That is why you find peace in your meditation and prayer, both practices that keep one in the moment.
Lastly, like any other addiction, one has to make a concentrated effort not to pick up the offending substance, in this case fear. It is useful to see what specific issues or topics trigger the fear. Let’s take the example of your graduation. When a thought pops up in your head regarding it that triggers fear, examine it. More likely than not, it will be a rehash of thoughts you have had in the past (paying off student loan, starting a life, etc). Unless there is new information in that thought, quickly assess and release it knowing that it is a rehash and it is of no value to you. If there is new information in it (you read something that scared you about the future), examine it, see what action you can take and then release the thought. Keep this exercise going until it becomes reflexive. This discipline is not easy but it pays off if you keep at it.
Remember that many times we are more comfortable with a known misery (fear) that we can repeat through thinking than being in the unknown. Yes, we are always at the brink of possible abyss, that is the human condition. But we are also surrounded by amazing possibility, grace and beauty not only in spite of that possibility but more so because life is so fragile.
I have a question of shame for you, and need to know what the roots of shame are.
I made an mistake at work last week and it involved someone that I consider a friend. I was (am) embarrassed, then last night was taken over with shame. This was followed with the shame that I drug my family to a new apartment (we love our place but the area is very crazy) but have tapped a lot of our savings. I was discussing this with my partner this morning from a very honest place – and she was understanding. That said, I am trying to navigate through the fog of shame. I’d love your help.
Shame is the energy that is released when our perceived idealized self image is shaken. Its intensity is directly linked to how attached we are to holding up that impossible feat. For most of us, there is an underlying unconscious awareness that the perfection that we project to the world is in fact not real nor possible to achieve. Yet that does not stop our conscious mind from believing and doing its utmost to keep that mask firmly on.
In your case with your apartment, you are human, you made a decision based upon the best information available to you at the time (reality). It did not go as planned (threat to idealized self image/not being perfect/anxiety and hence shame ) and now you are wondering if you did something wrong (not making room for your humanity). Then you say that “I mentioned to her that I equally contributed to our savings so it wasn’t just her money that has dried up” (trying to justify/re-establish idealized self image). A more healing attitude could be to realize that you are human. You did the best you could under the circumstances. You can honor the fact that there is stress now due to some financial hardship due to your decision. Remember that hindsight is 20/20 and it is not fair to judge an old decision with present time information. Review it instead with the information available to you now and file away the experience for future reference. Life goes by quick brother, be gentle and firm with your self.
6 years ago my husband left me and I fell in a deep depression – my friend recommended me to call a psychic reader – this was the entry to an addiction I had over years – I spend alot of money calling them every day – in Germany its a very big business the biggest company makes millions a year. It is so scary to see. I still suffer from time to time being addicted to psychics. I can’t forgive myself that I did spent so much money on them. I do try to meditate regularly.
In my thinking people are so blind – how can I protect myself (I work at the airport) from all the negative energies people carry – I have do deal with every day with thousands of people from all over the world – its seems like they want to steal my energy.
Be gentle with your self. Your addiction is no different to any other addiction: we seek out comfort in the face of pain even though it might be destructive and short lived. We are particularly vulnerable to the seeking of psychics at such times since we want to be told that it will be alright, that we will be taken care of. Our perceived withdrawal of love when a partner leaves can bring on such deep old fears that conscious reasoning is useless. We are in terror and will do anything to push that terror away. Have compassion with your self and for being human. Yes, it can be a problem but it is no different than any thing that we use to numb: alcohol, cigarettes, food, computers etc. Any thing that we use to not feel leads to problems down the road.
You say people are blind, the reality is that we are all blind. Or rather have blind spots. Remember that we are powerless in changing others, all we can do is to work on our selves and our reaction to others. Meditation is certainly helpful here as is some psycho therapy to deal with your pain if it is not resolved yet.
The best way to “protect” your self from the energies you describe is to ground your self during your work. That means breathing and feeling your feet as you do your duties in the airport. See all those passengers as your teacher: your work would be to be not to react to them. Not easy I know, but use what is in front of you to soften your self. A good bath with salt and lavender (and if you have no bath, a shower with rubbing it one yourself) can do wonder to clear the field of unwanted energies.
I am confused by one of your statements regarding enlightenment and ego. You have stated before that you can become enlightened and still be a jackass.
I don’t quite understand how these two things are NOT related.
As I sit with myself, and I become more deeply aware of who I am, as a divine being, am I not getting to know my ego? Isn’t this part of the process? I know I must be missing something here.
So, I guess my question would be, what is your definition of enlightenment? Is it an end goal or is it a process???
I ask this, because as I go deeper inside myself, I’m finding that I am becoming even more confused. Words and definitions that I thought I understood are becoming more and more perplexing to me.
So glad that you are asking these questions. Far from inane, this line of questioning is crucial for our culture. Let’s start by remembering that all words are lies. At best they point somewhere towards the direction of what we are aiming for. Remember this fact when ruminating “as I go deeper inside myself, I’m finding that I am becoming even more confused. Words and definitions that I thought I understood are becoming more and more perplexing to me”. This is a positive development as you are being shown the difference between conceptual knowledge and direct experience. One can read about an elephant or to be told stories about it but words pale when one is standing next to one.
To paraphrase Nisargadatta Maharaj, don’t worry about understanding, enough if you don’t misunderstand. Telling a story about something we have not tasted is tricky business. As the truth starts revealing itself to us, we realize that the reality and story are two very different things. Confusion can lead to more seeking and more desperation. Or it can lead to stepping aside from the mind and getting a glimpse into one’s true nature. The purpose of the use of koans in Zen is to bring about this breakthrough that you are describing: by first exhausting the mind and its story telling capacity. Riddles like “what is the sound of one hand clapping?” can not be solved mentally but the confusion and exhaustion of the mind in trying to answer it can lead to an insight to the greater nature of things.
In the journey towards our selves, there is mental/conceptual understanding and knowing. Truth reveals itself through the latter and words are useless here. At best they are a vague description that will definitely mislead us when we have no direct experience of it. Even the word experience is not correct since an experience is an event, it has a beginning and an end. Your true nature just IS, it always has been and always will be. Again words. It is like someone telling us stories of Niagara falls while we are in the desert: a useful distraction maybe but certainly not a thirst quencher.
The point that was being made with the statement about enlightenment and being a jackass was the delineation between doing spiritual work and psychological/therapeutic work. While the line between the two can cross over as well as be blurred many times, they are separate things. In a hyper-individuated culture such as ours, it is important to work on both ends of it: the psychological as well as spiritual. This is even more important when we notice that many of us come to spirituality as a refuge from early psychological wounding. That wounding has to be addressed via therapeutic work otherwise it can lead to all kinds of havoc. Just observe all the power, money and sex issues around spiritual communities. On top of that, there is a prevalent albeit unconscious magical thinking that spiritual understanding takes care of every thing. It just is not so: it will not pay our rent, help us in our relationships nor soften certain addictive behaviors.
We are lovers of stories and spiritual stories about enlightenment have a special place in our hearts. We like to believe that once this thing called enlightenment happens, we have access to a magical potion and all our personality melts away and we are just kindness and love. Yes and no. Very few people would argue against Nisargaddata being enlightened. Read I Am That and every paragraph can blow us wide open. Watch videos of him and see how agitated and angry he could get with people that were not following his explanations. The point here is that certain vasanas or bodymind tendencies such as anger can continue even when enlightenment has occurred. Enlightenment changes the perspective not the personality although it can soften things. This fact does not fit in with our story of it.
As interesting as these discussions might be, they do not necessarily help us on our path. How ever, digging in and grappling with these issues internally are priceless. Keep questioning, entertain peoples stories and explanations but believe nothing. Do not settle until you know. Step away from your mind and the truth shall be perfectly clear.
I have a friend. A loving and beautiful woman, who by all appearances, lives a noble and giving life.
She has spent much of the last 25 years in love and service, spiritual study, meditation, yoga and countless disciplines.
For all of this life devoted to awakening herself, she is obsessed by the lack of any long-term meaningful romantic relationship. She agonizes like a 15 year old girl who fears she will never be loved.
After reading your book, I see the signs of commitment issues and her selection of men and situations that are always unavailable. She throws herself to the wind moving from city to city (continent to continent) in search of this elusive missing element.
My question is if it my place to discuss this with her? Do I point out the pattern I see? She has read your book and even gave me my copy! Is it my ego that feels the need to bring it to her attention by pointing out my perspective? I’ve tried subtly to guide the conversation by discussing your writings on the subject but these attempts seem lost on her. Thank you for any insight.
A difficult truth to witness is how committed we are to our suffering since we are so terrified of other possibilities. As a friend, partner, healer or ally we have to be OK with some one’s choices. We can ask permission share our piece of the truth. After that, we have to take responsibility for our part in the relationship. If your friend does not want to or is not capable of hearing what you have to say, you can still remain in a friendship but make it clear that you do not want to have the same conversation over and over about relationships. This is the best gift you can give your friend so she has to sit with the frustration of her situation with out discharging the feeling by constant chatter about it.
Lastly, one can spend the “last 25 years in love and service, spiritual study, meditation, yoga and countless disciplines” with out touching intimacy issues. In fact, many times we go towards arduous practice exactly because of our issues around this topic. It is a common misconception around spirituality that because a person has developed deeply in one area, that depth transfers to other areas automatically.
How can I experience this “energy” ” out of body experience” and embrace this feeling. I would like to know how I can separate my physical self from my spiritual self? I understand I may not be able to do this just by thinking it. Can you teach me this or guide me in the right direction?
I struggle to cope with adversity. I have been a yoga practitioner for six years, study the texts a lot and meditate daily (with mantra). I understand, on an intellectual level, that I need to figure out how to cope with stressful situations better and though I’m trying to do all of these things that are supposed to help me deal. I am frustrated that sometimes I feel almost WORSE than I did before all of this yoga stuff. I am unfortunately prone to beating myself up about it, like “why is everyone else attaining yoga and I am just getting frustrated that I’m still a mess??!”
How can I cope? I am currently in and out of work and life situations, running from one chapter to the next, because when I stay put, ultimately this stuff starts to come back out. I have not gotten to the roots. And I don’t know how to. And I am scared that it won’t work or I will just make myself mental, or figure out that I’m just damaged or mentally ill. Do you have any advice for me?
You answer your own question by this statement: “when I stay put, ultimately this stuff starts to come back out”. What you are up against is what we all struggle with: underlying anxiety. There is anxiety for many us around our childhood upbringing but I am talking about a bigger one, namely the fear of death. All the running around that we all do is an unconscious attempt to mask this feeling. Ironically, facing and sitting with it is the only way we can be free of its powerful grip. We can not erase it, just make be aware of it. Much of our activity including spiritual work can be connected to this abject terror. To live our lives more fully, we need to be with our mortality.The practice of mantra meditation is powerful as the sanskrit sounds have specific effects on the nervous system. In my own experience however, one can bypass the feeling of anxiety by mantra practice. I would suggest that you continue your mantra practice and allow another ten minutes afterwards to sit and feel. Be in your body and be present. Sometimes it will be delicious but many times you might feel a wave of anxiety that will make you want to run. Gently sit and be with and see what happens. Make room for your humanness.
I have known for quite sometime that I am healer. At times, I can see colors and smell certain things. Sometimes my intuition prompts me to say things and do things and sometimes I do them and sometimes I do not. I am having a hard time trusting my intuition sometimes. Why? I am not sure. I have had profound experiences that have rattled my spirit and then had really low times where my spirit was just a mere spark of hope. Lately, I have had some physical sickness and I am aware that some of it is due to some inner turmoil. I am seeking out and asking for clarity and peace. Is there any suggestions or promptings that youmay have for a “green” healer?
Start your intentions by asking if healing is your true calling. Once that answer becomes clear, the rest will follow. Trusting one’s intuition takes practice especially in our culture that encourages disconnection at every turn. It is a muscle to be developed so set up an “intuition gym” where you can work it out. The meditation will be of immense use here as well. Anxiety is biggest obstacle to quieting down the mind and this energy has to be faced, felt and integrated. Once you make friends with it, sitting with and hearing your own voice will become much easier.
I found it while looking for a book that is about the subject of abusive relationships between master and student. I read it over a period of almost one year (because I have read one page per day maximum, sometimes twice). I am a psychologist and teach marital arts and I have a martial arts master of course. In the last year, after some years of strong idealization of this guy, I got into a conflict with him, strongly, because I felt he abused my trustfulness.
As always, the aftershock of the idealization was the degrading, so I began to see my master as a piece of shit. Luckily I managed to overcome this episode, too: after a while, I realized to what extend I idealized the guy and began to see reality more clearly. Also I began to see my strong need for these kind of idealizations and in which parts of my life I do it as well.
Suddenly I could see the guy more “normal”, as a human being, with all his incredible power and abilities but also his “flaws” and weaknesses. This lead to a more peaceful relationship with him. Now I respect him, love him (before I THOUGHT I´d loved him but actually wasn’t able to…), fear him, let him be.
The valuable side-effect is, I found myself and my “inner master” as a guiding line for my life. That doesn’t mean I always recover him easily when I need him. But I know he is there and I know that it is all about him, not the outer one. Now all I have to do is remember that.
I am happy that you found the book useful. It was written to be read like that: very slowly. That book took three years to write and slimmed down to its published size. Many people tell me that they read it in one sitting which I find humorous. Slow is good medicine.
Such an important lesson you share here. The idealization of another is such a lose/lose proposition for both parties involved. There is no room for growth since both people are stuck in an idea that is not and can not be real. We are all imperfectly perfect and perfectly imperfect. Perfectly perfect is a nightmare that we attempt to live and project onto others because we are not taught that it is impossible. Our culture is based on the denial of this fact and we are taught to strive for the ideal of perfection. This fact stems from a deep fear, distrust and disconnection of who we are. Every one has imperfections, it is a part of being human.
Your teacher in this example is as much of a victim of it as you are. If he is aware enough, he can try to break you out of your hypnosis by saying to you “hey, I am just a man, like you. I have some gifts, somethings that I have learned by hard work and some flaws”. Or he can be unaware of the idealization. Most likely, he can be somewhere in the middle where he is aware of the disharmony but enjoys people thinking of him as “special, invincible, etc”. It is a seductive drug for both parties and as drug addictions go, there is no happy ending until it is given up. It leaves no room for real dialogue and relationship. But it is seductive and we all can and do fall under its spell easily. Teacher/student relationships are specially prone to suffer from this for obvious reasons. A true teacher shares power and empowers the student, she has no need to stand above the student. A true student conversely works hard at not projecting on the teacher and allows for the humanity of the teacher by accepting his own humanity.
There is another piece here, what is called the “golden shadow”. It refers to the noble parts of our selves that we project on another. Teachers of any kind are usually good projection screens for this. Many times it is actually harder to own and integrate these “positive” aspects of the shadow than negative ones. So make sure that you are aware of this and that you are working on owning all these qualities that you were transferring on to your teacher.
Lovely how you have turned it around. Truly the job of all outer teachers are to guide us to the inner teacher. This relationship has to be fostered just like an external relationship. We have to make friends with this inner guru through daily internal connection. We do this by letting go of behaviors and relationships that numb us. This teacher has always been and will always be here. It asks nothing back in return but our attention. Drink until you are full.
Is it just by being awake that you feel like we heal people in some way? I’m trying to figure out what I am doing that’s affecting people and how I can strengthen it. Or be more intentional, at least. Do you have any suggestions? I have realized it’s not so much anxiety that makes me crazy but the hyper vigilance I exercise trying to control my world. Ugh. Horrible pressure. Is meditation the answer? I would love to hear any of your thoughts.
Yes. By being awake/present/here now we allow people to do the same. There is nothing that we need to do once we are present, it just happens. This is the great secret of being a healer: to be fully present in the moment in full acceptance of what is. This is the place that allows change to occur. One strengthens it by being true to one’s self and letting go of all that is false. That easy and that difficult.
Anxiety is the physiological response to mental hyper vigilance which is borne out of feeling unsafe and out of control as a child. Being in the moment is the answer regardless of the question. Meditation is the practice of being in the moment. One has to practice it outside of sitting in meditation as well. Being aware of and grounding our consciousness in our breath and body are great tools for that.
I’m getting on a plane this week for a long trip. But as I get older or whatever, I’m more and more hating flying, worrying the plane won’t stay in the air etc. How not to freak out??? And, I need to get over it or at least deal with it better [not drinking the entire flight ] because I’m going to be traveling more for work. What are your thoughts? Anyway, you usually have pearls of wisdom, so wanted to reach out. My mortality issues continue to raise themselves to fearful levels!
You are correct in assuming that you fear of flying is in fact a fear of dying. There are specific techniques that deal with fears like flying such as Systematic Desensitization in 10 Steps. Too long to go into here but it does work. However it is a symptomatic treatment, just like drinking or taking anti anxiety medication.
The fear of dying has to be faced squarely in order for us to live our life fully. The practice of finding some quiet time to reflect on our immortality is important. The awareness of the fact that these bodies can be extinguished in a moment’s notice is crucial to fully tasting life. Not an easy feat in a culture that deals with and thrives on this fear by constant mind numbing motion and consumption.
Practice laying down and feeling what if feels like to die. Literally. This is it, you will not get up from this position, you will not be able to do all that you like, dislike, etc. You might feel scared, happy, numb. Or nothing. Not important, just stay with it and see what and where your anxiety comes from. Until you get to the root of this issue it will unconsciously hang over your head like a guillotine. Life is too short for living in constant fear. And we all do until we do the work to realize the preciousness of this realm.
I left a destructive relationship about a year ago where both my partner and myself had been on a decline as individuals and, thus, that toxicity manifested itself considerably in our interactions. I also left because he seemed to content to wallow in stagnation (despite him recognizing his own unhappiness) and my efforts to pull him out of his proverbial sinkhole were beginning to pull me down. Not to mention, as the relationship headed to its end, he used things that came from the vulnerable part of me to hurt me. Despite not wanting to and seeing him for more than what he thought himself to be capable of, I left.
Since then, we’ve had sparse, solely text-based contact in the last year. Even from how he writes, he seems like a changed person, too, and for the better. There were many values and concepts which I held dear during our time together (and actually still do) which he berated me for in the past. However, he now has incorporated similar values into his core. I know that part of me still hasn’t forgiven him; thinking about him makes me feel a dull pain/anger. I feel like I was collateral damage on his personal journey, and I don’t know how to reconcile with that.
I know that this difficulty is beginning to manifest in my life now. Anytime anyone or anything reminds me of the “negative” aspects of my relationship with him, I don’t engage and block myself off. However, I’m struggling between forgiveness, and that delicate balance of allowing myself to be vulnerable to others while being protective of my core.
I want to let go. I know it’s what needs to be done. Just when I think that the dull pain/anger is no longer part of me, it comes back during unexpected moments. Much less so now and with less frequency than the time closer to when we broke up, but it’s there nonetheless. My ex-partner has said over and over again that I’m someone he would like to continue to know and that he wants to have a friendship. Obviously, I’ve declined…but I declined with anger, despite wanting the same thing because I fear the possibility of being vulnerable again with someone who has hurt me a great deal.Will this hurt always be a part of who I am and it’s just something I need to learn to live with? How do I learn to be vulnerable again?
We can not rush into forgiveness. All we can do is prepare the ground by facing and sitting with our own hurt. It is a natural tendency to want to bypass all that discomfort and go into forgiveness. Alas that simply is not possible if the healing is to be authentic. Anger is a response to being hurt. Every time you feel that rage, dig deep into your own self and find the pain underneath it and sit and be informed by it. That is the quickest way to find the release you are looking for. Forgiveness comes of its own accord, we can not rush it along( although that is a favorite trick of the new age movement and our egos). Once we have worked through the pain, forgiveness is the natural out come.
Putting the focus on your self and your part in self betrayal is a potent place to reside in. Lines like ” my efforts to pull him out of his proverbial sinkhole” betrays care taking which is in fact denial of one’s self. That can only lead to anger since we are starving while trying to feed another. How far have you come in addressing this issue? How often do you resort to care taking as a way of hiding your self? What concrete steps are you taking in new relationships to keep your center and not fall into the need of the other?
You say “I know that part of me still hasn’t forgiven him; thinking about him makes me feel a dull pain/anger”. Fair enough. But the issue here is not just about forgiving him but your self. What work are you doing to forgive your self for putting your self in that situation. These pains are unconsciously self inflicted. You did the best you could with the understanding that you had at the time. Do your best on healing what made this take place so you do not repeat the same pattern. Every time you catch your self thinking or feeling pain around something he did or said, take it right back to your self and examine your own hurt.
Lastly you ask “How do I learn to be vulnerable again?”. How do you know that you have been vulnerable before that now you want to do it again? Most of us will do all at our disposal to not be vulnerable. You spend a lot of what you write talking about your partner. I know there is hurt there but that is not a sign of vulnerability. Do not confuse care taking (which is hiding) with vulnerability. You are examining your life and asking the right questions. That can only lead to healing. The path to living our authentic self is long and arduous, one foot in front of another while being emotionally honest gets us there.
From the chapter, “Shift Happens with Intent”, you state the most common reactions you encounter as a healer is when a person is confronted with a deep need to change is a genuine concern about upsetting their partner’s life.
My partner and I have been together for many years but the last several years we have been dealing with health issues of my partner. He has used the term ‘checked out’. He is letting the negative path take over. He tells me that not knowing the outcome or he can’t control the outcome wears him down. He is an optimistic and fit (athletically) person and feels he can’t get a break. The doctors say you have to let time heal. We are not fighting, still laugh at times, enjoy sex and cuddle. But he feels like he is wilting and I am blooming.He supports me in many ways but his self at this time does recognize this.
I gave the book to him one week ago. We have not spoken for two weeks and the plan is to talk again in one month. I wish I found this book 6 months ago since we have been talking about breaking up during this time. But the book hit the spot. Either we part or will stay together and get married. He says he needs to find himself and be more of the person before the health issues so I hope he is reading the book. I see him before the health issues and know that his self is there.
I then in turn have become somewhat of the caretaker. SO I know where I need work with. I told my partner before I read the book that you upset my life rather than if I stay and work through this healing time. IS the time apart a good start? I will stick to it for one month and then the critical conversations will really begin or end?
You sound clear in what you describe. Yes, a genuine concern for one’s partner is a common (and healthy) reaction in times of deep change. It can also be a way that one consciously or unconsciously shirks one’s responsibilities towards self by focusing on the other. Your partner sounds like he is really suffering, it is not easy to be dealing with so much pain back to back. For either one of you. You spend most of your writing talking about him, put an equal amount attention on your self. I am glad that you are aware of your care taking issue and are putting the focus on your self. Self care is all one can do at all times but it certainly is an art to discharge that duty with grace. We can either get lost in care taking or the other side which is narcissistic self indulgence.
It is also really difficult to be in the unknown which is exactly where you are. Will you end up with this man, alone or another? Stay here until the answer hits you on the head like a lighting bolt or gently comes your way like a limb that is gaining feeling from falling asleep. The tendency at this juncture is to jump to one side of a yes or no so that one does not feel the anxiety of not knowing. Your line ” either we part or will stay together and get married” sets up an either/or situation which can lead to addictive thinking i.e. yes or no. Relationships are so many layers of grey, especially made so in these times of accelerated growth and self questioning. Be gentle with your self and watch out for the black and white, that will only lead to more pain and confusion.
A part of you knew that you needed some time away from each other and you set that up. That is brave on both of your parts. Use this time to be fully in relationship with your self, cease for the next weeks behaviors that numb you to your self (over work, care taking, too much reading, music, TV etc) and really connect with your inner voice. Once you can hear that, there are no wrong turns. If you don’t have a regular daily grounding practice, the time to start is now.
Last weekend I left my husband of 5 years. We were in a relationship for 11 years that began when we were both married to other people and while my mother was dying of breast cancer. He is 19 years my senior and I just gave myself over to him. He is a heavy drinker and smoker and over the years I have become one as well. Soon after moving in with him, I felt unhappy with the relationship. I allowed him to isolate me from my family and I have no friends of my own. He is very jealous and controlling and became more so after I lost weight I gained during those first unhappy years of the relationship. I started coming home from work and drinking wine every evening until I pretty much blacked out. I have stopped for awhile but then something happens and I go out and buy some wine. I have spent the past 6 days drinking every night even though I am at my brother’s house and last night I passed out sitting upright on the couch. I am humiliated by my own behavior! I have been seeing a therapist but am not getting anything out of it. What can I do to shed these awful habits and heal myself from this abusive relationship?
It is a big step you took to leave a situation that seems so harmful. Give your self a pat on the back for that. That however was just the first step. Our ability to be in and sustain an abusive relationship is a sign of deep internal wounds. We can use all kinds of addictions like food and alcohol to numb our selves to the pain and anxiety such relationships both mask as well as cause. When we do leave these relationships, there can be a massive void inside of us. After the separation, we need to face the demons inside instead of having some one like a damaged partner carry it for us.
Your drinking to a point of blacking out is serious and needs to be addressed. You have to examine to see if there is a history of addiction/alcoholism in your family and even if not, you have to look at this issue. Therapy alone will most likely not address this if you are an alcoholic. You will need help in this area and addictions are best healed in group settings not one on one therapy. Therapy can be a helpful adjunct and it would be best to work with someone who is well versed in addictive issues. I would strongly suggest going to some AA meetings and putting the bottle down first and foremost. This is nothing to be ashamed or feel humiliated about. Addictions are a disease and
as such can no more be controlled by will power than diabetes can. All else I say here would be a waste of our time until you face this issue.
I’ve been told by a healer/medium that I will be a very good healer but I feel lost. A lot of spiritual things have happened to me as a child and as an adult. They are not as often now as an adult I think because it had scared me as child. I have a daughter and also been told that she is the same and I noticed before even seeing the medium that my daughter reminds me of me when I was younger. I just try to help her deal than tell her she is imagining things or make her fearful like my parents did to me. It is crazy because my father who is supposedly a Kahuna (I am part Hawaiian) should have understood.
How can I protect myself and my daughter? I have been told to pray, light a white candle and meditate. I have always loved crystals and sage but I feel I cant learn from just a book or can I?
Many of us have the potential to be good at many different things. The important thing is our intention. Why would you consider being a healer? What drives you to that desire? In my own experience as a healer, it is arduous on body and mind. One must be clear why one wants to pursue that path. For most of us healers, it starts as a (usually unconscious) drive to grapple with and heal one’s own childhood pain. That can be addressed with out having to pursue becoming a healer.
Yes, most of us are shamed out of being present with “extra ordinary” experiences as young children because it scares the adults around us. That is how culture propagates itself: by enforcing accepted ideas of reality and discarding contrary experiences. Just because someone is titled a healer means nothing as you have come to realize. The proof of any human being’s presence is their actions.
Why do you feel that you need protection? Are you having specific experiences that are informing you of the need for protection? Dig deep into this question. Fear amplifies and draws in these unwanted energies. Psychic protection is a function of intent. Many of the rituals that different cultures use are mainly a vessel for concentrating the mind. Regular meditation and grounding is one of the most reliable and powerful ways of keeping negativity at bay.
One can use chants, be they Gregorian, Sanskrit etc playing in a loop at a low volume in a space to clear it. One can also use all the different types of incense, holy wood, sage etc. The trick here is to be grounded/feel one’s feet as one moves around a space with the incense to clear it. Moving clockwise around the space and paying attention to corners is how I was taught. Again, all this is about intention. Pay attention to yours.
A relationship of more than 4 years that ended back in January has left me questioning a lot about myself. When I first met him he was honest about his alcoholism. He was still drinking at the time but soon after stopped drinking and started going to meetings. I was impressed by his efforts to deal with his issues and wanted to be supportive. I moved country to live with him. He wasn’t drinking for most of the time we were together but he wasn’t really sober either. He was always (and probably still is) juggling addictions, to weed, sedatives, anti-depressants, cigarettes, coke, food and porn. It all hurt/s, especially the porn. Much of my focus and energy was spent on his issues and in the end I was angry and resentful particularly when I had to accept that he wasn’t on the road to recovery. Maybe I still haven’t accepted it because I struggle between feelings of bitterness towards him and seeing this as an opportunity for healing and growth. I’ve had times where I’ve thought maybe this experience has been more about my journey than his but it’s hard to hold onto that thought. I didn’t believe I was at the time but mine was the role of caretaker/enabler in that relationship.
I’ve been going to psychodynamic group psychotherapy sessions weekly since February. It’s hard. There’s a lot of resistance. I’m good at minimizing my own issues, I’ve had years of practice. I find it very difficult to speak in group and often my mind goes blank. I’ve wondered if that’s because I find it much easier to focus my attention on others? I’ve noticed my co-dependent behavior with others in the group.
Where am I right now? I’m afraid of being addicted to sadness and I’ve no idea of how to tell the difference between grieving and what might be wallowing in self pity/feeling a victim. How will I know? I would like to be in a relationship again (not right now but one day) but I don’t know how it will be possible because I feel I’m not good enough and my experience with my ex has really re-enforced that belief. Maybe it’s not important to be in a relationship, it might just be OK to feel good enough?
It has been a strange and interesting path. I would love some insight and help. I don’t know how to proceed in life. Often people say – well what do you want? Write down what you want…. what do I want? Is there an I to want? There is no I. So how do I live? Yes, there are remains of desires, some come up strongly time to time, but not enough to motivate so much. (although there is a strong desire to live fully and freely, and to move through the tangle of emotions) I am hoping to gain insight into this place i am in, and to take a next step in evolution.
I am in Italy. just arrived a few days ago from Sweden. I am on my own. It seems that Italy would be so lovely. Yet I am here, lonely a bit. Tired. Seems that i am poised on a precipice somehow. Not knowing the way forward (not something new mind you). but maybe it is not about forward but within (not a new idea either). How much is spiritual how much is psychological? i could really use some help in navigating.
You say there is no “I” and then your “I” manages to write a full page of questions. Do not confuse philosophy with your reality. As true as it might be on one level that there is no “I”, do not go beyond where you are. You are experiencing an “I” and that “I” has to be experienced, related to and lived before even an attempt can be made to go beyond it.
As you can relate from your own experience, changing the outside scenery with out tending to the inner is akin to moving furniture on the Titanic: pretty much useless in the grand scheme of things. The gift of travel is that it can help us break through cultural hypnosis. But one has to be present to the differing surrounding to experience it. As to your question of how much is psychological and how much spiritual, these two areas certainly bleed into each other but they are also distinctly different. Start by quieting your mind and sitting with your self every day. Allow some calmness to enter you inner landscape so you can see more clearly what the next step is. Sitting with questions many times is much more fruitful than force finding an answer.
I realized (after a complete disaster of a date) that I have only, ever been attracted to/got engaged to/married narcissists! What the fuck? This is a huge realization. What is wrong with me?!
Do you mind if I ask you your thoughts? I don’t necessarily feel like a victim. I just feel like I’m used to giving other people all the attention and not expecting anything for myself. It’s strange, not in a very negative way, but in a “okay, you have all the attention now because you need it and I’m fine without it.” I guess it’s that care taking you talk about with me. It feels like I’m taking care of the other person. But now I’m sick of it! I’m sorry, I’m not asking a specific question, am I? I guess I’m wondering what you think in general.
Good on you, you did have a big realization. Nothing is wrong with you, you are becoming aware of a coping mechanism that started many decades back. Go deeper: you are used to giving people all the attention for what reason? You touch on a piece of it by saying “because they need it and I’m fine without it”. When basic needs are not met as a child, we mask our need by projecting it on another and deny its existence in our selves. But there is a deeper piece here that gets more convoluted.
We deny the need in our self because it was not met and we hide it by being the care taker. Concurrently, there is a desire to be taken care of so we give care to feed the other so that when they are fed they will in turn feed us. Except that we do not know how to get fed due to the mask of denial that says we have no needs. So it becomes a vicious circle: we give expecting to receive but are incapable of taking it in if it ever did in fact come back in. This builds frustration, anger and ultimately destruction of any possibility of intimacy.
This is where practicing vulnerability comes in. Put it out there as soon as you get involved with someone: “this is my schtick, this is how I hide. I am afraid of being intimate so I do this care taking thing as a way of hiding”. And practice constantly examining your motives. It takes serious effort to break this pattern.
I have had psychic and spiritual experiences ever since I can remember. For many years now, when I am talking to people I am able to see one two small beams of light over their shoulders. I often am happy when I see this – I do not see the light around everyone that I meet though. What am I seeing? I once took a chance and told a coworker what i saw around her – and she told everyone I was crazy…I want to share and help people with my gifts, but I am tired of getting these kinds of labels. My goal is to become a therapist and maybe I can help people that way without seeming crazy.
You will learn from your experience not to share that kind of information so publicly. Unless you want a visit from people in white coats…The philosopher Schopenhauer had a great saying on such matters. He had said that such experiences are at first ridiculed. Then they are violently opposed. And finally they are accepted as self-evident. Many people seem to be waking up to having similar experiences right now.You ask me to tell you what are seeing and then say you want to use your gifts to help people. How do you know what you are seeing is something that people need? Or is a gift? One sees traffic go by, does that mean that one has the duty to go out there and direct it? Or be a traffic cop? Separate the two things: seeing such things and wanting to help people. If you want to be of service, dig down and learn a therapeutic modality that can benefit others. Then spend time exploring your psychic abilities so you can understand its imagery and language. Barbara Brennan’s book The Hands Of Light can be helpful.
One last piece of advice: just because one can observe something in someone does not mean that the other person is ready or willing to hear about what we perceive. Be conscious of honoring other people’s boundaries. Unless they come to you for healing or ask you specifically, allow people their process with out intervening.
I had a Near death experience about 9 months ago and I had a hard time integrating it into my life. I was depressed being back here on Earth because death was pretty amazing, and the love I felt there doesn’t exist here. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and it was difficult for me to find anyone who had a grounded view on both the supernatural and natural world. I appreciate your wisdom.
Isn’t the term near death strange when in fact we are the “sleeping alive” as in some way?
As you experienced, the release of identification with this body-mind and its tiny hold is powerful. It is akin to taking off a ridiculously tight pair of boots after a long hike, the heart rejoices beyond belief. Your experience of pain upon being shoved back into the body-mind is the same for all who have experienced their infinite Self. That is why we get addicted to substances or practices that can get us close to that state.
The beautiful thing is that now you have the opportunity to live your life in full accordance with the remembrance that all is you. With time, this realm will soften your clarity, it is its nature. But while fresh, set your life up in a way that honors your absolute nature. It is in the small details how we betray our selves and the truth that you describe.
Right you are about the nature of limited love in this realm as opposed to LOVE that is all. At the same time, a hundred gallons of water in the middle of a fresh water lake is insignificant but a glass of the same water in the desert is profound. Be that glass in this desert of forgetfulness.
My mother passed away about six months ago. After recently getting into meditation to cope with my feelings, I had the most unusual meditation yesterday. Usually it is very difficult to meditate for more than 10 minutes and I am not completely focused. Yesterday morning I decided to do a physical meditation for 15 minutes, uninterrupted and extremely focused. I was able to physically unravel and relax. As my mind started to relax, my mother appeared to me. She told me that she was okay and to “just go.” As soon as she appeared, tears started to stream down my face, but I was feeling very comforted and relaxed.
I feel as though she was communicating with me, but I was unable to communicate back. While she was speaking to me, my body was still frozen in my meditation position. I was unable to move my hands,or speak, and I know this because I was trying to touch her and tell her that I didn’t want to go anywhere. I realized that I had made a goal of a 15 minute meditation at 9:15, in which I was supposed to end promptly at 9:30. When I opened my eyes, after listening to her advice to “just go”, I looked up at the clock and realized it was exactly 9:30.
I have always been sensitive to my surroundings, although I have never experienced anything like this before. Any ideas on what I experienced? Is meditation opening my mind to spiritual communication? Is this my brain giving me Abdi Answerss to my own questions?
Just checking in with you. I have gained a lot of wisdom and insight from the things you have told me and the healers you have put me in touch with. I have taken your words into my daily living. It seems like I have been going through this stuff for ever.There seems to be a pattern emerging now, I seem to be doing really good for a week,then I seem to really struggle for a week.
The good times are very good,and the struggle still comes with intensity. What is it all about?. I still get really confused sometimes when I am struggling. I have also noticed that when I am doing good and feeling well, my ego runs of into story land trying to claim greatness and make me feel different and special. Is this a sign of healing? What are signs of real healing? I have been sitting in silence everyday meditating like you suggested, it really works. Is there any work you can suggest for me to do with the ego?
I was hit by a speeding bike one day before my last birthday in May. It threw me to the road, setting off another sequence of sciatica pain on right hip (from a car accident 30 years before).. and hurting my neck as well. I had just been visiting a shaman teacher and wondered why the energy I carried from that meeting put me in such a strange accident. I unfortunately have no med insurance and need work desperately, but am often in too much annoying pain to feel energized.. at other times there is no pain until I rundown. But I can’t seem to control the running down. I wake up with palpitations many times during the nite, either from menopause or stress, and don’t want to rely on meds. What shall I do/think of or meditate on to send abundant good feelings to my body as well as to my material consciousness?
Suffering from chronic pain is taxing on body and spirit. Seeking an explanation for suffering is natural for many of us. One has to be conscious that attempting to understand an incident, taking responsibility for it and self blame are not the same thing. It sounds like you are suffering and that in itself is difficult. Be conscious not to add to your burdens. Stepping out into the world from a shamanic healing can be quite shocking to the system. It takes time to step out from the inner landscape to the outer. That in itself can set up an inability to be aware of our surrounding in a busy world. That spaciness can make one more prone to an accident. I do not know the circumstances of your incident but being hit by a speeding bike is quite common so why do you say it is strange? I treat many people annually who have that same accident. Make sure you are not reading more into things than necessary.
This is not about sending good feelings to your body but physically taking care of it. Grounded meditation and breath always help deal with pain but you also need body work. A reputable craniosacral practitioner, osteopath or chiropractor would do wonders followed by something like acupuncture.
Its been a crazy year, all the changes in my life is taking some getting used to. I have been in a major transition, I am experiencing a lot more peaceful days, followed by some extremely tough days. A lot of change is taking place, to be honest there is a lot of fear involved. I have also started to see that certain spiritual teachers I have had in my life for some years may not be so good for me. I think co-dependency is being severed, I am also beginning to stand up for myself like I have not done before in the past. What are the signs that a teacher is being controlling?
What you are experiencing is common to all of us now. There is an intense amount of rupturing going on in all relationships that do not serve us. Facing these changes consciously will make it easier and the separation more graceful. Turning our back on them will blow them up more violently. So as with all things, conscious awareness is the key. Fear is always present with true change, that is to be expected. And to be pushed through.
As for signs of someone being controlling, take that back to your self. Why do you ask that question? What feels off? Why are you looking for the Abdi Answers outside when you already know it on the inside? If something feels off, then examine it. We grow and out grow teachers. That should be the natural progression.Be thankful for what they taught you, take it in and integrate the teachings. When you are done, move on. One does not keep the training wheel on one’s bicycle once one has learned how to ride. Nor does one keep braces on the teeth once they are straightened. One day at a time with internal honesty and conscious vigilance as your companions.
I just listened to the clip of your recent meditation talk and was wondering about your comment on not seeking help from teachers. Can you clarify?
I have had a profound realization and I want to discuss it with you. I want to fully share with you what lead to my realization & am asking how is the best way we can make this happen?
Last weeks earthquake and hurricane seemed to unleash some of the most tremendously scary emotional landmines i have yet to encounter. The bottom of the well feels like it is so far away and I feel fear like I haven’t experienced in a long long while..perhaps never have I felt this in my years of higher consciousness. I don’t want any more ugly emotional monsters to emerge – are they my monsters?
I have no control over the trigger of this up swell – there is much suffering around me in my family. Often when turning for help or support or guidance i find wonderful people who can’t hear or empathize too well – they talk lot about the witness and dispassion and aversions etc…it is good stuff, it is true, it’s only that sometimes I want or need to step outside that talk and just be, react, feel, – like a plain ole human being.
The earthquake and hurricane certainly opened up a psychic floodgate in people’s consciousness even though many are not aware of it, just the external devastation.
Really be gentle with your self. You have done much work over many years. It is easy to forget that. Let your self be human. I have spent so many years denying being a human being, seeking and finding all kinds of magical experiences but alas all the true life and power is in fully inhabiting the human experience. Not getting lost in it and not pushing it away, just being here. It is common for me to hear people say “I can’t wait to be done with life on earth” which of course makes me laugh since aversion is the biggest attachment.
The dilemma with spirituality is that we usually turn to it from pain in life. In it, we are taught to push life away, deny it, try to over come it or change it but the truth is that acceptance is the only thing that marries the divine with matter. Be gentle and look in a mirror and love the lovely face you see reflected back.
You had talked to me about paying attention to my feelings. I started to meditate on feelings. Is it just concentrating on the breath and trying to feel feelings? I am meditating and asking myself what do I feel?
The statement “asking myself what do I feel” means that you are still thinking about feeling. Since there is much anxiety in us, it is difficult just to sit and see what comes up. Breathing certainly helps as most of us hold our breath as a way of not feeling. This is learned early on in our life. Feeling is not about thinking but actually being present enough to see what is under there. For most of us, it is strange since we spend most our time running around pushing the feelings away.
Just be and see what presents itself. It is like meeting a stranger for the first time. Be interested in your self.
I have a deep feeling of being in silence but i don’t know if it’s my mind’s tricks or my inner voice. I did one year of intensive psychotherapy after a suicidal attempt; afterwards, i left to India, spending 4 months there. When I came back, all my friends left me, saying they didn’t recognize me anymore. I found myself more centered than before but at the same time I had the feeling of being with one foot in a dimension and with the other in another. For one year I couldn’t find a job so i just explored and started enjoying being and meditation. Now I am back in society, having a job for money reasons. After 4 working months, I find myself drained of energy; it’s not that depressive state I had before the suicidal attempt. I just feel low energy, having the need to be in silence – not having to talk; and this scares me! Is it a spiritual ego attempt to escape from the outside world challenges? Am I getting crazy by feeling this need of withdrawing from society and shut up? Is it because I work just for money? Between fears and mind, how should i know which is my true path? I am also in an orthodontic treatment which i know is related to the fifth chakra but I don’t know how to interpret it…
Let’s start with the last first. Orthodontic treatment manipulates the jaw which indirectly can manipulate the pelvis and hips. This can bring up and release tremendous emotional content that needs to be dealt with. So actually it will be more lower chakra issues than upper.
True silence is silent, deep, grounded. It does not doubt or question, it just IS. It takes much doubt, questioning and grappling to touch it initially. It can take work to foster the relationship and deepen it. With commitment it can be a residing place, then no outside force will touch it. Only you can Abdi Answers the question: is it your mind’s trick or your inner voice? These are two distinctly separate and distant songs. Start by examining that and why you would confuse those two. Given the work you have already done, shining your conscious mind on this question should move some energy in your quest. Only you can Abdi Answers this, no one can do it for you.
Living in society in this moment in history of the Western world and having a relationship with Self takes tremendous work. Every thing and every one around us is geared towards disconnection. Even some if not much of the supposed spiritual movement is engaged by people who have not addressed nor integrated their unconscious material. Hence unconsciously they nurture disconnection under the guise of connection. This is post graduate work of spirituality, to work towards what feeds us and at the same time learn to be in relationship with things as they are. Withdrawing from society, while certainly noble at times and for some, is usually an escape from the sand that ground us into pearls. It seems like you have released much, now invite in what serves you.
Recently, I have been feeling a lot of rage. Now, this isn’t the first time that I’ve felt enraged, but it usually happens when I have opened myself up to someone (romantically or in friendship). When my affections are not returned or I feel that the same emotional awareness is not given to me that I give to people, I usually turn on myself (think horrible things about myself, say horrible things about myself). However, it doesn’t stop at rage. The rage colors my thoughts heavily: everyone around me is an enemy (serious paranoia) and I feel like I have to cut myself off (especially with people I have been open with in any capacity i.e. retracting any nice thing I ever said, every nice thing I ever did for them -I hate that reaction ), I don’t deserve to be around people because I feel incredibly toxic, people do not deserve to be around me because in the end everyone is a selfish user and they’ll stop at nothing to get what they want -even if it means stomping all over my feelings.
Ultimately, I would like to continue to be open, but I need help in figuring out how to guard myself a little? I have trust issues as well, I am realizing, and I see all of these components, I’m just not sure how they work together or what to do about them. Mostly, I want to stop feeling like this and I’m afraid I’m going to have to shut myself off -all or nothing, you know? I don’t want to do that. Do I even know how to do that? I will also be seeking therapy (I am being proactive and I know I’m the only one who can control how I feel -but don’t you think that people should have some responsibilities toward one another? I like that. I take care of you, you take care of me sort of mentality?
Rage is a powerful reminder of where we need to pay attention. You say “it usually happens when I have opened myself up to someone (romantically or in friendship)”. That in itself needs to be examined. It it common for us to feel threatened in any intimate situation and use the rage as a mechanism to deter true intimacy. Despite our conscious craving for intimacy, most of us are in actual terror of it. It threatens all the masks that we have set up since childhood as a form of self defense.
The part where you say “when my affections are not returned or I feel that the same emotional awareness is not given to me that I give to people, I usually turn on myself” is connected to this. Remember that we treat others the way we treat our selves so this piece also needs to be examined. With that, it is our own job to take care of our self, not to manipulate giving so that we receive. Of course this is a tall order and most of us have an agenda with our giving in that we secretly want lots in return. This is further complicated by the fact that we are too afraid to be vulnerable enough to receive it even if it did come back. So you can see what a tangled web we all weave and hence the minefield that relationships can become.
The statement “Ultimately, I would like to continue to be open, but I need help in figuring out how to guard myself a little” is one that many of us can make. Of course it could not be further from the truth as the appearance of being open has nothing to do with actually being open. I rarely treat people who just happen to be open. It takes tremendous work to approach being vulnerable. We already are fully guarded, so our job is to slowly dismantle that system with people that are safe. It get tricky here too because it is common to unconsciously pick the most unsafe situation to be open in, get hurt and then consciously reassert that being open is totally unsafe.
These issues are difficult to untangle with out outside help. I am glad you are seeking it.
A healer recently treated me for a heavy period. I was unusually emotional and she suggested that I try and not take the emotions too personally because a lot of it may be other peoples karma that I am carrying around. She continued to explain that people, especially women, voluntarily take on others karma. I was surprisingly resistant to the idea and replied “possibly but I’m working a lot on myself right now too.”
Over the next few days her words kept coming back to me over and over as I softened into them. And then the light bulb turned on – From about the age of 13-21, I held the hands and walked closely alongside many family members and friends who were undergoing intense and tragic periods/events. Death was very familiar, and helping people stand up and “persevere” or comfortably pass away became a full time job that I assumed readily. My soul volunteered for whatever reason to take these burdens on, but now I’m ready to release. For the past couple of months I’ve felt I’ve been doing some solid releasing. But now that I have more of a conscious understanding of things my gut says I could use a more formal release. Possibly writing specific names down or events, or visualizing, I’m not sure. Could you point me in a direction to any methods, rituals etc.?
We can not “voluntarily take on others karma”. Certain masters are purported to have been able to do so. For the rest of us working stiffs it is a case of good old fashioned dancing for our meal. This care taking or taking on of other people’s emotions on is learned/taught behavior from a young age and is not voluntary but totally unconscious. Hence the rage. We tend to do it because it brings us some kind of kudos at the high expense of not forming authentic relationships. As you have experienced, it has a myriad of negative consequences. One of the most detrimental is our ability to numb our own emotions by diving deep into that of others. There are no winners here as the person being taken on loses as much as the person doing the carrying. It is a dishonest relationship at its root. (As a side note, my female shamanic teachers always warned female shamans to energetically protect their womb during healing of others as that organ was susceptible to holding on to the energy being released).
Stepping back from these situations and assessing one’s role is a significant step. Doing a ceremony can be a powerful conscious exercise but it is only a start not an end. I wish it was that easy but there is much work involved here. You could do a fire ceremony where you write down the names of the people and take some time (as in days if not weeks) writing where and how you got so deep. When you are ready burn the paper. These energies tend to get stuck in the second and third chakras so you can also visualize releasing these people from those areas in your body.
Now you have to stay hyper vigilant as your unconscious will keep looking for more subtle relationships were these patterns can be repeated. That is the nature of this detox. Spend some time at regular intervals and watch where you might be repeating these patterns. That would be the real ongoing ceremony.
I have been told I need a teacher. I have been led to you. I think you can help me with my resistance, my resistance to simply living my better life. I ‘somehow’ believe you will understand where I am. I am in the middle, the middle of the mess. I am in the in between, the place where there is no way back, only agony in the movement forward. In short, I’ve been broken, wide open, and now I know the truth. The truth about myself. It’s laid out before me and I need guidance in the integration and acceptance of it all.
I am not a nut. I’m an “upstanding” mother of three from the suburbs. I have reclaimed a tragic life and am trudging the road to my happy
destiny. I have 23 years of sobriety in AA. I get recovery, I get spiritual awakenings. I didn’t account for this.
All you have been through has been a preparation for this moment: “the place where there is no way back, only agony in the movement forward”. Recovery and spiritual awakenings are steps towards hearing our Self and its needs. As brutal and joyous as they may be, they are the foundation but not the building. You are fortunate to have the sobriety background. One can have a spiritual awakening with out the sobriety and that in itself can be an arduous maze.
Of course you “didn’t count on this”, none of us do. The “I” the does not see this coming is the part that wants to keep the status quo. Our egos will always attempt to go back, even mask the regression to look like forward movement. Egos do not move forward, they get dragged there, kicking and screaming every inch of the way. Do not drop your guard even for a moment at this juncture of your journey back to your Self. There is much talk in the twelve step program about surrender. Here is your chance to take surrender to the next level. Transformational moments like this (that seem to be happening in rapidity all around us) bring with them every thing we need. One has to slow down and FEEL. That is not easy in the best of circumstances but here you are. Good for you for arriving here. Despite the brutality of it, there rarely is another way back in/forward/inward.
A trusted guide can be useful and I would certainly and strongly suggest working with some one as you dismantle all that does not serve you and put back together or introduce what does. The depth of our Self betrayal and hence the betraying of our self is profound. Awareness of it will bring up a torrent of emotions that need a safe place to be released and integrated. Deep body work, breath work and meditation will also be useful. Stay open, internally quiet and do your best not to add to your burdens beyond your duty as a mother right now. You are your fourth child, mother accordingly.
I have an 11 year history of depression. I’ve made great steps in the last 12 months especially, since discovering that there were some physical issues which required a change of diet and taking certain nutritional supplements. But still there is an underlying tendency for me to withdraw completely from the world, from myself and to go into a kind of numb state where I don’t feel. I still get confused about how best to relate to these depressions. Should I summon all my strength to “fight” them and stay on top – it feels after all such a waste of life to be depressed even for one minute – or should I let the depression show me the way and sink into it? I am afraid to do the latter because I feel scared to let it overwhelm me and that I’ll never come back into life. Do you have any advice?
Good for you in your new understanding and relationship with your depression. Diet and supplements can be tremendously helpful. Physical exercise which of course is difficult to do when one is dealing with depression can also be beneficial. Do your best to add the physical part as well if you have not already.
Most of us deal with life with numbing on some level. It can be through isolation or over stimulation but the net result is a lack of a genuine relationship with our self and others. It is the nature of our culture (and its reflection of us) that so much of what it offers can be and is used to numb, be it the overuse of the internet, media and infinite entertainment offerings. So you are not alone there. Neither are you alone in your use of will power (“summon all my strength to “fight” them and stay on top”) to keep the emotions at bay. That never works as the unconscious can not be punked, it will make itself known in unpleasant ways. Your clarity is wonderful as is your desire for examination and understanding.
Your fear of dropping into the bottomless pit is healthy and needs to be heeded. That does not mean that one runs away from the depression, just that one approaches it with a healthy respect for its power. Depression is a complex phenomena and there is no one size fits all approach. Sometimes depression can be mostly chemical and in that instance, feeling the pit will do no good. Sometimes there are repressed emotions involved that need to be visited and given a voice. Often it is a mixture of the two.The help of a good therapist that works with depression can be invaluable here. That person can be your guide in the depth and amount that is safe for you to experience at one time. Given your history of isolation, learning to feel safe being seen as well as being fed by another can have tremendous benefits. Find someone trust worthy to work with if you are not already doing so. Spend a couple of minutes a day just feeling your body and doing slow deep breathing. See how it feels to be in your body instead of your head. Literally start with a couple of minutes and no more and see how that feels. Reach out. You are on your way.
My emotional pain always starts with a nervous panic attack and unrealistic ideas that throw me into a vacuum of fear. I am trying to figure out how to effectively navigate this pain and be in it without these freak outs that I can never seem to get a handle on. How does one just sit in the suffering and get through it? Or passed it?
The emotional pain does not start with a nervous panic attack. The panic attack is a result of being inattentive to some aspect of our self. It is usually a couple of exits down from our intended one which we missed due to out attempt to numb the pain. The job of the panic attack is to get our attention, to let us know that we have missed something or are not paying attention. That something is amiss. The incessant thinking is our attempt to mask the anxiety. These thoughts (“unrealistic ideas”) have concrete effects on our nervous systems and take huge emotional tolls. Our bodies can not distinguish between thought and reality. When we get into the full cycle of anxiety and incessant thinking, it is usually too late to do anything about it. We need to practice paying attention to triggers and early warning signs of how and when we neglect our self.
The actual panic attack responds well to exercise, slow abdominal breathing, rest as well as diet modifications (cutting down on sugar, caffeine and processed foods is a good start). There is a myriad of ways that one can approach learning how to sit through the pain. A competent therapist to analyze the patterns and a mindfulness meditation practice can be quite useful.
I have read your book Shadows on The Path and listened to your Omega tapes and they have been really helpful to show me how I have been engaging in a relationship based on “negative pleasure” and sadly see it has been a long term pattern manifesting in different ways. I did grow up with a very dominant father who often was physically and emotionally abusive. I have a tendency to be attracted unconsciously to this type of man. I try to leave this relationship I am in with a man who believes in very distinct gender roles that seem rigid and archaic to me where he feels men should always be sole “head of household”, wanting the “obey” clause in a marriage contract and that men who are not in total control are “pussies”. Our relationship consists of sexual play that includes rape play, bondage, and power exchange with of course him always in control. I am sure he sees other women behind my back and therefore I left him for a bit but felt drawn back into my strong sexual attraction to him and his for me and this kind of sexual experience. He becomes so soft with me at times, seemingly liking to connect with me and emotionally bond but ultimately the closer we get the more he wants to disconnect and attempt affairs with other women interested in more hardcore BDSM than I will tolerate. As I awaken and want to heal these deep wounds I find myself drained by him yet simultaneously addicted to the rush of control and his softness after. But this is not intimacy and he is not comfortable with his own deeply denied vulnerability. I am a deeply intuitive, empathic, loving beautiful woman and I cannot believe I allow myself to be in a relationship like this. In many ways he has done nothing wrong since we are not married or sworn to monogamy. It is me who stays in something that in my core I know is never going to lead to a relationship that will be with a true partner. I have so much to offer a really good man and I am so tired of being drawn back into this familiar dynamic. It leads nowhere and makes me very sad and like I let down my soul in some way. I want the strength to leave for good and I wish I could tell him why but I am unclear if he would understand “soul talk”. How do you break this addiction to negative pleasure especially when the person you are attracted to has some redeeming qualities? Why am I so arrogant that I believe he will see me as special and will change and want to be soft and intimate with me in an equal relationship as if his need to be dominant is all a result because I am not enough?
Sad as it maybe that you are seeing a long term pattern, how wonderful that you are actually seeing it so clearly. That is such an important step in resetting our compass towards a destination of our choosing instead of an automatic and unconscious response.
Follow this awareness by taking the focus off of this man and put it completely on your self. There is a lot of sentences about him, his issues, his inability to be vulnerable. His horrible qualities and then his worthy ones. You can not change any of that. You just have to see the painful consequences of being in such a relationship. It stops there. To put the focus on our self is not a pleasant task as it will bring up anxiety we are attempting to push away. The anxiety is why most of us resist this step but it can not be skipped. You are clear about your addiction to this energy and the fact that it is damaging. We are powerless over our addictions but we can support our selves in different ways that feed our soul instead of feeding the pain. Start feeding your self in ways that you can or are already familiar with. Reaching for this kind of pain for nourishment is like eating junk food when you are starving. Stay conscious through the whole cycle next time you are in it. Feel the anxiety when you pull away and the part of you that craves the connection to mask that feeling. Feel the high when you are in the role play and the crash after wards.
You say “I have so much to offer a really good man”. Start by offering all that to your self first. See your self “as special”. Quench your own thirst fully, tend to your own pain first and foremost. It is through a true relationship with our self that we can follow into a relationship with another. That is a step most of us skip more often than not. Negative pleasure, like any addiction, has a bottom. At some point the pain is worse than the pleasure. It sounds like you are close to that point. Make it final by your power of observation. Solidify your intention. “I want to leave for good” and “I believe he will see me as special and will change” shows a split. If you want to leave work on that and your self. If you feel there is a possibility for it to work out, work with a couple’s therapist to see where it can go. Ultimately, this is about you and your choices. Pull your center back into your self.
I am in the process of moving to a new apartment and have found the place I love and want, and are waiting for approval…. waiting….
I have approval from my present landlord and my upstairs neighbors are taking my place, yet I have met with incredible resistance and negativity. I am staying in the moment, waiting on news of the apartment I applied for and continue to look for backup. Besides staying grounded, and not quarreling with neighbors and the landlord, what else could I do in this process? My nervousness flares up but deep down I know I will have a place to live. Is it my ego that desires this apartment I am waiting on or is fear of something good?
On a side note – I am detoxing from constant consultation of astrological sites on your suggestion. I am surprised of the outcome so far in so much that there has been a dramatic decline in storytelling. Thank you for suggesting cold turkey.
This is exactly where you need to be: in the moment, learning to trust that all one can do is to set every thing in order in one’s house and then wait for the universe to act. You have done all you can, what else can you do? If the Abdi Answers is nothing, then the work is to sit with the anxiety that has nothing to do with the circumstance and everything to do with a past that is long gone. One can not heal the past in the present, one can only be aware in the moment so that the past does not unduly affect the present. Even the question ” Is it my ego that desires this apartment I am waiting on or is fear of something good?” can be an attempt at control. While it is good to examine issues in one’s life, over and constant examination can be another attempt at pushing the anxiety away.
The giving up of attempts at control (whether it is addiction to astrology, psychics, card readings or thinking about the same issue a million times) brings up intense anxiety. Or more accurately, puts one in touch with the underlying anxiety that is always present. Make friends with this anxiety, in small measures at at time. This will allow you to be a driver instead of a passenger in your life. These stressful situations can be used as powerful practices of surrender. Not the fake kind that we all give lip service to but to actually see where we stand in our connection to our Self.
I have been given an incredible opportunity to study abroad in Italy. I had to defer it until now because I did not have the money but more so because my Dad was very sick and had been dying for 7 years from a slow degenerative dementia. We had a troubled relationship involving physical abuse and neglect but yet I still was the the dutiful daughter making sure everything was okay for the years up until his death last May. The assigned role I allow myself to play in my family as caretaker. But a few years before I managed to have true forgiveness. I was with him when he died and made sure it was without pain and with dignity. I even made sure he died in my mother’s arms because I intuitively knew that needed to happen just hours before. I wrote his eulogy and found that healing as well.
I have been given an opportunity to study in Italy with a master teacher and I feel it would be a good opportunity to grow, travel, and be with “my tribe” of fellow storytellers. I feel drawn to do this program though my funds are low. I am tired of working below my potential but yet I have no way of knowing that this will lead to anything good. I put my life on hold for years and now I wonder at the moment where I don’t have to any more I am feeling scared and ambivalent when I should by hopeful and joyful. How do you know when to stay or to go? I have emotional support in my life either way from friends though I need to change. I just don’t know why I am so ambivalent at times. I am not a kid anymore either. I am 41 years old but I do yoga everyday so I have a strong body, I am not afraid of adventure, I love the idea of studying with international students, and I am extremely imaginative and work well with like minded people. I have never given myself an opportunity like this and it would work the unconscious in a deep way because it is all physical and archetypal work.
How do you know which path to choose? I usually have super high intuition which brought me to the program initially but somehow now I am filled with fear and doubt about all my choices. Do I have all the skills in me I need already or would it be good to step outside the box, take a risk and see what happens?
When someone such as your self has been trained from a young age to care take of all around them, it is difficult to make decisions that are not related to benefiting others. While it is beneficial to ask advice on such matters, it is important to remember that most will give their projections over such issues. If they feel stagnant in their life, they will say you should go. If they have fear in their heart, they will advise you against going.
What do YOU want? What will feed your heart? When death comes knocking on your door next week or in fifty years, how will you want to remember this time and your response to it? I would suggest that you read a book by the name of Anxious To Please: 7 Revolutionary Practices For The Chronically Nice. It will out line some practices that will help you hear your own inner voice better. Regardless of how much you have put your father to rest, the behaviors ( “assigned role I allow myself to play in my family as caretaker”) that come as a result of the abuse take much time to heal. These patterns are insidious and make it difficult for us to know what we need when the sole focus is us and not the benefit of some other person (“I put my life on hold for years and now I wonder at the moment where I don’t have to any more I am feeling scared and ambivalent when I should by hopeful and joyful”). Keep asking your self that honestly: what do you want? This is not a matter of life and death, just a matter of what you want to experience. It would make sense that since you have always been externally focused on other people’s needs, it is difficult to know what you want. And hence the fear and confusion. You are closer than you think. Clear some space around you and sit with your self daily. Keep asking for guidance from your inner most being.
How can i pursue my boyfriend (4 years relationship) to go to the same psychologist with me?!! He confessed he has manic depression after 4 years, but i have a feeling he is more bi-polar and he shuts me out of his life from time to time. I love him so much and his condition is OK with me and is not effecting my life. but i like to be able to live with him , and take care of him and me. but he is so fearful of living with any woman!!! I do not know what to do to help me and him in order to be on the same path. I like for us to have more understanding of each other. I will very much appreciate your feedback and your help, if you would.
I feel your pain and your helplessness as well as your desperation. I am sure you already know the Abdi Answers: that you can not make any one do anything they are not ready to do. The most you can do in these types of situations is to focus on your self and do your own work. Which in fact is much harder than it sounds when we are so certain that our partner is the issue. Everything you have written is about him, where are your issues in this relationship? Why are you with a man who “is so fearful of living with any woman”? Where is your fear of intimacy and how are you dealing with it? And your control issues?
I know these are not pleasant words to digest but I find them to be true. True relationship is difficult even when both partners are willing and present. To be trying to drag some one along points to deep issues within the person doing the dragging as much as the person being dragged. Keep examining your self and your motivations. That in itself can give your partner some breathing room where he can reflect on his fears instead of using his energy resisting you.
The past two months I’ve been experiencing a lot of internal energy shifting/movement sometimes days at a time. Really blissful but sometimes followed by intense vulnerability, fear and fatigue. I’m definitely not shutting in like a hermit, but I am spending a lot of time with myself conserving energy and giving myself a lot of space to sit still with it all (focusing a lot on my hard belly). I’m outwardly unproductive spending more money than I’m bringing in, moving super slowly, and socially pretty awkward; but inwardly I feel that I’m releasing patterns and letting go of years of tension, reconfiguring is a word that comes to mind. I feel deeply connected to a clear guiding voice (I don’t know if voice is really a good word – maybe force) and I sense that this is all good, an investment of sorts in myself. But I also feel disoriented and passive. There are times when fear is just overwhelming and I feel like this inner “voice” that I’m so blindly trusting and banking on leading me somewhere is just nutty – And I need to snap back into a mode that can produce some tangible results, but the times that I do “snap back” feel wrong, like I’m just wasting energy. I keep coming back to feeling that I should just keep trusting (if I’m going to trust in anything it should probably be something internal) and this phase will pass into something totally new that I can’t fully conceive of right now. Any thoughts?
When one is in deep transition like you are, it is going to feel odd to not follow the robotic path one has been following all one’s life. That inner voice is our only guide. Of course it is important in the initial phases of reconnecting with it to keep checking that it is the true inner voice and not the ego machination being an impostor. And one needs to tend to the outer realm at the same time as the inner is getting nourished. Talk to trusted others about your process and do your best to keep your outer life in some semblance of order while you tend to your self. Do remember that most people have forsaken this inner relationship and the fear that you are feeling will be mirrored by many people who will want you to move on as quickly as possible.
As you say, this truly is an investment of the highest order in one’s self. All relationships stem from this place. Keep outer deadlines to a minimum, do not start new projects and spend as much time as you can tending to this fire short of becoming homeless The fact that you can not foresee where it is heading is a pointer to its authenticity as only the ego can try to control these things not our true voice. The process is what if of utmost importance, not the destination. These alchemical processes have their own time, they are not events. One breath at at time.
My question is: how important is it to find someone who is at the same consciousness level and on the spiritual path?
I ask, because I’ve been in unsuccessful relationships, and I’m thinking that the root of this is that the guys haven’t been like me…conscious and aware and on the spiritual path?
What does it mean that you “have been unsuccessful in relationship”? How do you measure that? Are people who are in long term relationships of disconnection successful? Are people who share intimacy for several years and then for what ever reason discontinue failures? Certainly sharing interests can help relationships but the unveiling of our self to another human being does not have a prerequisite except for self reflection, willingness and tremendous courage.
It is a common misconception that being on the spiritual path somehow magically transforms our capacity to be in relationship. Spiritual practice by itself does not necessarily help us in relationship but true and honest relationships can be a spiritual practice. I know in my own experience, even after spiritual understanding I continued to repeat the same patterns in my intimate relationships. It is only through honest self reflection as well as examination and usually with expert help that we can learn to break these patterns.
You say that “the root of this is that guys have not been like me” but you are the one common denominator in the relationships. Once can be a bad choice, twice a fluke but by the third time, there is a pattern. And these patterns that we all struggle with are unconscious and hence difficult to grasp with our conscious minds. There is much good material to read and absorb before or as you enter into your next relationship. Make your next relationship a conscious sadhana. Practice makes perfect.
Starting to see the truth has been a life long process-hence the act of waking up vs living awake. Many said to me…the problem is that I don’t believe I’m already awake and the illusion is believing there is a process to waking up. I’m told awake already exists in the parallel universe of waking up. I listen and ponder the feedback and wonder..isn’t being born in human form simply to experience the human condition? If I am made in the likeness and image of a God consciousness, and I live in a realm of everything is God consciousness, then the human condition/experience by the very nature of humanness will be duality, living in love and shadow. Isn’t the human journey our conscious evolution of bridging love into the shadow? The process of waking up not necessarily the destination of awake?
Words are tricky business when using them to address deep knowing. They are akin to soothing an itch in our face by scratching our reflection in a mirror. You say “many said to me…the problem is that I don’t believe I’m already awake”. Two points: the first is that you have tried to intellectually understand something that is beyond the intellect and have asked these questions before and they have not satisfied your enquiry. The second is that many of us confuse belief with knowing. We can have a belief in something but that is not concrete evidence. Knowing is what is solid. Aim for that solidity in matters that are important to you.
A person in dire financial need can go around and ask people if she is wealthy. After much discussion she might be told that she is in fact a millionaire. She can even believe this to be true. But until she can use find and use her bank card to withdraw the cash, her belief will not help her reality. That is what I mean by knowingness.
There are many techniques into this self-inquiry. Pick one and keep at it. The vicharya practice of asking “who am I?” is brilliant. Keep asking this question. The first reply might be your name. Ask again. The reply might be a woman. Ask again. A daughter. Again. A seeker. Keep going deeper and deeper and see what treasure this well will bring to you. Find out who is asking these questions.
I am writing to you for some advice, to be a “pointer” perhaps of confirmation that i am on the right path to something. I am composing an email to my father & mother. I will try to be brief as possible but want to explain the situation i am trying to understand and heal in my own life and well as offer real insight at this “opportune” moment so that perhaps others may find real transformation too. (There is a detailed description of family dynamics and roles with ensuing painful outcomes). My father is writing to me “Are we such terrible parents?!” They see all the bad relations going on in the family and feel so responsible I guess. And this brings such sadness to me – I feel their suffering and I deeply sense my parents struggling and trying to figure this all out. They are quite spiritual people so it’s not like they haven’t done some internal work. Yet we all have shadows to look at, don’t we?! I am writing back to my parents and I’d love your input if I am on the right track at all as this is what I feel. How can I, from afar, shift this “shadow” into REAL healing & transformation? There’s no question that even though I am fairly healthy and live a nice life, that these family issues still affect me, I still feel the sadness, the pain this week with my oldest sister’s situation, and the not “worthy enough” feelings come up – even as I continue to look honestly. Any advice or anything you can offer is greatly appreciated. (This is followed by a detailed email to the parents).
Healing family dynamics is tricky business since regardless of our clarity, we are always intertwined in ways beyond our ability to see. The first thing I want to point out is that in your 96 lines of description of your family dynamics, only 4 in the beginning and 5 in the end are truly about your experience, your pain, your suffering.
You have insight into your siblings and parents. You have worked arduously at staying conscious. Where is your role in the family drama? How do you get hooked in? What was your assigned role and how much of that have you shed? Family dynamics can be viewed as a roof being held up by many walls and functions. Some of us are given and take on weight bearing wall roles that crush us with responsibility. Some of us take on the chimney wall role where all the soot goes through us. Some the garbage disposal unit wall and others the grand entrance archway where we are always expected to awe others. All of these roles sap vitality and doom us to dancing to some other person’s tune instead of finding our own song.
In such dynamics, all we can do is to move our wall. That in itself will force the whole structure to shift, even though many times others will steadfastly hold on to their own roles. Besides that helplessness is our true medicine. One can never underestimate another person’s attachment to their assigned role and the ensuing suffering. We have to be willing to let others experience the life of their choosing. As you know with your own work, even with willingness and hard work, it can decades to change our patterns.
When people reach out to us and give us permission, then we can share our piece. Even then we have to let it go if we find resistance. Your parents asked you and you responded. A suggestion in these matters is to address every thing from your experience as opposed to taking any one’s inventory. “This is how I felt, my experience is etc”. This is both more honest as well as less confrontational. I reflect back a piece of your own letter to your parents that is brilliant and good advice for your own process:
“So i guess the healing begins with us. Where can we forgive, where can we forgive ourselves? And then just be there for others if they too have a change of heart. Be there for help & support but ultimately others make their own choices.”
My last relationship ended one year ago, and I am still missing that person greatly. I try to move on, I try to go out, I try to date. I meet many people, and i am open to compatibility. However, most of the time I find that people do not listen, do not engage and only talk. The more time I spend alone, the more I value my self. It is getting harder for me to connect with others as I find so many to be shallow. On the other hand, I can spend days alone, photographing, drawing, reading, writing. I would like to engage in another relationship, but am feeling discouraged about how to connect with a higher spirit who has traveled spiritually as much or more than i have. Any suggestions?
It sounds like you are doing all the right things in terms of taking care of your self. There is a lot of “try” in your words (“try to move on, try to go out, try to date”) and much movement and activity. It is wonderful to learn to be with and enjoy one’s self. But also important not to confuse solo activity with self intimacy.
How much being are you doing? Just letting your self be? Just laying down and being exhausted? Sitting with the grief? Disappointment? Not getting lost in them but just recognizing them and giving them room to heal? No need to worry about others and their narcissism, no matter how true what you say is. Just keep getting your own house in order. Tend to you own heart and allow it to open and heal with out your will power constantly stepping in and shutting it out.
Start feeding your self with all the love that is in and around you and keep letting go of the needy love. You have had relationship, now you are out of it and at some point you will be in one again. The one common denominator is your own Self that has never abandoned you. Make good friends with this stranger you call your self.
I want to confirm something that I read in your book: is it true that understanding and even partly being able to forgive overwhelming violent impact doesn’t end the story? That even when things can be seen from a larger perspective and hence be somehow integrated in the picture from a so called karmic point of view, there still might be need for more healing? That one’s relationships mirror the true state of affairs?
You are correct in what you say. We can mentally understand and even forgive the past but certain issues can still can play out in our lives. Most of our healing, including the understanding of karmic issues, are mental exercises. This is not to put such things down, they are all important and can be helpful. But there is a need for deeper examination, healing and integration of these issues. The areas that have not been healed do play out in the patterns of our relationships, especially intimate ones. For example, if one was raised in a narcissistic environment where one was expected to emotionally care take the parents, as an adult one would consistently find one’s self in the same situation with friends and lovers.
It takes hard work to break these patterns but they can be broken. Being true to one’s self is difficult business: we first have to shed all the learned falseness and then have the courage to honor the true being we find beneath the masks.
I can’t seem to change the fact that I continue to be disappointed when it comes to relationships – family, friendship as well as lovers. People keep telling me to toughen up, harden my heart. I don’t know how to do this. I feel like my heart is this big loving and open energy and that the people keep chipping away at. Sometimes the hurt feels overwhelming and I actually feel physical pain. Is this my karma?
I’ve been in therapy for the last few years getting over a divorce (not my choice). I practice meditation and just sit with the disappointment. The pain of one situation lessens but then another one is directly behind it to takes it’s place. It feels like it will never end and that my life will be full of rejection and loneliness. How do I toughen up my tender heart?
This is not about toughening your heart. We all have to work to soften our hearts, not toughen them. Relationships are the most difficult place in our lives where all our unconscious material gets played out. Never pleasant but certainly an opportunity to learn about our selves. Change in this realm moves at a glacial speed, there are no fast results. Wonderful that you are working with a therapist, an ally in these matters is priceless.
You say that people chip away at your heart. True as this may be, this is only half the story. When an event happens once or twice, there is a possibility that we have been the unfortunate victim of an accident. But when they occur with frequency, something else is at play. That something else is our unresolved unconscious wounding that keeps picking situations that replay certain wounds in order for our conscious minds to heal them. Our conscious mind is rarely privy to this information and hence the constant repetition. Just the fact that you are aware of their occurrence is a big step. Let me be clear that we are only responsible for our fifty percent in these transactions. The other person is also a player with their fifty percent. But we keep choosing these same patterns.
So step back and look at what commonalities all these relationships have. How early into them were you aware that something was off, that you were about to get hurt? What made you not listen? What were you getting out of being hurt? Do any of these patterns remind you of patterns that we mirrored to you in your childhood? Working with these questions will shed some light on your predicament.
It is important to realize that you do have power here to change this pattern and not to feel like you are being victimized. It is a beautiful thing to have an open heart, but it also means more self care in terms of who you let in and who you keep out.
No question here. Just a brilliant comment sent to me by a friend regarding astrological forecasts and such:
I had a brutal lesson years ago about information – about ‘fitting in’ and shaping myself to an oncoming, developing situation. Instead of allowing all my life’s personal work that had passed before to be my past, I took it to be my immunity from getting shifted from change. I felt afraid of more pain; I wouldn’t take any more. I had no support group, or system where I was. I was completely alone and the raw emptiness that lay ahead, I quashed by verbalizing to myself, criss-crossing words that built a false bottom. When reading/hearing about the oncoming change etc., I hid my initial apprehension behind a wall consisting of conviction from my dear ego who, desperate for safety, shouted, “This pain? Not for us. We’re safe. It’s OK. We’ve done that. Uh huh,… yep, shit’s coming down. But we’re safe. We’ve done work on change from since I can remember. This is a time for me to shoot out the other side and flower at last.” But it was my ego that was talking; my words. My immense fear. No my friend, not fear, it was unbridled terror to not go deeper. In fact, I had needed all before to bring me here. Who said life was fair? I had expected my childhood and adolescence to be enough pain. I couldn’t imagine that all that had passed before was only my ticket to this moment in time and I was just the same as everyone else. I promptly had a meltdown but hid in my third chakra; a place I knew well.
So this time, I’m standing apart from myself a little, as naked and open as I can, with an empty mind a mind as possible. I ask: ‘Show me. Take me as far as my battered psyche can take because I’m combusting and I don’t know anything anymore. I’ve made mistakes that have become habits that trap and limit me. They lead me far from communion, happiness and peace. I dump my mind. I am as untethered as possible and ask to get moved and grooved by this shift. I ask for the faith and trust I have lost. Without it, I can’t go on anymore. Do it.’
Does one need to be of a superior intellect to be come enlightened? How am I to know that I am watching my thoughts (I mean meditating) and not actually thinking? Is there a simple step to ensure that one is actually meditating and not thinking?
Intelligence, the wonderful tool that can help us navigate our material world can in fact be a hindrance in spiritual pursuit. There is a common mis understanding that enlightenment is something to be achieved. In fact it is who you truly are and have forgotten. The intellect can not even imagine this truth. It can and does have many concepts around enlightenment, all of which have nothing to do with the real thing. Usually one comes to deep spiritual seeking through pain or boredom with what is. The intellect, while useful, is a boat that is of assistance in the waters of the material realm. It can even be useful as we aim towards the shores of our true nature. Once on the the firm ground of who we are, such tools are neither here nor there.
Hence the Zen teaching of “don’t know mind” or “beginner’s mind” where we are taught to have a relaxed mind. This is to guard against the many preconceived ideas that our mind/intelligence always carries. Concepts that we are blind to, regardless of our intelligence.
A meditation teacher is invaluable in teaching us how to still the mind. Like training any muscle, practice is of utmost importance. Attention or distraction meditation techniques come in many forms from sitting to standing and to movement. Pick one and stick with it.
The most scientific way is to use EEG biofeedback equipment that gives direct feedback to whether one is meditating or thinking. These brainwave equipment are wonderful tools in educating our bodymind to the difference between the FEELING of thinking and meditating/non thinking.
Like the many you describe, I have been having a very accelerated spiritual time in my life, especially as of late. I want you to know that I am AWAKE. I am someone who has suffered tremendously and is still doing so…it has taken much work and many years to get to this place of knowing how I AM. As you pointed out in one of your talks…about people such as shamans who go far and can not quite assimilate back into the world….I feel I am one of those (not a shaman per-say) but one who sees things very deeply and can not find joy or comfort in what most are able to…I do not know how to handle that…I am finding it harder and harder to be a part of this illusion….any words of wisdom?
It is beautiful that you have sought and found your true nature. Now it is time to bring joy and serenity into your earthly experience. Emotional issues have to be dealt with and no one is spared from them. Keep plugging away at them. I know for me after all the hard work I still was missing the joy. All is here for the asking. This coming June is a powerful time for letting go of all behaviors that do not serve us any more. This can include people, places and patterns. Enter into it consciously.
A visualization that might be helpful is to finish your daily meditation with seeing two doors in your mind’s eye. Open the left door and allow all that does not serve you to leave you. Open the right door and ask for all that does serve you to flow in. Sit in this energy for a couple minutes every day. It is common for those of us who have come to spirituality out of pain (and who has not?) to forget about joy. Ask for it daily, every moment that you remember.
Recently I had no choice but to start functioning more selfishly and I was forced to stop playing the sweet female role. That all felt great, difficult but great – I got more and more comfortable with being a “bitch” and I was able to start testing different methods out and it freed me up to be more productive. I stopped caring as much about what people thought of me because I was pissed at the way they treated me and I could just focus on the job to get done (that I did well). During that time though I remember feeling a lot of power and aggression. I kind of felt like I was turning into a monster and didn’t really know what to do with myself. In my personal life I was selfishly taking care of myself because I had no choice – no time to chit chat over the phone, no time to care take. A lot of my motivation came from an extreme level of fear – that if I didn’t get better at taking care of myself I would do something stupid. Then I got in a couple of “fights” with different people that I felt I needed to stand up to. And even with little things, I was just unnecessarily aggressive. It wasn’t quite right. I guess I felt destructive and I was not happy with where it got me… so I unconsciously reprimanded myself and turned to back to care taking because I needed to feel worthy again (especially since I had no “real” identity anymore).
All in all I am really feeling that every move I make has a direct, intense consequence and I’m scared to make any move right now. My gut says there are always direct consequences but only lately am I able to see it more clearly and immediately which makes everything feel more intense and dramatic. I guess the key is observing without judgment, taking note of what doesn’t work so well, and jumping back in the game and trying something different?
I feel like I must have jumped extremes and there is a better way to do the whole selfish/no obligation/take direct care of myself thing. I’m not just scared that I will have no identity/worth if I let go of being caretaker I’m also scared that then there is nothing to stop me from just plowing my way through life, monster-style. When I let go and allow myself to just react I’m often rude and ugly- but maybe things are going to be ugly for a bit before they get prettier? Or maybe ugly is really not that ugly… What am I not seeing here? I heard what you said yesterday about enjoying, no obligation, no perfection etc. but do you have any words of caution to go along with that? Or just simply any insights in general? Or am I just scared to jump in and seeking outside approval? How am I supposed to safely “be me” and are there techniques to taking responsibility for the aftermath of “being me”?
The pendulum effect from nice to killer is because the truth is in the middle. And that truth takes time to connect to so we go from what we know (care taking) to protection (anger/rude). That happens for every one until we learn to identify people, places and things that trigger us. Also internal emotional and physical states are a big player in how we react. H.A.L.T. is a good one from the twelve step program: Hunger, Anger, Loneliness and Tired. These states make our threshold to correct behavior low.
The two modes that you describe, being nice and a “bitch” are both attempts at manipulation instead of self care. Sometimes one is nice because internally one feels that or one is aggressive because an outside force is uncomfortably pushing against a boundary. But as we become more and more centered, our emotions and actions are not a reaction to the outside but a reaction to the inside. That takes A LOT of time and practice and it is never a done deal. If that is our weakness, we will have to eternally stay vigilant but with time it does become more and more easy.
The initial step of raging towards those that we have allowed to treat us wrongly is normal. It might not be productive to friendships/pocketbook/self image but they are part and parcel of finding our center. That is not a conduct that we strive for nor want to keep around but sometimes things need to blow up so they can be put back together in a healthy manner. What you describe about going back to unhealthy behavior of being nice is also a part of the healing. That yo yo is how we right our selves into a place where we are at the center. To learn to be one self is an arduous process. It means dismantling all that we hide under. That can include relationships, jobs, roles etc. Never pleasant. But that is a small price to pay for being fully alive under our own mantle.
One step at a time is a good mantra here.
I recently picked up your book and found it very revealing to my ego and noticed that I put it down after the first two chapters. Dealing with shadows is a whole other perspective I hadn’t fully been ready to tackle. I notice I like the sexy stuff like focusing on the light, positive affirmations, and manifesting. I came back to it after a month or so and noticed I have a lot of shadows that don’t really allow the positive affirmations and manifestations to take root. My ego literally stops the process because it’s still living in the shadows and those roots are possibly deeper than I really understand. Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the amount of work I really have to do. By that I just mean that the feelings of helplessness and not feeling good enough in the world run very deep into my subconscious. In regards to uprooting these fixtures in my subconscious, I’ve particularly liked the chapter about how our partners provide the greatest opportunity to do the psychological work. Somehow I’ve been blessed with a partner that holds space for me like I’ve never had before. However, I realize that sometimes I still have difficulty being helpless with my partner. I wanted to ask you if there’s any advice or practices one can do with a partner to become more emotionally exposed, to enter into helplessness and vulnerability while deepening the trust and intimacy.
I appreciate your honesty with your self. Truly that is the most important step in our journey back to our self. What you are discovering and discussing is true for all of us. We all have immense resistance to life in general due to unresolved unconscious material.
In terms of specific practices to deepen your intimacy, all it takes is vulnerability. And that is no easy feat. Start practicing deep honesty when your partner asks you how you are. Instead of an automatic Abdi Answers, take a deep breath, check in and then Abdi Answers. Ask him to do the same. Take turns physically feeding each other a couple of bites during meals. This alone can bring up tons of stuff around our resistance to feeling helpless. Ask each other for mundane things like a glass of water or a back rub. Take these ideas and build on them. Practice often and with all the honesty you can muster.
There is a force in me that any thing I touch becomes a disaster. Any thing I want to do is an uphill climb. I know the problem is me, I am not a bad person but some force in me blocks me. I can feel the force wanting to destroy me. I can feel its power but I can not over come it. It enjoys my misery. Today I felt it’s power and I tried to let it go by not resisting. I tried to be with it but it follows me. I don’t know how to shift my thinking, how to get rid of it, how to live with it. I know I spend too much energy trying to get rid of it so it keeps me from getting there. How do I unleash the false?
You are dealing with an issue every has to contend with. The fact that you are so cognizant of it is a huge benefit. The first step in solving a problem is to become fully aware of it. Step away from the notion of good or bad. It rains on us whether we perceive our selves to be worthy or unworthy. Most of us are trained with that thinking as a form of cultural control. Second, it is not about overcoming this force as much as understanding, healing and assimilating it as opposed to crushing it. Think more T’ai Chi or AiKido less Karate. One can not “get rid it”, one heals it. It is all you, not some outside force. It is usually formed as a defense mechanism against an external wounding. Your will power is useless here as you seem to have found out. Third, “it” does not enjoy your misery”, you enjoy it’s misery. More accurately, your unconscious does. Look up the concept of negative pleasure, it will give you some insight into the working of this phenomena.
Roll your sleeves up and dig deep. A good therapist is invaluable here.
I did an ayahuasca ceremony this past October. It was extremely, extremely, extremely painful, but I feel it was extremely advantageous. I am thinking of doing it a 2nd and/or 3rd time – but stopping there. I experienced… an expanded consciousness…that I never experienced before in my entire life. I have been studying shamanism since Feb. 20, 2008 and I’m really glad I have – it’s Abdi Answersed one hundred million questions I had burning in my soul. So – my question to you is – on your talks – you say that…Ayahuasca is depleting of energy in my life force. Wow. I never knew that- can you please expand on that? Because – I found her to be so loving and so powerful (3 times….wont really take away a heck of a lot of energy for me right?)
To hear you describe your experience with ayahuasca painful warms my heart to no end.I have a hard time trusting people having a unity experience the first time off. In my experience they have managed to bypass their garbage even with the presence of such a powerful teacher. After the pain and when the unity experience is achieved, one has graduated from the University of Ayahusasca.
I do feel that any one that is a seeker and has a strong enough ego/container can have many questions quelled by visiting the hallucinogenic phenomena. At the same time, I always caution against confusing the visiting of our true nature with actual residence there. Although the medicine her self is not addictive, the experience certainly can be, given the level of pain we all endure in our state of forgetfulness and separation. I have and continue to witness this disturbing abuse of it.
Any food, drug or medicine that shifts consciousness does so by using the energy of the body. That includes coffee, pot, cocaine, mushrooms, ayahuascha or cigarettes. Unless one is dealing with a serious illness, doing ayahauscha ceremony two or three times in one’s life is not detrimental.
One has to remember though that it is the bodymind’s energy that is used by the medicine to give access to the vision. That energy is finite and has to be respected, even though it can be nurtured through diet and meditation. One can prepare for the journey by resting before and after the ceremony as well as cleaning the diet a month before (as it should be done any ways) and eating a nourishing diet the month after.
On your last note (“I found her so loving”), I find this particular medicine to be a mirror of what lies inside. Alas, loving is relative term. Sometimes the most loving act is a kiss on the cheek and sometimes a boot up the ass. What ever it takes to wakes us up. Best of luck in your graduate studies at U.O.A.
Do you believe in astrology or numerology and if yes, do you practice it or look there for advice?
Astrology and numerology can be useful tools on our path. The main problem is that we turn to these practices when we are confused and hence leave our intelligence at the door. Few people use them when they are centered in their lives. That fact alone can strongly color any experience. In the holographic model, a piece contains information from the whole. That is how these technologies work.
These techniques can be useful when looking at ourselves from an archetypal angle. It can give us a sense of strengths and weaknesses or trends. But we still have to do our inner work. Most of us want fast Abdi Answerss or magic bullets and that is where things become tricky. For example, a reading can be like a weather report: it can tell us if it is sunny or cloudy out. Even if the reading is 100% accurate, which it rarely is, it is up to us how to respond. We all have had times where we were miserable on a sunny day or had amazing insights on a rainy one. So the weather report is just one factor among many.
I knew a world renowned astrologer with many years of experience who had helped many people. He had a client who had just finished a reading with him die of an accident immediately after the reading. No where in the reading had he picked up that this would happen. That episode shook him to the core in his practice. Such is life in all her mystery.
I have dealt with a chronic illness for many decades. I became ill in college and am now in my forties. It seems as if my whole life has been dedicated to getting well. I am am unable to do many things that others take for granted. I always believed I would get better, but now I do not know.I have lost the hope or faith that once kept me going. I also feel that the exhaustion and loss after loss has taken away that spark. In the acceptance that this may be all there is for me, There is much grief. In dealing with long term illness or illness that separates one from a “normal” social life”, how does one continue to have faith? I find myself often not wanting to be here just because it is so hard. I have personality of a fighter and perhaps I thought that if I fought enough or went to this healer or that healer or doctor I would get “better” I now see that there is no magic healing and this may be my lot in life.I never finished college or had a career and will not be able to have children. At this point I want to be able to function “normally”. I see that that may never happen now, and I don’t think I ever allowed myself to just accept that. How does one deal with the grief and loss that can seem so overwhelming since i have realized this?
My heart goes out to you for your deep suffering. Chronic illness for as long as you have been dealing with wears down every aspect of ourbodymindspirit. The lack of compassion of others as time progresses is also painful. It is crucial that you are getting emotional support as you are facing these realizations so you are not climbing this mountain on your own.Faith is an easy thing to have when things are going well from the ego’s perspective. A little harder but still doable when an issue is not going well for a while but might have a chance to do so down the road. But in the face of such prolonged suffering, very few can still keep faith. So instead of working on having faith, work on acceptance. You write “at this point I want to be able to function normally. I see that that may never happen now, and I don’t think I ever allowed myself to just accept that”. See what happens if you give that a chance.
Acceptance is not defeat nor is it giving up. It is a change of perspective from one mode of action, doing, to another, being. That is hard work and is rarely approached unless we are pummeled into helplessness. Be it emotional or physical, very few of us enter this relationship unless we have suffered deeply enough. You have suffered from all the horrible things this illness has brought you. Examine if there is any thing else you can learn from it.
Presently I am thinking of separating from my husband (after more than 30 years of marriage). Then I broke my right foot. I was told about the relationship between a fracture and some themes of life like money, security, home.
I know that I have tried to confront my fear of being without money, losing my home and the security of my husband’s support before I decided to separate. I felt my fear disappearing slowly but constantly. What does the broken foot mean? Am I wrong to separate or am I right?
To leave a marriage of thirty years is a big decision. It must have taken much for you to reach this point. Keep the focus on the issues that has brought you to this place. Be aware of over examining external events like your broken foot to make your decision for you.
Sometimes our unconscious speaks to us through an injury. Sometimes we are so preoccupied with our thoughts that we injure our selves due to not paying attention. Instead of focusing on what your broken foot is telling you, see what your broken heart is telling you. Not knowing is knowing. Sit with it, as uncomfortable as it is until you know in your bones what action needs to be take here.
There is no right or wrong here. While you are still in this place, keep looking at all the ways you have contributed to a life that is not feeding you. That will be a helpful use of your time until your inner voice becomes clear.
What do you think of the growing interest in atheism and the leaders of the movement like Richard Dawkins?
Troublemaker, huh? Fantastic!
What I have will be just another opinion to you; no matter how informed or uninformed it is . Important topics like this needs to come from our own knowing. An intellectual Abdi Answers will not quench your thirst. At least I certainly hope not. Dig and keep digging. Do your best to step beyond your mind and see for your self.
There are millions that have perished at the hands of those preaching one of the three big religions over the centuries. That certainly is not good advertising for the product. The absurdity of the mayhem wished upon those of us that do not subscribe to the specific concepts is even more disconcerting. Never mind the bodily harm aspect of it. It is ironic to observe the same vehemence and belligerence coming out of the atheists in their arguments.
We human beings take great comfort in our concepts. The problem with concepts is just that: they are mental constructs. I have seen deeply religious people get totally thrown off their faith when something truly hideous occurs in their life. I have also observed atheists reach for religion when old age or illness befalls them. That is part of our human experience. We crave absolutes but alas in this temporal world that is a hard currency to obtain.
Live and let live is a good policy for this small planet of ours. It is common in my discussion with either camp to notice a lack of love. I am a “Love-ist”. I do my best to engage in intellectual discourse until I feel Love leaving me. Then I find my self getting lost in separation. I have yet to find an atheist that became religious or a religious person atheist with an argument. It seems both camps are preaching to the converted.
I find Dawkins’ concept of memes much more fascinating than the topic of atheism. I read somewhere Dawkins quote Bertrand Russell and call himself a passionate skeptic. That is the most honest thing one can say. In the absence of direct experience, agnostics seem to be the most sane here. An open mind is a healthy stance. I am also a big fan of the four negations around these big topics: not this, not that, neither either, neither both.
When the militants from either camp send me hate mail, I will be be sure to direct them your way so you can delve into the topic more deeply.
I saw your talk on intuition the other night. No, I am not one of those special people with the gift of sight. Like you said, even if I were, what would I do with it. There are times though, when I would like to peek in the future, mostly to figure out the direction and get rid of the fear.
There is so much talk about negative thinking. People, myself included, often say..”Stop thinking negatively”. Well, is it possible that with negative thinking and fearful thinking, we bring those negative and feared outcomes to life? Do we or can we open the door to bad outcomes, as we let those thoughts live and grow in our mind?
My mind is always abuzz with thoughts. I analyze and over-think just about everything. I am fighting it, still there are times when I am overcome with fear. If you find a minute to Abdi Answers my question, I would really appreciate it. Am really interested to hear your thoughts.
We are all intuitive to varying degrees. If it is something that one finds interesting, it certainly is possible to strengthen that muscle further through a myriad of practices. It will not how ever alleviate the fear that we all experience at different times. I can not honestly day that a single one of my teachers or friends who are powerful intuitives have any more peace because of their ability. Peace comes through surrender not power. If it came through power, there would not be all this striving that is predominant in our culture, be it spiritual or material.Now to your question: if it was so that we manifested every thing that we thought by the mere fact, very few of us would be around. More so, we tend to manifest more our unconscious material than the conscious; and most of us are living a solid section of our lives through that unconscious realm. This is my observation from being a clinician for two and half decades and thousands of people. This is one reason this whole new agey manifestation movement does not bear fruit in real life. There are no magic bullets as much as we desire it to be so. Not so good when we believe by thinking something we can make it happen, excellent news considering how much negative thoughts we all have.When not due to past trauma, negative thoughts are usually a form of control. Instead of living in the unknown, our mind finds it easier to think of a worst case scenario so it can feel like it is in control. It is prepared for the worst and hence ready.
It is not just that we have to be aware of negative thoughts, we have to be aware of ALL thoughts. Our bodies can not distinguish between thought and reality. Even if we disagree on the ability to manifest thoughts externally, our biology still responds as if thoughts are real. It is an evolutionary lag, where the nervous system reacts as if thoughts are happening in real time. Then there is a cascade of chemical reactions that follow that can be detrimental to our well being. But it is important to note that this can also happen with “positive” thoughts. Whether we are fantasizing about a perceived “good” or “bad” event, our body is reacting by activating and agitating our nervous system. Thoughts are not free in that sense, we pay for them dearly.