Body: From Dissociation to Presence
The purpose of these guides is to give you the practices and tools that will help you step into your experience more fully.
On this page you will find:
The tools I have shared here are a combination of meditation, psychotherapy, body work and common sense. Most of the tools in these practice guides are incredibly simple and yet have endless depths of subtly to them that can be cultivated. If you want to get the most out of them it is worth incorporating them into a continuous daily practice.
The spiritual traditions that I am most inspired by are Vajrayana Buddhism and Jung. 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 your 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 your experience.
The end goal is not a fixed place that you can arrive, you are increasing the capacity to be present for your life and the people around you; for the benefit of you and others.
The deepening and broadening of experience across the different parts of your being can create more wisdom, balance, resilience, maturity, love and understanding.
The framework divides experience into four parts. Plus there is a guide to imaginal practice.
You can take this quiz to discover where you should start with practice.
If you engage with practice with an open heart, you can connect with and deepen your 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 the misunderstanding (and sometimes misrepresentation) that spirituality can be a replacement for your basic needs 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.
This doesn’t mean that it isn’t still meaningful to practice, but we also need to recognise that sometimes what is needed most in life is practical support or just the acknowledgement that life can be really hard.
It is also worth pointing out that silent meditation can be both especially rich and especially challenging 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 your system that you are going to reduce your suffering, but by showing up and facing your pain and difficulties with a deep sense of embodied compassion.
However, you also need to have enough courage, faith and resilience to go through the suffering with an open heart. Otherwise, you could end up stuck, going in circles or just beating yourself up with self-judgement.
Approaching practice with a sense of sincerity and fierce love – being compassionate towards yourself but not being afraid to face your 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 your body wisdom and deep care for your wellbeing. This minimises the risk of practice going wildly out of control, as you are listening to the queues within you, like fear, and respecting your body’s natural limitations, but it doesn’t completely extinguish it.
Sometimes practice gets out of control and causes difficulties that you have trouble moving past. Many people from different traditions have been stuck in Dark Nights of the Soul. 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 most passionate about is shared practice.
It becomes infinitely easier to open to new aspects of experience and to accept yourself when other people are modelling this to you.
When you are in an environment where you are allowed or even encouraged to access the parts of yourselves that are normally hidden, doorways can effortlessly slide open for you that you could have spent your entire life banging your head against.
Having fun practicing together is also part of the joy of life and there’s no way of separating yourself off from the rest of the world. If you only practice by isolating yourself off from other people, the second you go back into the world a lot of your practice is no longer relevant.
Creating spaces where you can practice together with others will help you connect with people in a more authentic way. It creates space for people to learn to express their true selves in, which is ultimately how everyone find a sense of true belonging and being at home in the world.
With this in mind I have created a section of the website with some tools for facilitating shared practice and this is a note to say that it is worth considering how to integrate some shared practice into your approach, alongside deep personal practice.
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