Fall has arrived again, although the leaves have yet to change. Rather than focusing solely on this season this time of year, I would like to share how each season may lend itself to a skill, a wisdom, which I find helpful in providing to everyone, which I try and do myself and will be reminding myself of in this post
Take time out for yourself.
This element of living, this necessary way to be healthy and happy in life, I do not think can be underestimated.
Culturally, it is positive and healthy to disconnect, from obligations, responsibilities, pulls towards others, pulls towards any needs one is feeling for oneself.
In short, without escaping from it all, the requisite downtime we all come to miss does not happen.
So, how does this look for each season? How does each season lend itself to this requisite downtime?
In winter, I think it may happen more naturally and be easier than most for finding this time. The weather gets bad and the roads are impassable, the snow plows have yet to make their way through our travel lanes, our thoroughfares, for getting where we normally go.
Not only that, but when the weather gets colder, when the temperatures plummet and drop, we naturally have less motivation to be active and perhaps be so actively around others.
Take these nudges and times to oneself. I think we are naturally made to adapt to the seasons, and winter lends itself certainly to this time away from our regular lives.
What about spring? How does spring lend itself to time away from others and spent with just our own company?
I think wherever you may find nature, I think wherever you may be inspired to see the life of the earth returning to its more colored and vibrant shades and splendors, this is where to go and be alone to enjoy this time, without other distractions from people or life in its regular routines and obligations.
Summer. Summer has many distractions, but it also can let us know the wisdom of staying in, lounging around, whether by pools or other bodies of water, or away from it all, perhaps to get away from the heat, the less than natural flow of our life routines, a time when vacations are to be taken, when perhaps we know culturally about this being the time to get away. But how about for the next time it rolls around, take a day trip or two, or plan a getaway for oneself, to oneself, so one can enjoy the variations of the season unique to summer? A time to be creative and get away for oneself.
Finally fall. Fall almost upon us now in its change of colors for the season.
We cannot help but start to slow down from the summer having just past. We feel the cold coming in, and we feel the adjustment, within our bodies, as our clocks are likely to change, setting time back as we approach this time of year.
The first nudgings and inklings of winter that come when the air first starts to get cold, this may be one of the best times of the season to stop and honor this feeling of slowing down, this change from the summer just past.
Slowing down, this begins the season of fall, and provides an opportunity for us.
Nature comes to present itself in its changing colors, perhaps a time to just walk in this transitioning season of russet splendor.
The dark seems to come in, the night comes up to greet us more readily.
Welcoming the gifts of this slowing, darkening, crispening time of year, this presents a self-gifting way to meet the fall.
Perhaps chilling in more ways than one, we can each come up with ways to be thrilled by the season, in solace or more enlivening ways.
Slowing down, let us be in mind to greet the season.
Wishing you all, in that time to yourself, a happy and self-nurturing fall.
Recently I came across a couple of passages, one each in a couple of books, which reminded me of my intention to more outrightly speak to my spiritual understandings in the work I do, to share with you that I certainly offer spiritual guidance in what I do.
In actuality, it informs all I do, and I want to share that with you.
I know, and want you to as well.
From the 1994 book by Vine Deloria, Jr., God is Red: "The severance of medicine and psychology from religion has only been a recent event in the histories of religious people."
Introduction by Samuel Bendeck Sotillos to the 2013 book by Laleh Bakhtiar, Rumi's Original Sufi Enneagram: "From its inception through the events of the so-called Enlightenment that occurred in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries, modern psychology has fundamentally repudiated its roots in the spiritual domain."
I feel this and know this, and believe those passages to be true, and am careful in what I take in with modern psychology, what I may apply from it, never dismissing what helps from it in the process, but having an understanding considered spiritual as my foundation, that will always be my guide, and helps in my guidance of others.
My understanding, ironically, seems to be beyond any sense of me, but there is no way to prove this except to point to this experience of understanding or suggest ways to experience this yourself.
Understanding, real understanding, comes from a place deeper than we can be taught, so again, providing words and guidance to this understanding, using these very words, helps in trying to uncover this for you, but does not do it alone.
I cannot get outside of this limited sense of self, or remove it from your experiencing, when trying to communicate that there is something outside of us that preciously exists and is there for us.
Conceptually, you will always, or can always, take note that here is one person sharing his thoughts in the form of words, so how can I ultimately know that what this person says is not limited to this one person and this person's view?
Precious. Everything. God. Jesus. Kali. Buddha, with Heart and Mind. Tantric journeying. Not Neo-Tantra. Space. Peace. Love that just is. Insanity without. Sanity with, and beyond.
Behind all the work I do, I am led by a different understanding, a different reality, that to me has become the most precious understanding anyone can ever come to know.
I often involve others in creating space for themselves, and in this space, the fruits of this understanding emerge. They start to come forth, whatever descriptors or words you want to use about or around them.
Meditation thins the ego to the shimmering half-reality that it is. This undercuts all reality as we know it in everyday life. If we all perceive through an ego, then what to see beyond this, when it starts to thin?
This is what has always been and will be.
If psychology simply addresses the concerns of the reality known as ego, then this is a never-ending journey for lack of success. We want wholeness, in our bones, experienced, dare I say, in our souls.
Answers are beyond the ego; are beyond the ego.
If you think a brick wall with the thought of sunlight behind it is the reality you are working with psychologically, is the reality you are working towards in your process, and you never question the necessity or reality of the brick wall to begin with, then perhaps this is a crude way to describe to you the fruitlessness of psychologically working with only ego, or even ego so much as a reality in itself.
I am saying and always trying to share that the sunlight beyond this brick wall always is, always will be, and our thoughts of our own brick wall are part of the problem, maybe even the very problem itself, in reaching for this understanding.
What if I were to say to you that the brick wall has never been there like you thought it was, or may not have ever been there in the first place?
This is where psychology honors or begins to honor the roots of itself.
This is where you find that place of peace and deeper understanding within you, beginning to go down this path.
When working with others, I am not sure I can ever uncover a better reality or truth together with you.
I am offering this post as a comfort for times of discontentment and difficulty. I am sharing my understandings for what I feel I know, to a large extent, reality to be. If you find yourself relating to these descriptions, then take comfort. You have been brushing with reality, or ultimate reality, and you may not have even known it.
This post presupposes an underlying layer of the universe which helps make up all of its parts, its possibilities, its every conception conceived of or yet to be conceived. You may call it truth, reality, God, or simply the universe even.
Does there exist an unchanging background to all we see and experience, can experience? Does it provide value to speculate on this, think about it, or come up with reasons for seeking such an understanding in the first place?
Let me share my understanding of what this reality may be, or is even. Then I may elaborate on the value of this, or let this come to you through your own considerations.
If we conceive of an ultimate reality, one which underlies all we experience, then for me I have not found a better explanation for this than in Hindu thought and philosophy, namely, in Advaita Vedanta, as put forth by Swami Vivekananda, in alignment with his teacher, Sri Ramakrishna.
What follows has been shaped largely by their understandings.
First, let us take up the consideration of this world, where we experience the phenomena of the senses, this world which we may consider to be our most easily understood version of reality.
Vedanta calls this a world of duality, a reality of duality, not ultimate reality, which I will refer to later.
We know everything in the context of at least one other thing. We see because one thing is next to another. If it were not, how could we see it to begin with, because then we would experience seeing only one thing?
We smell something in the absence of that smell in what came before, and another smell, or the lack of that first smell, occurs in what comes after.
Whether you speak of before or after in an experience of time, or in an experience of any of the five senses, there has to be a different experience before and after the experience occurring, or else there would be no experience at all to begin with.
Take the example of touching someone's arm: there is a moment of time before you are touching and experiencing this person's arm; there is the experience of touching this person's arm; and then there is the experience after you have touched this person's arm when you are no longer touching it. You need the experience of not touching it to begin with to experience the actual touching of it at all.
This illustrates how an experience of before and after sets up these two types of experiences, the experience of touching, and not touching, and how the experience of touching cannot exist without the experience of not touching before it.
All experiences depend on this duality, if you will, of time-related experiencing. We cannot have one experience without the experience of its absence as well, or without another and different experience being experienced right before or after the experience we are referring to.
We experience phenomena because there are different ones to experience, not just because there is no experience and then there is one. We know black because we know other colors besides black. We need just one other color to be experienced to be able to experience seeing the color black. If there were no other color to be experienced, ever, then we would not experience black, because there would be no understanding of color to begin with, and we would not be able to experience seeing anything different.
If you think about any one of the five senses and any possible experience of it, you will find that any single experience of that sense depends on the absence of that experience, or the experience of something different with that same sense right before that experience.
This then becomes the explanation of living in a world of duality, a reality in which nothing alone can said to be all-pervasive or eternal, in which nothing can be experienced which does not rely on another experience to begin with.
Where does it all come from though? Does this seem a valid question? What would an ultimate reality underneath all reality be like?
If an ultimate reality were to be speculated, it would seem to me to be not dependent on any other. No other experience should be required for it to be there.
In other words, ultimate reality is non-dual, without duality.
Qualities you may experience when reaching this understanding: your sense of self disappears, you are dissolving experience away from a separation of yourself and that which is experienced, one form of duality--you are beginning to lose a sense of separate identity as you approach this ultimate experience of reality underlying it all; your sense of time disappears, you are experiencing reality not dependent on another, where no sequencing of before or after is required since you are approaching the one experience all-pervasive, by definition one without a second, no time required for two or dual experiences; your sense of worldly concern vanishes, you experience that which allows all reality to be, where you are not present and time no longer matters, or exists--in your experiencing of this, ironically when your sense of self is not there, you are not separate from anything or anyone, you experience truth underlying and informing all existence, existence that ever was, will be, or is.
Meditation helps bring you to this understanding, and if you take notice of or recollect past meditations, you may find these qualities having been there or started to emerge.
Devotion to your own understanding of your higher power, or God, or even some general sense of the universe, which we may emotionally feel a connection to within ourselves, devotion can play a role in bringing us to these experiences of dissolving into something greater than ourselves, beyond us.
Reasoning, as briefly begun above, or even in the realms of science, quantum physics coming to mind, our minds are our pathways to these experiences of such an understanding as well.
I believe in these experiences. I have had these experiences.
I imagine that you at some point have come across these experiences in your own life too.
These are what set us on a different path of living life.
These are what give us glimpses of ourselves beyond the everyday world, of limited duality.
I think the value in all of this, you can come to explore.
I know the value in all of this informs the work I do.
May they ever be of comfort and of curiosity, such non-dual experiencing for you.
I consider this a follow-up to my previous post, where I spoke of darkness and light being a key to fuller understanding of oneself. They are the negative and positive aspects of and range of experiences of oneself, both within and without us, or outside of us.
When darkness occurs, when we experience what may be called a negative experience, we may be quick to shut off and shut down the memory and recollection of what happened. Much of this may be natural for psychological reasons, for containing a sense of self in the face of a perceived or real threat to what happened.
I spoke of embracing the mystery of life, allowing it to unfold naturally, or more naturally, as a way to work with the darkness of experiences, and by inference, the darkness of oneself.
When a negative experience occurs, part of us will always or naturally be led to wanting to understand more fully what happened, and to know why, what are the reasons it occurred.
We can come to understanding ourselves in relation to what occurred, but to understand beyond this, I might suggest the approach of embracing the mystery of life, of embracing the mystery of what occurred.
For me, and for I believe the experiential reality of others, life seems to expand and resonate more richly, be full of more light, and begin to be full of possibilities again, if we are able to allow the unknown of life, the unknown about why anything might have occurred, if we are able to get in the spirit, allow the spirit, of the vastness of the universe to be with us, as if looking at the night stars, away from city lights, into the seemingly infinite blackness of the starscape before us, where we feel small, but somehow comforted, knowing our place in the universe in this way, feeling content within ourselves, allowing a resonating and perhaps vibrating sense of energy within and with the universe, ourselves feeling peaceful and curious, perhaps spiritual and connected, not without alignment with what we see, feeling a part of this vastness, full of its space and perhaps uncommon beauty.
Darkness, in ourselves, in events that occur, contains a natural beauty, but only in the context of letting go into the unknown, into the unknown of why anything might have occurred, into the unknown where answers are not forthcoming, but we are able to tap into an understanding beyond the event, larger than the event itself, where we may get our self-referential answers of understanding, where we may feel embraced by a loving universe, the comfort and nurturing presence of it being felt as there, being felt as always there.
We are embraced in the vastness of the universe in these moments.
This we can know.
Some may align more, or try to, with the cold light of truth.
I feel it is time to speak of the love of the unknown of the darkness, however, of the love of the ongoing mystery of life, where we can feel out the answers, come to an understanding, where what we can know may never be enough for a rational and searching mind, but we can rest easy and at peace in knowing ourselves in the context of this larger scale of understanding.
We are embraced in the universe, in the night, peace, and darkness of it, in the unknown of it, where the answers of whether we are supported or not, of whether we have a place in it or not, become revealed as the mystery unfolds.
We do have a place in it, each and every one of us, but this does not come from knowing all the answers.
We must proceed unknowingly, trustingly, allowing the ever enveloping mystery of life, of the universe, to unfold. We will not know a love, on both this intimate and vastness of scale, if we do not.
Embracing the mystery of life, we allow the universe to unfold.
On a rainy day in May this year, I am writing about darkness and light.
What I hope from our experiences in life, whether we consider them positive or negative, enjoyable or terrible even in their extremes--I hope for an understanding that all of our experiences make up life, knowing that they will be, have been, and will continue to be a part of us, in whatever way, shape, or form they may appear.
We cannot include the light without the darkness, the supposedly "good" without the "bad", because we cannot know one without the other in a world which defines existence through opposing or opposite experiences, each giving meaning to the other as life unfolds.
I have created a site in addition to this one where I am open to sharing the darkness of a path walked in life, where the darkness appears and may be defined by more of the mystery of existence versus the cold light of truth.
I have found a velvety goodness in the darkness, if you will, in this way.
Without the mystery of life unfolding freely, without ourselves getting in the way of it, we are limiting our experiences, and most likely evolving a real darkness within us, where unexamined experiences have the chance to--and they will--come out and challenge us in ways we least expect them. It will be our unaddressed concerns or desires taking form in the waking light of the unconscious, from the darkness of un-acknowledgement, in ways we never would have conceived of or expected.
Embracing more of the mystery of life seems to be a keen way to address this, lest the darkness of life experiencing take on forms separate from our conscious experiencing, where they gain greater strength in their apparent separateness, all the while being a part of and within us, evolving in the darkness of unconsciousness.
It is healthy to embrace and acknowledge the seemingly darker parts and experiences of ourselves then. In actuality, in neglecting them, we are neglecting a greater integration into wholeness, of integrating the darker experiences of ourselves.
There is not necessarily a darkness and a light, you see, but just an experience of life, a unique one for each of us, in whatever combinations of experiences life may bring to each one of us.
Perhaps all of our experiences in life are to be lived through and enjoyed then, through an integration into wholeness, if in no other way.
I am here to help you do just that.
For more information on the darkness I am mentioning here, along with the mystery, and the spiritual aspects of life, please visit www.solarminds.com (my other site).
When I heard this piece of music again after some time of not having heard it, it struck me on a deeper level than perhaps it had before.
If you feel like the universe, your version of a high power, even yourself, has let you down, if you have felt like something has been missing, something has not been there for you, or your very self even, the best of you, has been absent, perhaps it is not so hard to hear the call to healing and help being offered to you from this place, through the lyrics and this song.
Sacred, beautiful, feminine.
Hearing the call....
Hello by Adele
(P) 2015 XL Recordings Ltd., under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment
During the cooler months, when the light grows dimmer as suppertime approaches, we might naturally turn towards reflecting on our lives, on ourselves, thinking of maybe where we would like to be, a place different from where we are now, thinking of what may still be of concern in our lives to address, to look at, so we can get to this better place.
If you think of this like a mirror, then imagine the dark and silvery backing to a mirror, the darkness and bit of light that help allow the glass we look into to reflect ourselves back. When we turn the mirror over, we see this kind of backing, which allows us to see ourselves when the mirror faces us.
What if we removed this backing, chipped away at the silvery and dark material on the back of the mirror? We may not be able to see ourselves then, but we would have a clear view at that point, a clear piece of glass to look through, with nothing blocking our view.
I feel that at this time of year, in the cooler months, turning colder and darker as the year progresses, we are given the opportunity to reflect on ourselves and our lives, perhaps seeing what needs to be seen, perhaps looking at what needs to be looked at, within and by ourselves, or, if we are needing help then, with another supporting us on our journey to look at what we are seeing once again.
When we remove this material more and more, by looking at it, chipping it away, our view becomes clearer, the range of vision we have becomes wider in a sense--certainly, we can say we can see farther, further into ourselves with a clearer viewpoint.
Turning the mirror over, what might you see, what gives you cause for reflection?
During this time of year, the mirror turns naturally, so we can see what may be of importance to consider. We make room for more light as we continue to work at it. The darker months approach with the light fading away--but naturally, this light returns, and we may be in alignment with it, clearing our way.
The mirror turns.
What can you see?
Sitting where I usually sit to do a certain meditation every now and then, I spied two cardinals out the back window on a slanted beam of the deck. They seemed to be playfully with one another, one of them seemingly feeding or pecking into the mouth of the other.
Standing up to confirm whether it was a couple, as in mating or mated birds, I did indeed see the colored male cardinal, and the more neutral-colored female cardinal.
In this meditation, I always hope to, and usually do in some way, uncover that sense of connection to what I believe in about life, what I know of it, a spirit of life that nourishes, contains a true peace, feels full of possibility, and has an exchange of love with me in all of these areas.
I did begin to feel this just as the two cardinals alighted on the beam.
I thought this fitting, as I confirmed it was a playful couple, and was smiling as I intuited a sense about this: whenever we are just relaxed and enjoying our connection to life, feeling a love about it, this is not unlike a subtle but present feeling of a give-and-take, a subtle exchange between the universe and ourselves, between life and who we are.
Everything became or was all right in those moments.
That is what I hope from the meditation each time.
That is what I hope for you, for each of us.
We can find our moments of relaxed peace and love.
As summer starts heading into fall, maybe we can start to thoughtfully set some time aside to allow these moments to happen.
Right before the Fourth of July, I am writing this entry. I felt I needed to update posts past the last one, it having mentioned the end of spring.
This year for myself, towards the middle of the summer, it will be ten years of having dedicated my life to more consciously incorporating deeper ways of understanding, doing the practices and setting aside the time to nourish that part of my life.
Wherever you are in your path in life, whether this be for achieving basic or manageable wellness, or for doing that, along with moving deeper into your own precious and unique path of experiencing, for who you are as a person, I am hoping for you more freedom, more ease, more enjoyment, for the enjoyment of your life, and for moments of seeing past your habituated routines, to a truer sense of freedom, where you are not bound by limitations, whether inside or out, past or present, or even those you might be projecting into the future.
I believe in this path, and continue to dedicate myself to walking in it.
May I meet your reaching out, if you wish to walk this path, and what I am offering speaks to you.
I am truly so happy helping in such a way, seeing and watching this path unfold for others.
Everything is so green. That's what I remember thinking about a month ago now, how the winter that did not seem to let go gave way to what perhaps has been a brief spring--summer seemingly here now, although not officially yet.
If you think of experience and the personal perspective of reality to be based on a quality of awareness or consciousness, then seeing the transition from the quietness, perhaps even message of death, of winter, seeing that transition into life again, with almost a vibrancy of lush greenness in the world, from trees and plants of all kinds, this experiencing of reality can be seen to have different flavors, spring and summer being an opening, an inviting, to an understanding of expression, and giving, and a sense of the freedom of experiencing life.
Underneath what may be of concern, what may be psychologically apparent, or seemingly permanent, we all get glimpses of this consciousness, the flavors and different forms of beauty of it, whether that be the inward understandings more readily apparent in winter, or the more connective and expansive natural tendencies we might have as life returns in all its vibrant greenness to the earth during the months where the seasons are warming up.
Grateful for this time of year, may it unlock and allow us to see an expansive consciousness or awareness, opening us to the possibilities of spring, and the all but present experiencing of summer now.
Mark Newlon, feeling the embrace of the sacred feminine daily!
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