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
I have been debating about adding a section on resources to the site, so I am doing it in the form of blog posts entitled with the first word "Resources" followed by the type of resources. They will be collected together in the Resources category on the side of the blog page, or at the bottom of the page if you are viewing the mobile device version of this page. [Update: I may just tag other posts with the Resources category that contain a resource, so they will show up when clicking on the Resources category. They may not contain the actual title "Resources" in the post title.]
Sacred Feminine Resources
Sacred Feminine Awakening: The Emergence of Compassion by Misa Hopkins
She has four books now beginning with the same first words for the title; however, this one in particular beautifully expresses perhaps what has been a lost understanding of the sacred feminine, in a way that attempts to speak to anyone, regardless of what faith or spiritual path one has.
The Virgin's Promise: Writing Stories of Feminine Creative, Spiritual, and Sexual Awakening by Kim Hudson
I am always charged with inspiration and motivation when I pick up this book. Although it has been written for screenwriters, the universal story the author has discovered about the fulfillment of life truly resonates on a fundamental level, as it no doubt should based on the author's research that went into discovering this story. The theories of Carl Jung, a therapist inspirational to me who informs my work, helped guide her in the process. He put forth the idea that we have within us universal archetypes, or patterns of potential or behavior which we can follow, which show up in stories from around the world as characters. Kim discovered these universal characters and their life paths in stories across such a diversity of cultures. What she writes about represents living a sacred feminine way of life.
Spring has come and gone, as has summer, and without further hesitation, I feel compelled to catch a bit of fall in my writing. Not only that, I wish to let go of what perhaps needs to be let go of, the imperfections that can imperfectly snag and nag one to the point of preventing the presence of the present from being here.
Why the date as the blog post title, you might be wondering? Well, after having set aside a novel on my shelf, actually my two copies of the one novel, one being a giant-sized special edition of it, I have picked it up again after about a year, this time being the time of year when people most read this author's works. So, perhaps you can see this coming, but within the first two pages of picking up the novel again where I last left off from the previous fall, a novel which I've read numerous times now--the day the novel resumes on is, you guessed it, September 28th:
"That year the first day of fall (real fall as opposed to calendar fall) was September 28 ..."
This happened to be in the mid- to late-seventies when the novel's story takes place, but it seems strikingly dead on for fall this year, in 2017. It is also rather spooky, or synchronistic, that I pick up the novel on the exact day that I read about in the novel. Maybe I've read it so much, I knew that date was coming. Perhaps, but the sentence I quoted above is not one I'm likely to lodge in my memory, except now after blogging about it.
So I thought September 28 an apropos title for this post, and something to write about after months of hiatus.
Why the hiatus?
I think I always try and write when I have something perhaps exceptional, extraordinary, or something illuminating to share, and I am not saying I do not this time, but this is my entire point. Imperfection is a given and a reality and only needs to be said because I think we try and hang our coats on perfection, when the darn hook keeps being dragged down to the floor, not being able to take the weight of our attempts at it, what will always only be imperfection.
I have not blogged since April, until this time now this year, because I was fooled by my own interpretations of others' comments or actions. Maybe I can assess them in a way that casts the shadow on them, when it really has to do with my own self-absorbed interpretations.
This time of year, perhaps it's natural to reflect on our own shadows, seeing them mirrored and shimmying down the lane, through tunnels of trees, in the curves of leaves blowing our way. I can throw out this word, daemon, at perhaps the risk of what some others may think, but I will use the word anyway, it being a Greek idea of an intermediary between the divine and us humans, or perhaps the messenger within ourselves to spur us on to go deeper, to relinquish our cloud covering of light, to let the shadows appear to take a closer look at them, to not flinch, but to see where we might have obscured our own path.
It's not the depth and death of winter yet, but it is time to reflect, to prepare, to let go of the previous suppositions and assumptions of the year thus far.
Be gone! Whatever truths hanging there as falsities, still lingering, be gone!
A leaf here, a leaf there, just let them blow away and realize them as the phantasms that they are, back to the nothingness from whence they come.
No self-absorbed false truths to exist anymore.
A good day to let the shadows dance and come, to freely swing them, and let them fade away, releasing them back into the nothingness from whence they come.
Beneath what we may consider to be our waking reality, other layers exist that are more refined, holding more of our truth. Several traditions speak to this idea, letting us know that being and living from these more refined places becomes possible through what are considered their best practices, ways of understanding and arriving there.
You can think of it this way: although you may be driving home or arriving at a place you visit often, if you are lost in thought as the scenery or surroundings go past you, you may not be noticing that these areas around you actually exist in these moments. You are unawares, driving or riding on the way to your destination, the scenery passing you by as you are lost in your thoughts.
This is what the idea of layers speaks to, that we are lost in what may be taking us from actually seeing and experiencing life more.
I feel so compelled, driven at times (pun intended), to come from the most refined and deepest layers of myself, to be as authentic and true to my understandings as possible.
In a real sense, this means being myself, simply and without the extra layers, without anything blocking my view and my experience of life.
Sometimes this translates into a poetic sense of seeing for me; at other times, this comes across as an inspiration to spur others on, dynamically communicating what I feel should be said.
If you think of yourself and your truth, the most real and authentically experiencing layer of yourself, when you are enjoying life fully and in the fulfillment of who you are, then this way of being is like the most precious version of yourself you can know. For me it is the most precious relationship I can have. Some traditions would even say this is the goal, this uncompromising and very real, natural version of yourself, the truest sense of yourself you can have.
Life becomes about an identity of experiencing then, not fixed ideas or ways. You may have your old habits, but they are seen with this more natural and less troubled understanding permeating your way of being in the world.
Light and free. Truly. You are.
You can ride or drive to your destination, but now you do it with a more enriched and fuller understanding of yourself and your experience, not letting the scenery pass you by.
As winter approaches, it may feel good to stretch into this time of year, lean into it, feel its quietness, solitude, and peacefulness, such peace.
I encourage you to find solace in the silence, make that happen for yourself this time of year.
I am including many inspirational quotations about silence below.
True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.
Silence is the true friend that never betrays.
An inability to stay quiet is one of the most conspicuous failings of mankind.
Silence is a source of great strength.
Silence is the universal refuge....
~Henry David Thoreau
Accustomed to the veneer of noise ... society is suspicious of those who value silence.
I have often lamented that we cannot close our ears with as much ease as we can our eyes.
In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.
Silence is a fence around wisdom.
Silence is as deep as eternity; speech, shallow as time.
Silence is medication for sorrow.
Silence was never written down.
Silence is exhilarating at first - as noise is - but there is a sweetness to silence outlasting exhilaration, akin to the sweetness of listening and the velvet of sleep.
Nature and silence go better together.
You can hear the footsteps of God when silence reigns in the mind.
~Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Not merely an absence of noise, Real Silence begins when a reasonable being withdraws from the noise in order to find peace and order in his inner sanctuary.
Silence is more musical than any song.
Nothing is more useful than silence.
~Menander of Athens
Silence is a sounding thing, to one who listens hungrily.
Silence is the mother of truth.
Her hearing was keener than his, and she heard silences he was unaware of.
We must have reasons for speech but we need none for silence.
Silence is the secret to sanity.
There are times when silence has the loudest voice.
Silences make the real conversations between friends. Not the saying but the never needing to say is what counts.
~Margaret Lee Runbeck
Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sharing a place which alters lives, reveals them, shows us where we already are, where we might be headed, and how we are never really distant from what means so much--these are the kind of understandings I find so precious to share.
Whatever words one may use to communicate this place, I know where that is, I live from there, and try to know and allow it each second and moment, to the point where time becomes an unnecessary idea, and the concepts are lost in the experiencing.
Living life, alive.
I want this for anyone who might be led for me to be there to help out and guide them.
Contemporaries who nurture and live from this place include the teacher and author from my previous posting, "Summer, Tigers", as well as Anam Thubten, and Daniel Odier.
A truly sacred feminine teacher can be found in Mukti as well.
Please feel free to click on any of the names above to go to their websites.
Mark Newlon, feeling the embrace of the sacred feminine daily!
Sites of Interest