Posted by: bgreenwell | November 6, 2016

Beyond a Foggy Mind

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Morning Fog Enfolding Ashland

Have you ever had a “foggy” mind? You just can’t think clearly.This is not uncommon at times, especially if you have raised your pranic  energy into the head, or just emerged from a transcendent or trance state, or  may be dealing with grief or other stressors. You feel you cannot think. The brain is not working as efficiently as it was. It can be a struggle to get back into your previous patterns of focusing, and this can make you feel insecure. And the struggle sometimes intensifies tension because you are afraid this fog might be a permanent condition.

The thick fog as I looked out my windows this morning reminded of this foggy condition, and of an experience early in my marriage, living in an area that was sometimes blanketed with heavy morning fog. One morning my husband was rear-ended on the short drive to work by a truck that couldn’t see him. There were no injuries, but a lot of inconveniences.

It is this way with thought as well. When we can’t think straight it can be awkward, embarrassing, and certainly inconvenient to get our usual tasks done. But when in a spiritual process it is an element of transformation and harmonization. It is a time that the brain is reorganizing, restructuring the wiring created in our past and opening new channels. It is also an opportunity to develop a more gut-level or heart-level kind of intuition, to learn to think below the neck, and discover latent resources.

Usually our thinking is so active and we are so dependent on thought that all of our attention is drawn into the head. Awareness is ensnared by what we think – but thoughts are not always logical or true. Thoughts often focus on worries about the future, self-judgments, anxiety about what others think, fears of failure, projections on those around us, or plans that do not work out well. Most of this is an imaginative interpretation of life, having little to do with truth.  In some ways our brains are like computers, indifferent to our true potential as living, expressions of the One spirit, the creative vital element of life. Thoughts trap us the way the little spinning circle in a computer keeps us from getting quickly to the data we need.

I have found that if I am willing to give up the struggle, brain fog can be an invitation to go into stillness, to rest in the deepest inner part of myself and let go of anxiety and division, to rest from thought. It can be very uncomfortable at first, just like driving when you can’t see clearly. But what if you let go attending to what is happening in your head, and bring awareness to other areas of the body from the heart down to the feet?

Awareness is always with you, even alert to dreams as you sleep, or available to the sounds of the morning that awaken you. Can you consciously become that for a while, bringing awareness down to listen to how your heart would like to spend the day, or noticing what your body needs in order to relax during this time. Usually awareness is overwhelmed by the stimulus of thought, experience or emotion, and we become identified with these dynamics in our lives. But be awareness for just a few minutes, without identifying with anything awareness sees, feels, hears, touches or tastes. Awareness was here in your field of presence before anything else was labeled or known or believed in. It is your presence. You collected many attitudes, reactions and positions as you experienced living and the personal ego is created by this movement of identification. The fogginess may be blocking these old habits; they can’t unfold to advise you in their habitual way. So drop awareness out of the part of you that is trying to hold on, and turn awareness into itself. What is this awareing that you are that you can readily move into your heart, your belly, your feet? Feel into it without thinking about it. No matter how foggy the thoughts, awareness is still present – can you turn it into itself and simply rest as that? This is a doorway to awakening into your True Nature.

Everything remains of the town and the sky when the fog lifts, and so will all the stories and concerns of your life remain. But if awareness has become more conscious and more inclusive of other parts of yourself you will have new ways to move in the world. You may even have new eyes to see what is there beneath the fog, and begin to interpret your life and experiences in a new way.

 

Posted by: bgreenwell | October 27, 2016

The Many Faces of Transformation

sky w stairs Have you had a spiritually transformative experience (STE)? I just returned from presenting at  a conference held in Palm Desert by ACISTE, focused on people who have had such events in their life — ranging from near-death experiences (NDE), kundalini activation, powerful dream sequences, shamanic openings and alien encounters. The ACISTE brochure reports a 2004 survey by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago indicating 35.7% of the adult US population has had at least one religious or spiritual experience that “changed their life”.   Such changes alter how people look at themselves and the world, triggering both positive and negative reactions. Whatever the cause or source you cannot comfortably retreat to an old pattern of being when you have had such an awakening. You must move forward.

In my experience with “experiencers” I believe the most important factors in this transformation are the ability to share their stories without the listener pathologizing them, the opportunity to frame the event as a positive shift or expansion in understanding of the collective Self and personal sense of self, the acceptance of an invitation to awaken the inner spirit and live from a new perspective, and the willingness to nurture Oneself. The Mother, who worked with Aurobindo to establish Integral Yoga and expand the understanding of consciousness in the world, once said that the heartfelt release of fear is the most important step on the spiritual path. Fear creates contraction and contraction blocks the free flow of physical and psychic energy, confuses thinking, and can even make us ill if it is prolonged.

Awakening is an encounter with a new perception and as our perceptions change and broaden we become transformed. If you have awakened energy in these processes, it is your own life force moving through the subtle body to clear out the cobwebs of old beliefs and patterns that are no longer useful. One is literally shaken out of complacency! Anyone who has sincerely engaged in a lengthy therapeutic or growth process, or pursued a spiritual practice or energy therapy, can look back and discover a before and after in their way of living. These process bring us into gradual change and transformation. STE’s are life’s way of suddenly and irrevocably plunging you into change, bringing you to encounters with previously unknown aspects and potentials of human consciousness. How you interpret them and how you live them forward significantly impacts every aspect of your life.

As a non-dual teacher I have seen many experiences of “no-self” — moments in meditation or unexpected awakenings of consciousness to its own expansive and unbounded nature.   No-self is the experience of One Self or the realization of the ground of our being. Many of the dramatic transformative experiences that come unbidden are showing us the vastness of the creative expression that arises from this ground, demanding we find a new center that can encompass more of creation, and learn to search for Truth in new ways.

Transformational change that reaches through the entire psyche and physical structure, depleting the identification with the separate self, is seldom recognized by therapists, who much prefer step-by-step integration. Transformation is challenging and sometimes messy. But it is time for therapists to listen with curiosity instead of hurrying to a psychiatric diagnosis of such movements, and offer support, creating approaches that encourage flexibility, grounding and inner strength to those who encounter them. It is time to recognize that these kinds of awakenings happen to much of the population, and can lead to a more rich and radiant life, rather than one reduced by a mistaken diagnosis.

My books “The Awakening Guide” and “The Kundalini Guide” (on amazon.com) address many of the issues of transformative experiences, and I am happy to say I am about to sign a contract for a new book that will explore the many ways I have seen spiritual awakening arise and transform lives over 30 years of listening to the stories of those who live this experience. I am hopeful that through conferences like ACISTE, SAND and many others, along with many new books and neuroscience research, we will as a culture begin to recognize and truly value the power of awakening to change the quality both of individual lives and the collective understanding of consciousness

Posted by: bgreenwell | September 7, 2016

Presence, Awakening and ACISTE

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I will be speaking at the ACISTE conference in Palm Springs the weekend of Oct. 20 -22 on Identifying and Supporting Spiritual Transformation. Go to http://www.aciste.com for information about this event, designed to support people who are a spiritual awakening process. ACISTE is the Assn for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences. I hope to offer a one-day workshop on Living with Kundalini the Monday following for people who want to better understand the kundalini process.. Please drop me a note at kundinfo@mindspring.com if you would like more information.

I just completed a weekend retreat called Presence at the Center, a gathering of women committed to spiritual awakening. If we wish to discover the innate happiness within us it is important to take time out of our lives to rest in our center – the deep stillness available within our hearts, but often clouded over by the demands, distractions and worries of modern life. Meditation retreats, especially those held with the added dimension of silence, offer a return to our Self.

I become very busy in those days when I have a retreat planned, especially if I am doing other events such as webinars or consulting with those who contact me with concerns related to their spiritual process. I’ve also just completed a new book on spiritual emergence and am waiting to hear from a publisher.  All of this busy-ness is like riding a fast moving train for several weeks, and then skidding to a halt at the retreat center, where I need to find my own deep silence if I am to invite others into it. Finding our Self is about Stopping!

Mental activity, emotional upheavals, multiple engagements in our lives, the many voices surrounding us with expectations – all of these can fall away if we STOP, leaving us in the pure sweet awareness that has always been waiting in the center of the cyclone of our lives. There is a place within each of us already still, accepting, and open to the quiet joy of simply being.

You may find when you are first silent there is an upheaval of mental activity, and even of unconscious material that arises. Both meditation and energy work (such as yoga or Qigong) open us to that which needs to be seen in order to be released, so that our subtle energy field can become more free. Release and insight bring growth and widen our access to inner harmony and relaxation. Be patient with what arises as it is your own consciousness inviting you to meet, release and move toward awakening. Suffering unwinds itself from our systems as we learn to meet our life experiences with equanimity and to meet ourselves with love.

Spiritual awakening has no religious preference and is open to all. It is not about a belief, or embracing a system or tradition, although for some people these may offer  initiating practices that will bring an invitation to know Yourself. Awakening is an intimate touching of our natural state of spirit embodied, a direct inner knowing of our connection with the All. It cannot be languaged clearly, although poets and sages have found ways to offer pointers. Unusual phenomena may arise when we follow our longing to know our true nature, but ultimately the outcome is an awareness that consciousness is vast and unbounded, and a return into a form that knows a deep relaxation into life.

 

 

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.

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