Category: Grace



Published on Apr 10, 2017

This short composition is a poetic tribute, a window into the inner dimension of Igor’s work and his community Flowing Wakefulness, which serves as a container for the spontaneous flow of Grace.

Created by Prema S. Landbauer. Photography courtesy of Flowing Wakefulness, captured at the 7-day immersion and a 3-day spillover at Château Frandeux, Belgium February-March 2017.

Website: http://www.igorkufayev.com


Published on Mar 13, 2017

Gangaji speaks of the strong and flexible mind that neither indulges nor denies or fights the conditioning, triggers, habits of live. In simply being still, as very powerful waves of conditioning come to shore and wash back out, you are true to what has called you home, the truth of yourself.

I remember hearing that spiritual prayer of acknowledged gratitude over and over again while I was growing up. And I certainly heard the nuns say it. As a child, I loved the sound of that phrase because it was a phrase that seemed to hide a great jewel of wisdom. It was a type of treasure chest made of simple words that when strung together communicated a powerful truth. “Except for the grace of God go I.” It was apparent that those words conveyed some sort of profound meaning because I noticed how the nuns would nod their heads in a type of collective agreement after one of them uttered that phrase. Eventually I let go of my mission to crack through the deeper meaning of this phrase and got on with the business of growing up. I was about eight-years-old when I made that decision.

That phrase exploded out of the dust of my mental archives in my early thirties, right on time you might say. It was just one of those days, really, that starts out gorgeous but ends up being a game changer. That day was made for walking. So that’s what I did. After a few hours, I got an iced-tea and sat on a bench to check messages and all that sort of thing. I didn’t pay any notice at all to the guy who sat on the bench a few minutes later. Why would I? But, as I was about to find out, certainly noticed me.

He asked me if I would get him an iced tea. One glance told me he was homeless or en route to that crisis. I asked him if he wanted a sandwich, so long as I was getting him a cold drink. He did. I turned to leave as soon as I gave him his meal but then he said he hated to eat alone and would I mind just sitting with him. I was uncomfortable as all get out – I mean down to the pit of my stomach. But I was in a familiar park and it was day light and I knew I could run faster than him…so I figured, ugh….okay. UGH

He took one bite out of his sandwich, one gulp of his drink and said, “I know you want to get the hell away from me. I know you are uncomfortable as hell right now. You don’t know me or anything about me. I’m a veteran. The war in my head won’t stop. I just try to find quiet places now. That’s all.”

My heart hurt. I could feel the pain in my chest explode. My eyes filled with tears and all I could hear in my head was, “Except for the grace of God go I.” I could have been sent to harm others or to face some type of horror. Or I could have witnessed nightmares early on, but I did not. I sat next to him and felt the whole of my life reshape itself into a simple but deeply meaningful prayer of gratitude and one of grace for the other. It is these moments, these tiny encounters that just show up out of nowhere, that are the purest expression of God in the small and present details of your life. This man changed my life. I have looked for him many times in the park near my home and have never seen him again – not to imply that he was “not of the Earth”. We have yet to cross paths again, but I hope it does happen.

Through him, I entered into yet a deeper mystery about life but with so much gratitude about each day of my life. This is one of my own prayers:

I never know where I will find You or how You will speak to me. Some days it is through new person and other days it is through a new experience. Each day I become more aware of something I did not understand or realize before. I knew I should be grateful for all that I have but now I realize I should also be grateful for all that I do not have. For I do not have traumatic war memories and I do not have scars from being a refugee and I do not have the fear of a homeless person. I am grateful for all I have and for all I do not have. If I am grateful for having been spared a suffering, give me the grace to help those who are suffering. Amen”

The tragedy of our existence is that this beautiful planet is actually Heaven on Earth, but we are not aware of it. We are lost in the mind. We are lost in illusion and separation. We are not fully here, and so we do not know who we are or where we are.

Heaven on Earth is occupied by billions of unconscious humans. We have claimed dominion over this planet and that is our greatest mistake. We do not have dominion over anything. At most we are caretakers, which means that we should take care.

We are sharing this planet with millions of species, all of them more present than us. In our unconsciousness, we are causing so much harm to the other species and to the world of nature.

If we are to assume our true role as caretakers of Heaven on Earth, we will have to awaken into Presence. We will have to awaken into a level of consciousness where we experience the Oneness that is inherent in everything. We will have to become so present that we experience God as the silent Presence in all things present. We will have to recognize that everything in physical form is the body of God and that this planet is indeed Heaven on Earth. Perhaps then, will we take care!


Published on Jul 25, 2016

Speaking at SAND, Francis Lucille answers the question of why it seems that some people are blessed with the miracle of conscious awakening and others are not.

Francis Lucille is a spiritual teacher in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta. A long time disciple of Jean Klein whom he met in 1975, he was a friend of Robert Linssen, Wolter Keers, Yvan Amar, William Samuel and Robert Adams. He was also influenced by J. Krishnamurti, Krishna Menon and Wei Wu Wei, whom he knew personally. Many contemporary Advaita teachers have attended his teaching events. Francis transmits the ancient teaching of nonduality, the common ground of Advaita Vedanta, Ch’an Buddhism, Zen, Taoism and Sufism.


Hi Everyone,

Who is not thinking of the Orlando massacre today? And what is it that can be said to calm the fires that are now burning in our minds and souls? I am sure that most if not all of you have read the posts of people expressing their horror, their sympathy, their outrage at yet one more incident of mass killing, now so familiar to this country. And once again – yet again – that endless debate ensues: Is it the guns that kill or the people holding the guns? Seriously? I don’t even want to comment on that NRA spin tactic. I am wondering this morning if this killer was himself a repressed homosexual who, according to his ex-wife, was brutal and abusive to her. Filled with self-loathing about his own sexuality and raised on yet another religious creed promoting archaic sexual ideas, he imploded. Claiming allegiance to ISIS seems a logical cover-up, but who knows? Could be – and it could also be typical of someone who, lacking self-esteem, he identified with a violent, vengeful power group. I don’t know. No person is that simple. But how tragic for this country if – and I say if – this was in fact a homophobic act of terrorism and not actually a political one.

We are so ripe with hatred now, so on edge, so ready to strike. That reality explains the rise of Trump – who immediately tweeted his version of, “I told you so,” nearly delighting – actually, totally delighting – in this human nightmare of death and destruction. He sees only political opportunity. Now that is evil. Enough on that.

Obviously I am going to guide all of you into prayer – but not yet. First comes introspection and examination. What is going on here? Why have we become infected with violence, fear, and hatred? And it’s not just us – meaning Americans, although we have are rapidly morphing into a very violent nation. Other nations are infected with this “spiritual disorder” as well. And while I know some if not many of you will be inspired to respond with posts about all the good that people do, let me acknowledge right now that I see those acts as well. Note the immediate line of blood donors for all the gun shot victims in Orlando. We will always find people doing acts of goodness and kindness. I wrote a book about that – Invisible Acts of Kindness. I am not speaking about “acts”; I am addressing the energy in the collective atmosphere that we all breath in daily, the psychic field that surrounds us that is growing ever more thick with vibrations of on-coming catastrophe.

Still, I am one who steps back – and even further back if necessary – to widen my inner lens. We are more than the events unfolding in the more. Human history includes more than what takes place on Earth in a single day, though a single day can change the course of human history. It has a million times. We need to see clearly that we are the engine of the events that happen on our Earth: They just don’t “happen.” Nothing “just happens.” Each of us contributes energy to the collective and that energy becomes the “stuff” that is gathered to fuel or create collective events. Either we contribute grace or we contribute to the cesspool of “psychic free radicals”, negative thoughts and energetic patterns, that magnetically enhance socially negative ideas. In turn, that builds the atmosphere of social madness and fear.

History is the greatest of all teachers, at least for me. Again and again, the rise of tyrants reveals that they managed to plug into the currents of contaminated social and emotional energy generated by a society when it was most vulnerable. They promised to lead the people out of their misery, only to use lead them deeper into psychic and often actual slavery. Times of change are frightening, to be sure. What do we believe? Who do we trust?

What makes this time unlike any other in history is that we – all of us – have opened our inner selves intuitively and spiritually to a commitment to “trust our own spiritual instincts.” Whether we knew we were doing this consciously or unconsciously, the result is the same. We have become psychically alive and active in our inner landscape. We have been schooled for a long time now in the higher truth that the world “in front of our eyes” is an illusion. That DOES NOT MEAN that mass murder DOES NOT HAPPEN AND DID NOT HAPPEN. What is DOES mean is that we CAN NEVER BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN WHY IT HAPPENED BECAUSE WE WILL NEVER, EVER HAVE ACCESS TO THE CONTENT OF ANOTHER’S SOUL. To come to a conclusion that we know why someone did something and that a law can control what is in the minds and hearts of people is utter nonsense. That is illusion. And further, we have no idea what the energies of evolution – of history – are up to. Stand back and observe from a distance. The archetypes in the heavens are throbbing with clues.

Remember that no one has access to the content of your soul – no one. No one can fully, ever know why you do what you do. You hardly know half the time.

What we can know is that all of us – ALL OF US – channel the grace and psychic free radicals that we collectively breath. We create our world together. Our actions individually and collectively matter. These are the teachings we need to practice at every expression of our life. Talk is not enough. If we oppose gun violence, act on that opposition – and more than just through email. Stand up to passive, cowardly politicians. Act on your beliefs. Just as with healing – an email will never, ever heal you. Healing requires action on every level of your life. Talking your beliefs is no longer enough. It means nothing and it does nothing. Either you act with integrity in the world, speak with integrity and live your beliefs fully – or you don’t. And it’s time you fully grasp that there are energetic consequences to the collective with every choice you make. And that goes for all the rest of us as well.

It is not enough for me to speak about healing or mysticism. I need to teach it, write about, and direct my trips to places that I know are sacred. I could have just as easily created a trip to Greece or England or the Amazon but I deeply believe that the time calls for a journey to a sacred place, Medjugorje and Croatia. These are extraordinary times – in all ways.

All religions offer prayers of protection and for good reason. Psychic free radicals is a way of describing a dark energy. It’s real. Ask any physician. They exist “in” your body and believe me, they exist around your body. This is Mysticism 101.

Prayer: Hover over me, Lord, and over humanity. If ever grace was needed, it is now. Surround this tiny planet of life with Divine Light. It is shaking in fear and exhausted with acts of violence. We are on the verge of losing our humanity. We have come close before and we cannot go there again.

Hover over all of us, Lord.

Source: Myss

During the opening of this talk, Leonard explains what awakening is and he emphasizes the value of being present. Leonard identifies who we are when we are present and shares how the quality of our lives improves as we settle more fully into Presence. Other topics include: Meditation and spiritual practice, What is the ego? Right relationship with the ego, Experiencing God, Accepting duality, Presence and mastery, Inviting grace into your life, Liberating the energy of anger, In the present moment, there are no problems, Bringing consciousness to attachments, Coming to your senses, Presence and relationships, What is your story? Relaxing into, “Ah this,” Why are we so lost in the mind? The strongest addiction, Defining “Presence” and “mind.”

The Second Mystical Law: Forgiveness is Essential

Scientists, physicians, and psychologists who have researched the relationship between stress and illness have concluded that the ability or inability to forgive affects the outcome of serious illness. People who have a forgiving nature increase their chances of recovery.

Forgiveness is a mystical, not a logical, command. It makes no sense to the reasoning mind, because the reasoning mind is incapable of forgiveness. Genuine forgiveness is a self-initiated mystical act that requires the assistance of grace to release you from the compulsive and often self-righteous chatter of the ego, which continually enforces a position of entitled anger or hurt.

Forgiveness is not the act of releasing the aggressor, though it is usually interpreted this way. Nor is it a way of telling others that what they have done is “okay” with you and “all is forgiven now.” Neither of those interpretations even come close to the mystical essence of forgiveness, which is fundamentally between you and God. A genuine act of forgiveness takes place in the inner landscape where your disappointed, hurt, abused, or angry ego confronts your soul, which holds to a cosmic template of justice. The ego wants to hold another person responsible for why certain events in your life turned out as they did or for why you were hurt or treated unfairly. We always want justice to serve us and not the “other”, which, of course, means we always want to be right.

Ultimately, forgiveness is a battle between the righteousness of your ego and your capacity to transcend whatever situation you’ve experienced that has shattered the following myths that maintain that suffering is deserving of recognition, reward, or righteous vengeance:

*God is on your side and only your side.
*Justice should be logical and reasonable and always serve your side of the story.
* God follows the code of human law – if you do only good things, bad things will
never happen to you, and, of course, you never do bad things.
*You are entitled to have all things work out in your favor.

We can’t forgive others when these myths fail us, and they do fail us through the relationships and events that make up the tapestry of our lives. Understanding the essence of forgiveness is one of the most deeply healing and liberating gifts you can give to yourself.

From a cosmic perspective your life is far more complex than you can measure by the influence of one or two relationships. There is a higher law that rules the spirit, a mystical law that holds no allegiance to the laws of religion.

Reach deep into your soul and surrender to that which your ego cannot comprehend. The greatest challenge is to forgive those who you could so easily justify retaliating against, for when is your mind so clear of illusions that you truly grasp why events happen as they do?

The mystical truth is that forgiveness has nothing whatsoever to do with the person you are forgiving; it is a self-initiated act of transformation In which you release yourself from a level of consciousness that binds you to the illusion that you are safe and protected in a world of chaos and that your God is the only God of justice and fairness for all humanity.

The fairness of the divine is in the equality of chaos and in our capacity to do evil to each other, as well as in our capacity to release each other from hell. Forgiveness is an act so powerful that a resurrection of the inner self does indeed occur, because you are retrieving your spirit from the dead zone of past traumas and unfinished business.

What you can do:

Pray for the grace to forgive, and be ready to act on that grace. Let it melt through traumatic memories and do your best not to fight the meltdown, because it will happen, and when it does, refer to the power of wisdom of the other laws for support.

Caroline Myss – Freedom of humbleness, Finding your light, Mystical path and Grace

Caroline Myss is a five-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally renowned speaker in the fields of human consciousness, spirituality and mysticism, health, energy medicine, and the science of medical intuition. Caroline established her own educational institute in 2003, CMED (Caroline Myss Education), which offers a diverse array of programs devoted to personal development and draws students from all over the world. In addition to hosting a weekly radio show on the Hay House network, Caroline maintains a rigorous international workshop and lecture schedule.

After completing her Master’s degree, Caroline co-founded Stillpoint Publishing and headed the editorial department, producing an average of ten books a year in the field of human consciousness and holistic health. Simultaneously Caroline refined her skills as a medical intuitive, with the assistance of C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D., a Harvard-trained neurosurgeon.
Caroline developed the field of Energy Anatomy, a science that correlates specific emotional/psychological/physical/spiritu­al stress patterns with diseases. Her research proved so accurate that it became the subject matter of a book co-written by Caroline and Norm: THE CREATION OF HEALTH. http://www.myss.com/

The Grace and Kindness of Words seeks to aid in the rediscovery of the beauty and magic of words. Every word tells a special story.

For the love of words—if this resonates in your heart, then this book is for you.

If I, Niki Nicoletti, were president of the world, I would pass one law. Each day, every global citizen would be required to daydream for a minimum of twenty minutes. No cell phones allowed. No work allowed. No responsibilities. This would be time spent imagining what life would be like if you lived on a houseboat, or owned the red farmhouse you passed each day on your way to work. A simple life filled with stories created by your imagination.

Finding joy in the simple things like receiving a special love note or being kissed for the first time can ensure that you laugh. And when you laugh, you are reminded that Life Always Unleashes Great Humans.

Niki Nicoletti has always had a deep love for all things simple. She has spent many hours people watching, laughing, eating great food, and drinking great wine. She enjoys exploring new places and embraces the diversity that makes up our planet and its people. She has a quirky sense of humor and loves 80’s love ballads.

Niki’s love of words was realized when she joined a writing group and began journaling and writing poetry. In The Grace and Kindness of Words, Niki shares the experience she had when she began gifting rocks engraved with words and the reactions her family and friends had to such a simple sentiment.

Niki would like to use her messages to encourage the reader to create his or her own story and allow individual creativity to shine through.

From the bestselling author and host of NPR’s On Being comes a master class in living drawn from the inspiring stories of extraordinary individuals who possess what she calls “spiritual genius”

Over the fifteen years that Krista Tippett has hosted her award-winning and nationally beloved radio program on NPR, first under the title Speaking of Faith and then as On Being, the heart of her work has been to shine a light on the most extraordinary people at work on the big issues and questions of the day, people whose missions kindle in us a sense of wonder. Scientists in a variety of fields; theologians from a number of faiths; poets, activists, and many others have all opened themselves up to Tippett’s compassionate but searching conversation.

In Becoming Wise, Tippett distills the insights she has gleaned from these luminous characters about the meaning of life in its many dimensions into a coherent narrative journey, over time and from mind to mind, that explores what it means to be human. The book is a master class in living, curated by Tippett but presided over by a delightfully ecumenical dream team of a teaching faculty. The art of living can mean many things to many different people. The questions most of us are asking ourselves today are intimate and civilizational all at once–definitions of when life begins and when death happens; the meaning of marriage and family; the human relationship to the natural world; our relationships to technology and through technology: how then shall we live? Tippett’s great gift, in her work and in Becoming Wise, is to avoid reductive simplifications but still find the golden threads that weave people and ideas together into a shimmering braid.

One powerful common denominator of the lessons imparted to Tippett is the gift of presence, of the exhilaration of engagement with life for its own sake, not as a means to an end. Called enlightenment, called transcendence, often called nothing because it is beyond language, it is a state whose gifts can be described in many ways–nourishing, edifying, redemptive–as can its celebrants: courageous, tender, adventurous, curious. But presence does not mean passivity or acceptance of the status quo. Indeed Tippett’s teachers are people whose work meets, and often drives, some of the most powerful forces of change alive in the world today. In the end, perhaps the greatest blessing conveyed by the lessons of spiritual genius Tippett harvests in Becoming Wise is the strength to meet the world where it really is, and then to make it even better.

Krista Tippett is a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and New York Times bestselling author. In 2014, she received the National Humanities Medal at the White House for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence.” She is the host of NPR’s On Being.

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Krista Tippett: On Being

Krista Tippett hosts her popular radio show “On Being” live from the PopTech stage with regular contributors Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin as they discuss the human aspect of rebellion.

Did you know? That we are powerful beings with the ability to use our inner strength for the benefit of humankind.

Throughout her life, Susan Kapatoes has felt moments of divine intervention – compelling events that caused her to remember and experience the omnipresent energy that is moving through our infinite universe and permeating our everyday lives.

A Spiritual Journey chronicles turning points in Kapatoes’s life. These are the unexpected moments that deeply touched her heart, revealing our existence extends far beyond the boundaries of the physical world. Stories of love, friendship, and difficulty are shared, along with those moments of grace, inviting the reader to expand his or her consciousness towards a greater reality.

Kapatoes shares the inner tools for igniting our own spiritual journey: sincerity, awareness, joy, and knowledge. We all have access to such tools. How we choose to use these instruments dictates the course of our own lives, and that of humanity. A Spiritual Journey empowers each of us to take positive action and awaken our own inherent wisdom.

Greetings to all 🙂 Throughout my life, I have had the unexpected opportunity to experience certain events that can be described as divine intervention. In a beneficial manner, I have been shown that we have a spiritual existence coinciding with our human reality. I felt compelled to write about these graceful times in order to help people expand their consciousness and connect to their own inner wisdom. We are powerful beings with the ability to awaken our inherent strength in a positive way. In “A Spiritual Journey”, I describe those moments of grace and share personal stories which have shaped my own life.

As a result of my life experiences, I like to write spiritual and nonfiction books with an uplifting theme. I have always been intrigued by success stories and understanding what drives people to find inner happiness.

In regards to my educational background, I hold a bachelor of science in Human Nutrition and a masters degree in Healthcare Administration management. As a complement to my formal learning, I have studied holistic medicine which utilizes a multidisciplinary approach in order to promote balance and optimal well-being in a person’s life.

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A Spiritual Journey by Susan Kapatoes

Throughout her life, Susan Kapatoes has felt moments of divine intervention: powerful experiences that deeply touched her heart, revealing our existence extends far beyond the boundaries of the physical world. Stories of love, friendship, and spiritual grace are shared, along with those moments of doubt and uncertainty that beset any life.

Kapatoes shares the inner tools for igniting our own spiritual journey: sincerity, joy, a peaceful mind, and a strong spirit. We all have access to such tools. How we choose to use them dictates the course of our own lives, and that of humanity. A Spiritual Journey empowers each of us to take positive action and awaken our inner light and wisdom.



Why does suffering exist? When will it end? Where is God in it?

Despite how common suffering is, we still struggle to understand it, and even more, to bear through it. Between Pain and Grace gets to the heart of this struggle. Born from a popular college course on suffering, this book answers many of our critical questions, like:

  • Is God personally involved in our pain and suffering?
  • How should Christians handle emotions like grief and anger?
  • What does the Bible say about issues like mental illness, sexual abuse, and betrayal?

Striking an elegant balance between being scholarly on the one hand and heartfelt on the other, Between Pain and Grace is useful both in the classroom and for personal reading. The authors pull together Scripture, personal experiences, and even psychological research to offer a well-rounded and trustworthy take on suffering.

Between Pain and Grace will give you confidence in God’s sovereignty, comfort in His presence, and wisdom for life this side of paradise.

GERALD PETERMAN is Professor of Bible and Director of the Master of Arts, Biblical and Theological Studies at Moody Bible Institute. Before coming to Moody he taught at Palm Beach Atlantic College in West Palm Beach, FL, spent 4 1/2 years doing church planting for the Evangelical Free Church in central Florida and in south central Iowa, and also served eight years in the Air National Guard as a Chaplain. Peterman also serves part-time at his local church. For Moody Publishers he has written Joy and Tears: The Emotional Life of the Christian (2013) and is currently co-authoring Between Pain and Grace: A Biblical Theology of Suffering with Dr. Andrew Schmutzer. Research interests include New Testament Greek Language and Exegesis, Greek and Roman Background to the New Testament, and Biblical Theology. Gerald has been married to Marjory L. Peterman since January 1984, with two adult daughters, Bethany and Grace.



ANDREW SCHMUTZER (PhD
, Trinity International University) is Professor of Biblical Studies at Moody Bible Institute (Chicago, Illinois). In addition to numerous articles and essays on the Old Testament, he has written the exegetical theology Be Fruitful and Multiply and two forthcoming commentaries on Ruth and Esther.

As you become fully present, thoughts stop. But the ego exists within a framework of thought. If thoughts stop, the ego feels like it is disappearing. It feels like death to the ego. Do you think the ego is going to stand by and let you kill it off? Not likely!

And even if you reassure the ego that it is not being annihilated, it will still not allow you to be present. The ego does not exist in the present moment, and so it is not in control when you are present. It is not in control until you think your way back into the world of the mind. And the ego has no intention of relinquishing control. After all, it has been in control since you were just a small child.

A part of this process of awakening and becoming permanently established in presence is to come into right relationship with the ego, and with every aspect of whom you have become at the level of mind ego. No longer trying to change or fix yourself or get rid of anything, you enter into a deep and ongoing process of accepting, acknowledging, expressing and confessing every aspect of who you have become.

This is only possible when you are awake in Presence.

It is as if the Godly dimension of you, which is a silent and awakened Presence of love, acceptance and compassion, encounters and embraces the human dimension of you, which has been journeying through time and has had to endure all the pain of separation that is an inherent part of that journey through time.

If you continue to condemn the human dimension of yourself, which is less than perfect, then who is the one condemning? It is not the awakened Presence, for that dimension of you is completely without judgment. It is just a part of the ego, splitting off to condemn itself.

It might sound somewhat self defeating, but actually, it is exactly what the ego wants. The energy of judgment keeps you bound within the world of the mind, where the ego is in control. The ego thrives on judgment, condemnation and rejection. It gets stronger in the face of such negative energy.

But if the ego is embraced with love, acceptance and compassion, it has no defense to that. It does not know what to do. Eventually it will simply relax and surrender.

There is no greater power than the power of love, which arises from Presence. It overcomes all resistance and aggression.

Being present is ultimately quite ordinary. Occasionally it opens up and reveals the extraordinary, but that only occurs through grace. We must be willing to accept the present moment as ordinary, before the present moment will reveal its hidden treasures. And you must be willing to allow those extraordinary moments to pass, without trying to hold onto them, if you want to remain present and in the truth of life.

This approach will allow you to become more and more grounded in presence. You will keep deepening into presence.

Until one day, you will declare,

“It is accomplished. I am awake. At last, I am here, now.”

And the angels will sing, “Hallelujah!”

The two dimensions of ego

Leonard Jacobson explains how we leave the present moment, become imprisoned by thought forms and function in the world as egos. He describes a second level of ego, which is completely independent of us and reveals the way to overcome its dominance in our lives.

How to Relax into Life as a Living Meditation, More Fully and Enjoyably as You…

This cherished collection of invitations supports you in practical and profoundly human ways to become more awake to yourself and the world of your experience. Embracing topics such as trust, love, blame, attraction, anger, self-remembrance, abundance, and many more, these “reading meditations” demonstrate how available it is to awaken more deeply to the present moment, here and now. No need to go off to a cave in the Himalayas! Rediscover how to live in acceptance of “What Is,” how to access the experience of oneness in any given moment, and how each and every aspect of who you are, no matter what, benefits you directly in this sacred process.

Canela Michelle Meyers has been supporting people to Awaken to themSelves (encompassing all aspects of the human experience as opportunities for expansion) in Transformational Satsang gatherings since 1999 worldwide. “Right Here, Right Now Meditations” is offered as a direct support to Awakening to, and embodying, the Truth — this that is available to all people, no matter what they know, don’t know, or how long they have been looking, or not looking, for “This That Is.” To learn more about the author, visit http://www.CanelaMichelle.com.

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Canela Michelle Meyers – ‘Recognising Truth’ – Interview by Renate McNay

This is a story of awakening. Canela Michelle Meyers guides us through different experiences where Awareness was knocked wide open. She takes us through the adjustments in her body and in her life that occurred thanks to these experiences till the shift to the Awakened State of Being happened. Canela is the author of Right Here, Right Now Meditations.
http://www.conscious.tv

ALSO VIEW HERE on the interview with BATGAP

“What’s wrong with me?” So many of us regularly experience feelings—such as shame, loneliness, self-hatred, or just a general sense of deficiency—that give rise to this question. For over 35 years, clinical psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach has worked with people to relieve this kind of emotional suffering and guide them toward spiritual awakening.

Brach is the founder of the Insight Meditation Community in Washington, DC, and author of True Refuge and Radical Acceptance. She spoke with S&H about feelings of unworthiness, working with these painful feelings, and healing in relationships.

Tell me about the “trance of unworthiness.”

When people start looking more closely at the reasons that they’re having a difficult time feeling close to other people, they often realize that it’s because they are not liking themselves. Over the last few decades, I have found that the deepest expression of suffering that we have—especially in the West—is this sense that “I’m not okay. I’m deficient. I’m falling short in some way.”

A woman once told me about being with her mother while she was dying. Her mother came out of a coma and said, “All my life I thought something was wrong with me,” and then she went back in the coma and died. For this woman, it was the greatest gift to hear that. So many of us spend huge amounts of our lives feeling this way—sometimes it’s a very explicit dramatic sense of being damaged goods, and other times it’s a subtler layering of judging ourselves. We’re not good enough. We’re falling short. We should be doing something better. Whatever level this is happening on, when we are turned against ourselves, we cannot embrace our world with an open heart.

How does this feeling of falling short affect our lives?

It affects everything. It is affecting this conversation right now that you and I are having. There’s some monitoring going on: Am I doing my job? Am I likable? Am I going to make a good impression?

This background doubt in every communication makes it hard for us to do any number of things, such as take a risk at work. It can also drive addictions because we feel anxious about failing and have to soothe ourselves. Most dramatically, we can see it in our relationships. You can’t be intimate with someone else unless you have a capacity to embrace your inner life. Whenever we’re with other people, if we’re not feeling aligned with ourselves, there is some part of us that is always trying to get approval or avoid being judged.

Where do you think these feelings of unworthiness come from?

Each of us grew up with set standards—provided to us by our caregivers and the larger culture—that informed us how to act in order to be loved or respected. I should look a certain way. I should achieve certain things. At work we have these ideas of what it means to be successful, and we’re always rating ourselves and other people. We have ideas about what it means to have a good personality or what it means to look good. The larger culture has very explicit standards on what it means to “make it.”

To the degree we judge ourselves as less than, there’s this gap between the standard and our sense of self that weighs us down, and we can feel it in our body. Some people say, “Well, it’s just a belief,” but the belief we are falling short has a physical correlate—shame and depression show up in our bodies, for example.

The culture is particularly toxic for those who aren’t in the dominant culture, because they most clearly don’t meet the standards. Marginalized people—such as people of color, certain ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender orientations—often have this sense of not being good enough, which runs very, very deep.

Earlier you mentioned that these kinds of feelings manifest most dramatically in our relationships. That makes it sound like feelings of unworthiness are closely related to feelings of loneliness. What advice would you give to somebody who feels lonely?

First, I would like to say that loneliness is a more attuned way of paying attention. When we feel that we’re not measuring up, we feel estranged. Feeling lonely is a deep and painful experience. And, actually, if you can get to even being able to name it, that means you’re pretty far along, because it usually takes some digging.

If you can name it, then you can begin to bring a healing presence to it. That’s the reality. So let’s say you’re stuck with this kind of vague sense that something is wrong with you, and it’s very deep and it’s hard to begin to work with it. If you can say, “Right now I’m feeling loneliness,” then this is where we can begin to bring in really powerful, radical tools of practice. We can lean into the feeling, name it, and open up to it with a real interest. We can ask, “What does lonely feel like? Where is it in my body? Where do I feel it the most? If my face could make the expression of lonely, what would it look like?” If you make the expression with your face, that will then reconnect you even more in a somatic way to the rest of your body.

Then see if you can really go right inside the lonely feeling. If the lonely feeling could say, “Here’s what I most want in this moment,” what would it be? The core question is what does that lonely place most need from you right now?

So we don’t push the lonely feeling—or whatever feeling it is—away. It sounds like a process of accepting the feeling.

Yes. When we’re at war with ourselves—and in some way blaming ourselves for how we are—the true place of transformation is when there’s a rousing quality of self-compassion and self-forgiveness. You can say, “I forgive this loneliness.” You’re not saying this is bad, but that you forgive it. What you’re really saying is, “This is the inner weather system right now, and I forgive it or let go of any resistance to how it is. I remove any blame, or any aversive kind of quality.” It’s a very tender letting be of what is.

When we teach our workshops, the practices of self-forgiveness and self-compassion are right at the center. Because you can’t be mindful of an emotion—let’s say loneliness or fear—if there’s a part of you that is blaming it. So there needs to be a quality of softness in the heart. There needs to be a tender space that makes room for what’s there in order to have a true mindful presence with it.

That’s why I often talk of the two wings of presence: mindful attention and heartfulness. Mindful attention is clarity about what’s happening in the moment, and heartfulness makes room for it with kindness.

But let’s say you’ve done something truly awful. Then aren’t we right to beat ourselves up a little?

Well, there’s a very important difference between wise discrimination and aversive judgment. We all need wise discrimination. We need to be able to move through our lives and look at our own behaviors and others and know what is creating harm and what is moving us toward healing. We need to be able to discriminate and say, “No, when I act like that—when I speak in that tone of voice to my child, for example—that causes shame.” That’s wise discrimination.

To say, “I’m a goddamn asshole. I can’t believe I did that.” That’s aversive judgment. And it does not serve to make war on ourselves for what we feel is harmful. In other words, if I have spoken in a shaming tone of voice to my son, for me to then shame myself does not make me more likely to be respectful in the future. Punishment doesn’t work. We know that. We know it doesn’t inspire our children or show them a way to grow and learn when they’ve behaved in ways that aren’t wise. It doesn’t work with criminals either.

It’s inevitable that we’re going to be imperfect. We all cause harm. We sometimes cause harm in ways that are very, very hard to forgive ourselves for. But it’s not until we can be with ourselves in a forgiving way that we can do the healing that actually inclines us toward being more helpful and healing for others in the future.

There’s a metaphor about this that I often use when I’m teaching. Let’s say you’re going through the woods and you see a dog by a tree and you reach down to pet the little dog, but it leaps at you with its fangs bared to attack you. In that moment you go from being friendly to angry at the dog. But then you see that the dog’s paw is in a trap. Then you shift from being angry to saying, “Oh, you poor thing.”

It’s just like when we’ve caused harm, or when someone’s caused us harm. There’s a leg in a trap. People do not cause suffering unless they’re suffering in some way. Being able to see that doesn’t mean that I then stand there and let the dog attack me. We still do what we need to do to protect ourselves, but it gives us the quality of heart that lets us respond to the situation in a much more compassionate and intelligent way.

How can we begin to have self-compassion in those moments when we are feeling very down on ourselves?

I’ll give you an example. Once I was working with a mother whose daughter was getting into drugs, and her grades were plummeting, and so on. This woman came to me because she was so angry with her daughter, and the angrier she got the more defensive her daughter got. So they were in a really bad standoff. When I started working with her, I asked, “Under that anger, what’s going on?” She went right into a place of shame, saying, “I failed her. This is happening because I’m a bad mother. I’m a terrible person.” She was really down on herself.

So I asked her to tell me how long she had been feeling that sense of failing another person, and she said, “All my life. I feel like I failed my mother. I failed my partner.” Then I asked, “What does it feel like when you feel like you’re failing someone?” She described it as this deep sense of hollowness and ache. Then I asked her what it’s like to know that she has spent so much of her life feeling like a failure. Then she had what I sometimes call this, like, “ouch” moment that’s kind of like a soul sadness. She saw the shape of her incarnation, how many life moments were lost to self-hatred.

At that moment, I asked her to get in touch with that part of her that felt so low and see what that feeling needed. She said, “It needs to feel some kindness.” So I had her put her hand on her heart—and I do this often because it’s so opposite of how we usually relate to ourselves—so that she could relate to herself with tenderness. And I had her offer the words that would be most comforting to her own place of feeling shame and hate. She ended up using a phrase that she had heard from me, which is “I’m sorry, and I love you.” It’s a phrase that I actually heard from a Hawaiian healer who offers it to himself and to everybody else.

That became her practice. Whenever she’d get caught in feeling that sense of failure, she would put her hand on her heart and just say, “I’m sorry, and I love you.” Eventually she’d end up softening, and her sense of identity would shift.

She went from identifying as a bad person and a failure to having a feeling of compassion that’s just holding the pain. That freed her up in a way that allowed her to begin to imagine her daughter’s pain and sense what her daughter was going through. She was sending that message to her daughter until there was actually a visceral thaw and they began to start communicating.

It sounds like we need to work on ourselves before we begin to work on our relationships. But it’s so common to look to our friends, family, and lovers to do something to help us feel better. Is that an unwise approach?

My understanding is that we’re wounded in relationships, and we heal in relationships. The relational field can be very healing. But it can only be healing if we are simultaneously in a relational field with our inner life. So I think both are really intrinsic processes of waking up and becoming free.

So often in spiritual life you hear people saying, “You can’t look toward other people, and you have to be your own guru and healer and holder and lover.” But the truth is that other people matter. It makes a huge difference if there’s someone else in your life who is a mirror of your goodness, who can sense with compassion your vulnerability, and with whom you’ve learned to let love in and learned to express love. That’s an incredibly necessary part of the process.

But none of that is possible unless you’re simultaneously in an engaged relationship with your inner life. By that I mean that if you imagine the thing you think is the very worst about you—let’s say you feel like you’re intrinsically selfish, or you feel like you have an aggressiveness that’s just disgusting to you, or you feel that in some way you’re so insecure that nobody in the world could love you—whatever it is, it’s being able to take what seems to be the worst part of yourself and finding a tenderness and a forgiveness that can hold that. That’s the process of befriending our inner life and it’s absolutely essential.

Of course, being in a relationship with another person who can see the part of ourselves that we hate and still love us no matter what helps us in that process. So it’s very synergistic.

So does all this mean that you personally have an enlightened relationship?

I have a wonderful, rich, and juicy relationship that is in process. One where I am regularly exposed to my neurosis and also regularly reminded of the oneness, the awareness, and love that are our shared belonging.

Do the two of you talk about the nature of your relationship frequently, or does it just sort of unfold without intervention?

Twice a week, we have a check-in where we will sit and meditate for 20 minutes. Then we continue the meditation as a kind of interpersonal sharing where we will look at what’s going on for each of us as individuals. And there’s an inquiry that we phrase like this: “Is there anything between us feeling loving and open and at home with each other right now?” And then we look to see, and we’re really honest with each other. At some points, if there’s something going on and we’re less than honest, then there’s suffering. So we are training ourselves to speak the deepest truths that we can, because the more we name what’s real, the more intimacy there is.

That kind of conversation sounds like it takes a lot of self-awareness and courage.

It takes a lot of courage. What gives that courage, however, is practicing and creating a safe space and having some guidelines. We didn’t just stumble into it. We both have been meditating, offering counseling, and guiding couples and groups in conscious communications for years. But there are some basic intuitive guidelines about creating safe spaces. For instance, when one person speaks, the other person will mirror back what was said to make sure it’s understood before going into their response or reactions.

In that process of mirroring back, there’s space for the person who spoke to be understood in the deepest way. So you get to understand where that person’s leg is in a trap and touch into compassion.

You know, self-awareness is something that seems key to having healthy relationships. And yet, some of my favorite moments in relationships are when other people seem to know me better than I know myself.

Our self-awareness grows in the relational field when there’s mutual attentiveness. If you say something, and I really am listening, then I can have an understanding that I can mirror back that can actually enhance your own experience of who you are. That kind of relational feedback process is so juicy! I mean, that’s what we’re in it for: to become more of who we can be. And people can help us unfold when they both see our goodness and create a safe space that lets us express it.

With all your years’ experience working with couples, what do you think are the most important qualities of a good relationship?

The essential ingredient in a good couple’s relationship is that it provides a fertile field for awakening our hearts. This means there is a mutual willingness and dedication to speaking truth and opening to compassion. There are many qualities to creating that fertile field—respect, self-awareness, love, generosity, humor, and more—but the bottom line is, are we committed to being fully who we are? Are we committed to living from the fullness of our hearts and awareness? Are we committed to bringing out that fullness in each other?

When we come to see our relationships—all of them—as an intrinsic part of our spiritual path, then each day becomes alive with moments of learning, opening, serving, and savoring.

Looking through the Eyes of a Wise and Caring Friend

Bring to mind a relationship where you’ve treated another person in a way that is difficult to accept or forgive. You might start with something that doesn’t trigger full-blown self-hatred, so that you can gradually build your skill in this process.

Now, invoke the presence of a good friend, healer, or teacher—someone who understands and cares about you. Imagine looking through this person’s eyes at yourself: What was the vulnerability—the hurt, fear, or confusion—that might have driven you to the hurtful or unwise behavior? Can you see the life circumstances that contributed to the behavior? While witnessing with this person’s eyes and heart, sense the natural compassion that arises. Now, fully inhabiting your own body and heart, imagine hearing the witnessing person saying with kindness, “It’s not your fault.” Let those words sink in and trust that if you let go of self-hatred and self-blame, you will have more capacity in the future to live true to your heart.

Each time you find yourself trapped in self-recrimination, explore looking through the eyes of a wise and caring friend. By learning to let go of self-blame, you actually will become more able to respond to others in a wise and loving way.

For more guided meditations and talks from Tara, please visit tarabrach.com.

Sam Mowe is the Communications Manager at the Garrison Institute in New York, a nonprofit dedicated to exploring the intersection of contemplation and social action. Tara Brach will be coleading a retreat at the Garrison Institute on December 4–6.

Source: Spirituality & Health Magazine

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