There is a completely different way of existing that we can shift into, where we are a container for receiving the world rather than something that is actively being in it.
This creates a whole new world of freedom for the Universe to express itself through us and is one of the deepest awakening shifts that I have gone through.
When we open to our inner world fully, it becomes like a fourth dimension. It is a whole world of meaning and metaphor where we have much more freedom to express our reality and play with it. Lots of the practices I use connect with this aspect of experience.
I use these practices in an interpersonal way. I guide people through them and ask people lots of questions about their experience as part of the practice. The power comes from people freely expressing what is inside of them. By being there with them, I can hold people through the process and help them open to new aspects of themselves. This requires the ability to hold a space of total non-judgement in order for it to be free for others to express themselves.
I have written up the practices that you can do on your own here or experiment with trying in groups or pairs.
One of the most important things with these practices is to let go of outcomes. In this space we aren’t meditating with a specific end-goal in mind, it is more of a creative space that we can play and explore in.
We can allow things to be as they are – whether that be incredibly joyful and happy or sad and painful, for example.
Simple Practices for Receiving
Receiving Your Eyes
This is a really straight-forward practice that allows you to feel into the difference between looking and receiving.
Stand or sit in front of a mirror and notice the difference between what it is like to look into your eyes and what it feels like to receive your eyes.
Play with this so that you can remember a sense of what receiving feels like.
This can be an incredibly emotional process – opening to receive the fullness of who you are.
You can also do this in pairs. Take it in turns to move between looking at and receiving each other, see if you can notice when the other person is moving between the two modes and if it feels different to you.
Meditating to Music
This is one of the practices that I recommend to people most often. It has a whole load of benefits, including that it can open up practice by bringing a sense of joy and lightness to it.
It is also perfect for sensing into a receiving way of being.
Choose a piece of music, let it wash over you and notice what it evokes in you – body sensations, emotions, thoughts, imagination, heart-opening. You can allow the music into your experience and just let it do whatever it does to you.
You don’t need to control the experience or direct your attention, you can go with the flow of it and let it take you on a journey. You may find that you are carried off into the imaginal or other aspects of experience, allow this to happen and come back to the sensation of the music washing over you and into your experience when you are ready.
If you do this together, share the journey that you went on with the music.
These inquiry questions reframe the world as if we are here to receive it.
You can use them as a self-inquiry in your practice or you can use them to journey together in pairs.
If you are using them together, sit facing each other with your eyes closed.
When it is your turn to ask a question, imagine that you are picking up a stone and dropping it into the middle of a pond. The ripples spreading out are like the question resonating through both of your experiences. There is no rush or pressure to respond, the conversation can go as slowly or as quickly as feels natural and comfortable.
When you are responding to a question imagine that you are choosing a stone to drop back into the pond. You can weigh up the responses in your hands before sharing and feel into what feels meaningful to share and what feels safe to share.
When you respond, imagine that you have dropped the stone in the pond and you can both feel the ripples of what has been shared resonating through your experience.
You can take it in turns to ask and answer questions or you can nominate one person to ask and one person to answer and then swap roles. The person who is asking the questions may want to ask follow up questions based on the person’s answer.
Here are the basic questions:
‘If everything is happening by itself, how does your body feel right now?’
‘If everything is happening by itself, what emotions are present in your experience?’
‘If everything is happening by itself, how would you describe your heart right now?’
‘If everything is happening by itself, how does your mind feel?’
When working with people, I would use these as a spring board for exploration and often go into some guided imaginal practice to explore aspects of experience in more depth.
Shared Imaginal Practice
I use the term imaginal practice very broadly here; it is any sense of allowing your being to express itself in a creative way.
With imaginal practice you aren’t creating the content, it is being shown to you, like in dreams. This allows us to drop into the receiver mode.
It is worth saying that lots of people experience ‘imaginal practice’ in a range of situations without ever having meditated. It is one of our bodies natural ways of experiencing and making sense of the world, but it is often repressed in our society.
Imaginal practice can be very broad and open – just allowing content to come through. Or it can be used as a way to creatively explore different aspects of experience.
Spend some time choosing a theme or picking something that you could describe together. You want something that feels like an abstract concept, something like ‘pressure to succeed’, ‘love for all beings’ or ‘the landscape of the heart’.
Use these questions to bring that concept to life for you, to get more of a sense of what it means to you and to integrate it into your being.
Where would you place it in experience?
Which parts of the body do you feel it in?
What shape is it?
What colour is it?
Are there any people, figures, archetypes or animals present?
What is happening? Or what is it doing?
What does it want?
I love connecting with people and guiding people in this way and I use these tools a lot in my coaching – I’ve had a lot of amazing feedback about how helpful it can be for opening new ways of being and a new sense of ease in people.
Having someone guide you through and open up new parts of experience for you is incredibly powerful and a lot quicker and easier than trying to figure it out for yourself. If you would like to experience it, you can read more about how I work here.