Posts tagged #joy

The 7 traits of highly magic people

1) You know you're magic.

 

This is the big one.  In their heart of hearts, everyone is magic.  But most folks just don't know it.  It's very sad, and it's not their fault.  They've had the awareness beaten out of them one way or another.  Our society is tres anti-magic.

Part of the mission of magic people is to help folks still stuck in the clay (that's my way of saying "folks steeped in naive materialism or fundamentalism and unaware of their innate magic-ness") understand that magic is real and within them, too.

But basically, if you know you're magic, you're ahead of the game.  Which means you don't really need this article - but look, it's the internet and we're just having fun.

Magic people.

2) Synchronicities happen for you - a lot.

 

And they tend to speed up when you spend a lot of time on meditation, art, ritual, intentional movement or prayer.  Sometimes they're just cute or silly, but often they're life-changing and dramatic.

The biggest synchronous thing that can happen to a magic person, in my humble opinion, is meeting another magic person.  Or a whole enclave of them.  It's thrilling.  It's overwhelming. It's love.

When lots of synchronicities are going on, I like to say "the jewel net is moving." Because we're all jewels in an infinitely connected web of silken joy.  And sometimes the net shifts and folds in on itself and we run smack into a whole bunch of other jewels. And it's great.

3. You're sensitive to seasons and lunar cycles.

 

The more magic you are (and remember, being magic is mainly a matter of... knowing that you're magic) the more energies of light and the two big cosmic lamps in our region (the sun and moon) affect your business.

You might find that you can't sleep on full moon nights (all that energy, so ramped up!) and that you go through epic mythopoetic cycles of emotional birth and death as spring turns to summer turns to fall turns to winter.

4. You have very vivid dreams.

 

Magic people have at least partially-developed aetheric bodies.  This means, at the very least, that one or more of their chakras (Rudolf Steiner liked to call them "lotus flowers") are open and active.

Maybe you're a magic person with a giant, pulsing, highly-empathic heart chakra. Or maybe your third eye is open and you have an easy time seeing the visionary fluid dance of all things.

At the highly-developed end of the spectrum, magic people have fully-formed aetheric bodies that can freely navigate the astral planes.

But having your aetheric sense perceptions open, even a little bit, means that you can see more vividly in the nighttime dream world than others can.  So, you got that goin' for you. Which is nice.

5.  When you fall in love, it's psychedelic.

 

Forget a loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou.  When a magic person falls in love (very probably with another magic person), it's more like a sheet of acid, a gallon of mushroom tea and thou.  And I'm not saying that actual drugs are involved.

I'm saying that the intensity of dopamine and oxytocin rushes, in magic brains, tends to produce more than just sexy-cozy-attachment.

They tend to also unleash psychic perception (you can read your lover's thoughts - like, for reals - not just "I was thinking of you!" "I knew you were thinking of me, baby. 'Cause I was thinking of you!"), encounters with your lover in the nighttime dream world, ecstatic sex that ruptures the boundaries of your identity, and other fun stuff.

Also, be careful with all that. It can get hairy if your lover happens to be one of those not-really-very-stable-or-sane magic people. Of which there are quite a few.

Magic people fall in love and it's all like, whoah.

 

6. You have an abundance of prana.

 

Or creative energy. Or genius, or whatever you want to call it.

Wilhelm Reich called it "orgone." Kant called it "Geist." Emerson called it "Soul." Mezmer called it "animal magnetism." It's sexual energy which transmutes into different feeling-tones when centered in different chakras and channels in the body.

In other words - even though it's sexual energy, your abundant prana doesn't necessarily feel "sexy" (although it probably does in spring and summer).  It might just feel buzz-y or space-y or urgently creative.

You get seized with the need to write that poem, plan that ritual, record that song, make those spicy ginger fudge brownies. It's implacable.

Also, no matter what you look like, folks tell you that you're "hot." And they mean it. You are. You radiate the light and heat of the cosmos. You're a star, you magic darling.

7. You love to spread the magic around.

 

Your chief motive for making art, cooking great food, tending your garden, whatever - isn't to be rich or famous. Though that could be cool.

It's to spread the magic around, because you just can't stand not doing it.  The magic is so fun, so beautiful, so warm, so true.

It drives you a little crazy when you can totally see the magic in someone, and they can't see it in themselves.

It drives you maybe even more crazy when you can totally see the magic in the world, and the world at large seems not to tenderly care for and appreciate its magic.

So you put a goodly amount of effort everyday into doing stuff that increases the sum-total of magic and wonder and joy and love and delight in the world.

You turn up the volume on everything gorgeous so it can't be ignored.

In conclusion

 

You're magic and I am too, and I love you.  I hope you'll join me and a bunch of other magic folks in the Dreamer's Tantra Facebook Group, where we talk about this kinda stuff.

 

Also, if you're ever feeling in pain or confused about life and magic, I make myself available to talk on the phone whenever.

Love,

Carolyn

 

images: ~rainyXskyz  and ~Lilianne on deviantart.com

How Do You Forgive: 7 Steps to Freedom

How do you forgive when you've been massively, relentlessly hurt? How do you forgive when your heart feels like it's been sliced into tiny bits and set on fire in a garbage heap?

You might be walking around feeling like a giant flaming wound of misery from the horror that was inflicted on you. Or. You might be experiencing resentment as a quiet background hum that fills your day with irritation and alienation.

Either way, you know you need to shift something.

How Do You Forgive

1. Notice how much it hurts to not be forgiving.

It's a heavy thing to carry around, all that non-forgiveness.  Let yourself feel the weight.

2. Imagine what it would feel like to be completely free from the anger and hurt you feel.

Really imagine it. Take five minutes to do this. Make it vivid. Go.

3. Consider the fact that you feeling angry and hurt is not doing anything to help anyone at all, ever.

In fact, it's probably cramping your style.  It's making you unhappy so you're probably being unpleasant and selfish, as unhappy people usually are.  You would be much more useful to all the rest of us if you felt free and at peace.

4. Remind yourself that just because you forgive, it doesn't mean you have to let the person who harmed you back into your life.

Forgiveness doesn't mean being a doormat.  Letting someone walk all over you isn't kind.  It hurts them because it enables them to be a jerk.  Forgiveness means harboring no ill will in your heart.  It means truly, earnestly, non-sarcastically wishing well for the person who hurt you.

To be explicit: this means not wishing that they go to hell, contract a debilitating disease, become famous in Hollywood or any other of the horrible fates that might befall one.

5.  Remind yourself that you've learned from what you've experienced.

You got the lesson, throughout your whole being.  Your pain taught you the lesson.  You've learned it, it's over.  You don't have to hold on to the suffering of unforgiveness in order to remember your lesson. It's in your mind and heart.  Trust your own intelligence.

You'll never run off and join the travelling carnival and change your name to Talulah again. You know better now.  It's not a good road.

6. Imagine the person that hurt you feeling ecstatically happy, at peace, loved and loving.

Imagine them feeling completely saturated with an abiding delight that cannot ever depart, that is unconditional, that is inalienable from their very being.

Imagine them in beautiful surroundings, doted on by loving people and adorable animals.  See them drinking hot chocolate next to a roaring hearth.

Notice that if they had truly felt this happy and fulfilled to begin with, they probably never would have hurt you.  They would have been too busy being ecstatically enraptured by flowers and cuddly kitties. Folks hurt other people because they're unhappy and not at peace.  Truly happy people hurt no one.

7. Imagine yourself feeling ecstatically happy, at peace, loved and loving.

See yourself in a state of utter relaxation, warmest goodness, utter joy.  Imagine that you're in beautiful surroundings, and you just feel great.  You feel great at such a deep level that you know how great you feel can never be shaken.

In Conclusion

That's it.  Keep doing this reflection every day, devoting lots of time to imagining the person who hurt you feeling happy and to you feeling utterly wonderful, too -- and you'll achieve the forgiveness you're after.

Not only that, but you'll just be happier in general.  And fun stuff will start to happen in your life- weird, cool synchronicities.  You'll get more done.  You'll sleep better. I'm not lying. Try it.

Forgiveness isn't something that happens when you just say, "I forgive him / her / myself." That only works for the very smallest of things, things that didn't even hurt you or offend you that much to begin with.

For stuff That's a Big Deal, you need to go deeper.  You need to engage your imagination to super-charge your good will.  Good will is the juice that makes forgiveness possible.

And the act of forgiving increases the amount of good will that you have.  And then you're better able to forgive, because you've got more juice.  And then things rock.

It's good ju-ju.

Posted on February 7, 2013 and filed under Forgiveness.

How to Experience Less Miserable Pain

Lately, I've been pretty good at making messes.  Big, ugly messes that involve hurting other people and embarrassing myself profoundly.

Ugh.

The more I study up on the brahma-viharas, the more it makes sense to me why I was able to create - so lavishly! - the messes that I did.

It's because of my intentions.

Not that my intentions in the recent past months were terrible. I wasn't waking up in the morning saying to myself, "Gee whiz, what can I do to hurt others today?" But I was living with a mind that teemed with envy and lust and I was concerned very much with "getting what I need to be happy / good enough."  In other words, I was living in self-centeredness (or self-cherishing, as my Tibetan pals like to call it) without even fully realizing it.

This is something rather basic that it's taken a long time for me to fully understand: even if I'm not seeking actively to hurt others, I can still hurt others very effectively when my primary motive is to further my own pleasure and security.  I tend to laser-in on that goal of "my own pleasure and security" with a magnetic focus that blinds me both to many facets of reality and to the feelings of those my actions might affect.

"So the first lesson of karma is that if you really want to be happy you can't trust that deep down you know the right thing to do, because that would foster complacency. Unskillful intentions would take over and you wouldn't even know it. Instead, you have to be heedful to recognize unskillful intentions for what they are and to act only on skillful ones. The way to ensure you'll stay heedful is to take your desire for happiness and spread it around." - Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Head & Heart Together: Bringing Wisdom to the Brahma-viharas

Hmmmm.  That just about sums up my experience.  It gives me great hope that Bhikkhu emphasizes that we can make ourselves more skillful at producing real happiness (as opposed to just pleasure that turns all-too-rapidly into pain) by "taking our desire for happiness and spreading it around."  Because I can do that!

That's what metta meditation is.

It's a fairly basic axiom of spiritual development that if we want to live a good life we should try to be less self-centered.  I don't think that I really understood the full import of that, though, until I read these words of the Venerable Lobsang Gyatso in Bodhicitta: Cultivating the Mind of Enlightenment

Our self-centeredness is an attachment directed toward the self which we have been generating spontaneously from time without beginning.  It is this which is the real enemy, this which is the actual embodiment of evil.  We are mesmerized by it, as a child is by a brightly colored object. And while it seems to promise so much for us, it is actually wholly destructive.  It thrusts us into the suffering of the three lower realms, and we can see that if in this present existence its power becomes overbearing it can lead us into unending conflicts and will eventually cost us this life.

Conversely the other-cherishing attitude is an extraordinarily positive intention which arises from correct logical reasoning.  It is only our own failure to practice which stands in our way.  If we did cultivate it, that would signify the onset of everything worthwhile.  The relationship between the two attitudes is similar to the relationship between the attractive light in which the respective minds of attachment and affectionate love view others.  Though they share the characteristic of seeing others in an appealing form, from every other viewpoint - attention, function, and effect - they are totally opposed to one another.

Well hot-damn.  That really drove home to me what my problem has been - and what caused me so much pain in my last romantic drama - that I was inhabiting lustful attachment instead of affectionate love.  That my attachment was part of delusional self-cherishing – and not even really "love" at all, because real love is non-grasping and other-cherishing.

For very many years I resisted the elementary notion that valuing others above myself is the way to go.  "Oh, that's just being a doormat, that's just the way to be used, that's clap-trap designed to hypnotize people into sacrificing themselves for nationalistic, patriarchal or religious purposes," I thought to myself, "I won't go in for that - I'll help others but I'll keep my own well-being the priority so as not to over-extend myself. I'll make sure I get my own security and pleasure and status first and think about others in my spare time, after I get all my ducks lined up."

Well, as I'm now understanding, the most efficient way of fostering my own real well-being (i.e., deep peace of mind, sense of meaningfulness, authentic joy) is to do just this thing that my ego recoils from so very much: be willing to value and concern myself with the well-being of others more than with my own.

Through doing metta bhavana everyday, I'm even beginning to intuit the reason why life and karma do indeed work this way: because the world is a projection of mind, other beings aren't really separate from me - they're actually the greater part of me.  My ego-character is just a little sliver of the hologram - "others" are the rest of it. When I'm wishing that all beings be happy, I'm actually wishing happiness for my whole self instead of for just a little delusional sliver of myself.

In other words - when I wish good things for you, dear reader, I'm actually wishing good things for me - because you are me and I am you and we are all together. Koo-koo-ka-choo.

httpv://youtu.be/RG73Pk1yUj8

What are your thoughts on self-cherishing vs. other-cherishing?

 

image: [Keith Williamson]

With Metta: Cultivating Boundless Love

I'm a giant fan of metta.

Metta, of course, is the Pali word for loving-kindness or friendliness.  Along with karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy), and upekkha (equanimity) it's considered one of the "divine abodes" in Buddhism.

The divine abodes are also known as "the four immeasurables" because they can be cultivated through concentrated practice and directed towards an infinite number of beings.  They're not limited or limiting like personal affection and egoistic enjoyment.

In reading about the Buddhist path of awakening, one usually hears that the cultivation of metta and the other divine abodes are supplemental to the practice of Vipassana or insight meditation.  I've always found this emphasis to be disappointing- as I get a lot of pleasure and fulfillment out of metta cultivation and almost none out of Vipassana.

Metta as a Complete Path of Awakening

Recently, though, I had the good fortune of finding a radically eye-opening talk  on metta by John Peacock, the Associate Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Center.

Peacock makes a compelling argument that a non-traditionalist reading of early Buddhist scriptures supports the notion that the cultivation of metta is itself a complete path to awakening.  He points to the Metta Sutra, where the Buddha states that anyone who cultivates metta will "never again lie in the womb" as evidence that metta practice is enough to take an aspirant all the way off the karmic merry-go-round and into nirvana.

Peacock also makes the rather fascinating point that metta practice leads progressively and automatically to the cultivation of the other three divine abodes.

Well golly gee, sign me up.

I've been thinking for awhile now that I need to intensely focus myself on the cultivation of metta.

Here are some reasons metta is so important to me:

1. It Makes Me Both Happy and Psychic

Metta meditation, when practiced as a vivid visualization of oneself and others experiencing happiness, tends to make me feel open, energized, and buoyant.  I've also noticed that it tends to dramatically increase my intuition and my ability to feel and know things with my heart.

2. It Counters the Destructive force of Love Addiction

I struggle with getting caught up in romantic infatuations that are ultimately destructive.  This has been a pattern throughout my life, and I'm tired of it.  Metta, because it's universal and non-attached love, is the opposite of infatuated, obsessive, possessive love - which tends to be ego-inflating, unbalancing, and crazy-making.  Metta is sanity-making.  It's wholesome.  As such, it's the antidote to my unwholesome pattern.

3. It Tunes Me Into Divine Energy

Simone Weil once remarked that the cause of all misery is the inability of human beings to consistently draw energy directly from divine love in the same way that plants draw energy directly from the sun.  Instead, we humans tend to vampirize energy from others or from our own bodies via games of power and sensual indulgence. In the process, we hurt others and ourselves.  I completely agree with Weil on this point.  And it's evident to me that by practicing metta, we can increase our ability to draw energy directly from divine love instead of from acts of exploitation or addiction.

So my plan for the New Year...

...is to devote two hours every day to metta cultivation.  I know that sounds like a lot - but metta is fun.  So it's less of a commitment to hard discipline and more of me just making time to do what I both enjoy and need for my sanity.

Also, because I've found a lack of interesting things to read about metta cultivation on the interwebs, I intend to write about what unfolds in my process here - and hopefully it'll inspire some of you out there to try it for yourself.  I know I always need a lot of reassurance and proof that a spiritual effort will be worthwhile before I undertake it.

 

 

Posted on January 1, 2013 and filed under Uncategorized.

Dissipating the foul miasma of vast self-rejection

The objective correlative of suck The foul miasma of vast self-rejection is, of course, not a literal miasma but rather a mode of consciousness.  The miasma is the objective correlative of a sucky, hopeless view of the world.

J. Alfred Prufrock experiences the miasma as a "yellow fog" in T.S. Eliot's love song of self-doubt:

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains, Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys, Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap, And seeing that it was a soft October night Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

My miasma doesn't behave much like a house cat, though.  It behaves more like a wild wolf of slobbering terror.

Bad trips - always available!

When I'm in the miasma, my lovely life looks like a disaster resembling the scary drunken circus in Pinnochio.  It's not actually a disaster.  It's concretely just fine.  But our minds do create our reality in the sense that if I'm feeling misery and fear I will see misery and cause for fear every where. That's part of the difficulty of having a really strong genius.  The genius is always creative; it creates worlds. When the miasma is on me,  I'll see only the very worst in myself, in people, and in the world, and it'll be magnified 10,000 times.  It's very literally like a bad trip.

The thing most people don't realize is that you never need to take psychoactive drugs to have a bad trip. Or a good trip!  Our brains produce psychoactive chemicals all the time in response to our beliefs and interpretive decisions about the world.  I have some traumatic beliefs in me, and when those get triggered, the bad trip comes on.

Half the key to getting out of a bad miasmic trip is just to realize, this is a bad trip.  This is in my mind.  I can see this in a different way and all the yuck can disappear.  And by "disappear" I mean become no longer a problem in my consciousness.   All of reality can exist in its realness without me having to wage a special internal battle against any part of it.

I only feel like the yuck in other people and in the world is a problem for me to battle when I'm beset by the yuck myself.  The yuck (pain, aggression, delusion) has no intrinsic power.  It can be healed.  And I can't heal it when I'm obsessed with seeing it everywhere because I'm identified with it in myself.

I'm right now in the process of climbing out of the miasma.

For me, this is a process of truth-telling.  Queer Jesus said, "you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."

Not just any kind of truth works to dissipate the miasma, though.  To do that job I need uncut, high-grade, extremely potent truth.

Here's some:

We're all fundamentally good and that no one deserves to feel guilty or fearful at anytime, ever.

Even if you've committed  violent crimes - the wisdom to make amends for those crimes can only come to a consciousness that accepts its past confusion, recognizes its own inherent goodness, makes itself open to grace and becomes capable of loving action.  Self-hatred and self-rejection don't facilitate that process.  They make truth-telling too painful - which means we can't bear to acknowledge that we've been wrong and so we stay in denial and stay deluded and stay likely to commit more harm.

That's why Queer Jesus was so into telling everyone that they've been forgiven and they can forgive others.  Because non-forgiveness doesn't help. 

There actually is no cause for fear or suffering.  Those things are causeless illusions that only perpetuate themselves.

A way to stop the spread of contagious miasmic miserableness is to decide to remember and embody the truth of my profound innocence and everyone else's.  This means I can forgive.  I can make the decision to see myself and everyone else gently, with eyes of love.

I find it helps me to renew my inner commitment and decision that I can be joyful and free all the time, no matter what's going on in my life.  No matter if I have bills I don't know how to pay or people angry with me or if I've lost something I felt attached to.  It just doesn't matter, as Bill Murray likes to say.  I've decided that I'm worthy of happiness of the spirit all the time, without condition, and so are you, O Lovelight.

The minute I think there could ever be any real reason not to be joyful and at peace is the minute I become vulnerable to the miasma.  It's like opening a window in Venice when tuberculosis is in the air. Because even if nothing is "wrong" at this moment  - what if something could go wrong? And then I'd be unhappy! Better start being unhappy right now, in anticipation of my possible future unhappiness!

Best, actually, to decide that unhappiness is totally unnecessary.

I can acknowledge loss, address problems, correct my mistakes - all without having to feel heavy and guilty and awful.

So if you're feeling the miasma right now - start waving your hands around and jumping up and down to get it off of you.  It's just a bad trip.  It's not real.  You're perfect and you always will be.  You deserve to be cuddled up into a big blanket and given nice hot tea.  You're not a failure, you're not awful.  You're a magnificently strange human creature who makes the world better just by breathing.

Some Basic Principles of Awesoming

A list. 1) Awesome (perhaps inevitably, for us mere mortals!) cycles through periods of miserable suck in which your lovelight dims and the queasy miasma of vast self-rejection settles in.  It's okay right now to feel mired in a rotten  cesspool of your own spectacular failure.

I feel that way usually at least for one full week out of the month (my PMS is a bloody-mouthed Destroyer of Worlds, and not in that cool way), and sometimes for whole seasons of numbing yuck in which chain-smoking while watching whole tv series consecutively and only leaving the house to go to 12-step meetings or get more cigarettes is a completely valid way to keep from more promptly and actively killing myself.  I felt that way pretty much solid from 2004 - 2009.  It was great.

2) Awesoming your life, despite how very perky the idea may sound, is actually work that involves soul-melting terror.  Soul-melting terror is the essence of sublimity, and awesomeness is sublime.  Things that are also sublime include hurricanes, Antartica, Tristan and Isolde, and my PMS.

3) Awesoming requires a rearrangement of your heart and brain, so that your intuitive-embracing-poetic-oxytocin-pumping-whole-picture-seeing-compassionate-truth-unveiling-heart is in charge of your business and your analytical-judgmental-calculating-dopamine-seeking-miserable-adrenalized-frightened-rabid-squirrel brain is given chamomile tea and gently comforted with a warm blanket.

4) Awesoming entails learning to identify with and live from your fundamental goodness, innocence and wonder rather than with your culturally programmed guilt, striving, and fear.

5) You already engage in awesoming and you're damn good at it or else you wouldn't be alive and reading this.

6) The process of turning the queasy miasma of vast self-rejection into fertilizer for your slowly-magestically-spinning-sparkling-blue-lotus-of-self-realization is an alchemical one.

It involves paying attention to your dreams, dialoguing with your moods, meditating, journaling, sharing your feelings openly and non-violently with others, playing pretend, writing poetry and making art, throwing parties, dressing up, enacting freaky rituals in moonlight that would scare your mom, singing songs, and loving people both madly and tepidly, as the situation requires.

7) Awesoming isn't something that's given much space and encouragement in our society.  Mostly because when you're engaged in the work of awesoming you're much less interested in buying stuff, you become allergic to lies, you tend to share generously in public and you bring forth spurtzing geysers of joy into the world.  All of which greatly interferes with global corporate capitalism.

So, there you have it.  Awesoming is hard and mostly non-glamorous work.

Highly non-glamorous things I often do in the service of awesoming include:

1) Sitting in moldy church basements and over-heated social halls at 12-step meetings every week.

2) Crying and freaking out.

3) Making food in my tiny-ass closet of a kitchen for folks I may or may not immediately like.

4) Devoting whole days to questioning the reality of my thoughts, beliefs and perceptions, Byron Katie-style.

5) Faithfully studying New Age tomes  and self-help books from the 1970s like A Course in Miracles, A New Earth, The Handbook to Higher Consciousness, and The Nature of Personal Reality.

6) Hanging out at drum circles with people older than my parents who unselfconsciously chant in made-up "Native American" languages and refer to the world as "the matrix."

7) Blogging.

8) Passing up on real jobs in order to have more time for all of the above.

All of which is to say.... awesoming is counter-cultural, difficult, time-consuming, subjects one to accusations of dorkiness and to being made fun of by 16 year olds, and totally worth it.

Because when the foul miasma of rotten self-rejection lifts and I get peeks at my true nature and everyone else's true nature of massive, throbbing, heart-pounding lovelight glory -  well, that just rocks.

 

The Evolver Convergence: A Report

I was privileged to help organize (along with Sophie Batchelor, Annie Derek, Chad Mosesso, all the fab people at Evolver HQ and a ton of volunteers) the first Evolver Convergence which happened in Pittsburgh this past weekend.

Since I'd been sporeganizing for the past year I thought I knew all about the wonders that can come from bringing together gorgeous geniuses. I figured that the Convergence would be lovely and I'd have a great time and meet some grand people and business as usual, etc. etc.

What a vast, vast underestimation. By the end of the Convergence on Sunday, our outpouring of love and wisdom synchronously brought us an astounding quadruple rainbow which we all rushed out to see.

So how did we do that?

Energetically speaking - with so much deep heart opening and harmonizing. I felt not only that we were talking about evolution, but actively bringing it about just by being with one another in such an environment of intention and deep thought and beauty. I've been to a lot of spiritual retreats and festivals and parties in my lifetime, but I've never experienced so much optimism, joy and deeply personal connection at an event. From talking to others, I gather that this was a shared sense. I'm still so awe-struck.

Here's a loose summary:

On Friday at the Wherehouse (a freaky visionary art studio made extra-special with extraordinary and unique-to-the-Convergence art installations by Sophie Batchelor, Zev Rechter, Laurie Shapiro, Hannah Thompson and North Star), Jonathan Talat-Phillips activated our chakras and loosened us up with his own bold story of spiritual awakening and extra-terrestrial encounters. Then we heard the meltingly strange music of Ivory Weeds and Dean Cercone Jr.

First thing on Saturday, Charles Eisenstein led us to speak freely and deeply to one another of our most cherished dreams for the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible and also to name our own gifts and the gifts of the person next to us. And all of this occurred in the auspiciously super-golden and angel-crowned sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church in Shadyside (a very progressive church and community center that we in Pittsburgh are so blessed to have). With this help, we were vibrating and resonating and open at all levels, most especially at the heart level.

Throughout the day on Saturday we enjoyed workshops and panels from truly gifted leaders, teachers and healers that continued to ground us in our bodies and sense of connection to the cosmos and each other.

Daniel Pinchbeck anchored the day with a talk on enjoying the transformation of our world. What I got from Daniel's talk was a momentous sense of possibility and inspiration.

On Saturday night we returned to the Wherehouse Art Studio decked out in eye-popping costumes for the Inner Divinity Costume Party. I saw incarnations of Kwan Yin, Venus, Sai Baba, Adonis, Freya, Odr, and Artemis. Also present were Kabuki demons, wild wolf women, forest nymphs and glow-stick elves from the future. I was thrilled to hear a sumptuous spectrum of sounds throughout the night - everything from mind-bending electronica to progressive rock to conscious hip hop to psychedelic gypsy accordion brass!. I was most excited by Lungs Face Feet (the gypsy-ish brass band) who performed in red Mandarin suits and took us fully into another dimension.

The talks and panels resumed on Sunday at a leisurely pace as we were all recovering from the grandness of the party. For me the highlight of the day on Sunday was getting to participate in the Evolver Network Roundtable wherein sporeganizers from around the country spoke about what they've been doing in their city and what Evolver means to them. It was beautiful to realize that so many of us doing this deep work are brilliant and powerful women. Daniel and Jonathan-Talat both mentioned the need for us ladies to step up and do speaking engagements in more places and I could so feel the need for that.

On Sunday night we sporeganizers managed to get ourselves over to the lovely Verde Mexican Restaurant for a fantastic meal together (we totally took the place over and Evolver'd it up! I loved our raucous toasts!) and then, by a miraculous feat of spontaneous organization, got it together to have a bon fire over on the other side of town at the magnificently beautiful Bandi Shaum plateau. Bandi Shaum is a spot not many in Pittsburgh know about. It overlooks the city's downtown and it's also a quite glorious wilderness. Professional musicians from Chaibaba showed up and drummed for us.

Sitting on a blanket cuddled up with old friends and new ones I felt continually dazzled - between the beauty of the bright brilliant full moon, the fire itself, the vista of the city, and the faces of the incredible beloved evolvers all around.

On Monday we gathered together once more, now just the sporeganizers, to talk about our dreams and get help with our challenges. That conversation was so energizing - and so glorious for me as the lucky Pittsburgh sporeganizer deluged with new talented volunteers!

After the Sporeganizer's Summit I was treated to a dream massage by two pairs of loving and gifted hands. (Thank you Jeanine and David!!) Those of us still in town were treated to a beautiful dinner at Verity Grace's place in Highland Park.

Today I quite unexpectedly and synchronously ran into Verity again while getting lunch in my neighborhood (she's a Pittsburgher but I'd never met her before the Convergence) and she took me to a Venus Transit Viewing party.

I can tell the synchronicities are just beginning to super-speed up for me. I'm starting to feel that Terrence McKenna was really really really right on when he talked about how the interconnections just start racing together in 2012. I can feel the shift evolving into presence - how about you?

I hope that everyone will write about their experiences with the Convergence - I've just scratched the surface with this summary, I could go so much deeper into my own personal reflections and processing - and I know I'll need to soon.

In the meantime, here's a video of us prepping the Wherehouse for the festivities - gives a sense of the scope of the amazing art present:

httpv://youtu.be/17sHWVrEGik

What a Year of Awesoming Does to One's Life

It's been just about a year since I started this blog.

... and I'm stunned every day now by how awesome my life has indeed become.

Just for the record, here's a quick survey of some grand things that awesoming brought me this year:

  1. Friends who like me so much they sing songs about it (I truly never imagined this would ever happen).
  2. The relatively painless finishing of my PhD (also something I feared could never happen). Here's the dissertation I wrote, in case you're curious.
  3. The presence of mind and persistence to write my first ever subversive comic metaphysical novel.
  4. The willingness to record my own tiny little album with just me singing.
  5. The great good fortune to have a severe case of mutual falling-in-love with a very handsome mad genius from another dimension.

Yet despite the fact that things are INCREDIBLE right now, in the past year I managed to accomplish a lot of suffering.  So much suffering that on some days I felt down-right embarrassed that I had a blog and a book on awesoming.

The source of my suffering? I was staying in a situation that obviously wasn't working because I feared change.  It's a lesson that I wrote about in the first chapter of my book: we have to always be willing to let go of what worked in the past and open up to what is needed in the present if we want to experience joy and flow.

Clinging to comforting-but-stultifying set-ups is a deadly path. Last year at this time I knew this well enough to write about it but throughout the year I had to go through another cycle in the continuing spiral that it takes to really learn these kind of things.

Thankfully I now have a bit of a rest from that part of the spiral - I'm enjoying the flow and freedom and awesomeness that have come out of my willingness to confront the painful truth of the situation and to take action to change it from a place of love, surrender and acceptance.

It's my experience that spiritual awakening (or awesoming your life, as I like to call it) is an ever-deepening process of letting go of control and learning to trust in the creative movement of the world - the Tao, or God, or the Universe.  Whatever you want to call it: it's the sweet spot.

It's the thing that can't be talked about but which can be accessed via intuition and reverence.   I can so easily keep myself from receiving the gifts of that power just by getting wrapped up in my beliefs about "how life should be" and "what I should do."  I invest these beliefs with all the sticky power of my ego and end up using them to bully myself.  The more I do this, the less free I feel - until! - the pain of clinging to my beliefs exceeds my tolerance.  Then, only then, I become open minded. "Maybe my life doesn't have to be this way - maybe this isn't what I have to do."

But even once I'm open-minded I still don't know what the hell to do with myself.  At that point, I have to call directly on powers greater than me.  I rely on a wonderful quote from Jung's The Archetypes and the Unconscious to remind me how to do that:

“There are problems which one simply cannot solve on one's own resources. Such an admission has the advantage of being honest, truthful, and in accord with reality, and this prepares the ground for a compensatory reaction from the collective unconscious... If you have an attitude of this kind, then the helpful powers slumbering in the deeper strata of one's nature can come awake and intervene, for helplessness and weakness are the eternal experience and the eternal problem of humankind. To this problem there is also an eternal answer, otherwise it would have been all up with humanity long ago. ... The necessary and needful reaction from the collective unconscious expresses itself in archetypally formed ideas.”

It's rather pagan of me: lately when I pray I like to pray directly to the archetypes within my own soul.

"Dear Archetypes," I begin, "I have abso-zero-fucking-lutely idea what to do about the conflict I feel within myself between wanting to (stay in / leave this relationship; achieve more / have more free time; eat endless piles of chocolate / enjoy better health). I've tried everything I can come up with to solve this problem and I just can't through my own power. I need your help, I need you to do it for me."

This is an embarrassing prayer to have to make.  It means admitting that I'm really not all that capable.  It means humbly putting myself at the mercy of larger forces - coming to the honest recognition that I don't know and not moving from that stark recognition, not rushing to fill in the void with a mind-created "solution" of my own.  That staying within the humble not-knowing is the most subtle and difficult thing of all.

But I find when I'm able to do it that Jung is exactly right: in a few days, something "slumbering in the deeper strata" of my nature wakes up.  Something moves and shifts within me.  I get inspiration; I see possibility; I'm no longer stuck. The archetypes within me float me an idea.  I apply the idea.  The idea works.

I like to think of this as the work of becoming obedient to my own soul (being as the archetypes are aspects, or faces, of the soul).  D.H. Lawrence liked to say that that's what real freedom is: not the freedom to do whatever you want (since most of what we want to do is rather silly ego-stuff) but rather the freedom to obey the dictates of your own soul.  D.H. Lawrence was cool like that.

So anyways - yes.  I'm happy to offer at least my own anecdotal testimony that the principles espoused throughout this blog and my book work as advertised.  I wake up in the morning feeling sweet and happy, have some moments of sheer ecstatic effulgence throughout the day and go to bed satisfied and grateful.

Since I know myself, I know that sooner or later I'll get myself into another sticky situation and have to do more of that difficult deepening surrender work in order to experience this kind of ease and flow again - but that's okay.  Awesoming is a dynamic process.   And this year, I think I'd like to write more about that dynamism as it happens, to share my process more vividly with you as it unfolds.

And now I'm curious about you.  What have your own awesoming processes brought you lately in terms of pains and joys, insights and gifts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

image: [scrappy annie]

Posted on May 31, 2012 and filed under Guide to Awesome.

What Are Dreams

We all must wonder sometimes: what are dreams? Are they just weird little synaptic hiccups? Or something vaster and stranger?

Theories abound about what dreams are.  Scientists only have a very basic grasp: they know that when humans dream, certain perceptual areas of the brain light up with electrical activity.  This knowledge doesn't really solve any mysteries for us.

I want to offer that what we experience as dreams are actually worlds similar to our waking world in some regards.  How can that be? you might wonder.  Our waking world is so firm and solid - there's the ground beneath our feet, the hours that drag out through the day while we're at work, our stable identities and our stable friends.  Meanwhile, in dreams things shift and alter constantly.

Dreams Are Energy

It can be because our waking world, just like the worlds we experience in our dreams at night, is only energy interpreted by our minds and senses into a specific configuration that seems very stable.  Both dreams and the waking world are just streams of energy.  Though the energy of our waking world certainly appears quite stable compared to that of our dream worlds, it's actually not rock solid.  Far from it - everything we experience as matter is made up of tiny particles moving very rapidly through space.

And consider this: do you remember exactly what you ate for breakfast two mornings ago?  And don't your friends always recall stories about your exploits together rather differently than you do?  And haven't you often perceived things in a certain way that you later learned to be false or incomplete?  I ask these questions only to point out that there's many facets of our reality that are subject to shift.  Memory is especially vulnerable, but even present-moment happenings can be experienced very differently by various subjects.

The Dream Body

Just as we have a physical body with physical senses, we also have a dreaming body with dream senses. The sense organs of the dreaming body correspond to the chakras, or energy centers, of the body. One of the reasons why the worlds we experience in our night-time dreams don't seem as stable as our waking world is that our dreaming senses are not as highly developed as our physical senses.  Many of us have undergone a very thorough education in navigating the physical world via our physical senses (remember your parents telling you to always "look out" for dangerous things and to always "listen" to them? they were drawing attention to and training your senses as they did that) and a very poor or nonexistent education in navigating the dream world via our dream senses (did your parents or teachers ever give you dreaming advice other than suggesting that you have "sweet dreams"?)  In many other cultures in other times, the cultivation of the dream senses and the navigation of the dream world was considered just as important (if not more so) than the cultivation of the physical senses and the navigation of the waking world.

How could navigation of dream worlds possibly be more important than navigation of waking worlds?  Don't we need to know how to get around in the waking world in order to survive? Absolutely, yes.  And in that sense the waking world has a fundamental importance.  But our present society wrongly values the navigation of the waking world so much more highly than that of the dreaming world that we actually end up having a lopsided and less happy existence.   "Man cannot live on bread alone" is an old proverb.  It means that human beings are more-than-physical creatures who need more-than-physical nurturance.  It's not enough to just survive.  We need to flourish at the level of soul, of spirit.  And the dreaming experience is so crucial because that experience is actually where the soul can find its nourishment.

If the human physical form is nourished by food, water, and oxygen, the human soul is nourished by the symbols given to us in our dreams.  Just like we have to gather food and water and oxygen in order to survive, we have to gather and assimilate our dream symbols in order to flourish.  This is something that goes almost entirely neglected in our society because the prevailing paradigm doesn't like to recognize that there's a vast source of power beyond any worldly or material power. The capitalist system that we dwell in masterfully controls material resources and material power.  It has, however, no such monopoly on immaterial power.  The only way that capitalism can perpetuate itself is by having its institutions teach us to deny, ignore, minimize and otherwise neglect the vast power of insight and creation that comes to us each night through our dreams.

Revolutionary Dreaming

By choosing to meditate, keep a dream journal and practice dream interpretation, we begin to cultivate our dream body and our dream senses.  We grow closer to integrating the energy streams of dreams with the energy stream of our waking world.  As we achieve that integration, life within our waking world becomes more intuitive and more in harmony with our deep being.  This occurs because most of us mistake who we are: we think we're our waking egos, a little separate "I" with a personal history of grievances and desires, longings and fears.  In a way, this is correct.  We are our egos. But we are also much more.  We are souls, and our waking ego is just one little part of the whole soul that we are.  The work of being alive is to come to know ourselves as complete, integrated souls.  As we do this work we shed our pettiness and selfishness and become aware of our connection to the larger forces at work in the universe.

As we become fully integrated (Keats liked to say "made") souls, we are more and more capable of working for the good of everyone rather than just for the good of our individual egos.  We're of greater service to others; we generate less drama in our lives; we experience greater joy.  We don't need to look to the external world for validation through status, power, physical gratification and material wealth.  In short, we become free of the snares of greed that tie us into capitalism.  Instead, we become the sovereigns of our own selves, capable of answering directly to the source of everything that exists.

image: [zbigphotography]

Alan Moore is a world-class sorcerer worth studying, and so is your dreaming mind...

Dear Wonder, Here are the gems I dug up a few weeks ago. If you'd like my discoveries fresh in your inbox, sign up here.

THE GEMS

 The Mindscape of Alan Moore - free online documentary 

 

I've enjoyed Alan Moore's amazing graphic novels for a long time, but it wasn't until just the other day that a friend posted an interview with him on facebook that I saw his wild-man visage and heard his intense working-class British accent. Just watching Alan Moore speak feels like its own graphic adventure. This documentary gives ample opportunity to listen to Moore explain himself and his creative ethos in-depth. Which is grand. Here's a bit of Moore's dark, dry humor on his own career trajectory: "I found myself working at a skinning yard and tannery, at the bottom of Bedford road in North Hampton, which was probably the bleakest place I've ever been in my life, waking up at seven in the morning and dragging huge heavy dripping sheep skins over vats of urine, water, blood, excrement....I was expelled from that job for smoking dope in the bathroom.... the next job I could get was that of a toilet-cleaner at a hotel... it more or less went down hill from there until I finally ended up as a comics writer."

Stephen LeBerge's Lucidity Institute

 

I've been contemplating making Love & Anarchy more about dreams and dreaming-- and in my researches I came across Stephen LeBerge's wonderful resource. LeBerge is one of the pioneering researchers into lucid dreaming, and has published a number of classic books on the subject. The Lucidity Institute page features excerpts from the books and pretty much everything one could need to get started with becoming conscious within one's dreams.

Ithaca - Michael Guy Bowman (free streaming album)

My weekly stroll around bandcamp uncovered the quirky, upbeat and delightful pop genius of Michael Guy Bowman. Listening to this a lot like listening to early 90s Top 40, with all the earnest weirdness of that genre underscored and inflated. Bowman has done for the 90s what the Modern Lovers did for the 50s -- revved it up again with fresh, bouncy enthusiasm and unironic joy.

UPDATES

I interviewed one of my favorite folks, Matthew Stillman, about creativity and living in the gift. Part one of that interview is available now.

Abigail Amalton offered a beautiful guest post on Art, Love and Transmutation.

I've been thrilled to have coaching sessions with amazing folks all over the world. After one session, a client told me that she felt she'd had a bigger shift from talking to me for 45 minutes than she would have from years of therapy. So, that was rad. Wanting your own breakthrough? Why not schedule your own session with me today?