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.
“There’s never a moment that isn’t in the interest of your own life growth. It’s our judgements of life that tell us differently.”
To meet others we first have to be willing to meet ourselves. To meet ourselves doesn’t just mean to meet the bits we like or are proud of and ignoring those aspects that we wish weren’t there. To meet ourselves means to meet it all, embrace it all, learn to love and accept it all. How can we expect to be met and to meet others if we’re not even willing to go there ourselves.
It not an easy journey, learning to meet all parts of ourselves but the process lightens the load and brings peace and freedom into the heart. We’re then no longer in a cage of avoidance and denial, we’re no longer afraid of what lurks in our shadows because we bring light to it all, we bring love to it all. We bring space so there’s room for it all.
For some the idea of bringing all of ourselves, even our shameful dirty hidden parts out into the light of awareness all at once will feel like too much of a task, too big, too soon. Maybe thoughts will come like “It’s too overwhelming. I don’t know where to start. I don’t even know where to look.” But it doesn’t have to be a big one shot deal, it can be softly, softly, slowly, slowly approach. It doesn’t even have to be a big digging expedition, just start to soften this very moment, lean a little bit more into something that’s arising for you, find the low hanging fruit. Sit with the discomfort as if it were a friend in need, sit with it for a little longer. Bring a tender arm of embrace to your anger or your loneliness, your self hatred or your unmet needs, your sadness, your shame. If it all feels like too much too soon, just find a crack, find a moment where your gentle loving awareness can shine some light and some love on a dark corner. Is there something in you that you previously rejected that you can meet with acceptance instead?
There is nothing in life that is unworthy of love, unworthy of acceptance despite what the mind might say. So the greatest gift we can each give this world right now is meeting ourselves fully so that we may meet others fully in turn. This is how we can heal both individually and collectively. When we allow space for it all, we can move from a place of love and understanding. Instead of feeling unheard, unseen and in turn not hearing and seeing others, can we move from a place of not trying to fix but from a place of real hearing and non-judgment? From here we’re able to offer comfort and even a helping hand that is needed, and not some misguided fix or judgement that we deem applicable before we’ve really taken the time to listen.
This holiday season, give yourself and others the gift of loving presence and the freedom the be exactly as you/they are: love without the binds of judgement – acceptance.
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.
“Meeting every aspect of experience without judgement is liberation.”
Q: Can you tell me how to get rid of attachment and aversion?
It’s not about eliminating (getting rid of) anything but seeing that it’s all arising in you – consciousness. This is awakening. Experiential focus or identity is shifted from the foreground (phenomena) to the background (consciousness). When this is recognised to be true in your experience the need for elimination of ANYTHING disappears. All is accepted as an arising in you, and this is true freedom. From this, peace is found and suffering is eliminated. Suffering is the lack of acceptance of WHAT IS.
Let me give an example to illustrate why this recognition is actually the most fundamental recognition of awakening.
Just as the clouds appear and disappear in the sky, phenomena (thoughts, feelings, sensations, etc.) are appearing and disappearing in you. Is the sky any less the sky just because it has clouds, or a storm in it? No. Are you any less YOU if there’s something arising in you? No.
We become either attached or averse because we mistake the phenomena for ourselves. We believe we are good or bad, right or wrong if we have certain experiences (phenomena) showing up and so we try to keep or get rid of these things. Consciousness makes no distinction, consciousness is ALL that shows up, ALL THAT IS. No separate piles of good consciousness to keep and bad consciousness to get rid of, no separation at all – just a continuous flow and play of life appearing as different forms and experiences.
It’s only the limited human ego (mind) that judges and says what should or shouldn’t be. If you can see through this and understand experientially (not just intellectually) that this is the futile continuous hamster wheel of the mind, you’ll come to the end of needing life to be anything but WHAT IT IS. You’ll see that the peace, freedom and stability that you seek is in fact right here when the seeking is dropped. When the hands of life let go of the grasping for what ISN’T and accept what IS.
Keep quiet, let all judgements cease, and what you are left with is what is. If this can be accepted into your heart, then you are free, then even if attachment or aversion show up… they will be seen as yet another phenomena arising in YOU, consciousness YOU. And the beauty of it is… you need nothing to be what you ARE.
“To experience what is without the burden of ideas, judgements and conclusions is to taste the innocence of love, the innocence of life.”
- 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?
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 show ourselves to others, fully open and vulnerable with our hidden tender aspects, without self censoring and hiding, we step into the conversation, into the relationship in a new way. Through this we also invite others to free themselves of their constraints and speak their tender truth too. It’s a true gift, the gift of openness and love.
Come as you are, no agenda and no expectations, heart open and ready to be met. There are no boundaries between us, no gulf to be filled. Meet me in this moment where you are, without pretence, without posturing or needing to be anything or anyone. Without judgements of good or bad, better or worse, just tender openness.
If you find yourself being uncomfortable been seen fully without a mask of pretence take a breath, it’s in those moments that it takes great courage to stay open, to stay present, to stay vulnerable and trust.
There is a great strength in vulnerability and openness, a strength and power that brings with it such freedom and sweetness that all else melts away in that moment.
This is my invitation to you, to meet your fear of being seen and judged with the fierce love of courageous openness.
“Viewpoints, opinions and judgements are two-a-penny and constantly changeable. Meeting heart-to-heart, tender, open and vulnerable is priceless.”
Meeting in THIS moment without reference to past or future, without the need to BE someone or something other than what you are… THIS is priceless.
We tend put value judgements on what we want any given moment to look like, and so when the present moment doesn’t look like how we want then we seek to change it; we seek for the ‘good’ to stay and the ‘bad’ to go. This futile seeking to change the here and now causes immense suffering because life can look like anything.
And yet in reality good or bad it doesn’t matter, it all comes, it all goes, nothing stays around for very long. NOTHING. If we can sink into the reality of that for a moment we can see the futility of trying to hold on to anything; then the peace and sense of freedom that opens up in its wake is quite glorious. The physical feeling of tension and heaviness is lifted, the space of being right here right now is felt. Nothing to change, nothing to do, nothing to be.
Look at the world as if you know nothing,
don’t draw any conclusions
about what you experience,
or who you are.
Innocently move through life
experiencing what is
without the burdens of ideas,
judgements and conclusions.
Take each moment a fresh,
knowing that this moment will never be again.
Lovingly embrace each experience of life,
how lucky we are to have the play of life
grace us with its beauty and light.
Embrace all, reject nothing –
see that you are the master of none but the father/mother of all.
The utter humanness of existence cradles in it every possible emotion, sensation, feeling & thought. We can’t run from that, we can’t hide from that, we can’t avoid or resist that, and nor should we want to.
It’s our human experiencing that reveals the ever-changing world of perception that we live in – our ‘world’ is constantly being born and reborn in every moment. Embrace this change, embrace it as the play and display of awareness-consciousness (you). This play is set on the stage of pure open, unconditioned and ineffable awareness-consciousness.
After so many years of the word Enlightenment being banded around by spiritual gurus, new age folk and self-help aficionados, I find myself feeling that the word is just seen as another concept that’s predicated on a ton of other concepts about life. It’s an idea that keeps hold of the mind’s interest in working towards the idea of a state of happiness, bliss, no suffering and the ‘perfect life’. On this level it feels like one big ruse, a massive cosmic joke that everyone is aiming towards, but there’s nothing when you get there; in fact there’s no thing and no there to ‘get’!!
My relationship to speech and words has completely changed. I used to believe that what I said was the end result of something rolling around in my head, carefully considered and judge and then spat out into the world. There was a feeling that words were informed my memories and impressions, that there was history and knowledge in the words too.
Now when I speak and I have no idea where it comes from. I have no opinions that I’ve formed that come out in response to someone speaking. I actually listen when someone’s speaking, with open heart and mind, it’s not just an opportunity to figure out what to say next!
I had a recent conversation that brought into focus how important it is for someone who overthinks to get out of their head, and allow whatever feeling or sensation that occurs to arise and to just feel it. Don’t analyse it, don’t name it, don’t judge it – just feel it.
The very act of focusing in on the thought to try and ‘figure it out’ tends to perpetuate the suffering that’s being felt. What is being ‘felt’ is literally a feeling or energetic sensation arising within you that is being interpreted by the mind.