• Articles

    The Antifragility of Freedom

    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.

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  • Articles

    Love Not Fear: Freedom of Speech

    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 War

    Right 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.
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  • Conversations & Questions

    Conversations & Questions: 17/1/20

    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…


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  • Quotes

    “The mind is a pernicious trickster who hides in plain sight, whispering in your ear the seeds of self doubt and fear. Tune into your heart song, it tells an entirely different story of love and trust.”

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  • Articles

    Current Times: Practical Advice

    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.

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  • Quotes

    In these difficult times it’s all the more important to make peace with this current moment. To stay grounded in the reality of now, right now, not 5 minutes or 5 days from now. Panic and fear almost always appear in regard to future, in regard to next. Don’t forget to take a moment, take a breath, stay out of the mind and come into the now…

    Bring the attention to the breath, to the body, to the energetic arisings of the felt experience. Don’t be tempted to label, judge and fix, just notice quietly and innocently your present moment awareness where there is room for it all.

    All emotions, all thoughts, all sensations – you are the ground, the vessel for them and that vessel is only ever in this present moment. Let this moment and all it’s content wash over you like a wave moving in the deep sea ocean, or a cloud passing in the sky.

    Have this moment be your refuge, your safety, your retreat, your place of comfort and solace.

    Fall in love with this moment.

    Make peace with this moment.

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  • Quotes

    “We are in challenging times but I also feel there is opportunity for all of us to connect deeply to what is important and true in our lives. May your love and trust hold space for even the presence of fear.”

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  • Articles,  Conversations & Questions,  My Spiritual Journey,  Post-Awakening

    Conversations & Questions: 19/09/19

    Post-Awakening Integration &  Releasing Old Conditioning

     

    Q: I’m fearful of what will happen as I continue on this journey of awakening. It’s coming up right now because working with you these past weeks I finally experienced a shift into Unity Consciousness and see the integration deepening as well. But the fear is mainly there because after my initial shift into non-duality a year ago I had a pretty traumatic time of instability and integration where I couldn’t function in the world very well. I don’t want to go back into that unstableness and overwhelm that came with that first major shift. I’ve felt this sense of “My God what is coming next, what if it’s like the other time?” And while it’s not been like that at all this time so far, I still have a little bit of fear of “how will this be?” I feel I can’t make plans because I don’t know how I will be in the coming weeks and months and this scares me.

    That you will hit against a major period of instability is an assumption and definitely not a certainty at all. What I can say is that you will go through what you need to go through, but it rarely looks exactly the same. Especially once you’ve gone through something all the way to the bottom and it’s done. The next time it’s got it’s own flavour and shape to it, but it’s never the same.

    So on the topic of stability I can’t offer you any guarantees, but I doubt it will look the same as it did a year ago. You’ve been through a lot since then, and a lot of wisdom has been embodied and a lot of trauma released and integrated.

    But in the broader sense it’s also a good lesson for life really, that actually we can’t plan and we really don’t know what life will throw at us at any given moment. In many ways life gives us what it needs to give us for our evolutionary and spiritual growth. In some ways we are at life’s mercy and any plans are pretty futile unless they are just seen as a sketch.

    To me this is where faith comes in – the trust and love of life itself to show us the way. This is why I use the word Grace so much, because to me, it’s all Grace and it’s all a gift. There’s an assumption generally that gifts are nice. But gifts are not always nice, nevertheless they are gifts because they show you something, they give you something or they teach you something. Life doesn’t give us anything that we can’t handle and the human capacity is phenomenal. It blows me away to constantly see the resilience and capacity of human beings.

    But I understand that fear and while the appearance of fear in your experience needs to be fully acknowledged rather than ignored, I also encourage you to question whether that fear is actually calling on something in you to go into it, rather than away from it. Our mind plays all sorts of tricks and what-ifs but what’s happening is not necessarily any of the things that you fear it will be. Often the presence of fear is actually fear of the unknown itself. The mind wants certainty but life inherently can’t provide that for the mind.

    Recently I’ve been getting many people coming to me with similar stuff. They’ve already awakened and have stabilised in that recognition and yet they’re struggling with integrating aspects of life to varying degrees. Some struggling on little things and some are struggling in a big way. But the answer is the same – going into the experience, not away from it. There’s a subtle assumption that all prior ‘issues’ will be solved upon awakening. It’s not true! Sometimes there’s even a feeling of “I shouldn’t be dealing with this stuff anymore, I should be done with it, I thought I’d be done with all this ‘personal’ stuff.”

    Q: Yes I’ve noticed there are quite a few people that are struggling so much with this, “I just can’t deal with more and I wanted it to go away, I want it to f**k off. Really, I just can’t deal with this.”

    I recently talked with someone who post-awakening everything’s been going great for a good while and then they hit this similar sort of thing. There was still a sense of, “Okay, so this is arising and I can sit with this for X amount of time but at some point, okay, now it needs to be done.” And so sitting together we came to the discovery that there was this sense in them that “Okay, now I should be done. Now you need to go.” And it’s actually at that point I believe, it’s the learnt conditioning that’s still present kicking in and is saying that something shouldn’t be the way it is.

    And that’s the point at which they needed to hold it closer, get more intimate with whatever is arising. Not in terms of “I need to keep this” but in terms of, if there’s a sense arising of, “Okay this needs to be done” that’s when the most self compassion and attentiveness needs to be present. That’s when the most space, the most attention, the most acceptance, and the most love needs to be felt because that’s actually the call inward right there. It’s the call out of the head and into the heart of awareness. Into the subtler, a-conceptual nature of life where the call of acceptance for all that arises is heard. But the conditioned mind has a tendency to go, “Right, I’m going to throw a stone in the bush, and I’m going to distract you”. This is because it feels the attention and the sense of control slipping away from itself (the mind).

    To me that’s a handy little hint indicating that you need to break out the ‘inner child compassion’. Where you go, “Okay, all right, you want to be done but that’s just a subtle form of rejection. We can sit here for as long as you need to be here. You can be present and you are free to go when you need to go as well. But I am not going to give you any rules to live by.” I won’t sugar coat it, it’s really hard to break that particular conditioning. To break that cycle of feeling like, “Okay, now I’m done. I’ve been at it for a couple of years. Now is the time to get my reward, time to get the good stuff. Now it’s time to be done with all of this”.

    But it’s actually when you lean into that feeling that the space of emptiness opens up. And that’s the space of love and the fulfilment of all the things that we’re searching for. That’s where you find all of life, all of love and it’s not a goal, it’s just the natural fragrance and emanation of it.

    Q: How is it for you when these things come? Because I know you also struggled lots with this initially post-awakening.

    I still do occasionally. This is the thing people don’t get and so I try to be really honest with this because there’s the assumption that I don’t struggle is in of itself an idea that perpetuates the idea that “It’s just my problem. No-one else deals with this. (S)he’s got it all sorted out. (S)he’s done. I’m wrong, I’m broken. When I’m ‘awake’ I’ll be fixed.”

    And it’s not true. Not true at all.

    Q: But does it arise in the same way as before?

    I would say the intensity, length and the frequency are much less, mainly because when I see it arising, there’s not a breath of hesitation in that I know what this is. I’ve been through it enough times. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, I know what needs to be done now. So I hit up against these pockets. They’re like coal seams in the way that you’re going along in life and you hit up against a pocket. These pockets in life show up sometimes, it’s not like you have to go digging for them. It could be a new situation that you hadn’t bumped into before, or an old school friend, or any number of things. But now I recognise it, it’s familiar and my body recognises it. It’s not even to do with the mind anymore, it’s just that I physically recognise it and I allow and greet it like an old friend.

    Not only do I allow it or put up with it but I love it too. And I don’t mean I smother it in love, what I mean is I accept it, I allow it and I am compassionate to that aspect in myself that is arising. I don’t try and reject it, I don’t try and push it away, I’m compassionate with it and I give space to it. Whatever’s coming up needs to be there and it’s calling for my attention. The way I respond to it is almost with the attitude of that’s the least I could do – not because I should but because that’s what feels most true and loving. That I can give it my attention in the moment, that’s the least I could do. So I give it my attention and my love. I give my attention to all these other things in life, why can’t I give that thing that is coming up the same level of care and attention?

    Q: Yeah, so true. And when you do that do you feel it doesn’t take long for you to move through it?

    It depends. It depends on the level of intensity or the size and depth of that pocket. Sometimes it’s a tiny little thing and I barely notice it even before it’s gone, it’s only a momentary something. But sometimes it might be a couple of hours or even days that are needed to attend to what’s coming up. They’re much less frequent now, those kind of big pockets. But they do come up. But also I haven’t got the attitude of ‘needing to move through it’ anymore, as if what’s showing up is wrong. I accept it fully as part of the current of life.

    But as an example, I had one come up a few weekends ago. Some situation came up and I recognised it was something that I hadn’t dealt with since almost the beginning of mine and Martyn’s relationship. It had been in the background all this time, so much so that I hadn’t even noticed it was still there because it hadn’t actively come up in so many years. And then this big pocket came up and, whoah, the intensity of that was so vivid, so raw. I spent a sleepless night just sitting with it very intensely. I was watching this process of the mind and the body literally trying anything it could to get out of this situation that it found itself in. Any excuse to not sit with it and include it, integrate it or embrace it, and to instead run far away from it. But I found myself saying to myself, “Okay, all right, it’s okay, you’re trying to get out of the situation and I hold the space for that even.” Even in that desperate mind-body attempt to avoid the crap that was being felt, I was present and holding enough space for that. So yeah, it still happens for sure.

    You see I’d done very little ‘work’ before awakening compared to the depth that I discovered was needed to be held, healed and integrated post-awakening. The intensity of what I felt a couple of weekends ago was what it felt like pretty continuously for many months initially post-awakening. I’m amazed I got through it in those early days, but I did, even though there were times where I felt that I might not make it – quite literally. It was quite unexpected, the level of intensity for me. It’s probably why I put so much focus on helping others in this way now.

    Q: It’s the same for me. It’s so much less and not so frequently now than a year ago.

    These things do pass in really a relatively short period of time but we think that it will last forever when we’re in the midst of it. Even the intensity of those first few months and year(s) post-awakening, when it feels like it will go on forever, in time it’s seen as only a small part of your life story.

    I feel the processing of these pockets could almost be likened to when you get just a little bit of a song stuck in your head. Round and round the same chorus or the same couple of bars of music or something and you cannot for the life of you get it out of your head, no matter what you do. You have to be finally willing to play the song all the way through to the end, otherwise what happens is you get stuck on the little brain worm of a couple of bars or the chorus over and over again.

    And so the willingness to do that has to come about. And it’s not something you can force because sometimes you’re just not ready to go there and do that. But eventually whatever is coming up has to be played out, and when it’s played out fully, it’s done. Then in the future, when something comes up, it may be very similar but it won’t ever be the same thing exactly.

    So surrender is actually what is required. It’s that surrender and freefall into the allowing of the full song to be played out. I feel it’s actually the only way eventually.

    But sometimes we’re like “No, no, quick, quick, I want the song to be done”. But the song has exactly the right amount of beats, the right amount of words, it’s got its rhythm, its pace. It’s the full length of the song and you can’t speed the song up and end it any quicker, you also can’t slow it down and keep it going.

    So the recognition of this process brings an ease to it in itself actually because then you get to learn your rhythm. You get to learn the rhythm of this song playing out, and then it becomes less alien. You’re no longer thinking “Oh what is this?” And I think that’s the thing that comes in time is the recognition of, “Oh, this is what’s happening. This is nothing to be afraid of”. It’s actually old stuff that’s coming up that needs to be processed. It needs to be gone through instead of trying to push against it.

    Q: Yeah, I can’t do it, even though I’m trying to escape it for sure unconsciously, and sometimes consciously. But it’s impossible. I have to stay with it.

    Yes.

    And maybe you’ve also noticed the more you don’t listen to life, the louder it gets. Learn to actually listen to that intuition and trust it. For me, I feel it in my gut, but I think other people feel it in different places in their body – but it’s never the mind! If I ignore that intuition, and the more and more I ignore it, the louder and louder the lesson gets.

    Q: Yeah. Before awakening I could only see the results of ignoring my intuition later, maybe some days, a week after. But now it’s instantaneous.

    Yes, it’s keeping you right there in the present moment process. It’s life’s mechanism for keeping you honest and truthful to yourself. Sometimes those intuitions go against every rule, go against every idea that society has about what you should or shouldn’t be doing. But you cannot not listen to it because it is the right thing for you. Even if seven billion people tell you it’s the wrong thing, it’s the right thing for you and only you will know that. Being centred in your heart and not your conditioned mind you’ll know if it comes from a true and honest place of Self intuition or if it’s coming from layers of conditioning and ego. Awakening certainly makes it easier to see those distinctions.

    Once you let go of those layers, or once those layers have dissolved and gone, each of us has the answer to life in this moment. Not the answer that it ‘should’ be, but the actual natural, spontaneous answer to every moment. It’s comes from truth, your truth, not my truth, not anyone else’s truth. Just truth, your truth.

    I feel we are conditioned into so much shame and wrongness with our experience. It’s very difficult to go against that conditioning or break it, but it’s very simple in terms of the work that needs to be done. So the reconditioning, or the deconditioning of that shame and that wrongness is a big part of the post-awakening work and embodiment in many ways. Because it’s going away from the ‘shoulds’ and into the ‘what is’. But you really physically feel that shaming, that wrongness in your body, and it’s hard to ignore.

    So I think wrongness is a big one to get over for most people. When we have a conditioned sense of wrongness for whatever’s appearing in our experience, there’s a voice that says “This is wrong. This isn’t correct. I shouldn’t be feeling this. I shouldn’t be going through this. I shouldn’t be, shouldn’t be, shouldn’t be”. When we recognise this to be false the release that we feel is that relaxing into the sense of “Okay, this isn’t wrong. This really isn’t wrong. None of it is. It’s all perfectly as it is”. The release of any sense of wrongness is to me so powerful.

    I feel there’s actually no such thing as ‘wrong’ experientially speaking. Because the idea of wrong automatically creates a sense of separation between something correct in consciousness and something incorrect. But if it’s appearing, or happening, surely this IS consciousness, this IS life too!

    Q: Yeah. I’m doing wrong, I’m being wrong, and the shame of many different things.

    For most it’s been a lifetime of that, this is why it takes time and it can be a difficult one to fall away. We talk about there being no time, yes, it’s all now. But at the same time, in the paradox, there is time too, and it takes time for these things to unwind and unfold. It takes great patience and great forgiveness of oneself.

    Q: What do you think the difference is between dealing with these things post-awakening and pre-? Is it easier? Is there less resistance?

    Before awakening it’s difficult to really deal with and see a lot of the conditioned behaviours because the ego-mind strategy and structure is working against this in many ways. Functionally it’s protecting the mind and self image from going into the depths of held beliefs where it all begins to fall apart and be seen though. But a certain amount of ‘work’ can be done as you go without a doubt. I personally just wasn’t very successful at this, or rather I should say my mind was very efficient at building structures to avoid this! Post-awakening a lot of these false structures and identities dissolved or at least were seen through, so this is when there was true openness to have it all arise. The brakes came off, so to speak.

    Generally I’d say after awakening what happens is that there’s an acceptance of whatever is arising. There’s nowhere else to go, there’s nothing to be done that isn’t already happening, it’s just what is arising in consciousness. And so the human experience is very raw in that way because you’re faced with whatever’s coming up in your life. So that’s where I’d say there’s lack of resistance – you can’t hide from life, it’s just happening.

    Even in that recognition and acceptance, resistance or fighting against something can still show up. But the meta of that is that there’s a complete acceptance somewhere in there, maybe deep down even, there’s the acceptance that “Okay, this is what’s happening”.

    This sounds like a very ordinary and obvious thing, which it is, but it’s the full acceptance of the recognition that there’s nothing else other than this. This is what life is presenting right now. This is what is showing up in me. And so therefore it’s not wrong.

    But that can take a little bit of time to come to trust this as old conditioning still plays out that says otherwise. So initially this can feel very groundless and there can be a lot of fear that can come up with that. The rules of right and wrong in regard to experiences get thrown out and you’re just left with the suchness of life.

    If you’ve been conditioned to believe that the feeling of groundlessness is wrong, that you’re a broken human being if you experience that, then that can bring up a lot of embodied trauma and fear of uncertainty. You can intimately feel that sense of groundlessness, the emptiness, the void; but the mind interprets the lack of control and the lack of anything to hold on to as threatening to itself. It can feel like life or death to the conditioned mind, and this can take some patience and courage to work though as life gently guides you to see that it’s actually not true; that groundlessness is the ground of your Self and it’s nothing to fear.

    But even in this post-awakening process of unwinding old conditioning and integrating the current lived and embodied experience, fundamentally there’s a recognition and acceptance that whatever is showing up simply is. It’s not even right or wrong, it just IS. And what is is not personal, it’s just an arising in 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…

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  • Articles,  Poetry

    Find Your Biggest Fear

    find your biggest fear
    and make friends with it

    get to know its nature
    its form
    its depth
    its layers
    its seeming binds

    let awareness penetrate and
    light up the corners
    of your existence
    so that the shadows
    have nowhere left to hide

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  • Articles

    A Call Into the Unknown

    Fear is a call into the unknown beyond the known, and the mind hates nothing more than the unknown. The mind is the realm of the known, the content of life, but our essential ground of Self is beyond that, it’s prior to the known content. It’s not the object, it’s the subject – the seer, or awareness of the object or content.

    And so fear arises because the mind cannot grasp the magnitude and scope of what lies beyond it. It can’t find the edges and boundaries that it looks for. This is because objects have edges but Being has no edges, no start, no finish, no physical attributes for which the mind can grasp on to, categorise and ‘know’.

    So arises this fear.
    This panic.
    This free-fall
    into the unknown.

    The fear that it will never get ‘it’. The fear that it can’t control ‘it’. But there is no ‘it’ so both of those fears in a way are very well founded in Truth.

    Fear isn’t something to circumnavigate, something to avoid. It’s just a sensation, often intense, arising in awareness. It shows us where our boundaries lie still, it shows us what has already been lit up in awareness, it shows us where our known comfort of the mind is. But who and what we are lays beyond the boundaries and comfort of the mind. Don’t let the presence of fear tell you to stop. Instead make friends with it, it will show where your false edges are. Let it be your guiding light, lighting the path of darkness. Let go into the unknown and you will discover the unknowingness of your Self.

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  • Quotes

    “Let your faith be stronger than your fear.”

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  • Articles

    Scary Beautiful Love

    In relationships we have to trust and we have to communicate. It’s a constant leap of faith to say the things that we think they won’t want to hear and we won’t want to hear the answer to, to constantly face the fear of rejection and hurt.

    But if you do take that leap of faith and trust, then it’s my experience that life constantly surprises you. It’s such a beautiful thing, but it’s scary, terrifying in fact. I’ve been with Martyn for 15 years and it’s STILL scary. I still have to take a breath at first sometimes before I say something that is tender and edgy for me, something that I’m not sure of his response to.

    This feeling of fear doesn’t disappear over time, you just get used to it. You learn to know it, you even learn to love it because it tells you where your edge of comfort is. It never fully feels safe to share those things that you don’t want to share, because it’s NOT safe. It never feels safe because when you reach an edge of yourself it’s ALWAYS scary. It’s not about the other person, it’s about you. It feels scary to you because you can’t guarantee the response and that’s terrifying, and that doesn’t stop.

    If it does then you’re living out of truth and in a fantasy of your own making, because the truth is you can NEVER guarantee what’s going to happen, or what someone’s response is going to be.

    So speak even though it’s scary, give them and yourself a chance to deepen and grow. Relationships aren’t easy. They never stop being a constant leap of faith. It’s very much a part of it, and that leap of faith is happening every single second if you’re lucky enough to be in a nurturing relationship. If you’re lucky you are relating new and fresh every moment, every second without reference to past or future and that is both wonderful and terrifying.

    It’s opening your chest up, your heart, and trusting. Sometimes your heart gets hurt, but if it stays open life and love goes even deeper than the hurt and that is truly magical. Because with great risk comes great reward.

    That risk is terrifying, love is terrifying, so it’s okay to honour that and feel that. But I encourage you to step forward even so, to open your heart wide. Only you can do that. Love is magical, love stretches you to capacity and then stretches you some more.

    Love is all there is.

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