Our perception of reality and truth is filtered through many layers of concepts and ideas of how we think things ‘should’ be. We constantly measure our experience against these shoulds/shouldn’ts and depending on how we measure up our sense of okayness or problems with any given moment is derived from this.
But what if there was another way? What if under all that, prior to the shoulds and the should nots – our sense of self prior to all conceptions of it, actually inherently had the fragrance of peace, contentment and happiness all along.
What happens when you drop the ideas and stories of shoulds and stand free in this moment accepting all that IS?
We are all figuring out life best we can, in our messy and imperfect, perfectly human way. Life includes in it the whole spectrum of experience and there’s no guidebook or rule book, there’s no one way to live life.
A lot of the people I meet along the way are looking to others to give them answers. But other people/ gurus/ teachers (even life) are only ever a mirror, a reflection of your own awareness, your own subjective experience of life, pointing you back to Self. That mirror can be crystal clear or that mirror can be partial and muddy. I encourage each and every one of you to look into your own direct experience, use your discernment, listen to what others have to say and mark it against your own internal compass and intuition. Drop all your judgements about what you think you know and take a careful look, take a look prior to your assumptions, observe. See if whatever they (or I) are pointing to stands up to scrutiny, does it point back to Self? But don’t take my word for it…. go looking for yourself!
“We must explore the darkest corners of our existence
in order that we bring light to the shadows that lurk there.” ~Imogen
In those moment when you can’t see a way forward
through the darkness and confusion,
breathe all the way through to the ends of you fingers and toes.
Notice your aliveness,
your awareness of that aliveness.
Don’t be afraid of the shadows in the dark night of your soul.
Embrace that darkness,
lean into it.
Bring the light of awareness,
into the dark.
The shadows call for attention and recognition,
they call for love not rejection.
Give them the attention they seek
don’t hide from them.
You can’t hide from them.
Breathe deep and boldly move forward
one foot in front of another,
even if that boldness is full of fear
don’t let fear stop you.
Don’t become a slave to doubt and fear.
See that they are arising and falling as naturally as you breathe,
as naturally as happiness and joy
or sadness and sorrow.
See that all that arises is fleetingly held in the sweet embrace of your being
and then dissolves whence it came.
So dig deep, belly breathe through ALL of life’s experience
one foot in front of another
without reference to past or fear of future.
Q: Is the whole old spiritual paradigm collapsing?
The old way of doing things may well be, the very strong hierarchical Guru-lead spiritual organisations as an example. But I feel there will always be the search for connection to, or rather awareness of Self (it’s like consciousness forgets itself, just to for the delight and play of remembering itself too!) and those ‘big’ answer-less answers will be searched for as long as there is suffering in the world. What that search looks like, and if it’s so widespread that it’s not to be seen as ‘special’ or different (fringe) anymore… yes I think this world is changing, but then it has done before and it will do again.
“There are no choices. Just happenings. Just happenings, appearing as choices.” – Imogen
“We are already enlightened”
This statement seems overused in many spiritual circles and is in serious danger of creating concept fatigue. It’s been placed up on the spirituality pedestal as something teachers, gurus and seekers alike say but for many it has become an abstract ideal to aim to understand but never truly a reality to reach. So what use it is other than to dangle a carrot and perpetuate the seemingly endless cycle of seeking?
Don’t be tempted to throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet; what is being pointing to is the fact that our inherent or primordial nature is one of open awareness (consciousness). Within this arises the sensory phenomena of experience – thoughts, feelings, sensations (body/world). Included in that are all those beliefs, views, conditioning, embodied memories, traumas and concepts – everything that we experience and call ‘life’.
In my life journey thus far I’ve had to transgress two* major spiritual paths/groups/movements that were both whole-life encompassing – Guru, lifestyle, friends and family, home, job, it felt like a lot could and would be lost. It’s was for sure a very difficult thing to navigate but I feel it’s important to share and talk about as I see a lot of people dealing with this, particularly in the realm of spiritual organisations.
Over time I’ve actually come to see that it’s a totally normal and healthy part of ‘spiritual’ development
Can anyone else relate?….
The feeling of nothing to hold on to, of no solid ground, of no control and no stability, can bring terror to the forefront of our experience – particularly when we find ourselves in resistance to this free-fall. And yet when you realise that this free-fall actually brings with it the total freedom of no limits and no boundaries, when you realise that this groundless-ness brings with it the capacity for any and everything to show up – there, there is the moment that you sink into the feeling of pure joy that there is nothing to be fixed, just a new norm to be enjoyed.
When the story drops away
When the chatter ceases to be
When the drama and ups & downs dry up
When the endless dissatisfaction and seeking stops
When the feeling of next, next, next is gone
What are you left with then?
This that is everything and nothing
This that is life
Everything that you once knew
Or thought you knew
Cease to feel relevant
And yet here you still are
Its a leap into the unknown
A free-fall in life
Nothing to hold on to
Nowhere to put a stake in the sand
Fresh in every moment
Beautiful, alive Isness
This exploration of life requires great vulnerability, earnestness, openness, radical honest and deep inquiry. It’s a truly destructive process, one that burns everything that you are not with such a fire that not even a whisper of the false is left. But what this can mean is that which we hold so dearly, so tightly, for so long doesn’t fit into this new paradigm that is tenderly cracking open. Our once core beliefs and truths don’t feel like ours any more and so we’re required to drop them, to move on, to take a leap of faith into the unknown.
It’s this continuous release into the unknown where freedom lies. It’s not a position to take but a
” ‘The Self’ isn’t some mystical-separate-other-self.
It’s you, you free from the constraints and conditioning that you believe yourself to be.” – Imogen
Life is such and unbelievable gift, how often do you stop and smell the roses? Appreciate the little simple ordinary moments? Without reference to the past or thoughts to the future.
We miss the beauty of the moment so easily. Ordinary life has become so throwaway, so undesirable. Instead marked with the next glamorous instagram shot, the next big ‘experience’, the next enviable goal. Next next next. We miss the sheer joy of this extraordinary, but divinely ordinary moment.
Whether that moment be filled with anger, joy, sadness or bliss it doesn’t matter. Just the fact we are alive, that we bear witness to all of this. Oh the magnificence that
“Accept all that arises into the sweet embrace of your being.” – Imogen
This morning I came across a beautifully articulated post on Facebook by Unmani (one of many I might add). She recently unexpectedly lost her husband and has been sharing openly her journey/processing throughout this difficult time – it’s beautiful, raw and brave and I see that this is very much what she is being called to do, for the benefit of herself and for all those who read what she writes.
“Walk through life with the palms of your hands open to what life brings;
no clinging, no denying, just this – what’s here right now.” – Imogen
There’s so much of my spiritual path/story that I haven’t yet shared on this blog or social media. Not because I feel the need to hide it, I’m not particularly attached to privacy even, but because I’m still living it each and every moment. The implications not yet seen, the fullness of understanding not yet known. And yet the more I walk this path, this world, the less and less the need to understand, the need for certainty seems to matter to me.
These days I find the words are there less and less. The *need* to communicate less and less. But somehow these last few weeks it feels like there’s an elephant in the room that I’ve not been addressing, in the past few months its been somewhat stopping me from publicly writing more than a few snippets here and there. More and more my private writings seem to be addressing this. There’s been a shift in my focus, but somehow to talk of it I feel the need to contextualise it with my story a bit more.
I don’t require you to be anyone
to turn up
to be someone
Here in this space
I have no use for concepts and opinions
assertions and knowledge
here in this space we can just BE
Be as we are
naked and vulnerable
strong and fiery
broken and lost
angry or sad
joy-filled and blissful
or nothing at all
Here in this space we can explore the depth of humanity
traverse the fields of experiencing
sit in this divine Isness of life
but most of all be free
free to be
free to be without attributes
free to be whatever and whoever we are
free to sink into this moment
10 years ago today Maharishi Mahesh Yogi died.
I remember the day clearly, we were in the Dominican Republic on a holiday marking our 1st year wedding anniversary. I turned on the TV (probably the only time I did) to see it on the BBC news tick-a-tape completely out of the blue – “THE BEATLES GURU DIES”.
At the time we were living in the epicentre of Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation (TM) moment in the US; Fairfield, Iowa, the place we had called home for the last 2 years, and would go on calling home for the next 7 almost 8 years. But TM was much more to me, it was something that shaped and formed my whole life, my formative years, something that I had inherited, 20 minutes twice a day, as natural to me as brushing my teeth, I never knew life without it.
I learnt TM when I was six years old
“As long as you want life on your terms there will be something to gain or lose;
the opposite of freedom.” – Imogen
I have gone from living the (American) dream… good job, beautiful house, wonderful friends, two beloved cats, more stuff than we could ever want or need, plentiful money, gorgeous and loving husband – I wanted for nothing… and now I have nothing (except the husband of course 😜 I’ve still got him thankfully).
We have no home – not even a real base, we move from house sit to house sit every few weeks, new place, not knowing anyone, not knowing the area, living out of a hand luggage suitcase. No money to speak of – most people would be shock at how little we live on right now, no possessions – I literally mean it when I say all we have is a hand luggage suitcase each that fits all our stuff, no friends or people we hang out with (because of the said nomadic lifestyle) – just us two 24/7. Nothing really that we need or have to do, no purpose or meaning, no ambition and drive, no desires.
And yet I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. So happy
Again and again life has recently been showing up with this question of what is compassion? What is love? Compassion can look like a lot of different things, but for the moment I wanted to talk about compassion for those around you that act in ways that you don’t understand, don’t like and don’t find their behaviour to be acceptable at all – maybe they’re behaving like a complete asshole.
The most compassionate thing you can do is not write them off. Bring them into your heart. Their asshole-ness is covering up a non-acceptance of Self in themselves. When you accept your whole Self, when you accept all that you are and all that you experience, all the ‘world’, then you aren’t rejecting anything. You aren’t creating a sense of separation – all is you. So pull into your heart that someone, see that
Keep letting go
that dogged determination of seeking
whether it be experiences and pleasure-seeking
better and more ‘stuff’
vaster and deeper knowledge
more experienced and valued skills
let it all go
just for a moment
and experience this moment.
Experience what it is to live life as awareness
unadorned with the commentary of the mind
theres nothing to get rid of, no bad thought
all must be held in the tender embrace of acceptance
for the real blossoming of life lived in truth and freedom
to be recognised as your birthright all along.
“None of the contents of mind is intrinsically you, it’s passing through like clouds in the sky.
Recognize that you are the substrate, the ‘sky’ if you like.” – Imogen
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you have to do XY&Z in order to realise the Self…. as if it’s like a cake that you put all the exact ingredients in the bowl in the right order and put it in the oven and ping, you have yourself a perfect cake.
Except it doesn’t work like that, that’s the mind’s imaginings of what it is. What I’m talking about is prior to the mind, and therefore can’t be grasped by the mind. Anything the mind thinks it knows or understands about this is just the mind imagining what it thinks. It’s not an adding to, it’s not a changing of, its a realisation of that which you cannot NOT be, that which you already are, that which you always were, that which you always will be whether you realise it or not. It’s like waking up from a dream; before… you were in the dream and you didn’t realise that you were dreaming, but you were. Then you wake up and realise it was a dream. It doesn’t change the dream, the dream is still there, playing out at it was, but you realise you are dreaming now.
Self realisation, or enlightenment, or whatever you want to call it is not a ‘thing’ that you get… it’s your very nature, and that is recognised…. which changes everything, and yet it changes nothing. It’s not something that I can describe to you and you will ‘get’. I’m just pointing, in my own imperfect way, to something in your own experience that’s maybe being overlooked, but like I said… if you’re reading this and trying to ‘get it’ with the mind then you won’t able to.
It will seem like a riddle.