The transition from meditation as a primarily mental exercise to meditation as a transformational life path requires a full body shift and a willingness to not only embrace everything in your life as an opportunity to learn and grow, but take full responsibility for your thoughts, actions, reactions, and responses. A meditation practice that supports this process requires a deep connection with our body as well as our mind. Learning to engage deeply with our interior landscape becomes the gateway to our liberation.
There are two critical components that are key to deepening one’s meditation practice. First is the cultivation of our capacity to witness and stay present with whatever is arising within us, and the other is taking ownership and embracing it in a space of love and compassion. Transforming deep psychological or emotional wounds demands that we bring our awareness and our compassion to our thoughts, beliefs and all the places of holding, resistance, pain and contraction that is held in our body. Taking ownership does not mean that we are responsible for the woundedness or trauma that we may have suffered. There is no question that some people have been victimized in horrendous ways, and there is a justified outrage with the actions of the perpetrator or the circumstances of the trauma. But the damage is done and we cannot change the past. What we have is the present and the possibility of a different future. Taking 100% responsibility for our psychological and or emotional woundedness gives us power. If our victimization becomes our identity, we are powerless to change our circumstance. Fully embracing and working with the impact of the trauma within us allows us the possibility of deep healing, growth and a very different future.
In the body there is direct knowing. Unlike our thinking minds, which can get caught in confusion, stories, beliefs, neurosis or even psychosis, the body doesn’t lie. Every point of tension and contraction in our bodies is actually condensed awareness. Physical, emotional, and mental stress and trauma that we have experienced beginning even in utero, leaves an imprint. That imprint can impair our growth and development in many ways and on many levels. For example, a study showed that pregnant women who were directly exposed to the attacks on the World Trade Center in September of 2001 and went on to develop symptoms of PTSD, gave birth to children who also showed signs of PTSD. Any trauma, illness, abuse, dysfunctional parenting, harsh environments, etc., that a child may have suffered has a cellular memory and can impact all aspects of development. As a bodyworker friend of mine once said, the issues are in the tissues. We do not have to be the victim of our “issues”, and in fact they can be the very catalyst of our growth, development and awakening. There is a great deal of research today that is reframing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as Post Traumatic Growth. The greater the degree of trauma we experience directly correlates to the greater the possibility for growth.
My belief is that our lives will offer all we need to evolve and awaken. In life there is suffering is the first Noble Truth in Budhhism. It is not something we need to go searching for. I often wonder at the magnitude of the scale of life experience and suffering in our world and also how much of this is amplified by our mental and emotional relationship to our suffering. I also believe that the greatest leverage point is with the present and ourselves. One quote from the 6th century BC Chinese philosopher and writer Lao Tzu became a kind of mantra for me during a stage of my journey many years ago:
“If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.”
In the physical body there is an innate intelligence and impetus toward health and healing, and I believe this is also true for the totality of our being. Connecting and rooting our consciousness in the groundless ground, the basic field, the source from which all life springs, and learning to embody this energy allows us to transform and heal. The gift of our own self-transformation becomes a gift to all of humanity.
– by Katherine Fellows
– There is a wealth of science-based research that proves the benefits of meditation. Greater mental and emotional health, decreased blood pressure, stress and anxiety reduction, and an overall increase in feelings of well being are just a few. I heard a story many years ago that struck me as the most cogent response to this question of why meditate, which was posed by a young student to the Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. When asked why we meditate, he replied that the reason we meditate, is so that when the world pulls the rug out from under you, you have a ground to stand on.
There is a basic ground, a field that we begin to become of aware of through meditation. For the conceptual mind this can be a difficult metaphor because it is not a solid ground that our physical feet can stomp around on. It is solid in the sense that it is ever-present and always supporting us. Our capacity to anchor in this field, stabilize our awareness in this basic ground becomes like the strong deep roots of a tree. The storms of life will blow, ripping off leaves, breaking branches or even bending the trunk of the tree, but it doesn’t die. It can recover and bloom again if it has a solid root system. In my life, the practice of meditation has given me roots in this groundless ground and allowed me to weather many storms, and not only survive but thrive. There was also a point when meditation became a way of living and being and a path of authentic transformation, as opposed to a separate practice that provided momentary relief.
– by Kathy Fellows-Moss
In the coming programs in 2020 and for every year beyond, Kathy and I invite you to share how the work, which many of you have associated primarily with me, Richard, is now evolving to a work of We, the journey of shared awakening through the vision of 3rd Consciousness. It is a work that you can become a part of.
We know speaking of 3rd consciousness is a new metaphor and that it takes times for a metaphor to become a living and felt thing. We have both taught for years, each in our different ways, about the awakening process as a progression and shift from our ego-based consciousness to our Aware Self consciousness. The consciousness you bring to your relationship with yourself is what supports your shift to your Aware Self. This Aware Self is anchored in a universal field of limitless potential, the very fabric of which is Pure Consciousness and Unconditional Love. This field is the home of 3rd consciousness.
For us, all relationships are living things. The relationship we have with ourselves, with others, with Nature, and with this planet, all have an aliveness. In the mathematics of 3rd consciousness 1 + 1 is at least 3. Yes, there is a transaction between me and you that we each bare responsibility for that seems to define cooperation or conflict between separate people or groups. But well beyond this level of individualistic consciousness and responsibility there is a 3rd that is more than me and you. There is you and me and the 3rd that is our relational creation that forms in each moment in accordance with the aware presence we each bring to it. As each of us begins to listen with our hearts to the relational 3rd that is born and reborn in every relationship, this new attention can bring infinite new insight. 1+ 1 can literally begin to be infinite. We believe that living from 3rd consciousness is an emerging evolutionary potential for humanity essential to experiencing truly meaningful lives filled with wonderment and joy. It is also the key to reconciling ourselves with Nature so that we can become consciously obedient to Her and know the Love that has forever been sustaining us.
Kathy and I want to share this vision and evolution of our work with you and we ask you to reflect on what this can mean for your relationships in every domain of your lives. We wonder where this new focus of the teaching can go, what each of you can then bring to every relationship in your lives. While this work can be wonderful for couples it is far more than that. There is no such thing as a single person, so if that is an identity that you hold onto, LET IT GO. We are all always in relationship(s). What we know for sure is that each of us in every relationship, from the most intimate to the most ordinary, is always a student of the 3rd.
Sending you wishes for a renewing and ever-fulfilling New Year,
Richard and Kathy