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Awaken to your true nature with Judee Gee

Article by Claire Savenca & Judee Gee

Why is Joy such good medicine?

And how can we cultivate it?

All spiritual traditions agree; along with love, trust, enthusiasm and being carefree, joy is intrinsic to our true nature! And yet, even though we have certainly known moments of joy, we may well have the feeling that happiness - the stable and enduring expression of joy – continues to elude us.

 

Our natural state of joy gets repressed when other primary emotions exist in excess; most notably fear, sadness and anger (or any of their derivatives such as anxiety, worry, despondency, depression, irritability, frustration....). How can we best manage these "obstacles" to joy in order to transform our state of being, reconnect to our true self and experience our joyful nature in an enduring way? 

Read more...

Breathwork - A pathway to wholeness

All articles by Judee Gee

Although breath awareness has been an essential element in spiritual practices since ancient times, the significance of breath and its utilization as a therapeutic tool in contemporary psychological practice is relatively recent. Conscious breathing is advocated in several "modern" methods of body/mind therapy - Primal Therapy, Reichian Work, Postural Integration, Feldenkrais, Bio-energetics and Rebirthing - and while each of these techniques has it's own "trademark" style and precise method of application, they all acknowledge the importance of the breath in the transformational process.

The original and most commonly known of the modern techniques of conscious breathing - Rebirthing - was first developed and presented by Leonard Orr in the USA during the early 1970's, and has been taught and practiced extensively throughout the world ever since. The method has experienced tremendous success as a tool for personal development, and this is no doubt due to it's simplicity, power and efficiency....

Read more...

Intuition and trust on the path to wholeness 

In this essay we will be exploring the importance of trust and intuition in the healing process. Whether we find ourselves in the role of Breathwork client or Breathwork practitioner, these two qualities are essential components of the wellness journey. When we recognize their importance and consciously choose to develop them, we are equipping ourselves with invaluable tools for creating fulfilment in our quest for wholeness.

 

Trust is essential for happiness

Trust is one of the essential virtues we need to cultivate in order to experience true happiness. Without trust, we are condemned to a solitary existence bereft of the warmth of heart-centred connection that is fundamental to our wellbeing...

Read more...

Love is not the answer. It is the assignment.

Martin Luther King Jr.

There is probably nothing else on this earth as challenging as conscious relating. As there is surely nothing more delicious than the harvest we can reap from it.

 

From a tantric perspective, the commitment to conscious relationship that two people make when they engage into a couple journey, creates a secure venue as well as a daily framework for the practise of their on-going spiritual journey towards self-realisation.

In a tantric union, the myriad of relational dynamics that spring from the alchemy of the couple are used consciously as a means for sincere enquiry, understanding and transcendence of the defensive ego structure...

Read more... 

The alchemy of conscious relating

Intuition and the call to communion

Intuition opens the door to the truth, to the vast mysteries of existence, and to the equally vast mysteries of the human being.

Intuition: awakening your inner guide, by Judee Gee

Intuition, our capacity for perceiving truth and receiving immediate insight1, is an innate ability serving us well as we navigate our way through the myriad challenges of everyday life. It helps us to discern what is really going on, what is really being meant and what is really essential in the moment-to-moment unfolding of events and interactions as we experience them.

Read more...

Abundance is the harvest of our spiritual heritage

“We are not human beings seeking a spiritual experience;

we are spiritual beings living a human experience.”

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Breathwork is a powerful tool for personal transformation and liberation. With presence, conscious breath and awareness, we attend to the quality of our thoughts, releasing limiting beliefs and replacing them with more affirmative notions. Applying the principle of acceptance to ourselves, we discover the capacity to accept our endlessly changing emotional landscape. We learn the value of letting go, of surrendering to what is. Conscious purification brings clarity to both mind and body, and we find ourselves more and more empowered in our daily lives - empowered to generate, to cultivate, and to create.

Read more... 

 

Why is Joy such good medicine?  And how can we cultivate it?

All spiritual traditions agree; along with love, trust, enthusiasm and being carefree, joy is intrinsic to our true nature! And yet, even though we have certainly known moments of joy, we may well have the feeling that happiness - the stable and enduring expression of joy – continues to elude us.

 

Our natural state of joy gets repressed when other primary emotions exist in excess; most notably fear, sadness and anger (or any of their derivatives such as anxiety, worry, despondency, depression, irritability, frustration....). How can we best manage these "obstacles" to joy in order to transform our state of being, reconnect to our true self and experience our joyful nature in an enduring way? 

Primary emotions such as fear, sadness and anger - even if triggered by a present-time incident - are very often linked to the past and unresolved traumatic events. Does this mean that we must explore, clean, digest and then integrate all of our past experiences? Fortunately not! If you are one of those people who have already valiantly "worked on yourself", you know that this work seems endless.

There is a more direct - and above all, more pleasant – approach; a synthesis of various philosophies and practices and perfectly adapted to our modern life. The secret is alchemical, literally chemical! 

 

"Happiness is not something that happens to us but a skill that we develop.” Matthieu Ricard

 

Everything we pay attention to grows; this is a universal law of creation. The world being a place of great complexity and contrasts, we have a huge choice as to where we place our attention. According to Tantra – a non-dual tradition - everything we perceive is subjective and therefore exists as an expression of ourselves. Tantra encourages acceptation of all that arises in our awareness, including sensations, feelings and everything that actually happens to us. 

It invites us to be friends with every experience, to fully embrace our inner world, and listen with loving kindness to perceptions relayed by our body/mind. Such a shift in attitude - from one of comparison to inclusion – has a deeply calming effect on the nervous system and favors temperance. Once we are calm, it’s easier to stay centered and turn our attention inwards. 

 

The alchemy of joy begins with an interior inventory where we qualify and quantify our fundamental emotions of fear, sadness and anger (and also their derivatives). We can indirectly address past trauma by taking care of present time emotions. We do this by perceiving - through the wisdom of our intuition - the needs of each emotional state, and then responding to those needs with appropriate action. 

 

In effect, when fear is reassured, security returns; when sadness is released, connection returns; when anger is expressed, creativity returns. And when we are reunited with a sense of security, connection and creativity, we naturally rediscover our joy. 

 

How can you know what is the most appropriate and effective action? As soon as you enter into relationship with emotion, in inter-action with it, you accomplish an action. The good news is that your brain doesn't know the difference between something you observe or experience, something you remember or something you imagine. An action may be physical, but it may also be energetic, psychic. The right action is simply the one that makes you feel best when you imagine it.

 

Now, let's go a step further: How to best respond to your identified needs autonomously, rapidly and pleasantly? This is where the Happiness Quartet comes in! Four hormones that we can easily stimulate: dopamine, endorphins, serotonin and oxytocine.

 

Dopamine is the hormone associated with motivation and enthusiasm and it’s especially activated by the acknowledgment - by others and also by ourselves - of our accomplishments... It mobilizes us towards action, experimentation and challenges. To boost dopamine, acknowledge your achievements regularly and make a list at the end of each day of your accomplished tasks...

 

Endorphins are the molecules of joy and deep trust. They provide a feeling of pleasure, wellbeing, calmness and even euphoria. They are also analgesic, compensating for the effects of chronic stress. You can stimulate them with half an hour of physical exercise... or just a few minutes of laughter! Amusing yourself, having fun, or simply imagining or remembering a funny moment, is enough to stimulate them. Laughing about anything is good medicine!

 

Serotonin is about our fundamental sense of self and place within community. It regulates mood, emotions, aggression and addictive behaviors. It can be impacted by a wide range of products, including pharmaceutical drugs, carbohydrates (bread, pasta…), processed sugar, chocolate... But by far the best way to stimulate Serotonin is through cultivating a sense of connection and belonging to a family, a group, a network...

 

Oxytocin creates a sense of intimacy, openness and trust and favors social interaction, altruistic behavior and empathy. Oxytocin is stimulated by warm-hearted hugs, sensuality, tenderness and gentle touch. If you can't find someone for an exchange at this level, then imagine the benefits of such an interaction. This alone will stimulate Oxytocin production!

 

There are a myriad of ways to boost the happiness hormones and joy itself has many facets: gaiety, bliss, ecstasy, enthusiasm, delight, exuberance, excitement... But at the root of all these nuances lies our existential joyful nature.

 

Existential joy contains and generates enthusiasm, connection, security, pleasure and creativity… and it also stimulates the endocrine system. This is why it’s such good medicine. And this is why in the Dakina Joy School we have chosen joy as our primary vector for personal wellness.

 

We honor humor, laughter and lightness of being… 

 

We dive deeply to the heart of existential issues and learn to centre ourselves in our deepest truth.

 

We teach the value of ease and grace; of how to follow our highest joy in order to create a joy filled daily life. 

 

We liberate our intuition; indispensable for the accurate perception of our states of being, for deciphering our true needs and for discerning the best action to follow. 

 

We practice conscious breathing, healing touch and tantric surrender; thus stimulating all four of the hormones of happiness. 

 

We nourish our spiritual connection through meditation, activate our vital energy through conscious body movement and explore our creativity through expression, art and craft, group constellations. 

 

We learn to distill insights and wisdom from the experiences we share, and in doing so we enrich and deepen our sense of belonging...

 

Above all, we learn the life-skill of transforming our emotions into existential joy, a most natural medicine! And doesn't it count as ultimate wisdom to know how to heal oneself, to know how to stimulate our own hormones for wellbeing and happiness, indispensable for the happiness of our world?

Claire Savenca & Judee Gee

 
Breathwork - A pathway to wholeness

Although breath awareness has been an essential element in spiritual practices since ancient times, the significance of breath and its utilization as a therapeutic tool in contemporary psychological practice is relatively recent. Conscious breathing is advocated in several "modern" methods of body/mind therapy - Primal Therapy, Reichian Work, Postural Integration, Feldenkrais, Bio-energetics and Rebirthing - and while each of these techniques has it's own "trademark" style and precise method of application, they all acknowledge the importance of the breath in the transformational process.

The original and most commonly known of the modern techniques of conscious breathing - Rebirthing - was first developed and presented by Leonard Orr in the USA during the early 1970's, and has been taught and practiced extensively throughout the world ever since. The method has experienced tremendous success as a tool for personal development, and this is no doubt due to it's simplicity, power and efficiency as a means to access the inner realms, heal past traumas and transform personal limiting belief systems into new paradigms of perception creating much greater choice and liberty.

Forty years after the introduction of Rebirthing, there now exist several other methods, or "lineages" of conscious breathing currently taught and practiced in the world. Holotropic Breathwork (pioneered by Stanislav Grof), the Vivation technique (by Jim Leonard) and Transformational Breathwork (by Judith Kravitz) are possibly the most well known. Their creators have been active in the field for many years and have also published extensively on the subject of conscious breathing.

 

Other titles given to describe methods of conscious breathing around the world include Integrative Breath Therapy (Holland), Rebirth Therapy (Spain), Free Breathing (Russia) and Heart-Centred Breath Therapy (USA). The more "generic" term currently applied to therapeutically oriented conscious breathing practices is Breathwork.

 

What is Breathwork?

Essentially, Breathwork recognizes the breath as the most simple, natural and powerful inner resource available for triggering openings into our inner state of being. A typical session begins as a personal awareness experience, demanding full and continuous breathing over a specific period of time. Relaxing and breathing in a circular rhythm, the "breather" maintains a focused awareness of sensations, emotions, thoughts and memories as they come and go, experiencing and accepting these different phenomena without judgment and interpretation. Encouraged to relax, to accept and to "let go", the client develops awareness about their inner world of being, experiencing their thoughts and emotions from a different perspective and progressively creating a new dynamic in the breathing process.

 

Self-understanding and acceptance

Supporting the Breathwork method we find a philosophy encouraging personal transformation through self-understanding and acceptance. Breathwork recognizes that the body, mind and spirit are essentially interconnected and that change in the state of one aspect triggers change in the others. As a natural and holistic therapy, Breathwork supports the view that the individual contains within themselves all the resources they need to develop to their full creative and spiritual potential. Furthermore, Breathwork advocates that the essential state of being of the individual is one of equanimity - a state of inner peace and balance - that can be re-discovered in a number of ways; firstly by addressing traumatic or "unfinished" experiences from the past and bringing them to resolution and integration; secondly by cultivating an attitude of acceptance towards the cyclical nature of moods, emotions and existence itself; and thirdly by developing an awareness of "self" beyond personality and ego.

 

A pathway to wholeness

When the client breathes, relaxes and maintains awareness with an attitude of acceptance, an internal atmosphere is created which allows suppressed "material" to rise to the surface of awareness. Thoughts and memories that come to conscious awareness also have an emotional counterpart and a physical reference point in the body. As material surfaces and circulates in the body/mind, physical tension is affected and eventually dissolved, emotions are experienced and expressed, and insights occur. As physical and emotional release occurs the breath deepens, flowing more fully and spontaneously. The client is assisted to resolve and integrate past experiences, progressively liberating the body/mind from past traumas and enjoying a respiration that circulates with greater freedom and ease.

 

For many clients, Breathwork opens up a spiritual dimension of experience that has never before been encountered. At a certain moment, often following a passage of release and integration, the breath becomes suddenly "liberated". In this moment it is as though the body rediscovers how to breathe naturally and effortlessly. Barriers dissolve and the concept of self expands, opening into a vast dimension of energy, light and transcendence. In this state one is "in the light" and "is the light." The experience of breathing "in light" creates a state of profound relaxation, healing and integration. The resulting sense of inner peace, reconciliation and harmony can be carried into daily life with long lasting results.

 

Empowered both physically and spiritually, individuals finds themselves more free to express their creativity, more able to adapt to the movement of life and more capable of participating in the creation of the life-path of their choice.

 

Breathwork in the new millennium

Breathwork in all its richness and diversity of forms and expressions is constantly growing and evolving, and even though concrete figures are difficult to establish, it can be safely estimated that there are several thousand professional Breathworkers practicing in the world today.

 

Although the technique as we know it today is primarily recognized as a psycho-therapeutical tool for personal growth, we are currently discovering a much wider range of application of the method. The notion of conscious breathing as a simple and effective tool for developing heightened focus and efficiency is now rapidly moving into schools, hospitals, corporate businesses and university curricula.

There is no doubt that Breathwork will eventually receive recognition and accreditation as a specific method of transpersonal therapy within the broader field of holistic medicine that is currently receiving recognition throughout the world.

 

As we continue to explore, research and develop the method, we are sure to discover further valuable keys opening to the spiritual dimensions of union, communion and transcendence.

Original version written for Breathe magazine, July 2001.

This revised version, September 2014.

Intuition and trust on the path to wholeness with Breathwork
 

In this essay we will be exploring the importance of trust and intuition in the healing process. Whether we find ourselves in the role of Breathwork client or Breathwork practitioner, these two qualities are essential components of the wellness journey. When we recognize their importance and consciously choose to develop them, we are equipping ourselves with invaluable tools for creating fulfilment in our quest for wholeness.

 

Trust is essential for happiness

Trust is one of the essential virtues we need to cultivate in order to experience true happiness. Without trust, we are condemned to a solitary existence bereft of the warmth of heart-centred connection that is fundamental to our wellbeing. It may be that our lack of trust – in our selves or others - serves as one of the catalysts in bringing us to personal development work. In this case, we will find ourselves repeatedly confronting the issue of trust as we examine our biographical repertoire in search of a happier and more light-hearted self.  

Relating from a foundation of trust is as important for the practitioner as it is for the client. In fact, trust is critical for both parties if we wish to get anywhere in the therapeutical process. Learning to trust begins with making the decision to trust more in our selves, and the development of self-trust is intrinsically linked to the presence and development of our intuition.

 

Intuition is innate

Intuition is the function of our innate capacity for clear and insightful perception. It is a natural and spontaneous manifestation of a present, aware and focused mind. Intuition is an aptitude we all possess rather than a competency we must strive to acquire. Our intuition is always present, always functional - and thus always on call (Gee 1999). It enables us to discern - with penetrating depth and meticulous precision - events unfolding within our consciousness. With amazing rapidity, it helps us to capture the true sense and relevance - the essence - of what is unfolding within both our inner and outer worlds. Thanks to this insightful capacity of intuition to cut right through to the truth of things and reveal the essential nature of reality to us, it is a marvellous tool for gaining knowledge, understanding, trust and wisdom.

 

Because intuition is quick and operates on an almost subliminal level of consciousness, we must be very attentive in order to register the perceptions it gives us. Too often, the busy chatter of the restless, distracted and excitable mind distances us from our intuition. Like a dependable yet unobtrusive friend, intuition waits faithfully in the background of our field of consciousness while the greedy monkey mind grabs all the attention for itself. The more we rush from one idea to the next, from one enticing possibility or repelling memory to another, the further we drift away from the strikingly vivid felt-sense of life in the here-and-now moment that intuition can bring us. So habituated are we to the relentless noise of the untrained and chaotic mind, we forget that it’s possible to function from another perspective.

 

We are fortunate these days in having easy access to a wide range of time-proven methods of consciousness training, many of them specifically designed to calm, contain and train a restless mind. With even an elementary meditation practise, we can ascertain that the mind eventually settles, creating space for the experience of other more subtle aspects of consciousness to emerge into the foreground of our awareness. One of the first of these aspects to appear will be our intuition.

 

Cultivating intuition

The most essential life-skill we need to cultivate in order to establish a favourable environment for the emergence of our intuition is that of paying attention to whatever is arising in our inner world. We apply attention by sitting (or lying) quietly, closing our eyes and focusing intently and patiently, with an attitude of non-judgemental curiosity. We are attentive in the same way we would be when listening to a compelling yet elusive melody we yearn to hear more clearly. We listen not only with our ears, but with all the five senses we have at our disposal: seeing, touching, tasting, hearing and smelling.

We listen also with the senses of instinct and intelligence. And we listen with the wisdom of the heart. Our attention should be penetrating, without being intrusive. It needs to be intense, yet not tension creating. Once focused, we hold our attention with an open mind - poised and patient, curious, alert and available.

 

Intuition and self-healing

There are several significant events that occur when we attend to our inner world with such focused and careful attention. The first is that our awareness shifts away from the hustle and bustle of the busy mind and accesses a space of stillness, poise and peace. As we continue to hold the focus, we become present and centred. Time may appear to stretch, stop or expand. And then something settles, opens and relaxes within us, giving us easy access to the here-and-now moment.

 

At this point we may if we so choose, initiate an intuitive process of personal enquiry. Formulating in our awareness a clear sense of the existential issue we are currently grappling with, and connecting with our heart-felt desire for resolution and transcendence of the problem, we invite our intuition to furnish us with the insights and understandings we need in order for such a transcendence to become possible. In this attentive atmosphere of inner listening, intuitive impressions are quite accessible and emerge fluidly from the depths of our consciousness. We can shift our attention with ease from one aspect of arising impressions to another, and as long as we stay present, concentrated and connected with our intuition, it is possible to modify our inner world in a significant way through using the healing power of focused intention.

 

There is nothing that has been lost or broken within us that cannot be returned to wholeness if we are willing to give it our full intuitive attention and apply focused intention to the healing process.

 

When we turn our intuitive insight towards the task of repairing wounds to the psyche that have disabled our confidence, weakened our integrity and rendered us fragile, there are three specific notions we are encouraged to adopt:

 

  1. The human organism is inherently oriented towards a state of health, happiness and wholeness.

  2. Our intuitive wisdom knows the right pathway to follow for our journey back to wholeness.

  3. All the inner resources we need for healing can be accessed directly within ourselves.

 

The application of these notions not only empowers us to become pro-active in the healing process, it may well trigger a sense of renewed enthusiasm with regards to our potential for carrying our healing process – or that of our client - towards fruition.

 

Whether in the role of client or practitioner, our intuition can serve us. In either of these roles we may find ourselves overwhelmed by a myriad of impressions (sensations, feelings, memories, thoughts…), and unable to discern what exactly is the most relevant information we should be focusing on. If this is the case, we need to develop the reflex of falling back into our ‘default’ intuitive state and asking internally for clarification as to the most essential issue we should most concentrate on. Then, we must trust the answer we receive. Through this practise of regularly honouring our intuition and also cultivating trust in it, we develop competency in navigating through our inner world, staying on track and getting to the essence of the issues we are working with.

Should we find ourselves in the opposite situation of being underwhelmed - and with the sense that there is nothing of much significance happening at all, we can also fall back on our intuition. In this case, we use our intuitive capacities to tune into the more subtle realms of energetic perception and use the process of inner enquiry to trigger deeper insight into the unfolding process. Practically speaking, this means settling in more deeply into our selves. We achieve this by breathing consciously and focusing more intently on whatever impressions we are experiencing, however subtle they may appear to be. By maintaining such a focus, our concentration gains in penetrative power and the intensity of our experience is adjusted accordingly.

 

Our innately wise and all-knowing intuition will point us in the right direction. It will show us the way to integrity and healing. If we can only listen – and listen in the right way – we will be guided step-by-step in the retrieval process we need to follow in order to regain a healthy sense of wholeness and well-being.

 

Along the journey our intuition will also bring us valuable insights into our habitual ways of thinking and functioning that contribute to our chronic felt-sense of self as fragmented, distracted and separated from the world. Such knowledge is priceless as it contains all the keys we need for understanding our dysfunctional tendencies, correcting our maladapted habits and installing behaviour more conducive to wellness and happiness.

 

Conscious connected breathing

Conscious breathing has been used since antiquity as a tool for going beyond the limits of ordinary perception in order to access transpersonal realms of so-called extraordinary reality.

One of the fundaments of Insight meditation (Rosenberg 2004) and Mindfulness training (Boyce 2011) is the development of the capacity to maintain a conscious, open-minded and uninterrupted focus on the breath cycle. Such a practise helps to develop concentration, calms the mind and leads to deepened awareness, heightened lucidity and equanimity of spirit.

Conscious breathing that is also connected (no pause between the inhale and exhale) is an especially powerful tool for intensifying our felt-sense of self. When applied intentionally as a healing tool, it helps us to go beyond our habitual world of tangential thinking and penetrate into the deeper realms of our inner self. In these realms we can gain access to a much broader spectrum of felt-sense experience, including contact with instinctive and primal emotions, pre- and peri-natal memories (Grof & Grof 2010), childhood traumas and other important incidents experienced during our formative years. In fact, when we initially take the plunge into these deeper realms, we invariably contact a multitude of repressed and unresolved past experiences that are continuing to impact negatively on the way we perceive and interpret our more present-day experiences in the here-and-now. From the perspective of intuitive self-healing, it is precisely these unresolved and painful past experiences emerging into our awareness that most need to be addressed in order for our return to wholeness.

 

The path to wholeness

As we learn to pay attention to the unfolding of our internal experience and allow it to spontaneously emerge into our awareness, we discover that all of the deepest inner realms of our consciousness gradually open and reveal themselves to us. Not only can we resolve and integrate traumatic past experiences, low self-esteem, negative self-talk and limiting cognitive tendencies. We also encounter the richness of our unlimited potential for adaptation, innovation and creativity. We discover the bottomless treasure chest of our personal inner resources, as well as the liberating freedom of transpersonal states of consciousness as they bring us to communion with the bigger whole. And if we commit to a full discovery tour of these inner realms, we are inevitably reconciled with the most perennial of our inner qualities such as trust, light-heartedness, compassion and wisdom.

 

As we gain trust in the nourishment gained by this intuitive process of investigation, intensification, allowing and acceptance, we become fearless in our willingness to delve deeper and further into the unfolding of ourselves. There is nothing of ourselves – no concept, habit, idea or belief - we will not willingly surrender as we realize that our harvest can only be one of greater wholeness, deepened integrity and liberated awareness.

 

It is the alliance between conscious breathing and the intensification of the breath cycle that marks the specificity of Breathwork as an extremely effective method for gaining and maintaining health and wellness. When we add the ingredient of trained intuition to our toolbox of skills, we have access to a transpersonal therapeutic modality of particularly great efficacy. With these life-skills at our disposal, we are able to navigate intelligently, sensitively, respectfully and effectively through all the dimensions of the psyche, becoming the true autonomous authors of our own transformational journey.

 

The beauty of conscious breathing is that we can do it anywhere, anytime and anyhow we choose. The marvel of intuition is that we all have it and can instantaneously access it. Once we decide to develop these tools – and gain trust in our capacity to use them skilfully and appropriately - we are giving ourselves unlimited access to some of the most potent natural medicine that exists in our world.

 

 

Do all that you can, with all that you have, in the time that you have, in the place where you are.

Nkosi Johnson

 

Reference texts:

 

Intuition: Awakening your inner guide – Judee Gee, Samuel Weiser Inc (1999)

Breath by Breath: The liberating practice of insight meditation – Larry Rosenberg, Shambhala Classics (2004)

The mindfulness revolution – Edited by Barry Boyce, Shambhala Publications Ltd (2011)

Holotropic Breathwork – Stanislav Grof & Christina Grof, State University of New York Press (2010)

 

Further reading:

 

Intuition: Knowing beyond logic – Osho, St. Martin’s Press (2001)

Calming the mind – Gen Lamrimpa, Snow Lion Publications (1992)

Buddha’s Brain: The practical neuroscience of happiness, love and wisdom – Rick Hanson, PH.D., New Harbinger Publications, Inc (2009)

Thoughts without a thinker – Mark Epstein, M.D., Basic Books (1995)

 

The complete breath: A professional guide to health & wellbeing

Edited by Jim Morningstar Ph.D., Copyright 2012

Pages 23-29

The alchemy of conscious relating
 

Love is not the answer. It is the assignment.

Martin Luther King Jr.

There is probably nothing else on this earth as challenging as conscious relating. As there is surely nothing more delicious than the harvest we can reap from it.

 

From a tantric perspective, the commitment to conscious relationship that two people make when they engage into a couple journey, creates a secure venue as well as a daily framework for the practise of their on-going spiritual journey towards self-realisation.

 

In a tantric union, the myriad of relational dynamics that spring from the alchemy of the couple are used consciously as a means for sincere enquiry, understanding and transcendence of the defensive ego structure.(1) The couple’s dynamic becomes a primary venue for spiritual practice; and it is the responsibility of each member of the couple to ensure the cleanliness, good health and integrity of the space. In this context, the place that the couple co-habit together – be it physical or energetic – represents their worship space, the sacred temple consecrated to their spiritual unfolding.

 

In order for such a programme to succeed, it is imperative that the partners have a very clear mutual understanding as to the purpose of their joining. They must be allied in their ambition. A tantric relationship can only truly work when both participants are equally and fully committed. If there is a shared sense of purpose, there can be true partnership - and from there it becomes possible to navigate through all the conflicts, misunderstandings, confrontations and battles that all couples with steadfast commitment will invariably traverse. The couple must have courage, perseverance, trust and compassion; not only for themselves but also for their partner. And above all, they must have staying power. When the goal is divine union, and the way to it is through human communion, it is inevitable as we journey towards our destination to encounter all that is opposite.

 

Divine union is death for the ego, and no ego on this earth goes down without fighting.

The couple therefore becomes the lieu par excellence(2) for the discovery and investigation of all the means the ego uses to maintain it’s self-centred, selfish, uncaring and superior position in life. And as if this wasn’t already bad enough, any aspect of the personality that is out of integrity(3) will also eventually reveal itself within the relational dynamic. The beloved other, who we so willingly surrendered to in the beginning of the relationship, now metamorphoses into the most detested person we could possibly imagine. As long as the shadow selves are operational and have material to feed on, the couple will be tested to the limits of its endurance. Happily, the regularity of these bouts of warfare will usually diminish over time (but not so for their intensity!).

 

For the couple to survive the exacting alchemical process of emotional and psychological purification that tantric engagement demands, they must help each other in traversing the episodes of judgment, hate, anger, blame, fear, criticism, cruelty and despair that each of them is sure to discharge onto the other as they journey along on their way. It is exactly these sentiments with which the defensive ego builds its insufferable tower of self-protection. As negative emotions are expressed – into a space of consciousness, presence and tolerance established exactly for that purpose – their power is diminished, the tower unravels and the walls come down. More space is gained for love, trust, surrender and soul melting.

 

The couple that dares to journey together in consciousness, that dares to welcome, embrace and contain the shadow side of the human psyche is the same couple that will understand what it means to truly love, and be loved by, another. This couple will experience – and at a cellular level - the unsurpassable power of forgiveness as a healing and renewing force.

 

The ultimate challenge for the conscious couple is that of acceptance. If we can create a foundation for relationship that is based on tolerance, acceptance and bienveillance,(4) then the relationship will have what it requires for the full blossoming of both parties.

 

There is no gift we can give that is more precious than conscious, sustained and willing presence. In the temple of presence, the sense of internal security stabilises and trust deepens. As trust develops, it becomes possible to access and share vulnerability. And in vulnerability, we are capable of enjoying true intimacy. If self-realisation can be described as the capacity to enter into intimacy with all things, then the conscious couple is well equipped for experiencing the outcome of their purpose.

 

The path of the tantric couple is not for everyone. It is exacting. And it is confronting. But it is also renewing, invigorating, rewarding and very, very fascinating. It is one way to reach union. And if you are already in a loving and committed couple, it is most certainly a very practical way of going about reaching it.

 

Guidelines for maintaining the conscious couple(5):

 

  • Clarify your purpose in journeying together

  • Make clear agreements and then be sure to honour them

  • Share responsibility and also power

  • Transform yourself, rather than pushing the other to do it

  • Share regularly about your subjective reality

  • Nourish the couple with your external experiences

  • Be scrupulously honest and transparent; no secrets

  • Be clear together about money

  • Dare to be yourself

  • Acknowledge and praise your partner regularly

  • Spend time on shared projects

  • Train your couple in the expression of primal emotions

  • Make love regularly (whether you feel like it or not)

  • Go for connection rather than separation

 

The highest human love mirrors divine love.

Rumi

(1) It is this part of the personality which is primarily responsible for maintaining the illusional sense of a separate self, and it is this part therefore, which is a primary source of psychological pain, emotional suffering and spiritual melancholy.

(2) The ultimate venue

(3) Integrity here is used both in the sense of wholeness, soundness; and pertaining to honesty, moral uprightness.  

(4) Loving kindness

(5) Excerpt taken from the seminar ‘The conscious couple’, by Judee Gee & , 2003.

Intuition and the call to communion
 

Intuition opens the door to the truth, to the vast mysteries of existence, and to the equally vast mysteries of the human being.

Intuition: awakening your inner guide, by Judee Gee

 

 

Intuition, our capacity for perceiving truth and receiving immediate insight (1), is an innate ability serving us well as we navigate our way through the myriad challenges of everyday life. It helps us to discern what is really going on, what is really being meant and what is really essential in the moment-to-moment unfolding of events and interactions as we experience them.

 

Because intuition is quick and operates on an almost subliminal level of consciousness, we must pay attention in order to register the impressions we are receiving. Too often, the insistent chatter of the rational mind - combined with the compelling pull of personal desires - contaminates our field of

conscious perception and results in a misguided interpretation of events. The conclusions we draw and our resultant actions may help us to get what we think we want. But without the discerning capacity for clear perception, understanding and insight that our intuition gives us, we will rarely create outcomes that truly serve us.

As the guiding voice of our soul, intuition has one primary goal; that we connect with our essence and live our lives in accordance with the wisdom of that essence. To that end, intuition will not only point to the true nature of things and their significance in our lives. It will also show us the intrinsic connection between our selves and the complex, multi-dimensional world we are constantly interacting with.

 

Intuitive perception helps us to understand the many facets of our personality at play in the world, as well as the way they are contributing to the multitude of outcomes we create. From the fear and desire driven strategies of the defensive ego-self, to the spontaneous and creative expression of the authentic self, and the wise, transcendent higher self (2), our intuition assists us to recognise, acknowledge and better understand who we are and what motivates us to move forward through life.

 

With the insights we gather, we gain freedom from the unconscious, compulsive behaviours responsible for a large part of our suffering. And as we grow, so does our perception of the world surrounding us. Our deepening vision shows us that the same struggle for liberation we have been grappling with ourselves, is clearly mirrored in our entourage. The symptoms of fear, mistrust and isolation are abundant. Many people are stuck in fear and their default position is one of defence, and then resistance. We need courage to let down our guard; to embrace our world and allow it to reach us. Open-heartedness is a choice, the choice par excellence for the path towards wholeness.

 

For intuition to truly function, we must be willing to become vulnerable and let the truth of ourselves be seen and felt by the people around us. We must place our trust in the wisdom of our hearts and in the goodness of the world, and then systematically modify any unconscious beliefs that would have us think otherwise.

 

When we commit to the path of developing our intuition, our inner senses open and we become capable of feeling, hearing and seeing on a more subtle level. We discover a world that is more than willing to open its mysteries to us. Learning to observe, to receive, to listen and to hear, our relationships become more truly inter-active and reveal their potential as a real source of nourishment for the heart and soul.

 

As our illusional sense of isolation diminishes and we relate with the sensorial understanding of the interconnectedness of all things, our awareness takes the quantum leap from me consciousness to we awareness, and our actions become oriented towards results that lead to collective well-being. With integrity as a first priority, we are better equipped to respond truthfully, wisely and justly to the demands of the moment. Rightful response has a signature effect. It creates clarity, calm, and a tangible sense of security. When we honour our intuition we create a safer world, both for ourselves and for others. In doing so we become valued members of the collective we belong to, and from there – secure in the sense of our place and value - our horizons expand.

 

Existence trusts us with more and more of its mysteries and we learn to accept paradox, contradiction and opposition. No longer stymied by paradox, we will rather marvel at it. As our vision opens, it also deepens. We see how the world is a place of polarities, and every aspect must have it’s place and also it’s expression. As a willing participant in this expression of all that is, we realise that existence holds also the blueprint for wholeness and integrity. We are part of a healing journey, a return to wholeness. And for all its drama and occasional despair, it is still a journey beyond price.

 

As we accept and honour all that is, as we journey towards the centre of ourselves, our inner world blossoms and we encounter vast and luminous spaces of simply being. In these spaces there is silence and peace, love and communion. Our intuition brings us home to the essence of ourselves, to our true state of being. In this state, there is wholeness, oneness and the deep joy of homecoming. And as we settle in to the equanimity of this inner state, we discover to our delight that it is reflected in our outer world as well.

 

Listen to your heart, it knows all things.

Paulo Coello

 

(1) The Concise Oxford Dictionary

(2) Excerpt from ‘The four aspects of the self’, by Eirik Balavoine. GIC conference, Austria 1996.

 

IBTA eNews Issue n°7, July 2010

www.breathworkalliance.com

Abundance is the harvest of our spiritual heritage
 

“We are not human beings seeking a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings living a human experience.”

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

 

Breathwork is a powerful tool for personal transformation and liberation. With presence, conscious breath and awareness, we attend to the quality of our thoughts, releasing limiting beliefs and replacing them with more affirmative notions. Applying the principle of acceptance to ourselves, we discover the capacity to accept our endlessly changing emotional landscape. We learn the value of letting go, of surrendering to what is. Conscious purification brings clarity to both mind and body, and we find ourselves more and more empowered in our daily lives - empowered to generate, to cultivate, and to create.

However, if we stay identified to the notion of ourselves as “human beings seeking a spiritual experience”, we will continue to encounter the limitations imposed by this position towards life; human experience as a never-ending toil of struggle and effort;emotional release followed by emotional 

accumulation, followed by more emotional release. Karma, drama and then more karma… The vicious circle of human experience.

 

The emotional merry-go-round of life "before Breathwork" is all too present for most of us "after breathwork" even though we may apply the five principles of the method (inhale, exhale, awareness, acceptance and perfection) as well as we can. And why is this?

Certainly, because we forget the notion of ‘verticality’. We forget that “we are spiritual beings living a human experience”. We forget our origins. We forget our original innocence, our Divine essence. And in choosing to forget the fundamental truth of who we really are, we condemn ourselves to living in a world of lack and need. In such a world, we seek externally that which we believe we lack within ourselves. We reach out, we search, we grab. Obsessed by lack, we become neurotic with need. Born into a barren world of spiritual poverty, we live and then die in the vicious circle of lack and need. Financial prosperity may help us to lead a more comfortable life of suffering, but it does not bring us abundance.

 

The concept of verticality offers us the means through which we can transform the vicious circle of human suffering into a life-affirming spiral of human liberation. Once we acknowledge ourselves as spiritual beings with divine origins, we naturally align ourselves with Spirit. Our posture improves and we assume our true carriage, expressing the dignity inherent in such a noble lineage. We breathe more freely. Using breath and intention in conjunction with the conviction of unlimited access to light, love and abundance, we nourish ourselves consciously with the qualities we need - and our needs become fulfilled. Fulfillment brings us to a state of gratefulness (great fullness); to gratitude. And once we incorporate gratitude into our daily life and cultivate it, we begin to live abundance as an everyday reality.

 

The concept of verticality becomes a reality through the regular practice of meditation, a discipline that develops our sense of divine origin and innocence. Through meditation we cultivate focus, presence and awareness. We become aware not only of our observing self, but also of the way we nourish ourselves through all our experiences, be they deemed ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ by our discriminating mind. The conscious integration of our myriad experiences brings us insight, understanding and wisdom; and this is true richness.

 

When we incorporate the concept of verticality into our practice of Breathwork we transform the method, activating a spiral dynamic which is ascending, inclusive and clarifying. Within this dynamic, liberating insights become a natural part of our daily existence and each new insight gives momentum to the movement of the spiral. We acknowledge our divine origins, and so we accept ourselves as creators of our own life experience. We choose thoughts that nourish us, thoughts that lead to the fulfillment of our needs. We choose abundance and therefore, abundance becomes our natural harvest.

Breathe magazine : August 1996