Balance

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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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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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A majestic buck stands outside my studio window, taut, muscular, sniffing the air. The bucks come down from the hills to the fallow fields when the days turn cool, as precise a movement as the flock of geese swinging a compass high overhead. I find comfort in the returning cycles of sun and season. They offer balance when much of the old order I’ve taken for granted is in grave disrepair.

How to maintain balance when it seems that all we’ve relied on is unraveling? Along with many others, it is a question I ask myself. In a thoughtful letter, a reader from another country writes that in his profession, he counsels others to develop the capacity to bridge differences; that ‘seeing every point of view is an essential starting point.’ This man has made a lifelong effort to live according to his highest values, and despairs as he sees his country being vandalized by a government which has hijacked our democratic system and which shows no interest in the dialogue essential to maintaining it. He concludes: ‘I must confess, I have my work cut out for me when it comes to maintaining equanimity in the face of the ongoing savaging of this planet.’

This is the work. When all around us people are polarized by fear and anger, we need not lend energy to the battle. We can stand in the fires of social confusion and choose a more radical way: to take no enemies. A mind set against something is not conscious in the best sense of the word. It is operating at a more primitive level. Real consciousness requires us to live with an open heart, made fierce by anger and softened by the grief we feel for our own shortcomings and those of the world. Hearts filled with compassion know what it is to feel helpless before what Whitman called ‘life’s fierce enigmas.’ But I think when we’ve accepted the truth of our own profound vulnerability, we can begin to surrender the many ways we’ve tried to guarantee the outcomes we want, and learn to trust Life’s own unfolding, however uncertain it may be. It leads to a quiet mind, one that’s learned to how to hold all kinds of inner and outer contradictions and not expect to solve them. From this kind of consciousness, we can serve what we value most, and at the same time, refuse to be co-opted by the hostilities swirling about us. Perhaps then, we can work for the good of all together, and breathe new life into a suffering world.

We belong to life, and we can trust that life knows how to engage us creatively. Our work is to be present, to listen, and to step forward when it taps the potential deep within us. Then, whatever social, global, or environmental changes lie ahead, we will be participants in life’s creative unfolding and the gradual awakening of Love.

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

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 In these early days of December, as a soft rain falls in California, I remember the first snowfall in New England; how it blanketed the earth and muffled sound—and silence became a spacious and holy presence. As the winters progressed, however, and we shoveled snow and pulled soggy socks from our children’s feet, that dark stillness often brought depression. We forgot that it held promise, hid something deeper: new life gathering itself to be born. We live in a dark time. Many of us have sought to help solve some of the immense difficulties confronting us, to learn the truth of each situation, and to grow in understanding. We’ve taken stands on countless issues and made the best decisions we knew how. But we are beginning to see that the kinds of solutions our cultures have to offer are blunt instruments—and we begin to realize we need more refined means of resolving our dilemmas.

Even as conflicts escalate the world over, we can lend the weight of our presence to a different kind of action. We are learning that it is possible to integrate a more subtle form of activism with social action, and that one can flow quite naturally out of the other. We’re discovering in groups of all kinds around the world that our lives are deeply joined; that we can participate at a level of sensibility that is complementary to problem solving and does not seek to make one side right and the other wrong. Entire groups are awakening to this truth as they dare to take the position that they do not know the answer. Instead, they choose to embrace opposing views, give focused attention to the silence, and trust. Then a common voice may arise.

This week, the Indigenous Peoples of the World are gathering in Fort Collins and Carbondale, CO at the same time the UN Climate Change Conference takes place in Copenhagen, the Parliament of World Religions in Melbourne, and the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded President Obama in Oslo. In any group in which you have more than a casual membership, I invite you to set aside conversation for a short time, postpone closure in your own mind, and listen in the silence for something new. After all, it is that time of year, and as nature has always shown us, it is out of darkness that light is born again.

With blessing at this holy season, and with Love,
Anne

Filed under Awakening, Balance, Change, Creativity, Nature of Change, overcoming fear by Anne Hillman #

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Readers have been sending such wonderful questions that I thought I might try to respond in blog fashion. Here’s the first: 

I was reading the story in Awakening the Energies of Love about when people ask at social events, “what do you DO?” and how you learned to say, “I’m living my life!” But do you ever know “once and for all” what you LOVE to do and what NOT to say “yes” to? How do you direct those “energies of love” that flow through you? Because 24 hours is not long enough.  -Mary 

What a beautiful question! For me, life gets more precious every year, and there are so many things I am passionate about. As you say, 24 hours a day aren’t long enough! A lot in the work world is draining of energy, so I had to learn what activities and practices energized me and brought me joy. Often they had nothing to do with work as we know it. But I’ve discovered that if I’m to remain healthy in body and mind, I have to make sure they don’t get sidelined. These are the little things: just sitting for a while and contemplating the beauty of the land, arranging flowers, planting my vegetable garden, being with a friend, taking a walk, and maintaining spiritual practices like meditation. They help to keep me in balance. So does my actual work, but it took a long time to find what gave me the most joy: writing and working with the small groups I call Soul Work. One balances the other—the first, inward and solitary, the second outward and so very satisfying. My other decisions in response to requests and activities are based strictly on what my body indicates: the clear Yes/No described in Awakening the Energies of Love. When you learn what your body knows, you’re home free. With Love, Anne

Filed under Balance by Anne Hillman #