An extract from ‘Embodying Your Realization, Psychological Work in the Service of Spiritual Development’, by John Welwood.
Indeed, expressing absolute true nature in a thoroughly personal, human form may be one of the most important evolutionary potentials of the cross fertilization of East and West, of contemplative and psychological understanding. Bringing these two approaches into closer dialogue may help us discover how to transform our personality in a more complete way- developing it into an instrument of higher purposes- thus redeeming the whole personal realm, instead of just seeking liberation from it.
These two convergent streams would then recognize each other as two vitally important limbs of an evolving humanity that is still moving toward realizing it’s potential as:
-the being that can open, and know itself as belonging to the universal mystery and presence that surrounds and inhabits all things, and
-the being that can embody that larger openness as human presence in the world, through it’s capacity to manifest all the deeper resources implicit in it’s nature, thus serving as a crucial link between heaven and earth, form and emptiness.
image from MYSTIC MAMMA
Presence is the artful, cultivated and open essence of deeply listening and receiving the client at the level of being.
The mirror of mindfulness.
The mind is inherently stable and clear, as clear as a mirror it reflects the myriad, transcient movement of the world around us and our commentary on that.
Thoughts and interactions come and go, millions and millions of them, a constant cacophany.
An awareness of the nature of the skylike, spaciousness of our mind, allows us to rest into this space, moving through our experience fluidly and effortlessly.
Neither grasping or rejecting, things roll in, things roll out – discernment will be your companion.
One regret, dear world,
That I am determined not to have
When I am lying on my deathbed
I did not kiss you enough.
Sitting still is a precious process that we do very little of in our fast paced lifestyles. We can feel stuck or guilty if we don’t feel like we’re moving or don’t appear to be moving.
Sitting in stillness, free from doing or thinking is something we are so adverse to, maybe we are consciously or unconsciously frightened of what may come up if we stop? We spend alot of time in our minds, doing and doing and creating which is one aspect of us but there are other aspects to the mandala of our lives and all three aspects of mind, body and spirit require equal balance for optimal health.
Stillness is a wonderful way of connecting to ourselves, of being with ourselves and being with our being, rich insights and pain may arise but this is inevitable if we are to truly be with what is within. What is within is the whole span of our lives so far, our experience lives and evolves within us until death and beyond. More often than not we choose to keep running into new projects, new thoughts and new ways of being, when what may be the gold and what may be necessary, is to sit still and simply be. What are we running from?
Culturally we may not have time for this, we are busy and busy is seen as positive and results in success and success is measured externally. For me, to sit in contemplation and be still is nourishing and healthy, it allows space to the spirit aspect of my being within. It enables sensitivity, clarity and creativity to arise and this does lead to success yet measured in a different way. Measured from the inside rather than the outside.
In my experience stillness is stable, healing, potent, luxurious, all pervading, all encompassing, infinite, safe, nurturing, holding, bright, alive and full; it is not something to fear, it is something to embrace.
I have learnt that it is necessary to attend to all three aspects of body, mind and spirit to live a balanced existence, too much weight in one area will cause in-balance, agitation and disease.
Every subatomic interaction consists of the annihilation of the original particles and the creation of new subatomic particles. The subatomic world is a continual dance of creation and annihilation, of mass changing into energy and energy changing to mass. Transient forms sparkle in and out of existence, creating never-ending, forever newly created reality.
Attunement is the art of softly and fully opening and receiving another person unconditionally and non-judgementally. Using your ears, your eyes, your heart and your felt sense to hear, receive and fully meet them.
Receptive listening is when the normal or mundane mind makes a shift into seeing, perceiving, understanding and relating to human experience in quite a different way to it’s usual condition. we are receiving beyond conditioning.
There is a collective wisdom that we begin to glimpse and receive, meditation allows us to see/hear this knowing, this perception. Our perception fine tunes and widens, it softens and opens; in the everyday our gross thought MIND cuts off these channels. Developing them and allowing them to roll and run through us, we learn to receive and allow the infinite, we let go and let be and we hear without analysis or cognitive contraction, we are OPEN to what is and what we may not know.
Meditative and contemplative practices can gradually open these channels of deeper and softer perception, so too can significant and unusual life events; wilderness experience, solitude, death, illness, deep loss or retreat and spiritual experience.