awareness

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What if the Mayans were predicting, not the end of the world in a particular year, 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 were indeed, Beings—that what had dawned in this New Era was a Living Light—and that Together, we were a Shining. We’d manifest it, unabashed and unashamed, and pour ourselves out: our lives, our gifts and our passions. Our Light.

Filed under Awakening, awareness, Change, Consciousness, Intimacy with Life by Anne Hillman #

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Conversations with Anne – 3 Free Webinars

Fall 2014

Dear Companions, I’ve been deeply moved by your emails from around the world in response to Awakening the Energies of Love. Now, I’m longing to connect with you in a more personal way. I invite you join me in a series of three phone-in conversations:

Free Webinar Series – Thursdays, February 12, 19 and 26, from 4:30 –5:30 PM PST.
I welcome you to invite a friend, or to gather a group of friends to join us, if you’d like to share the experience. [Please ask them to email me, too].

Tailored to your interests – I’ll tailor our conversations to your particular questions and concerns, so please be sure to REPLY to this post, or simply email me directly at anne@annehillman.net and include two things:
 
(1) Send me your question or concern about the awakening process (you can always change it later). Here are some examples:

• What is the difference between attention and awareness?
• How has your sense of identity changed?
• What is under-standing?
• How would I access life differently?
• Why does awakening matter?

(2) Order a(nother) book –  I ask only that you let me know in the same email that you’ve just ordered a brand new copy of Awakening the Energies of Love from your bookstore or from Amazon. Even if you or a member of your group already has the book, I would ask that each of you please consider giving a newly purchased copy as a gift to a friend; both givers and receivers may join in the free webinars! And please, I trust you will order your copies from Amazon, not an Amazon “Used” or Amazon “New” book from a 3rd-party reseller. This re-selling of books back to Amazon has been devastating to small press publishers.
 
Email me –  Please reply to this post to let me know that you’ve purchased a new copy of Awakening the Energies of Love, and send me your questions so I can customize the webinars for you!
 
With Love,
Anne
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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)

 

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We live in a Time of great upheaval, challenged on all fronts by conflicts in our world, our political systems, our religions and often those most difficult to see, the conflicts within ourselves. When what we know doesn’t seem to be working, life can seem dark, and we may feel lost and even afraid.

Times of darkness are choice points. They press us as individuals and as a species to choose from one of two ways to proceed: we can either change ourselves, meaning change our constant orientation to our thoughts, or render ourselves extinct.

We have in us, have had bestowed on us, everything we need to respond to the Time in which we’ve been born. We just need to know where and how to look,where to put our attention. There is no room for creativity in minds chock full of old ideas and old views. Perhaps, instead, we might let ourselves be lost and not know. When we’re lost, we can do three simple things: Create a quiet moment, a clearing in the forest of our activities. Sit in the stillness without trying to figure anything out. Turn our attention to the simple movement of our breath and let the thoughts drain away. And in the spaciousness of not knowing, allow the New to unfold.

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. Blaise Pascal

www.annehillman.net  Art by Joan Brady

 

 

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I tend to think that new life emerges from seeds, and forget a far more ancient truth. Today, I find myself celebrating the way it can also arise from the very old–like these tiny seedlings sprouted from the living root of a giant redwood tree. This new life simply claims the giant’s root as its own, surrenders to its impetus, and grows towards the light.

How do we cooperate with life’s gradual shaping of the human mind, its painstaking work of drawing us towards the light of greater awareness? As I see it, the action required is to trust the great root on which we stand, and learn to surrender. Some see surrender as defeat, a capitulation to an outer force, but it is really an inner relaxation, into the root. What does this use of the word ‘root’ mean to you? That matters. For when you know what you rest on and can relax into it, your heart opens to life’s secret, its creative impetus conveyed beneath thought: a feeling, an intuition, an image, or a confirming synchronicity. Subtle clues like these remind us that there is infinitely more to life, a reality we barely notice but that the body knows intimately, a wisdom built into the great root on which we live. When we remain exquisitely attuned to life’s presence in this way, it will often surprise us: nudge us to be more authentic, to improvise, to move in a new direction. Its whispered hints may feel absurd, even impossible. But if you dare to follow them, you will be adding more light to life’s deep need for it at this time.

Photo: ‘Redwood Scion and Sprout’ Anne Hillman

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I have been reading your book Awakening the Energies of Love at one of the hardest/richest times of my life.  I actually thought I was going crazy, losing my mind (I know this would have it’s upsides), maybe even bi-polar with these wild ups and downs that I have never before experienced. I believe I am slowly experiencing an awakening.  I immersed in yoga and meditation this summer and began to experiencing this new sensation- somewhat disturbing!  This energy I have been experiencing in my body- voltage- currents- tingling and pulsating in my feet, legs, hands at the third eye center, crown of my head, left frontal cortex- these energy currents my intellect tried to analyze, pathologize. Then- I read pages 240 and 241 and I just began to laugh!!!  . . . It is my body- reminding me everyday, with greater and greater intensity that something has changed!!  I believe I mistakenly interpreted these sensations as fear, anxiety, panic . . .  I also believe that I interpreted this as fear and insecurity out of a self-defeating pattern of “I don’t deserve this kind of joy” messaging. . .  Is my story somewhat common?  With Gratitude!!! Lori

Dear Lori, . . . I’m happy that you have been helped by reading Awakening the Energies of Love. It sounds like you are listening hard to your body’s messages and interpreting what you ‘hear’ in ways that are useful to you. I wish I could answer your questions, but I’m afraid don’t feel qualified to do so. . . . During the periods I described in the book, I was working with a qualified professional I could trust to guide me.

I think it can be exceedingly helpful to be guided through the process you are describing by a reliable teacher or a PhD level therapist who is fully trained and they can better answer your questions. There are a lot of junk-helpers out there; It’s important to be selective. I don’t know where you live. . . Given your financial circumstances . . . I’d be inclined to recommend that you be in touch with SEN, the Spiritual Emergence Network http://www.spiritualemergence.info/. It is a highly respected organization founded maybe 20-30 years ago specifically for people like you who may be awakening and are wondering about the kind of symptoms you describe (and other symptoms too). Best of all it is free. They are centered at ITP, the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA but have professional affiliates in the field of Transpersonal Psychology all over the world. You can trust this organization and its affiliates. Lori. it is a temptation to Google the subject and try to read about it and buy more books but I urge you to consider not trying to make this a “do it yourself” project. If you’ve reached the admonishments I wrote about on pages 249-250, there are very good reasons for caution as well as for celebration!

With blessing, Lori,

Warmly,

~ Anne ~

Filed under Awakening, awareness, Uncategorized by Anne Hillman #

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WINTER LETTER 2011 ~ THE QUICKENING

Dear Friends, There is something in the air, a quickening, do you feel it? I find myself looking with amazement at the events we’re experiencing together on this planet, and at the same time, am aware of the fullness of life: not just days filled with activities, but days that are rich in the quality of interactions with others; the sudden political shifts in the Middle East; and the sheer majesty and power of nature’s wildness. A friend wrote: “I’m feeling a huge surge of conscious energy in the world in the last month or two. Do you? I felt it listening to a speech recently: that life was not about how much money, or power [or safety] we have, but how we have loved. More and more, I hear people expressing empathy, feeling greater compassion. . . It’s like an evolving that is almost palpable.”
Another wrote: “It’s like a convergence of time and place, a rhythm playing itself out. Still, people’s expectations can be quite different. Some may be afraid for the planet, for democracy, or for the world’s economy with good reason, but reason is not all. My imagination tells me that perhaps we’re thinking too small: that the confusion,even chaos, we may be inwardly experiencing holds the seeds of something very new and that we need to open ourselves to possibility, what has never happened before.

To sustain an essentially outward focus on the violent swings in politics, or economics, or the weather, is to miss the deeper movement, one that promises great creativity. For if we are aspects of the universe, we reflect its creative unfolding. Each new emergence in its long existence, galaxies and oceans; the evolution of living things; social changes like the black or women’s movements or the colliding forces in our world today, was born of a gathering energy: a current of creativity and destruction. To the degree that we can contain both dimensions of these fierce cosmological energies in ourselves, we will begin to shine like the sun. In any moment, we have a choice: either to fight the Current that is pulling us along or to ride it, to wait and wonder if what we’re experiencing is a creative opportunity awaiting us; to listen within for the leading edge of what most profoundly inspires us—and attempt to reflect it in who we are and what we do.

Every time we honestly embrace both sides of an issue within ourselves instead of making another wrong, we cooperate with life’s painstaking work of testing and integrating new forms, in this case, the gradual shaping of the human mind. Each inner embrace adds more light to life’s deep need for it at this Time.

From Awakening the Energies of Love: Discovering Fire for the Second Time

*Space (detail) from The Cosmological Powers of the Universe Series

Artist, Marci Graham