Consciousness

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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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 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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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

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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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Yesterday, I went out into a summer field and was stunned once more by the immense creativity that surrounds us. What an amazing variety of trees, grasses, scents, and birdsong! The wildflowers a riot of color! It is easy to forget this glory as we reel from the many disasters in our world. Rather than awe, we may feel helpless, frustrated, or afraid. Surely, we need to make room for these feelings. But the sheer wonder of existence is that each of us also shares in the vast creativity of the universe. It is our inheritance, and the kind of creativity that is most needed in our time. Every one of us has an inborn gift to bring to the world. It may not be ‘fancy.’ But it is uniquely ours. We may be completely unaware of what our gift is; it can be different from anything we’ve ever done. Still, we’re more likely to learn about it when we’re far from the culture’s noisy demands for attention and undistracted by a mind full of thoughts: when we’re in a field, in a forest, or on the beach, simply there: no book, no computer, no iPhone. In moments like these, nothing separates us from ourselves or from the upwelling life around us:

In the wilderness

my mind spreads out like water

pools

shines

reflects green boughs

and blue sky . . .

I listen to the trees whispering

and think no thoughts

(From Awakening the Energies of Love, p. 78)

When we sit quietly and listen, not to our thoughts, but to the silence that surrounds them, we occasionally tap a vein of intelligence that clearly doesn’t belong to us as individuals. Like a hint that bubbles up from energies moving through the cosmos, it comes out of the blue like a whisper or image arising from a deeper place than imagination. The kind of prompt our inner antenna detects rarely seems like anything important. It feels more like an inclination to do something very small. But when I actually take a step in response to that inclination, I find it becomes a way of participating in the world more fully than just by following my own ideas. I call it ‘following my thread.’ I like to think of it as one of the many threads the creative energies of the cosmos are weaving into a tapestry larger than I will ever understand.

Few of us find our creative gift all at once; we come to it by degrees when we listen to the silence, prepared to say ‘Yes!’ to what emerges. Then we follow our thread. The keys to following are these: We need to know we are enough. That what we have to give is welcome. And that the more we immerse ourselves in the natural world and listen, the more we’ll find of our real selves. Then we can give to others what we alone have to give.

In celebration of the wild creativity of the universe, and with Love,

Anne