Painting by Banksy - Public Image
Attention and Intent
This painting above says it all -- seeing a hole in a fence or seeing Wholly? Or both?
I hope that since the last entry was posted, you have worked some with the spirit-capacity of attention and now experience the difference between “paying attention” and the true generosity of attention. I hope that you notice that being aware of attention itself requires attention, and that attention is as generous with itself as it is with the way it makes us possible to give of ourselves without giving ourselves away. While we are needed in the giving, we can give only while remaining within the freedom of attention that we are. When I give attention to someone, there is never an experience of having lost something, while when I pay attention to someone, quite quickly a feeling of wanting the relating to end shows up as this way of being together is tiring, or paying attention reverses itself and occupies my ego who never tires of being payed attention by myself.
Attention can divide itself while remaining always whole. That is the way to distinguish giving attention and paying attention So, you can give attention to attention in order to notice the true nature of attention as always whole and complete. I hope you see how the capacity of attention is where true freedom is to be found. I don’t mean feeling free to do something or “freedom for”, but that it is the one place of being, not an individual, but a person. A person is one within one-self because one is simultaneously one with the Whole. The words “individual” and “person” have both lost their inner strength to say who they are. We are in the age of individuals, individuality as the ‘me-me’. An individual is the materialistic word for a human being because what little is left of the word weakly says we are different from each other, we are separate from each other, and with separation comes opposition, inclusion-exclusion, boundaries, classes, differences, greediness, and power. The singular aspect of the individual took advantage of its speaking and spirit-individuality has all but been abandoned.
Person, on the other hand is also a lost word as the only thing left of it is ‘personality’, and “my personality”, is no different than my individuality. But, the word ‘person’, a great and mighty and beautiful speaking is the designating of the human being as also simultaneously being a divine being.
It is interesting that the presence of the word ‘attention’ is saying so much in this writing. This word is much like the two words ‘individual’ and ‘person’ – in that attention can be singularly focused – as individuality is, while it is also ‘all-focused’ in that it focuses-completely everywhere, both at the same time.
I hear the word "attention" here wanting its say, and it says “respect my clarity.” Yes, this notion of one is also ONE has to be experienced. Words intend to incite experience, fully, bodily. And it is easy. Nature is always our teacher of who we really are. The trees here (for sure, not just here) when given attention speak inseparably from the earth, taking beloved Earth up vertically, while also invisibly intimately intermingling with her deep below. Sky, that blue canopy of Earth, almost as if the ‘inside-out’ of Earth, and the Space, which, when the trees are given attention is not empty space, but the presence, the activity – of Beauty. The Space, the alive Space is so, so generous that it allows itself as Beauty to be seen as the Trees, the Earth, and the Sky.
We are working here with very subtle matters in which understanding does not help very much. Everything offered in these writings has to be experienced through deliberate effort, for understanding what is being said is not knowing it but only knowing about it. Some of the comments posted on the last blog entry are interesting in this respect. I found it very remarkable that quite often the writing is responded to in exactly the ways one responds on Facebook. I’m glad that happens because these kind of comments occur next to ones where folks went out and worked with attentiveness and also worked with the very difficult task of describing how attention actually happened in their doing so, and it is possible to see displayed the difference between paying attention and giving attention.
I have to also enter into awarefully allowing the mode of attention called ‘words’ to speak even here with writing. I can easily just "write on" as if I’m "right on" in such a way that I’m using past acts of attention to focus on a theme, and then I start writing, and watch, waiting for a moment when it begins to become more or less automatic, which always feels good, as if ease has come. But, these good moments, particularly when the writing then begins being awfully automatic, are bad for the words. There is a way, of course, in which words do come for some extraordinary people as if automatically – when one is inspired and being used by the words rather than remaining in the illusion of using them. Then the words, even for the reader, are full, expansive, giving, saying more than they literally say, wafts of the divine.
Something else occurs the moment I give attention to the writing. Literally GIVE attention.
A burst of inward expansion in the region of the heart occurs. The words, in their own way are acting attentive in turn, sharing themselves selflessly. They don’t like this narrative way of having to kind of squeeze themselves, like being put in a tube, to share themselves. They realize the great risk in doing so. They risk losing themselves, and it is almost inevitable --- their true fluidity, as flowing, blending, playing together. The mysterious space between them is curtailed. They risk losing the truth that they too are dimensions of Nature, which gets squeezed into concepts – so that we no longer feel the intimate breeze flowing through the leaves when we see the written word, “whoosh”. Nor "boom” or "splash" and the rest – the large vocabulary of Nature, the attention of the divine, who gave Herself not once but twice – as all of Earth and then as the origin of speaking, and speaking began, and somewhere the awesomeness of the giving of Nature as Wording was lost and words began to be utilized as things doing business on their own.
So, at the moment I’m negotiating with the words, trying to appeal to them by telling them how it has taken some sixty two years to become so facile with using words. "I’m careful and accurate and truthful with what comes through me as writing, aren’t I?" "Yes," they say, but “sometimes, often, well, you simply aren’t here!” “Your too thin, too airy, too wispy, too quick, everything that Nature is not, so in nearly forgetting Nature, even though it is your constant occupation, your writing is often not here." Gosh, that makes me wonder whether where our constant occupation has us is where attention has been abused and turned into ‘paying attention’ no matter what that life-work might be, and is even the same for the occupation of living.
I intended listen to the word “intent” speak. But, she has gone to sleep, completely unintentionally, so, we will work together and see what happens – maybe next time.
(painting by my dear friend Jim Woodson)
On The Receptivity of Consciousness
We are working together with integral spiritual psychology which involves entering much more subtle dimensions of awareness and consciousness than present civilizational consciousness. Integral spiritual psychology does not aspire to be a theory of the person and it is not a system to take up and learn and master as a new content.
Integral spiritual psychology attempts to be contemplative action, where being and doing occur simultaneously by surrendering to the fullness of the complex intertwining of the spiritual realms with the earthly realm, and also the other way around. The challenge, as you probably already realize concerns having to begin with ordinary collective consciousness that is unaware of itself, and began to open to more comprehensive consciousness in such a manner that we become much more aware of the sacred unboundedness of human beings.
Within the usual, narrow sense of consciousness, when we speak with someone, for example, we are not aware of the interior action of the speaking. We typically begin speaking with a kind of thought and launch that thought into words but then the words began to happen automatically. We may be conscious of the words but that is different than being conscious within the wording as it is happening. We can come to the edges of this kind of awareness by speaking slowly and thoughtfully, but that is but the beginning of what could occur. Or, you may be aware that something within the natural world for example, a tree, how in certain moments the usual perception momentarily goes away and the tree and us are intimately gathered within a single consciousness. Such moments are rare. The attempt is not to try and become able to control this kind of consciousness but rather to be open and receptive to it becoming the usual form of consciousness and the usual form of bodying – that is, we are not intended to remain fixed forms and in fact are more pliable than you might expect, being a blending of spirit/soul/body -- more like being within a medium as well as of the medium at the same time.
(Painting by Dorio Moschetta)
The automatic qualities of ordinary consciousness extend throughout thinking, feeling, and willing. In all respects automatic consciousness is breaking down just as the whole world is now breaking down. The restraint we can impose on ourselves in relation to emotion, for example, is no longer reliable, and emotion can easily go wild in its automatic fashion. So can all the other qualities that we identify as being conscious. That is why it is possible to have artificial intelligence – intelligence is now fully automatic. And, as each modality of consciousness more and more does business on it’s own, independent of the whole, we see the result already in the huge increases in depression and suicide we now see happening.
The two little exercises developed thus far are one way of beginning to notice that we are already within a different world and a different bodying while usual consciousness still remains incapable of realizing the character of this new world. We only experience the breakdown of every aspect of the world happening without recognizing the breakthrough that is also happening.
Speaking this way, which may seem quite confusing, is necessary to be alert of having stepped into a radically new endeavor. I want to emphasize that this process we are engaged in is something more and something other than recovering the known world and the known earth.
Integral spiritual psychology concerns the presence of the future within the now. Instead of being pushed around by what has happened in the past even as it now unconsciously continues, we are now entering consciousness where all is becoming. The soul-work concerns being present with the ever-happening unfolding rather than relying on a sense of what is already here; we must realize that it is no longer here. As we work with the practices, they all have to do with being here, but it is not the “here” you may want to return or want to return to you, for that is no longer here.
The reason we are unable to be aware with the wording that we speak as it is happening for example, concerns the manner in which we constantly rely on using words that that have already been used over and over, passed around like worn coins. We are not aware of the wording happening; we are only vaguely aware of thoughts we have and then try to express them with old coins. I don't mean to imply that every time we speak we have to create a new language. It is much more a matter of residing with the known language as if it is being spoken for the first time, each word, each sentence a polyphonic symphony. The same is true also with sensing, perceiving, thinking, emoting, feeling, imagining, and willing.
I doubt that this kind of awareness, this kind of consciousness, is available to us without life itself becoming a conscious exercise of consciousness. Again, I urge you to refrain from taking these words literally. I am speaking of an aspiration, to be actively and intuitively present within creation coming-to-be. Nothing is exempt. How could it be exempt? So we are reaching for something that may not exactly be possible, but can be felt and valued as an orienting; the value is in the aspiration, the capacity to begin to be aware of the unknown constantly arising.
Furthering the Practices
First, a bit more on attention because attention is our only tool available for entering the Wholeness of consciousness and the bodying of body and earth. Recall what was said in the first entry:
“Attention is everything – it is the spirit-capacity of the self. Noticing, attention, differs from ‘paying attention’. Paying attention utilizes attention that has already occurred to now become a mental capacity of focusing.”
The act of attention, what I called primary attention, does not have to do with the mind. Here is a little practice that can perhaps help with entering the activity of attention:
First, pay attention to your foot. Perhaps you look down and see your foot down there -- the size of your foot, the shoe you are wearing, perhaps moving your foot. This is not attention, but rather the cognitive act of focusing on your foot, making use of attention.
Now, place your attention at the place of your foot. It is as if you invisibly reach in and grasp your attention and then put it over there at the place of your foot. Actually feel yourself doing this, though it is attention that is actually taking the attention and moving it to the place of the foot. It is as if the place of consciousness is now with the foot, and for a few moments you become “foot-awareness” rather than awareness-of -the-foot. It is as if, for a moment the whole world becomes “foot” – a kind of opening that encompasses you; we are one, together with the foot, which is now a kind of consciousness.
Attention is the most pliable of all human capacities. It can be one or it can divide itself into multiplicity without any loss of power, it is even possible, for example for attention to be placed within attention, a process called intent. Attention is pure receptive power.
A Second Practice -- Consciousness as Love
Consciousness is the same as Love. You may have already discovered this, or have an inclination of this true fullness of consciousness. Now, though, we want to unite the practice of bodying and simultaneously expanding consciousness beyond the physical form of the body without leaving the body – the first two practices -- with becoming aware of the ever-presence of Love, everywhere.
Start by closing your eyes and relaxing. Then, start relaxing the senses in this manner: with your eyes closed, begin to relax your eyes by letting your attention be more ‘behind’ the eyes rather than the usual state which is that a lot of energy or force, really a force of will lies within the eyes, and the eyes are always ‘looking outward.’ As the sense of vision relaxes when attention is more ‘behind’ the eyes, it is as if the sense of vision falls into the heart.
Then, do the same with the sense of hearing. Instead of the sense of sound coming into the ears from the outside, relax and let your attention be where the sound enters the head – and, again, the sense of hearing falls into the heart.
Then, do the same with the sense of touch. Notice the surface of your skin, but now, instead of a sense of being touched, be aware of the sense of touch-receiving – you do not have to touch your hand or anywhere to experience the inner quality of the receiving of touch, which then falls also into the center of the heart.
(There are actually twelve senses – see either Rudof Steiner on this or the chapter on sensing in the book, Love and the World: Creating a Future for Earth, by Robert Sardello. Eventually, the practice comes to full power by working in the manner above with all the senses – the life sense, the sense of movement, the sense of balance, the sense of touch, the sense of smell, the sense of sight, the sense of taste, the sense warmth, the sense of hearing, the sense of speech, the thought sense, the sense of the I. The practice works perfectly well with the three senses indicated – adding the others fine tunes the practice.)
Then, notice the place of your back right at the level of the heart – if the senses are ‘quieted’ as described, when attention is placed right at the place of the back of the heart, there will be a strong feeling of tingling, a kind of ‘whoosh’ happening, warmth, even heat, the presence of interior light, a kind of felt-light, which can be felt sometimes as strong light, sometimes as gentle light --- and with these felt qualities the presence of the power of Love within the heart, strongly felt. You may experience a smile forming on the face. The love-light-feeling permeates the whole of the body, not stopping at what we know as the boundaries of bodily form, but radiating.
Above, I said “if the senses are ‘quieted’ “. Something profound is happening as the senses relax and flow into the heart. We have followed the senses to their originating place, and if we were clairvoyant, we would see, as Rudolf Steiner has described his clairvoyant vision of this process --- the senses are spiritual presences, the spiritual presences who are creating the human body. (see: Anthroposophy: A Fragment, Rudolf Steiner; introduction by Robert Sardello)
When You Are Here, You Are Everywhere
Hello dear friends. Thank you for your comments. I approve them as soon as I receive notice. It is necessary to ask for approval in order to avoid spam. Thank you for your comments on the last blog. It gives us an opening for what we'll be doing in this entry. The comments can be seen by clicking on “comments”. It is also possible to reply to comments once they are entered, and all the comments can be seen together.
I hope that you have been working on becoming physically present. The practice concerns bodying body, as we are “not here”, not even through the more usual ways of paying attention to body such as exercise, walking, or grounding, or techniques of imagination. My language perhaps needs to be more precise. We cannot make anything of an essential spiritual nature happen –as it is already all happening. But, we can and do loose the awareness, which, in many instances, such as bodying, is usually quite naturally spiritually/bodily present. Not any more. But, we don’t do anything to make it happen – we work to notice WHERE it is happening. The breathing exercise is an exercise for noticing bodying happening. We don’t start bodying by doing the exercise. We shift attention out of the distractions.
Attention is everything – it is the spirit-capacity of the self. Noticing, attention, differs from “paying attention”. Paying attention utilizes attention that has already occurred to now be a mental capacity of focusing. Primary attention, as utilized in all the suggested practices does not have to do with the mind, but with intuition. The breathing exercise itself starts out with “paying attention” – the part of taking 30 deep breaths, not breathing on the exhale, then breathing, and holding the breath. It is necessary to be attentive to do this, but true spirit-attention opens, just a bit, in the experience of the bodying at the very end. Notice what the bodying is like – maybe starting with an inner light, going into darkness, a highly, highly dense nothing, completely silent, in complete stillness which is complete pureness of activity. So, the exercise really involves two aspects – the bodying and the spirit-attention noticing the bodying. Thus, the bodying is not a content of consciousness, but the creating-consciousness itself. Ponder this a bit as speaking just turned subtle.
The creating consciousness of bodying does not last because we have not yet dealt with the distractions as they hide in sub-consciousness. We will get to that in a later entry.
I hope, though, you begin to feel, see, and an insight awakens that what we are doing is spiritual-work. It consists of something vastly different than taking something that someone says to do and doing it and perhaps finding that something happens. Thousands of books and even more internet sites traffic in presenting things to do to transform. Mostly, they work at the “astral” level of consciousness. “Astral” means ‘star’ – there is a “higher astral” and a “lower astral” (from Rudolf Steiner). The lower astral con-fuses, that is “fuses together” the higher astral, which opens into spirit awareness with desire, want, need, impulse. "I desire spiritual experience, I want to be more spiritually present, I want happiness, I need to get out of this world, I want more good things to happen. I want to help others, I want to help the Earth. We need to do something about the situation we are in, about the devastation of the earth, about the terrible divisions between people, about, about, about."Or more subtly, I want, need, desire to experience the spiritual worlds, to be with Nature, to help Nature. Our highest desires are still self-oriented.
The term spiritual-work does not exactly mean “effort”, not in the sense of the application of the will. In depth psychology, for example, “dream-work” and “soul-work” do not mean analyzing dreams or the soul even understanding them. Work of this nature, including spirit-work means yielding, surrendering to aspects of being fully human that are typically outside of awareness.
This kind of “work” is not fun, but it is filled with joy and delight.
What we're not yet aware of is how the subconscious realms take over when we're not here. Staying with this kind of spirit-work it is not unique insofar as any spiritual tradition involving contemplation or meditation brings spirit-work with it. What we have done in terms of breathing and what will be presented in a moment, begin to open the portal to the very giddy, kind of idiotic “happy” – even when it chooses to present us with emotional suffering – sub-world that is having a field day in distracting us from being here. When the portal opens, it is possible to see that the world we think we live in and the earth that we think of as where we live, has been, and continues to be overlaid with the lower-astral world. And, this revelation comes, always, in completely unique ways – there is nothing ‘general about it. Such a moment --- or actually, many such moments work toward freeing us --- and simultaneously orienting others to freely become free, freeing the world, and freeing Earth. Maybe more. When those worlds begin to be noticed as astral and they were the world we thought was the literal world, and the literal earth, and literal others, the shock has to be met, and that requires significant spirit-work, as we will see. The spirit-work involves, for example, refraining from trying to get rid of those worlds, but to notice something else -- what that is, well, that is for later.
The top indicator of having, probably already, right at the start, being invaded by the happy-subconscious campers – is if the little physical work suggested so far, seems to be about “us”, the “me-me”, “for me”.(I need to also say that most "service work" and even most practical "spiritual work", when looked at clearly, also tends to be either about us or done by is as if we could control the spiritual realms -- or we could appeal to them to do something.) The spirit-work of this work is integral spiritual psychology – that is, integral or Wholeness. Much more of this term remains for us to develop – it is not an abstract word at all, but it has to be experienced as it is not in the realm of knowledge. We are not doing anything for ourselves as if we were independent of everything else that is conscious -- which is everything. It is more the work of being open to receiving the sense of who we humans are within the fabric of totality happening.
A characterizing of Integral Spiritual Psychology was given last time:
Integral Spiritual Psychology is an approach to humanness that takes into consideration all aspects of an individual’s life - physical, vital, mental, environmental, social, cultural and spiritual-that make him/her a human person. It is called ‘Integral’ especially because of its focus on the process of integration-into wholeness that goes on continually in all normal human beings.
I worked for some 10 years developing the practices of the heart (see the book “Heartfulness”), and very few folks become free by doing those practices because getting free of the "me" while still being integral with the world and Earth and everything is very difficult. That work is pure beauty, but not once invaded with desire. I heard someone speaking of mathematics saying that mathematics is like clearing a room from everything and everybody and then going into that room, being empty oneself and describing it, fully and completely in all its relations. With the heart, with heartfulness, well, because heart is about the realm of feeling (not emotion), one is required to completely clear this “room” of everything – all self-interest, desires, wants, needs, fantasies, memories, and then going into that room and describe the fullness of feeling, which is also world-feeling, earth-feeling. Not what they feel about something, but feeling-consciousness.
Where we are going now will be even more complex.
But, now, the second and practical part – BEING HERE IS ALSO BEING EVERYWHERE.
The noticing is quite simple. Do the breathing exercise given in the last blog entry. When completing the practice and regular breathing begins again, then close your eyes and notice – that is, be present, quietly, just noticing the region right at the edges of experiencing the form of the physical body. Notice that an invisible and quite subtle vibration is present. The vibration will be strongest, at first, at the place of the form of the physical body – a kind of “frequency” tingling, experienced from the surface of the bodily form inwardly, quite deeply. As attention rests, though, at the place of the expanding invisible vibration happening, it continues to expand, relaxation increases, and it seems as if you/your form is within a transparent sphere – it continues to go “out” further and further – without boundary. As this expansion happens, a spontaneous smile begins to form. It is not planned, there is no inner longing or desire for anything, it simply starts to happen – because the physical body is not a content, but a vibrating field, the same vibrating field as that surrounding the bodily form – and this vibration itself is joy-consciousness, love-consciousness, for consciousness is Love --- and.... consciousness is not in us --- we are in consciousness. Consciousness is everything – whether something is visible and tangible – what we call “matter”, or far more subtle, spiritual, depends on the intensity of vibration. The physical body is a very slow mode of vibration, like the center of a spiral, which is, however, inseparable from the vibration at the outermost of the spiral – and the spiral of consciousness is not static, but one that constantly widens and concentrates – concentrates and “decentrates, as the whole of creating is doing. In the life of fullness, this creating-decreating is experienced as the life of giving-re-giving. That is, the life of giving in order to get no longer exists, it is a distraction.
(For a remarkable, but highly complex and difficult presenting of the process just described see the work of Walter and Lao Russell.)
Again, the result of first exercise of bodying does not last, nor does this present exercise of being here as being the Fullness, the Wholeness, though by doing these two for just a little while, it becomes possible to enter into this Wholeness at any moment by just shifting attention. They do not last because we have not confronted yet what keeps us out of the Wholeness, and we almost certainly expect to be able to do this work, feel more spiritual and go about living in the same world as we did before; in fact we do and do not continue living in the world of falsehood. But, developing Truth-Consciouness, is not so easy, and I certainly don't mean to be talking as if I've developed it. Yet, the aspiration, not a desire, but aspiring is present. I hope it is for you also because I have the feeling this is not an endeavor that can be done by one and handed out, but, as we are going toward the "We", which includes everything, it would seem that WE have to be within such an aspiration.
Introduction -- Short update on the work of the School
Thanks to the lovely end-of year contributions, a new breath has entered the work in the School of Integral Spiritual Psychology. I will post short updates at the beginning of blog entries when new work becomes available.
A new monograph has been published: "Contemplative Listening" - and is available on Amazon Books. Another monograph is in development, with the writing about to conclude: "Contemplative Action". When it is published, I will post a notice.
All the nine previously published monographs are being re-edited by Sharon Bailey. There are considerable errors in most of them -- not content errors, but I did all the work on most publications, including the formatting, book covers, and editing. Now, these aspects of the publications are being done correctly! The last two or three monographs are more error-free, thanks to the editing work of Scott Scribner, and the last published monograph was copy edited by Scott and Eric Hanson. But, there are considerable errors in formatting, due to my lack of design capacities. In the future design will be done by a wonderful design person, Ayeshabrun, in Bangladesh.
Then, regarding the blog. These first two entries are intended to bring about entering the body-changes necessary for "being here". I am sure there are other ways of doing so, and the two exercises can be experimented with to coordinate more closely with each person's individuality.
The blog will not consist of practice after practice, but what will be addressed in the blog will be felt rather than just intellectually understood if we work at being bodily "here".
A note on "Integral Spiritual Psychology" --
“Yoga is Spiritual Psychology”
“Spiritual Psychology is Yoga”
Integral Spiritual Psychology is an approach to humanness that takes into consideration all aspects of an individual’s life - physical, vital, mental, environmental, social, cultural and spiritual-that make him/her a human person. It is called ‘Integral’ especially because of its focus on the process of integration-into wholeness that goes on continually in all normal human beings.
Blog 2 – Where is Here?
The last blog entry focused on becoming aware that many humans are no longer bodily “here”, that is, existing as Earth-Creatures. We are not, though, spiritualized either. It is more like living in a suspended state, a prison of ‘no-where’, that goes unrecognized because the prison is filled with “goodies”, distractions, and fears. Memories of wholeness do exist, and those deep memories now serve as a locus of nostalgia, and, more importantly as providing a false sense that Earth is the same as it has always been --- things now are merely more complex. Or, Earth as we have known Her is in a process of dying due to climate change --- so the past is nostalgic and the future is dire. In addition, technological developments have riddled our home with EMF fields, resulting in radical changes of the human body, as have many, many other changes harming Earth and the human body --- such as agricultural chemicals, fracking, and an overwhelming increase in the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. The list of reasons we are not here is nearly endless.
In this suspended prison, body is not embodied, and the reason for the exercise in the last entry was to transform notions, beliefs, concepts and theories of body as a physiological, biological, conglomeration of biochemical processes, inside the form of the body which serves as a kind of “sack”, and the totality of which is lived unconsciously – transform living this kind of no-body into the bodying process.
Then, along with living abstract notions of body, there is the more immediate experience of body as a power and a form mysteriously connected with consciousness, the center of which is said to be the brain; or alternately, this material conglomeration is nothing more that the complex materials it is made of and consciousness is considered to be a kind of residual of cosmic, spiritual consciousness that can be directly experienced by leaving the body in various forms of meditation and contemplation for moments of bliss.
The exercise in the last writing opens a direct and immediate bodying awareness (to speak of it as awareness of embodying slides back into old subject-object consciousness) as vastness of perfect Stillness scintillating. If we could see this body, it would be something like the vastness of the semi-dark sky with the emerging sparkling of the stars. But the emphasis of the experience is the dark, perfect Stillness accompanied with rapid, felt tingling, and it is as if this scintillating Stillness acts as “repose-in motion”. This kind of picture is, of course, not seen but constitutes a pretty accurate translation of one aspect of the whole bodying experience happening --- the happening of the bodying of body. Another aspect simultaneously occurs. I did not introduce it last time as it felt important to begin to become accustomed to bodying through the first part of the exercise. In doing these exercises, the substance-body does not disappear, for sure. The experience of body-substance, though, becomes more pliable, far less isolated from the surroundings and others, a vibratory body rather than enclosed.
Contemplate the portrait of Sri Aurobindo by the Mother at the beginning of the blog for an immediate feeling of the bodying process happening -- the body as emerging from Earth and simultaneously receiving forces of the cosmos and beyond.
Now, let us complete the experience by doing the exercise as previously described, and then adding a significant dimension.
An Exercise of Bodying (Part 1)
1. Sit. Take 30 deep breaths. On the out-breath, breathe out regularly, that is, don’t expel breath all the way down to the stomach.
2. On the 30th breath – at the exhale, do not inhale, do not breathe, stay in non-breathing as long as possible without becoming uncomfortable. The moment discomfort arises, breathe out. (You will notice that you will be able to stay in the non-breathing a very surprising length of time.)
3. Then inhale. When you come to the top of the in-breath, hold that breath --- and while holding it, press outward, as if you are going to breathe, but do not breathe out for a few seconds. Feel what is happening bodily, inwardly; feel the movement of currents into the region of the head.
4.Then, go ahead and breathe out and continue regular breathing.
Bodying (Part II)
Now, keep going from #4 above, continue by closing your eyes, though it is not necessary to close them, particularly after undergoing the experience once – then this part of the practice can be done with eyes open – which suggests that it begins to be possible to live daily life as bodying. Allow consciousness to expand beyond the bodying-as-scintillating Stillness. Just let your attention notice expanding happening, at the sides, in front, back, above, below, all around, as if a subtle, expanding sphere without a boundary. As this expansion of consciousness occurs, the central bodying becomes more and more relaxed – and as if smaller and smaller, while the conscious expanding nevertheless continues to feel of the nature of bodying. “Here” becomes more like “everywhere”, which is a decidedly different experience than the “no-where” body.
As the expansion of consciousness occurs, “tingling” can be felt throughout the body, more intense at the periphery. And, if this part of the practice is done indoors, the things in the room, even the walls, everything, is no longer experienced as “over there”, inert, but rather as being intimately within the bodying process – as bodying encountering bodying in an intimate intermingling -- without losing the sense of their particularity. The experience occurs even more powerfully outside where the body feels entwined with earth and sky and trees and everything – also without losing the sense of bodying; that is, we do not go “out of bodying” into bliss, but rather notice that the primary experience of bodying as an earth being is joy as everything is experienced as consciousness configuring and reconfiguring itself into the Earth-world.
In relation, for example, with a tree, the tree bodying-process encounters the human bodying-process, intimately, as the intimacy of one consciousness that is also the two, without splitting into a body and a tree.
What is going on?
Consciousness is not in us, we are in consciousness! Everything is consciousness, there is only consciousness, constantly configuring itself into instances of particularity that we have learned to perceive as “over there”, as we, for ages, have been good students of consciousness as separated from the objects of consciousness.
The bodying process that we are never becomes something automatic, something that happens on its own. Noticing, attention is required – we are our attention. For a while, this attention, as in the exercise, must be acute. After a short time, we center as human beings, as beings of attention, the living self that we are. The embodying life is then lived with ease, but not forgetfully – and Earth retrieves Herself as we retrieve our self.
Divine Consciousness Emerging from the Unconscious
C. G. Jung once spoke of consciousness as being a continuum between unconsciousness and consciousness, pictured as the continuum of the spectrum from red to blue; red is what we call matter, blue is what we consciousness – but the full span from matter to consciousness-awareness is consciousness.
The Earth Angel or The Body Spirit - Courtesy of the Ritman Library
Being Here is Everything
Welcome to the new website. You will notice that the name of The School of Spiritual Psychology has been changed to The School of Integral Spiritual Psychology, which more adequately reflects the present phase of the work of the School. For a full understanding of the significance of this change, you are invited to peruse and contemplate the new site.
Then, equally, welcome back to the blog. There were somewhere near 50 entries on the previous site. Rather than continue that numbering, this entry on the new website is numbered 1.
Where we are and where we are going.
I have tried to unfold a sense of the inherent complex unity of the human being with Earth, and have given many particular descriptions of this truth, giving attention to the Original People of this land as those who lived this unity. In that process of awakening to the Spiritual Earth, and also departing, radically, from the assumption of a division between the Spiritual realms and the Earthly realms, the blogs developed sensitivity to the integral wholeness of body, soul, spirit, human, earth, and divine. Absolutely basic to the actual experience of Wholeness is being here, being fully bodily awake, for it is insufficient to speak the language of Wholeness; it must become fullness of awareness.
I know this weaving that is Wholeness feels complex, maybe close to impossible, particularly given the pathology of modern collective consciousness with it narrowing the human being to a commodity-driven “me”, imprisoned in seemingly insatiable desires to own the Earth rather than to inhabit with Her. We do not, though, make the Wholeness, we aspire to return to it, not as it was lived by the Original People, but according to our times and circumstances of consciousness.
So, here we go, or rather, continue. If you are starting to read the blog for the first time, just dive in, stay with it, awareness will awaken. Do not be concerned with ‘understanding’ or ‘knowing’, be more present with the event of the language-ing rather than the content per se, and release trying to ‘get something’, for the greed of the day reaches all the way into the capacities of thinking.
Above, I mentioned the absolute necessity of being here, being bodily here. We are not here. We now live within multiple constructed layerings that have removed us from body, from Earth, from each other, from community, from the Divine, and turned humans into commodity-seeking commodities. We live in the prison of social constructions, technological constructions, political constructions, electronic constructions, familial constructions, civilizational constructions --- we live within every possible medium except the medium of soul, the medium of the divine that we are, the unity of spirit-matter that we are, the medium of human body that we are. it is impossible to be here without undoing what removes us. And, if we are not bodily here, it is not possible to be in the fullness of where we are, with Mother Earth. I will speak next time of the obstacles to simple Earth-Presence, but I want to provide an easy method of being fully bodily present. New age mentality recognizes a need for “grounding”, but the interferences have become so intense that something more intense is needed than trying to be direct awareness through the body, the feet, and into earth.
This little exercise (I do not speak of it as a “practice”, certainly not a “spiritual practice” as there is nothing spiritual about it in any direct way) comes from Wim Hof. Look him up here. He is a real character and is known for developing the bodily-physical realm – in extreme ways. He can, for example sit surrounded completely in ice for four or more hours without any dire effects. He hikes up mountains in the middle of winter wearing only shorts and no shirts. He swims in the middle of winter in icy lakes. He has developed courses to physically develop the body. We are not going to suggest that, but only the very first exercise he describes. The exercise is his discovery of being fully in-body, free of stress. Stress is a pretty good word for being out of body, filled with fear, anxiety, restless, in our ‘head’, and getting ready for physical illness – the norm of the present world.
An Exercise for Coming into Body
There is nothing in the exercise to notice beyond what is in the directions. Notice the result, the immediate result of the exercise. What does the body feel like – inwardly, at the surface, outwardly. What is sensory experience like.
Hof has medically verified that doing this exercise results in the strengthening of immunity to infection (stress is the primary reason for infection).
If you continue following this blog, each time you are about to read the blog, do this exercise. It only takes a few minutes. More importantly, consider doing this exercise a minimum of once a day.
Next blog – Obstacles to simple Earth-Presence