What has informed my understanding of life and pretty much everything for all of my adult existence has been the philosophy of Vedanta.
This obviously finds its way into my work with others.
It is a philosophy put forth in Hinduism, although it embraces so much understanding and covers so much ground that it aligns itself well with other traditions, even atheism.
In trying to formulate it, I will attempt to connect it to my counseling practice.
We are all hiding from ourselves and wanting to realize who we are, thus says Vedanta, or my paraphrasing of one of its basic concepts.
This goes along well with the ideas of psychologist Carl Rogers, who spoke of naturally going towards being who we are, saying that wholeness comes from aligning with ourselves, stemming from our natural tendency for healing and being ourselves wholly.
Vedanta says we are already at our destination, of self-realization, but we are working through any obstacles or obstructions on our path so we can remember this.
I believe this classically has been described as the veils of our mind preventing us from such realization.
Counseling helps us to uncover this, our true nature, helping us to align with our path more, helping us to remove any conditioning or self-limiting ideas which obstruct us.
What I hesitate to share and communicate, which even when I do, reality or the reality of this world might have a built-in mechanism for limiting--we are all at this destination already, one of great peace, one of great love, one of great understanding, which surpasses all we can ever enunciate or articulate.
Meditation helps us to realize this, which I like to describe as a place underneath each moment, one of peace and well-being, which we can learn to access more easily and more frequently as we practice our meditation regularly.
Christianity may refer to this as heaven, as in the kingdom of God (or heaven) is among you (or within you). Buddhism may call this the realization of truth or the Dharma.
Hinduism calls this simply the Self, the ultimate version of who we are, just waiting for us to uncover, remember, and realize.
I find myself returning to a place I have actually been for almost 30 years now. You may think of it as a portal or a doorway from one place to another, one experience of existence to another. For me, this place encompasses all of reality, and I try and realize it as often as I can. Not nurturing the reality of my being here in this place, I lose myself, as I try and pretend myself into something or someone I am not.
Ironically, the place I am referring to confers no great sense of self or much of a sense of self at all, but that has been my reality for close to 30 years.
Let me see if I can share more about this.
When your journey takes you to the core of a place, whether you complete that journey or you are taken from it, it having consumed and been all you were about, this resulting portal or doorway which opens up may be experienced as an immense freedom, or in the case of the journey being taken from you, it may be experienced as traumatic in some measure--more importantly I feel, this experience opens you to a being-ness of peace. Because if you allow yourself to be with the fruit of your journey, resulting from a single-minded focus on this one thing or by going deep into this one thing or place, or again, if you have this type of journey removed from you, yourself having identified and invested so much of yourself in it, the only reality really present in those moments afterward can be akin to a void of peace, a spaciousness, a sense of otherworldly openness beyond any previous conception you may have had of anything similar, unless you have had the experience before.
This place, I am truly at all the time, although I try and function in the world in a way which necessarily pokes my head out from this doorway and portal, for me to do what I have to do in this so called real world.
For me I am on this side of the door where the spaciousness and void exists, a truly peaceful place, but which challenges all understandings and abilities to conceive and hang onto any thoughts or notions.
I access this place while embodied on the other side of it, while seemingly functioning in the apparent real world, by focusing on the doorway of my heart in meditation, the akasha or space of truth existing within all of us, potentially accessed during meditation--I focus on the relatively smaller doorway there in my heart, allowing this voidness and spaciousness there to be in my being and be in the room where I am meditating, where others are at when I am leading meditation.
This communicates a real peace in the apparently real world.
Eastern understandings actually put forth the idea that this true world on the other side of the doorway I speak of is really there and around us all the time--we just are trying to recall and remember this.
For me, I try hard not to forget it because it means everything to me and is my reality and touchstone and keeps me, ironically, in touch with some sense of my self in the embodied world we all know.
But I am not truly there.
And perhaps neither are you.
This has been my journey, continuing to poke my head out from this portal of peace.
An important passageway can be illustrated by honoring the root words of the subject of this post.
We can translate "enter" into one of its original meanings, from the French word entre, meaning between.
For the second half of the word, we can translate "tainment" into the Latin root of tenere, meaning to hold or maintain.
What we discover then, in looking at entertainment, is a word and a practice really of holding a place in between.
That is what I would like to propose, in any event, and I think it important to look at this further.
When we entertain something, we hold it in the mind, give it our thought and attention. With entertainment, I feel, we are bridging the gap between this world and another, between the world of creation and the world of the regular, everyday.
Depending on the quality of this entertainment, which allows us to go to another place, to escape, to let our cares go for a time, we might truly come to a place we would like to continue to entertain, or to hold within ourselves.
When I propose the importance of entertainment, I am encouraging the reality of the possibility found in aligning ourselves with the work of another, or in the act of creation ourselves, immersing ourselves in this creation, whatever may be its source.
I believe our minds are realigned to the reality of the world we are experiencing, this in-between world, and it is of some quality, certainly of the quality of being outside of this world to some extent, if not quite fully immersed in this world of another.
In the ultimate vantage and viewpoint, the world occurs moment by moment, if even like that, each moment perfect in its presence of wholeness and of truth.
When we experience the world of another, in entertainment, we are experiencing a structured reality, in which we find all of ourselves participating, the parts of us we know, and the parts of us we may not, that is, the unconscious parts of ourselves.
Powerful works of creation can activate our inner workings in unseen and transformative ways.
I propose the power of entertainment lies in its ability to help us realize the perfection and truth of each moment, knowing that nothing is wrong in them, when we are in between our seeming reality and the proposed world we have come to entertain.
In this liminal, in-between space we get a taste of realizing wholeness, learning about the freedom and full possibility of each moment.
I will have been in private practice seven years as of this Thursday, December 15. I have been doing counseling for a total of eleven years, which includes time at my internship and in leading groups in mental health agencies.
I enjoy the process, seeing others come to better places, and feel my abilities to be with others in empathy and in insight, of where and who they are, and where they want to be, this all continues to make a difference.
I am also back in my hometown for my practice location, just having moved my location, happily anticipating leading group meditations in person again there and helping others in sessions within a peaceful and quiet space.
This season of transition for me seems to be letting up a bit now, so I am happy for that, for my health and my ability to help out.
Eleven as a number may be seen to be the meeting of two individuals (the upright positions of the number ones coming together).
May this season be one of more and more peace, for any and all important to you, including yourself, and the possibility of a deepening relationship with mystery, with the mystery of life and its many wonders.
It has been 15 years since I have spent any considerable time in my hometown, of Liberty, Missouri, whether this be in working or in living there.
The place has grown since I was last there in any capacity, which happens to be when I worked there, assisting at several of the school buildings, in support of the teachers and the students with their technology.
As I get closer to working there again, I feel a relaxation and also a flood of memories just waiting to emerge, a mixture of them, pleasant and unpleasant, but it is the right move for me to make--and I feel I have a pulse beat on the town after so much time still.
I have spent just over half my life there in some capacity, and I will share my impressions of it, since I know it quite well, certainly more than someone who has just moved there or one younger than myself living there.
As for the gatekeeper of me being there again, I think in some ways it has been my own experiences which I have had to travel to be there again, forces outside of myself as well guiding me to it once more, and also the bureaucracies I am having to travel to arrive there, but, bureaucracies and the like are as any form of maintenance or worldly call for attention--here you go, there you are, let me piecemeal what you need as I can; thanks for bringing to mind an opportunity to practice a kind of grace and patience again; this is not why I value living, but, the opportunity to apply what I know is invaluable.
I appreciate the small-town feeling still of my hometown, nestled away from its expansion across the state highway which occurred many years ago now.
It has its segments or strata of different socioeconomic backgrounds of people, although I will say it has seemed to grow in its appearance of being on the upper end of that over the years. Maybe it has always had that to some degree, but I think the reality of that grew as I grew and grew up there, and now I think you might not know of its small town places until you actually drive a bit into town there.
Assuming we are talking about a population made up mostly of those on the upper end of any socioeconomic background, what might be said in terms of the needs and wants, of any concerns found there?
I think within any division of people, in this case among the different socioeconomic backgrounds, an anxiety can be produced, as well as conflict and concern--self-doubt and fears can arise from this division, leading to self-questioning and wondering what might be done or what might be being unconsciously neglected from such division.
If material needs are met, and met well, to abundance perhaps in some cases, where is the deeper value of living? What might be calling from an existential reality little known from within those more well off, perhaps never seemingly having had the need to look within for any concern or apparent reason, for finding meaning in life.
I am nothing if not well aware of deeper values and understandings as a person and as a counselor, as a person having grown to young adulthood there, having measured up to possibly being honored for my achievements, but never quite getting there or always having had something seemingly keep me from reaching a certain level of goals, ever positioned in an in-between place, if you will, coming to value the importance of one's self, and of living separately from what any or all might say.
From growing up in this, my hometown, I came to value what I did by leaving and taking a break from there, from going on the journey I have, but now feeling positioned and called to return.
I know of this place, and of its values, and of what may be its many ways of lacking--and of what might be of better value, separate from just going along with breathing the air there without ever knowing or thinking or conceiving of anything else.
I am happy to return, with the knowledge of my journey, without a blind eye to what matters and knowing of what to be aware.
Happy I am to help out, and to be able to do so from there.
... this being the story of a wizard, the sixth part, continued from Dragonslayer ... it began in Return of the wizard.
He awakens momentarily to gather his surroundings.
In his tower, the day, a blue sky outside, at least to his wizard's eye, looking back to the past with the spell he cast ages ago.
The window scene, showing only moments after the passing storm, the dragon already having flown away.
A break in his reverie, his eyes adjusting, then shifting to the past once again, eyes closing.
Remembering darkened doorways this time.
This Triptych of Fear, he thinks, throwing colors on his canvas.
The light from the shards of glass from his mirror, broken only a few years ago now, catching the dancing candle flames, a shifting light, full of portent and wonder.
A soft, intermittent breeze blows through his high window in the tower.
A mostly cloudless night, the pure light of stars inspiring, helping to shape his vision.
The Mother. The Demon. The Dragon.
Her face a warm embrace on this night, turning towards colder--both her and this early spring night.
The Demon, beginning to be captured on canvas, the second of the panels.
The Mother, showing her dark face in shadow, lit up around the area of her mouth in light colors, a garish smile almost, creasing the canvas.
She had come from the memory of his own mother, but the darker vision of her he never knew or saw or thought existed.
Perhaps not her but a darker version of queen Mother, which his mother never embodied, her being of more light and more light all the time.
The Dragon had yet to be painted, feeling he needed its actual blood to do so.
... the last One I sundered.
He would kill it and complete his panels once he had done this.
Clouds gathering in his mind, on canvas, and outside.
A thick dollop of grey-black paint to begin working into the fabric.
The Demon's shining eye a literal jewel painted over with a white tint.
Green emerald, to go along with the darkened black body. An embellishment of the truth. Neither of its eyes ever so distinct or shining.
The Mother and the Goddess, perhaps synonymous in his mind, as he had painted the first of his panels.
But the Demon ... what to say about this dark figure?
If those other two had made their presence known more than he would have liked, and if memory served correctly, often around the same time, what about the Demon's appearance? Did it ever cross the threshold into reality, past any imagined fancy or fever-soaked mind, or beyond the confines of any dream-addled time?
Yes, and he remembered the younger woman he had known when it first appeared.
Copyright © 2022 Mark Newlon. All rights reserved.
(Continued in Breaking, this and other installments of the story available through a donation on my other website dedicated to my writing. You can click on the graphic below to visit my page there.)
I am in the midst of a transition within my practice in several areas, including in emphasizing a different approach or model for what I already provide.
I am honestly trying to offer a unique and enjoyable perspective to those aspects and bits of information which I consider an important supplement to or even a complement for the support I provide.
Foundationally, I approach helping others in a very Rogerian way, emphasizing empathy through understanding, and I make use of Jungian ideas and principles for how the mind works, which I usually feel led to share. This includes relating how the unconscious acts as a storehouse of information for what to work on, this material coming up as part of a natural process meant to inform us.
Dovetailing or building on Jungian principles of the unconscious, combined with or maybe even supplanted by spiritual understandings I know and have experienced over a lifetime, approaching half a century now, I am all into offering the esoteric knowledge I feel essential to living a fulfilling life.
(Esoteric knowledge being that which may not necessarily be readily available to know--knowledge that is hidden even.)
This is what it comes down to, I feel.
I can provide support and help others transition through difficult experiences and experiencing in life, but I feel like I have a storehouse of knowledge and understandings just waiting to be shared, for me to provide.
If this is the best that I offer, how can I not share it?
This information may actually be more informative in a curative and healing way than any conventional approach to helping can provide.
An attempt at summary of the esoteric knowledge here:
1) We are all driven by the desire to know ourselves completely, which ends up being as an individual expression of the universe as a whole.
2) Between any two in this world, whether this be between a person and a place, an object and another object (or thing), or between any combination of these three, the natural tendency is towards union and wholeness, relating rather than distinguishing and distancing.
3) Personal power means our ability to experience and do what we want.
Conclusions to be drawn from the above:
1) We are not ultimately in control of what we do if we are all being pulled towards knowing ourselves as an individual expression of the universe.
2) We can assist in this process more gracefully by using our personal power to go towards this understanding with awareness.
3) Some level of surrendering to the mystery behind this pull towards knowing ourselves completely seems inevitable.
Concepts which support the above:
Magic describes the dynamic pull towards union we experience when we surrender to this process and experience the wonder of it.
Alchemy models the transformation of ourselves into this ultimate expression of ourselves.
Divination becomes an act of surrender to the mystery pulling us towards knowing ourselves in this complete way.
The sacred feminine, finally, represents the ultimate love of the universe, bridging the gap between us and this understanding of who we are, pulling us towards this understanding.
Now, I feel I am ready to share more openly this information that I know, and I am happy to provide this as part of what I do.
I look forward to being able to share this with you, for you to enjoyably benefit from it.
... this being the story of a wizard, the fifth part, continued from Dragon’s breath ... it began in Return of the wizard.
Gaining his bearings once again, he sits up briefly, then lies back down in his room in the tower, his torch sconce on the wall slightly askew from his re-entry back through the window.
Unscathed from the dragon attack, and the dark Goddess enticing and bewildering him through its flames, her having attempted to immolate him into ash.
He himself flew through the window, remembering his mother at the time.
His back aches a bit, pulls his hand away from it, green, dark green.
Great, a bit of blood, he thinks. Slightly contaminated from an overuse of magic for protection.
The flames had been hot, but his will had prevailed, provided the protection he needed.
His shoulder on his opposite side now aching him. His grey cloak blackened and slightly torn there.
He had called down lightning, and it struck him and the dragon. In need of slight mending, he thinks. Myself and this heavy thing.
He sits up more gingerly, his head swimming a bit this time.
He blinks his eyes momentarily, and finds himself sitting heavy.
Heavy on this stone floor of his tower.
The earth begins shaking, and he fights panic. The tower violently shakes.
It all stops then.
The corner of his eye catches the dark beast flying away, looking behind itself as dark clouds begin to gather.
The beast not dead, but defeated, and deterred at least this time.
The window curtain begins to toss and blow freely as a darker wind starts to tease and pull on it.
Momentarily, eyes through the dragon, a rough and scaly mind, hatred, just hatred, and the instinct to kill.
Flame cast before his new eyes, the eyes of the dragon.
DRAGONSLAYER! it roars, flames pummeling the air.
The wizard just regaining his feet finds them shoved backwards along with the rest of him.
The force of the dragon's will finding its purchase this time in the killer of its kin.
A dream within a dream, he thinks.
Shards from his broken mirror litter the floor, caught in his beard and greying hair, cutting him slightly as he starts extracting pieces.
What to do about this?
The dragon far away, but ever so near in its hatred.
Thus he began weaving his spell of concealment, the wizard creating a better world to see outside as his life slowly ebbed.
Preserving his life cycle in the process.
Copyright © 2022 Mark Newlon. All rights reserved.
(Continued in Darkened doorways.)
After nearly eleven years of counseling and recently working on incorporating new discoveries into what I offer, the latest of what I have been trying to provide has come to a place of form and substance for its expression finally.
I consider what I am sharing here the first expression of it.
I have always been aligned with the sacred feminine and similar ways of being since the beginning days of my practice. It came to a point in my working with these understandings that I felt like there should be a way to actively be and exist in the world in alignment with them.
In other words, how does one be active from this place?
How do you live in alignment with sacred feminine understandings by actually doing things in the world, not just by feeling a presence or a love from them?
Sacred feminine understandings as opposed to worldly ones might be contrasted like this, to give an idea of what I mean by the sacred feminine: the world might advocate that you work, earn, control, or manipulate more in life, while the sacred feminine might suggest that you allow, surrender, enjoy, or embrace more.
(Other sacred feminine understandings are found in its namesake menu at the top of this website, or within the posts of the blog category "Sacred Feminine" on the right side of this page, or at the bottom of it, depending on if you are seeing the mobile device version of it.)
Magic came to be the next iteration in understanding of the sacred feminine, as a way to more actively work from this place. Mystery and symbols holding power identified magic as a way to let go into another way of knowing and awareness, a way to not only let love in but to experience inspiration and guidance on how to proceed from a shifting of one's awareness into these other areas.
Now I am putting forth the idea of personal power, in service and in alignment with what I have just shared.
Where we spend our time and energy, there we channel our personal power, which I define as our ability to experience and do what we want.
Those things which help us in our ability to experience and do what we want, I say that they have power, which covers everything from time and money to the inspiration and guidance received from the mystery and symbols just shared.
Regardless of where we turn for helping us maintain, and gain, in our personal power, it makes sense to assess where we are first with it.
Simply shifting our awareness to a thorough understanding of where we are utilizing it currently, and understanding what rewards we might be gaining from it, this provides a costs-benefits analysis for one of the most essential components in our being able to be who we are--our personal power.
Just seeing the results of this analysis has a powerful effect.
We are more able to make the adjustments we need or want to, so that we might refocus and replenish, even gain, in our personal power.
Now, I feel like I must pause in this talking about personal power. There are particular vantage points and viewpoints that are a part of my talking about it.
I feel like we are all being pulled, whether consciously or not, to a greater understanding of ourselves than we might currently know.
This knowledge goes to the source of power, not as a way to actively manipulate it, but as a surrendering to it.
We are the universe itself, and an individual expression of it.
When we non-volitionally operate in the world, or do what we do but are not lost in thought or even self-conscious about it, this best describes this mode of being and doing in the world. It is more akin to an individual expression of the universe than anything else.
What I have consciously incorporated into a personal power assessment prompts us to check in and identify those moments which best emulate this ultimate understanding of ourselves.
They are moments of joy and freedom of which we are aware.
I feel this balances out and provides direction for the assessment.
If we are all going towards this ultimate understanding, whether we know it or not, why not consciously align with this, without resistance, bringing to mind those moments when we have tasted who we are in the ultimate sense of ourselves?
This helps accentuate and accelerate the healing process, which I define as remembering who we are.
We are reaching for wholeness, as we remember, the assessment helping us in going towards this.
I believe there are two paths we walk on this earth. The one we all know. And the one we are walking, perhaps unbeknownst to us.
To be who we are, to be and do from this place, individually this gives us joy, allows us to experience the freedom of being ourselves.
When we do this, we are tasting of our true nature. We are recalling the reality we know beneath all we experience.
We are uncovering the esoteric meaning of life.
All actions can be seen to serve this drive towards knowing ourselves in the ultimate sense. In moments of wonder, in the joy and freedom already mentioned, and to a lesser degree, in moments of love and peace, we are experiencing some level of who we are.
To uncover what is already there in meditation, to understand the joy of living, the joy of life, the joy of wonder in the mystery of it all, these speak volumes to what I am trying to say, to what I am trying to share about who we are.
To experience these is to know what I am referring to, words falling short, the experiential knowledge the key.
Awareness of our joy and freedom keeps unlocking the door for us throughout life, to know the meaning of life, this drive to know who we are at the most expansive and deepest level.
And, it is ever so near.
Beyond this, or in addition to this, supplementing this going towards realizing the untraceable memory of truth within us, calling to us to remember who we are, I have enjoyed combining Eastern and Western concepts, and I use the words magic and alchemy in intentional and often defined ways to express the nature of who we are and the universe.
Magic represents the fabric of reality, as much as it can be said to exist, and it also expresses the dynamic of it, really a kind of love of the universe, ever present, able to be touched on and tasted if we shift our awareness in that direction.
In fact, between the experiencer and the experience I would say an alchemical connection exists, a kind of loving connection, which we may experience to one degree or another, even if it means we pull away as a result.
We are all going towards this reality of who we are, a more complete and indescribable understanding than words can afford, than we can ever completely express.
I am here, I feel, to counsel on this understanding, this opportunity, this inevitability of uncovering who we are at the most complete and completely experienced level.
We are all going towards this understanding.
I feel I am here to help accelerate this natural process, like an alchemist, one who has seen nature at work and wants to accentuate the divine witnessed in it, through self-agency and hands-on application.
Negatively felt experiences and ripples in the idea of wholeness are opportunities to trace these waves of experience back to their source.
I help provide a different perspective, shedding light on and helping to promote healing, defined as remembering who we are.
This is wholeness.
Rather than provide relief only from just what may be immediately experienced, I offer a deeper level of understanding, beyond what may be just occurring on life's surface.
Mark Newlon, feeling the embrace of the sacred feminine daily!
Sites of Interest