Coming Into Presence
One of the aspects of connecting with this more deeply is reimagining how we relate to time. If we can let go of a normal sense of timeline in our practice, we are no longer stuck in a world of justification and cause and effect. We can become present with what is here in this moment for us without judgement.
We are relating to our experience in a timeless way that creates more space, freedom and ability to connect with ourselves and each other.
In order to drop the sense of causes and conditions and arrive in this moment, we need to cultivate a few things:
- Compassionate presence – the willingness to feel what is present for us whatever it is, without judgement
- Openness and acceptance – towards ourselves and others, including the darkness and the impact that has on us
- Curiosity – about what is here
These three things allow our sense of self-identification and self-consciousness to dissolve. Rather than being caught up in what something says about us, we are being present with what is really here.
If you have done any journeying or imaginal practice, you may have experienced this sense of timelessness and dropping out of the normal timeline of life. It opens a new realm – we drop into a more flowing timeless realm of being because things are allowed to be exactly as they are in this moment; there is less resistance in our minds so we don’t create such a fixed series of events.
When we let go of intellectual grasping, this is the aspect of experience that we land in. It is an intuitive, sensing aspect of life where we allow experience to infuse our entire beings.
Not grasping intellectually doesn’t mean that we can’t connect with this part of experience and understand it in a different way. Instead of fixating we are letting go of set ideas and embracing a more nebulous, creative way of making sense of the world. We are developing a sensitivity towards it. By refining and tuning-in to our intuition and senses, we are allowing ourselves to be absorbed into the flow of life.
Through connecting in this way, we start losing the separation between what is me and what is the rest of the world. We are letting experience saturate every aspect of us and infuse our experience, whether it is positive or negative. In order for this to work, we have to let go of our ideas about what is right and wrong and allow things to be a more free expression.
We are destroying and transmuting the parts of us that resist certain energies or emotions. We are opening up our bodies, energy bodies, minds and hearts to allow more of life to freely express itself – liberating life to dance freely through us without us rejecting or controlling parts of it. This requires a radical acceptance of all experience.
A sense of physical and psychological safety gives us the permission and confidence to really go to these places, to not hold back and to allow all of experience to permeate us.
This is how we transform karma or trauma within us – by being willing to face our shadows and integrate them, rather than enacting them in the world.
Rather than turning away from what is difficult, we are embracing our suffering, going through it and trusting that we will be carried out the other side.
By embracing our place in the suffering, that is the only way we can integrate it. Integrating suffering is not an intellectual concept that we are understanding, it is an embodied experience, we are whole-heartedly accepting it and the impact it has on us as an aspect of ourselves, experience and the Universe.
If we make changes at this level, then we will see radical and lasting transformations that will benefit us and all the people around us. It will also open doors for us to reach new depths of experience and practice incredibly quickly.
Through this process we are rewiring and recalibrating how we respond to things – not just how we think about things, but how we feel about things and how we intuit or sense the world around us. We are developing the capacity to be resilient and capable human beings that can meet experience with a sense of clarity, fearlessness and compassion.
This opens us to a radical and deep-seated place of compassionate presence in our lives, no matter what it throws at us, and an increased capacity to reach interesting states of consciousness.
Suffering and Darkness
By embracing our darkness, we are freed up – rather than resisting it and trying to bend reality and experience to be what we need or want it to be, we can flow with life, allowing the darkness to be present.
If we can be with the raw edges of life, see them for what they are and not be judgemental about them, we can speak honestly and with a degree of clarity that is incredibly powerful.
The suffering or challenge in experience is also what makes the world come to life. It is where our creativity and drive comes from. If we are able to be with this in a way that isn’t overwhelming – to learn to dance with the devil rather than be consumed by it or afraid of it – it frees up a huge amount of creative energy and allows us to become a force for good in the world.
Rather than moving from a place of fear, hatred and self-preservation we can be present with experience as it is and focus on growth, acceptance and cultivating love.
It is worth feeling into what aspects of darkness you can connect to in a joyful way to get a sense of how this feels for you.
Embodied and Interpersonal
The embodied and interpersonal nature of this way of practicing makes it hard to capture in writing. We are connecting with our eros, energy, creativity and whole-heartedness, embracing our whole selves and finding ways to become full and inclusive expressions of our beings and life-force.
Music, imagery and shared practice in the right setting is perfect for bringing this to life in us. We want to be connecting in a way that feels like it has depth, soul and layers to it.
The end goal of this practice is to be living an embodied alive life. This is a completely different ballgame to a lot of contemplative practices. We aren’t shying away from the challenges this brings, we are seeing this as an opportunity to create a life that is dedicated to both service to the world and deep pleasure and enjoyment.
We aren’t looking for a way to check out of experience, we are bringing ourselves to life by being willing to see the hardship and not turn away from it, to welcome it into our experience whole-heartedly. We are exposing our vulnerabilities and seeing this as a chance for growth. We are accepting the imperfections of ourselves, others and the world and including this in what we are becoming awake to.
We are using all this as fuel to create a better, more fulfilling life for us and the people around us, as well as to see and feel deeply into the true nature of our experience.
In this way of practicing there is less separation between what is practice and what is life. We are developing a sensitivity to the subtlety of concepts and experiences, through every aspect of experience.
We are engaging more whole-heartedly with people and allowing the world to impact us, both in a meditative setting and in our wider life.
This way of approaching spirituality is a process of discovering your own story and connecting with your own experience. No-one can tell you the truth of experience, you need to go on your own journey and work through your own process. This holds the keys to what you are here to do and who you are here to be.
Cultivating this sense of awakeness, depth and presence will inherently be creating the capacity in you to be able to hold space for others; we can only meet in others what we have met in ourselves. Deep suffering in life can lead us to deep wisdom when we are willing and able to show up and really feel it in experience.
I have found that this style of practice tends to be attractive to people who have had a hard life, who know what matters and who are determined to create a better world by supporting themselves and others to thrive.
We aren’t expecting the Universe to hand the perfect experience to us on a plate – we recognise the darkness and challenge of life and are willing to walk through the storm to come out the other side simultaneously stronger and more open to the world for it.
The world needs people who can see things for what they are and face them with integrity. People who know what matters and who know what leads to real deep-seated joy for themselves and others. People who are willing to stand up for these things.
This is the path that waking up to the full-spectrum of experience will take you on.