Among the Japanese noble, around 700 years ago, there was an art form called Wabi Sabi. This art form was based on the understanding of emptiness and imperfection as the first step toward enlightenment.
Wabi Sabi is a world view created out of the understanding of transience: nothing last, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect (including self, others and relationships).
“Wabi is the feeling of solitude reflected in the non-attachment and appreciation for the spontaneous unfolding of circumstances. It is like the quiet that comes from a winter snowfall, where all the sounds are hushed and stillness envelops everything.
Sabi is the suchness of ordinary objects, the basic, unmistakable uniqueness of a thing in and of itself.”
John Daido Loori The Zen of Creativity
This art form represents the liberation from attachment to the material world of social status, acquisitions and achievements. This frees awareness to the simpler perspective of presence and transcendence. The cultivation of sustaining present relationship to the transient movement of all life.
The Wabi Sabi practice creates a means to learn to live through your senses. Your awareness is engaged in the present moment, removed from attachments to mental constructs, unnecessary thoughts and future orientated attachments.
The practice involves being present and aware, cultivating awareness of natural beauty, engaging senses in the transient nuances of moving light, noting seasons shifting textures and time weathering all matter.
Presence, an abstract concept, neither linear nor conceptual, a global awareness incorporating objective awareness of self in relationship to all the transient forms of life we are passing through.
The creation of Wabi Sabi art involves gathering simple objects, arranged to reflect this understanding. A temporary miniature alter reflecting this mind state. The elegant art of imperfection, impermanence and incompletion. The mindful skill of perceiving the old and familiar in a new way.
(Leaf art by Sally Smith at greenspiritarts.com)
Valentines day, the day we celebrate love and romance. The day we raise expectations and celebrate fantasies.
A good time to discuss the most capitalized trance of mass media: the trance of love and romance.
Relationship has developmental stages each person goes through. This initiation involves the crashing of ones' idealized expectations of love. For the majority, this stimulates enough pain that it opens the journey of awakening.
What is this love everyone is in desperate search for?
This deep need often causes us to give up self in hopes of attaining something from someone else.
A few years ago National Geographic magazine came out with a cover article on the bio-chemistry of love. The research revealed the chemistry of love is the same chemistry as OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder. I would like to take this opportunity to explain why this occurs.
We all carry idealized expectations regarding our partner and what they will bring into our lives, the trance induced by mass media. We carry these expectations until we can find the right person to project the expectations onto. When the projections find the right attachment, the chemistry starts. This chemistry is called 'love.' We are trained to perceive this chemistry as love, versus obsessively attached to a source outside of oneself.
The mass media of music fills us with daily mantras: the ‘light of my life’, ‘can’t live without you’, ‘you are the world to me’, etc. When projections succeed, we are trained to interpret our experience in a certain way. The OCD tendency to become severely attached to other is confused with love.
Successful projections activates attachments. We assume this person is going to bring us love. We are in love with the expectations of how they will fulfill our needs. Due to this illusion of security, the defense system begins to soften and release. This is the first stage of relationship, the honeymoon phase. When your defense system releases, you have a temporary experience of coming into union with your self. This inner field of union results in an opening and alignment with self. Because you are fixated upon another person, there exist confusion of where the emotions are actually coming from. This needy dependency is mistaken for love. This is not love, it is an unconscious desperation to resolve the lose of self through attachment to another. The love feeling that emerges is a result of you feeling the potential of your inner union. Sadly, out of ignorance, this is not understood. There is a clinging to the other in an effort to continue this state.
The second phase of relationship occurs when the projections are shattered.
The projections are always shattered because the person of attachment is always different from the role you have assigned them in your movie. When the projections shatter, you fall out of love. You fall in love. You fall out of love.
It is the same process. Both states have more to do with your relationship to yourself. You want someone to play a role in your movie. There is confusion between the difference between who the other person is and the role you have assigned them. This causes the defense system to fold back into place. Now you are no longer in a state of union. You have lost love. You have returned to your inner state of separation. You blame this on the other person. You obsess on how they are not showing up right, how they have let you down. You have a new movie of how they should change. You want them to become the role in your movie. You know how to fix them, if only they would wake up to your truth.
We call this process relationship. People assume they are actually in relationship to each other. They are blind to what is occurring in the relationship to self. Individuals are not being responsible for their own relationship to self. Love is a state that is cultivated. When this state exists, we perceive others without attachment. We no longer fixate our sense of well being on the other. Our inner state of union allows us the space to begin to relate to the other from acceptance versus expectation.
~A Valentine wish for you ~
May you feel the source of inner union, falling into the internal field of love.
Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find
all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.
Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi
Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase 'each other'
doesn't make sense any more.
Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi
We have to go behind what we feel and think,
behind what we hope for and aspire to and find what we are.
Then we will discover that we are an inevitable fact
and must inevitably accomplish certain things,
pass through certain experiences and be ourselves forever.
Manly P. Hall
The Winter Solstice is a time for inner assessment and external adjustment. Each life is a journey into the unknown. Each person is given the gift of consciousness to direct this journey. The Winter Solstice is the external manifestation of an inner journey into the unknown world of the dark unconscious. The winter solstice is the earth's darkness, the darkest day of the year. Ancient civilizations created great architectures, tombs, temples, and cavern structures to celebrate this turning point; the day when light begins to penetrate darkness and bring new life. The photo is a picture of the New Grange, in Ireland, a 5,000 year old megalithic structure. On the Winter Solstice of each year the sun penetrates into the small entrance opening, illuminating the dark walls of the cavern for 17 minutes.
This year the Winter Solstice is full of events. The Sun enters Capricorn with the full moon in Gemini. A lunar eclipse occurs, with the earths shadow moving across the full moon. The outer events reflecting the opportunity for new inner reorientation and new beginnings, both collectively and individual. A window of opportunity to bring new awareness to inner structures and assess the alignment between the emotional body and life purpose. A time to assess cycles and patterns, of reoriented, redesigned and realigned. This is the winter working deep into the roots, buried in the dark, beneath the conceptual mind and habituated thought forms.
The ground of the soul is dark...
What is this darkness?
What is its name?
Call it an aptitude for sensitivity which will make you whole. Call it your potential for Vulnerability. Meister Eckhart
Yes, no matter how deeply I go down into myself my God is dark, and like a webbing made of a hundred roots, that drink in silence. Mainer Maria Rilke
Much of space is dark. Much of the birth of the cosmos itself was done in the dark - the sun has not always existed. The seed under the ground is growing in the dark no less than the fetus in the mother's womb. All mystery is about the dark. All darkness is about mystery. Matthew Fox
The above quotes come from a Solstice Gathering I attended. The event centered around singing. A friend declined to join me due to her fear of being subjected to a Christmas Carol sing-a-long event. Jennifer Berezan (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbIdElS0yJQ&NR=1) was one of the host. The experience evoked a clear vision of how far we have evolved in the last two decades. These women sang about the journey into the dark, the anguish, the pain, and the suffering, preceding the rebirth; the cracking open and returning to the essential light of your own being. (While on youtube, you might check the same event with Joanna Macy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BehKRxUTrc&feature=related)
We live buried alive in many trances. Up until recently, no one talked publicly about the inner darkness. Historically, each person had to navigate this alone, without support, without understanding, without guidance. Joseph Campbell, in the Power of Myth, was one of the first to talk about this essential darkness each human must travel through to come into union with ones' essential self.
When individuals journey into the darkness, I often hear comments of 'wanting to die.' I understand the desperation stemming from an ignorant journey into the dark. I have been there myself. The most powerful event that occurs in your life is to remove the fear that freezes you in this dark state. The fear is what causes the hopeless quality, the desperate quality, creating distract and avoid the journeying. Most often this fear is not recognized because it existed before we had any conscious sense of self.
Gaia, the earth, if she had an ego, might also be contemplating self-destruction if she over-identified with winter as all of whom she is. Often, people spend their lives attached to others, negatively merging with them to avoid the solo journey into the dark underworld.
Saturn, the Karmic Lord of Lessons, and Pluto, the Lord of the Underworld, are who comes to initiate us into the dark journey. When we have the skills to navigate the dark journey, we pass through the transit with more ease. If we do not have the skills, we become lost in the darkness. When this occurs, the darkness begins to feed upon itself because there is no objective perspective. We become over-identified with the journey and loose our sense of self in the darkness.
This causes us to mistake the passage for who we are. If this mistaken identity persist for a prolong time, this creates neurological patterns in the brain and body. These patterns replay in familiar patterns and dramas, and sometimes through many life times.
We always live with the gift of consciousness to liberate us from these patterns, but one must activate and cultivate the gift into an active muscle. This muscle actually has a site in the brain. When activated the neurology of the anterior cingulate gyrus grows new neurological synapses within the brain. When this occurs, the individual gains objective awareness of thought and emotional patterns. This capacity enhances the skill for more effective self-regulation. We need this neurological muscle to not become lost in the dark passage. One of the means to develop this muscle is through a meditation practice.
Dark passages will always have cycles in our lives, just as the winter comes and goes. This is how we evolve. Something must die to create the space for new birth to occur. When consciousness is not possessed by frozen, defended ego states, this dark passage does not create anguish and suffering. When an objective ,conscious, awareness attends to this dark passage a holding space is created, an inquiring mind, an inward movement, a quieting silence, sitting with no anticipation or hope, but with curious awareness, tending to, and observing what slowly begins to unfold into the dark stillness.
I have always been fond of the inscription written on Kazenzakis', the author of Zorba the Greek, tombstone.
The inscription clearly indicates he knew and lived this journey.
I have no fear
I have no hope
I am free
The darkness is the passage and does not need to become a state. Taking the time to be with the stillness and death of winter, knowing it as a passage. Befriending the aspect of you lost in the darkness, befriending the fear of the darkness. Light a candle to acknowledge this part of you journeying through the dark passage.
One of the ancient solstice rituals from Russia involves two candles. A person would sit in a dark room with two candles and two mirrors positioned so one mirror reflects the candle into the other mirror. The viewer seeks the seventh reflection of the self and sits within consciousness within the seventh image. This is a metaphorical ritual of moving through the trance levels we become lost in.
Solstice Meditation ~
Close your eyes, breath and release a deep sigh seven times.
Allow each inhale to come slow, deep and easy.
Relax and continue breathing deeply and gentle as allow yourself to surrender and float down into your inner world.
Acknowledging the outer world is entering the time of the greatest darkness...
...the dark space of the empty space between stars and planets
...the darkness of the depth of the sea
... the dark foreign space of the womb
Allowing your awareness to gently rest into the still darkness.
Breathing into each layer of trust and surrender.
Reaching the quiet space of pure awareness that has no stimulus.
Rest here with your breath~
Look back at the previous cycle of learning since the winter solstice of 2009.
We have internal teachers and external teachers that stimulate and activate us to grow and learn.
When we actively pursue our learning and soften into our vulnerability, sometimes the external teachers are not so harsh.
External teachers may be events, experiences, or people. What and who is activating you the most? This is your external teacher. When the defense system is very rigid, sometimes the potential learning occurs with collisions. Notice what teachers have come this past year and what lessons and awareness of you been working through.
To be proactive in your learning this next cycle; consider what lessons you would like to actualize in your internal world? Write them down. Be specific. Buy a red candle, light it every day, sit with yourself, listening in the stillness. What do I want to learn this year? How would I like to grow this year? How will I support myself in this new growth for the coming cycle? Take the time to write some goals and activities that will support you this coming cycle.
If you are confused and lost with some of your darkness, use the worksheets in my book, Journey Into Wholeness, chapter 7,8, and 9, to help orient and distill the learning from the dark.
Many Blessings ~
The new millennium has brought new energy, expanded awareness and new paradigms. We were gifted with the first global telecast by Oprah introducing Eckhart Tolle's work, free, around the globe. Shortly after this, the DaVinci Code was published. This publication created reactivity around the globe. What was significant, is that for the first time in history no one died for saying/writing what others have been tortured and put to death for.
There is a new wave of scientists emerging and offering free lectures on how their work is moving into the evolutionary realms of spiritual development. Remarkably the historical fear of 'ruining' one's professional reputation is beginning to erode. Jill Bolt Taylor, Sebastian Seung and Rupert Sheldrake are creating new paradigms, new understandings, and no one is being silenced or exiled. The collective has developed in a way that there now exist plasticity to explore new paradigms, without institutions attempting to destroy the originators of new thought (Aquarian). All of the new work is now freely offered on ted.com and youtube.com, independent of financial resources (Aquarian). New information is now synapsing freely around the globe.
These signs of the Aquarian Age will accelerate what we have available to support our individual process. The danger will be to superficially understand it, move from one teacher to the next, one paradigm to the next. The practice of integration becomes minimized, as external seeking distracts from the internal world. The external teachers are able to point to a direction. None of them can do your evolutionary work, regardless of the number of sessions or satsangs attended.
The transformation takes place inside your neurology, specific sites in your brain are altered. The only practice that does this is for you to turn your conscious awareness inward and begin to take the internal journey into your inner galaxy. I have written a page for the practice of meditation and the evolutionary stages that the practice moves through. The body practice of somatic awareness and working with the neurological patterns in the body has been the most recent evolutionary development.
In the early 90's the somatic therapy started to emerge through many different individuals. The knowledge that had been historically confined, legally, to the teaching and licensed practice of the Osteopathic doctors world, began to emerge into a wider field. This created an ethical and legal battle for the Osteopaths who were forbidden to teach this outside of their medical schools. One strong person understood the knowledge was expanding outside the field and better to support the new understandings, than leave people without knowledge. This gave birth to the Craniosacral field, that has now evolved into many schools for people outside of the Osteopathic schools. The next development, which we are currently in, is taking these skills into the inner personal world. Craniosacral work creates a very important imprint into the neurology. This imprint now needs to be internalized into the individual as new sets of conscious skills. This is the internal work of objective awareness bridging into the unconsciousness patterns of the soma, body, and creating new neurological pathways, where the water (neurons) forms new river beds. This work does not have mental concepts, it is a skill set that is about presence, the ability to focus objective awareness into the somatic patterns. When this skill is successful, a new center begins to connect the neurons in new patterns. This is the process of evolution. From the new pathways, new thought forms take place, new perspectives start opening and new assumptions begin to have the space to recreate.
These skills open the path to the somatic meditation practice, where most of the work of the connectomes and morphic resonance fields are transformed. New language is forming, along with the new practices. This will evolve into a new wave of spiritual practice and will involve the neurological integration of the conscious and unconscious self. Your body, your somatic experience is the terrain of your transformation process. It is not mental. Mental provides the map. Mental sustains the practices. The transformation takes place within the neurological fields of the pre-conceptual. Quoting Rumi:
'Beyond the field of right and wrong', beyond the mental field,
'I will met you there', here you will meet your own essence.
Blessings on your journeys ~