Following the thread that wove its way through not only this week’s healing groups but really the past few months of groups, let’s spend a little more time on the topic of courage and vulnerability, shall we?
In case you’re one of the four people who hasn’t yet heard Brené Brown’s 2010 TED Talk, or, like me, you might find value in a revisit, here’s a link to the 20-minute video and transcripts:
I know of no better resource for understanding both sides of the courage-vulnerability coin.
Even more pertinent for us right now, perhaps, might be her 2012 talk on the ever-popular topic of shame:
As inherently divine beings, I posit that we naturally feel some amount of shame whenever we become separated from the fullness of who we are, and, indeed, my teacher Herwig observed that shame is a component of every instance of illness, even hangnails and stubbed toes. As with every emotion, a) it’s perfectly natural by definition, b) we can interpret it as simply an indicator of our separation serving to gently return us to our wholeness, or c) we can make the mistake of listening to—or worse yet, believing—accompanying thoughts that our conditioned mind or other people supply, most or all of which are likely inaccurate.
Knowing that some prefer the term “guilt” for legitimate instances of shame, either way, let’s not forget that these do exist, that is, that it’s healthy to feel bad when we’ve wronged someone; the absence of shame defines sociopathy. That said, I think that the most important takeaway from Dr. Brown’s second talk might be an understanding of the way that shame becomes toxic when we allow it to tell us that we aren’t fundamentally worthy of love and respect. As she also mentions, it’s clearly epidemic in our culture, but once we understand its illegitimacy, is there anything standing in the way of our ceasing to believe its lies and allowing any feelings to just be feelings passing through our experience?
Here’s today’s reminder that you are enough and that you’re worthy of love and respect.
In praise of going deep for the big fish,
PS Here's the ultimate Integration Tip:
These words from Robert Adams echo many I heard from Herwig over the years and constitute perhaps the best integration advice I've ever encountered. Perhaps you, too, might find value in them:
"The only thing you can do is to wake up. When you wake up you see the world as a reflection, as a reflection of a mirror. The mirror is always the same. It never changes. The reflections change.
The question is, of course, then why are there reflections? Where do they come from? And as you know, my answer is that they do not exist. It's an analogy I give you to let you understand where everything is coming from.
Only reality exists and you are that. Only consciousness exists and you are that. Only love exists and you are that. If you only realized who you were you would be the happiest person that ever lived, and I mean happy, totally happy, unchanging happiness. Is there such a thing? Yes there is. Unchanging peace. Unchanging love.
But you have chosen to identify with the maya, with the unreality, and so you think you suffer. You believe your life is not the way it should be. You compare yourself to someone else. You want to make changes. As you know by now, when you make those changes they only last a short time, then you're back where you were before.
The wise person, therefore, does really not look to change anything. They become quiet. They have patience. They work on themselves. They watch their thoughts, watch their actions and observe themselves getting angry, observe themselves getting depressed, observe themselves getting jealous and envious and the rest of it.
Little by little they realize, "That's not me. That's hypnosis. That's a lie." They do not react to their condition. To the extent that they do not react to their condition, to that extent do they become free. They no longer care what anybody else is doing. They compare themselves with no one. They compete with no one. They simply watch themselves. They observe themselves. They see the mental confusion. They don't run around shouting, "I am absolute reality. I am God. I am consciousness." Rather, they see where they're coming from and they leave everyone else alone.
Such a being unfolds at a fast rate. It makes no difference what predicament such a being is in. It doesn't matter, for such a being is already free. When the mind rests in the heart, that means when the mind does not go out any longer and identify with the world, when the mind rests in the heart there is peace, there is harmony, there is pure being. When you allow your mind to go out of yourself it begins to compare, it begins to judge, it begins to feel offended, and there is no peace. There’s no rest.
How do you begin? Well, first you realize the place that you're in right now, whether you think it's good or bad, whether you think you're happy or sad, whether you think you're rich, or poor, or sick, or healthy, the place where you’re in right now is your right place. That's a beginning.
You stop trying to be someone else. You stop trying to change your life. You’re in your right place, right now, just the way you are. If you can become happy and peaceful in the place where you are right now, all of a sudden you will find circumstances will change in your favor, and then again you will be in your right place. Whatever change comes along as far as your body-mind is concerned, you’re in your right place. The more you can see that, the more you can look at what I just said intelligently, the more peaceful you become, the more the karmic patterns begin to break away and you begin to awaken.
It may be gradual at first. You notice that things that used to annoy you no longer annoy you. You notice that people that you live with, the conflicts you had, they stop because you've stopped. There's no more trying to get even. There's no more trying to win your point. There's no more trying to find the right book, or the right teacher, or the right anything. You remain centered. You remain free. When something comes along, whether it's good or bad, you simply sit where you are and you ask, "To whom has this come?" and you laugh, for you have separated yourself from your body-mind and you begin to realize that your body-mind is going through the experience but not you.
So there is nothing to worry about. There's nothing to fear. There's nothing that can upset you. There's nothing that can harm you. You realize whatever someone does to your body, physically, or with words, or otherwise, can never, never hurt you because you are not your body. No matter what anyone tells you, no matter what you see with your eyes, it can never affect you, for you are not your mind. You have actually separated yourself from your body and your mind."
—The Collected Works of Robert Adams, Volume 1: Sitting in the Silence
My thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s healing groups. I have no doubt that our transformation always benefits All That Is in addition to ourselves, and certainly, this ripe global moment can be no exception, which I’d say was demonstrated nicely in this case by all of the lung work the adult group seemed to accomplish—and the heart chakra connections that y’all seem to like to feature so prominently must certainly benefit a time of global healing, as well.
For a broader perspective on what we're all experiencing, an article probably worth anyone's time, "What if the Virus is the Medicine?" asks "How can we, with the support of the unseen, serve as midwives to all that is dying here and all that is being born?" and posits that we’re in a sacred time, and for those interested in a deeper dive, Deepak Chopra recently gave a 30-minute Facebook talk on the interconnectedness of pandemics, their spiritual significance, and the way they serve us. I posit that we can maintain a practice of bearing detached witness to any circumstance or experience.
May we all honor our body's inherent knowledge of perfect health, our immune system's ability to keep house, every circumstance that helps remind us of our true nature, both individually and collectively, and may we find equanimity in the presence of fear.
An Ode to a Coronavirus
Thank you, so-called SARS-CoV-2, for helping us to more clearly see so many of our misalignments with our interconnectedness and with Truth.
Thank you for helping us to see the ways that we’ve fallen short of caring for ourselves, our fellow creatures, and the planet.
Thank you for leading us to this priceless period of rest, transformation, and glorious silence, and for reminding us of the profound gift that is each and every breath.
Thank you for helping us to see the many ways we hold back our love and get entangled in thoughts while reminding us that we can allow any emotion to simply arise and pass away and that we can accept any circumstance with equanimity.
Thank you to you and your kin in an ongoing way for supporting our inherent health, resiliency, and equilibrium. Please forgive our misunderstanding of the ways that you care for us as we relearn your true nature and wholesomeness.
Thank you for reminding us that separation is an illusion and that we might actually enjoy each other's company—or our own—more than we thought we did.
Thank you for helping us to recognize the true abundance that surrounds us at all times, that paper products are often superfluous, and that canned goods can be handy but that fresh food is precious.
And most of all, thank you for helping us to heal. May we always remember that the solution is contained within the “problem,” and may we always remember to turn towards rather than away.
I love you.