“The soul has been given it's own ears to hear things the mind does not understand.”
Your consciousness contains many aspects or lines of intelligence with your passions and values being prime in these lines. Transformation begins with getting crystal clear about what is deeply meaningful to you. Not the ‘you’ as shaped by everybody else – your family and your society, but the utterly unique you that is waiting to be recognized (re-cognized, known again) in your heart and soul. Recognizing your higher values gives you the courage to step out of the shadow of expectations and stand in your own power. Listening to your soul leads to radical authenticity where you follow no-one’s advice except that of your own inner guidance system and become inspired by it. The word inspiration means ‘spirit in’ and you will have no spirit behind anything you do until you get intimate with what is deeply meaningful to you. “There’s a voice in the Universe entreating us to remember our purpose, our reason for being here now in this world of impermanence. The voice whispers, shouts, and sings to us that this experience—of being in form, space, and time—has meaning. That voice belongs to inspiration, which is within each and every one of us”. (Wayne Dyer: "Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling”).
Stop trying to be something you're not. Waken up to who and what you really are. Find out what makes your soul sing. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs culminates in self-actualization, the need to realize and bring forth our deepest potentials. The trouble is, we have a tendency to try to actualize a concept of who we think we should be – our ‘idealized self’. We concoct an objectified version of who we really are and then we look at this object of our imagination and criticize it. We turn ourselves from the sovereign subjects that we are into objects of scorn. We are full of judgment about this human object, this false self that we’ve created. And each judgment is a little stab of self-attack. As Eckhart Tolle points out, we are the only species to do this. You don’t find a dog worrying if it’s tail is too short or its ears look too pointy – the dog is totally engaged in the sheer pleasure of simply being in the flow of life. We, on the other hand, are in our heads where attack thoughts sap our life energy, crippling our ability to connect with life as it flows moment to moment. One of the subtlest and most insidious self-attacks is to fall in line with what you perceive society expects of you, to live your life for others. This is death to the soul. You get the feeling that something is not quite right within you and your life force and your inspiration become drained. Because instead of living your unique destiny, you are selling out to a false and unfulfilling existence dictated by outside influences when the only influence that matters is the one coming from your own soul, your own intuition.
Your raison d’être is to manifest the spirit in you, to perfume our world with your own exclusive fragrance. Your job is to extend love and positivity into the energy field and you can only do that when you are happy and fulfilled in your own life, consciously expressing the passions and values that allow all of your potentials to unfold as you live your life on purpose.
Re-cognizing your values is easy when you go beyond the rational mind to the domain of your soul. Soul level consciousness can be accessed by engaging the right brain, the intuitive, imaginative, big-picture aspect of consciousness that creates rather than repeats. Creative visualizations provide a gateway to this level and a favourite is meeting your “Future Self”, a metaphor for your own inner wisdom and higher values. The ideas and images that arise during this flight of fantasy reflect what is deeply important to you. You use your heart-mind or soul to evaluate them. If your heart sings and your soul lifts, you’ve hit a sweet value; if your stomach sinks it’s probably not right for you. This is how to decide whether you’re envisioning your own values or ones you feel you “should” have. You bypass the critical mind and prioritize your values based on how they make you feel. This is how intuition operates. You will feel the energy and excitement behind your highest values:
“I got a huge rush of energy through my body as I answered my future self’s questions” (M.M., client).
There are no worries at a soul level of consciousness:
“The message from my future self seemed to come from my soul: ‘Enjoy being who you are. Let go of concerns because there’s no need to worry.’” (J. R., client)
You can experience yourself differently through visualizing your future self:
“Vision, understanding, patience, self realization, greater self esteem from being able to see my “future self” (E.W., client)
Pursuing what is true for us sometimes requires bold action:
“I used to be risk aversive but not any more. I’ve learned to take more risks in order to be congruent with what I hold true for me internally” (D.C., client).
Integrate Body and Mind
Reports reflect the essence of the authentic stage of development where being true to yourself means actualizing your unique values, sharing your inspiration. Jenny Wade describes it as bodymind integration where qualities of autonomy and authenticity rise up. This is why it is so important to keep your mind on your values, setting your intention to be mindful of them and deliberately choosing them. Being intentional means making conscious, moment-to-moment choices to honour your values. This client reported that his coach had been exploring his values and encouraging him to use his intuition at the time of his “Aha” moment:
“Creativity –my value around being creative and proactive with all – making a connection with all makes it right and whole” (P.L. client).
The next client refers to this bodymind integration as she looked into her soul:
“During my most recent coaching session, I experienced the a-ha moment. I was aware that my whole body was suddenly truly at one. Thinking and feeling were no longer coming from separate places. I was experiencing vibes in the atmosphere and understanding them, I had become everything I was supposed to be, I had looked into my soul and become whole”. (K.G., client)
Find yourself a great creative visualization or contact me and I’ll send you the “Future Self” one.
“Put your thoughts to sleep, do not let them cast a shadow
over the moon of your heart. Let go of thinking.” ―
Stop Fighting Reality
Stillness Speaks (Eckhart Tolle) teaches that when we connect to the stillness within, we transcend, we overcome the habitually active bodymind to discover another order of reality completely. We light upon peace and serenity at the core of this reality. One of the greatest blocks to experiencing stillness is our tendency to fight against reality, to have opinions about what should and shouldn’t be happening. Eckhart says: “The greatest difficulty is the mental resistance to things that arise, and the underlying assumption that they should not.”
By mentally resisting reality we have built a great prison of our minds and hearts. Resistance comes from clinging to stories that the mind (ego) has spun about past events. The ego can never fully perceive anything as it is now. It filters all experience through its historical understanding and so taints the present. It brings forth from its memory banks remembered ‘knowledge’ which is only biased and conditioned ideas, opinions, judgements and beliefs and imposes them on either the future or whatever you are experiencing in the present moment. This completely distorts reality and renders it impossible for you to experience directly the true nature of what is really happening moment by moment. This habit of mind causes endless suffering.
There is an antidote. Suffering is alleviated when these automatic habits of mind and heart are unlearned, uncoupled from memory (what was) and desires (what ought to be) and replaced with open, non-evaluating attention to what is now. This means not looking at life as if you’ve seen it all before. It means not arguing with life as it unfolds. It means getting behind your present experience with all your focus and energy. So be fully open to it, climb aboard it with no judgment and no demands that anything be different than it is. When you do, you get past all your stories; you empower yourself to truly engage with your life and the people in it from an innocent, not knowing place that doesn’t judge and doesn’t resist what is presenting itself in reality:
“I can be very content and get positive feedback from others if I am ‘in the moment’ and meeting people where they are. I used to pre-judge people and was reluctant to assist people who don’t ‘deserve’ it. How my awareness has grown” (N.Y., client).
Awareness grows as you surrender to present experience or Presence. In addition to freeing you from the past, being in the moment releases you from future worries:
“I’ve learned how to surrender to and “be in” the moment of instead of planning. (E.W., client)
Being and responding in the moment engages the authentic you as opposed to the re-presentation of you, the rehashed self-image that you present to the world:
“Aha moments have become a constant reminder of being authentic in the present moment”. (S.D., client)
Client F.L. has learned to surrender to ‘what is’ and with it gains the power that comes with not resisting reality:
“I now am aware that there is another much more powerful place for me. And at the same time I feel I don’t want to put up an act that everything is always easy and joyous in my life. It is about the awareness of feeling what is real and having the attitude of wanting to be with exactly that – with what is”. (F.L., client)
Surrender means giving up control:
“Shift in control from needing to keep hold of everything to allowing things to be, knowing that whatever happens I can deal with it.” (S.B., client)
The next extract reflects the excitement of a man in his sixties who has learned for the first time in his life to concentrate on the present rather than the past or future:
“I’ve spent all my life thinking about then (past and future) and never appreciated the pivotal role of NOW. It works – I’ve tried it!” (R.B., client)
The NOW is a dimension of reality that can be experienced only when you let go of the ego mind and stay present and open to life. Presence is like a state of meditation. You don’t need to be sitting cross-legged on your cushion to have a still mind, to be present and alive to what’s happening now. For client L.H., the outcome of stilling the mind means that:
“Perception crumbles and is replaced by something clearer and more real” (L.H., client)
1. Put all your attention and energy into living in a state of beginner’s mind, a state of innocence. At the deepest level act like you are seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling for the very first time. Try eating just one mouthful of your next meal in full presence. Try walking through the park, being fully present with each flower and each tree. Look into the eyes of a loved one as if truly seeing them for the first time. Try being fully present with your children or your friends even if it is just for a few moments. You can’t live in the world like this all the time. But spending some of each day in a state of innocence and Presence will open up your awareness to the sacredness of life. This in turn will transform you. You will begin to remember who you are. You will begin to have a taste of Heaven on Earth. (These ideas are taken from Leonard Jacobson).
2. Some people like to sit regularly in meditation and be in the now of their experience. Others prefer to be mindful, or present as they go about their day. Some like a mixture of both. Experiment by surrendering your ego in both situations and feel the difference between a life lived in the conditioned mind, i.e. the past and one lived in the joyful reality of the present moment.
“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment. Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment is intuition.” ― Rumi
You don’t have to wait until you’re dead to rest in peace. Just tell your brain to shut up for a moment and in that moment feel what peace is. Aha moments are little droplets of gold, gold that is mined in the place of no mind. People report an intuitively felt “impasse”, a tiny time gap just before the “Aha” realization. “The brain just stalls prior to the “Aha!” is how one client describes this moment of impasse. It’s like a nanosecond when the analytical mind is suspended and in this interruption, latent intelligences are engaged. A light is switched on in our right brain and consciousness floods the darkest corners of our unconscious bodymind. In this enlightened impasse pour forth the fruits of higher, richer and more dependable ways of knowing.
To reach this impasse we must give up the need, the habitual drive to know things. Giving up knowing is not encouraged in our thinking-obsessed society. It has brainwashed us into being constantly in our heads calculating, planning, scheming and worrying. We are never taught or encouraged to be in a still mind, a mind that has surrendered to not knowing. Yet some of the most exciting Aha awakenings germinate in an impasse of glorious ignorance, or we could say innocence, the innocence of “beginner’s mind”. Paradoxically, it is when our individual ego mind admits its ignorance, that we transcend the sense of a personal mind to tap into a transpersonal field of consciousness, an open intelligence, a post-rational way of knowing.
Not knowing means learning to sit and just be. We have lost sight of the fact that we are human beings and it’s much easier to just be than to tie ourselves in knots through thinking, analyzing, striving and stressing. Our culture is so focused on doing, on thinking, on achieving, that we no longer create the space to just “be”. Being, with no thinking, equals simple peace of mind. And when everyday thinking is transcended, creativity can shine through:
‘I learned to sit and allow myself to ‘not know’ the outcome. Giving myself permission to simply be and not achieve anything was actually my real AHA. I simply hadn’t given myself the space to create. (M. O’R., client).
We are so trained like animals to figure things out, get things ‘right’ that we have to “give ourselves permission” to admit to not knowing:
“I learned to sit in silence while allowing myself to not know the outcome. If I just “sit” with questions, often resolutions will appear”. (H.G., client)
Suspending the mind, giving up the pressure to ‘know’ involves a certain degree of trust:
“I went to a place of NOT knowing and trusted”. (L. A., client)
Aha moments of a non-cognitive nature show up in many reports:
“No processing of information is involved. In the moment of the Aha itself, thoughts seem to cease.” (T.H., client)
When we slow down the stream of thought, we can surrender our stories and loosen the chains of our ego:
“More and more do I feel that I am no longer dominated by my ego but from a centre deep within, an intuitive, wise place” (S.H., client)
The next client’s “Aha” moment took him beyond his ego, his “little self” to another level of identity:
“When the aha came, it came from a place beyond my ego, my ‘little self’ and felt like it came from my core, my essence, another order of reality completely”. (S.W., client).
Aha moments that arise in subtle levels of consciousness beyond the rational mind are comparable to those experienced in meditation:
“I’ve only had moments like this in meditation, and after meditating for years.
I felt my energy change and slow when she said this, felt my mind pause before it revved up again. Somewhere in the slowness was an acknowledgement of how often I do this, and the awareness of its link to an old pattern I have of justifying everything before it even happens”. (H.M., client)
‘Somewhere in the slowness’ H.M. experienced her insight. The slowness is a spontaneous impasse that can access unconscious material. Resting in the impasse is a way of unlearning, of unstitching experience so that perceptions and conceptions can all be recognized and renounced. Letting go means handing over the burden of certainty to a higher intelligence – our own inner wisdom or intuition. This is where we experience true knowing because it is gained from first hand experience. It is beyond the ‘knowledge’ of mental concepts with which we have been so thoroughly conditioned:
“My attitude towards things has changed. I KNOW things. I have a certainty. I had to let go of previous perceptions and concepts”. (S.B., client)
K. H. now knows how to activate her intuition and has learned to trust it:
“I am more calm when it comes to solving problems. I do not “push” for solutions, I know they will come. This does not mean I am passive. I understand now what parts of me to activate in order to allow the solution to appear”. (K.H., client).
1. Knowledge is not very important. Take a pause from knowledge and go into ‘don’t know’ mind. Even if it’s only for a few seconds at first, drop everything you think you know about yourself and about the world.
2. Deliberately elongate the impasse. Suspend the thought, delay it, grant it no power, send it packing, keep it dangling. Rest in a space of no mind.
3. Meditate for longer periods, allowing everything to be as it is, with no grasping of any concepts that arise in the mind.
4. Stay in the present moment, totally engaging with only that. ACIM calls it the Holy Instant. Create space for holy instants in your day.
All of these practices will produce Aha moments. The longer the impasse, the more penetrating and transformational the insights are likely to be.
Mysteries are not to be solved: The eye goes blind when it only wants to see why ― Rumi
Start to Tolerate Paradox
There is a world of difference between change and transformation. Change requires no alteration in your present level of consciousness. Your level of consciousness dictates your worldview, determining the size of your particular peephole on the world. An fool can change their behaviour by learning new skills, anyone can change their mind by re-organising their thoughts, but without rising above their current worldview they are still looking through the same hole. The same old thoughts, the same old views, the same old world.
This is you without transformation. Without continuing to grow and evolve along an ever-evolving spectrum of consciousness you get stuck. You continue to lap up all the belief systems, all the stories your society spoon-feeds you. You still judge and interpret the world according these stories. People con themselves into thinking that their belief systems can make them feel safe in an unpredictable world. This is a big mistake that keeps people infantilised. They remain Princes and Princesses, never stepping up to claim their crowns as Kings and Queens, leaders of the only domains over which they ever have certain control, the land of their minds.
To transform is to transcend your current worldview so that you can operate from a higher mind. This is not a metaphor nor an abstract idea but a proven fact that the structures of your mind change as you go beyond (trans) your previous levels of consciousness. Higher levels engender ever more complex structures that lead your mind into clearer, wiser, vastly more spacious terrains where you are no longer identified with your silly, tiny little ego mind This ego mind still exists, it's still included in the transformed you but you have transcended it and therefore you are no longer exclusively identified with it. This is the first step to freedom; you have transcended your thinking mind and with it the limits you have always placed on your sense of self, your understanding of who you are. Indeed my study found that transcending the ego mind offers a freedom so immense that people will gladly loosen the strictures of their buttoned down beliefs to achieve it. All you have to do is give up the need to be 'right', let go of believing that your ego mind can make you safe by waking up to the fact that there is no such thing as certainty. Without certainty there is only theory, interpretation, conjecture. Accepting this is the first step to overcoming the grip of the ego and then all you have to do is:
Choose to tolerate uncertainty, ambiguity and paradox. Practice makes perfect so put your energy and attention into practising getting comfortable with the unknowability of existence. Quit kidding yourself that you can find certainty - it's so refreshing to be honest with yourself.
Societal beliefs should come with a health warning. It is not good for you to pretend to yourself that life is knowable, predictable, certain. Because the truth is that there are no ultimate certainties in life and deep down we know it. How can we live authentically with so much denial of truth? It's like living with dirty little secrets. We think we are keeping ourselves safe, but in fact we’re keeping ourselves stuck by clinging to belief systems that aren’t even ours, as client M. H. attests:
“I have really looked at my beliefs since childhood and realised that so many of them either didn't belong to me or were based on assumption. I get into a lot less trouble with people these days due to questioning some of my beliefs”.
Stop living other peoples' lives. Stop understanding your life and your world based on what other people say. Look how screwed up the world is. And you want to model your life on this world's belief systems?
Do you want to live your own unique authentic life? How can you when not one of your beliefs is your own? This is why it is essential to hold your beliefs up to the light of examination:
Are they really your beliefs?
Are you sure about that?
When beliefs are not questioned they have us; they have our unconscious buy-in and then they dictate how we experience our life. Unexamined beliefs belong to 1st tier levels of thinking where each level thinks that it has the proper, the correct, the one and only true set of beliefs. Many people are at a level of consciousness labelled 'amber' in Integral theory to signify certain personal values and self-identities. Those who have developed to the amber stage are led by group values and identify only with their own groups. This is a conformist, ethnocentric stage where allegiance is paramount and groups demand loyalty, obedience and rule-following. There is a strong moralistic sense of right and wrong, good or bad, with an emphasis on rules, obligations, honour and duty. Amber is the highest stage of development of those following fundamentalist religions. They believe that "My God is the only right and true God and the rest of you can all burn in hell". They form their convictions based on the literal interpretation of corrupted religious texts, demonstrating no facility for rational reflection. Those at amber share the level of awareness of a 10 - 12 year old no matter their chronological age. This is where their development stopped mainly because this is the level of maturity of their nation. Sophisticated weapons in the hands of children whose beliefs are pre-rational is a deadly combination.
Beliefs are also deadly on a personal level. They are death to the spirit. Spirit blossoms in a still mind. There is no stillness in a war-torn mind. There is no peace in fighting to defend a belief that you pretend to be a certainty That you have to try so hard to shore up a position shows that you have no confidence in your position, no certainty. Your soul, or higher self or inner wisdom or whatever label we slap on it, knows somehow that nothing is sure, nothing is certain. We intuit in our bones that life is a great mystery and no amount of so-called knowledge or belief systems can change that. But when the ego drowns out the voice of the soul, an internal battle rages between your mind trying to convince you that life is knowable and controllable, and your intuition whispering that this is not so.
Intuition comes from a higher, deeper level of consciousness than the ego mind. To transcend the rational mind and reach the embodied wisdom of intuition, we have to get comfortable with the uncertainties, ambiguities and paradoxes of life by developing a little trust in the mystery. Client M.G.’s excerpt shows the accommodation and resolution of previous paradoxical thinking:
“After wrestling with doubts and uncertainties, I’ve learned that there is a much more powerful place for me to go – both/and and not either/or” (M. G., client).
So there is more power in thinking that reconciles opposites and nurses doubts than in the pretence of the 'safety' of a polarized belief system. It’s a relief to move beyond either/or thinking to arrive at 2nd tier consciousness. It’s not only good for you, it’s good for others around you:
“Now I operate on a different level. I am not attached to beliefs – mine or anyone else’s. It’s so freeing. I’m lighter, brighter, more loving and more tolerant, of myself and others” (S.D., client)
Aha moments are stimulated when you can tolerate uncertainty without becoming insecure. Learn to widen your telescope to include opposites and polarities. Don't chop things up into good and bad, right and wrong, black and white. You can be free of concepts by positively embracing paradox and uncertainty:
“As I embrace apparent paradox and uncertainty, I’m free to create and act in ways I wasn’t before. I’m finding myself much less judgmental and far more compassionate towards others.” (L.R., client)
Paradox, ambiguity, uncertainty are all concepts of the mind. There is nothing wrong with the mind. It is a fine instrument as long as it used as the servant of our lives and not the master. The thinking mind is at our disposal for all for the ways is which we can use it wisely. And when we’re not using it we shouldn’t be in it. But we are. Constantly. We are no longer the master of our minds but the slaves. Thinking has grown out of control. Like a cancer is has spread to the more important dimensions of life – the creative mind, the intuitive body, the depths of consciousness where we discover our true nature, and has silenced them all. It is through stilling this ego mind that the higher dimensions can be recaptured. When we see through the absurdity of the ego mind, we position ourselves to get comfortable with uncertainty. We can end up laughing at the absurdity of our ego:
“I am so much more aware of my ego and its frustrations and demands. I used to be a slave to these demands but now I can recognise it and laugh at it” (M.M., client)
Stop trying to find answers. See that every belief you hold is a mere concept, it is not reality itself which is beyond any conceptual thinking the mind can entertain. Sit quietly and reflect on this. You might like to reflect on this wonderful poem from Rilke:
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.