Becoming an embodied expression of our beings is the end goal of any practice. These guides will help you to step into your experience more fully.
The spiritual traditions I am most aligned with are Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhism and Jungian-based psychotherapy. Combining the principles of both of these in a heartful embodied practice makes magic happen.
The outcome is a fundamentally simple, yet profound way of experiencing the world. One firmly grounded in our physical beings, yet also connected to the deep mystery and magic of interconnected life.
Practicing this involves cultivating a deep respect for all aspects of our experience – our bodies, our hearts, our minds and our souls – as well for the environment that we find ourselves in.
None of these aspects of experience is more fundamental to truth than any other part, it all arises together, and if we want to know and be present for experience we have to validate and integrate it all.
The tools I have shared here are a combination of meditation, psychotherapy, body work, common sense and supportive group work. Most of the tools in these practice guides are incredibly simple and yet have endless depths of subtly to them that can be cultivated.
The end goal of all this is not a fixed place that we can arrive at or a state that we can claim, it is increasing the capacity to connect deeply with ourselves, our lives and the people around us. To be able to meet all of life with openness and joy.
The practice guides I have created work through these different aspects of experience – the body, the heart, the mind and the soul.
The states build on each other, so it can be helpful to read through them in order, but you can approach them in whatever way feels meaningful to you. As you open up one part of experience you will find that another part becomes easier to open.
This simultaneous deepening and broadening of experience is what will create wisdom, balance, resilience, maturity, love and understanding in how we show up.
Before embarking on the practice guides, it is worth doing an intention setting exercise to get clear on what it is in life you are hoping to cultivate through deepening your practice. You can find that here.
If we engage in practice with an open heart, we can connect with and deepen our experience much faster and with a lot more ease.
With that in mind, here is a short and simple meditation practice to help you connect with your heart. You can come back to this before doing any meditative practice if that feels helpful.
It is worth saying, that no amount of awakening will remove all human suffering or replace the need to be seen, loved and respected by your fellow humans.
I’ve seen this misunderstanding (and sometimes misrepresentation) of spirituality lead to confusion and disappointment for those following the path. Maintaining this illusion can lead to abuse by people in positions of power.
It is also worth saying that the conditions of people’s lives aren’t entirely within their control – there are plenty of factors like systemic oppression, poverty and personal challenges – that will make it more difficult or impossible for individuals to cultivate the space for gaining the benefits of practice in their life.
Sometimes what is needed most is practical support or just the acknowledgement that life can be really hard.
It is also worth pointing out that you can be especially incompatible to silent meditation if you have trauma, if you are sensitive, if you feel things very deeply or if you are someone with a lot of life force in you.
In the house I grew up in, ‘sensitive’ was pretty much the worse thing you could call someone. It has a lot of negative valence attached to it in our culture, but if you can create the right conditions for it, sensitivity is actually a huge gift that allows you to pick up on subtle forms of beauty, magic and connection in life.
My general approach to suffering in practice is that the way out of it is through. It is not through trying to bypass or short-circuit our systems that we are going to reduce our suffering, but by showing up and facing our pain and difficulties with a deep sense of embodied compassion that we are then able to integrate that part of our being and let go of resistance to experience as it is.
Approaching practice with a sense of fierce love – being compassionate towards ourselves but not being afraid to face our stuff and do the hard work – is basically the best thing you can do for your practice and life.
It’s also important to be up front about the risks and potential benefits of practice so that people know what they are getting into.
All of my guides come from a place of approaching practice with a radical sense of compassion – a combination of respect for our body wisdom and deep care for our wellbeing. This minimises the risk of practice going wildly out of control, as we are listening to the queues within us, like fear, and respecting our body’s natural limitations, but it doesn’t completely extinguish it.
Sometimes practice gets out of control and causes difficulties that we have trouble moving past. If this happens for you, try to approach this with a sense of compassion too – acknowledging how painful and difficult it can be – and reach out for help where you can.
One of the things I am passionate about is shared practice.
It becomes infinitely easier to open to new aspects of experience and accept ourselves when other people are modelling this to us.
When we are in an environment where we are allowed or even encouraged to access the parts of ourselves that are normally hidden, doorways can effortlessly slide open for us that we could have spent our entire lives banging our heads against.
Having fun practicing together is also part of the joy of life and there’s no way of separating ourselves off from the rest of the world. If we only practice by isolating ourselves off from other people, the second we go back into the world our practice is no longer relevant.
Creating spaces where we can practice together will help us connect with each other in a more authentic way and make space for people to express their true selves in, which is ultimately how we all get home.
With this in mind I have created a separate part of the website with some tools for facilitating shared practice. You can find that here.
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