It’s hard to believe that we just have to be ourself and that is enough. It’s enough to include all that we are and exclude none of it. Most of us feel that life requires the opposite of this, and so to have that recognition “that I am enough” feels like a miracle, a miracle that we doubt all too easily as not being true. But it is it nonetheless, that we get to be who we are, entirely ourself, no bells or whistles and this is enough, this is it. It’s a wonderful realisation because at the end of the day that’s all we’ve got anyway. When we’ve been stripped of all ideas and ideals of everything we think we ‘should’ be and left naked standing here as we actually are.
We never think that which we are could be loved, or maybe even liked if we show the entirety of ourself. We feel that for sure we have to work very hard to not be this or that part of ourself. But life teaches us that if you learn to love all of YOURSELF, you are free. And in that freedom, those that gather around you, will love you for you, not a mirage or a straight jacket that you have to maintain.
This is true relating, this is true and unconditional love. The ability for you to be you and them to be them, life to be life. It’s not some grand gesture of love, but the loving acceptance and non judgement of the full expression of life as lived through you.
Does this mean we don’t grow or ‘improve’, nurturing those best sides of ourself? No. It means that our best sides of ourself, our love, our compassion, our acceptance, our understanding give room and space for it all too. And in this we become more than just those parts we call our worst aspects. In this we realise that we are so much more, we realise that these aspects pale in comparison to the ground that we are, the love that we are.
What is your capacity to be with loss, to be with grief and sadness and loneliness, to be with fear? What is your capacity to embody all aspects of the human experience, not just the ‘good’ stuff?
It’s not that we need to go looking for this stuff, court it, wallow in it, seek it out. But it will inevitably find you, one way or another. If you spend your life running from this, finding safe ground away from the mud and melee of life, when it does show up it will feel overwhelming and scary, it will feel like it could break you, even worse, it could kill you. This safe space, this gilded cage that you have created from life will be shaken to the core. Your fragility will become apparent.
Freedom is the ability to encompass and embrace it all, it’s the antifragility of life. It’s the allowance of the full expression of life to move through you unimpeded.
Root out where you are feeling fragile with life. Become aware of it and the tendency to avoid it at all cost.
The seeing of this tendency, the noticing of what it FEELS like, how the body responds will give you your clues as to where life is calling for you to meet it still. You may not feel you have the capacity to meet life in the way it wants you to, but you do. We as humans are amazing creatures, the capacity of life to be lived through us is infinitely wise. The only boundary we often have are the boundaries of the mind, the doubts, the fears, the what ifs.
Give it a try, let go, surrender into the wisdom that life is bringing to your feet, the gift it is trying to give you.
Even if only a little, open that clenched fist you have on life, and let it all come in, you’ll be surprised at the space and loving embrace that you already have available to you, to be present for it all.
“What do should I be doing during the Divine Light Transmission?” is a question I get asked frequently so I just thought I’d take a moment to answer in a video… Enjoy 🙏
But as a recap:
- Be open and receptive – say a big ‘yes’ in your heart o receive what is in your highest good and in service of awakening.
- Sit comfortably, eye closed – eye closed is a personal preference as I find it settles you down and brings the attention inward.
- Have the attention lightly on the felt bodily experience rather than in the mind of judgements & analysis – this means let come what comes, let go what goes and try not to judge what is happening or even look for something that you think ‘should’ be happening!
- Rest – it helps with integrating the energy into the body. The 15 minutes of silent sitting meditation afterwards is for this purpose too, but take some extra rest if that feels good to.
Q: I’ve been a seeker for many years, and am getting simply tired and exhausted with it … I’ve had my share of spiritual experiences that their memory has kept me going in feeling that the “Self” is not a charade created to soothe the aching soul of us. So I just sat with your kind Divine Light Transmission. Thank you, greatly appreciated what you are doing. I must confess I kind of gave up on any hope for this life … I’ve suffered a lot internally. I get confused when I see some hope like you “transmit”. It’s sometimes easier to keep ones head down and push till the end of this one and hope that we are just matter and that we don’t have to thru this again and again or if we do — just get the next phase of it. I felt you are a kindred soul and might have some words of advice in these turbulent times which my internal life seems to reflect.
[Note: This is a shortened version of a message I received with all the personal details taken out.]
Imogen: I would say it’s less hope and more love, freedom and the seeming paradox of fullness AND emptiness that is being transmitted and then recognised by you, in you; the unconditional love and acceptance of life. The human mind, the human conditioning, comes up with all sorts of weird and wacky conditions and expectations that it sets on life, none of which are truly true in the greater context of life, the context of consciousness. They are partial and fleeting relative truths that our mind takes to be something all together more pervasive, and this causes an awful lot of suffering, discomfort and discontent with life.
For me it’s been very much a path of dropping all expectations, conditions and limits of any ‘shoulds’ and coming to be with life in the present moment, entirely innocently and honestly almost like a curious scientist observing the happening of life moment by moment without drawing conclusions, just experiencing life with almost a child-like wonder. This allows for the inclusion of all and the rejection of none which brings a great sense of liberation from the confines of life as we thought we knew it.
To me awakening isn’t some grand big ‘other’ state or thing to ‘get’, it’s not spiritual experiences in themselves either. It’s a dropping into this moment fully. It’s the recognition of it all as an appearance in consciousness that gives rise to the entirety of life, the good, the bad AND the ugly. When you really see this (experientially) there’s a sort of surrender that comes around. A union WITH life, AS life, rather than a constant striving and war with life.
You mention a giving up or an exhaustion with seeking…. To me this is actually a good thing believe it or not! The ego/mind has exhausted itself and it’s need to control and find, next and next and next. The search for something other than THIS. It becomes recognised in your very Being and also felt in the body (exhaustion) that the seeking mind leads down yet another road that is oh so familiar, another endless dead end of more searching. The seeking mind is the opposite of the peace and contentment that is found when one surrenders TO LIFE and falls in love with WHAT IS, exactly AS it is, moment to moment.
Awakening isn’t a flashy ‘spiritual experience’ (although they can show up along the way too) it’s to become aware of, to awaken to what life is, what you are, awareness-consciousness. It’s to see that you are the sky and the clouds (or content – including the mind and all phenomena) are doing as clouds do, passing in the sky. Sometimes there are thunderstorms, sometimes there are clear skys. But not once does the sky try to hold on to any of it, it simply experiences it all, has room for it all, accepts it all, as part of the play of life. To me this is the love of life, this is the freedom of life, when you’re not identified as being the clouds, but the clouds being IN you!
Practically speaking my small tidbit of advice would be, find and root out where your shoulds or expectations of life lie… is there a gulf between those and the reality of life? Where is your loyalty, to your imaginations and therefore conditions of what ‘should be’, or to life as it is? When you allow yourself to really and fully let go of expectations and shoulds, do you find that a space of ease opens up? Drop thoughts of future or past, be present to this moment without limits or conditions on what this moment ‘should’ contain with in it…. Do you find there is still a ‘problem’ or discontent with this moment? Do you find that life allows and has room for all that is arising to be there, without exception?
I guess all this is to say, from this perspective do you feel like you are at war with life, or are you ALL that life IS?
The ‘Conversations & Questions’ series comes from snippets of conversations taken from emails, 1-on-1 sessions, group meetings or in-person conversations. I take out any personal or sensitive content, but often these conversations have a universality to them that can be helpful to more than just one person. Feel free to get in touch via email, social media or even post your question in the comments below and I may answer them in this way…
- So I did a thing and here it is… an interview with Renate McNay for Conscious TV.It’s honestly something that was scary and uncomfortable for me from the get-go, sending my comfort zone running out of the building for its dear life because this thing was not something that I’d ever imagined or wanted for myself. But life these past years has very much been about stepping out of the way, taking the handbrake off and TRUSTING life fully.And guess what… I actually ended up really enjoying myself ¯\_(ツ)_/¯I want to thank Renate for so gently and kindly supporting me through this process, making it so easy and enjoyable. I’ve loved getting to interact and know you a little these past few months, and I’m honoured to join the ConsciousTV family.I hope you all enjoy it <3
Link to transcription on ConsciousTV – http://conscious.tv/text/161.htm
Renate: Welcome to ConsciousTV. My name is Renate McNay and my guest today is Imogen Sita Webber and we are still in the corona time and Imogen is in Wales and I’m in Oxfordshire. So, it’s a completely different experience, interviewing on Zoom, not quite sure about it – so let’s try it.
Renate: So, I’d like to start with a little bit looking into your story and how you became who you are now, a spiritual teacher, well, you call yourself a spiritual mentor. And Imogen is also a writer, a brilliant writer, there’s lot of wonderful things to write on your website and you give Divine Light Transmission, and we find out a little bit later what that is. And, so you grew up with the understanding everything is consciousness.
Imogen: That’s correct, yeah.
Renate: Yeah, and the question is, was that a blessing or not?
Imogen: I didn’t know anything else, this is the thing. So this was my life, that was the paradigm and the view of my life. It was very ordinary for me.
Renate: Yeah, so you were six years old when you started meditating?
Imogen: Yeah, so my mom was a Transcendental Meditation teacher from way back when and she taught me when I was six.
Renate: Did you know what you were doing, what meditation is?
Imogen: As much as a six-year-old has understanding of that I think.
Renate: Yeah, yeah.
Imogen: It was something that was with my life for the entirety of it `cause I saw my mom going off and meditating from the day I was born she still doing that. So, it was very ordinary for me, it was very much part of my life.
Renate: Yes, and you had enough playmates there and in the commune?
Imogen: Well, so when I was born, I was born in Wales, and actually we were not living in the Transcendental Meditation community in Skelmersdale at that point. We moved there when I was about fourteen. We moved there so that me and my brother could go to the school, there’s a school there and, it was a wonderful thing for me because I suddenly was surrounded by people who also meditated and also had this view of life, which to me was very nice to have people who I could share this with.
Renate: Yes, and you went to school and later you studied there. How many years did you live there?
Imogen: So, I lived in Skelmersdale from, I think it was the year 2000 until 2006, when I moved to the TM community in America Fairfield, Iowa. At that point we moved, me and my husband, moved with a company. All the company were meditators, and we decided to move over there and it was after I finished working with the company that I then went to the university which was in America.
Renate: Yeah, well I heard a lot about TM bringing meditation into schools and they do incredible work on that level, and I think it’s very successful, what do you think?
Imogen: Yeah, I went to a school that specifically, it wasn’t just bringing TM into the school, the whole curriculum, everything was, it was a transcendental meditation school in itself.
Imogen: So, that was the school I went to. They’ve since, in the last few years, brought it into mainstream schools and just ordinary schools. They ’re bringing TM into just the programs in the schools to meditate along with the ordinary curriculum.
Imogen: But that wasn’t quite what I was brought up with. When I went to school we had SCI, Science of Creative Intelligent lessons, and we learned Jyotish and we learned all of these things, as well as these fundamental, sort of ideas about consciousness were brought into the ordinary subjects, your science, your math, your art, all of it was held within that philosophy I guess.
Renate: Yeah, so that’s the Vedics?
Imogen: Yeah, yeah.
Renate: Yeah, and you also had Ayurveda, you learned about Ayurveda and is that still your life?
Imogen: Um, I mean it’s always present in my life, it’s always something that I’m aware of. It’s not necessarily something that I’m active in practicing particularly, even Transcendental Meditation is not something that is active in my life in the same way that it once was.
Renate: Yeah, but is there still meditation in your life? Do you still meditate?
Imogen: It depends what someone’s definition of mediation. Certainly, I still close my eyes and I still take time out of my day for that, but the meditation that I was taught was mantra based meditation and at some point there was a recognition that there is no difference between meditation and no meditation in me. So, it wasn’t something that I had to go to to experience and that’s when the formal meditation dropped away, and I would say life became a sort of a living meditation for me.
Renate: Beautiful. So, you hear a lot about spiritual organizations and the restrictions they put out and working a lot with control and fear. Is that something you were aware or at the time you were aware or, was that completely accepted by you? How did you feel with that?
Imogen: I mean, for me because it was always so, such an ordinary thing for me, I was living my life in this and so when I was growing up, you know, obviously outside of the transcendental meditation organization, this wasn’t an issue. I wasn’t very much in touch with it. Going more into it, initially felt wonderful, but I definitely see that there are tones of that in that organization and in every organization, I’ve since been involved with.
Renate: Sure, yeah.
Imogen: I think it’s just the nature of it somehow. When you get groups of people together, and you may have an enlightened teacher at the start of that organization, but then you have lots of other people involved and their sort of things that they’re going through. So, I definitely see that there are, there can be, tones of that. It didn’t affect me too much to start with but the further along, the more “adult” I got, let’s say, having my own views coming into it and having my own experiences, then I saw where there was definitely emphasis on things that were acceptable as viewpoints and things which were discouraged. So, yeah, I definitely think there was a flavor of that for sure.
Renate: So, when you learned as a child about consciousness, consciousness the ground of everything, could you actually comprehend what you learned? Was that something also you started to experience or was it just a theory?
Imogen: I mean, it was definitely grounded in experience for me. It wasn’t grounded in necessarily a continuous experience as in an abiding experience of that, that came later but there was sufficient glimpses and there were sufficient experiences that it was known to me. It was known what was being spoken about theoretically. But I knew experientially what that was because every time I went to meditate, I would recognize what they were talking about. But it was very much an in and out thing, you go in, you go to meditate, and you experience that and then you come out of it. And so, it wasn’t the experience that was abiding but it was, along with the knowledge, the conceptual knowledge, of that we are all of this. There was definitely that experiential part of it through doing TM for sure.
Renate: Yeah, you were telling me that your childhood was not a very happy one. Your father was an alcoholic and your mother was also a bit mixed up.
Imogen: We’ve had a difficult relationship, you know, they were human beings going through their own things.
Imogen: And that was tricky to navigate for me I found, `cause I’m quite sensitive as well.
Renate: Yeah and you said you picked up from them a lot of dysfunctional life strategies.
Imogen: Yeah, I mean, I feel like we all have those dysfunctional life strategies and that’s how I coped with life, was learning how to, how I thought I should behave. I had a lot of “shoulds” in my life, I had a lot of conditioning. I was a people pleaser so I really, I had a lot of behavior around putting others before myself and the detriment that that can have on someone can be quite large when you start to recognize that. When you’re in it, it’s not so much of a problem but I did suffer from depression and things like this in my teenage years even with meditation, which I think must have helped me enormously and I dread to think what life would have looked like without something like that in my life. But it was still tricky, it was still a very tricky time for me.
Renate: Yeah, so how was it tricky? How did it manifest?
Imogen: Well, the obvious one was the depression, that was the obvious one and it was short, sharp, and deep depression for me. But for me, it was how I related to life was so conditioned, so much about the other, so much about how I should behave, who I should be. It got to a point in my life where I really didn’t know who I was, because I was trying to live in that conditioning of how I felt I should be. And the spiritual conditioning came along with that as well for me.
Renate: So, we normally do that, going away from our self, when we want to feel loved. So, I guess you didn’t feel loved by your mother or accepted?
Imogen: Um, well I knew, I absolutely knew that she loved me but, yeah I think I struggled to connect my behavior with that deep feeling of love.
Renate: Yes. Did you go through some counseling or what? What was the most helpful thing in… I mean it’s interesting because you did have experiences of the ground of being and yet on top of it the depression.
Imogen: Yeah, yeah and so this is the thing, I had that knowledge of my ground. I did have that knowledge, it wasn’t abiding so it was unstable in that way, they were fleeting experiences. I knew conceptually what I was, beyond the humanness, but that humanness wasn’t accounted for and yet it was still very much playing out in me. I still struggled with life and I was looking for peace and happiness basically. I wasn’t even looking for enlightenment, even though I was surrounded in a movement where the whole basis is towards enlightenment, that was not my goal ever actually, it was peace and happiness.
Imogen: And I misguidedly, because of who I was at that point, my strategy was avoidance and so I avoided a lot of these very difficult things. That was how I got through those years in many ways. I pushed it all way down and tried to pretend it wasn’t there somehow and with awakening that lid came popping right off and that was quite a shock to my system honestly.
Renate: It’s interesting, a few days ago, you probably know Rupert Spira, and he and Ellie are good friends of ours, and we were together last Sunday and he told me exactly what you just said. You know, when you ask people what they really want, they always say “I want happiness”. They do not say “I want awaken” or “I want enlightenment”, “I just want to be happy”. And so, he’s writing a whole book now on how to be happy, just happy.
Renate: No other, no other spiritual things, just to be happy. [laughs]
Imogen: Yeah, I think it’s important, because I do think the majority of people, that is, if they’re really honest, that is what they’re seeking. Now I think the end point for that happens to be knowing your nature and happens to be awakening but, it’s not necessarily what people start out looking for.
Renate: Yeah, ok so you just, the last thing you said, the lid blew open.
Imogen: Yeah, yeah.
Renate: And was this when a close friend of yours committed suicide or what happened?
Imogen: Yeah, that was a lid, that was certainly the cracking open. I would say that was the point at which the lid began to, sort of, show its cracks because suddenly I was, at that point I felt like I almost, the experience was, is that I walked out of my life. The life that I was building, the life that I thought I should be building. All the things I was doing, all the right things at that point. I was focused in an area which I felt was good. I had gone back to school to get my degree, I had a house, I had a beautiful husband, I had a beautiful life and all of a sudden this happened and it had such a deep impact on me. And it made me question, “what am I doing here?”; `cause I’m not actually happy. I’m looking for happiness and I’m doing all the things which I think I should be doing to make me happy, but I just saw how easy it was to lose life and how fragile life was. I couldn’t contain all of that avoidance of emotion that I’d managed to contain. It was so much all at once that those cracks began to show, those cracks of avoidance began to show and I became interested. My husband Martyn had always been the archetypal spiritual seeker and read every book and watched every Satsang and I was just a bystander, an innocent bystander of all of that. And at that point I began to pick up and hear what they’re talking about and I can relate a little bit more. He was watching a lot of Adyashanti and Mooji and people like this. So, I started to tune in.
Renate: I have here written down, taken from your writing, “there is a tendency in some spiritual traditions and teachings to ignore inner work, to try to meditate away negative emotions, reactions, thought patterns, and so forth”. So, there was not really, in the TM organization, an outlet to show your feelings and your sadness or your…
Imogen: Yeah, it was very much within the TM organization. There’s this view of “don’t entertain negativity”. This is one of their things that are said. As a school child I remember hearing that quite a lot.
Imogen: And also, if there is some roughness in life, meditate more or have your meditation checked. You know, the emphasis was do the meditation, do the work on that level and everything else will be taken care of and it just wasn’t my experience, it wasn’t being taken care of. I was doing the meditation and yet my heart was breaking and I couldn’t, like after this incident, I couldn’t keep my life together. There was so much breaking happening.
Renate: Do you know anybody who managed to meditate all that away, their heartbreak?
Imogen: I don’t know, I don’t know. It’s not something I’d want to make a judgement on, but do I know anyone personally who just meditated and that was it? I can’t think of anyone offhand.
Renate: You know, some time ago I interviewed a guy called Reggie Ray who is the lineage holder of Trungpa Rinpoche. And he has a center in Colorado himself, and he was telling me they meditated. The group meditated for hours and hours and hours, and years and years and years and everybody was depressed, and everybody was unhappy, and he finally realized he does not move. Nothing is moving and he had to leave, and he went into therapy, into psychotherapy, to start releasing certain things – meditation didn’t do it.
Imogen: Yeah, this was the context that I grew up in. It went unsaid but it was discouraged, in an unsaid way. I felt it was discouraged and I felt that, if you’re focusing on that, you’re entertaining the negativity and you just need to “not be negative” and do your meditation and everything will be ok. And so I don’t feel that that is a helpful guidance for a lot of people because it negates the human experience, and that human experience which I’m very interested in now having gone through all of this, that’s where my interest and focus is so much because of my own experience, I think. Because, you know, I was having this recognition of consciousness and yet the humanness was still there and it wasn’t accounted for in a full enough way for me to really be able to integrate and include that human experience.
Renate: So, what should have happened? What’s the right thing?
Imogen: Well, in my story it was the perfect thing. In my story, I feel that I went through everything that I went through including the depths of heartbreak and anguish because that was the only way I could learn those lessons. In a more generalized way, I think there needs to be more discussion about this and acceptance about this generally in spiritual organizations instead of just the focus on the absolute or the consciousness. It needs to be both; it needs to have that wholeness in there of the recognition of the ground but also what it means to have the content. It’s not a negation of the content, as soon as you start to deny that content, that human experience of life, that is changeable but is experienced in this way, so I think that there needs to be both there. That’s my view of it.
Renate: Yeah, well my teacher always said to reach the absolute is wonderful but it’s just a beginning.
Imogen: Absolutely agree, I love that.
Renate: Then the real work starts.
Imogen: And you know, that was my experience, I thought it was gonna be the other way around. I thought, to reach the absolute, all this work happens and you purify and you eat the right foods and you do all the right things and then you get the prize, you get the gem, the absolute is there for you to take. It wasn’t my experience and that’s not to say, it might some people ’s experience, but it just wasn’t my experience.
Renate: I was reading a book yesterday written by Cynthia Bourgeault, which I appreciate a lot.
Imogen: I like her.
Renate: Yeah, and there was a sentence in that which, I really, it really hit me and it says “God cannot enter hell, but love can enter hell, and there, redeem it”. So, what I guess that means, it’s also what you are teaching and what you are saying is, you really need to enter the experience and redeem it and bring it to the light.
Imogen: This is it, you know, people have these big grand narratives that they put on these big words like enlightenment and awareness and to me, I like to break it down much more simply than that. Enlightenment is to enlighten, to bring light, not some big lovely, fluffy idea of light but just literal light, to bring awareness to that which wasn’t aware. And to do that, you have to go into that, you have to not be afraid of that. You have to include that along side and in with the experience of life and as long as there’s any sense of light is good, dark is bad you’re creating a separation of life where I don’t believe there is any, and this is where you get into trouble actually. You’re continuously avoiding those aspects of life which you ’ve conceptually deemed as not good.
Renate: Yeah, we had this little chat yesterday and you said one thing which is always standing out with people you’re working with, they are saying “I should”, “I should be more enlightened”, “I should be already awake” or “I should be…”, I don’t know, “… a better person” and not really understanding what it means to be a human and what it means… what does it mean to be myself? You know, in the moment you said if we say “should” you can pick up a shadow. Can you say something about that because that’s interesting?
Imogen: To me, the word, when I hear the word “should”, it’s like a little red flag of someone’s conditioning, poking out, and often we don’t even see it as that. We don’t even see that it’s, somehow, we’ve picked up an idea of how life should be. The heart doesn’t have a “should”. The heart just acts, the heart just is. If you are in love with something, you know, you’ve got crisp potato chips, there’s no “should I eat that”, you just pick them up and eat it. So, this is where the “should” comes in. The “should” comes in in relation to how we think life should or shouldn’t be, should or shouldn’t behave, who we are in relation to all of that. And it leaves us with no room to be as we naturally would be. It leaves us in sort of a gilded cage, we start living life as tighter and tighter confinement of what’s acceptable. And where do we get these ideas of what is acceptable, I mean people have all sorts of ideas of what ’s acceptable, so which one’s correct? Which culture, which group, which society is correct about that “should”? And so this is the work I find for a lot of people, is to slowly pick apart where those “shoulds” are in their life and they get slippery and subtle and to the point where you can’t even see them and sometimes that’s why you get someone coming along and acting as a mirror for you and you can go “oh wow, there’s a “should”, I didn’t even realize that was a “should””. And so that’s been a lot of my work and I’m still going through that work, I’m still hitting up into pockets of somewhere where I didn’t even see there was a “should” and you can feel it. The more you can go along this work, the more you can feel what is natively, spontaneously you, that naturalness of yourself.
Imogen: And the difference between a “should”, the “should” has a somatic feeling to it, a tightness even and people experience that differently but it’s important to be able to root those out I think.
Renate: It seems you have such a deep understanding of your body to be able to read all that and that reminds me on the other poem, you know, you write wonderful poem. Let me see if I have it, which says “The Head or Heart”, “there’s a constant exploration of life that is immediate, to listen to your body, your physical response to life, your intuitive knowingness, the pull towards yes or no, not on an intellectual level but on the physical level of what’s right and wrong for you in that moment”. And I think that’s a big step to come to this point where you really learn the body ’s message. What is the right and what is the wrong? I know you would say there is no right and wrong.
Imogen: No, but you feel it. It’s not a conceptual right or wrong. It’s a felt right or wrong and that’s the difference for me. The reason why I feel I can talk so much about this is because I was so far in the other direction. I was so, so, so out of touch with my intuitive sense, which you’d think I would be much more in touch having done all this meditation, but I was so far out of touch with my sense of self, my human sense of self, not the absolute sense of self in those terms, you know, we can use different terminologies, but I’m talking more on the humanness side of that, the personality, the naturalness of this embodied Imogen. I was so far away from that, that I really had no idea of who I was really on that level. So, this is why I talk about it, because I’ve had to fight my way from that, from having no connection to that. And I think it started that moment when my friend passed away, it’s like life flooded in and I started to feel myself more. I started to feel my experience because I was feeling grief for a start that I couldn’t put a lid on, that I couldn’t, sort of, shut down ‘cause it was so great. And so, I think that’s probably where I’d say it really started for me but now it’s like every time I don’t listen to myself life smacks me and those lessons get harder and harder and louder and louder and we all, I think, we just have to learn to listen. And if you don’t listen, they get louder and louder, so I had the loud lessons. I had the really, in your face, loud lessons of life, of me ignoring life actually, ignoring myself, ignoring how life wanted to move through me. So, I learned the hard way, which is probably why I can talk somewhat about this because I had to learn those lessons again and again and again and I still do sometimes. Because there was so much of a level of conditioning, particularly around a disconnect from my felt experience. I still don ’t get it right sometimes; I still ignore the signs and don’t listen to myself. I ’m getting better, a lot better, but it’s been a big struggle in my life, I think.
Renate: Yeah, well I guess if you’re rushing through life, you know, there is no room to listen to the body. I think if we bring more awareness and do things slower…
Imogen: You can’t help but not listen then, it’s almost like the spot on the white sheet. It becomes really obvious, really quickly.
Renate: Nice, so let’s start a little bit more with your story. So, by the time you started, Martyn, your husband, was interested in Adyashanti and I think you mentioned also Amma?
Imogen: Yeah, well that was a little bit earlier in the story actually. She was the first person outside of the TM that I’d ever seen or experienced. I was a TM girl, I knew nothing other than TM, you know that was my world. And it was Martyn, he was into everyone, he always had been from a really early age. He came to TM later in life but he, while we were living in Skelmersdale at the time, and he was like, “I’d really love it, she’s coming to London, I’d really love it if you come down and see her” and I was pretty, I mean I was open, but I was skeptical. I have this, sort of, two sides of me where I’m open to something but I ’m still like, hmmm… we’ll see how this goes. So, he dragged me down to London and, you know, didn’t want to say too much because he didn’t want to preempt my own experience but I’d come from the TM movement which is all very sedate and calm and quiet and then I walk in the room and there’s Bhajans and it’s loud and there’s loads of people and all of this. I remember, she wasn’t in the room, and we were chatting with some of his friends and she must have come into the hall behind me, and I just had this experience of just everything stopped. He literally had to guide me and sit me down in a chair, cause just everything stopped for me. So, that was my first experience outside of the TM movement. I never got to meet Maharishi, my mom got to meet Maharishi, but I never got to so it was all videotapes, which were strong in themselves, the darshan, the presence felt was strong and I knew what that was so to have that happen with another teacher, it was quite profound for me. It opened my world up to the world outside of TM and the possibility of other teachers and sages and gurus and that whole thing. So, that was my first, I would say, taste of that.
Renate: Yeah, so by that time your awakening still was not abiding but it would come and go?
Imogen: Yeah, I’d have experiences of my nature, but it certainly wasn’t stable. It was very much linked to meditation, apart from like that experience with Amma obviously, but for me it was something that happened when I went to close my eyes and meditated. It wasn’t something that was in my life outside of meditation very much.
Renate: Yeah, so then you went to see Adyashanti or was there somebody in between? Was Mooji in between?
Imogen: We were watching Mooji, Martyn was, I think Martyn was like watching everyone, anyone who he could get his hands on at this point. There was all these teachers doing Satsangs online, the Wayne Liquormans of the world, the David Speros, the Lisa Cairns, I mean all of them, there’s a laundry list of them.
Imogen: So he was doing that, but I would generally tune into a little bit of Mooji, a little bit of Adyashanti, a little bit of Wayne Liquorman were kind of, you know, they were on in the background in the tv for me.
Renate: So, you still were not really searching for something?
Imogen: No, honestly, even though my life looks like I’m a spiritual seeker from the outside, I would honestly say I was never searching for something in that way from a teacher. But, yeah, we went to this, after my whole life sort of fell apart, and there was more of an openness to teachers, Martyn had wanted to go on an Adyashanti silent retreat and I was just like, I’m not so sure about doing this, I really wasn’t keen on it but he convinced me and I was happy to do it in the end. We went to Asheville and actually the morning of that retreat I had an awakening, actually, is the easiest way to say it. I was reading Suzanne Segal ’s book “Collision with the Infinite” and I’d been reading it out loud the night before to Martyn and in the early hours of the morning I remember just picking up and reading it and I don’t know where I was, I can’t remember but I remember reading something and looking up at, I was still in bed, looking up, out of the skylight and seeing the tree and having this like pop moment of like there is no difference between me and the tree. And it was a very strong experience, very strong experience. I mean, it felt like, the easiest way to describe it, it felt like I was tripping, it felt like I was on drugs of some sort because, you know, I remember packing my bag and I was watching this emptiness pack this bag and it was like, it was such a bizarre experience for me. Nothing that I’d experienced before.
Renate: It’s an interesting statement, “I was watching the emptiness packing the bag”.
Imogen: Yeah and doing it the way that Imogen would have done it, but there was no Imogen doing it. It was just happening.
Renate: Was that not frightening for you because I mean, I know from Suzanne Segal’s book it was terrifying for her?
Imogen: Yeah, so she went through that terrifying… no it wasn’t terrifying for me. Maybe cause I had some more context or something, I don’t know and because Martyn who had all the context in the world, was sort of there and sort of fascinated and he seemed excited and was watching this whole process and I remember looking in the mirror and I’m like there’s no difference between the Imogen here and the image of the mirror. I remember having all these, sort of… it was like an exploration and Martyn was going through this with me as an exploration so it was kind of exciting actually.
Renate: Would you say the self-identity started to dissolve?
Imogen: It disappeared; it left the building. In that moment it left the building. There was no self-identity in those terms, it was just life happening.
Renate: An open space.
Imogen: Yeah, there was no Imogen in here, and I’d had that in meditation but you’d have the eyes closed and all the thoughts are gone and so that sort of seems like, but this was no Imogen walking around, talking, packing a bag, eating breakfast, you know, all of that was happening within this context of there’s no Imogen here, she just upped and left in that way. So that was a very, very bizarre experience and it only lasted about, sort of, I can’t even remember really, but about 36 hours, 48 hours, like a day and a half or so into the retreat it lasted but then it faded. But I couldn’t not see what I’d seen at that point.
Imogen: My life changed from that point for sure, something shifted, permanently something shifted. It wasn’t ever that direct experience, but something did permanently shift from that point.
Renate: So, what is living your life, what is living this life? I mean experiencing it, this profound experience. Where are you? Where it’s so obvious that there isn’t anybody in charge or in control. So how do you do live your daily life, and you know, do whatever you’re doing, being a teacher, a housewife, a lover, and knowing nobody is doing that?
Imogen: Yeah, the thing is, no one was ever doing that.
Imogen: And so that’s the thing, people go, well how? I’m gonna be a vegetable. I’m not going to be able to do anything and I come up against this fear all the time in people and it’s like no, nothing has changed, actually. Life still continues, even choices still appear, happenings still happen, it’s just that the ownership of that, and the one that feels like it’s pulling the strings, the ego mind structure that thinks it’s in control is what sort of, it’s seen through, it’s not even that it goes necessarily. You know, I’m not one of these people that ’s like bashing the ego, like you have to get rid of the ego, I’m like, no it’s fine. You just have to see it and when you see it, it just becomes a part of the play as well. So how do I live my life? Like I always lived my life.
Renate: Yeah. [laughs]
Imogen: Some things have changed for sure, but it’s not some big, you know, suddenly life is a completely different realm. Life still happens in the way it always has done and I think that’s what’s beautiful about it.
Renate: Yeah, well I know some people who had this profound experience and the ego structure never put itself together and they literally became vegetables and they had to recreate an ego structure, otherwise they couldn’t, they didn’t function anymore.
Imogen: I come across people like that as well and I think it’s a phase and I think they can be supported through that and it’s a case of that. I would call that integration; I would call that there needs to be the integration of the absolute and the humanness there. There needs to be the learning to live, and that can be harder for some people, particularly if there’s such a profound shift that everything falls apart. And if they don’t have the context, I mean Suzanne Segal’s a perfect example, she didn’t have the context of what was going on and so she suffered that. And there can be deep suffering in that I think, which, people think that awakening is, and people have different views of this, but some people view that there’s no suffering upon awakening and I see that that’s, it may be the viewpoint of suffering changes but on the human level there can still be suffering. On a deeper level, there is acceptance I believe. There’s an okayness with life.
Renate: But you had difficulties after that experience I think yourself.
Renate: When, I don’t know, all the structures came up into awareness and can you say something about that time?
Imogen: Yeah so, after that whole Adyashanti thing, and it shifted back into something, life was very blissful but I wouldn’t actually, I mean, I don’t know what to call it, but I would say that was like the first stages of awakening. It wasn’t until later that I actually would say was the point at which I had a real permanent shift that abided and that was maybe a year later. And at that point was when all of those ego structures, all of the resistance that those ego structures provide for avoiding whatever is needed to be avoided in life in order for that ego to kind of be comfortable and exist in its comfort, that went. When I talk about the lid coming off, that’s the point at which I would say, and that happened after receiving a transmission and it was a very painful time for me because all the stuff that I’d managed to avoid I could no longer avoid. I was experiencing life, just so raw in the moment. I was experiencing everything, not just the good bits, the bad bits as well and I’d never fully experienced that before. I’d, even with this great experience with Adyashanti, it was so short lived that it didn’t almost give time for all of that to arise so this happened, maybe, a few weeks after that shift that I received from that transmission. Maybe a few weeks later is when it like, first few weeks was all great and bliss and exploration of life and everything was like new. It was like I was a small child.
Renate: Was it kind of a freedom you felt?
Imogen: Yes, yes, oh totally, and excitement of life. It was almost like I was blind and someone had put a pair of glasses on and everything felt crystal clear. And so at first, that was the experience, sort of, this honeymoon phase of like wow, you know, look at this life but it quite quickly turned into my own personal hell it felt like at the time. And was a very difficult time because I felt in between worlds at that point. I had this obvious new view of life, but there was still all of the old conditioning in place, and so it felt very messy in that there was both of these things and they were in obvious conflict. I couldn’t see it at the time that that was clearly what was happening, but I see now that was what was clearly happening. There was the conflict of my natural self, my naturalness, in complete opposition to all of that conditioning, all of that dysfunctional way of, sort of, you know that was the strategy, that was how I survived life and it’s not wrong, it wasn’t wrong, it was how it got me to be where I was but it didn’t fit anymore. It was like the round hole and the square you know, they didn’t fit anymore and so that was, I would say, what turned out to be a year or even two of dismantling all that conditioning. It meant I had to swing away from that conditioning into complete non-conditioning and back again. I had a lot of one foot in one place and one foot in the other. It was all just, very messy. [both laugh]
Renate: Well, the word messy reminded me about a little chat we had yesterday where you said, we talked about the intense time we are living through and it’s a whole mess on so many levels, and you said “the mess is the harmony”. And that, I have to tell you, that completely hit me the way you smashed it out at me because I ’m such a perfectionist. And then I remembered this story of one of my sons, he was incredibly messy always. His room, he didn’t put any clothes into the cupboard, it was just all on a pile and when I came, I cleaned it all up. And he would say “mommy, you just made a mess of my harmony”. [both laugh]
Imogen: There you go, there you go. It’s been in your life.
Renate: And then he made it messy again and said “and now you sit down and you meditate on my mess”. [both laugh]
Imogen: Very, very beautiful. Very wise son there.
Renate: Well, yeah, I just remembered that story during the night when I couldn’t sleep last night and you know it’s… we always hear everything is as it is, acceptance of… but you say the mess is the harmony, it was like of course, of course, it’s always the harmony.
Imogen: It is, that’s what life is offering up in that moment. That is the cutting edge of life and as soon as you start to say this isn’t acceptable of life, you ’re putting a condition on life, you ’re saying this is wrong, this shouldn’t be. That’s not acceptance, that’s not life actually, so for me, in that moment, if that messiness is there, it’s because life is wanting that messiness, that is the best its got, and we as human beings start to put conceptions on that, on what ’s acceptable, what’s not. And, it’s like, no, that is what life is gifting, that’s the wisdom of life in that moment. Life isn’t about comfort, now if life was about comfort, then sure the view of more messiness, yeah ok, there ’s not comfort in messiness. But my view is that life is about wisdom, life is about teaching and learning and exploring, it’s not about comfort. And so, that messiness, in that moment, is life and I think it’s a beautiful part of life. And I used to be someone who was the perfectionist and who wanted everything to be peaceful and perfect and calm and everyone happy and that’s part of the unwinding of that conditioning for me, has being able to learn to, not only accept, but love, and I use the words “acceptance” and “love” often as quite synonymous in my work because to me they are. What you love, you accept and what you accept you love and so to me when that was able to be accepted within me, that messiness, all of a sudden it opens up life to that freedom, it breaks open that cage. It breaks open that cage of conditioning that says life, if it’s messy, it’s bad, and I, very much, felt that before but now, it’s like – no, that is the harmony, is that messiness. If that messiness is there, that’s what life is calling for.
Renate: So, it feels like for me now, as you talk, that the acceptance of the messiness is coming out of your heart.
Renate: Is that when the mind drops to the heart?
Imogen: Yeah, you see the mind is all about this or that, you know, it’s a very analytical tool in my view. It’s like it wants your two plus two equals four. It wants these neat little boxes, it’s this or it’s that. The heart has no such requirements, the heart can have seeming opposites, seeming paradoxes that don’t make any sense to the mind all within it. So, this is the dropping to the heart, it can contain all of it. It can contain the sublime and the ridiculous perfectly. It doesn ’t need life to have these very strong structural, sort of, rights and wrongs in it and so that ’s dropping out of the conceptual mind and into the heart of life. And I mean that both literally and figuratively, it’s a very different experience of life when that finally drops. Because it can also include the mind then, that ’s what ’s beautiful is you don’t have to like, start to exclude the mind, it includes all of it.
Imogen: It accepts all of it.
Renate: Well, your passion for life is, is beautiful. Yeah. Where have you been in your story, I don’t know how long we have time, more time, but I think maybe ten minutes. So, you had it, you had a transmission, you followed your husband to somebody called Ramana in America…
Renate: … Ramaji, and your husband went there and completely changed and you had your doubts as usual [both laugh]. And then you went there a little later and that’s what brought you home.
Imogen: Yeah, I mean, it’s all over… it wasn’t going there, it was all like this, on skype, which is definitely why I had a lot of doubts at the time, you know.
Imogen: I come from this world of you practice, you practice, you practice, you practice, and then you get established in that. So this idea of having a fifteen minute transmission and you ’re done, I was very skeptical of. And I see now that that’s maybe more unusual then I thought at the time, then I realized at the time, to have a single transmission but that ’s what happened to both me and him. Yeah, it’s just that one transmission and my life changed actually, it’s the easiest way to put it, from that point on.
Renate: So, then the awakening, became an abiding and…
Imogen: Yeah, it was Martyn who noticed it first actually the morning after. I had it quite late at night and then I went straight to sleep and I remember walking the next morning, and this was six months after Martyn had had his transmission and his subsequent shift, and he really noticed a different fragrance of me. There was an openness like as if he could go anywhere with me. There was no wall, you know, often when you meet someone who is very held conceptually in their mind, there ’s places you can ’t touch, like you can ’t talk about this subject or you can ’t touch that, that held dearly conception about themselves or their mask or whatever it is. And he said that for the first time he felt there was this, sort of, airiness about me, where he could go anywhere like as if there was no walls anymore. And so, it was him that first noticed a difference and then I started to notice, it was a gradual noticing of how different I was interacting with life actually. You know, the people pleasing of worrying about how someone else would be and how they are. I was just not at war with life anymore. I was able to allow or whatever was happening, I was able to fully feel whatever was happening. And this was the honeymoon phase to start with so everything felt really good as well. It just felt like one big exploration like I was a kid in a candy story exploring life for the first time, it felt like it was for the first time actually.
Renate: Yeah, beautiful. And then students started flocking to you and you were, you were highly recommended by one of your students, she is in Germany and, I mean, she told me wonderful things about you, which I am experiencing now. [both laugh]
Imogen: I have some of the most beautiful people coming to my door. You asked me yesterday who inspires me. A hundred percent, hands down, I got off the conversation, I went, that was what I didn’t say was that the people that come to me, I learn so much from them and I’m inspired so much by them, without a doubt, you know. The students thing, yeah, no, no, it didn’t happen that way.
Imogen: At all, at all. It was a few years, I mean, we ’re talking that was back in 2015, so we ’re talking five years and I ’ve only really, it’s only been this last year, I mean, it’s been a couple of years now but this isn’t my natural habitat. I ’m pretty ambivalent and reluctant to this, honestly. If I ’m completely honest, it’s not ever what I imagined myself or for my life. And I still struggle with that sometimes because it’s not what I would think of for myself. I ’m just letting life, sort of, move through me is the easiest way to say it. But I went through those rough couple of years, and I couldn’t have spoken to anyone else. I was writing a lot and that’s when my website started, I started not for anyone else, but just to be writing, it was like someone turned on a tap. I was very shy before, I never had anything to say really, and then this happened and I suddenly, it was like a tap and the words were just there in the middle of the night, words, words, words, words, all the time. Just the exploration of my experience I guess, but on the other stroke of it I was experiencing this excruciating unwinding of my conditioning which was not comfortable at all and it was not comfortable for my relationships. Everything changed, so all the way that I was relating to people beforehand didn’t working anymore because I wasn’t that person. I was not that conditioning which I once was. And then we were given the opportunity to actually learn how to give that transmission and that’s when I was, sort of, like okay, life is asking me to step up to this. It wasn’t comfortable for me but it was like okay, it’s, do I put the handbrake on of life or do I let life move as it is moving. And so that was the point that I started seeing people and having sessions with them. But it was very slowly, slowly, and very, you know, again, that ambivalence was very much there. It’s only been this last, sort of, six months, certainly six months, maybe a year that I’ve really stepped up into okay life, this is what you’re asking of me, alright I’m all in then. And you tell me where I need to go then, and that’s what’s happened. I ’m learning to trust myself on a deep, deep level and that ’s been a hard-won journey, but it’s been so fruitful for me to continually be in that journey actually.
Renate: Yeah, and so you give also divine light transmission by Zoom?
Renate: I never took part in one but I, I would like, I will take part in one and experience that.
Imogen: Yeah, yeah. It’s, you know, transmissions like my story suggests, I was skeptical of this. And yet I look back at my life and this idea of transmission was throughout it actually. It just depends on your definition of transmission really.
Renate: Yes. Well, yesterday we spoke a little bit about it and you had an interesting theory about how they might, how the world might wake up.
Renate: It might wake up through transmissions.
Imogen: I mean, I don’t know, I don’t know…
Renate: If enough people wake up and transmit it around like, like herd immunity. [laughs]
Imogen: Well, yeah, again I want to broaden out the conception of transmission in that we are all transmitting, you and I are transmitting here with that, we ’re emanating the experience of life. And to me, it’s modeling that and it used to be you had to go off into the Himalayan caves and there weren’t many people to model that. There weren’t many people for us to see what the possibility of living a life of freedom, of living a life as yourself prior to that conditioning of living a life of fullness. And so, now you just turn on the internet and there are people out there just being themselves and you see that and you feel it enlivened in you when you meet another person who is just so grounded in themselves. Then you feel that, you feel what that feels like in you in that moment as well. And so, I think there’s so many more people modeling that in the world and I think it’s a beautiful thing.
Renate: Beautiful. So, we have to finish now and I asked you to read one of your poems which I really love, would you like to do that now?
Imogen: Yes. “Life is a gift. A gift of grace. And with this recognition I bow to the feet of life in gratitude. Grace courses through us in everything we touch, in everything we experience. There is nothing that isn’t grace. It’s all by grace. For me, is the most powerful and humbling recognition, the acknowledgement that I have no control. That I am here, all of me, all of my experiencing – by grace”.
Renate: Thank you. Beautiful. So, yeah it’s the end, thank you Imogen for talking with me today and thank you for watching ConsciousTV and I hope to see you again soon. Bye, bye.
We go lurching from one action to another all in the name of trying to pin down and find a sense of stability, find a resolution. All to avoid or fix the strong feelings and sensations arising in the body-mind. If only we could slow down or even stop in those moments, find our centre, find our inherent stability of Beingness and then observe what action comes about from this. Not an action based out of reactivity and fear but an action based from the quietness and centered-ness, stability even, of Self. An action that isn’t impeded by the conditioned mind, an action that is natural, spontaneous and correct for the moment.
Trying to ‘get away from’ is the source of so much suffering, quite often the thing we’re trying to get away from isn’t half as much trouble and suffering as the act of trying to avoid the feeling or sensation arising around it.
We jump from moment to moment constantly chasing or being chased, never realising that what we seek isn’t over there but here… in this moment, in the heart of this experience should we take the time to look, to BE.
What it actually takes is the willingness to sink into this moment and let everything else be as it is. Let everything else come and go without getting involved with managing the traffic like a traffic cop for phenomenal content.
What it takes is the willingness to sit in the fire and intensity of the moment until it burns itself out and gives way to the next moment.
What it takes is the self love and holding of space without conditions and judgements of all that arises.
And what it takes is having loyalty to being, not loyalty to thoughts and ideas of shoulds.
I was reflecting the other day on the fact that I had a massive shift in 2015, a shift that the consequences of which continue to unfold and deepen still today, so much so that I’m unrecognisable in so many ways.
That change required those closest to me, those that interacted and related with me intimately to change in those relationships too. It’s not something that could be avoided, and it wasn’t their choice if this change occurred or not. But it also wasn’t my choice too. Life changed the game and asked me to step up to something different, and that different was unfamiliar and out of any sense of comfort zone, for me and for them.
The game changed and with it we all had to learn what that meant.
In some ways I want to say sorry, sorry that it’s been unexpected and often difficult. I’ve required of them more than most. To radically shift with me, with life. It wasn’t something I asked for, but it’s something that happened. I know they didn’t ask for it, I know they didn’t maybe want it at times, and I bow with the acknowledgment of that. I bow to the courage and love that it took to stick around, to stick with it, to stick with me through these changes. I didn’t ask it of them and I understood if they chose not to or were unable to take this journey with me.
My life changed in ways I’m still coming to understand. And in my life there now are certain things that just aren’t available to me that once were… one of those things is inauthentic relating.
What this (nowadays somewhat overused and fashionable) term means to me…. I can’t not be me now, all of me. It’s all out there, no mask, no pretence, no conditioned shoulds or ways of being other than this. There is only so much space and time available to put myself into a straight jacket of someone else’s making. And so that requires of them the letting go of expectations and projections. It requires of them to relate with me in the now, in the present moment, in the rawness of life, in the truth of life. It requires of them to let go of any ideas of me and be with the reality of me. Anything else and it falls apart, anything else and it’s untruth burns brightly. Anything else and it gets shown for what it is… the conditioning of shoulds. I ask for authentic relating but I give it too, not as a virtue signal, a choice or a practice, but because life gives no other option, even when honestly I’d love an option to turn it off, turn it down!
The relationships become a radically clear mirror where there is nowhere to hide, for me or them, not in the fullness of time. We became linked in a way that leaves little room for posturing and falseness. All becomes laid out in the sunlight to be seen.
So I’m sorry, I’m sorry that we are unable to hide in our shadowy conditioned shoulds any longer, I’m sorry that by virtue of my change they found themselves under a spotlight too. It was never my intention, the light of life was just shining brightly for us all.
I’m sorry that I’m also not sorry. I’m not sorry because it also shows the potential of so much more to this life, so much more for these relationships, so much more than these limits that once kept us caged and bound in the conditioned mind and patterns of behaving and relating.
But I know it’s not been easy, it calls for a stepping up that’s sometimes uncomfortable and vulnerable. It calls for an openness and a radical honesty that can feel disarming. But the fruits of this ‘going there’ are that of freedom, acceptance and unconditional love, for all of us. And for this I am in full support of, even when it feels like it gets messy and complicated, it’s simple really… love wins out. So thank you, thank you to those souls in my life who have bore witness to these changes and who have gone through changes of your own… you know who you are.
Before you judge and condemn another no matter how bad or wrong you feel they may be, take a moment to see where they are coming from. Take a moment to listen, to feel. Take a moment to listen and feel where you are coming from too – no matter how justified your anger might feel in the moment… just take a moment, take a breath.
We all have the capability to act in ways that are hurtful and harmful. We all have the capability to act out of fear, misguidance and misunderstanding. We all have the capability to lash out and act out when we’re feeling threatened or scared, unheard or unloved.
I don’t believe that human beings are fundamentally bad. Each and every one of us is striving, however imperfectly for love, is striving for acceptance, is striving for happiness, is striving for peace, is striving for inclusivity and oneness. We are striving for the same thing, all of us.
We may go about it in f****d up ways. We may go about it in ways that to the outside world don’t match up to ideas of what that search should like. We may go about it in ways that actually bring about the opposite reaction and consequence from our actions… but nonetheless I believe every person comes from a place of this fundamental search for love and acceptance.
This love may be distorted and contorted so much so that it now only resembles hate, but please take a moment to really consider this – are we all not deserving of a chance, a chance to be loved even though we may not yet know how to love in return?
I know this is hard to hear. But your judgement does nothing to solve the problems of this world. Your judgement does nothing to help. Your judgement brings just more divisiveness, your judgement brings less love not more love to the table.
Judgment and hate breeds more of the same, but with love there is room for it all. With love there is a chance for a flower to bloom in the wake of destruction. Unconditional love breeds redemptive love.
Just to be clear, I’m not sitting here judging your judgement. And I’m not sitting here saying you should sit silently by while others do harm. I’m sitting here saying that while I may even strongly agree with what you’re pointing to… I encourage you to maybe try a different way, a way that encourages, a way that has compassion and understanding for the other. A way that leaves room for people to mess up and make mistakes, yes even big ones, but leaves a chance to grow, and change, and learn. A way that leaves a path back home, to love, to self, to acceptance.
We can have room for both in hearts – the not putting up with, or turning a blind eye to cruel, harmful and unjust behaviour AND the compassion, love and understanding for that person who is acting in those ways.
There will always be differences in experience, there will always be those that act in ways you can’t condone, ways you can’t abide by, but before we write them off as a person because of their actions, can we seek to understand why first? Can we give them, and ourselves a chance at love and acceptance first?
Because this is how I believe change truly happens, with love not with hate. With compassion not judgement. With connection not exclusion. With understanding not assumptions. With acceptance not rejection.
I don’t know about you, but I feel it’s a very intense time right now calling for us, both individually and collectively to take a look at that which is in the shadows and bring it into the light so that it may be seen. We’re being asked to stretch and change and grow, and that can get intense and uncomfortable. We’re being asked to let go of the old and step into the new. Change is a beautiful opportunity, one that hopefully we’re able to welcome and celebrate, even with the presence of discomfort and unknowingness.
But change always begins within ourselves. Trying to enact change on a wider collective level from its own level can only ever provide a temporary bandage. Because then it becomes an imposition or a rule from the outside, rather than an emanation or reflection of the heart in how a person truly, naturally and spontaneously interacts and acts in and with life.
It’s not to say we should give up trying to make change and transformation happen in the collective, whether that be in our closer relationships, in our communities, in our societies, or on a global scale; but it’s to say that to enact real lasting change we have to go deeper, we have to go closer to home, we have to turn inward to our SELF. It’s also not to say we shouldn’t try to help one another, grow with one another, learn from one another, teach one another; but it’s to say whatever we take on from the outside or another, has to be discovered in our SELF too.
If we want lasting change, we first have to find that which is unchangeable and work from there. Find the unconditional nature of our Self. That which goes unchanged, that which doesn’t come and go. That which doesn’t die, that which sees and experiences it all – good, bad and everything in-between, right here, right now. If we try to change and fix the constantly changing its nature will be to inevitably change again.
Find that which does not change – awareness, and we find that awareness has love and room for all the changes, all that is different, all that is experienced in life. We find that that unchanging unconditioned open awareness has infinitely diverse appearances and changes within itself.
When we are cognisant of our true nature, our core, the fruit of this is compassion, the fruit of this is inclusion and acceptance, the fruit of this is LOVE. When we have to come to know the love in our hearts that love is reflected in the world around us too. We have to model that love and shine that light outward to the rest of the world.
Those that feel disconnected from their true nature, those that their focus is wholly in the relative, superficial, phenomenal and changeable world then they will only see differences, and those difference will seem like a problem, those problems will seem insurmountable.
A Celebration of Differences
But those that are cognisant of the primordial ground of being, the wholeness, will see that yes there are differences, but those differences don’t threaten the wholeness, those differences don’t threaten us. They are part of the wholeness, but not separate from that wholeness. Differences become a celebration of diversity, but there is strong thread of unity underlying, connecting and permeating that diversity. That thread connects us all, our commonality pervading far deeper than any surface level difference.
When this is seen then differences become a celebration because…
In our strength of love there is room for any form of difference.
In our strength of love there is acceptance of all.
In our strength of love there is compassion for completely differing views, opinions and experiences.
So we need to start with ourselves. We need to do the work individually to discover our nature, to discover what it is that makes us the same.
We are all searching for love, we are all searching for inclusion and acceptance. For those that have discovered their nature, it becomes obvious that any focus on division is futile, it becomes obvious that to hate another is to actually hate a part of your Self. For the other is an inextricable part of you too.
We cannot love another fully if we don’t yet know love for ourselves, and we can’t fully love ourselves if we haven’t yet found the love for another. They go hand in hand, they are two sides of the same coin. We must discover the love of all, ourselves AND the other. But love is the key, and I’m not just talking about the small transactional and conditional love of the ego, but the infinite unconditional divine love at the heart of existence.
If we want change we have to follow the rabbit hole down to love.
Tldr: I’m dropping the term ‘Shaktipat’ in favour of using ‘Divine Light Transmission’. I go into why below but I know there may be some questions and judgements that come up around this, I ask that you take the time to read… or if you’d prefer I have a video of me reading this post on YouTube – HERE
Along this journey since I started BeyondImogen.com back in early 2016, I’ve come to several inflection points where I’ve found myself pivoting or changing directions. I think it’s a very natural part of life and of growth, and I always hope to do it with Grace, authenticity, transparency, love, and care.
While some might find making pivotal changes easy and with a blink of an eye, for me the process generally seems to require time and patience while a certain change of direction unfolds – I’m more of a slow and steady kind of gal apparently .¯\_(ツ)_/¯ This is one of those points, and I tell you, each time it happens I see it happening and feel it deeply in my heart looooonnng before any readiness or action takes place on the surface level. But I finally feel like the timing is right for this next chapter.
To some people these changes that I’ve gone through over the years might seem minor or insignificant (like: “Why on earth is she making a song and dance about this?!?”) and on one level they absolutely are, but to me each time they have represented a big shift in me that has already happened or is in the process of happening. They represent a step forward and a shedding of something old, or a stepping up to something that feels inevitable but still trepidatious. They represent coming into a new place, coming into more of myself, more of naturalness and joy, more in alignment with where I am in life.
Luckily I’m not afraid of growth and change, it’s inevitable and happens frequently, or continuously depending on your view. I’m perfectly happy to own that I, Imogen the embodied human being that am, am a complete work in progress! I’ve always tried to let you all in and share this process as much as possible because after all, this is why I started Beyond Imogen in the first place.
So all that being said…. Going forward I’ll be moving away from the term ‘Shaktipat’ or ‘Shaktipat Awakening Transmission’ and using the term ‘Divine Light Transmission’ or simply ‘Transmission’ instead.
Why the name change?
Shaktipat is a Sanskrit word that roughly translates as ‘Shakti’ – which is primordial cosmic (or universal) energy, sometimes referred to as “The Great Divine Mother” in Hinduism. And ‘Pat’ – the transmission (or conferring) of spiritual energy.
While the literal translation of the word is fairly in alignment to my relationship with the process of ‘giving’ a transmission and therefore could be argued this is a case of semantics or choice of wording, I find the actual word Shaktipat carries with it too many assumptions, associations and dogma that leads to expectations on me or the transmission. And as someone who generally places no limits, expectations or fixed structures on her interactions and ‘work’ this has been tricky for me over the years.
Shaktipat is also heavily associated with Kundalini Awakening which for many has very particular markers and expected experiences. Namely the arising of the snake-like Shakti energy from the bottom chakras sequentially up the spine. Where as the transmission I give is generally experienced from the top down in the body.
Now there have been several accounts for this difference of bottom-up vs top-down in spiritual books and discourses both old and new, but I still bump into these confusions and expectations frequently enough.
Let me also take a second to point out the obvious elephant in the room here – I’m not Indian! I was however brought up around these terminologies thanks to the Transcendental Meditation movement and other Sanghas and spiritual teachers or communities I’ve been involved with throughout my life. But being that I work with a majority of non Sanskrit speakers these terminologies often require more explanation. Or on the other side of it, I tend to get pigeonholed easily as to what my views of life and ‘teachings’ or transmission is because of my use of these terms . Either way… I’m a fan of using my native tongue, English as much as possible.
Why Divine Light Transmission?
Let me first qualify what I mean by Divine because I feel that’s maybe the stickiest point for some. When I talk of Divine I’m not talking about some particular special, higher, or other-than ‘thing’ or state. And I’m not saying that this transmission by calling it Divine is special, higher than or other than you.
It’s my experience that ALL. OF. THIS. IS Divine. I want to encourage you to broaden your perspective and conception of the word Divine. To not limit it to the distant, transcendent, or unattainable realm of the Gods. Divine to me acknowledges the simple nature of life as that of Divine Unified Consciousness, which is often seemingly mystical to the mind.
The mind/ego distorts this view. It limits and conceptualises, grasps and imagines this to be something other than, but EVEN that limited mind is Divine in its way. This term Divine I don’t use to create a separation, to create a specialness, I say it to point out that we ARE this primordial aconceptual unified Divine Consciousness. We are made of this, all of us, all of life.
The Divine Light Transmission as I experience it, clears away the distorted mind view, thickets of concepts and beliefs of the ego. It also helps to clear away energetic ‘blocks’ and traumas in the body that can prevent the direct recognition of your pure nature from being tangibly experienced.
I personally am NOT adding anything to you, ‘giving’ you anything, and am not even the one ‘transmitting’ (unless like me you have come to recognise and identify “me” and “I” as awareness or Divine consciousness lol). Admittedly this is why generally I have trouble with the word transmission, because the language suggests a transmitting from one person to another personally. It suggests a duality where I see none – but all words are imperfect so this one will have to do for now!
My role in this process is more helping you to energetically open up to the radio antenna that is being fine tuned and ‘placed’ or tweaked by me, or rather by life working through me. I step out of the way as much as possible, I let myself be a conduit for this process. This translates in action as more of an activation or enlivening of that Divine Light in you. And in the process it clears out the veils of personhood and beliefs that stop you from seeing your own nature as that of Divine Light, of Divine Love, of Unified Consciousness. Hence the ‘Light’ bit. It really does shine a light and some will experience it quite literally as pure light filling up the head and down into and through the body.
So all this being said… that’s why Divine Light Transmission feels like a much better fit for me. It’s a description of how I see the process unfolding, in plain and simple English.
Is anything changing with the transmission?
No, the transmission that I give is the same as it always has been. Having said that, in some ways the transmission is always changing. Always giving what is needed for the time, what is needed to the person receiving it, even what is needed for me as I give it. So in this respect, it’s ALWAYS changing and no two transmissions are exactly the same. That’s part of the beauty of it, Grace gives you what you need in the form of this Divine Light Transmission.
What’s the difference between individual or group Transmissions and the Global Transmissions?
This is another question I get asked a lot and so I thought I’d just take the opportunity to answer this question too.
The intention behind the Global Transmissions is one for the peace, happiness and awakening for all those across the global, regardless of where they are at, what their beliefs are or if they are even consciously on the path of spiritual awakening. They don’t have to be tuned into the transmission or even aware of it. And as such the Global Transmissions are much more of a generalised ‘wash’ of Divine Light. It’s also for physical Mother Earth herself.
In the one-on-one and group transmissions I am working much more specifically with the individual’s body and energy and so it can be much more effective in that way and therefore more powerful.
Divine Light Transmission feels the most aligned and best description of what I offer, I can feel the ‘correctness’ to make this change right now. Yes, like with the term Shaktipat there’s also room for projection, assumptions and misunderstandings but somehow I have to trust that this call in my heart is the right one no matter how this cookie crumbles.
I didn’t ‘choose’ this path of life, it chose me. I still sometimes struggle with it – anyone who intimately knows me can attest to that. But bigger than that there’s a much deeper current of trust, surrender and true faith in life that carries this through regardless.
There comes a point for all of us where we find that which we cannot NOT do IS our way forward. For me this has been the world of Transmissions, the world of connecting with and mentoring or helping others as we walk hand-in-hand together through this crazy life.
I just want to finish off by saying, this isn’t the end of the conversation for me, it never is. To me this is all an exploration. I’m not about making claims and sticking to them, I’m more interested in exploring, describing and experiencing life in each moment. So I ask that you take everything I say as a jumping off point and as always, mark it against your own experience.
In love and service,
Sometimes you just want someone to hear you, to see you, without needing to fix you or explain away your pain and confusion.
To hold the space, the pregnant silence, the love for all that you’re going through.
To not project into the void of uncomfortableness and fill it with solutions, comparisons and stories.
To be okay with just having the space be about you and only you.
To create a refuge and safety for you to go through what you’re going through.
To compassionately be there for you, to listen to you and not make it in any way about them.
To give you space without any needs or any conditions or any time limits.
Sometime you really WANT this. Sometimes you really NEED this. We all do. And that’s okay, that’s not bad or wrong.
Let it sink in… WE ALL NEED TO BE HEARD AND HELD SOMETIMES.
When you do receive this gift of space freely and wholly given, it lights up your heart, it lights up your world. The healing that comes from this act of being held, this act compassion and tender love is immense.
But it’s not always easy to find it in those moments that it’s needed most, by the people that it’s most needed from. And when you aren’t met in this way, then the shame of needing to ask for it comes in full force and the sorrow of your brokenness and aloneness is felt so deeply. The fear and guilt that maybe this is too much for you to ask of them, that you don’t deserve it, that you’re being ‘too needy’, ‘too much’.
And so your heart breaks a little more. You feel yourself withdrawing, resigning to the need for self sufficiency and the ability to self-sooth. You have no right to demand anything of anyone after all, and you know this, you feel this. But even so, all the while the depth of your broken heart wants and wishes them to say… “I’m sorry, I get it, I was uncomfortable with your pain so I tried to fix it. I made it about me. I made it about something I’d read, I’d done, I’d experienced. And all this took the attention from you when you needed so much to just be simply heard and held.”
They missed the mark, even if in their heart they wanted so badly to fully to be there for you. But it’s such a subtle and tender mark that it’s so easily missed. It takes such love, such intimacy, such trust, such openness to listen for those cues before it’s too late.
You want so badly for them to see that you don’t need anything, other than to be heard. That your silence was not a space that needed to be filled, but a space to be held. That you were having a hard enough time letting yourself go there, that even in your awkward attempts at changing the subject or even the mood of the moment were just in fact an invitation to yourself to go deeper, to let go more into the vulnerability of the moment.
Yes, they don’t owe you anything. Yes, you don’t have the right for them to show up in the way you need, or for them to know what you even need. But you so want them to go there with you, to create a safe space so that you can let it all hang out.
Your broken heart just wants to be seen and held with love, so let it be seen and held with love… YOUR LOVE.
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t feel grateful for who and what life brings my way – like this view yesterday… just up the road from me, not far from where I was born. I’ve had a rough week of strong stuff coming up and that’s okay, I truly welcome it all. There’s a lot of change and a lot of growth happening, both for me personally and collectively too. Growth and change can be intense and uncomfortable to integrate and hold space for, to let go of the old and welcome in the new. It requires everything of you, and requires you to suspend all sense of knowingness and certainty.
No matter how many times I go through this, it doesn’t get easier, or should I say the process doesn’t get more comfortable. Yes I may have less resistance and more acceptance, compassion and understanding for the process – so on a deeper level it does make it easier. But it requires patience as it inevitably gets messy and sometimes downright ugly.
There are so many people who are having such a difficult time of it right now and yes there will always be those worse off or better off than you but it’s okay to just be with where you are without comparison. To work through what you’re working through and take some time, take that precious moment to breathe in and ground yourself in NOW rather than the expectations of where you feel you should be with life.
Bowing my head to the feet of life and surrendering to this moment. Sending love to all that are having a tough time too. Thank you thank you thank you thank you 🙏
Transformation comes when the old conditioning and ways of thinking that inevitably cease to serve are let go of. Their cracks begin to show, yet there’s still comfort felt in them as they’re known like an old pair of slippers whose time of service has come to an end. But when life is calling for growth and change these old habits being to feel like an increasingly heavy straightjacket, keeping one foot planted in the past. We are never who we were even yesterday and that which may have served us dearly invariably has to be sacrificed in service of what is happening in the current moment.
A step into the new and unknown may seem like a scary risk but let your loyalty be to the NOW. Let your loyalty be with what is opening up before you and you will see the fruits of this trust in life’s wisdom. Even though there may be trepidation, notice how fully you are held. Life comes up to meet you with each step, even when there’s fear, even when there’s hesitation, even when there’s resistance.
Life asks of us that leap of faith, that bold courage as we let ourselves be surrendered to who and what we are in THIS present moment. Let the old fall away and you will find that it transforms and gives way to the infinite possibilities of NOW.
Make friends with that aspect of yourself that you are rejecting or avoiding, those aspects that you judge or deem unsavoury.
That which we reject are often those aspects that require the most love, the most compassion, the most kindness, the most attention in-order that they be integrated into the wholeness of our Being. Those gnarly, messy, ‘bad’ rejected bits of ourselves are often being called to be transmuted into acceptance and love.
For love is the greatest power in the universe. Love has the power to move beyond all seeming boundaries and inhabit every aspect of life. Love has the power to transcend any sense of separation or ‘other-isation’. Love has the power to encompass it all.
So fall in love with all of yourself, all of life, and you will see that that love is eternal and ever-present even in amongst the mess.
‘Peace chaser’ is what I sometimes refer to the phenomena of someone seeking for the outward to always be peaceful so that THEY can then feel like a peaceful and spiritual person (I was one of those trust me….big time…). Spoiler alert: It’s a trap, it’s a red herring, it’s the opposite of freedom, of liberation. It’s a gilded cage of maintaining and trying to keep hold of peace as a ‘thing’. It’s mood making rather than a sign of true spiritual awakening. True peace is not a ‘thing’ to be maintained, it’s not a persona to adopt or a lifestyle to achieve.
It’s a natural misunderstanding, that yearning for peace and looking for it as an experience. It’s not wrong – the intention is good, the search for lasting peace and happiness. It’s where someone’s had a taste that that peace (non-suffering) is possible and so there’s a perfectly natural sense of “I want that, that’s what I’m after – peace”. But unfortunately it’s trying to put the cart before the horse and create what the mind THINKS is peace in the environment rather than ACTUAL abiding peace in the heart.
It’s looking at peace as a prescription to fulfil, not peace as a description of life when lived in and as your nature.
Because peace isn’t quietness and literal silence, peace isn’t calmness and non-action, peace isn’t about not rocking the boat ever again. Peace is not true abiding peace unless it’s there even in the midst of a heated fight, or even when there’s disturbances and constant change. Can you be at peace WITH these moments and what is being fully experienced? Can you be at peace even when the entirety of your life seems messy and complicated and falling apart at the seams? Can you discover the kind of peace that is not dependant on anything in life looking a certain way? Can you discover the kind of peace that doesn’t come and go? (Don’t get me wrong, if temporary peace is all that is available it’s not to turn our noses up at that either… it just will ultimately be unsatisfactory and transient)
True peace isn’t something you can attain and maintain. True peace is a description of something you ARE when you recognise your nature and you recognise the nature of life. It’s a description of the discovery of acceptance and love for WHAT IS – yes ALL. OF. IT. (even if it’s only on a bigger picture level with non-acceptance and resistance showing up in your experience too).
“What? So should I ditch the meditation/practice/technique that makes me feel more peaceful?”
No, not at all – Meditation or spending time quietly, silently, looking inwardly, practicing non-attachment, helps us to see our nature; Awareness that knows all of this, awareness that experiences the mind and all phenomenal content – thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, ‘outside world’ – all of it. Meditation etc. parts or clears the clouds enough so we can see the sky (ourselves – awareness/consciousness/divine nature/god). This feels peaceful not because we’ve gotten rid of the content but because we aren’t grabbing on to said content – we see that we are PRIOR to that content, aware of that content, and we accept that it IS coming and going as this is its nature and we see that WE (awareness) are the only stable constant. We are then able to enjoy (love) this content again because we’re not trapped in the grasping and wanting it to be different than it is – than its nature is.
So peace is a natural byproduct of what happens when there is a deep deep deep surrender and genuine love and acceptance of life in all its forms. Peace is the fragrance of life lived in alignment with the nature of life. Peace is the flavour when we (ego-mind) are not at war with life. Peace is the love and celebration of life – yes even the celebration (acceptance) of the yucky difficult stuff – awareness makes no distinctions! Peace is NOT just a peaceful experience.
So if you’re going to chase something… don’t just chase peaceful experiences… use that opportunity to discover who is the one that experiences this all.
We’re living in unprecedented times, certainly in living memory. And with unprecedented times comes uncertainty and a big step into the unknown. There’s no blueprint to follow. No way forward that can be relied on and measured against. No absolute solutions and answers. We are left flailing in the open-ended unknowingness of the moment, searching for a new ‘norm’, and whether we like it or not we’re called to stay nimble, stay fresh, and change with the moment.
So can we find peace and contentment in the midst of this, in the midst of uncertainty?
I would argue that this is much of what the spiritual awakening journey shows us and a lot can be learnt and mirrored from it for these current times.
Much of what characterises the spiritual quest is the breaking down of what you thought to be true and the emergence of a fresh perspective, often conception free and open with a lack of grasping at life – at least if you’ve really got down to the bottom of the quest. Or if you like – a spontaneous lived in the moment, unconditioned view of life. This requires a radical unknowingness and uncertainty because certainty is born of held beliefs based on, or built on, previous concepts of the conditioned mind.
When these conceptions begin to crack and fall apart we are left in a space of groundlessness with nothing to hold on to. A step into the wonder of this moment, like a small child without knowledge and ‘shoulds’ of how the world is.
The stability IS the uncertainty and unknowingness. Life becomes a playful exploration of whatever is showing up. No past or future are referenced, just an intimate and raw relationship with NOW.
And so I would argue our current state of affairs is similar. We can’t rely on past, because there is nothing of comparison on this scale that can be directly applied to right now. And we can’t rely on the future because we don’t know what that will bring. So what we are left with, not as a booby prize, but what is uncovered as the previously unseen gem, is this present moment.
Let this moment be known not by measurement and comparison, but by its direct felt and lived experience. The wind on your face, the sound of the birds, the person in the next room moving about, your beating heart and your breath as it moves through your lungs. Hold no reference point other than your direct experience of this moment. Hold no ideas in the mind of how this moment should go or shouldn’t go. Let this moment BE as it IS.
This is peace. This is contentment.
When there is no conception of what should be happening, you’re left with what IS happening. And if there is no should, there is no judgment.
A space opens up around this experience. The cage of the mind dissolves and you’re left with the wide open space of NOW.
But the other big piece to this puzzle for me is in the form of love. When you allow yourself to just simply BE in this unknowingness, this nowness, you’re placing no blinds on yourself or this moment. You are acting in the most loving way possible. You are not placing a limit where there is none. The loving acceptance of the full expression of life as it intimately unfolds.
With this peace quickly becomes joy. Joy is the loving expression of when peace is known in the heart.
When the dreams of imagination fall short despair finds its way to the surface of your awareness.
Despair is what’s left singing its sorrowful song and haunting the corridors of imagination when the is-ness of life has other plans for you.
Despair is felt deeply when your life fails to live up to the mind’s impossible standards.
But despair is also a gift.
It gives a clue, an inkling, a map of discovery into where there’s still loyalty to expectations and conditions.
So make friends with despair, ask it to show you what secrets it hides under its facade. What dreams were lost, what false realities were kept on its pedestal of desire, and what binds it still places on life that are yet to be released.
Despair as a yardstick to what we hold as sacred is a true gift. It leaves us with no doubt of where there’s still a chasm between our fanciful ideas and the lived reality.
So don’t demonise and pathologise the emergence of despair, it’s there for a reason and that reason is ultimately love.
When we find love and acceptance for the deepest depths of our reality, despair is finally laid to rest in the home of our heart.
“Love sometimes looks like having strong boundaries”
Story time… Boundaries are something I’ve always struggled with, in fact it’s probably been THE number one struggle in life for me. While it’s almost unrecognisably night and day compared with how it used to be, I still do struggle with it because that conditioning is so well ingrained. But luckily life shows up in ways to test where I still have trouble standing in my healthy and necessary boundaries.
And so boundaries is a topic I’ve shied away from writing about up until now, not because I don’t want to (believe me I’ve started to write about boundaries countless times!) but mainly because it’s such a big topic for me that I didn’t even know where to begin – posts ended up rambling and jumping all over the place. I think it’s also difficult because I’m still walking it, I’m still living the learning and growing from it. It’s raw, it’s intimate, it’s a big unknown because I’m not talking of a subject that’s all wrapped up in a neat bow, it’s woven throughout the fabric of my story in ways that I’m sure I haven’t yet gotten the big enough perspective of time to see some of the bigger lessons and themes fully. It’s coming, it’s happening, which is maybe why this is getting written right now.
Through my difficulties I’ve learnt that setting and keeping boundaries can actually be THE MOST LOVING AND HEALTHY THING that you can do when relating to both yourself and others.
A few years back this was a new and wildly scary one for me to accept. Like I was stepping on to an alien planet where all the rules had been turned upside down and I couldn’t fathom this is could actually be true. You see, somewhere along the line I had picked up the idea of the opposite of this being true; ‘No’ was not something acceptable for me to feel. No was not kind, no was not loving, no meant you were selfish and unreasonable, unloveable even. No was negative. No meant you were protecting your ego and if you were in a constant state of yes-ness to life then you were surely spiritually evolved.
In fact in my childlike innocence and ignorance I somehow misunderstood (or probably heard in a way that fit my learnt conditioning) that spiritually speaking if this was all one unified consciousness… then there ARE no boundaries… boundaries were false conceptions of the ego-mind to be gotten rid of. Somehow ‘no’ as a healthy and natural expression of life got twisted up into that idea of boundaries = bad. See… told you I had big issues and misunderstandings to unpick around this stuff !!!
‘No’ equated to wrongness for me and so I used to think my no’s were a pathology, a failing, a bad girl, an unlovable aspect of myself. I continually ignored them to the point that quite early on in my life I struggled to even say the simplest of no’s or ask for what I needed. This led me into a dark place of not only people pleasing and putting myself second to the point of mental and even on occasion physical danger. But more importantly it also led me to the point where I lost touch with my intuition and self knowing light. It put me on a path of having too many internalise voices of ‘should’ rather than being able to recognise my inherent and wisdom-filled true voice of Self.
For me it’s be a long journey home to this wisdom of self boundaries. So long that initially I didn’t even realise how off course I was because my boundaries were so covered up and hidden that when someone encouraged me to have my own boundaries, I felt lost, I felt confused, I felt like they were actually doing something wrong TO me, not helping me!
No’s are still in many ways uncomfortable for me. I still on occasion have a voice (yes albeit a very faint one now) that gets me almost looking over my shoulder as if I’ve done something wrong. But I’ve learnt that a ‘no’ honours yourself and in turn honours the other in that you’re not doing something that actually breeds resentment in your heart. Others can trust you then, trust you to communicated with them where you’re at, even if they don’t like what they’re hearing. Your yeses are true, clear and authentic and nothing is going unsaid and festering, there’s no reading (or misreading) between the lines.
I’ve learnt to love my no’s. I’ve learnt that “no” is a complete sentence too!! I’ve also learnt that my spontaneous natural expression is that of going with the flow (enneagram 9 anyone). As it happens my heart IS a (mostly) continuous yes to life, not as a pathology but because that happens to be in alignment with the most loving action and least resistance for me – acceptance… I learnt my yeses through learning about my no’s, so when there is a no… that no is to be listened to and to be trusted and honoured. That no is accepted wholeheartedly. That no is a sacred part of life. That no is just as much of a yes to life. That no, in that moment IS the most loving expression of life.
- I saw an article about a popular video platform (ahem… shall remain nameless) banning “medically unsubstantiated” content today… It’s not the first thing I’ve seen in recent weeks and months on various platforms that brings into question freedom of speech and censoring of content all in the name of trying to curb “misinformation” or “fake news”. Once upon a time misinformation or fake news would have been to call the earth round rather than flat. It would have been a heresy to suggest it even but science and understanding is a constantly evolving thing, a working hypothesis rather than an ‘Absolute Truth’.Lack of freedom of speech honestly terrifies me as a proposition for society. It’s not even the thin end of the wedge… I think we’re past that analogy. I understand the imperative need to work and pull together as a collective, especially right now but not in the name of shutting down exploration, not in the name of shutting down thinking outside of the box.To try and calcify and control life’s expressions and evolution is madness. And while I do see a lot of weird and opposing views and opinions out there, even those termed as ‘truth’, I think it’s up to each of us to use our brains, do some research best we can, and ultimately follow our intuition on what works for us rather than have the whole thing taken out of our hands and centrally controlled. When did we become children who have been put on the naughty step by our ‘parents’??? Is this really how this whole thing has to go?
A Tug of WarRight now I feel we’re in a tug of war between fear and love, Ego and Primordial Being, and this is one of the ways it’s showing up.I feel the censoring of speech is always based in fear because in love there is room and freedom for it all, room for the exploration of it all. Truth, if it’s truly true will win out. To shut down exploration in favour of maintaining the safety or security of the ‘norm’ and the protection of the current popular theories or understandings of life, is the death of inquiry, the death of growth – generally and spiritually speaking.To explore our assumptions and current working truths is to kick the tires and the strength of our lived reality. When did dissenting views become such an evil thing? I feel it’s never a bad thing, and it always leads to greater and greater clarity and understanding. Yes it may feel messy and uncomfortable, yes it may look polarising and argumentative or contrarian… but this is only amplified if we hold tightly to knowingness and rightness. Even those tightly held beliefs will not hold up as the cracks of exploration begin to widen.Love and truth are the ground by which all is held. Love shines into the heart of life, bursting open any untruth. The unexplored darkest corners of existence can be lit with a single tiny light so I say… let love win out over fear. Be that light, be that love. Fear is control, fear is lack of love, fear is lack of acceptance, fear is lack of playful and vigorous exploration of life. But fear is not a drop in comparison with the power of love.It saddens me when I see this world more and more devolving into fear, into control, into lack of questioning and lack of freedom to explore. I may not agree with what your view or current working truth is, but I will go to the ends of the earth to defend your right for genuine exploration and freedom to express that. Love doesn’t control, love honours and gives room to differences.Just think of all the beautiful and amazing evolutions of understanding that occur through people stepping outside of the conventional norms and daring to discover, daring to explore and daring to follow love not fear.
Q: How does one receive a transmission? How does one receive anything?
Practically speaking nothing need be ‘done’ to receive a Divine Light Transmission (Shaktipat), other than a general ‘yes’ and open-heartedness to life’s possibilities – I’d say this is true for receiving anything, from love to physical gifts and help, or even hard lessons in life. To receive is to be open and humble to receive.
A Divine Light Transmission doesn’t require your belief or faith per se, more an openness (even just a little will do) that goes beyond non-belief as this can deliberately close you off energetically to the potential spiritual growth that can come through a transmission – or any other form in life for that matter! I myself was incredibly skeptical, but still open to the possibilities transmissions before my own direct experience became the testimony for its potency and lasting transformation in my life. It took me by surprise, and often still does…
But I get the sense you’re asking a different kind of question here, a deeper more existential one that requires a more nuanced response.
Transmission from the non-dual view of reality
So… how can one ‘receive’ a transmission if this is all a singular non-dual reality of consciousness?
It’s a good question, one I have frequently found myself contemplating because the idea of ‘transmissions’ seems to be inherently dualistic, predicated on the idea of a separate giver and a receiver. But I always find myself coming back to this – that there are ‘working’ explanations and understandings of life from the relative view, i.e. the appearances or content arising IN consciousness – me and you. But ultimately all is only truly resolved at the level of unity or the absolute view, i.e. that the non-dual reality of consciousness is all there is – all else is an appearance IN and AS that.
The relative or dualistic view of life contains wisdom and truth if taken on its own level of understanding, but ALL conceptions and descriptions (even notions of duality vs non-duality) eventually collapse into silence if taken far enough. Fundamentally I feel life is a mystery to the limited human mind and so any attempt at codifying and explain it falls short of capturing the ineffable wholeness of the experience. Yet as a species, throughout time we continue to try to… go figure ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
So yes, in absolute terms there is only consciousness. No me, no you, no transmission, no awakening, and so how could one ‘receive’ a transmission and spiritually awaken from said transmission?! And yet life plays out in this and infinite other ways. Consciousness forms differentiated undulations and textures of existence forming a ‘giver’ and a ‘receiver’ and the appearance and effects of a transmission all in the name of waking up to and knowing itself.
So as far as transmissions go, sometimes the story of spiritual awakening turns up in this form along a person’s journey or path. Is there really giving and receiving? Well, if you take it as a description of the apparent duality nested within the context of the ultimate unity of consciousness, appearing in myriad forms – sure. For my part I’ve seen the direct effects of Divine Light Transmissions enough times now to see the validity and reality of it in terms of its potency for awakening on this relative plane of existence.
Simply put… it’s both true and untrue to talk of ‘receiving’ a transmission. On the relative level the giving and receiving of a transmission takes place as a means to awaken one to their nature as non-dual consciousness, which then gives way to the recognition that all is just appearances OF consciousness, TO consciousness, IN consciousness, and AS consciousness.
The ‘Conversations & Questions’ series comes from snippets of conversations taken from emails, 1-on-1 sessions, group meetings or in-person conversations. I take out any personal or sensitive content, but often these conversations have a universality to them that can be helpful to more than just one person. Feel free to get in touch via email, social media or even post your question in the comments below and I may answer them in this way…
You feel say you feel undeserving and unworthy of love but may I remind you that you ARE love. Love courses through your very being, it is the fabric of your existence. To say you are unworthy of it is like saying the sky is unworthy of being the sky because it has clouds in it.
Just because life shows up in a multitude of ways, some of which we deem ‘bad’ does not make you unworthy of love. In fact it makes it all the more necessary to discover the underlying truth of that love that pervades all and that is the groundless ground of it all. It becomes all the more vital to discover the ground of your love so that you don’t get caught in the belief that this or that thought or action IS all there is to you.
Make no mistake your messy humanness in all its manifestations IS part of your divine love story. It is an intimate part of you. Part of your path, part of your love song. Just as a knot in a tree trunk is part of the tree. But the thing that courses through your veins and through your very being IS love.
So cast aside these notions of worthiness with regards to love. You cannot be separated from the fabric of your existence and that fabric is the fabric of LOVE.
Did I Miss My Chance for Awakening?Q: I feel like it’s too late for me, I missed my chance of awakening.Too late… too late for what and for who? These are fears born of the mind, see this and you shall be free of this fear. “Too late” suggests awakening only happens in certain circumstances under certain rules and conditions, that you only get one chance at it, or that it’s only available for a finite few who deserve it. These are ideas and implications built from the mind (or learnt from others) about what awakening is or isn’t and allowed to run free with the fear of ‘missed chances’.But awakening doesn’t happen TO the person, awakening is FROM the person. It’s not anything the person DOES to achieve. It is the seeing through the facade of the person and in many ways it’s Grace that places that insight in the heart of you. Awakening is the description of consciousness waking up to itself, of consciousness knowing itself. But you are already consciousness whether your mind sees this or not.It really only comes down to a pernicious belief stuck in the mind and taking false ownership over this all that leads us to believe we are a person in a world of separate persons. Awakening is a living breathing continuous unfoldment of seeing this, not a static knowing… every moment fresh and new. Not an opportunity to be missed because of this action or that action, because of worthiness or unworthiness.Awakening or the realisation of conscious-awareness as the ground of your existence is your birthright and it’s available in this very moment as it’s already present in your current experience. So where is your attention in THIS moment?Right in this moment, release and put down any thoughts of past or future, right or wrong. Just BE here NOW. Have your loyalty be to this moment – Nothing to do imagination, nothing to do with past, nothing to do with future, just here, right NOW. Don’t be tempted to pick anything else up… let it all come and go as traffic passing you by. Don’t mind the mind, let your place of repose, your refuge be this present moment that includes all and excludes none – don’t get caught in the limited trappings and imaginations of the mind. Transcend AND include the mind and it will be seen as just another appearance in life, nothing to take too seriously.It’s the mind that says “I’ve missed my chance” but life is infinite chances, infinite moments, infinite love.Fall in love with THIS moment again and again and again. Have no thought of tomorrow, let your loyalty be to NOW. Let LOVE sink into the very fabric of this moment because in love there is room for it all – all missed opportunities, all failures, all strivings, all chances.
The ‘Conversations & Questions’ series comes from snippets of conversations taken from emails, 1-on-1 sessions, group meetings or in-person conversations. I take out any personal or sensitive content, but often these conversations have a universality to them that can be helpful to more than just one person. Feel free to get in touch via email, social media or even post your question in the comments below and I may answer them in this way…
We all have a relationship with faith whether we’re conscious of it or not.
Faith in your self
Faith in your body, in your health
Faith in human nature
Faith in your ability to know fact from fiction
Faith in your resilience, your gifts and aptitudes
Faith in your power and your drive to achieve
Faith in your learning, in your knowledge, your education
Faith in your spiritual practice or your meditation
Faith in your loved ones, your family, your friends
Faith in society, in community, even faith in government or systems
Faith in gravity and other in scientific explanations of life
Faith in something more than yourself, a higher power, an unseen force of life
Faith in nature, in mother earth
Faith in God, Gods or Goddesses
Faith in the divine
Faith in love
Faith in trust
Faith in truth
Faith in life
Even your non-faith has faith in that
So can your faith be greater than your fear? Can you let yourself surrender into faith rather than go with the contraction into control and mistrust, where you lose sight of that faith in life to show you the way no matter what? Can you choose love and trust of life over the fear of the unknown?
Faith requires faith in just the next foot forward, a step into the unknown, a step towards that which draws your heart to it.
Whatever your faith is in… let yourself fall fully into that until you find it opens up into the recognition that life couldn’t have gone any other way; that which is true was always true and that which is false has its wisdom too.
Have faith that in the end you are exactly where you needed to be all along.
Boy oh boy it’s been an intense year so far! I’ve noticed a massively heightened presence of energy in myself and had others report the same since around the end of January, before the covid-19 situation really took hold in much of the world. But I had no idea what was coming and it’s become the new norm, the energetic intensity and the ground shifting beneath the feet, only time will tell where or if it will settle.
Overall I feel there’s also a beautiful opportunity right now to face the things that are being forced to the surface of experience, many of which were always already lurking in the shadows, with compassion and kindness – both on an individual level and a collective or global level. I’ve actually been blown away by the kindness and love I’m seeing on both small and large scales, it’s incredibly heart opening and beautiful to see that our nature of love shines through in times like these.
The ground is shifting quickly beneath our feet and that mirrors the process of awakening in a way. It’s the dissolution of the certainty and assumptions of stability that were being falsely held on to, falsey nurtured, lent on and relied on. I’ve noticed that those that tend to fair better overall are the ones that can handle living in the unknown and uncertainty, better still those that learn to fully live in the trust and joy of life… this could be said for both awakening AND the current global situation.
There many right now needing to self-isolate and step back from the busy day-to-days of life and this gifts the opportunity to look inwards for comfort and solace rather than outward to the changing content of life. Gifting the opportunity to find that which IS stable in you – your Self, thereby allowing all else to move and shift and change as it inevitably does, all the while not holding on to anything.
There are many parallels with awakening I feel right now and while I don’t want to hang my hat on any bold claims or anything like that as I feel time will tell… it seems like many are being to be asked by life to take a leap of faith and step more and more into the unknown and into trust, and let the old or false certainties fall away. If we let that happen for ourselves life opens up into a different space, a space where what we once relied on doesn’t serve anymore, a space where we have to look to a deeper truth.
For me, trust has been my biggest friend through all this. Letting myself surrender even deeper into trust and love rather than non-trust and fear has brought the most solace and comfort, even… dare I say it… joy and peace.
Some Practical Advice
(take whatever’s useful… leave the rest)
On a practical level I’m aware of both my own and many others creeping fear and uncertainty due to the current pandemic unfolding before our eyes. I don’t think much of the world is exempt from being affected in some way and I’ve had many people reach out to me in the past weeks looking for help with coping or just to simply connect. I just want to say my heart goes out to all those affected with this in anyway, big or small, there’s no doubt we are experiencing extremely choppy waters right now.
But I thought I’d share some (I’m sure they’re others) of the more practical things that I’m implementing or bring increased awareness to right now, as well as advising others to do that ask this question of me. They’re easier to qualify and get your hands on in terms of feeling like you’re ‘doing’ something useful…
• Stay present – Going into thoughts of future is where 99% of our fears and worries come from. Every time the mind wanders into the future… even tomorrow, come back to now. Feel your feet on the ground, your breath as it moves your chest, your heart as it beats. Let yourself ride the wave of what you’re going through in this moment without going to the mind where it’s all about the future, what ifs and judgment of the situation. Focus on the felt experience of this present moment. Come back and keep coming back, out of the future or past, out of the mind and into NOW – now is always about the felt experience of now.
• No labelling – Keep the attention away from labelling in the mind and on the direct felt experience – no labels or judgements necessary here… No rights or wrongs even, just another wave in the ocean. Just feeling into anything that’s arising, allow what is there to be there but don’t invite it for lunch, let it pass through. Allow your attention to rest on the physical and energetic sensations of the body rather than the mind. If you’re having trouble, start with the focus on the breath, don’t control it or judge it, just notice it.
• Separate practical and emotional – Deal with emotional/energetic first, once centered and calmer, less charged or triggered, less overwhelmed then you are clearer and freer to deal with actual practical as it comes up… again not living in the future and what ifs, just one foot in front of another. If there’s a decision to be made that you’re having difficulty with… keep quiet, focus on the emotional and energetics of what you’re experiencing, let that pass or at least acclimatise into your experience and then you will be quieter to hear life’s answers and solutions as and when they come up, not pushing for when that ‘should’ be. It’s not reaction then, it’s what needs to be done without the emotional overlay and charge.
• Minimise TV news consumption (and tv generally if that helps) – I never normally watch tv but have been tuning into news this past week. My gosh I’m shocked at the energetic imprint it leaves! I can feel the collective energy of fear so powerfully and it definitely amplifies my own. So if you can stop, or at least minimise your exposure. And if you do choose to watch be aware of the potential effects on your already overactive physiology. Reading the news for me is a better and less impactful way of staying informed, just sticking to the briefings of the government rather than the media’s inflamed opinion pieces. This also applies to social media too…
• Find the positives – Find things that are real and true in your life in THIS moment – like: I am safe and healthy, my kids are safe and healthy, I have a full belly of food, I have a roof over my head, I don’t need to do anything or go anywhere right this minute. In this moment everything is fine.
• Self love – Taking time for yourself, even if you feel you don’t have time… do it – even 10 minutes of meditation, or 10 minutes in the bathroom giving yourself a foot rub or a massage of your face or shoulders! Meditation, satsang, calming music, a walk in nature, quiet time with a book, whatever that looks like to you. It’s so important for us to be able to take care of others to be first in a good place ourselves. It’s not selfish, it’s 100% necessary.
• Talk it out – Find someone who will allow you to voice your fears and feelings without inflaming, judging or trying to fix. Someone who you feel safe with to take off your mask of ‘okayness’, a compassionate ear that lets you process what you’re going through out loud. Sometimes it’s too overwhelming to sit with our emotions and energies, if this applies to you… talking it out can help, just choose very wisely who that’s with.
• Be kind and patient with yourself and others. It’s a difficult time for many, emotions and energies are very high. Be aware of this, let anything that happens wash over you, don’t hold on if possible. We are all dealing with things best we can, yes you included, yes them included. Sometimes that looks messy, but that’s still the best that it can be in that moment. So be forgiving of yourself and others.
Stay safe out there and I’m here if you feel to reach out.
Interview by Phil Escott for the Carnivore and Beyond Podcast talking about spirituality, awakening and ancestral health. For more information about Phil go to pureactivity.net