The Original Must Disappear

I’ve been experiencing the return of the Original amidst deep inner turmoil. And as said in the first installment, welcoming the Original back with a big sigh of relief, everything since the Original’s first dawning was a deviation of sorts, a subtle distancing from the Original. Even being an enlightened spiritual teacher who’s brought quite some enlightening experiences to participants in his seminars and trainings (here a link to a video of one of my last seminars): very significant experiences, according to some, even physical healings, I’ve been told. And yet, I said a week+ ago, all of these were significant, deep, mostly beautiful, but all of these experiences and ways to live were also almost-but-not-quite the Original.

When the Original first reached me, calling it Grand Disillusionment at the time, it was much closer to what I said in the second installment on this matter just 4 days ago. And yet, as much as it is true what I said there, and as true as it happened to be within the framework of the day, there was still a slight distance involved in writing about it, and subsequently in my way of putting it. And now it’s become much clearer.

There really isn’t any Original, except, of course for the Original, but since that is a happening in time, even if an utter “nothing is happening!” liberation of all that pretended to make sense before, it can’t very well be the Original that I’d taken to have returned. This may not be, or may very well be, a logical conclusion, but that didn’t get me irritated before I wrote this. What irritated me was that the Original is not Original! It’s the returned version!

I guess I got stuck on the resonance of the Original, mistaking it for the Original itself and then – as I hadn’t yet understood what I was doing – I tried to emulate it! For Chrissake! I stumbled right into the trap that I’ve been warned of so many years ago that I can’t remember when it was: “There is no It that is It!” And, I may add now, even the not-It isn’t.

My body, who upon waking up this morning demonstrated beyond any doubt how much Love it is, yes, that body IS love made manifest, my body knew it all along. And hence my body being irritated by me hanging on to the Original of old: the resonance with the Original that came to shake me out of my turmoil and returned me to a sense of lovely sobriety, or realism, of simple being-here with everything and every one that happens to be here. But instead of leaving it at that, and going on with living and doing what feels appropriate, I started to cling to the returning Original and invoke its noting-is-happening lightness of being.

It took me some time to really register the irritation and not filter it away, or touch it with my magic Original Wand. Ah! The amazing wisdom of the body, of embodiment. Should now I sing the praise of imperfection, irritation, the truth expressed in limitation, deviation, distances from the Original? I’m tempted to, but wouldn’t that be just another version of turning things and matters into IT, the  One IT whose realisation  is the Ultimate It, and in consequence the end of all other Ultimates, other Originals, other versions of this mysterious mystery we call life, reality, Goddess and everything?

Being human, always this two-armed, two-legged form embedded in many kinds of ecologies, outwardly and inwardly; ecologies we have hardly begun to understand and are already destroying grand style, while at the same time some of the most brilliant of us escape, sorry transcend, this madness into unearthly spiritual realms; not knowing, of course, that any angel would gladly give his eternal life for embodied, incarnated existence… just to know how it is to be human, at least for a while.

We’re mortal, even though some of us think that we may be among the first immortal generation – it’s not clear if I belong to the former or the latter. But even if we live to be a million, we’ll eventually have to face death. The end of being someone with a definite, even though slowly changing form. And as embodied beings there will always be some imperfection challenging us, causing some pain maybe, or a frustration, or irritation. Only the ignorant could possibly live in perpetual bliss, for some time at least, until whatever dawns on them and they lose some of their ignorance.

As long as becoming is also present, being will never be enough. As long as there is a human around, there is the return to limitation, the return to embodiment, the return to form. We wouldn’t be craving for the formless, if we weren’t embodied. We wouldn’t desire freedom of all, some final liberation, if we didn’t experience our imprisonment more often then not. We wouldn’t want to transcend our present level and state, if we didn’t feel quite uncomfortable here. We wouldn’t yearn for perfection, if we didn’t suffer from being imperfect.

Somehow, seeing that, coming to accept that actuality whenever it happens to be the case here and now, accepting my humanity and the mad, mad times of violent ignorance all around Spaceship Earth for what it is, feels good, feels just right, reconciles me with myself and my brothers and sisters. And in some strange way it restores my power, the Lion shaking its mane, the dragon that lay coiled up on the treasure that I’m to inherit, the iron snake that is my birthright.

[Thank you She Mystery that hid inside the Trojan Horse for completing your mission. Thank you Black Raven that dropped hourly feathers and dived into the Ancient Abyss enticing me to follow. And thank you Friends and Fellows all over this Mothership for being so fricking important to me that I want to share all this with you.]

The Original keeps on Returning

“Do not cling to your timeline,” he said.

As I followed this directive down a few paths, I felt lost. The Orient had gone, no direction. So I said, “No lighthouse in sight. No sun, no stars. What can guide me? Which line to follow? Where to put my foot?”

He smiled. In his eyes I saw how he felt for us, how he was willingly entangled in our human predicament. And yet he answered, “If all lines would be equally good and equally challenging in the long run, if the multitude of possible destinies were of equal quality overall, which timeline would you really want to travel down? What would you want to be your guiding light?”

On a round planet a path can bring you anywhere, and will eventually, if you travel it long enough, bring  you everywhere. And I’m in love with the two-armed form, the never ending diversity, the manifold presencing itself uniquely and originally wherever I care to just look.

The Original hides in plain sight. It reveals its nature as nothing; nothing without a capital letter and a -ness at the end. Imagine, if you like, a completely empty space; and for you smart-asses reading this, a space completely without any energy fluctuations, virtual or manifest. Now, if anyone would be asking you, “What is happening there?”, you’d answer, “Nothing is happening there.” That’s what I mean by nothing. The empty space would be nothingness, but what’s happening there is, “nothing, whatsoever.”

That’s how the Original is hiding in plain view, and reveals itself to me as soon as I remember, and sometimes even without me remembering anything.

The Neverending Dreamer by Cameron Gray

As soon as you try to take hold of the Original, mentally, feelingly, in Spirit or Soul, or any which way, it hides in plain view again. Pretending to be nothing. But once you see, once you understand that you cannot understand, that it cannot be turned into anything whatsoever, even identified with or arrived at neti-neti or iti-iti or any other way, once you let go of letting go, once you re-member, the Original is there. And even though you cannot identify with it, it’s You, it’s Me, it’s presencing originally wherever you care to turn. And it’s nothing special at all.

When the Original returns, it doesn’t return as a realisation. Realisations may follow in it’s wake, and often do, but the Original is no realisation. No sky, no heaven lights up, although colors may return to what seemed like tinges, hues, and glosses before. No divine trumpets announcing the omnipresent, non-dual, eternal out-of-time happening, although a transparent joy may infuse all that appears in your awareness as the Original returns to its ancient homestead in plain view.

And the Original keeps on returning. Not once and for all times, although it may often seem to be that way. Until you discover yourself in the distance, taking yourself to be this, that or the other. Trying to be enlightened. Trying to be good, beautiful and true. Meditating in the divine and blissful regions of the never-ending realms of light and darkness. Or finding yourself stuck in this or that karma, this or that trauma, this or that complex, this or that pain and suffering, this or that desire; finding yourself in all the never-ending imperfections of the human form. And that is Original as well: everything in plain view is. So you do whatever you can, to get the stuck unstuck, to see through your powerlessness and powerfully embody everything you choose, to welcome all and everyone that happens to visit the guesthouse of your awareness. Because, you may conclude on the timeline you’re on, whatever you meet, you meet as the one and only Original one. And healing is its wake, the trail it leaves behind. (Thank you Jody for pointing that out.)

For as long as you try to wrap your head, your self around it, the Original will hide in plain view. But as you accept the impossibility of it all, as you allow for nothing to happen at all, it may unwrap itself for you, and recalibrate everything just for the pure fun of it, the simple and ordinary presence of whatever happens to be.

Nothing is as it is. (Yes, you can read this at least in two ways.) So what I do, whenever I feel like it, is bring myself and what concerns me, or whatever else I care to bring, to nothing. And then it is touched, or maybe recalibrated and brought to another resonance, or it simply stays just the way it is originally.

Nothing is gained, and magically everything is. So, letting go of your timeline, which line to follow?

(Take Two – Take One here)

 

The Return of the Original

SelfportraitMy irritation with all teachings by any or all Masters, contemporary or not, has revealed itself to being irritated with myself, not staying with the Original, trusting the Original, embodying the Original, easing into, seeing with and inhabiting the Original.

It’s a  matter of trust.

So, even though the Original became obvious to me on a beautiful summer day almost 15 years ago, and I stayed with/as the Original for quite some time, it became obfuscated by second-hand or rather, the not quite original, again, and I became a spiritual teacher in a lovely, great, deep, beautiful lineage, for sure, and the Original shone through often enough, but it’s utter simplicity was somehow lost to me. And once that journey as spiritual leader needed to be left behind for an exploration into wefulness, close encounters with the Circle Being, and other mystical happenings, I did, but still the Original was gone, in some strange sense unbeknown to me. And then the journey of turning business into a veritable spiritual path began for me: defined 7 years ago as Collaboration Ecology, and now growing into an international company and “the rubber hitting the road” for real. And still, I didn’t miss the Original; I didn’t even notice its fading into the background.

And so, as I look at this now, my journey into the not-original, into the slight distances between things, the never ending stories of aims, purposes and goals as real, and so endlessly on took its course. I could and can still call on the bliss-energy on demand and transmit it, even to strangers on the train, but still that’s not the Original, as now I know. I guess I wanted to learn to include all this not so original matter, the divine entertainment, including the shaktipat, the chi, the turned on blisses simply appearing in my body, but most of all the deflation, the obscure, the shadow and the night where all seems lost and nothing gained…

And yet, when I look right now, the Original is presencing itself as every blade of grass, as a flip chart marker, a mobile phone, this computer screen.

I never liked the idea of consciousness as foundational, that consciousness manifests as everything etc. Recently, when I read Bernardo Kastrup’s article that rationally and elegantly shows the hypothesis of consciousness as a prior, fundamental “force”, like gravity for instance or the electro-magnetic force, I did a little dance, because it satisfied everything my mind likes so much about science. And I liked the consequence it has for rational thinking. Yet truly, I couldn’t wrap my heart around it or my soul. And still the Original was forgotten.

I have, these last two days in particular, been feeling, experiencing, reluctantly welcoming and contemplating the ancient fears around my power again, triggered by a deep sense of intimacy I’ve come to experience unexpectedly and out of the blue recently, where I got utterly scared because of some foundational drama on my life’s path, the fear of having  a ‘bad core’ because those I’ve loved most, and who said truthfully they deeply and utterly loved me (at first my mother, when I was 6), always sent me away… Because of my conclusion when I was 6, that there must be something really very wrong with me, that I’ll always hurt the ones I love most, I managed to mostly never let anyone come so utterly close to me personally again.

Oh, there surely where moments and even periods of deep intimacy with everything, like when the Original became obvious, but this wasn’t person to person, heart to heart, soul to soul intimacy. This is deep and all encompassing Spirit, for sure, it is Clear Space, Transparent Joy, yes, and certainly the person is effected in many ways, but somehow it’s not including these ancient wounds, these big and little traumas embedded in the body and psyche and acting as an injunction in ordinary life’s circumstance and relating.

And yet today, in my  whole body contemplation of this particular wound, coupled with the irritation about some actually great tantric teaching about Siva and Shakti i was reading, the Original became obvious again in a new, simple clear way, and strangely enough it has always been here anyways, it just wasn’t That Obvious to me, beautifully sidetracked as I’ve been.

The Original showed up as the purposeless, aimless, simple self-presencing of the trees right out there, and then spread out as every little being and thing that appears in my awareness. And I remembered again that, to me, this Presencing is foundational and that maybe that is meant when mystics speak about consciousness being at root of all. But really, it doesn’t matter what they say, cause I’ll stay simply with the Original, and now the ancient pain, my fear of power and intimacy, the wounds and possible wounding that still scares me is mysteriously “okay”, it looks like.

The Living Field & the Art of Living

childrendetail3-cory_enchWikipedia: Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music and literature.

In my most recent post I have been revisiting what I’ve called the Living Field, how I experience it and how I’ve worked with it and still do. Michel Bauwens of the P2P foundation extracted a “typology of fields” from that post and talked about it here.
I don’t know if it was the “Goldberg-Variations field” that Jascha Rohr tweeted about in response that got me thinking about art as a particular type of constellation of the living field or if it was the Wikipedia definition of art; it might also have been the dream I had this morning of creating a large scale systemic constellation in some unknown land and being struck by the beauty of what emerged…

One of the most amazing characteristics of a living field is that it creates epiphanies, realizations or comprehensions of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. In systemic constellations this might be some explicit pattern in the system one inquires into that is surfacing as an “Eureka!” experience, a surprising insight into why or how things are as they are; in a circle that has managed to surrender into a highly coherent we-fulness the epiphany can be the tacit experience of individually being embedded in a higher We or “Circle Being”; and in a Dynamic Presencing constellation it can be the undeniable sense of unity with ‘all-there-is’.
The living field is, it seems, childrendetail1-cory_enchcontinually creating or triggering epiphanic in-formation in living beings. And since my main gate to the spiritual realm is beauty – truth is beauty, love is beauty, the gods are beauty, the essence of life is beauty etc. – to talk about epiphanies is to talk about essential beauty. Beauty – something many of us look for in art – is an epiphany more or less strongly altering our conscious state, momentarily or sometimes even permanently changing us by changing the way we perceive the world and interact with it.

In previous posts I have suggested that a living field is a particular – often dynamic – constellation of elements and/or beings in space and time. It can be regarded as the network, the mesh of relations between all these elements and beings involved. We could also imagine a living field as a web of relationships that in and of themselves already are dynamic, comparable to a melody which can only be enjoyed or understood in their flow.
[This makes me think of the neuronal network in the brain and that this particular constellation gives rise to the ultimate form of beauty: consciousness.]

Take these lines of poetry:

Here are the miracle-signs you want: that
you cry through the night and get up at dawn, asking,
that in the absence of what you ask for your day gets dark,
your neck thin as a spindle, that what you give away
is all you won, that you sacrifice belongings,
sleep, health, your head, that you often
sit down in a fire like aloes wood, and often go out
to meet a blade like a battered helmet.

When acts of helplessness become habitual,
those are the signs.

But you run back and forth listening for unusual events,
peering into faces of travelers.
“Why are you looking at me like a madman?”
I have lost a friend. Please forgive me.

— from Acts of Helplesssness by Rumi

What makes the hair on my skin stand as I read the poem? Is it how I relate to it? Is it how words and meaning of the lines relate to each other as in, “to meet a blade like a battered helmet“? I don’t know. But following the trace of the experience in my imagination/memory it feels as if at a certain moment all the relationships between words, lines, meaning, feeling ‘gel’ into a highly coherent whole. The ecology of the living field has reached a tipping point and evokes an insight, feelings, childrendetail2-cory_enchconnectedness, inspiration – sheer beauty.
This leads me to the understanding that creating the ecology and atmosphere for a living field to resonate with high coherence is very much akin to art. This type of creation, though, goes way beyond the above mentioned definition of art as “deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions“. Creating living field art is also related to the question that shapes the boundary of that ecological niche of highly coherent resonance, asking, “Which dimension am I going to call on, explore and what are the ways, values and means I set out with?”

We know nothing of the living field in ‘ordinary circumstances’ – it is epiphanies that indicate the whereabouts of the high resonant spaces within it that can be used for artful constellation. And then, once the artist has gone through the epiphanic process provided by the living field, s/he can constellate circumstances and deliberately arrange elements so as to propagate an epiphany-prone ‘object of art’. A conversation, a poem, singing, growing a garden, sitting in a circle, writing, dynamic presencing, participatory design, intense we-fulness, the blossoming of the heart-chakra, cooking, painting, cuing up, communing with disembodied entities, a smile on the bus… it is epiphanies that turn these moments and movements into art, making space for beauty in form. There is, of course, always a magic at work, something forever out of control of the artist. Without it all these moments and ‘objects of art’ lose their color and feel; without this mysterious extra it all lacks authentic, beautiful presence in our real-life-stream.

childrendetail-cory_enchAn artist, a living field artist recognizes this ‘magic’, s/he follows its scent to where there is ‘light in the atmosphere’ that is on the brink of emerging as epiphany. S/he’ll arrange – often without knowing how – the words, gestures, colors, beings so that their relationships invoke and evoke, tease out what flows and resounds between them; these streaming sounds, the melody of the artist’s doing, entrain the relating participants into epiphany-prone circumstance. This is where everybody and everything involved is unfolding in a deeper, higher, utterly satisfying space, round and resting in itself, and expressing in religious people spiritually, in the aesthetic ones as beauty, in inquisitive beings as realizations and insights, in philosophic and scientific minds as truth, in life’s sailors as the winds of love, in kosmic space cowboys as bliss-bubbles, in earthlings as the joyful gravity of reality.

Becoming an artist of life entails more than sniffing out, co-creating, co-evolving the forms and ecologies for epiphany, it is developing spiraling processes that enlarge the circle of resonant living fields in the manifest and virtual realms by participating in their emergence wherever that may be, “making it up as we go” with all the other feelers of the collective world-being we truly are.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.

Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

childrenstorymural-cory_ench

Mural by Cory Ench

Enlightening the Passions – Day 4 (Powerlessness)

Powerlessness, limitations, the powers of those and that beyond me… this day was filled with intimate encounters with that very feeling.

But first I need to touch on some considerations that have come up in me regarding this exploration as a whole.
It’s next to impossible to separate feelings, the essential emotions that I’m exploring in this experiment, from basic story lines or concepts. Anger in and as itself really is “just an energy”, to quote a teacher I used to be with for a long, long time, that one cannot say anything about, for instance, if it has purpose, direction or whatever, without the use of concepts. Actually outside of symbols, ideas, language, concepts there is no such feeling as anger; there is actually no feelings and thoughts and bodies and things and energies – there is really not anything and not nothing; and most of all there is no difference, no differentiation and thus no communication except maybe a very general, boundless flowingness – and even saying that is already using concepts.
Anybody wanting to disagree with this can only do so by using the medium of communication and its accompanying concepts (or kiss or smack me, of course) – and she can only disagree because she can follow what I write here using her own concepts and sentences with subjects and objects (and all the other stuff)…

I mention this here because of its role that I saw very clearly saw this morning as I was starting my day (after a good cuddle and sweetness) with opening myself up to my awareness meandering and focusing in on one of the top 7 – 10 feelings. And as you can see from the first lines of this post, I landed with what looks presently to be a very likely candidate for the number 1 on my list of uncomfortable feelings: Powerlessness.
Once this was clear – and it took a few moments before I got an uncanny sense of certainty that, when it appears, clarifies the way for me – I needed to keep invoking it because the tendency to drift away, to dream off, to land in an internal mist that diffuses everything was very strong. So like I have been doing in my morning meanderings in the days before with the other feelings that then I explored, I invoked powerlessness again and again by remembering situations and (self)images from situations in which I felt utterly powerless, moving from the present into the past to uncover the many aspects of this.

The powerless anger I was mentioning yesterday is a most prominent member of this family of feelings, but this feeling has a very important brother (or is it a sister?) in powerless fear and sister (or is it brother?) in powerless grief.
“Today is the day of a family reunion of family Powerlessness,” I thought. And since it was hard to focus, or hard to stay in this company, I used a focusing question, repeating it again and again when I found I had drifted off, “How do I feel when I have no power at all?” When I am at the mercy of whoever happens to be in power, whoever has the upper hand. O, and I know how I feel! By God! Put anger, fear and grief in a pot, stir it well and spice with a sense of guilt and suffocation…

As I was exploring the traces of this feeling, it’s signature – what makes it so strong that I try in so many ways to avoid it – I saw that it is in a way the ‘flip side’ of surrender. To be powerless means “to be forced to surrender” – other than ‘being surrendered’ which just happens and is beyond one’s control to begin with, and happens ‘out of the blue’; being forced to surrender, historically and evolutionary is a man’s nightmare, and in my life something that happened when I was very young and many times after. Not only did I have to surrender what I wanted, but I also had to give up what I sorely needed, loving attention and whatever else a child needs from his parents or the grown ups that are to take care of him, and really don’t.

So what I learnt was suffocating powerlessness, burning powerlessness, sad-sad powerlessness, unreasonable powerlessness, and many other shades of forced surrender – and how to shield myself against actually feeling this, how to create imaginations and imagi-notions that made me feel powerful and influential again, how to manipulate at least my perception in such a way that I did not need to feel powerless. And, you might imagine, there is not much breathing in there!

So then allowing and breathing with powerlessness I felt limits solve, I felt flow happen in deep regions out of sight, I felt a sense of relief touch me deeply. And I think, “Yes, sometimes surrender is forced, or maybe even often, but do I therefor need to struggle, fight and cause a terribly time for me and/or my surround? Do I need an escape? Do I need in some way to do away with this feeling? What for? Does it change thereby? (No, it doesn’t.)”

And all day long little – and in the evening a bigger – matters appeared that kindled that feeling and, as much as was in me, I abided by the family Powerlessness that was called to be with me that moment.
And I wasn’t really amazed at all taht, as the day was almost done, I was confronted with a situation that showed my powerlessness in full bloom, and it was not too hard anymore to just be with it and have no blame for anyone, including me. And for moments I could even embrace it…


Starting up the experiment
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4 (Powerlessness)
Day 5
Day 6 (Jealousy)
Day 7 (Guilt & Jealousy)
Day 8
Day 9 (Shame)
Day 10 (Interlude)
Day 11 (Under Pressure)
Day 12
Day 13 (Clear Delight)


Day 14
Day 15 & 16
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19 (Dark Waves)
Day 20 (Time Out)
Day 21 (Splash)
Day 22 (Understanding)
Day 23 (Fear & Imagination)
Day 24 (Vulnerable)
Day 25
Day 26 (The Presence of The Past)
Ending the Experiment – Day 27 (Intentional Vulnerability)

Enlightening the Passions – Day 2

Once there is the resolve to move in a certain direction out of a basic understanding that this is “the call of my destiny”, things are more easy, even if from another point of view they might be hard.

Last night I was reading about suffering from a Buddhist point of view – suffering’s nature, origin, cessation and the path leading to the cessation – and it occurred to me that the thinking behind this both in the East and the West. and certainly the search to free oneself from the suffering that is thought to be caused by desire and attachment, is maybe a bit mistaken – or at least I used to be.
Suffering seems at first sight to be a feeling, and it is uncomfortable – sometimes it is somehow uncomfortable and at other times almost unbearable; almost because if indeed it is unbearable I’d loose all consciousness or drop dead aor I’d stop bearing it immediately. But what I keep finding as I put some light on my uncomfortable feelings is that they are not at all what suffering is; it’s the stories I tell myself, and eventually others, about the causes or “reasons for being” of these feelings – suffering is a story, the feeling is… well, (most) uncomfortable.
The same goes for desire and attachment (both basically have the same ‘signature’, only the one seems to be more agentive than the other); when now I inspect my desires as they make their appearance in the field of my awareness – it is the story that I tell myself about the feeling: “This is a desire for that,” that turns the feeling into ‘desire’. Embracing what is called desire, and somewhat stripping away the need to do something about it, actually experiencing it like I would a piece of art that I do not necessarily understand, it turns out to be quite ok to have, it’s actually interesting to be with.
Now I don’t know if I would say the same thing if much stronger desires arise… if it happens within the next days that I conduct this experiment, I’ll report it here. Promise.

Another thing I’ve noticed yesterday night and today so far (when writing this) is the amazing amount of small irritations that dance their (mostly little) dance in many situations. And being irritated seems to not only be triggered by not getting what I want in those moments but by remarks, small gestures, almost ‘nothings’. And, it’s an interesting feeling, really. It seems to manifest bodily somewhere in the lower throat area and consist of little needly bubbles (hmm, I just made those words up to indicate something I’ve never tried to paint in words before).
An interesting aspect of this I’ve noticed in a team meeting around noon is that simply noticing and ‘yessing’ the basic irritation feeling it doesn’t play out in the conversation or discussion anymore. Patience, something I’ve cherished over the years being an impatient person – or so I thought -, patience isn’t needed at all because the irritation doesn’t cause anything, it doesn’t flow into behavior or words or even concepts. One could say it’s there as the waves on a lake, just rippling away…
In my morning’s contemplation my awareness drifted into close inspection and then embrace of one of my Top Seven (or so) uncomfortable feelings that has a major novel as accompanying story. 🙂 It’s name not being important enough to mention in this context here… (which is an amazing discovery in itself, as this experiemnt is about shedding light on the feelings in their very essence, not in how they play out as story in life; a story that is malleable whereas the feeling itself seems not to be so malleable, but simply very present.)
I circled it and found that when the feeling and I really touch I almost don’t breathe anymore. This feeling takes my breath away / I stop to breathe “spontaneously” when this feeling appears on the horizon. In the safe bounds of my morning’s contemplation I can embrace it, trace it’s signature in my body and mind, and can quite easily be with it. This is when I invoke a feeling…

… but when during dinner this evening I was confronted with enough trigger for my anger to appear and at the same time being basically powerless – I got angry, legitimately so my mind tells me, and at the same time knowing that I couldn’t do anything to change the situation (damn if I shout, damn if I don’t, damned if I run away etc.), powerless anger (“ohnm�chte Wut”, in German) – confronted with this… I had to leave the room, “and now embrace this!” I thought to myself.
Actually I didn’t – I was just about to say I couldn’t, but that’s not correct; the feeling became so powerful� very, very fast. So all I could do was leave the room and breathe very deeply a couple of times until it subsided enough so I could be with it – and still can be with the residues of the feeling.

Looking forward to continue this experiment, actually. A deep value seems to unfold in real time experience…


Starting up the experiment
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4 (Powerlessness)
Day 5
Day 6 (Jealousy)
Day 7 (Guilt & Jealousy)
Day 8
Day 9 (Shame)
Day 10 (Interlude)
Day 11 (Under Pressure)
Day 12
Day 13 (Clear Delight)


Day 14
Day 15 & 16
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19 (Dark Waves)
Day 20 (Time Out)
Day 21 (Splash)
Day 22 (Understanding)
Day 23 (Fear & Imagination)
Day 24 (Vulnerable)
Day 25
Day 26 (The Presence of The Past)
Ending the Experiment – Day 27 (Intentional Vulnerability)

Enlightening the Passions – Day 1 (Exploring feelings)

After having looked at the videos I posted about yesterday I decided to do an experiment testing in practice what Michael Brown speaks about in those videos. I will blog about this experiment and practice here because it will help me keep it up and reflect upon it daily, and it might help some of the people who read these blogs.

Let me give you a bit of background:
In the recent very challenging time in my relationship I discovered – or better, uncovered – a constant pattern of behavior: Deeply opening up to – trusting – someone will lead to abuse sooner or later. This pattern comes from my very young years when my mother gave me away to my grandparents who then put me in a boarding school that then kicked me out… don’t want to relate the long sad story of what f****d me up emotionally in my young years, only want to indicate an important influence to the present experiment.

Another important one is that I actually have a very fine-grained ability to feel my emotions; 30 years of therapy and a spiritual path that has been very adventurous has ‘helped’ me discern many shades of, for instance, grief, fear and anger.
And also: Looking at my feelings has almost exclusively happened with the intention of either healing, overcoming or transcending, and even if I did embrace my feelings – as in the meditations I used to do some years ago in which I did “Satsang with my demons” – it was always with the intention of finally healing them.

And finally one more piece of background to my experiment:
In this recent crisis I’ve discovered – or actually uncovered – the indisputable fact that my emotions, the dynamics of my feelings, are out of control; I cannot determine what I feel in almost every situation. For many people, especially women, this is certainly no surprise, and maybe it shouldn’t be one for me, but it is. This is absolutely clear to me now because as part of the crisis – how it came about – was me expressibly allowing, out of my conviction, something that, when it became a reality, deeply hurt, unexpectedly so.

The premises of the experiment

Being unconditionally with what is right now – flowing with life – is of supreme value (it feeds the soul, not only mine but of everybody I’m with, it is joyful and beautiful, it is needed for true love to unfold, and the foundation for understanding any kind of meaningful truth).

Being unconditionally with what/how I feel is an integral, and necessary, part of flowing with life as an actual experience here and now.

What matters experientally has (at least) 3 facets/components: physical, mental and emotional. By physical I mean the person(s) I’m with or the situation I’m in as a physical presence that ’cause’ or ‘trigger’ (partly) what I experience; the mental is the story I tell myself and/or others about this, my interpretation; and finally what I feel actually – feelings being the prime movers and motivators for my actions and behaviors and words in any given situation.

Feelings/emotions are neither good nor bad in an ethical sense, yet there are feelings I greatly value and seek and those I shun, flee and or want to get rid of. Some of them are ‘good’ in one circumstance and ‘bad’ in another.

The premise to be tested in this experiment is that all feelings, especially the uncomfortable ones, are potentially soul-food and enliven or quicken my present being-alive; they inspire in a most profound way by re-connecting me with the flow of life by intentional/willing/conscious participation. This is so as long as I am with these feelings unconditionally (not to heal, change, or in any way influence them).
An important aspect of feelings, maybe their raison d’etre, is to enliven my present state of being.

What this experiment has led to so far

Considering all this in one way or another I’ve identified a number of uncomfortable feelings that are an important part of the ‘melody of feelings’ that in some depth keep repeating themselves (at least when now I remember what goes on in general). I’ve identified 7 that seem to be basic and given them a label for easier identification. They are all situated in the lower breast and stomach area, 2 of them in the gut area.

Much of my behavior seems to be directed at influencing the situations I find myself in in such a way as to not ‘give reason’ for these feelings to come up, and if they come up to immediately avoid feeling them or if that’s unavoidable to diffuse them, throw some nebulae around them etc. If all of that doesn’t work I (like to) blame the other or situation for me having them, suggesting that if I could only change them/it everything would be alright again.

It also led me to, in my conversations – and at moments in other situations – keep an eye on the emotional melody playing. Since there were no overwhelming emotions it was easy to just be with them, ‘unconditionally’, dipping into their flow.

A very interesting effect: I haven’t been ‘reacting’ to what was communicated and could then much more easily respond to the content of what was said…

Design for next few days

In the morning after getting up spend 20 – 30 minutes with both contemplating my ‘feeling life’ and see if there are more primary uncomfortable feelings that need to be part of the Top Ten, and exploring the ones on the list already, that means:
* Remember situations that trigger  those feelings
* Unconditionally embrace the feeling
* Notice what comes up doing that (not pursuing it)

During the day keep an eye on the feelings, also scan for yet ‘unlisted primary feelings’.

Write about this in the evening.


Starting up the experiment
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4 (Powerlessness)
Day 5
Day 6 (Jealousy)
Day 7 (Guilt & Jealousy)
Day 8
Day 9 (Shame)
Day 10 (Interlude)
Day 11 (Under Pressure)
Day 12
Day 13 (Clear Delight)


Day 14
Day 15 & 16
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19 (Dark Waves)
Day 20 (Time Out)
Day 21 (Splash)
Day 22 (Understanding)
Day 23 (Fear & Imagination)
Day 24 (Vulnerable)
Day 25
Day 26 (The Presence of The Past)
Ending the Experiment – Day 27 (Intentional Vulnerability)

Help comes from amazing places

Being with my feeling – or as Michael Brown whom you’ll hear from in this interview with Jordan Shafer, that I discovered after receiving an email from Gilles Asselin who spoke with high regard about his book The Presence Process – without condition everything I require in life comes… this is a most amazing inspiration at this moment in time as I’m going through a rough situation in my private life, where it is as if a can of ugly worms of feelings has been opened. Feelings I know very well, feelings that have been part of my life’s story for a long time already; actually a melody of feelings that I liked NOT to listen to 🙂

So here they are. Hope they’ll help you as well.

If you don’t want to make view all of them, here is the gist: “If I can feel my discomfort and allow myself to be with it without condition consistently I’ll receive what I require to bring resolution.”

And here is a jewel:
“Once someone enters the experience being without condition upon their uncomfortable (emotional) signatures that very experience becomes the teacher.”

(Addendum: I have since started my an expiriment “Enlightening the Passions” in which I take my feelings, emotions and experience as a teacher… and it has proven to be an amazing teacher indeed; the best I ever had.


Starting up the experiment
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4 (Powerlessness)
Day 5
Day 6 (Jealousy)
Day 7 (Guilt & Jealousy)
Day 8
Day 9 (Shame)
Day 10 (Interlude)
Day 11 (Under Pressure)
Day 12
Day 13 (Clear Delight)

Day 14
Day 15 & 16
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19 (Dark Waves)
Day 20 (Time Out)
Day 21 (Splash)
Day 22 (Understanding)
Day 23 (Fear & Imagination)
Day 24 (Vulnerable)
Day 25
Day 26 (The Presence of The Past)
Ending the Experiment – Day 27 (Intentional Vulnerability)

Integral Community Building & Collaboration Ecology – 04 Collaborating for Community

Collaboration that creates and applies knowledge, understanding and eventually wisdom to create real community is very sophisticated behavior. Apart from subject matter expertise, skills, competence and experience (which are basic to competitive endeavours as well) the communities of practice that Community Development Professionals build require agreement and shared values, trust among individuals and organizations, and the efficient, full sharing of ideas, information, practises and processes. It rests upon the participants’ alignment with common intentions and works towards realizing a common purpose, goal or vision which is typically creative or innovative in nature.

As much as it is true that community development — being a dynamic, interdependent process with a diversity of participants — can be learned only through experience, it is also true that there are environments and processes that greatly enhance this learning. As a complex[1], and because of the required trust, potentially fragile process it needs a safe surrounding to germinate. Professional community development can really only be achieved properly by people who have matured sufficiently beyond the need for personal stardom (egotism), and who have understood that collaboration requires equal respect of all for all. Resilient, sustainable communities can best be regarded as voluntary, self-managing processes that can only be encouraged and facilitated — there will most likely never be standardized practices beyond the creation of an ecology of values, purposes and principles that foster collaboration and the personal contact with and facilitation by a Community Development Professional. The replicability of this process lies in the education of and in sufficient support structures for Community Development Professionals.

Community development starts with rediscovering or creating common ground: shared experiences and/or values, intentions, visions. The environment in which it develops easily is one of being attentively and open-mindedly present to others, giving authentic feedback and “being yourself”, expecting others to likewise be; a willingness to accept differences in perspective, perception and opinion. This is relatively easy once a deep mutual understanding of “our commonality of intention, vision and value” has taken root.

To use economic terms, “Developing community requires ongoing investments in intangible assets over extensive periods of time.” Building trust, which is the major ingredient of effective and successful communities, takes time as does creating an atmosphere or ecology of common values, purpose and all the other hard to measure human traits that community is made of. Engaging conversations that connect people and are the stuff relationships are mostly made of; developing community is an investment in people and their creativity and inventiveness and it involves unpredictable outcomes. Developing communities that have real value, if it is regarded as an actual financial investment done by one or more stakeholders, is a challenging “business” and should be well considered beforehand. However, the economic results are definitely measurable as they demonstrate reduced risks, faster performance and greater or new sources of revenues; and solving organisational, social and environmental challenges through the application of collective wisdom, challenges that, if not handled properly, easily can cause substantial economic losses.


 

 

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 5

[1] Actually the process of collaboration is only complex when regarded through analytical and linear lenses. When regarded from within a collaborating entity it is a naturally unfolding emergent dynamic system which is often better regarded as a work of art, ‘practical beauty’ is a term that comes to mind; a beauty that is easily seen in a natural landscape or ecology.