Consciousness

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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 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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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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The ground is saturated here in California. The small lake over the hill is brimming, and there’s an unmistakable scent of warm mud in the air. I know that smell in my bones: After every March thaw in New England, we’d put our lawn chairs on some bare ground between patches of snow and sunbathe. We knew it wouldn’t last: it would snow again in April. But the smell of mud held a promise of new life and we reveled in it. We lived our little bit of spring in the midst of winter.

Once in a while, we get a glimpse of something new half-seen in another person or an event, a promise of something that wants to be born. It signals a different take on things and a manner of living it fully. Even in the midst of discouragement and fear, all of us can develop skills that will lend energy and impetus to that kind of creative possibility.

It is very difficult to see the many kinds of suffering around us and to live with the infinite slowness of change. We want to solve these problems and get results. Much as we long for solutions, they don’t always happen on our watch. Then it’s easy to become disappointed, discouraged, and afraid. Fear is a powerful god. For some of us, the more natural response to fear is to recoil, give up, or get cynical. Others may be more likely to take sides and try to trounce the opposition. These old kinds of reactions, the winter we live in, are taking a huge toll on all of us. But there is a more creative way. The alternative, when things go very wrong, is learning to give our attention to two things at once: To focus directly on the pain (rather than denying, ignoring or repressing it), and at the same time, hold it in a much larger awareness than thought. This capacity to embody and live from a mind that is not divisive, but instead heals, is available to all of us. You can find several examples in Awakening the Energies of Love and The Dancing Animal Woman. Even as things fall apart, we need to hold the larger vision, together. We can hope to live spring in the midst of winter!


Filed under attention, Change, Creativity, Love, Nature of Change, overcoming fear, Vision by Anne Hillman #