Excerpt talking about being with what we’re feeling and recognising that there’s nothing wrong with feeling the way we do feel.
Excerpt taken from the February 14th 2021 Sunday Satsang talking about how to be with resistance so that we may welcome all of our experience into the present moment.
Excerpt taken from the January 10th Sunday Satsang talking about how when we let things fall apart we can see our true nature, that which does not fall apart.
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.
By Grace there has been
a fierce love of life,
love of love,
love of truth,
planted in the heart
as a tiny tender seed.
That seed grows
in the soil of mess and muck,
where unmet and unseen
feelings of life live.
Where the hardship and sorrow,
fear and loneliness,
doubt and confusion,
lack of self love
and self acceptance
Yet that hardy seed still grows.
Not in spite of, but because of.
It finds its roots, its stem, its leaves
in amongst depression and grief,
hopelessness and despair,
and it used them as fuel
for a it’s tender blossoming
fruit and flower.
That seed grows into a mighty oak.
And that oak knows the true meaning
of unconditional love and acceptance.
That oak knows its Self.
Its fruition may have been hard won,
fought in the mud and messiness of life.
But in that messiness
was found to be true harmony.
It was found to be all.
It was found to be Self.
It was found to be HOME.
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 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.
It’s rare that we don’t impose some kind of limit, condition or expectation on ourselves as to who, what or how we should be in this world. This causes immense suffering as we’re then having to try to constantly keep up and meet these things, often falling short we then feel like we’re at war with life… which is exhausting. Accepting yourself and dropping these overlaid impositions leads to a sense of ease and naturalness of life.
But it’s not easy… these conditions are sometimes so subtle we don’t see them as such. We have to get good at discerning what is intrinsically YOU, an outpouring of your essence, and what is acquired.
“May your dis-ease be lessened as you come to see that life holds you in her arms tenderly.”
A life of freedom is to embrace it all.
The highs AND the lows,
the light AND the shadow.
To celebrate each moment
as entirely divine and magical,
yet fully ordinary and mundane.
To enjoy the textures and colours of existence,
without judgment or division.
To be able to fall in love with it all.
The silence AND the noise,
the calm AND the chaos.
Life is here for us to enjoy,
because life as we experience it
is a continuous celebration of existence.
Where there is seeming conflict and opposition
sink into the resolution in the heart,
where there is room for even the most extreme of paradoxes.
Where there is grief and regret
surrender into the compassion and understanding of the heart,
where there is forgiveness for it all.
Where there is confusion and doubt
allow yourself to swim in the unknowing mystery of the heart,
where no answers or definites are required.
Where there is striving and longing
let go into the heart of this moment,
where everything is perfectly unfolding without exception.
Welcome each moment with the fullness of your heart,
with the fullness of acceptance and love for all that life is.
Give your existence to life itself.
Let your life be a celebration of that.
[Photo credit: Martyn Webber]
A Deeper Kind of Love – Video excerpt from the Living Your Full Expression webinar with Imogen and Leonor on 22nd February 2020.
I invite you into the fire of life
where the light burns so brightly
on all that is.
The uncomfortable and unfathomable
truth and rawness of this moment
is inescapable and unyielding
leaving no choice but to surrender.
The fire burns bright tonight
and with this
the ground shifts beneath your feet.
The stability that felt hard won
is gone in an instant
taking with it
all sense of knowing
all sense of certainty.
Your heart burns bright
with all possibilities
All that is
all that was
all that can be
held in the infinite fiery embrace
of this moment.
Resistance is futile here
for there is space for it all.
Yes even resistance itself.
The heart surrenders
the fever breaks
and with it
a sense of awe and wonder
that even this
can be included
in your story
The arrogant one
The fraudulent and untruthful one
The one with complete lack of integrity
The narcissistic and the deluded one
The selfish and self-centered one
The unjust and angry one
The petulant and unreasonable one
The unkind, uncompassionate and unloving one
It is our job to make friends with all these aspects of our self and not just the aspects that are easy to love.
It is our job to find love and compassion for those parts that are hardest to accept.
To forgive ourselves for rejecting and excluding that which so desperately wants to find its place, its home too.
This is the job of work to do.
For if not now, then when? If not you, then who?
This is where life is calling out in pain and suffering.
To love that which is hardest to love, hardest to accept.
To stand shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm, closer than close with the unloveable, unworthy, unsightly.
To meet with space, and love, and compassion those aspects that feel unmeetable.
For there is room for all in this vast space of being-ness, this constant changing play and display of life.
“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” Walt Whitman… probably one of my favourite all time quotes.
Love excludes none and includes all.
Freedom excludes none and includes all.
Life excludes none and includes all.
Can you exclude none and include all?
Can you be the room for both-and not either-or?
Can you bring into the fold, into the inner sanctuary of Being the love, the tenderness and the compassion for even the sinner and tax collector in you.
For it is easy to love your friends, but what about your enemies?
Ideas many associate with Jesus’ teachings, but look beyond the voice that says it, to the meaning and the truth behind it. See what it points to.
The suffering born of separation comes from the abandonment of loving all, the abandonment of seeing yourself reflected right back at you in all of the forms and shapes of life. Be it on a individual internal scale, a familial scale or even a societal and a global scale.
The ability to not other’ize’ and alienate any aspect of life goes hand in hand with the ability to see yourself in it all.
To include and love it all.
To make peace and friends with it all.
In all that I write and share I only ever want to invite you to explore, discover and ultimately accept the entirety of your experience. To standing in YOUR truth, YOUR self… not mine and not anyone else’s. To encourage and support you to see more and more of the beauty of your expression, even when that expression isn’t how you thought it ‘should’ be.. to accept even that too!
It’s never been about knowing or being anything. It’s never been about gaining or loosing anything. It’s never even been about changing or fixing anything. It’s never been about being more than or less than. It’s simply about coming to see all that you ARE. It’s an accepting, it’s a recognition, it’s the very act of living and being ALL that you ARE. Taking the binds of limitations off and taking a full breath of life.
It’s about walking through life step by step, moment by moment, learning to love all aspects of it. Learning to love even the hate, or the fear, or the shame, or the frustration; even the sadness, or wrongness and definitely the messiness too. Learning to see it’s all there as part and parcel of life. No separate boxes for good and boxes for bad.
Don’t judge any of it. Judgement puts a box on life where there is none. Judgement says this not that. Judgement assumes a knowing… but if we’re completely honest, we’re all clueless to the beautiful mystery of life. If there’s any sort of knowing, it’s a knowing that this life, this beautiful crazy messy life is far too incompressible, far too mystical to rely on any kind of knowing as ‘the truth’.
Life can’t be grasped, life can’t be contained, life can’t be worked out. Life is to be enjoyed and experienced, not to be figured out. You can try, but even that’s just a part of the play too. The dog chasing its own tail.
A multifaceted, multi-sensory experience playing out in its full range of diversity, all part of the dream… All of it arising in and as consciousness. A beautiful, beautiful display of life. A light show of this very moment.
Every cell of my being delights in the exploration and aliveness of living, exploring and playing with this so called life. No expression limited, no expression judged, just one big playful dance with the infinite expressions of life. And for that… for that I am so eternally flawed by life’s ineffable beauty and grace.
To me it’s all an endless expression of love and creativity of life. Expression just for expressions sake. I don’t see any boundaries or limits to what that expression can be, what it wants or needs to be. And in this expression, this expression right now, life seems to want to shout its love from the rooftops.
So what’s left in my heart when all other false boundaries, conditionings and beliefs are left behind, thrown out and dropped, is love. Love and gratitude for all of life. Faith that whatever is playing out for each and every embodied human expression is exactly perfectly as it ‘should’ be.
Don’t be tempted to listen to another’s heart as each heart has its own way, its own movement that when allowed to fully shine sings its own song. Your song is unique and makes you YOU. No wrong notes, no right notes… just YOUR notes.
More often than not all it takes is simply getting out of your own way, getting out of the mind and taking your hands off the tight grip of needs and wants. It takes a willingness to get quiet and innocently listen. The song of the heart never stops singing, we just get good at ignoring it under the weight of expectation.
So let your heart sing with the fullness of its voice, the fullness of its love.
“Crack open the shell of certainty and let the beating heart of life blossom.”
- Martyn took this photo of me the other day and have to admit, I don’t really recognise myself – and this was a bit of a shock at first.So much has shifted these past years and months that the image that I once had of myself, is no longer there, it no longer fits.Now I see a lioness, a strength, a power, a vulnerability, and an openness and it’s beautiful to see. I see someone who is sitting in the pocket of who she is, finally comfortable in her own skin. That process has been amazing to watch and certainly very intense to live.As I write this I get a flash of collective ‘should’ saying “You shouldn’t say things like that out loud, you should be more modest and humble, you’re being egotistical and attention seeking.” But the truth is that to not acknowledge this is to dishonour life and the changes and growth that we all go through. To take a moment to really sink into this acknowledgement, to take stock of the shifts and changes in life is a good thing. It brings with it so much gratitude to life, gratitude to the lessons, the gifts and the humblings that it has shown.It’s not personal, I’m not saying it with a puffed out chest, I’m not saying it for any gain or need for validation; it’s just an observation of what occurs when life is fully allowed to flow and live into every crack, and every corner of existence. When the shell of conditioning is broken. It happens to all of us if we care to look, if we care to let it in. I’m acknowledging the change in myself with the hope that others might be encouraged to take a look and see it in themselves too.I’m pointing this out because I always promised myself to use this platform of my blog to be honest, to show all aspects of so called ‘awakening’, to not sugar coat and present only one side of myself, but to bring awareness to all aspects of life on the path of self discovery, as well as bringing the ideas of awakening back down to earth, back down to the lived reality.In fact I came up with my blog name Beyond Imogen four years ago at the start of this unfoldment and process of what felt like being born again. Now I stand in some ways, completely and totally beyond the Imogen that I once was, almost no remnant is left. But in other ways I am completely and totally Imogen like I never was before. So totally and fully grounded into this experience, living it all without apologies.To not acknowledge this is a false sense of coy-ness. To not acknowledge the power and presence and rawness that courses in every moment is to deny the beauty and vibrancy of life.So I look at this photo and I am in awe, Martyn captured something. He captured the dramatic recognition and effect of just how much has changed.The old Imogen does not exist anymore. This Imogen has a wildness, a strength, and openness, a realness and a vulnerability about her that never was present before. This new Imogen doesn’t care what others think of her, she doesn’t care about self image. She just IS.And I bowed to that.[Photo Credit: Martyn Webber]
Make no mistake you will be judged and you will be misunderstood along your path of life.
The question is will you hold true to the discovery of YOUR truth, no another’s? Will you stand up for your direct experience rather than someone else’s ideals?
There are none so bright and full of love
than those that have allowed life to penetrate them fully.
Cracked open so immensely and felt so deeply
the depth and breadth of their experiencing.
Leaving no stone unturned, no shadow unseen, no feeling unmet.
Those that have surrendered so tenderly
to the acknowledgement that they know nothing.
That they are but a whisper on the lips of life,
carried in the arms of Grace,
and held in the groundlessness of Being itself.
Their cracked open heart laid gently to rest
at the feet of their very own beloved Self.
Your humanness is a gift to be cherished
not a dirty little secret to be hidden
It is divinity in it’s expression
ALL . OF . IT .
Don’t be tempted to run from it
Embracing the fullness of your experience
reveals the fullness of love
it reveals the emptiness of your core
and reveals that there was never anything to run from
and nowhere to run to
I have a secret to tell…
I sound like I know what I’m talking about
but in truth I live entirely in the unknown
No stakes to place
No walls or ceilings or floors to hang on to
life is a free-fall of continuous newness
It’s a leap of faith and trust
and it’s the ever present continuation of acceptance
I have no opinions
and no agenda
nothing to rely on
or anything to lay claim over
I see life as a gift
and all the content that shows up in it part of that gift
Most people are so quick to try and pin down life
to make rules to live by
find positions to take
and opinions to have
But to step into the unknown is to step out of the mind of conception
and into the realm of Grace
into the realm of Self
into the realm of awareness
logic will do you no good here
Do not shrink into smallness
Let yourself roar and feel fully into your inherent power.
Your power is found in the courage to be you,
to fully present ALL of you.
To cease with the judgements and accept all of your wholly divine messy humanness as your own.
To not second guess and hide yourself for fear of shame and judgement from others.
To let them see you, really see you in all your glory, in all your power.
Power is not an ‘evil’ blunt instrument that gets indiscriminately wielded around.
Power has many faces.
Power is found in full on vulnerability and openness
Power is found in the soft tenderness of heart
Power is found in the depths of sadness and heartbreak
Power is found in all the bits of yourself you can’t yet met
Power is found when living on the knife edge of exploration
Power is found saying no in order that you follow your yeses
In love and acceptance, there power resides.
So don’t be afraid to stand in your power.
Don’t be afraid to turn up to your life in a completely unapologetic way.
Own your power, don’t shy away from it.
When we experience a strong emotion or felt response to life there is a call to be present, a call to sink into it. It’s not the moment to run away and avoid. It’s not the moment to reject and try with all your might to change the course of life. Life is giving you a gift, an opening, the natural call to Self, the great unknowing by which all becomes known, accepted and loved. Don’t be afraid, the call into the unknown is the call home, the call to the ground of your Being, it’s the natural call of freedom and peace. In this moment attention is your true power, your place of healing. The only doing is the seeing, is the accepting. Tender loving attention embracing the aliveness of life.
There’s an impulse to avoid difficult and uncomfortable feelings. To reject them and cast them aside, to deny their existence. We think we can exert mind over matter and control our inner world, think positive thoughts and all will be okay. Yet when we do this we push these experiences into shadow. We don’t resolve them, we hide them, we sweep them under the carpet.
Life includes in it the whole gambit of human experience, all feelings, all sensations, all types of thoughts and emotions, the whole spectrum. By judging what we experience as good or bad and trying to ‘keep’ good experiences and ‘get rid’ of bad experiences then we are limiting the wholeness of our expression. We’re putting ourselves in opposition to what is, we’re creating tightness and limitation where there naturally isn’t any. We’re trying to control what turns up in our life, a futile and unnecessary battle.
So instead don’t listen to this learned conditioning of avoidance, break the cycle and embrace all, reject none and find freedom in the wholeness of your existence.
I find it funny that the further into this journey of life I get the less and less ‘spiritual’ I become. Granted, I never self-identified as particularly spiritual, but at least outwardly I certainly was a card-carrying member of the ‘spiritual seekers brigade’. I was brought up surrounded by spiritual types, I meditated from aged 6, I went to a spiritual consciousness-based school and university. I worked for companies where every single employee was a meditator and spiritual seeker. I’ve lived in spiritual communities and Ashrams. I’ve lived like a monk, albeit a married one, but a monk nonetheless (and I still do pretty much live like one).
For a while my focus was well and truly on the abiding recognition of awareness, consciousness, the absolute, the silent awareness at the heart of all experiencing. Seeing that the kaleidoscopic arisings of the content of life was just that, an arising, a happening, a dream.
And while I find this to be true, the primordial ground of life as I know it…. but also there IS a life as we know it and that’s not to be ignored or denied, it’s to be LIVED.
So now I find myself focusing instead of on spiritual attainment or awakening (at least in the traditional sense), it’s shifted onto what it means to be human, to walk in this world, the grounded and intimate experience of life. It’s a messy and beautiful business being human, it’s not something you can do ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. It’s full of heartbreak, disappointment, intense experiences and pain. It’s also full of joy and love, connection and so much more.
We are all fumbling around the best we can and to me the most compassionate and loving thing I can do for myself and others is to turn up for that, to walk hand in hand and support one another through life lessons.
Life isn’t a sterile experience to be witnessed. Life is a heavily felt and embodied experience. It astonishes me the capacity for each and every one of us to experience what we experience, the full-on aliveness that asserts itself in every moment. Yes we are the vessel that experiences all of this, yes we are prior to all of this, yes we are the witness to all of this. But ALL of this is US TOO!!!!!!!
There is no ‘me’ and ‘it’. There is just THIS. The full-on multifaceted, kaleidoscopic, multi-sensory experience of life. The good, the bad, the ugly, it doesn’t matter, it’s ALL OF IT. The freedom is in seeing this, knowing this, not being in denial or resistance to this.
It’s not to escape it, it’s to embrace it. It’s not to run from it, it’s to know that you ARE it. You are life. All of this is for you. All of this IS you. (And I am NOT just talking about the nice fluffy cuddly bits ;p)
Awakening to me is waking up to your nature, seeing life for what it is, the transient, ineffable life that is experienced, felt, lived. When seeing the nature of how things are you find yourself not in resistance to life, you find yourself free from the bondage of ‘should’ and instead standing in the freedom of what IS.
There isn’t a box where the lines have to be coloured inside of in-order to be ‘the most spiritual’, ‘the best human being’, ‘the most enlightened’. Freedom is to step outside of your false self-imposed gilded cage and see that there are no boundaries and rules as to what the experience of life should be. No rights and wrongs, just this, just experiencing itself.
So this, this is where I find my energy, my focus, my attention. Not by design, but because life continually asserts itself as something that is full of experiencing. So full that all that we can do is jump in feet first and buckle up for the ride, because it is a ride, we’re not in control of the steering wheel, but we’re fully along for the journey. Let go or be dragged, either way… it’s happening.