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.
Mark Newlon, feeling the embrace of the sacred feminine daily!
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