Alignment

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EMBODIED AWARENESS

Spring in the Orchard 2013 By AH

Spring in the Orchard 2013 By AH

As this single bud bursts into glory in its moment, what is coming to fruition in our Time is a different means of perception. This is not a mental act. It is an embodied awareness, a way of living as an individual, and also as relationship. I invite you to experiment with two simple meditative practices. The “Spring Practice” will help you bring your sense of self into your body’s interior space, and to become fully present there. With practice, you will establish a whole-bodied Presence from which to live your life moment-by-moment—no matter what you are doing. The “Summer Practice” lets you strengthen your connection with yourself, and with all living things around you as One. It’s both/and. You might try practicing this deep sensibility alone, then imaginatively with others, and then with a group:

“Spring Practice:” Sit quietly, preferably outdoors. Take time to settle into the gift of this day; to look around and breathe . . . and as you breathe, be aware of what it’s like to be in this place, blessed by all the life around you . . . Perhaps you’re aware of birdsong . . . or the slightest movement of the trees; or the feel of the air on your cheek . . . even its fragrance. So just come into this holy moment of arrival and be here, now. Then, close your eyes and take the time to relax your body in your usual way for a few minutes . . . When you’re feeling less contracted—less defended against the moment—let your sense of self drop down inside your body. Then:

Come into your own Presence . . . and be aware of how you do that . . .  Take some time here. Can you feel the subtle sensation of your “you” inhabiting the silence, the spaciousness inside? Rest here a little while . . . Then:

Be your own Presence. Notice your initial response to that statement . . . then pay attention to Presence as your Self . . . Notice how it feels physically to inhabit that Identity. If with others, even in your imagination, then:

Come into the Presence of the group and be aware of how you do that  . . . Lastly, alone or in the group:

Come into the Stillness, the One Presence . . . and abide . . .    (End of the Spring Practice)

Energy Pool

Introduction to the “Summer Practice”: Animals think with their bodies. So let your animal body lead. Subtler than thought, this shift of orientation will help you let go into an unbroken intimacy with life. Take time first, to do the Spring Practice outdoors, alone or with others, if someone guides the group’s pace. Then alone or with the group, sit or stand with eyes open, while the guide continues with the second meditation, pausing intuitively:

“Summer Practice:” Let your body be your instrument . . . every inch of it aware . . . every inch, open . . . spacious . . . breathing from your interior bodily center. . . .Take some time . . . . Now, see if you can sense, almost as if it were reaching out from behind your back . . . a background awareness . . . softer, and more subtle than thought . . . and very alive. . . . At your own pace, notice how it moves slowly out past your skin . . . extending beyond you . . . until it surrounds and contains you . . . contains your whole body. . . . Rather than use your eyes to envision it, just let your body feel its way . . . it’s own awareness opening out all around you, like a radiant antenna. . . . Now, let your body’s awareness be like a soft, gentle . . . light . . . gradually extending outward . . . in all directions. . . Diffuse light . . . fully Present and sensing . . . inquiring into the larger Fieldof Presence all around you. You might want to imagine it as your own soul’s light . . . like a halo sensing out into a vast unknown. . . . (After a period of silence) What does this Presence of Awareness feel like in and around your body? . . . Realize that your body doesn’t feel this Presence as any different from itself. It is One with it  . . . Try to memorize the subtle sensation of being inside Awareness . . . attentive to the Presence of Awareness. . . .

Now be that Awareness. . . .                                                  (End of the Summer Practice)

Energy Pool

Dear Companions, This is the Work— not to work. Not to try to make things happen, but simply to be within your body, inhabiting a new identity as We. To attune to Life as Presence, as Embodied Awareness: to listen from it, speak from it, live from it, and take its direction for your life . . . moment . . . by moment . . . by moment. To live as relationship—inwardly connected, inwardly held, inwardly related to all that is—a possibility that’s been within us since the Beginning, waiting for us to let go of ourselves.

This letter is also my own experiment. While many of you who have participated in the last two years’ retreats have told me how profoundly the meditations have affected you, I don’t know how they’ll communicate from the printed page. I do hope you will experience their fullness, as well; they may be a little easier for daily meditators. Please let me know.

With Love,

Anne

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 WINTER 2013 ~ LIVING AS BEINGS

A Two-Thousand-Year-Old Baobob Tree at Dawn

A Two-Thousand-Year-Old Baobob Tree at Dawn

What if the Mayans were predicting, not the end of the world, but an end to the way we live our lives?

I’ve long been awed by the number of people in the last fifty years who’ve been seeking a spiritual path and practice. Surely, this inner migration is amazing. Something has been drawing us beyond the confines of thought toward a new way of being. So when a friend’s New Year’s greeting began, “Happy New Era!” it seemed the Moment to say, “It’s Time.”

If we were to step up to that challenge, to take responsibility for entering the New Era in each moment and in each day, what would that look like? Might it lead toward a new way of being? To a new identity as Being? To speak from Being . . . listen from it . . . live from it? How could we establish ourselves in that new way of life?

What if in each moment, we simply practiced one thing: we came to rest in our own Presence—our own Divinity—and didn’t judge or resist what that moment offered? It would not be easy. But each time we dropped down into our bodies, fully Present to the moment, to ourselves, and to each other—that would be a true letting go. For that moment, the old would pass away. Perhaps, in time, we’d come to realize that we are indeed, Beings—that what had dawned in this New Era is a Living Light—and that Together, we are a Shining. We manifest it, unabashed and unashamed, and pour ourselves out: our lives, our gifts and our passions. Our Light.

Photograph by Anne Hillman

See more in “Taking Root: An Unbroken Intimacy with Life” in the Fall Kosmos Journal

2013 Three Upcoming Retreats:

Toronto area, April 19-21 An Unbroken Intimacy with Life, A Weekend Retreat

Madison WI, 3 or 5-day options: April 23-25 Taking Root ~ A Depth of Intimacy with Life or with additional days, April 25-27, Depth Perception ~ The Sensation of Light

 

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Radiance

How do we find our own light? We stop. It isn’t until we really stop everything—let go of the busy-ness that buffers us from pain, stop trying, stop working so hard, stop running . . . The more we dare to enter that emptiness and stay, the more our shadow is revealed—the holy telling of the hard truth about ourselves. About reality. Rilke shows us how to live that larger life:

Take your practiced powers and stretch them out
until they span the chasm between two
contradictions . . . For the god
wants to know himself in you.

If we accept his invitation to live the paradox and not just think it, we can no longer take refuge in a single point of view; we’re meant to open our hearts to all the contradictions—the good and the bad—in ourselves, in everyone. The great gift of this shadow walk lies in the very emptiness we’ve sought, and also hoped to avoid: a quality of compassion that brings together the many opposites—the loneliness, the grief, the shame and the beauty—and holds them. Compassion then becomes a companion to the mind of thought. It’s like a marriage: We marry our human selves— for better or worse—until death do us part; we companion ourselves, keep our youngest selves in our hearts, held and comforted. Only then, can we truly marry another . . . marry all that life is . . . all that it brings . . . This is the kind of love we’re called to embody: to be with ourselves so that we can offer genuine compassion to others; so the light within the dark is made manifest; so the Radiance deep in the heart of life continues to spread throughout the world.*

 

*See more in “Taking Root: An Unbroken Intimacy with Life” in the Fall Kosmos Journal

2013 Three Upcoming Retreats:

Toronto area, April 19-21 An Unbroken Intimacy with Life, A Weekend Retreat
 
Madison WI, 3 or 5-day options: April 23-25 Taking Root ~ A Depth of Intimacy with Life or with additional days, April 25-27, Depth Perception ~ The Sensation of Light
 

Artist, Marci Graham,“Radiance” from The Cosmological Powers of the Universe Series

Filed under Alignment, attention, awareness, compassion, Consciousness, Creativity by Anne Hillman #

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There is so much more to a human life, possibilities we are normally unaware of, innate gifts we might bring to the world. To learn what they are, some of us have to be broken: confronted by something that compels us to surrender. Until then, we may have been reasonably satisfied with our lives, content with our own point of view. But when we’ve been humbled by storm or earthquake, illness or shame; by loss or just the ordinary process of aging, grace comes, and with it, opportunity after opportunity to deepen our way of perceiving, so we can ‘hear’ with more of ourselves.

 

Then, we learn to give the larger life our whole-bodied attention. We ask in the moment, What now? and listen with all our faculties. We dare to follow what allures us. This is the relationship that matters now: to move with the deeper movement ‘of the earth, of spirit, of the unknown’ in an unbroken intimacy with life. In this communion, we live in time and eternity intertwined, one day, one moment at a time.

Coyote cub allured (AH)