Body is Self


Alex Grey Yogi

Give yourself a slow breath, deep into your lungs. Follow it with awareness as your chest expands. Relax and release the breath. Notice how oxygen and chi radiates from your lungs. Follow another breath deeper into the abdomen. Relax and exhale. Let a third breath carry awareness into the pelvis. Releasing the exhale, follow inner expansion through the whole of your body.

Breathing consciously into your body you can return to Self and Spirit. Awareness flows inward, finding relaxation, expansion, spaciousness. The spaciousness of the tissues, of the cells and atoms, of all the inbetween places is where the other levels of your Being hang out. You will find them in all the spaces.

While the physical body is often spoken of as simply a vehicle or container, for Spirit, for Self. It is more than this. The body is the foundation for all levels of who you are; emotional, mental and spiritual. It is also the physical manifestation of Spirit and Self. Not separate from Spirit, it is an integral aspect of your Spirit. All aspects of your physicality are comprised of Spirit as matter.

The body is constantly communicating with us through internal sensation. We can learn to give it our attention. With practice you will become aware of all the sensations that your body produces as it goes about its business. This allows us to nurture our body. It is a way we can love our Self. Coming into wholeness.

Awareness of body leads also to awareness of emotional and energetic levels. Entering into our bodies we find sensation, but also emotional energies, energetic awareness, memory and wisdom.The body mediates external senses, but also internal senses. Learning to be aware physically is a way to also open up emotional and intuitive awareness.

Through living as a human, our body takes on many things. It becomes a storage place for all sorts of old stuff, injuries and traumas, along with pleasant memories. This is why we may hesitate to enter into this inner world. However it is important to do so. Clearing the body opens up the rest; the emotions and Spirit. Cleansing the Temple for your Soul to reside with you. It is hard to be aware of Self when we are ignoring its physical aspects.

When the body is burdened with old unfinished business, it doesn’t work as well as it can. Tension from avoiding trauma compounds tightness and contraction. Moreover the body is itself intelligent. It will constantly be trying to let you know something is off, trying to get your attention so that it can relax and open to healing. This produces all sorts of unwanted affects, which only increase over time.

We do well to work with our body, to respect it and learn from it, rather than trying to subdue it. It has the wisdom to know what is wrong and how to heal. Coming into conscious relationship with it allows healing to happen. As it does the body has many gifts of awareness and connection to the Spirit that is its Source as well as ours. It is not a cage or trap to be avoided or escaped. It is part of our Soul and thus a gateway to coming home. It is Temple, Spiritual laboratory, gateway to Self, and the Foundation of Relationship. If we are to create Heaven on Earth, we must start here.

Breath deep. Begin to cultivate a relationship with the physical part of your Self. Welcome Home.

(© 11/2017)

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Learning Curves


Wissahickon Valley

When you are in the moment, life can take you to some unexpected places. Recently I was walking with my beloved along a stream in Philadelphia. It was a cloudy afternoon, but the air was fresh. Sycamores, oaks and black walnuts towered over us forming a vaulted green canopy, enclosing us in nature. The gravel road following the stream was wide and well trafficked. People walking, cycling, running singly, or in groups.

We paused on a bench, backs to the hillside above us, facing across the road and the stream below. Resting, meditating and taking in the water and trees on the hillside across from us. A cyclist I had noticed earlier downstream, stopped across from us. An older man, lanky and lean, dressed in layers of athletic clothes without any particular pattern. Using the rails of the fence along the far side of the road he started to do limbering stretches.

Unexpectedly, he turned and addressed me, in a thick local accent, suggesting that I must be strong and work out. It’s been a while since I have exercised regularly. Surprised and somewhat amused, I made a non-committal reply. He continued to ask oblique questions and while I sensed he was driving at something it was not immediately clear what that was. His manner was enthusiastic, not threatening but still slightly odd. His accent and ragged teeth contrasted oddly with his evident interest in keeping fit.

He beckoned to me to join him at the rail fence and I thought that he might want to show me a stretch or other exercise. The conversation moved on to drinking in bars and armwrestling, and it became evident that he wanted a competitive partner. Sometimes life just is what it is. I was pretty sure that he was stronger than I, but I stepped up and placed my elbow on the fence. It turned out that I could use my t’ai chi training to drop the force he was applying down into the fence rail. I had no will to beat him and didn’t really try, playing at simply not letting him beat me.

We later tried it without the rail, just in the air. It was harder for me to counter his strength. He pushed my arm over and seemed satisfied. He said he sometimes competes in bars for drinks and was concerned that he not wrestle anyone too much more powerful then himself. So he was apparently using our engagement to help him calibrate other men’s abilities. He said he would improve best by engaging those roughly at his level.

In college I came to a similar conclusion about studying academic subjects. If the learning curve is too shallow I learn slowly and get bored, if it is too steep I become overwhelmed and frustrated. This man was, improbably, reminding me of this lesson. He was showing me that it is good to know how strong we are at something. So that we can estimate before hand when the curve is going to be well matched. What experiences are likely to help us learn, as opposed to overwhelming us.

Being open to this curious and amusing interaction provided me a good lesson. It also pointed out that I never know who will be my next teacher.

(© 10/2017)

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Making Decisions


akido sword

When I started my practice I happened into a part time space. As my practice grew I needed to move. I was going out on my own. That felt good. But looking for office space was also new. There were requirements, physically and financially. There were limits on location. I had to learn how to find out about available spaces. Then there was going to see potential offices, all on time lines. It felt a bit overwhelming.

Spirit gave me a few options, but nothing that was clearly a best fit. I learned growing up to analyze all relevant information, so that I would know that I was making the best choice. Sometimes it’s not possible to get to a clear decision that way.

Finally I stopped trying to figure it all out and just decided on one. I discovered that making a decision felt good. Even if I didn’t analytically know it was the “right” choice. It felt great to just be decisive! There was a powerful energy to making that choice, to trusting myself. I also realized that I could always change it later. In practice it worked out very well.

I wasn’t alone in making that choice. My guidance was there with me even if I wasn’t used to listening to it actively. Since then, I have worked to open a stronger clearer channel. For me it works best to keep the communication very simple. I usually ask simple yes/no questions. I usually hear an answer. For a while I used simple muscle testing. Or I may imagine the possibilities and notice how I feel. How does your body and spirit communicate most easily? Then go with that.

Find ways to play with it. I still play a game about traffic routes across town. Something that is not so important, and where I can get direct feedback. It’s OK that the answers aren’t always “correct”. Or that answers may be ambiguous or change. Or that sometimes I don’t listen.

Over time the communication grows clearer and my trust increases. Over time I calibrate the process. I know that somethings are a matter of timing. I suspect that sometimes it doesn’t really matter which option I pick, so guidance may say yes to all the options. I know that occasionally my guidance tests me, or that what my idea of correct is and what they want me to do may be different.

I’ve worked with listening to guidance. I’ve also deepened into feeling into my heart and the knowing of my body and being.

This works for anything. What food to eat. When, or whether, to say something or hold silence. I once rebuilt a house working with Spirit and guidance. I received all the information and assistance I needed as I needed it. Recently my beloved and I bought a new car. There was a lot of research to do. But I decided to trust my guides and my feelings (and my beloved’s intuitions) and skip much of the analytics. The stress levels were significantly reduced and the process wound up very nicely.

Cultivating that feeling of decisiveness, of simply making a choice in your life, is intimately related to exploring your relationship with your intuitive side. We all have the ability to build these muscles, to trust in ourselves and tap vast resources that supplement our analytic mind. Part of you knows. Your guidance is always available. Cultivate the ability to use all your tools and you’ll make better and easier decisions. Eventually this leads to a smooth navigation of life, knowing what serves best in each moment.

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Solar Eclipse

by Alan McAllister, CCHt PhD-phys


Solar Eclipse

The Sun and the Moon are approaching a powerful rendezvous.

They do this once a month, though at an eclipse they meet more closely than usual. At each new moon she goes into the dark. Darkness is part of the Yin, the deep feminine. Not the darkness of contracted emotion, but the darkness of space, leading to the Void. That source of potential, from which all manifest things are born.

A solar eclipse happens when the moon invites the Sun to join her in darkness. The Moon knows how to go into the dark without fear, unveiling sources of creativity in the midst of deep shadow. At the new Moon the stars are most visible. Points of creation within space. Producing the matter that makes up the worlds and the life that lives on them. Like the dot of Yang in the Yin side of a Yin-Yang symbol, the stars are masculine source points in the midst of feminine space.

Our star, the Sun, is the source of energy that powers Life on Earth. While it goes out of sight each night, it rarely is shadowed like the moon. At eclipse the new Moon passes in front of the Sun. In her darkness she covers the Sun and leads us into the Solar shadow. Except the Corona, which still shines around the edge of the moon. The Corona is the solar magnetic field, full of gas, and lit by the Solar radiance from below. Usually we can’t see it because it is much less bright than the direct radiance of the Sun. During total eclipse it shows spirit white against space.

This eclipse is happening as the Sun approaches Solar Minimum, that part of the 11 year solar cycle when its activity is lowest. This means that the corona will be dimmer and less structured than it would be at other times. The Sun is going into the darkest dark that is possible.

During the full darkness at the heart of an eclipse we also see the stars, all the other Suns. These points of creation and inspiration, shine brightly in the darkness of space. The dark is not empty, but full of Spirit. It is the face of the Void within which exist Unity and Creation.

While the Void is the source of both Masculine and Feminine, approaching it through the dark feels more uncomfortable to the bright masculine. Going into the Void, all forms, all doing, fade and dissolve. It is a journey of releasing old forms to find new ones. Personally it requires releasing the form of the ego.

The deep feminine inside our hearts can help us to navigate the shadowed aspects of the masculine. It knows how to move through the fears that arise. It knows how to release old form so that new form can be born. The journey into darkness reveals all the fears and angers, all of our own inner shadows, personally and collectively. This is potentially a good thing, if we can recognize them without judgement, letting them resolve and transform.

Normally fears and repressed emotions push us back from the dark, keep us from approaching the Void. This is in part how our egos maintain separateness, maintain their identity. But when we can move through the fear we find a death on one level, but a rebirth into another level. The Christ showed us how to die in the flesh to be reborn in Spirit. Mary Magdalene was his feminine guide, as the Moon is the Sun’s. Turning our gaze to the stars and the corona, we find the light within the dark. We see that Source is still there even in the deepest night.

As we emerge on the other side, the ability to manifest from Light will be abundant.

Practice: Perhaps you have noticed old shadows surfacing in your life, personal or collective. This is the reflection of the eclipse, the power it has to bring healing. Focus on the points of light in your heart, then in all hearts, and let the waves of darkness roll by. The Moon leads us into the dark and she will lead us out, into the Light of the Sun and into the Light of the new Lunar cycle as well. Refocus from what seems dark to you, to what seems light; the stars and corona in your life. Go into your heart and surrender your fear, invite the Love that is always within you to shine there. Surrender you self into the Void and discover the stars that are there to bring into your life.

(© 08/2017)

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What Serves?


Dervishes

As I walk through life I encounter all manner of people, places, ideas, things. My attention reaches out to explore and becomes engaged. Interacting and responding in many different ways, I become enmeshed in my experiences and aspects of the world become a part of my life.

The modern world is so complex that it is impossible to take it all in, engage and experience everything I encounter. Consciously, unconsciously, or through some mixture we select what we accept into our lives. The extremes are to take it all on, or to hide, with many shades and strategies in between.

However the selection is made, life generally includes a mixture of things that serve us and ones which do not. How often do we consciously ask ourselves what serves us? Suites us, nourishes us, or improves us in some way. But what aspects of our Self/self do we use as a yardstick? Is it what makes taste buds happy, what fills the belly, or what feels good in the body tomorrow? Is it what serves body, emotions, mind or soul? Some or all of us?

Human brains are wired to ask: what can I use and what do I need to stay away from? Basic survival. This only teaches us about what our body and ego want, subject to unconscious ideas and concepts. We can have beliefs that serve on one level but not on others. I love the taste of chocolate. I feel good eating it. If I indulge too much it’s bad for my body and doesn’t sit well in my stomach.

Consciously exploring what serves, teaches us about ourselves. We learn over time what works and what doesn’t by trial and error. Consciously asking speeds the knowing up. Receiving the answer is a deep commitment to taking care of yourself. Listening to self/Self further advances knowing.

Energetically, there is resonance. What resonates with my Being? What promotes harmony and ease? Some things resonate with me, others don’t. I can feel this. Asking my body/being, and listening to the response, I can learn to feel/know what is in tune with, or will help me tune to, my Being. I don’t have to mentally understand it all, just ask and feel into harmony or discord. Often when I let go my mind the answers are surprising, not what my mental concepts suggest or expect.

How I answer “What serves?” determines where I give my attention, time, and energy. Determines what I make up my life. It is easy to get hooked (sometimes for noble and valid reasons) into all sort of things in the world. But do they serve me? Or are they distractions from my Soul’s purpose, from my highest good. I am not judging them, only asking: right now does this serve me? Things may often resonate a little. But why settle for a little? I can almost always find something good about a movie, but which ones elevate me, inspire me, or inform me in a deep way?

To be clear about my choices, I have to be clear about myself and how I want to be in the world. This comes from practicing how to access and listen to my Self. Then I can filter what truly serves from what doesn’t, from what is merely entertaining, distracting, or even harmful. Consistently asking “what serves?”, and choosing accordingly, creates the foundation for a life full of joy. Choose Joy as often as possible.

(© 08/2017)

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