Posted by: bgreenwell | July 7, 2016

Webinars & Retreat for People Awakening

KG IMG_4832 sml copyI now enjoy offering webinars to bring together people from diverse states and countries who would support in their spiritual awakening process. These are the upcoming webinars and programs I plan to offer between August and November through www.zoom.us.  Here are my upcoming programs.Contact me for fees and other information through email: shantiriver@gmail.com

 Awakening and Embodiment – session 2 –  4 weeks, Thursdays, August 11,25  Sept 8, 22 ( 12 noon—1:30  Pacific time )    

This is an on-line satsang and sharing for those intending to deepen their spiritual practice, support others interested in awakening to our true nature, and explore how to live from a new perspective of awakened intuition and inner autonomy.

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Living with Kundalini —  weekly for 6 weeks – Fridays Aug. 19 — Sept. 23  a.m. PST)                         

This program and supportive group is designed for people who are going through a kundalini awakening process and wish to meet others having this experience while learning classical and modern perspectives of Kundalini, the kinds of experiences and challenges this process brings, and methods of living more comfortably with it while awakening to the transformation it offers.

 Therapist and Teacher training for Kundalini Awakening – 4 Sessions Fridays Oct 14, 28, Nov, 11 and 18 (12noon – 2 p.m. PST)

 If you have taken The Living with Kundalini program at any time you are eligible for the therapist/teacher training which will focus more on identifying the kundalini process in a client or student. You will learn how to use the preliminary questionnaire to assess and understand where to focus in a consultation, the impact of the background and spiritual practices on the experience and how to support this process.  There will be time to discuss cases and learn from one another’s experience.

 A FALL RETREAT IN OREGON —  PRESENCE AT THE CENTER  -Sept 2-5, 2016

This 4-day/3-night non-dual silent meditation retreat will be held Sept 2-5 at St Rita’s Retreat Center in Gold Hill, Oregon, a few miles from the Medford OR airport. It is an opportunity for meditation and reflection on awakening, experiencing silence,  guided meditations and teachings related to awakening to the presence of our true nature, You may also hike in a beautiful  60-acre setting with a labyrinth and waterfall. Journal, or participate in Qigong and sound meditations. Retreat is designed to support your deepest intention for awakening to the Truth of your own Being, and bringing that awareness into your everyday life. We will meet at 4 p.m. Friday (arrive 2-4) and close at 2 Monday.  The fee is $275 is paid by August 15.  This includes a comfortable double room with a bath, vegetarian meals, and all expense

ACISTE CONFERENCE IN PALM DESERT, CA                                           Oct 20-22

I will be speaking on Therapeutic Issues of Spiritually Transformative Experiences at this conference  of an organization related to Spiritually Transformative Experiences at the Doubletree Inn is scheduled Oct 20-22.  Go to www.aciste.org for details.  I am considering doing a kundalini and awakening workshop following the conference in Palm Desert while I am there.  If you would be interesting in attending a program with me at that time and place – Oct. 23-24 – please let me know by sending me an email.

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Posted by: bgreenwell | June 19, 2016

Presence and Embodiment

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Presence is a full body experience of awareness. We feel it fully when we bring awareness below the neck and open the senses to this moment, this place where we stand in all of its dimensions. Awareness is present through all the senses, available to sound, touch, taste, smell and vision before you even think about it. It is the ground of all experience and when you feel it without an interpretation or thought you may feel deeply awake and connected, or even blissful and expansive, as if all the cells in the body are lighting up.

 If you have had an awakening of consciousness or energy your senses may be heightened, because awareness is more dominant, more available. Some people who awaken also feel highly sensitized to the consciousness and energy of other people, as if there are no boundaries, and for a time they need to rest more in nature, avoid intense environments and learn ways to consciously return to their body’s autonomy without losing the ability to be awake and present.

            Before awakening our attention is repeatedly diverted by thought or emotion. Our reactivity to what is happening clouds our capacity to fully be aware and respond spontaneously to what is. When the separate self feels threatened, either physically or verbally, it jumps to the forefront and begins planning a defense. When this happens presence is overcome by reactivity. Awareness is so distracted by thoughts that the senses are deadened and we may not even see what is around us.

Presence is awareness, an aware-ing not only of the mind but of the cells and the senses before the interpretations of thought. Beingness. It happens before labels, before acceptance or resistance, before the “me” takes a position. Most of the time we experience it as a flash before the thoughts enter to form an interpretation, decision or response. The brain is wired to hold concepts and memories and make judgments and choices based on past experience. This is a useful human function that supports physical survival in the world. But it also keeps us trapped in the container of our past that is flavored by misinformation, misinterpretation, the pain of rejection, loss and disappointment, and the self-image that was taken on very early in our life. All of these things form a belief in an “I” that needs to be alert all the time in order to be protected. This arises automatically and unconsciously.

Awakening cracks open this conditioning, brings all of our innate reactions and patterns to the surface to be seen clearly. This is one of the challenges of spiritual awakening — it is not comfortable to recognize those aspects of oneself that are not congruent with Truth, love and compassion and are inauthentic to how the deepest essence would live our lives. It can even feel frightening and lonely when old familiar interests and patterns fall away spontaneously, as they tend to do after a true awakening to the natural Self.

Often people who experience the freedom that arises with an awakening of energy/consciousness feel wonderful for a few hours, days and even weeks. During this time they are living as presence, openness, and a connection with the natural life force in the body. The heart may open. They feel separated from the false and misinformed little self, and instead feel part of the vast unbounded universal Self, that is always present, accepting, open and loving.

But the body and mind of the apparently separate “me” needs to become clear of conditioning so that the individual can become free to embody the wisdom and love of this universal Self. So at some point the residual conditioning that has not completely released is triggered and arises so it can be seen and awakened into the whole of life. This is part of the transformation that occurs in spiritual awakening.

We can’t just reject old habits, beliefs, memories and suffering. As the ancients pointed out “What we resist, persists,” so fighting against or ignoring what appears does not resolve the need for freedom. It becomes necessary to accept that our humanness distracted us from knowing Truth. Realizing this teaches us compassion for others entangled in their own conditioning. The old ego structure is not bad or evil, it just is not true or real in the way we assumed it was. From one perspective our foibles and failures can be met with compassionate humor, because the one who was manipulated by them was nothing substantial that needed defending. (This seeing is one reason some who awaken are said to burst out in uncontrollable laughter!) It is understood it was all a misunderstanding about who “I” am, the activity of an illusionary self.

Here are a few ways these arising shadows of self can be encouraged to move on:

In some cases they are seen through as untrue, based on assumptions made with limited understanding, and it is seen they are not related to the real Truth of who one is. Seeing clearly can release an illusion, just as we know when a fictional movie ends we were seeing illusions on a blank screen, spun out of the imagination of a writer. It helps to question if a thought is true, and sense who you might be without that thought. The spiritual teacher Byron Katie has developed a set of questions for clearing these untrue beliefs from our minds, that she calls The Work.

In some situations the person must meet the part or character inside that feels wounded and let it express itself and be met with love and compassion, so it can heal and free itself. It cautiously appears so that it too can wake up. Some therapists work from this assumption, which can help clients move past their pain.

I have observed at retreats that there are times old patterns are felt simply as energy and heat and they burn through as one is sitting in meditation. In some cases images of apparent other lives appear as well, in order to address some incompletion. A few people may see the story, but often it is only energy releasing.

I have also found that when a wave of emotion like anger or grief arises if I sit and meet it more and more fully and deeply, not as thought but as a knowing in the heart and the body, at some point it will break open and spaciousness, even love, lies underneath. Awareness returns to itself.

Presence may arise spontaneously in those moments when we have released a difficult pattern or trauma from the body. It feels like a profound relaxation into the Now — into this moment, no longer blocked by the confused lens of the past. It often is accompanied by joy, or peace, or a physical sense of love emanating from the heart. It is here and was always here in every moment — the energy of the life force and the consciousness in the body are always present until they leave the body when they pass into another dimension of being. Always trust they are there beneath the confusion, complications, and challenges of ordinary life. Spiritual realization is accompanied by a healing process not just of the personal, but of the collective unconsciousness. I believe this is what Buddha meant when he said “When I awakened, the world awakened.” If one does not enter this healing stage the awakening is truncated, and this is when you see apparently awakened people who take advantage of or cause harm to their students and communities, or who appear distant and too detached from the world, unwilling to be present with other human experiences.

The embodiment of presence, including an open heart into life, and respect for all beings, is the hallmark of an embodied, awakened spirit. Despite the rumors of a sudden and complete enlightenment, most humans get there only a step at a time, as the residue of their history falls away.

(I will be holding a silent non-dual meditation retreat Sept 2-5, 2016 in southern Oregon, and also host webinars on Living with Kundalini.  To be on an email list for my  quarterly Shanti River newsletter please contact me through http://www.awakeningguide.com)

Posted by: bgreenwell | June 5, 2016

What is Spiritual Freedom?

spiritual-awakeningThe way to become free is to recognize the freedom that already exists. Once the pure essence of being or presence is remembered and lived the mental conflicts of worthiness, desire, disappointment, guilt, depression, irritation etc. fall away because they are seen as irrelevant. The True Nature knows none of these because it knows itself as the All or the Source, or the presence of consciousness.

Many people have a touch of this realization of Oneness and turn away from it because of fear that  arises when there seems to be no ground on which to stand. Separateness feels essential to the ego structure and bounces back readily.     The sense of Oneness is not recognized in mainstream cultures that emphasize owning the uniqueness of the separate sense of self. These teachings are not saying that the body does not exist or that at the relative level there are no guidelines for living. They point to the inclusiveness and divinity of All, that everything of creation made of the five elements is Brahman (the One Indefinable Source). Existence as form is not the problem; exclusive identification with a separate form, and the beliefs that arise within it, is what keeps us blind to what we truly are, and in conflict with reality. Vedantic scriptures point to the essence, vastness and inclusivity of what we truly are, and that the world of forms is not the Truth it appears to be.

Here are a few stanzas from a sacred Vedanta scripture, the Advadhuta Gita of Dattatreya, an extreme Advaita or Nondual text. Avadhuta means a liberated soul who has shaken off worldly attachments. Vedantic scriptures are inspirational for all who wish to directly realize Truth, for they touch us beyond the mind.

“You are not born nor do you die. At no time do you have a body. The scripture declares in many different ways the well-known dictum ‘All is Brahman'”.

“You are (One) who is exterior and interior. You are the auspicious One existing everywhere at all times. Why are you running hither and thither deluded, like an unclean spirit?”

“There is no body made up of five elements; nor is there anyone who is disembodied. All is verily the Self alone. How can there be the three states and the fourth?” (note: refers to waking, sleeping, dreaming and Awakened states)”

“I am not bound, I am not indeed liberated, and I am not different from Brahman. Neither doer nor enjoyer, I am devoid of the distinctions of the pervaded and the pervader.”

“As water when water has been poured into water, has no distinctions, so purusa (soul or essence, consciousness) and prakriti ( nature or forms of appearances, energies) appear nondifferent to me.”

“You verily are Truth, devoid of change, motionless, one of the nature of freedom. You have neither attachment nor aversion. Why do you suffer, seeking the objects of desires?”

“I know that I in every way, is the one indivisible “I” which is self-sustained and full while the five elements, beginning with ether, are empty.”

“The enlightened one is a yogi devoid of yoga and absence of yoga. He is an enjoyer, devoid of enjoyment and absence of enjoyment. Thus he wanders leisurely, filled with the spontaneous joy of his own mind.”

Quotes from Avadhuta Gita of Dattateya, translated by Swami Ashokananda for the Shri Ramakrishna Math.

 

Posted by: bgreenwell | May 31, 2016

Fear and Transformation

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When the energies of spiritual awakening arise very often so do the energies of fear. It is in these moments when the body feels invaded and out of conscious control that the experiences of transformation becomes real, and the illusion that we can jump out of all of our personal conditioning into a permanent state of transcendence is shattered.  Our body, mind, emotions and spirit are in a process of radical change.

 Our bodies are fields of energy, living, changing and vibrating with the life force.Awareness moves through these energy flows connecting us with many experiences.

Yogic science describes 72,000 lines of energy in this grid, connected by chakras: these flows of energy are responsible for all our movements and responses including breath, coughing, sneezing, blinking, digestion, elimination, the heart pumping and every other condition of movement we experience as living beings.  When Kundalini energy activates it unlocks our vital energy at the source and intensifies the experiences we have, as it moves through the body and into the brain, connecting us ultimately with universal energies.  What I have seen over the years of listening to many who have awakened kundalini energy is that this is essentially a clearing process, shaking loose old patterns, memories, blockages or knots in our energy field so that the body can become open and present without contraction or reactivity. In the process new potentials are also activated.

When people write about negative experiences with kundalini on the web they are describing their own challenges with letting go, either at the physical or emotional level. The “letting go” is trying to facilitate the release of identifications with our body, mind and feelings. Deep unconscious material may arise, or archetypal visions related to the collective unconscious. There is a place of deep stillness and presence available when we are not identified with the history and beliefs stored within us, personally and collectively – rather like the deep sleep we have when we are not for the moment aware of our personal self.  Awakening is awakening to this consciousness/awareness that is alive in us prior to association with all these attachments.  The letting go that comes with awakening is not under our control, but is a deep transformative process that is taking us into this unknown or unremembered realization, and it can be very frightening for the little “me”, the holder of a separate sense of unique perspective and history we each collect as human beings. It can feel like annihilation, but no more dangerous than the annihilation of an infant in the service of becoming an adult. We discover that which never changes in the midst of the continual flows of life.

 There are many experiences in this journey to the deeper Self, the Oneness of consciousness shared by all.  Some of them are exquisite and expansive and overflowing with love.  Some of them feel invasive, out-of-control, disruptive of our lives and self image.  Many of them are unfamiliar and some feel overwhelming.  To the extent you can see the fear as energy, a reaction of the little me who prefers control and predictability, and explore being curious and open to what is happening, willing to just let go and let be with whatever is, you will be leaning into a more awakened life and discover wonder and grace in this evolutionary process.

As awakening becomes more stable it does not mean the end of all feelings.  But as we learn acceptance of whatever arises the energies can help the feelings release more smoothly and quickly, because there is no longer a need to hold on to the stories they represent.  Awareness notices the feelings with compassion, and holds them in a more broad perspective, seeing the nature of consciousness manifest as humanity. They are just energies moving through, perhaps as a personal release, perhaps for the universal good of the species. Awakening shifts perspectives, energies and human capacities for wisdom and love.

 

Posted by: bgreenwell | May 26, 2016

Awakening Energy & Consciousness

imagesSpiritual awakening involves shifts in both energy and consciousness. If you think about this you can see that is the essence of our existence. We are a molecular structure moving and acting through the flow of energy, and aware because of consciousness. Our brains function like receiving stations and organizing systems where we receive and store information that determine our thoughts and behaviors. So the energy in our bodies makes adjustments to release old wiring and patterns whenever a major shift in consciousness takes place, and spiritual awakening is a major shift in the recognition of who and what we are.

And yet we all know there are also significant movements and perceptions that arise from the heart as well– love, compassion, tenderness, longing, expansiveness. When we are traumatized, neglected or abused we tend to block these emotions and the heart feels contracted or even armored against these life-affirming experiences. The heart also must awaken itself in a spiritual process, bringing up extreme vulnerability and anxiety.

Spiritual awakening can be challenging because the spirit or true nature longs to express all our potential, to feel free of the limitations created by separateness from life or from other people. All of our conditioned responses, reactivity and beliefs are being released from the energy field so that consciousness can operate free of them.

It is as if awareness has been filtered most of our life through our past experiences and future desires and anxieties, the concepts in our heads and the blocks in our heart.  These are like lens that distort clear perception. The changes a person is subjected to happen so that these lens may be removed from the sense of “I” or “me” and experience can become more immediate, unfiltered, and open to what is. It is a struggle for the sense of a separate “me” who lives in a mind constructed for survival, protection, and identification with its roles and history. Holding on to a personal identity feels like a survival need.

The true nature is free of these concerns and instead feels presence, wonder and relationship with all things. For many people this is not a comfortable journey. An awakening of consciousness can bring beautiful vast insights and an awakening of energy can bring bliss. But for a person to feel free in the world they must release attachments to their cherished beliefs about who they are and what they need, and allow their body to do the rewiring that is needed.  Awareness within us needs to find an internal thread that takes it back to source.  One way this happens is through questioning any belief or feeling or thought that arises from conditioning and asking just who it is that is aware of these beliefs, feelings and thoughts. Who is this “I” that notices and believes all these assumptions.  None of these beliefs were present on the day you were born. Who would “I” be if they all fell away?  What is the essence within you that has never changed? This thought of “I” is the lynch pin that holds our story together and keeps us in separation.

Opening to this remembering is not the obliteration of knowledge, but the opening to a more broad context and universal wisdom about life. It is not the end of uniqueness: just as every snowflake is unique, so are human expressions. But it is the end of attachment to this uniqueness and the opening to the realization of Oneness.

My books “The Kundalini Guide”, related to the energies of transformation and “The Awakening Guide”, exploring the shifts in consciousnss, are available  on amazon as guides for those who are taking this inner journey

Posted by: bgreenwell | May 15, 2016

New Movements Exploring Awakening

I will be speaking at the ACISTE 2016 annual conference in Palm Springs, Oct-19-23, 2016 and I’m considering holding a separate 2-day Living with Kundalini Gathering after that, Oct 23-24, also iIMG_1480n Palm Springs. You can learn more about the conference at www.aciste.org, (stands for American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences). Details are not yet available on the website but should be up this summer. I’ll send out notices and also announce here in mid-summer for any program I plan.
I’ve also received an inquiry about participating in a documentary on kundalini and spiritual awakening by a San Francisco film-maker! It seems to me there is a rapidly growing interest in helping people understand the power and blessings of a spiritual awakening, which happens in many forms  to many people, and creates new energies and shifts of understanding about the nature of consciousness and reality, along with radical changes in the interior life and often  the exterior one as well.

Recently neuroscience research is exploring the dynamics of changing brain patterns and potentiality after meditation or enlightenment, and Dr. Andrew Newberg just spoke on a SoundsTrue internet  Neuroscience Training Summit about joint research with over 2000 people who have reported awakenings. They are seeking to know the impact of enlightenment on the brain, and discover methodologies for helping others activate it. I met Andrew during the early years of the Kundalini Research Network and have been happy to see his evolving career.  He is about to publish a new book on the Mind, reflecting on his research.

Dr. Dan Seigal is researching and writing about the impact of mindfulness meditation on the brain. Psychiatrist Stan Grof has a foundation that is funding  an International Spiritual Emergence Network to help people find help after an awakening process, bringing together therapists around the globe qualified to help and easy to find on their website. The folks at http://www.scienceandnonduality.org are offering gatherings all over the world to bring together progressive scientists, therapists and people passionate about the possibility of a broad-based awakening of consciousness. Shades of Awakening, a FB network of people who have had challenges with spiritual processes, has come alive on Facebook with over 2000 members along with several other groups focused on spiritual awakening.

I’ve been working for over 30 years with people in an awakening process, some reporting experiences after years in a spiritual or meditation community, and others having random spontaneous experiences for many reasons. Some have had a hard time dealing with the psychological and energetic issues that arise and others have had mostly positive experiences but want better understanding.

I am just finishing a new book called “When Spirit Leaps: Understanding the Varieties of Spiritual Awakening Experiences “ describing the portals through which people fall into these transformative moments, and the best ways to live with the changes they bring, and it will include many wonderful quotes from my files. As I get older I hope to leave behind as much information as I can that will help therapists, spiritual teachers and others provide the right kind of support and guidance for spiritual emergence, as it has been badly misinterpreted in traditional psychiatry for many years. Some amazing pioneers like Stan Grof, Carl Jung, Roberto Assagioli, Ken Wilber and a few others have laid a groundwork for validating spiritual experiences and I hope to show how those who long for spiritual understanding or Truth can open to it and those who have spontaneous awakenings or kundalini arising can take it all the way, if they only have the right understanding about what is happening to them, and healthy mentoring through the process. (In the meantime I have two rich handbooks for those with kundalini or awakening experiences available at http://www.amazon.com .) I’m also offering new webinar programs on Awakening and Embodiment, Living With Kundalini and in the Fall Supporting the Kundalini Process for Therapists.

There was a time that such information was secret and specific to work with one teacher who you obeyed and who guided you along the path known in their lineage. This is exceedingly rare today, and perhaps no longer suits the modern psyche.  Today many tools for awakening are available everywhere, and often these are offered by those who do not know the varieties of phenomena an awakening can produce, or can help people get to the optimal potential where awakening leads. Many fall by the wayside because of poor advice, misunderstanding, abandonment by their teachers, or just giving up hope in frustration. However clear an initial awakening masky-laughing-buddha-copyy be it is almost inevitability followed by a clearing and a waiting process, a gradual unfolding of perspective, presence and authentic direction in one’s life. If any of us have traveled that road it is great gift to be able to show others how to light their own way.

You may find just what you need at any of the above mentioned events. If you bump into me be sure to say hello.

Connect with me at http://www.shantiriver@earthlink.net if you wish more information about any of my programs.

Posted by: bgreenwell | May 1, 2016

The Interior Wisdom of the Self

“All this universe, movable or immovable, has come out of Intelligence.  Renouncing everything else, take shelter in it.

hs-1996-03-b-thumbAs space pervades a jar, both in and out, similarly within and beyond this ever-changing universe, there exists one Universal Spirit.”

Since the Spirit in its nature is not limited by time, or space it is therefore infinite, all-pervading and entirety itself.”Si

                                                                       Verses 48,49, 54 Siva Samhita

The ancient spiritual scriptures of India hold a perspective that directly touch our spirit, because they speak to our universal and eternal Self.  Spiritual practices in all traditions are designed to lead to this realization of One Self whether through meditation, grace, sacred chanting, visualizations , sacred geometry,  or contemplation.

What is this intelligence of the universe?  I think of it as the sacred source and instigator of life, an impulse of creation that far surpasses any human endeavor, and yet the same impulse that inspires all creative action through the human mind, and is the dormant potential in all lives.  It is the light that shines through us as life itself, and moves through the heart and mind when we are inspired by love or action for the good of the whole.

            This “intelligence” is considered “true existence” in the Siva Samhita and the only real substance of life, the Source of All.  It devolves into all states of matter that then form our human experience.  These are ether, air, fire, water, earth and their combinations , which are subject to destruction, and therefore a cause of distraction, delusion and suffering.  This is the teaching of impermanence in Buddhism as well as the reason that detachment is a teaching in Vedanta.  To awaken to True Nature we must detach from these identifications long enough for realization to activate.

            We humans have the benefit and challenges of being both form and spirit, made of the elements and the eternal Self.  This Self is yet to be acknowledged by a science based on matter, seeking the core of matter and yet to find it.  Just as science does not seem to be able to locate this source of intelligence in the working of the universe, so do we as individuals have trouble locating the source of true wisdom within ourselves, and for the most part rely on our accumulation of facts and experiences to frame our perspective of living.  If we are called to seek a deeper Truth, the mystery of what we are, then we may feel compelled to begin a spiritual search.

            The search of Spirit within is actually the removal of layers of delusion, of beliefs and attachments, emotionally charged history, warped relationships with other humans, and other distortions.  Many of these are shared distortions because of the prevalence of external forces of main-stream thinking designed to keep us in congruent social patterns.  These vary depending on the collective goals of our cultures, churches, educational systems and family myths.  Some of the ancient scriptures suggest these are all false – not because they are useless or in some cases reasonable patterns for living in our cultures – but because they are based on an underlying delusion about our nature as human beings.  They all identify this nature as being the extent of what we are, and this leads to divisions, conflicts and the willingness to harm others to get what we want.  This false identification is what leads to suffering, including the fear of death.

            Spiritual awakening is about a glimpse beyond these identifications that happens when for a moment or longer one has dropped all cultural, familial and bodily attachments and has seen or felt the light of spirit rising up or flowing downward in a way that feels irrefutable in showing us we are connected to all: we are not only Spirit but the One Spirit that is the source of all created forms and all unbounded existence.  We see through the eyes of this Spirit and recognize “I am this!” These amazing moments of grace change us profoundly, but much of this insight fades away as old patterns reassert themselves in our energy fields. The process of eliminating delusions once again takes time and we have to rise above the emotional difficulties caused by our belief we have lost something, or done something wrong, in order to remain steady in the Truth of what we know, and do the clearing necessary to live from this Truth.  This is made especially challenging because we live in a culture that is lost in its own identifications and delusions and is not in any way supportive of the awakening process.

            Anyone who has had a glimpse, or is willing to take on the journey of freeing themselves of “false” beliefs in favor of a direct knowing of what they are, can find encouragement in ancient scriptures like the Siva Samhita, the Siva Sutras, some of the Upanisads, the Bhagavagita and others.  Some of these Truths are hidden in the teachings of Jesus as well, especially in “the Father and I are One”, or “The Kingdom of God is Within”.  Buddhist and Taoist teachings, and Sufism also hold these Truths. The most useful thing to do when you are longing to understand who you are, from where you have come or where you are going, is to trust that there are pointers, and there are revelations, and you can find your own realization because we humans have arisen from this One Source and it is at the core of who we are.

Drop the mental struggle to figure it out, and ask your heart how this all began, and fall into the deep silence of not-knowing and rest there.

Posted by: bgreenwell | April 21, 2016

Authenticity in the Awakening Process

If you feel a longing to”wake up” spiritually the most important thing you can do for yourself is to be authentic. You need to listen to your deepest longings and align yourself with what is right expression for you.
We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with opinions, positions, fear-based commercialism, and models that demonstrate how we should eat, dress, interact with our peers, perform in all of our roles in life, and even think. It isn’t easy to find our unique way and trust our selves when burdened with all these messages. Most people suffer years of hesitation and self-doubt, and adjust themselves to please others..
Through the last 20 centuries the most psychologically pervasive institutions in terms of creating limiting beliefs have been our churches. As organizations they have found they have great power when they convince large groups of people to follow one belief, and teach them to lean on a hierarchy that is the prime interpreter of spiritual guidance and wisdom. This is a true challenge for any “believer” who feels the inner urge to seek Truth or question just what is the nature of “God” or the “meaning of life”. The independent search for Truth has been condemned as heresy and many great mystics were outcastes in their time because they saw beyond the boundaries of the religion they had trusted.
Any true and full awakening breaks one out of all systems, all conventions and all need of  unquestioning faith. It forces on us the isolated experience of personal encounters with the mystery of an existence that is infinite, unbounded, without concept or judgment. When consciousness recognizes itself as Source, as a part of a creative activity so vast that it could never be contained by a belief structure, then the tragedy of human conceptual addiction becomes apparent. It can be a horrific shock to know you see the world through a lens that is ignored by most of the population, and even more so if you are labeled strange, rebellious, uncooperative or even mentally ill by professionals who should know better, but do not have a paradigm to recognize your experience and vision.
Spiritual awakenings of many varieties occur for many reasons. They plunge one out of complacency with the status quo. It is seen that many social patterns are pretense. They are not wrong – they are just not real. People appear to be pretending, and are clearly separated from the deepest understanding of their own true Self.
If you have a great longing for God, or Truth or Liberation, the place from which that longing arises is the most true and enlightened part of yourself. There may be many other diversions, attractions and drives that are plunging you ahead in your life, but this gnawing question will push against all of them until you turn and face it squarely. You need an alignment with this urge to Know. Awakening is not a sideline, an accomplishment, another drop in the bucket list. It can’t happen, or if there is a glimpse, it cannot endure as one of many adventures in consciousness. That within us which is awake is so free and so undemanding that it will allow any whim to distract us and never stand in the way.. It is like a refined flower seeded in your heart that will only push through the earth when it is free of the weeds of distracted thoughts and activities.
This does not mean one must live a cold and empty life – the simple joys of life can feed this awakening bud. The awesomeness of a sunset, the beauty of a baby, the soulful eyes of an animal – almost any fully felt encounter that is experienced with innocent wonder will open you to the possibility of grace. Sometimes a deep concentration or devastating emotion can spontaneously collapse into an awakened state. Experiences that jolt you out of self-preoccupation and self-identification open a portal to awakening. Life is full of opportunity to activate the spark of Self-Knowing.
But this can only happen when you are real, when you are honoring your deepest Truth, when you are caught in a moment of naked sincerity. Only when you know this is what you want more than anything else, will you find the courage to open the door, look deeply into yourself, allow what isn’t true to fall away, and relax into the core of your beingness.
The mind can keep you distracted for a lifetime – there are so many things to think, and adventures to have. This is the human dance – meant to be evidently because that is the way it is. But if you been infected by the hunger to know Truth it will demand all of your commitment, blossom from your love, force you to tear away your illusions and invite you into the paradoxical mystery of feeling alone yet at one with every living thing.
It is true that some people fall into awakeness spontaneously, before they have had a time of longing. This is a gift not always graciously received because there has not been time to long for it, to find a like-minded community, or to understand that consciousness slipping into a new perception is not a mental illness. So it can take many months, even years, to come into an understanding of who you are, even while there is a gut-level intuition of the Truth. It is more challenging to ground into the world, to become aligned with humanity, when an awakening is sudden an unintended. Here again is the need for authenticity. True authenticity can be quiet, relaxed, trusting what you know without a need to push it on anyone else. As soon as an experience becomes a story or a concept to be accepted by others it is the separate self that has appropriated it. Usually it is the frightened or doubting self that is seeking recognition. The Awakened True Nature has no need to be understood or to force anyone else to join it. It is full within itself. When resting here we recognize we have no needs at all.
When awakening happens at a deep level this is rarely the end of the journey – most people will feel the return of many of their unique patterns, needs and desires. Many express the feeling of “I have it and I lost it.” This is not an error. It can take a very long time to live from an awakened consciousness. Here again authenticity helps – listening to the quiet place within that invites you to do what feels right for you despite the many opinions of everyone else. It is as if a deep and honorable ally is at the core of your being and it will help you to find your way. I had an image once of a lantern man lighting my way through a maze – it is rather like this. The light may be feeble at first, or burst at moments into brilliant whiteness, but either way it is showing you the way to live in alignment with Truth. Be patient with yourself. Be true to your deepest wisdom. This is authenticity.

 

Posted by: bgreenwell | April 6, 2016

Spiritual Unfolding with Adyashanti

A lengthy audio interview I once did with Adyashanti about Spiritual Unfolding is now posted on Facebook. We spoke at length about the kundalini experience or the way that energy awakens and its impact for people in a spiritual process, including how it awakened for him. It hasn’t been available for awhile so someone has posted it for those who would like to better understand the experiences that might accompany a spiritual awakening. Here are the links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYiBEKDA18c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVL_qS1CIH4&nohtml5=False

 

I also want you to know I am working more with webinars now using zoom.us, a great service for our discussions on spiritual awakening and kundalini. I have a program on Awakening and Embodiment beginning Aug. 12 and a new Living With Kundalini webinar in August, followed by a training for therapists, yoga teachers and others who support people in this transformative process. To learn more about my work check out my books on amazon and to get more info on webinars or subscribe to my new newsletter send me an email to shantiriver@earthlink.net.
Posted by: bgreenwell | March 31, 2016

Ways to Lighten Up

If you are having challenges with a spiritual awakening process or just life in general here are 10 things you can do every day that will help you lighten up.

1.Take a few minutes to make a running list of things you are grateful for in your life.

2. Spend some time outdoors relating to a tree, a rock or a river.

3. Remember to use your senses to be fully present now — instead of entangled in watching and reacting to your thoughts, most of which are not true and just neurons firing. Can you predict what thought will arise next? Then why believe they are based in truth? They mostly spring from long past experiences and habit, or from something someone once told you as if it were true. Look out the window and be with what is real right now.

4. Stretch and breathe into the heart or the belly. Breathe in clarity, Breath out love.

5. Stand up and Swing your arms and body from side to side scooping energy in and flowing it out.

6. Even when setting a boundary you can send out love. Boundaries are not about blocking people, but about doing what is right for you in the moment. You may need to avoid crowded places, and toxic interactions.

7. Avoid intoxicants and mind-altering substances. Eat well.

8. Your true nature came into existence as form to enjoy the experience of this amazing world and the adventure of a journey through it. Facing what we do not like and cannot change is part of the journey. Resistance doesn’t support change — clarity, acceptance and creative action does.

9. Do some small service or something good for a person or the planet each day.

10. Take a backward step into stillness and presence and send affection to the little you  that is still sometimes caught in illusion and struggle. When you learn to do this for yourself you will find it easier to do for others.

For more guidance on spiritual emergence you might read”The Kundalini Guide” and “The Awakening Guide” on Amazon or Kindle. To receive a newsletter monthly from Shanti River Center on internet webinars and other events related to non-duality and spiritual awakening send an email to shantiriver@earthlink.net

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