As we approach the new moon, I am grateful for the time I have to continue to be able to share what I know. If I am myself most deeply, there is a natural peace about myself. I can allow this to be as I work with others and am with those I hold most dearly in life.
[The title of this post is ironic in light of the blog picture of the moon, which is actually waxing or getting more full, the exact opposite of a new moon, where all is dark in the beginning. According to the photographer, this picture was taken on December 24th of 2020. I am thankful to be able to make use of this for my blog.]
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.
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.
I have tried setting aside Tuesdays for writing, so I am able to do this again today, on a Tuesday, and am sharing a bit behind the veil of my personal practice here.
I have had deeper experiences outside of regular, everyday life in Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism, and I continually try and make this my waking, sleeping, dreaming reality, every moment of my existence if possible.
I mean, I do not actively, I hope, push for this, but I am aligned with this goal, try to live it, and I think trying to help others experience reality at a deeper or truer level like this falls in line.
Those understandings, this reality I know, that is the best I offer.
When I have the time, and ideally I would be able to do it more, I offer myself up in meditations, breaking them down in my conception into 15-minute offerings. I generally meditate for 30 minutes, so I am generally able to offer myself up a couple of times when I meditate.
In alignment with the equivalent of rosary beads in Hinduism--they are called malas. with a bead count of 108--I try and meditate, offer myself up 108 times in meditation throughout a month.
I am a bit behind for July, and am feeling it, although I had a good start to the month.
Basically, I wanted to write something today, so I am, but I have had personal matters to attend to going on a solid week, if not longer, so I am happy to share this bit of my practice now and am heading off to meditation again here.
Mark Newlon. For most of my life I have related to the gentle peace of moonlight. I hope to share some of that energy here.
© Mark Newlon 2023.
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