The Inevitabilities of the Evolving Self and World

Disappointments and challenges are a part of life and dealing with them positively becomes a key part of success and maturity as we get older. Many of them we create for ourselves through our decisions, our actions and their consequences. By ‘we’, I mean each of us personally as well as ‘we’ as a community or society. The relativity of life and the suffering we experience ourselves, that fills the pages of humanity’s history or we see happening in so many places around the world in current times, can make us question the justice and nature of the reality we live in.

It is only with a big picture view, while paying attention to the most profound sense of life that insight has provided us, can we appreciate that for evolving creatures of free will, free intelligence, to exist in this vast miraculous universe, there is a sense of existential purpose behind the existence of evolving life and consciousness. It is in these modern times of exponential growth in our understanding of life and reality, that we can also appreciate with that knowledge and understanding comes a greater sense of the nature of things, including ourselves and the inherent purpose to reality. Love, friendship and the beauty of nature – these things alone do so much to make life worth living.

These current times are showing us more and more clearly that we have a responsibility with real consequences as caretakers on a planet that is becoming smaller and more impacted by the things we as a civilisation. Do we learn to co-operate and do things sustainably for future generations and gain the immense gifts a global awakening promises? Or do we fall short of responding to the signs of pending crisis and the calling of evolving ideals and potential while exploitation and degeneration of each other and our world brings us to global conditions unable to sustain us further?

I have faith in the triumph of our deeper natures over the temporary and more limited conditioned mind on a personal and global scale. Crisis has always been the activator for leaps and bounds in evolution in biology, culture and intellect – and these times are no exception. In terms of our history and current challenges, themes of the battle between true righteousness versus ignorance and intentional evil is layered throughout our evolution into our psyche and continually reflected in our evolving philosophies, arts, and now all forms of modern media. It is a battle fought on subtle and gross levels, on brutal and sophisticated levels, on personal and collective levels.

However, spiritual awakening and principles remind us that none of the drama and adventure changes the divine essence from which reality arises and from which life and consciousness itself arises. In our core being is a living force we all share that is life, therefore life-affirming as are the values of goodness, beauty and truth. The process of our evolution and lives at stake is a powerful one of adventure for the spiritual warrior. As survival becomes more sorted in modern times of technology, the quality of life and consciousness will become the major factor in how well we move forward and shape our future.

A book with much controversy is the Urantia Book. Whatever readers views are of the details, what I love most about it is the sophisticated way it discusses spirit and deity and the picture it offers about how immense and grand the universes and the plan of life could be. In discussing the primacy of a unifying and central cause of all reality in this vast universe, for us on our fragile planet of many uncertainties, certain factors described as “inevitabilities of evolutionary creature life” are mentioned (Paper 3, section 5). These are listed as points of consideration in reconciling the challenges and seeming disasters of life with the concept of a universally sovereign divine and just intelligence and plan:

1. Is courage — strength of character — desirable? Then must man be reared in an environment which necessitates grappling with hardships and reacting to disappointments.

2. Is altruism — service of one’s fellows — desirable? Then must life experience provide for encountering situations of social inequality.

3. Is hope — the grandeur of trust — desirable? Then human existence must constantly be confronted with insecurities and recurrent uncertainties.

4. Is faith — the supreme assertion of human thought — desirable? Then must the mind of man find itself in that troublesome predicament where it ever knows less than it can believe.

5. Is the love of truth and the willingness to go wherever it leads, desirable? Then must man grow up in a world where error is present and falsehood always possible.

6. Is idealism — the approaching concept of the divine — desirable? Then must man struggle in an environment of relative goodness and beauty, surroundings stimulative of the irrepressible reach for better things.

7. Is loyalty — devotion to highest duty — desirable? Then must man carry on amid the possibilities of betrayal and desertion. The valour of devotion to duty consists in the implied danger of default.

8. Is unselfishness — the spirit of self-forgetfulness — desirable? Then must mortal man live face to face with the incessant clamouring of an inescapable self for recognition and honor. Man could not dynamically choose the divine life if there were no self-life to forsake. Man could never lay saving hold on righteousness if there were no potential evil to exalt and differentiate the good by contrast.

  1. Is pleasure — the satisfaction of happiness — desirable? Then must man live in a world where the alternative of pain and the likelihood of suffering are ever-present experiential possibilities.

Throughout the universe, every unit is regarded as a part of the whole. Survival of the part is dependent on co-operation with the plan and purpose of the whole, the wholehearted desire and perfect willingness to do the Father’s divine will. The only evolutionary world without error (the possibility of unwise judgment) would be a world without free intelligence. In the Havona universe there are a billion perfect worlds with their perfect inhabitants, but evolving man must be fallible if he is to be free. Free and inexperienced intelligence cannot possibly at first be uniformly wise. The possibility of mistaken judgment (evil) becomes sin only when the human will consciously endorses and knowingly embraces a deliberate immoral judgment.”

The spiritual nature in us provides a sense of altruism and universal love, not the primitive creature mind from our primitive past. From deep in our higher consciousness comes the compassion, empathy and mercy for one another’s suffering. At the same time, becoming conscious and fully present in our existential and living loving awareness, awakens us to the temporary nature of material existence and any suffering associated with it. In contrast, yet all embracing of this relative existence created for a great universal purpose, is the timeless nature of the essence of us that remains untainted and indestructible throughout life’s trials. Life experience offers to shape and develop those who would engage the best they can call on in themselves in goodwill. Through faith and our psychology we must draw on the power within to remain connected and intact to participate in this journey of life. Part of the point of the journey is to reside fully in awakened loving consciousness and thrive as we learn to embody, express and flow the unity and uniqueness of our essence into the life we live.

In compassion for ourselves and each other, it is good to remember that there are no mistakes in the greater scheme of things. All of time and the resources of the universe gather to allow us this planetary life for our greatest purpose and destiny to unfold as it is. It is up to each of us with what we are and have, and where we find ourselves, as to what it is to mean and how it is to count. Gradually, we must come to know and trust in a living and friendly universe, consciously identifying more fully in the the spiritual nature within in order to transition to the next stage of our evolution. Our technology and pursuits must better flow sustainable universal laws and we better understand the consequences of our collective and personal actions. It is then our intellects and physicality can truly blossom as reflections of our true and emerging inner nature. From this turning point, more and more people will consciously recognise the subtle light and love that beckons from within consciousness itself. The true agent of change is emerging from within us. Quality of consciousness, serving our personal and collective greater purpose and greater good more fully, are becoming primary factors that connect us to what is real and authentic.

Photo: gusdiaz on / CC BY-NC-SA (modified with quote)

Shine Your Inner Light of Life in the World

No one lights a lamp and puts it in a cellar or under a basket. Instead, he sets it on a lamp stand, so those who enter can see the light.

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your vision is clear, your whole body also is full of light. But when it is poor, your body is full of darkness. Be careful, then, that the light within you is not darkness. So if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it in darkness, you will be radiant, as though a lamp were shining on you.”

(Luke 11:33–36)

It is with a relaxed heart and mind, open to love, peace and connectedness that we can best share the light within. Practicing presence and meditation trains us to get beyond thoughts and feelings to the pure awareness from which they arise. When attention and identification can be maintained on this pure awareness while communicating with others, we can consciously appreciate the pure living consciousness which is the essence and living light we share in common with one another.

This light shines most brightly in our eye connection with others as well as our voice and gestures when we are fully present in mind and body with what is going on in the moment within ourselves and around us. Expressing or discussing something that is felt passionately is when many people really light up, as well as being with loved ones like a beloved partner or child.

Therefore, to shine our light more brightly, to consciously share or inspire the light in others, is to practice mindful presence which requires being open and aware on every level of our being that we can while connecting with others. Having an agenda is based on wanted outcomes and expectations based on past and future, while being fully present with another and sharing our light means being fully present with yourself and the other and allowing that to be a primary purpose in and of itself. Jesus uses the analogy of light in two other brief lessons, “the Lamp of the Body” and “the lamp on a stand,” which may be different versions of the same lesson or different lessons using this same analogy. People throughout the ages can relate to this analogy of light and the concept of the inner light of our being. In any good philosophy or spiritual teaching, there is no question that every person is here for a reason. Each person is unique and has a special quality to contribute. Inner light and inner Spirit are closely correlated, and each of us has the gift to let it shine brightly in our own lives and for others.

Jesus’s teachings of inner peace and salvation are a dynamic and practical teaching to be a positive influence to others and the world. The light he speaks of is the pure authentic light of awareness.

An indicator of spiritual progress is the degree of unconditional love, mercy, and compassion we progressively feel and express toward others in the world. Spiritual connection is like the difference between a stand-alone computer or device versus a network-connected computer or device. Thoughts and feelings constantly change, their significance to us being private to the separate ego self. Consciousness of the consciousness from which they arise is where we find a true common ground and connection from which rapport, connection and deep understanding of one another can arise.

A cause and effect of universal love for each other — friend or stranger, or enemy — is openness to insightful understanding of another’s circumstance and how they came to be who and where they are in that moment. Real understanding of unfamiliar or challenging people often requires overcoming self-interested perspectives that are often triggers for switching off our ‘light’ and disconnecting from others. Our rational mind often thinks it has a good reason to judge or take a mental position against another. But this can lead to division within and without, by identifying with fixed pre-conceived ideas of mind which condition our experience instead of the wholeness of identification with full presence.

Understanding someone’s circumstances, character, and actions from their perspective is the most effective way for getting past any preconceived judgments or biases. If there is a frustrated agenda involved, gaining such an understanding between all parties provides an authentic space to find reconciliation. Being, doing and sharing in pure awareness is the path towards a sense of oneness and universal Spirit. It is in this space we can draw on compassion in circumstances where we would have once reacted defensively or judgmentally. It is a progressive ability because we develop a deeper capacity each time we break through our own barriers and reactions.

The “whole body full of light” means expanding aware presence in the moment to every part of ourselves and our present circumstance. When we do this, through pure conscious intent we invite the divine in to take part without limit or conditions, then we can find our sense of being and doing with a “whole body full of light.” It can often be a literal description of the experience.

All aspects of our nature embraced in this light leads to transformation. Perceiving some aspects of soul and human character experience as spiritual and non-spiritual creates inner division and social stigma. The sexual nature and body identification are an example of this division of identity and source of neurosis in those seeking pure mindedness who then suppress or reject these aspects of themselves. Wholeness requires embracing the whole self in humility, love and acceptance. We need to let the divineness of pure consciousness and presence into all aspects of ourselves and allow it to reside there in each present moment. This is where transformation takes place, where we become more functional and integrated, expressing presence and higher will aligned in good ideals and values through all aspects of ourselves and life.

Suppressing or disconnecting from aspects of ourselves will result in suffering and folly. Examples of this are the modern scandals of sexual abuse within various church organizations where celibacy has obviously been practiced out of suppression, guilt, and disconnection, resulting in aberrational and perverted behaviors. Embracing our pain, anxiety, confusion, and uncertainty with the “light” of consciousness and learning to be present in equanimity with our pains and pleasures is a key to embracing our full nature and allowing the transformation of Spirit through self-love and self-acceptance do its work. There is a fine line between trying to artificially conform to ideological perspectives and practices versus applying true personal realizations of them as a spiritual practice.

Practices based on fear, guilt, self-judgment, and denial are fraught with the dangers of extremism and neurosis. Jesus’s path was not extreme and was based on inclusiveness and soulful love. While he set a high standard of spiritual mindfulness he demonstrated mercy and forgiveness. While he firmly denounced falseness and sin his love broke many taboos of his day – racism, sexism, social status and was what considered ‘clean’ – it was a love for all humanity. God’s love and ‘kingdom’ was a shared experience within as we are now, creating space for realisation and transformation. Life’s private challenges and victories are about developing a whole and balanced character. When our vision is clear, “looking” or perceiving with the light of our whole being, the body is physically and energetically illuminated with spiritual energy.

Spiritually illumined people touch others with their love and compassion. They inspire people to be better human beings, invoking peace and good faith by their presence. Thus, their words and deeds have great impact. People will feel empowered rather than intimidated or belittled. The nature of our living consciousness enables us to recognize its truth, light, and presence, sometimes in the illumined eye gaze and presence of a child or person fully present. Conscious alignment to our own inner experience, realisation, values and ideals leads to an added dimension of self and self-potential.

Great possibilities exist if we can arise from within and brighten spontaneously in our roles and communications with each other. Benefiting each other is a mindset, manifested in the smallest of moments and ways, in following our passions and sense of purpose as well as through significantly life-changing and charitable ways. Happy and productive is the person driven by love of doing right, with no fear or guilt of doing wrong. We all crave a sense of progress, purpose, and wholeness despite our frailties and faults. Our inner light is not for self-aggrandisement but to inspire and bring forth depth and profoundness in our worldly lives.

Energising in the Beautiful Australian Outback

I have spent much of this week in the outback desert of Australia hiking around Uluru and Kata Tjuta. These iconic monoliths in a vast open flat desert area make a powerful and spectacle and presence. The open space, simplicity and silence of the desert help create similar conditions in the mind when practicing remaining in a state of presence while walking through the striking wilderness. There are great hikes as well as sunrise and sunset viewings where mother nature puts on a beautiful display as slowly changing hues of light bring out different hues in desert and rock.

This part of the world really has a very settled and grounded energy to it. Compared to the strong heart energy of the pacific islands and Hawaii or the heady spiritual energy of the Indian Himalayas, Uluru and central Australia for me and others I know who are into the energy systems of the world, is a root chakra energy. There is an instinctual survival energy of life connecting earth and body that is highlighted here as well as the essential element of community in such a setting. You have to be attuned out here, like in any harsh conditions, to survive let alone thrive.

Managing water, heat and knowing your own limits when getting around is important in the desert. After a few hours of day hiking in my boots, it is great to come back to the resort and remove the rubber soles then spend 20 minutes or so walking barefoot in the grass. The transfer of electron charge between the earth and my body .

With its dryness and heat, this lands flora and fauna are sparse and economically designed with their own unique beauty. It is a sensitive land with an ecosystem easily unbalanced with unmanaged tourist activity. Indigenous communities have a history of managing the delicate balance of plants and animals for tens of thousands of years. The land management was threatened by white land owners and tourism for a time, but now thankfully seems handled by co-operative and clear roles developing among the indigenous and white local communities. Visitors get some education here about the inseparableness of responsibility for their own wellbeing and that of the land and precious resources.

Spending 4-5 days here has been enough for me to feel remote from normal life concerns and the pace of busy and full lives. When tuning into the inner body feeling, the lower body particularly has an expanded and open energy. Continuously relaxing the mind from chatter and just being fully present in an environment that reflects peaceful and rejuvenating spaciousness and a slow but vital throb of aliveness, is one way I am getting the most of the time and connecting with the spirit of the place. I feel touched by it and able to continue the connection after I have left.

It is my second time here. Last time was facilitating a group of 30 in week of business and awareness which was inspiring and empowered by this location. Being back here now without much else to distract me has been tremendous. Going to see sunrises and sunsets at some choice locations, and hiking during the mornings before the afternoon heat is a very therapeutic routine along with the energy and experience.

It also reinforces to me the tremendous value generally, of balancing out mind and body energy by connecting with nature in some way each day while practicing open and relaxed awareness and presence with each moment. It is best combined with ‘grounding’ by removing the concrete or rubber barriers of shoes and man made surfaces, and being barefoot on sand, earth or sea. There is much to be found online now about the measurable science and benefits of grounding.


Combining these elements of being in nature, practicing inner body awareness and presence, and grounding will rebalance or reboot your system and can really shift mental, emotional and physical stress patterns. It reduces inflammation and chronic aches in the body and can shift negative psycho-emotionally conditioned states like anxiety and depression when done regularly. The trick is to be able to gradually put your thoughts and feelings aside and give yourself even a short and regular time to really be and connect with what is there without all the additives from conditioned thinking and preconceived perceptions.

Being mindful to opening the heart and feel grateful for the opportunities of life experiences, thankful for loved ones and the universe that makes it all possible is a nice meditation to enrich this self nurturing time. I acknowledge the Anungu culture and people of this land. Following up on International Womens Day I also acknowledge the mothers and wise elders of all peoples and the generous live giving spirit of Mother Nature herself. May we all learn to harmonise with the feminine creative spirit in life, living in life affirming respect and co-operation with each other and the precious planet that sustains us.

The Most Valuable Means to Abundance and Fulfilment

There is a common deeply imbedded key and truth in the counsel and teachings through the ages for manifesting abundance and prosperity, happiness and fulfilment, living a life purpose, the primary relationship you dreamed of, great quality friendships, or awakening to a new level of spiritual experience. It’s a message being redefined and much needed in these times.

In uncovering this critical key for fulfilling success, a few underlying principles are a necessary context for understanding it and the laws that operate around it.

The first is obvious yet an easy trap to fall into as we accumulate wealth. Many of the ‘things’ we want and dream of in life can be truly experienced, but not if we are looking to them as the source of our happiness and fulfilment. Many people who have things we dream for are still unhappy. This is the paradox, because many of us would still like more of certain things in our life, right?

However, there is a difference in the content of our life being an expression or vehicle for shared joy, love and abundance in life versus things in life being a source of validation, identity, status or security and happiness. When they are a goal in of themselves or invested with our identity, then we are not living in consciousness of what we are and the true nature of life from within. We are utilising external things to fill where there is a vacuum of meaning and identity. Yet, we give the meaning all passing or changing things have for us from within ourselves. So they cannot fill this space inside us, only be a place we externalise it as separate. The ideal is to consciously live with a sense of completeness with or without the things we have that support our true selves and provide ease or enjoyment, a life certainly tests this at times.

Of course, the tribulations of life will show us where we need to go more deeply within and place our personal investment there. Letting go of materiality is not rejecting the external world, but embracing it with a total identity and connection in the essence of the life and consciousness it actually arises from. Our conscious efforts to shape ourselves and our lives will either come from fear and need for security and a sense of belonging, or it will come from the creative urge of adventure and discovery with a sense of certainty, connection and completeness.

Living from the inside out, means we serve the true essence of ourselves, each other and life, knowing this essence cannot be lost, limited or scarce. We open ourselves up to greater abundance from the fullness of life itself rather than from relativity of circumstances and possessions. How much of our life is really spent in awareness and gratitude of the gift of life? It is the key to coming from love and not fear.

Many modern teachings and some ancient teachings like Buddhism deal with habits of thinking, beliefs and conditioning of the mind. Clearing old habits and out-dated states of mind that arose as adaptations to past fears or suffering, helps create the space for inspired and present-time creative and energised living, to come back to the fullness of who and what we are.

Clearing our negativity and old emotional baggage while developing positive thinking in alignment with life affirming consciousness, is a transformative step that changes and prepares our perceptions and awareness for this next level of conscious living. Yet, happiness, success and fulfilment doesn’t come from positive thoughts and feelings either. These do help focus us to a certain level of experience that they resonate with and from, and do this on a biological and psychological level. Thinking can only be (at best) a relative reflection of who is doing the thinking and what we can most truly and abundantly manifest in life.

The deeper heart of all teachings is that the external world and the inner world (our inner projections of ourselves with thoughts, feelings and perceptions) are both reflections or symptoms of where we are coming from and the state of being we are living at.

In all the various teachings that I have come across, what really shifts my life into another gear (as an ongoing journey of expansion) is a state of being in the experience that is left in the wake of full surrender and letting go within and without, to trust in my own sense of the consciousness and energy that I am. Then going forth and exploring how to best embody and express that in the world to me is, living with spirit.

One of the greatest ways to engage in the world is to productively do and share what you love and what makes you feel most alive. What is most authentic and core within us can then flow into our worldly lives. When we see other people doing the same, really thriving in expressing their inner self through what they do, we feel inspired and on a higher frequency. It is not just about what you do or how well, because in the end, it can be experienced in countless pursuits, careers at many levels and scales. So alignment with what we do is a factor and part of the exploration. It reflects the level to which we connect and engage our inner self in our doing.

Doing what you love and loving what you do

creates a harmony and resonance between

the greater field of love and abundance and worldly life.

Meditation, positive thinking and all the actions in the world don’t provide true awakening in and of themselves. These practices can only prepare the space for making that decisive and true shift in ourselves. They can help create the space to feel, experience and recognise true infinite and abundant being of authentic love and life in ourselves. Freeing identity and experience of the detail and content we can lose ourselves in is part of creating this space. When we find, trust and invest our identity in the space in which it is all happening, then we can find we are truly fulfilled and free just with that, then better embrace and handle all that is happening.

It is a form of inner renunciation, free of dependance on other people and things, to really align ourselves with the source and force in which it all happens. It helps to distinguish between outer appearances in the world and our own narratives about them versus the true essence of people and the common substance we share. This creates space for greater compassion and understanding, love and alignment with each other, and loving more unconditionally.

A lost, broken or worn out cherished possession has no inherent value in itself. The value we think something gives us comes from within ourselves. Our own story and experience of material life can’t be broken, lost or worn out. Practicing this when we are frustration or sadness arises from big or little material losses, allows us to truly let go of things, enjoying them without attachment while the are there and moving on.

With this understanding, comes the critical point. The laws of attraction and abundance are all based on firstly connecting with who and what we really are, which is a complete and shared experience of ‘presence’. It is in and from this presence that all our experience of life arises and occurs. The second aspect of this key is to experience our life as a unique conscious channel for the love and energy inherent in our unified presence, life force and pure consciousness. To let ‘true being’ flow into all our actions, relationships and self-expression. What ever the approach to life, this is where it becomes transformative.

When we align in conscious presence as a channel of its infinite source,

we can experience greater and deeper levels of unity

and its shared flow in the world.

Focus on a living and present essence of life also transforms egoistic tendencies. Opening up to presence becomes a more real, all-embracing and enlivening place to invest ourselves than holding fixed and changeable concepts of how life is and how we ‘should’ be. We can experience all people and things also as expressions and channels of one unified consciousness and life energy. This unified field can then flow from within us and flow to us from the reality we embrace around us. The flow works both ways. Intent and conscious participation in both directions of flow, like an exhale and inhale, allows universal consciousness and energy to fulfil the promise of fullness and abundance in our lives and with each other. Learning how to experience financial wealth as an aspect of this energy flow is easier when we understand the universal laws along with the practical knowledge of our undertakings, and operate as a channel unified with others with the attachments and power struggles of separateness and external identification.

A major transition time in my life now, where life in every way is changing and being renewed, is teaching me these truths on whole new level. Life challenges in recent years seem to have come from different areas of my life. Yet taken all together it is increasingly clear the crisis points have come from where I have needed the world to validate me and where I have put the source of meaning, value and fulfilment in other people and things. When upheaval and change leads to healing, realisation and transitioning back towards the source within, transformational adjustments and new life opportunities occur. I feel this is really what is going beneath all our crisis and breakthroughs. Out of every crisis as well as every success, we each get an opportunity to move forward more consciously.

I encourage you to open up to the life energy in and around you with an open heart and mind. Daily invite the full experience of what is already present, initially without having to do, achieve and try anything. Breath and move so that any tight, constricted or vacuous areas you sense within or immediately around you, release and you become an integrated and harmoniously unified field of energy. Dream and imagine more about how to be and what to do to more fully live and express fullness of being in joy, peace and love. What is it you do when you feel this the most and how? Is it also a strong and grounded sense where the full spectrum of highs and lows, successes and challenges, can be handled with equanimity and fullness? Aligning with and being a channel of abundant energy and life as you feel it, will gradually, or sometimes quickly, transform your world around you to reflect greater abundance and fullness.

A Way Through Blocks, Pain and Feeling Stuck

There are so many stories of spontaneous remissions of terminal illness and inspired flashes that are game changers in life situations that are examples of how much untapped power, insight, intelligence and transformation await us in our own consciousness. You may have your own experiences of a light coming on in your mind and everything quickly starting to feel different.

Whether we are talking to someone else about an issue or working through something in our own minds, the tone and words we use say a lot about the our mindset. Our mindset is really the key to what we pay attention to, how we perceive it and what we create from it. The surprises, inspired thoughts and realisations, and even so-called ‘miracles’ often come from left field when we are open and relaxed.

Therefore, empowering ourselves and creating more of what is important in our lives is not just about getting a more positive and open mindset, it is also about relaxing and opening our thinking minds to new possibilities while learning to engage in a deeper state of being within.

Life challenges are where we apply conscious living principles and experience transformation, while smooth running and abundance are times are for enjoying the results! If there is an ongoing feeling or situation that feels stuck and a source of mental, emotional or physical pain, then there are a few simple steps that can help shift it. Most of us have pretty good coping mechanisms on the stuff that passes as quickly as it arises. Persistent or repeated issues are times when the process is slower and can be helped by dealing with it more consciously. These can be obvious stressors or less obvious like an ongoing heaviness or chronic pain in the background.

We all need love and support from others, especially at difficult times, so obviously with a huge and intense life issue, it may be good to seek help. Otherwise, creating some quiet space away from distractions for as little as 5 to 15 minutes can be all it takes to shift something that is blocking or draining your energy or is a pain calling for your attention and adjustment on some level.

Initially you might think or feel that you know a persistent issue all too well and have had enough of it. However, often things persist because there is some resistance in us in dealing with the issue fully. In these cases there is something we still need to get, that is in our own and others interests, for a shift to occur and for us to move on.

Resistance can take the form of avoidance, dismissal, fear or anxiety, minimising or dismissing a problem, contracting and withdrawing our energy, or flat out denial. Any issue that requires our attention is going to persist in a way that our discomfort or situation gets worse, activating us to doing something different for it to resolve. If we continue to do the same thing we’ll keep getting the same results.

1. Being Present with it

Therefore, the first step is to spend some time to simply sit with full attention on the issue and observe non-judgmentally all feelings, judgements, perceptions and thoughts about the situation. This first step is not about looking for answers or ‘fixes’. It is about creating the space to first feel where you are with it fully right now. Taking some deep breathes and inviting all you feel and know about this issue is a big step, whether it be a stressful situation, physical pain or illness, business or relationship issue or anything else in your personal reality.

For intense issues, it can be good to write down all that presents itself as you tune in and open up to what is really happening in terms of this issue. Take time to breath and sit with open aware focus on the issue in between any note taking or thoughts as they come up.

Notice after 5-10 minutes of this, any changes in the way you feel or perceive it as you spend time focusing on it. Acknowledge any body sensations or perspectives that are part of the shifts and changes as you delve in to this territory. Where in the body do you feel it and what is that feeling like? What emotions and thoughts run repeatedly about this and what deeper ones arise as you go deeper? Simply observe mental, emotional or physical pain and any negative thoughts, whether or not you believe they are true or valid, as being what they are and there in that moment.

Creating the space to open up to all you think, feel and believe about the issue in itself can be a healing process. Many symptoms of stuck or neglected energy start to shift as you give it full attention. Part of the process of progress and healing in yoga for example can happen on an emotional, mental and physical level just by breathing into and being with a discomfort or feeling of resistance or reaction while holding a particular posture, then allowing it to shift and open up in the space it has been given. Similarly, this is about holding a mental, emotional and physical space in which to consciously and fully experience a challenge or issue – noting but not getting lost in the story and threads of thoughts associated with it.

Allowing conscious stillness and space around your thoughts, some good questions to focus your attention are: How does this feel? What is it like? Can I sit with this fully right now? Is feeling stuck with this proving something? What will happen if this continues or gets worse? What do I feel most deeply about this?

Once you feel you have given this enough time to really feel more present in yourself and conscious of your experience of the issue, take a few deep breathes and move to the next step.

2. Creating space for change through acceptance

Love and acceptance is extremely powerful in creating the space for energetic healing. Paradoxically, it is when we come to know and accept something for what it is that it changes. Investment in change due to rejection and resistance perpetuates the pain and conflict inherent in what makes something an issue.

Therefore, in this step, acknowledging all of the thoughts, feelings and perceptions you have come up with over the 5-15 minutes of meditating on the issue, a few mini-steps here will help continue the process:

  1. Taking some breaths, affirm and open the heart to a sense that “I love and accept myself with or without this issue”. If this is difficult then it is enough that “I am willing be able to love and accept myself with or without this issue”.
  2. Spending some moments with this, acknowledge “I am willing for wisdom and insight for whatever lesson is here for me.” Take a few breathes, or more if some added insight arises.
  3. It is at this stage in love, acceptance and openness that it is time to also acknowledge “I am now open and willing to let this go and move on”.

If by now there has been some shift but not significant, then it can be good to cycle through these two steps a few times while you are tuned in, or do the steps again each day for a few days.

3. Moving Forward – The Power of Positive Questions

Asking ourselves positive questions, just like asking someone else a good question, will draw forth an answer that comes from our truth within. The answer from presence, not the first auto-response in our head, can be more powerful than just a statement of intention if it has come spontaneously from an open and authentic place in the moment of questioning.

The final step in this healing process may occur over minutes, hours or days depending on the situation. Some questions relevant to completing on this as you move forward are: What life affirming learning has this issue been offering me? Aside from being free of the discomfort I have felt, what could I gain from moving through this and letting it go? Am I open to this situation teaching me things and having positive outcomes I have not considered? In what sense can I feel or express love and acceptance for myself and all associated with this issue?

Continue with any external situations with others involved, to consider “how can I assist a turn around here, so all concerned are better off”. This can be the basis of a strategy of action if required or how you will approach things from within yourself. Use positive questions to expand the shift within to those around you.

Self nurturing and healing is an act of self-love providing us with more to give out to others. Taking some time with yourself to consciously work through personal challenges is really powerful. So when you are complete, reward yourself in some small way, like a nice bath or warm beverage, or a walk outside. Well done!

Peace and Love 🙂

Photo credit: Sam Bald on VisualHunt / CC BY (modified with quote)

Being in Love and the Love in Being

As the famous line goes “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is to love and be loved in return”. Love, the essential food for the soul, is felt and expressed in countless ways. While intensity of mutually intimate affection and companionship are sought after, the high’s pass and change. Self-validation and inner-identification must come from within ourselves, with shared love and friendship an expansion of inner beauty.

Contemporary culture puts much emphasis on sexual or romantic fulfilment when it comes to relationships. Nonetheless, life is full of an authentic diversity of relationships that touch us all. As we mature, long-term relationships take on complexity charged with the investment placed in each others lives. Challenges successfully traversed and trust built over the course of time contribute to depth and growth of love more than the less frequent magic highs.

So what is the key to keeping love alive, happy and fulfilling in relationships? We have to dig a little into the mud to find the seeds and roots of the beautiful lotus flower above. Likewise a bit of digging within ourselves is needed to find what really drives and fulfils us in relationships.

Two certainties are that we cannot determine someone else’s personal experience of reality or of a relationship, and we can only take responsibility for our own personal experience. Being fully responsible for ourselves is a key element of personal sovereignty, personal freedom from dependencies and knowing ourselves. It is part of the equation that brings needed space into ourselves and intimate relationships to maintain the spark.

We are always challenged with facing a mirror when it comes to engagement with other human minds and ego’s. The relationships we cultivate and how we deal with them say much about ourselves. There is only one effective way to cut through the complexities, and to engage with a loved one or anyone else in a way that consistently feels like you are on track, no matter what goes down. The key is learning to practice ‘presence’ within oneself and with others through the ‘Art of Being’ and the ‘Art of Listening’. Both arts are closely connected and both start within ourselves.

Drama and issues arise from conditioned programming of the mind rather than who we really are soul to soul. When identity is locked into our stream of thinking with its well entrenched opinions and personal stories, it becomes very hard to tell the difference between present awareness and perception conditioned from the past.

Our mind is a beautiful servant but a disastrous master, as many increasing modern issues of mental health, suicide, divorce and so forth indicate. Dominance and identification with mind is reinforced by our pre-occupation with thoughts, worries, concerns, and desires which are all to do with past or future. It is impossible to be and come from authentic love when we are barely in the present moment, with past pain and decisions infiltrating the present along with underlying hopes and expectations of the future. Are you consciously present and reading here and now or partially on to the next thing?

We can process specific things in therapy, but the way to break egocentric habits at the root is to be fully present in the timeless now with an awareness not dominated by thought or semi-conscious labels used to define everything. From the still and alert space between thought, we can observe thought and feeling as they arise, without being drawn in. The light of fully present consciousness, deep in us all, dissolves reactions and ‘reactions to reactions’ , like sunlight dispersing clouds of mind-forms obscuring ‘what is’. With practice we can observe our mental and emotional bodies without them defining and driving us. Conscious spaciousness can be found amidst the stream of experiences and challenges.

Mind and body are beautiful tools for self expression when we stay in the drivers seat. Ceaseless mundane and habitual thoughts and feelings become creative expressions amidst peace and stillness of mind.

Defining and interpreting things is of course necessary – writing this article for example and any purposeful mental effort. Like words themselves, mind can only point to or objectify what truly is. Once you are locked into justifying, defining and proving reality via the conceptual mind, it becomes your sense of self. Fearfulness then arises around letting go of the conceptual mind that defines you – thoughts of self, the world, likes and dislikes, what’s important and what’s not. Trouble stilling the mind is often fear of releasing this mental grip, like having to consciously release a fist you did not know was clenched. The release is as beautiful as an unfolding flower, for the stillness of being it reveals.

While it is good to stand by noble values, identifying with opinions, thoughts or feelings, can trigger conflict. Identification can lead to consciously or unconsciously manipulating or demanding validation from someone else for our mental/emotional stances, as if survival of a relationship or imagined serious outcome is at stake. While positive passion and conviction show character, this type of attachment and mental positioning is not very conscious.

The true “I” within is untouched by suffering, division and concepts. True self is not made happy or unhappy by someone else. Deep down we are indestructible and absolute, without need of “I am this” or “I am that”, we are complete as “I AM”. Past and future lose their grip when real fulfilment occurs here and now, where true self resides in the gift and outpouring of life and being.

Eckhart Tolle says that harmony is present in relationships to the degree that there is inner space in the relationship. He suggests full presence, without any agenda, be practiced with brief encounters we have with ‘strangers’ such as the ‘invisible’ shop or bank clerk, fellow shopping isle customer, or parking attendant. Tolle observes how brief seconds of presence during these connections accumulate in life to bring much richness that many of us miss out on. Being present in such encounters prepares us to bring presence to more intense and challenging engagements with loved ones we have history with.

Responding out of the stillness of mind and heart, with inner body awareness, is a gifts all involved. Holding no opinionated position while true to presence can diminish mental positioning in others without diminishing who they are. This impact of presence arises from the ability to be the space and witness of whatever is happening within ourselves as well as around us. It is not easy, and the mind can be clever by making this an ‘enlightened’ ‘superior’ mental position so it loses authenticity. This is where depth of practice in dealing with our own ego comes in.

Real life can pass by while we spend much time and energy in our role paying, navigating mental positions, fears and power games. Lao Tzu says “Do not seek the truth, only cease cherishing your opinions”. When we learn not to react to our own pain and not take stances, we can do the same listening to and beyond other peoples pain and mental positions to their true essence.

From the depth and space of absolute consciousness, relativity becomes a loving journey of adaptation, flowing the absolute presence of being into every moment and experience. Separated from the absolute, relativity sooner or later becomes suffering.

We can have sacred love and relationships with each other when we live, express and share essence of being. Relative details and content are impermanent vehicles for mastering diversity in unity, unity in diversity – they don’t define us. Loving spacious awareness is a basis for sacred love and relationships where shared living presence lies within and in our midst.

Try this!

5 Day Fast of Identification with Thought and Feelings:

  1. Daily affirm “I am not my thoughts, I am not my feelings, I am not my body and I am not my actions”. Write this out and display it where you can see it, remember and affirm it day and evening.
  2. Note your level of mental activity through the day and emotional up, downs or neutrality. It can be interesting noting this in a journal for the five-days.
  3. Take 5 minutes four times a day – morning, lunch time, arriving home end of day, before bed – for this 2 part exercise:
    • Observing: to simply sit or stand alert but relaxed – observe what you physically see, hear and feel and what you mentally see, hear and feel within as objects in the space of consciousness. All experience is occurring in the mind – no real inner or outer.
    • Grounding Your Sense of Being: include complete inner body awareness to your observing. Check in with different body parts – your feet, abdomen, spine, hands, jaw, arms, legs, heart, etc., little quick scans of non-judgemental attention only, to maintain grounding of being while you observe everything going on. If anywhere feels tight or contracted instead of relaxed and expanded, physically tighten and breath into that spot for 3 seconds then release it and breath into it again before going back to whole inner body awareness and relaxed conscious breathing.
  1. Through the five days, also practice the affirmation, the observing and grounding while doing simple things and being with people at times when you can create the space for it.

I would love to hear any feedback from anyone who does this 5-Day Fast!

Photo on VisualHunt (modified & quote added)

The Beautiful Behind-the-Scenes of Heart and Mind

The beauty of relating to divine presence simply as ‘space’ and ‘formlessness’ beyond thinking, allows us a pure experience relatively untainted by too much human concept, such as religious preconceptions of God, expectations of enlightenment, what is spiritual and what isn’t. Freeing ourselves of conditioned thinking includes dropping dogma and historical theology in the moment.

This has benefits for direct and personal spiritual experience, yet the living presence of consciousness unfolds in the practitioner of presence as ‘a being’ not without volition, love, compassion and much more that has been attributed in religious contexts and from sages of the past as attributes of God.

There is a fine line being walked in the coming century for the systems of evolved wisdom and knowledge, and for each of us, not to obscure the living presence within and about us with idolatry loyalties to concepts, ritual, terminology and impassioned opinions that are culturally and psychologically conditioned. Meanwhile, it is the timeless essence of all these systems that can then have the space and increasing receptivity in a global society to be heard and realised anew in each individual.

The shift to getting beyond the thinking mind, beyond identification with form and objects, is a liberating awakening that is a key step to the transformation of consciousness happening in these times. Nonetheless, once we begin to settle in that space and consciousness, to experience consistently and personally the living presence of universal consciousness, free of thought streams and ego identity that used to define us and our perceptions, it becomes more apparent this universe is a vast and magnificent evolving ‘intent’.

The universe is a living ‘creation’ with purpose, meaning and reality, and this is gradually emerging in new ways for humanity in this age of new sciences, technologies and the new fluid horizons of quantum reality. Meanwhile, practitioners of conscious awakening world-wide are acquiring in unprecedented numbers, conviction and recognition of the ongoing background of consciousness, self-aware as a primordial source of arising thoughts, perceptions and feelings of mind. As shared realisation matures, so does the recognition and experience of universal consciousness and presence as source, home base point and destiny of conscious life which arises from it.

Thus, in relating to living presence, in receptive open mindedness with the faith and beginners mind of a child, we can start to feel an interaction between being-ness as a point of consciousness (our own personal experience) and the greater field of consciousness. This greater field of presence becomes a medium for the dissolving of separate identity purely in ‘the finite self’. It is clear in moments of reverie and awakening that we are part of something much more (and no less) than a vast being-ness from which our personal selves and the dualistic world of form has arisen with divine purpose and intent. Our purpose is to hear it, be it and let it flow into our minds and hearts and into our lives.

Our hearts and minds are but a mirrored doorway,

reflecting what it is opened towards.

The formless is generally associated with the mysterious eternal (with no beginning or ending) outside of the relativity of linear time. Form is associated with finiteness, finite time (having a beginning, inevitably changing, but not necessarily ending). Therefore, finite form (including matter or energy, pattern and structure, order and chaos) and time seem to be inherent in the eternal and formless as does the spark of life and consciousness.

The sense of the divine seems to be most intimate, ‘personal’ and tangible when we can drop even the vehicles of spiritual or religious concepts of the thinking mind to get a direct experience of a universal spaciousness or conscious presence in which all material and mind forms are occurring.

By keeping the awareness primarily on the living consciousness in all that is happening, we can embrace the content (all that is happening within and without) while fully present without attachment and being overly drawn into it. This is becoming free from suffering. In its place a beautiful sense of the vastness, compassion and infinite goodness through receptivity, also begins to express itself through our finite form (mind, body, voice, gestures, responses and expression). Life can become a blissful meditation in motion. We can get the same sense from others as we view them in essence, as expressions of the same universal living space or consciousness. In finding this experience in ourselves, we can all the more unconditionally love and accept others by being able to better recognise the essence in ourselves, expressing itself through others whether they are aware of it or not.

Shared stillness of heart and mind is the sacred place of relationship.

We can still function, but it is definitely different to functioning from the narrative, thought and feeling reactions, wants and fears of the egoistic self. Drama, pettiness and ego driven agenda’s are symptoms of us aligning with the world of object identification whether we play perpetrator, defender or victim. Instead we can become even more effective in worldly pursuits as teachers, learners and mediators in presence and stillness of conscious being and action. We then trust and celebrate unity in our own uniqueness and unique contributions. How is this an alignment and reflective of universal purpose?

Let’s consider or imagine universal consciousness as the primordial reality before, during and since the confirmed ‘big bang’ of manifested reality. It makes sense that manifested reality in all its diversity and bestowal of life and consciousness is the escape from Absolutism for this primordial formless singularity of consciousness and being. It is also an inevitable fulfilment of infiniteness, for if infiniteness includes all possibilities then it includes finiteness. The result of the ‘big bang’ is an improbable stable and expanding universe, improbable without the factor of inherent absolute intelligence and intent, in which we find bestowed consciousness & life.

If consciousness and life is not just on our planet, but a universal intent, then it is diversely manifested throughout the vast living universe from the Deity levels through spiritual realities, to density of complex form in material realities. Absoluteness divesting its attributes in diversified manifestation in an endless evolutionary plan that duplicates itself endlessly outward in the vastness of space. This is simultaneous with an equally endless inward journey of infinite potential as a conscious realisation for each participating conscious being. It is also both the inward and outward journey for the collective universal whole as a universal entity as an evolving reflection of the primordial absolute. Intuitively this seems such a fitting act and volition of an infinite, absolute, singularity being of infinite personality, energy & consciousness divesting itself through other life forms in an act of immaculate creativity and shared experience in true universal love and grace.

To us, the freedom from conditioned concept & thought (ego), through realisation and experience of consciousness of pure consciousness, is an achievement of spiritual awakening & insight into the formless and un-manifested for mind. On the spiritual plane, pure living consciousness is a manifested aspect of infinite spirit as the unified consciousness of creator and created. In christian terms, the Father and Son personalised in unity in the Spirit. It is only in pure consciousness or spirit that we can truly realise causeless and universal joy, peace, love along with an existence of meaning in itself. The material universe is a vast and grand stage for the absolute to experience itself becoming self aware through its gift of co-creative participation to evolving material and spiritual beings, the formless and infinite progressively present in finiteness and form.

The closest we can be to God in human form is direct experience from inner peace and stillness. Closeness, certainty and full experience requires we open all our heart and mind to what is formless to us, and un-manifested materially – the universal spirit which we experience as universal consciousness, aliveness, & presence. This fulfils the great commandment “to love God with all our heart and mind.” Love is equivalent to oneness. It is its own reward, a completion in itself – a spontaneous freedom of mind and will, transcendent yet all encompassing love, goodness, beauty, peace & joyful aliveness of existence – the I AM. It can only be felt as a living consciousness in the now, as past and future are a function of object mindedness.

We can experientially expand ourselves as far as we can realise and actualise

our true nature of living being as pure conscious presence.

Freedom is available from identification with a small limited mind & body, isolated and at the effect of a reality of form. There is a play for us to participate in, of expanding towards absolutism while evolve to express and co-create infinity and formlessness into the finite and form. To do this, we must learn to function in both dimensions together, conduits for consciousness to fulfil divine purpose and intent. This means doing and being daily in a way that this consciousness and experience flows into who we are and what we do. Many are doing it already without even knowing it, while a growing mass of people attune to living more consciously and deeply.

The down to earth love and purpose we get in our daily lives, in even the simplest things like a kind gesture or a blooming flower, contains all that vast reality has provided to enable every detail to happen. Maintaining presence while facing life challenges, transforms challenges into profound doorways to self awareness and growth. Let’s breath, be and do, mindful of the mysterious & miraculous enigma of existence!

Photo credit: blavandmaster on Visual hunt/CC BY-NC-SA (modified with quote)

Five Revealing Steps to Empower Life and Love

The pivotal power we have to individually shape our life and sense of self is our mind. On the one hand, we create and define ourselves, our perceptions and our experience of life with our thoughts, beliefs and ongoing focus. What are you tuning into on a daily basis and how much content in your mind is there by conscious choice? On another level, we can open ourselves to the question of whose mind it really is – who is the thinker of conditioned and creative thoughts and maker of choices? What is it that you connect with in your heart, mind and guts and say “this is me”?

Since our thoughts and feelings are projections of consciousness, then the key to self awareness lies in our ability to identify not with the content of our minds, our appearance or performance, but with the consciousness from which they arise. When we explore this experientially as many meditators, sages and teachers before us, we go through a number of layers of observation and insight before we get to a place of being where we truly feel we are absorbed in the being-ness or substance of what and who we are.

I propose here five stages and have put in bold the practical focus to use as an exercise for each stage. As a practical exercise, it is best to only go as far as the stage you can rest in the experience of, for a prolonged period of 5 minutes or more or even indefinitely. That can take any length of time and sessions to achieve, depending on the individual, the willingness and openness, the regularity of practice, but progress does and will come. Progress through these states then becomes a natural process of observation. Gradually you will notice aspects of a further stage has been occurring with practice of sitting in silence and presence. No particular sitting position is required except that a comfortable and upright position is best for non-disturbance and alertness.

We are attuning to living consciousness that is already there, so many people can be experiencing insight and realisation of elements of all five stages while still wrestling with stage 1 or 2. However, being able to consciously reside primarily at each stage progressively reflects a fairly natural progression and integration of what some call presence, being in the ‘now’, or even aligning and uniting with spirit. There are many sophisticated and more complex systems of meditation and spiritual awakening in traditional paths throughout the world, some of which I have practiced. The stages below are a simplified set of steps to help guide conscious awareness and experience in what is otherwise a very simple but not necessarily easy practice. They do not replace the many benefits of a good teacher, a simple, virtuous and generous life while putting one’s deepest values into daily practice for conscious awakening.

We all need encouragement, guidance and inspiration and this can be from reading, video’s, sessions with teachers or other practitioners, what we focus on, the people and environment of our daily lives. Since a state of presence gives us an ability to rise above causes of suffering and reach new levels of wellbeing, it could be said to be the inner goal of all life enhancing pursuits.

Read the following slowly and feel each point as you go before practicing.

The Five Stages

1. Sensory Perception

Firstly, we must take a moment to relax the body, be aware of a few deep breathes coming in and out, and observe our experience of being here. The first stage is characterised by being present with our sense perceptions and the world around us. Our five senses are taking in data all the time whether our attention is on it or not. Go through each sense during the course of a few breathes – observing what is being seen, heard, felt, smelt, and even tasted while in a relaxed observing state develops sense acuity and alertness. Often a sense of goodness and appreciation can arise as the mind quietens with pure non-judging observation. At this stage of observing the sense-perceptions, our awareness and identification goes deeper and the mind begins to relax and notices more in the immediate present moment.

2. Mental and Emotional Thoughts and Feelings

At the second state, as the mind quietens down, in the space of our being and amidst sense perceptions, observe thoughts or half thoughts, feelings or hints of feelings as they come and go. Being present with the stream of thoughts and feelings that normally takes us with them, by observing them as they arise then letting them go, leads to a more spacious and quieter state of mind and alert presence. Therefore, in this second stage we get glimpses of the still and vast spaciousness of consciousness beyond the thoughts, feelings and perceptions and notice with fresh experience and insight that we are not our thoughts and feelings. They are contents of our consciousness as much as any other perception.

Eckhart Tolle in his talks distinguishes the contents of our consciousness as occurring in linear time (of past, present and future) which he terms the horizontal dimension. Going deeper experientially into consciousness here and now can be termed the vertical dimension.

3. Inner-body Awareness

In the third state where mind activity is settling, we start to become aware of a silence and living stillness within and around us, the feeling of ‘inner body awareness’ becomes the base or grounding of our sense of being. Proprioception is the sensing of the relative position of one’s own body parts without vision (also sensing the strength of effort being employed in any movement). The qualitative aspects of total body awareness as a unified energy field and alive presence can be heightened at this stage. Inner-body awareness with a relaxed mind and heart grounds the subjective sense of presence more deeply in the present moment. The horizontal dimension of linear time dissolves into a spacious eternal nowness where the ‘now’ is a more prominent reality, in the absence of mental activities and projections of memory or an imagined future moment.

Thus, the third state commences a more prominent sense of the vertical dimension. Taiji and xigong or yoga can train the mind in accessing these states more easily and more deeply. Other examples are heightened lucidity while deeply relaxed, or the psychological ‘zone’ in sports or dance. Simple exercises like dynamic relaxation can help here as well if you have trouble settling in this stage. Sense of time fades away as consciousness enters the fourth state.

4. Embracing the Self in Pure Consciousness and State of Presence

In the depths of this conscious state, inner body awareness becomes borderless while the mind and heart remain settled. Open spacious awareness is not a void, for there is a fullness of experience of presence and aliveness. Localised consciousness of self as a mind contained in a body dissolves into a sense of non-local consciousness where so-called ‘external’ or ‘outside’ phenomena (including thoughts or feelings of others, sounds and movement) are experienced as happening within a non-local or borderless field of consciousness. Sense of self can be displaced with this non-localised field of heightened and broad reaching awareness.

These are only words for something that is experienced in a state without words or concept. However, to give it more sense, consider the previous stages of sensory perceptions and observation of thoughts and feelings. Whether perception is of reality ‘outside’ the body or from ‘inside’ the body, it is all being processed in the brain and occurring in the mind so we are in fact experiencing everything as it is occurring in our consciousness. Without consciousness, none of it exists.

In spontaneous moments of this state, the world can seem to go into slow motion while sensory perception is unusually vivid and broad. It can be associated with unusual sensory acuity. I’ve read many accounts by sports people or others in a crisis moment describe similar states to those accessed in meditation and spontaneously.

A spontaneous shift into this state occurred when I was attacked by a group of drunken guys while walking from a concert with a friend many years ago. I had an experience of perceiving things in a 360 degree view where even small details at a distance were picked up while more immediate actions required at the time occurred effortlessly and automatically in slow motion. I blocked every kick and punch coming at me with calmness and minimal attention on them, while taking in a slo-mo panorama of everything going on all around me. It was a liberating experience without a sense of aggression, fear or reaction in myself.

This 4th stage is selfless alignment to the field of consciousness in which all experience of phenomena occurs. Thoughts are unnecessary at such times where no immediate analysis or intellectual effort is required. The moment is simply happening as we observe stillness or action occurring in it. This has been described as ‘consciousness of consciousness’ or the ‘light of presence’ and is not an intellectual process, yet is alert and aware. Heart and mind are open and clear. As one resides in this stage longer and deeper, it is accompanied with a great sense of bliss, goodness, beauty, fullness and oneness and other qualities like love which in the end are only words without the fullness and profoundness of the experience itself.

5. Embracing the World in Pure Consciousness and State of Presence

State 5 is embracing all living things and phenomena in conscious presence. Maintaining identification with the consciousness in which all reality is occurring, rather than your own mental activity and body, develops a more tangible and subjective experience of the nature of life, consciousness and energy in all things and unified connectedness. The space of presence found in stage 4 becomes inclusive and unified without being drawn into separateness by noises and motion, objects and things, without mental judgement and interpretation of events and others, or distracted by mental narrative about ones perceptions. Consciousness of consciousness cannot occur with such mental states, perceptions and activity.

It is a different modus operandi. One can function and respond with a heightened sense of freedom from an invested self. While discernment, alignment with values and standards remain intact, they are more based on resonance with the experience of consciousness than on conditioned beliefs and self-interest. Living in this state in daily life, after regular practice in a quiet place, requires a creative and spontaneous, selfless and affirming sense of harmonising with the space of consciousness in which all is happening. Sharing this state with others provides experience and insight into the source and possibilities of harmony in diversity, co-ordination or synchronisation in life.

There is so much further to be explored in the spectrum of consciousness, but the above steps are what I’ve found to be the barest foundation of most spiritual or conscious awakening practices.

Living Continuously in Pure Consciousness and State of Presence

Being able to hold the space of Stage 4 or 5 continuously in daily living is a noble aim and can lead to sublime realisation. Being a loving and aware person, then expanding the consciousness of that into a deep and continuous state of presence allows the light of awareness to infiltrate the subtlest areas of disturbance within oneself in the face of life challenges. It is consciously developing soul from both vertical and horizontal dimensions. It is transformational to all. I acknowledge all saints, masters and great teachers who truly embody conscious living as living ideals to deepen our own exploration and modern lives.

Being Successful With More Purpose and Meaning

What pursuits are best for us to live quality ‘being’ and quality ‘doing’ in a way that is progressive and meaningful for us and beneficial for those around us?

The last couple of blogs have looked at mechanisms between mind and body we can consciously harness to optimise our wellbeing and performance. Wellbeing is about a state of mind and body. Performance is about ‘doing’ and while there are psychological and physical dynamics that enhance our state and capacity to perform well and experience it more fully, it still remains for each of us to choose day to day (and for any significant phase in our lives) what is on purpose for us to do.

Dr. Wayne Dyer in his books and lectures made a distinction between the ego’s motivation of needs being “what’s in it for me?” versus the higher soul mind motivation of wholeness being “how can I best serve?”. He has often quoted from Maslow’s work on self-actualisation. One point from Maslow is that self-actualised people are detached from outcome. The Bhagavad Gita goes into this in great depth. Maslow in his research and observations saw they are not motivated by what could come to them but follow pursuits because what they do is essential to them feeling complete, rather than the ‘fruits’ of their actions. Another way to say this is that there are things some of us feel personally called to do and with this calling comes a sense that acting on this inner calling is what will give our sense of completeness meaning and purpose.

Napoleon Hill in “Think and Grow Rich” also describes what drives people he has studied who have enriched lives in every way (not only material ways). He describes it as a “burning desire” to act on an inner calling which invariably includes expressing their gratitude in life along with contributing some aspect of what excites them in life in a way that could benefit others or share that excitement.

I see this dynamic in my own life. My 20 years work in as a therapist and counsellor fulfilled my urge to help people with a specific set of skills and knowledge while compelled to better understand the relationship of mind and body in the process. My 16 years of building and running a company with wellness products and promoting sustainable business ethics and the organic industry, was an extension of that same urge with the addition of contributing to environmental concerns in the world. Meanwhile, I fulfilled a desire to learn about business and to represent these values internationally as an example of the change I see needed in the world right now. These days I am developing my writing as a communicator of all of the above values and principles with more focus on spiritual teaching, albeit an ongoing part of my outlook and inner practice all along. My roles as father, partner and friend are motivated and infused with the same values.

The substance of your deepest calling defines you and so touches all aspects of your life. For me it is being a practitioner and communicator for aligning mind, body and spirit to achieve life fulfilment in all aspects of our lives individually and as a society.

There can be stages in our life when the primary form or ‘doing’ of the calling changes, or it may not. There may be numerous things we feel passionate about and would participate in, in addition to one or two primary interests, or there may be only one consistent focus through your whole life. The key is that where our true conviction and passions lie tend not to fade but remain with us whether we pursue them or not. They may shift and transform with life experience, but these callings we each have are tied in with our own life long primary values and convictions.

What hits your ‘excite’ button? What not only excites the passions, ideals or opinions but incentivises you into go into greater depth of understanding and go into action? To find this requires the ability to listen within ourselves to come to know our most inner and authentically deep urgings to share and serve as well as to stay on track as we respond and act from them. Thus, the value of meditation, the alpha and conscious theta frequencies discussed in my recent blogs, coming to know our inner stillness, inner silence and being present in the ‘now’ with open heart and mind. From there we can start to really listen and tap into the depths of awareness, before bringing that awareness to engage with the activities or discussions we spontaneously and consistently resonate with fully. The ‘calling’ is what you deep down feel you must do to truly feel you are fulfilling a purpose you’re designed for or would most want to do if all else was sorted in your life. Out of anything that you’re here to do, what would give you a completeness at the end of the day and fulfil your sense of purpose throughout that day?

For some, it may not matter ‘what’ so much as ‘how’. Every work position, relationship in life is a vehicle to act in loving and fully present awareness and be conscious of how it is of benefit to others. Each little moment is an opportunity to act with love and awareness. As Dan Millman said “There are no ordinary moments.” This consciousness purifies the mind and invigorates the spirit. A sense of “selfless service” is the zone where happiness and fulfilment hit unusual highs, as shown in many studies. This is especially true where people have found a way to selflessly do something they love in recognition of the need in others they are helping to fulfil.

As with Maslow’s observation, having a true calling shape our ‘work’ of choice or life interest, is not an outcome based intention. It is an expression of an inner purpose-based intention. Relative wealth, fame or power can sometimes come about as a consequence of the authentic and vibrant energy mobilised when we follow our passion. These worldly rewards can and often are used for tremendous good, yet can be equally destructive when they become an end in themselves rather than a means.

Someone on purpose and doing good inspires those they serve directly and others who recognise the energy and consciousness they are coming from. A truly deep and authentic sense of mission rides an energy that energises others. This is most fulfilling and powerful when the ego is cast aside, replaced with an integrity to convictions, values and burning desires that are discovered within during moments of quiet connectedness and inspiration.

As Wayne Dyer says: “Success becomes defined by how you feel about what it is you are doing”. It is knowing combined with action, while sharing real love and passion. Whether it be the way you go about and perform basic tasks and services at work or in the family, the way you communicate a message, design or deliver a product or service you represent, consistent action of good intent from a generous heart inevitably makes an impact in someones life or in the lives of many.

Putting the above into action requires a little progress every day. As Lao Tzu of the Tao-Te-Ching says, “a journey of a thousand steps begins with a small step”. He also says “To do something big, think small.” So spend at least a little time daily on something you have a passion to do or achieve. An inspiring friend, Paul Dunn of B1G1, also promotes the idea of thinking small. He promotes and educates others on the enormous value in distinguishing yourself, a product or service to others by the little things, the thoughtful small differences and touches of what you do and offer. It is often in these extra touches or little things where you can also actualise what you stand for. Great things are achieved by focusing on each little step at a time to get there, each detail, each person who is part of that journey and the little things and surprises that occur along the way to yourself and those you benefit.

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What You Need to Know About Wellbeing and Peak Performance (Part 2)

There is a powerful integration and feedback loop between mind and body that is being understood more and more. Understanding this not only helps you to take charge of your mind and body wellness, it also opens up new possibilities in personal life experience and abilities.

In the last blog, I shared key points and ways to access optimum states of consciousness for wellbeing and peak performance and how they relate to specific brain wave patterns. There is a reciprocal relationship between states of consciousness indicated by brain wave patterns with specific bio-chemical production and pathways in the body that directly affect our moods, immunity and endocrine (hormonal and neurochemical) systems. All cells in the body participate in what is being understood as a feedback loop where consciousness impacts many aspects of bio-chemical processes which in turn impact our consciousness. Thus we can get into loops of body and mind reinforcing psycho-emotional and biochemical wellbeing or else reinforcing dis-ease, both of which impact our perceptions and spiritual receptivity.

All brain wave patterns reflect important and functional mental states – there are no good or bad frequencies. Issues arise when there is an imbalance and certain brainwave patterns predominate chronically rather than our minds being able to move through the full range of frequencies at the right time for the relevant tasks and perceptions. For example, low levels of focus and attention or high levels of depression can be associated with slow or minimal beta patterns. Short intense periods of beta during high focus problem solving and tasks are good while in the higher frequencies (23Hz-40Hz) are the zones of stress and anxiety. However, the modern problem is over-active high frequency beta activity (characterised by constant mental chatter) displacing the alpha range where creativity, innovation and wellbeing is promoted.

As we looked at in the last blog, alpha wave patterns reinforced through practices like meditation help balance an overactive mind, promoting creativity, the sense of connection and well-being. Neuro-chemicals (bio-chemicals produced by brain neurons located in the brain, heart and gut) are associated with happiness and mood elevation, increased immunity to disease and improving a range of mental and physical conditions. These neurochemicals are also promoted generally by predominant alpha states and some other states as described below.

Among hundreds of neuro-chemicals that provide physicality to our sense of bliss, pleasure and wellbeing, only a portion have been studied. Of those, Christopher Bergland in his Psychology Today blog explains seven well studied ‘neurochemicals of happiness’. These chemicals produced in our body are promoted or inhibited according to mental states and certain activities, so that we can impact our body chemistry through our consciousness and lifestyle. Also note that genrally, natural production is inhibited by drugs and alcohol as well as lack of physical activity or exercise.

  1. Endocannabinoids: “The Bliss Molecule” Our body has its own cannabinoid system, producing endocannabinoids that work via CB-1 and CB-2 receptors. “Anandamide (from the Sanskrit “Ananda” meaning Bliss) is the most well known endocannabinoid.” It is likely that we self-produce just as many variations of endocannabinoids as the 85 cannabinoids isolated from the Cannabis plant but it will take neuroscientists decades to isolate them.

    A University of Arizona study, published in April 2012, shows that humans and dogs have significantly higher endocannabinoid readings following sustained running. Because “other research focused on the blood–brain barrier (BBB), has shown that endorphin molecules are too large to pass freely across the BBB”, suggests these naturally produced cannabinoids are likely responsible for the blissful state of runner’s ‘high’.

  2. Dopamine: “The Reward Molecule” “Every type of reward seeking behaviour that has been studied increases the level of dopamine transmission in the brain. If you want to get a hit of dopamine, set a goal and achieve it.”

    Many addictive drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, and addictive behaviours like computer games, act directly on the dopamine system. There is also evidence that extroverted, or uninhibited personality types tend to have higher levels of dopamine than introverted personality types. Bergland advises: “To feel more extroverted and uninhibited try to increase your levels of dopamine naturally by being a go-getter in your daily life and flooding your brain with dopamine regularly by setting goals and achieving them”.

  3. Oxytocin: “The Bonding Molecule” Oxytocin is a hormone directly linked to human bonding, increasing trust and loyalty, some studies suggesting correlation with romantic attachment. Some studies show that “lack of physical contact reduces oxytocin and drives the feeling of longing to bond with that person again.” There is debate that ivasopressin (a close cousin to oxytocin) may actually be the “bonding molecule” , especially in men. Either way, skin-to-skin contact, affection, love making and intimacy and these bonding hormones are associated with the physicality of the ‘warm fuzzies’ we feel from companionship.

    In these times of digital devices and isolated lifestyles reducing physical interaction, “it is more important than ever to maintain face-to-face intimate human bonds and ‘tribal’ connections within your community.” Quality family and friend time, team and contact sports, group or buddy activities are all important human bonds and release oxytocin. “If you don’t have another human being to offer you affection and increase oxytocin your favourite pet can also do the trick”.

  4. Endorphin: “The Pain-Killing Molecule” The name Endorphin translates into ‘self-produced morphine’. “Endorphins resemble opiates in their chemical structure and have analgesic properties. Endorphins are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus during strenuous physical exertion, sexual intercourse and orgasm. Make these pursuits a part of your regular life to keep the endorphins pumping.”

    In 1999, clinical researchers reported that inserting acupuncture needles into specific body points triggers the production of endorphins. In another study, higher levels of endorphins were found in cerebrospinal fluid after patients underwent acupuncture. Acupuncture is a terrific way to stimulate the release of endorphins.”

  5. GABA: “The Anti-Anxiety Molecule” “GABA is an inhibitory molecule that slows down the firing of neurons and creates a sense of calmness.” Not surprisingly, it can be increased by practicing yoga or meditation. Many sedatives and anti-anxiety medications work by increasing GABA. “A study from the ‘Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicinefound a 27% increase in GABA levels among yoga practitioners after a 60-minute yoga session when compared against participants who read a book for 60 minutes. The study suggests yoga might increase GABA levels naturally.”
  6. Serotonin: “The Confidence Molecule” Serotonin plays many different roles in our bodies. Many studies associate higher serotonin levels with self-esteem, increased feelings of worthiness and a sense of belonging. Bergland suggests “to increase serotonin, challenge yourself regularly and pursue things that reinforce a sense of purpose, meaning and accomplishment. Being able to say “I did it!” will produce a feedback loop that will reinforce behaviours that build self esteem and make you less insecure and create an upward spiral of more and more serotonin.”

    Popular anti-depressants called Serotonin-Specific Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) — like Prozac, Zoloft, etc. are prescribed for clinical depression, anxiety, panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), eating disorders, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, “how anti-depressants work in each person’s brain varies greatly and is not fully understood by scientists or researchers.”

  7. Adrenaline: “The Energy Molecule” Adrenaline, or epinephrine, is central to the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism. When released in your system, it is exhilarating, creating a surge in energy, increased heart rate, blood pressure, and increased blood flow to larger muscles. An ‘adrenaline rush’ comes with a limbic brain sense of fear or mortal danger. “It can be triggered on demand by doing things that terrify you or being thrust into a situation that feels dangerous.” Short rapid breathing with muscle contraction can stimulate adrenaline in small healthy doses.

However, many people with chronic stress, anxiety or fear can have exhausted adrenals which can recover with prolonged relaxation away from environmental, situational or dietary stresses. Bergland warns ‘Adrenaline Junkies’ to try balancing “potentially harmful novelty-seeking by focusing on behaviours that will make you feel good by releasing other neurochemicals on this list.”

Bergland concludes that this list of 7 neurochemicals can be used as a “rudimentary checklist to take inventory of your daily habits and to keep your life balanced. By focusing on lifestyle choices that secrete each of these neurochemicals you will increase your odds of happiness across the board.”

Deepak Chopra M.D., in his blog “How Meditation Helps Your Immune System Do its Job”, discusses how since the ‘80s, we have begun to understand the intelligence of the immune system. “It became known as ‘a floating brain’ because of the ability of immune cells to participate in the chemical messages sent by the brain throughout the body. This means that your thoughts, moods, sensations, and expectations are transmitted to your immune cells.” Chopra also makes a point in his lectures that there are receptors for these chemical messengers in all the cells of the body, so that the whole body is in on the physical response and mirroring of your state of being.

Chopra in his article, draws attention to the studied and important changes that occur when you meditate:

  • Your immune system responds to both negative and positive thoughts
  • Meditation creates a positive mental environment for the immune system to flourish, this study showed a reduction of pro-inflammatory gene expression in older adults.
  • A UCLA study shows that HIV positive patients who practice mindful meditation slow down the reduction of their CD-4 cell count. These are the immune cells that are associated with keeping the virus from propagating.
  • Meditation boosts antibodies. A recent study confirmed that, after weekly meditation training for 8 weeks, 48 biotech workers had significantly higher levels of antibodies than the control group (coworkers who didn’t meditate) as well as higher levels than before the study.
  • Meditation stimulates immune system brain-function regions. Mindfulness meditation has shown increases in electrical activity in the prefrontal cortex, the right anterior insula, and right hippocampus, all parts that control positive emotions, awareness, and anxiety. These brain regions act as command centres for your immune system. When stimulated, they make the immune system function more effectively.

Chopra concludes: “These findings bring into focus a clear message: Your response to potential illness, as managed by the immune system, improves with meditation. This is in keeping with another strong message. Being susceptible to chronic disorders like type-2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure, conditions that are not the result of invading microbes, is also reduced through meditation. The entire mind-body system is brought into a natural state of balance, the key to what I’ve called the higher health.”

The science of brain waves and body chemistry is revealing we are designed for happiness and wellbeing, and our chosen state of consciousness impacts this significantly. Our understanding is diminishing the boundary we once projected between mind and body. New models are suggesting brain and body are conduits for mind and consciousness. Such a view enables many meditators and other subjects studied to demonstrate high levels of mind and body control to reach optimal states to produce wellbeing and experiences of conscious awakening.

Conscious breathing, meditation and exercise done in quality inner body awareness all help to create balance and harmony as well as receptivity to new states of wellbeing for each of us personally. I hope some of the perspectives and suggestions above assist in your journey.

Additional recommended reading & reference: ECOC Institute name 141 Benefits of Meditation, each with some related studies

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