You are Sacred Purpose.
You are not your shame, your fears, your addictions, your games, your guilt, the internalized remnants of negative messaging… You are not your resistance to your true path … You are not your self-doubt… You are not your self-distraction patterns. You are not your escape hatches… you are not your pessimism about a life of meaning and purpose. You are not here merely to survive and endure.
You are Sacred Purpose.
No matter what others have mistakenly told you about who you are, no matter what mistakes you may have made in the past, you are here with a sacred purpose living at the core of your being. If that weren’t true you never would have made it down the birth canal. You never would have overcome what you have already overcome in your life.
You are Sacred Purpose.
Whatever your ways of distracting, postponing, delaying, armouring, avoiding, altering, feigning, artificializing, externalizing, superficializing your life… I encourage you to STOP IT NOW. This really is no game, this is completely real, this sacred purpose that courses through your soul veins crying out to be heard from below the surface of our avoidance. I cannot say this with enough assertiveness… To the extent that you identify and honour your true path in this lifetime, you will know genuine satisfaction, real peace in your skin.. You will be infused with vitality and a clarified focus, new pathways of possibility appear where before there were obstacles. You will know a peace that will buffer you against the madness of the world, a clarity of direction that will carry you from one satisfaction to another… Life will still have its challenges, but you will interface with them differently, coated in an authenticity of purpose that sees through the veils to what really matters. To the extent, that you avoid the quest for purpose, you will live frustrated, a half-life.. your avoidance manifest in all manner of illness, perpetual dissatisfaction, emotional problems, depression, addictive patterns, ALL REFLECTIONS OF YOUR own alienation from the purposeful root of your being.. You see, there really is no escape from reality, all there is, is postponement. you should be more afraid of avoiding your path than walking it.
You are Sacred Purpose.
AND It doesn’t matter what anyone tells you about who you are. There is so much of that. This is your journey. Even those with the best of intentions, cannot know the path you are here to walk. The REAL journey is not one of adapting ourselves to someone elses vision, but instead, shaping who we are with our own two hands. The unique clay we work with lives deep inside our soul bones, awaiting our own detection & expression. You are the sculptor of your own reality- don’t hand your tools to anyone else. Only you can know the path u r here to walk.. it’s a personal decision, and it doesn’t have to be grandiose. Your purpose can be as simple as learning how to listen better, how to enjoy the moment without getting in your own way.. wherever the growing is, wherever you find genuine peace with path, wherever you feel unmasked and genuinely real.. in the survivalist world that we are coming from, we defined ourselves by what GOT US through the day, whatever masks got food on the table, whatever way of being endured this challenging life.. but we are at the beginning of a new way, a way of being that is sourced in who we REALLY ARE, not our egoic face, not our survivalist face, not the false face of our hidden power, but the real face, the real path, the no bullshit no hype no pretence expression of WHO u REALLY ARE and a life that fully and deeply expresses the magnificence that lives within you.. Your sacred purpose may be covered in dust, it may be HIDDEN FROM VIEW, but its still in there, sparkling with infinite possibility..
You are Sacred Purpose.
This is a call to action. A call to authenticity. A call to dig yourself out from below the bushel of shame and self-doubt that has plagued humanity. A call to get off the dime and do the real work to call yourself on your distraction patterns and excavate your own purpose in this lifetime. What are you here to learn? What are you here to overcome? What are you here to express? What does your authentic face look like? Who are you, above and beyond all the noise and haste.. this is not about money, or bullshit ideas of abundance, or gratifying your ego, this is about the real thing, the real deal, the vulnerable and courageous truth about who you are and why you are here. I ENCOURAGE you to take the question of sacred purpose seriously… to not postpone it for another hour, or week, or till you retire, until the next lifetime, til you finish school, or end your relationship, but to take it seriously now… To work like a dog to find out what lives inside of you, what you are here to express, what you are here to manifest and express, what you are here to give, to share, to learn, to create, to dance, to art, to walk…. You don’t know how long you have, it may be 60 years, it may be 60 seconds, you may not make it to retirement, you may not make it to tomorrow morning, atleast if you are questing for your purpose, living your truth, you will not suffer when its time to leave your body in this lifetime, you will be living in your authenticity, this is no small achievement in this distracted world, where the unconscious media and manipulative marketers try to turn us generic and frightened so we will be locked into their script., fuck that. You are already have a script and it lives deep inside you…that script is your purpose, what you are here to express, to learn, to embody, to humanifest… So u decide which script to read- the fictional novel written by those who do not SEE u, or the HOLY BOOK written by your glorious spirit. When you walk through the gateway of purpose, you walk into yourself. You are sacred purpose, you are sacred purpose, you are sacred purpose. Don’t stop until you find it.
Jeff Brown, author of ‘Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation’ (www.soulshaping.com)
THE AWAKENING MAN: A PORTRAIT OF POSSIBILITY FOR HUMANKIND
The awakening man is conscious, heartfully defined. Through his eyes, being conscious is not a cerebral construct, nor an intellectual exercise bereft of feeling. It is a felt experience, an ever-expanding awareness that moves from the heart outward. It is feeling God, not thinking God. The new man is always in process, awakening through a deepening interface with the world of feeling. He continues to strive for a more heartfelt and inclusive awareness.
The awakening man has shifted his focus from a localized and ethnocentric perspective to a world-centric framework of perception. His community is humanity. Rooted in the relational, his sense of responsibility extends well beyond his localized self and community. Where possible, his choice-making is fuelled by an expansive vision of possibility for all of humankind. Not every man for himself, but every man for humanity.
The awakening man has reverence for the divine feminine, in all her forms. He celebrates the wonder that is woman. He is respectful, honouring and gracious. He is saddened by the horrors perpetuated against women by the malevolent masculine. He holds his brothers accountable. He makes amends for his own misdeeds. He co-creates a world where all women will feel safe to move about freely, to find their voice, to actualize their inherent magnificence. He welcomes a world where women and men stand as equal partners. Humankind.
The awakening man is not externally derived. He is authentically sourced. He does not compare himself to others. He does not adapt his personality to the dictates of the crowd. He stands in his own centre, respectful of others but not defined by them. He works diligently to liberate his consciousness from the egoic ties that bind. He has become his own benchmark, valuing authenticity over image. He is the sculptor of his own reality.
The awakening man courageously works on his emotional processes. He clears his emotional debris and sheds his armour. He faces his issues and unconscious patterns heart on. He calls himself on his self-avoidant tendencies and honours the wisdom at the heart of his pain. He communicates his feelings in a way that is respectful to others. He learns and speaks the language of the heart.
The awakening man leads a purpose-full existence. He has heard the call to a deeper life. Not satisfied with survival alone, his ambitions are rooted in higher considerations- the excavation and actualization of his sacred purpose. He is energized by his purpose, not by the machinations of the unhealthy ego. He is coated in an authenticity of purpose that sees through the veils to what really matters. His purpose is his path.
The awakening man is accountable for his actions and their effects. He does not deflect responsibility. He does not sidestep or blame. He is self-admitting and emotionally honest. He admits his errors, and makes amends. He works diligently in the deep within, crafting a more clarified awareness with every lesson.
The awakening man moves from the inside out. More interested in inner expansion than outer achievement, he cultivates and honours his intuition. He explores and develops his inner geography. He adventures deep within, integrating the treasures he excavates into his way of being. He seeks congruity between his inner life and his outer manifestation.
The awakening man seeks wholeness. He is not satisfied with a fragmented way of being. He has no attachment to archaic, linear notions of masculinity. He seeks a sacred balance between the healthy masculine and the healthy feminine. He seeks an inclusive way of being, one that reflects all of his archetypal aspects. He is role flexible, comfortable moving through life in many different ways.
The awakening man embodies the highest standard of integrity in his words and deeds. He makes a sustained effort to work through anything that is not integrity within him. His framework of integrity is never convenient or self-serving. He honours his word, even at his own expense. He moves from a value system that is unwaveringly incorruptible. He recognizes that success without integrity is karmically unsound and meaningless.
The awakening man prioritizes conscious relationship. He values authentic co-creation. He honours relationship as spiritual practice. He seeks physical intimacy that is deeply vulnerable and heartfully connective. He is attuned, engaged and healthily boundaried. When relational challenges arise, he courageously works through any obstructions to intimacy. He stands in the heartfire.
The awakening man is a warrior of the heart. He has taken his clarifying sword inward, cutting away everything that is not compassionate. After too many lifetimes with weapon in hand, a benevolent warrior is being birthed at the core of his being. He honours the warrior capacity for assertiveness, but he is not arbitrarily aggressive. He moves from love and compassion.
The awakening man endeavours to live in a state of perpetual gratitude. He is grateful for the gift of life. He is grateful for those ancestors who built the foundation that his expansion relies upon. He is grateful for those who encouraged him before he could encourage himself. He is grateful for those who stand beside him in this lifetime. He knows that he does not stand alone.
The awakening man is comfortable in his vulnerability. He participates in his own revealing. He is not afraid to surrender- to reality, to love, to truth. This is not a weakened form of surrender, but one that is emblazoned with courage. It takes more courage to surrender than to numb. He openly explores his capacities for receptivity and tenderness. He does not identify these capacities as distinctly feminine, but as whole human. He is strong enough at the core to live in a vast array of emotions.
The awakening man moves through the marketplace responsibly, with a vigilant eye to the ways of the unhealthy ego. He is not opportunistic in a vacuum. He does not compete for competition’s sake. He does not accumulate for the sake of accumulation. In charting his course, he is mindful of his impact on humanity. He is empowered but he does not exploit power. He derives his power from his connection to source, not from power over others. Where possible, he shares the abundance, gifting back to humanity. He works hard to bridge the world as it is with a world of divine possibility.
The awakening man has reverence for Mother Earth. He has reverence for animals. He never imagines himself superior or distinct from the natural world. He understands the interconnected and interdependent nature of reality. He knows that if he does damage to the environment, he does damage to himself. He walks carefully, with awareness, consciousness and appreciation.
The awakening man has no claims on God. His spirituality is tolerant, inclusive, respectful. He honours all paths to God, so long they are respectful of others. He accepts those who believe, and those who don’t. He condemns any path that uses religious differences as a justification for destruction.
The awakening man brings forward many of the qualities of the healthy masculine of old. He is noble. He is responsible. He is productive. He is kind-hearted. He is protective. He is unswervingly honourable. He is down to earth. He is sturdy. He is flexible. He is realistic. He is hopeful. He is sensitive, not fragile. He is healthily egoic, not self-centred. He is both practical and heightened at the same time. He ascends with both feet on the ground. He is really here.
A former criminal lawyer and psychotherapist, Jeff Brown is the author of “Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation,” recently published by North Atlantic Books. Endorsed by authors Elizabeth Lesser and Ram Dass, “Soulshaping” is Brown’s autobiography — an inner travelogue of his journey from archetypal male warrior to a more surrendered path. He is also the author of “Apologies to the Divine Feminine (from a warrior in transition). You can connect with his work at www.soulshaping.com.
With his permission, I want to share some of the highlights of a profound dialogue I just completed with Ram Dass, the brilliant author of 'Be Here Now'. Fantastic!
I have been seeking to develop a model of Spirituality that somehow integrates the wisdom of the West with that of the East. That is, a model that weaves the Eastern quest for the Eternal with the Western quest for Emotional and Mental Health. A Soul-Ego bridge, if you will. Unity Consciousness meets Self-concept on a bridge across forever. I have become disenchanted with the models that emanate from the sky down, and have been seeking a model that works from the ground up.
In writing Soulshaping, I brought myself some way down that road, but there remained areas of uncertainty. For example, I was confused about the seeming conflict between Ego and Soul-based models of development. In Western culture, we put tremendous emphasis on the development of the Ego. Feeling strong and well-integrated on an egoic level is considered a healthy step, necessary to our efforts to deal with the world confidently. Yet, I frequently meet individuals who see the Ego as the enemy of a truly spiritual life. They contend that if there is too much Ego, the gateway to a Soulular consciousness is impeded. Through this lens, the key to our spiritual advancement depends on the dissipation of the Ego and our capacity to move through our lives from the Soul outward.
The way I have resolved this seeming tension is to imagine it all happening in steps. We begin with the Ego. We clear our shame, build our self-concept, assert our power. We become healthily boundaried- we know where we end, and where the other begins. Then we let our obsession with the self go and naturally begin to seek something vaster, a connection to our Soul's path and to the broader Universe: 'All one', 'I am that, too', etc. Ram Dass himself expressed this philosophy: "You have to become something before you become nothing…"
But this isn't working for me anymore. If unity consciousness means anything, it means that everything is part of the ongoing equation. My intuition is that the Ego and the Soul are not actually as far apart as we imagine, at least not in 'the world as it ought to be.' Perhaps it is not the Ego that is the illusion, but our belief that the Ego is everything that is the illusion. The real issue is our difficulty linking the Ego's function to our ultimate transformation. At times, I see the Ego as the Soul's ongoing worker-bee, instigating and over-seeing the foundational work necessary to sustain our connection to Soul. The Ego clears the debris and manages the world so that the Soul's light can shine. At other times, I actually see the Ego and the Soul as indistinguishable. If you believe (as I do) that we come into each life with particular lessons and callings, then does the current state of the Ego not reflect the current stage of the Soul? For example, if one of my lessons is the healing of my Mother wound, does not my fragmented Ego with respect to this issue reflect the as yet unformed shape of my Soul? Ego-shape = Soulshape? Hmm…
Ram Dass and I discussed this. I played Ego's Advocate, Ram Dass-Soul's Advocate. Ram Dass acknowledged some responsibility with respect to the perceived Ego-Soul split in the West . When he wrote 'Be Here Now', he was reacting against the Egoic nature of Western Culture- the materialism, the headiness, the marked disconnect from a Soulular Consciousness. We were identifying ourselves as our Ego rather than understanding the Ego as our vehicle for spiritual transformation. His calling demanded that he put the Soul's journey front and centre, in order to help bring us into alignment. We needed a strong shot of Soul to wake us up. But now, 35 years later, I believe we need a more integrated approach. Ram Dass didn't agree with my contention that the Soul and the Ego are indistinguishable ('They are two planes of Consciousness'), but he did agree that they are not naturally anti-thetical. There are times when they are in opposition -God knows!- but they are also complimentary and intrinsic to each other's functions when we are moving through our lives in a conscious manner.
Through this lens we interpret our personal traumas and challenges in terms of their ultimate lessons rather than through a narrowly psychological framework. Instead of dismissing the self as secondary to our spiritual path, we recognize that it reflects the exact incarnation material that we need to work through to grow spiritually. Our Soul expands when the EgoSelf processes and interprets the material on the Soul's behalf, converting our personality issues and experiences (the stuff of our incarnation) into the Grist for the Soul Mill at their source. Soul Food.
So, we were in agreement, or thereabouts. But I was still confused. It all made sense on a conceptual level, but HOW does the Ego process the Grist? In my own experience, this has not been a cerebral process- I have never been able to transform my Soul's Consciousness through intellectual means. There had been moments of insight, to be sure, but they always seemed to emanate from the emotional body below: Felt experience ignited awareness. Every time I reached the next plateau in my consciousness, I got there by surrendering to and working through the emotional material generated by my experiences. I needed to submerge myself in the material (not drown in it…but dive into and through it!) to convert it.
In Soulshaping, I refer to this process as "Cell your soul": the idea that the body is the karmic field where the Soul's lessons are harvested. In order to grow spiritually, we must bring our suffering and our joy through the cells of our bodies until our spiritual lessons are birthed. Repressed emotions are unactualized spiritual lessons. To grow spiritually, we have to see our feelings all the way through to completion. Once they make it all the way through the conversion tunnel, the lesson is revealed and the Soul evolves to its next stage.
We worked with an example from my own life. Some years ago, I attended a holotrophic breath workshop with Stan Grof. There, I tapped into a childhood memory of being pinned down (symbolically) by my Mother, the sense that she was always on my back. As the breathwork intensified, I felt the need to simulate this in physical form. I asked the assistants to lay on top of my back, and I repeatedly threw them off of me. It was a profoundly cathartic emotional experience- (semi) free at last! – and created enough space inside for me to then open to the next plateau of spiritual awareness. Psych and spirit inextricably linked. Grist for the Soul Mill in action.
I have discussed this experience with many seekers. Many suggested that I was wasting my time getting lost in my material. It was egoic, self-centered, narcissistic. Some said that I needed to simply forgive the past, let it go, focus on the light. Others contended that the trick to spiritual transformation is to bypass the incarnation material, to see my personal issues and memories as distinct from our ultimate transformation. But where is the Grist that transforms us, if not in our daily lives? What does it mean to love the world, if your heart is filled with unresolved anger? What does it mean to be in the moment, if you continue to feel obstructed by the past?
Ram Dass was much more balanced about it. He agreed that the body is the Soul's temple. We live our incarnation material through our bodies, and when we are done, our Soul moves on to the next birth. But he was resistant to the idea that working our material through requires therapeutic process. He was wisely concerned about our tendency to get lost in our emotional material, to wallow in the psychological without making spiritual progress. Fair enough. It's a fine line between self-pity and a healthy working through of the material. At the same time, I am not sure how we can shape our soul to the next stage, if we don't deal with the emotional material that emanates from our experiences. What else grows us from the ground up?
By the end of our talk, our perspectives were close. I was a little right of Soul, Ram Dass was a little left of Ego. But close. It seemed to me that the meeting place is somewhere inclusive, something I called ENREALMENT in Soulshaping: "The idea that a more "heightened" consciousness is not all about the light (as enlightenment implies) but is about becoming more real, more genuinely here in all respects: shadow and light, earth and sky, grocery list and unity consciousness. It is about living in all aspects of reality simultaneously rather than only those realms that feel the most comfortable." In other words, if you think that the stuff of your incarnation is all that you are ("I am sweeper, I am Lawyer, I am unhappy person"), then it is all that you are. But if you stay connected to the fact that your stuff has both a localized and a universal dimension, you are on the right path. Not identifying ourselves as our stuff, but identifying our stuff as the key to our transformation.
At the heart of 'Enrealment' is a vision of a human being that ascends with both feet on the ground. We grow by coming down into our body and our personhood and learning the lessons necessary for our expansion. We begin with the root chakra- the quest for Om begins at home- and we work our way up from there. It is not enough for our feet to merely skim the ground. The mythic life begins with our feet planted on Mother Earth. With our soles firmly planted, our Soul has a leg to stand on in its efforts to go higher. Once the root chakra is satisfied, we proceed to the next chakras. As we heal, there emerges a natural and sustainable movement upward, towards God. This philosophy bridges the Eastern emphasis on the Soul with the Western emphasis on psychological health. Alexander Lowen meets Neem Karoli Baba, Localized lens meets Archetypal Wave, Sole meets Soul on sacred footpaths. ALL one.
(Soul)food for thought…
Throughout my mainstream education, I often wondered when my real education would begin. They taught me geography, when it was my inner geography that concerned me. They taught me Canadian history, but nothing about karmic lineage. They taught me foreign languages, but we spent no time on the language that mattered most- the language of the heart. By the time I graduated from University, I had 3 degrees and no idea who I was. Whatever tools I had acquired seemed ill-equipped to deal with the fundamental questions of meaning, purpose, how to construct a heartfelt life.
As I look back on my life, I realized that my real education happened from the inside out. While diligently attending the School of Heart Knocks (the school of life), I somehow stumbled upon a clarified vision of path. Interestingly, my purpose did not reveal itself in the head-tripping caverns of academia, nor did it arise through my egoic forays into career as identity. It rose into awareness through the gateway to my heart, a vision of possibility that was encoded in my cells from time immemorial, an unstoppable wave of purpose that was indistinguishable from my authentic self. Excavating it from the burial ground within demanded a multitude of stages, stages that seemed to exist entirely distinct from my university curriculum. In my private life, in my apartment, in my difficult relationships, in workshops and therapy, in those quiet moments when we inwardly decide how deep we will dig, this is where I learned what I needed to know. The real school, the true core-iculum….lived in my own bones and in the heart of daily life.
As I embarked on my journey, I began to imagine the courses that I longed to attend on my journey of self-creation: Befriending Confusion, Clearing Emotional Debris, Living in the Question, Having an effective nervous breakthrough, Identifying and Honouring Sacred Purpose, Conscious Relationship, Self-distractive behaviour, Truth Aches and Sacred Grumbles, The art of Enrealment, Bypassing the Spiritual Bypass, Truth telling, De-shaming and De-masking, In-viromentalism, Ascending with both feet on the ground, Finding your soulpod etc. There was no limit to things I needed help with, and no limit to the challenges I experienced in finding the support I needed. It was almost as though the whole world was deciding who it was based on the principles of survivalism- adapting its consciousness to whatever got food on the table- and I was actually wanting to know who I really was, who lived below the masks and personas of daily life, what path best reflected my inherent divinity. Of course many had quested for their authenticity before, but I didn’t know where to find them, or, perhaps, I was too unsure of my quest to share its contours and textures with confidence.
Throughout the writing of Soulshaping, I had a vision of a Soulshaping Institute, one that would dare to inquire into the core questions of path without hesitation. In recent months, that longing grew stronger, as I became more deeply aware of the value of this work. In the heart of a burgeoning consciousness revolution, there is a greater willingness to tackle these fundamental questions of path- Who am I, really? What is my encoded purpose? Why am I here in this incarnation? How can I stop avoiding true-path?
With this in heart, I have opened Soulshaping Institute, an in-credited institution of truer learning. This is not a place you come to get a meaning-less degree, or to get graded for your efforts. No one can grade your relationship to path, because only soul knows the path it is here to walk. You are the only one who can know whether you are walking your unique true-path. Soulshaping I will endeavour to support your path and process, reminding you of steps you may have forgotten, encouraging you towards the path that is encoded within you, inviting a dialogue that takes you deeper into the realm of your own divine possibilities.
The first course- Excavating and Honouring Sacred Purpose- begins June 26/2011. Here is the link, in case you are interested in checking it out.…Soulshaping Institute . Other courses will follow, as the core-iculum takes shape… Apologies to the Divine Feminine (Bridging the Gender Gap), Adventures in Soulshaping (Depth Charges and Excavations), Cell your Soul- Interpreting the Emotional Body, Relationship as path, The Power of Then- healing the past and expanding our habitual range of e-motion, the Universal Broadcasting system- The real Learning Channel (interpreting serendipity) etc. It is my hope that we will work deeply, exploring the crevices, plumbing the depths, truly calling ourselves on any resistance to true-path. In many ways, it is a little safer to be a seeker than a finder. I want us all to find what we are looking for, to find an authenticity of purpose that ignites our spirit and buffers us from the madness of the world. To wake up every morning knowing what we are here to learn, share and humanifest. To wake up purposeful and at peace with path.
In addition, I am working to develop a scholarship program so that individuals who are economically challenged can participate. It is an odd and ironic thing that until we find our sacred purpose, it is often difficult for us to flourish economically, but it is difficult to explore and identify our path when we cannot afford to study and explore pathways of possibility. It is often those with a profound path living inside of them who are having the most difficulty dealing with the economic world, because they cannot adapt to the inauthentic nature of the marketplace. I am endeavouring to create a structure that will be inclusive of all of humanity.
My assistant, Tarini, made a beautiful, 90 second video to introduce Soulshaping Institute to all of you. Please take a look if you get a moment.. Youtube.
In gratitude, Jeff Brown
APOLOGIES TO THE SACRED MASCULINE (The letter this warrior-in-transition would like to receive)
I apologize for those moments when I couldn’t see beyond my projections to your true nature. With so much relational trauma in the rear view mirror, I couldn’t distinguish the heartless from the benevolent warrior. With my lens blurred by unhealed emotions, I was unable to see you in your wholeness. I unknowingly projected my negative expectations without recognizing those moments when you were moving from love. Please forgive me my projections, and know that below my pain was a heart that genuinely longed to merge with yours.
I apologize for pushing you to open your heart when you weren’t ready. I longed to be met in my openness, and I couldn’t bear the disconnect between us. I am nourished by direct communication, and I took your silence personally. I didn’t understand the relationship between your detachment and your warrior conditioning. I do see this now. From the beginning, you have been cast in the role of warrior protector and your emotional armour was fundamental to your task. Without it, you would not have been able to remain vigilant on the battlefield, nor succeed in the competitive marketplace. As our world moves away from survivalism as a way of being, I am hopeful that you will feel safe enough to live from an open heart. Such beautiful light comes through that opening.
I apologize for not always seeing your limitations and struggles. There were times when I could not see past my expectations and fantasies. I had grown up with a fairy tale of a great knight that would save me, and I clung to that vision, preferring the perfection projection to the reality of humanness. As a result, I didn’t always see how much stress you carried, how difficult things were, how hard it was to hold it all together. Of course, we perpetuated the projection together- you hid your humanness from view while I chose not to look for it. I look forward to the day when our relationships are not predicated on illusions, but on a deep recognition of each other’s authenticity.
I apologize for giving you mixed messages about how I wanted you to manifest. At times, I wanted you to be soft and tender. At other times, dominant and protective. How confusing this must have been for you, how challenging to go back and forth between such differing feeling states. It has been so confusing for all of us, trying to straddle the line between our needs for both safety and vulnerability. One day, the perversions of polarity will fall away and we will arrive at a sacred balance between all healthy ways of being. Women will feel safe to assert their voice and embody their wholeness, and men will feel equally safe disarming and speaking from their vulnerability. On the rivers of essence, everything flows in the same direction- towards the ocean of wholeness.
I apologize for being passive aggressive towards you. I was not taught to express anger directly, and I was frightened of your aggressiveness. I know that you have had similar challenges with experiencing your sadness and releasing your tears. In the world we are moving towards, I am hopeful that both genders will have seamless access to all emotional states and healthy forms of expression.
I am sorry that I expected you to fill my emptiness, when the only one who can fill it is me. I have often looked for answers in relationship, somehow imagining that another could complete me. After so many centuries of disempowerment, I didn’t realize that I had the tools for my own self-creation. But I am recognizing it now. Where before we met as two fragmented beings, we will soon meet as two whole beings- each of us healthily boundaried, well-integrated and intrinsically complete. Two soulitudes.
I am grateful for all those moments when you held me safe and operated within the heart of compassion. The backlash of recent decades was a necessary response to generations of suffering, but many of your contributions got lost in the shuffle. In my efforts to find my voice and stand my ground, I have not always given credit where it is due. I encourage you to re-claim anything you have lost along the way, and to proudly embody the sacred masculine as you once did. I apologize for those moments when I discouraged your power. I could not distinguish it from its historical misuses.
I am grateful for the many positive contributions you have made to my reality. I realize that you often communicated your love for me and the village with deeds, not words. I thank you for helping to construct the structures that my expansion relies upon. I thank you for labouring long and hard to establish rule of law. I honour the warrior spirit that built the railroads, the cities, the bridges that bring us into contact with one another. I honour those warriors who fought and died on battlefields in an effort to protect us. You have sacrificed so much in order to hold us safe. Praise to those benevolent warriors who came before.
I am grateful for GrandFather, for holding the space for my expansion with patience and wisdom. I am grateful for Father, for defending and sheltering me. I am grateful for Father Sky, for showing me a vision of possibility that transcended my circumstances. I am grateful for the Divine Father, the real Father of us all. I now feel his divine presence, so close. Fiercely compassionate, he was always right here, holding me safe.
There has been so much blame between us, so much hatred and name-calling. To be sure, it is essential that we express our anger and heal our hearts. Nothing should be swept under the rug in that process, everything should be exposed. But it is also important that we have compassion for each other and endeavour to understand the context for our actions. We have all been victims of a sociological landscape that impacted on our identifications and behaviours. Like two different species in the same bed, we were compelled by circumstances to inhabit roles that kept us miles apart. Those roles have caused us great suffering, each gender suffering in its own way. To the extent that one gender was denied wholeness, the other was denied it as well. Women were denied the right to basic protections and pathways of expression, men were denied access to a tender, receptive way of being. No one got off easy, despite appearances.
As we move towards a more enheartened interface, may we create space for new visions of possibility. We must begin the process by healing the genderation gap that exists between us. We must soften the edges perpetuated by our reactivities. We must heal the rifts along the gender continuum that keep us apart. In my most clarified imaginings, I envision a world that fully celebrates the healthy feminine and the healthy masculine. Instead of throwing all gender differences out with the bath water, we make a conscious distinction between benevolent and destructive identifications. We craft a sacred balance of our healthiest aspects. Each of us identifies the unique fusion of feminine and masculine energies that aligns with our essential nature. And we openly learn from one another -men teach healthy manifestation, women teach healthy womanifestation- and we come to humanifestation together. We meet each other in our entirety.
May we never forget the relational and co-transformative nature of human expansion. Although the ultimate romance is with your own soul, it is our experiences together that give birth to the essential lessons. We are each here to participate in this dance of sacred imagination, stepping on each other’s toes and turning each other toward God one clumsy step after another. We trip, and then we get back up with greater awareness. With this in heart, I am hopeful that we can learn to accept one another in our humanness. We are going to continue to make mistakes, but there is grace in that if we see our errors through to the lessons they contain.
I look forward to the day when we can meet one another in our true nakedness, stripped free of unresolved emotions, pain-induced projections, the distortions of duality. For too long we have been on opposite sides of the river, the bridge between our hearts washed away by a flood of pain. But the time has come to construct a new bridge, one that comes into being with each step we take, one that is fortified with benevolent intentions and authentic self-revealing. As we walk toward one another, our emotional armour falls to the ground, transforming into the light at its source. And when we are ready, we walk right into the Godself at the centre of the bridge, puzzled that we ever imagined ourselves separate.
May you feel the presence of the Divine Mother close at heart, inviting you to rest deeply on the tender shores of your own essence, nestling you in the grateful arms of those you have protected. Those who have received your blessings may not always acknowledge it, but your acts of love have landed within us, growing us stronger and infusing us with love’s light. Rest dear warrior, rest. I hold your heart safe.
© Jeff Brown, 2011 (Author of ‘Soulshaping- A Journey of Self-Creation’; www.soulshaping.com)
*’Apologies to the Sacred Masculine’ is the second in this apology series. The first piece ‘Apologies to the Divine Feminine (from a warrior- in-transition)’ can be read at http://soulshaping.com/?p=782
I AM NOT MY ‘STORY’
Wisdom– In the right context, this perspective can invite us beyond our habitual, linear, localized and neurotic perspectives into a vaster framework of perception. We are, so often, so much more than our stories. We need to transcend and re-frame ‘story’ in moments of great difficulty, when the pain and confusion are unbearable, or when we sense that our lens is incongruent with reality.
Perils– If taken too far, this perspective can detach us from the reality of who we are and becomes a reality bypass technique. We may not be only our stories, but we are also our stories. In the heart of our stories are the personal identifications, emotional material and unresolved issues that are the grist for the soul mill for our spiritual expansion. Without karmic clay to work through and with, our expansion is stalled.
Grounded Perspective– I honor my story as the karmic field for my soul’s expansion. I value the cacophony of circumstances, archetypes and experiences that I chose or that were chosen for me in this lifetime. The Schools of Heart Knocks and Heart Delights is my primary school for expansion. At the same time, I choose to look beyond my habitual range of emotion, and see my story and my life experiences from a broad, imaginative and multi-layered perspective. I see my story from a localized and a universal dimension. Not identifying myself as my story, but interfacing with my story in a way that humanizes and transforms my consciousness.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND THE MONEY WILL FOLLOW
Wisdom: This optimistic saying can have the effect of inspiring us to honor our callings and follow our dreams. This encouragement may be just what we need to finally make “a leap of fate”- a stepping forward into the pre-encoded life we are meant to live. In some cases, that stepping forward opens the door to abundance.
Perils: If followed too literally (and too hastily), this saying can lead to disaster. All too often, individuals make the wrong-headed assumption that what they love to do will necessarily meet their economic needs. Or they abandon their practical career before they have done the foundational work necessary to earn a living at their calling.
Grounded Perspective: Do what you love, and the money MAY follow. Some callings are inextricably linked with financial abundance, others may not be. Although I envision a day where society will be structured in such a way that we survive economically doing what we love, we aren’t there yet. Some of us still have to honor our divine purpose while making our money doing something else.
The SPIRITUAL BYPASS
Spiritual Bypass: A term first coined by author John Welwood, the spiritual bypass is the tendency to jump to spirit prematurally, to turn to God as an escape hatch. Spirit becomes a crutch rather than an expression of a natural unfolding. The bypasser looks outside the body for spirituality rather than in the heart of it. He turns to God reactively, in a determined effort to get away from here. The deeper ocean feels safer than the riptides of disappointment and grief on Mother Earth. The bypass has many possible indicators i.e. the starry eyed bliss trip, radical detachment from one’s self-identifications, premature forgiveness, ungrounded behaviors, wish-full thinking. The opposite of ‘Ascending with both feet on the ground.’
Wisdom: In a world of pain, the spiritual bypass is an essential mechanism. For some of us, this mechanism actually allows us to survive and momentarily transcend unbearable aspects of earthly reality (i.e. practical challenges, traumatic events, unresolved emotions and memories). Without it in place, some of us would perish in the heart of unbearable pain and suffering.
Perils: Sometimes bypassers forget to come home. On a pogo stick to the stars, they float off to outer space and lose contact with Mother Earth, detaching from their personal identifications and emotional lives to an extreme extent. By turning away from old pain, they have simply shackled themselves with their unresolveds. Sometimes, reality brings them back to earth with a harsh and deadly thud. But not always.
Grounded Perspective: The bypass is an unrooted trip-out rather than a solidly rooted trip-in, a form of openness that is not actually open, because there is no structure to ground it. It may be a necessary survival tool for a time, but real growth demands that we come back down to earth and work with what lives inside of us. ‘Ascending with both feet on the ground’ is a model of grounded spirituality that invites to connect to the Godself from the ground up. We begin with the root chakra- the quest for Om begins at home- and we work our way up from there. It is not enough for our feet to merely skim the ground. The mythic life begins with our feet planted on Mother Earth. With our soles firmly planted, our Soul has a leg to stand on in its efforts to go higher. As we develop a healthy egoic foundation and work through our chakras, we become organically present in our bodies and in the moment. From this stable foundation emerges a natural and sustainable movement upward, toward God. Instead of settling for the occasional peak experience, we are now capable of sustaining a more heightened way of being.
Copyright Jeff Brown (Author Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation; www.soulshaping.com)
As the model of Grounded Spirituality at the heart of Soulshaping continues to deepen its roots, I continue to work on clarifying my lens on what it really means to be a Soulshaper. I am not attached to these ideas, but identify them as a good starting point for the discussion. What I have come to love about this approach is that it does not leave anyone out. Too often, as I was struggling on my path, I felt like I was not spiritual if I wasn't blissful, or detached, or able to get what I wanted from the universe simply by asking for it. What I wanted was a model for spirituality that met me right where I lived, and that honored my struggles down here on Mother Earth as actual reflections of my spiritual path, that is, the idea that my grounded challenges were the grist for the soul mill for my spiritual growth, and, in their essence, indistinguishable from it.. I want us to celebrate ourselves right where we are on the journey, recognizing that our journey is always spiritual, as we seek to uncover and to embody the divine purpose that sources our birth..
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A SOULSHAPER
MEANING-DRIVEN: The Soulshaper believes in something more than the arbitrariness of the universe. Life has directionality and purpose. The Universe is inherently benevolent. The key is to uncover the meaning that threads through our existence.
TRUE-PATH: At the heart of the soulshaping journey is the quest for 'true-path'- that path which reflects our particular purpose in this lifetime. The Soulshaper makes a conscious distinction between true-path and false-path. True-path is reflected in our 'innate image'- an encoded vision of who we are here to become in this lifetime. Embodying that vision depends on our ability to identify and honor our soul scriptures- those particular callings, lessons and archetypal pathways that live at the heart of our transformation. To the extent that we honor true-path, our soul's consciousness expands. To the degree that we misidentify, we come back the next time with the same lessons waiting in the wings.
DIVINE PERSPIRATION: The Soulshaper works hard to develop his inner muscle, the soul-driven determination to deal with whatever challenges come his way. Under no illusion that the processes of self-creation are easy, he recognizes that walking a sacred path is often challenging in a survivalist world. Before even identifying his scriptures, he may have many obstacles to overcome- economic challenges, emotional debris, patterns of self-distraction, negative beliefs, the weight of the world. He works hard at it, persistently and courageously, until true-path is liberated and rises to the rafters of consciousness.
SOUL ADVENTURER: To clarify the path, the Soulshaper has no attachment to any one tool or technique. She is willing to explore any and all pathways of possibility. At times she sits in the place of not knowing and practices the art of detachment. At other times, she befriends her confusion, lives in the question, jumps into experience. A swashbuckler of the spirit, she ignites depth charges- intentional efforts to excavate her callings- whenever necessary. With a relentless sense of wander, she eagerly lets go of her localized frame of perception, and adventures into broader and more inclusive realms of consciousness. When a calling is excavated, she tries it on for size, checking its authenticity against her soul-scriptures. She boldly goes where her soul has not gone before.
SOUL-TRACKER: The Soulshaper strives to become an expert soul-tracker, ever sensitive to directional signs as to path that emanate from within. These signs can take many forms- an intuitive hit, a spiritual emergingcy, a sacred grumble, a lingering truth ache. A student of inner dissonance, he looks hard for symptoms of his own falsity. Ever vigilant, he faces his patterns of avoidance head-on. He identifies his escape hatches. He names his game. He is all about living in truth.
INTENTIONALITY: The Soulshaper is all about a soulful intention. He is not interested in the act itself, so much as what compels it: Am I doing this action to honor true-path, or to distract from it? Am I ending this relationship because I am afraid of going deeper, or because it is a distraction from my callings? Depth-avoidant behavior or Soul-driven action?
THE BODY GARDEN: The Soulshaper honors her body as the karmic field where her spiritual lessons are harvested. Far more than just a vessel for the soul, the body is the embodiment of the soul- the soul's garden of truth. She tills the soul-soil with purifying practices- enlivening exercises, armor-busters, heart-openers- in an effort to create space inside for true-path to emerge. A built-in authenticity-mometer, her body dulls when she is living falsely, and glows when she is true to path.
THE SCHOOL OF HEART KNOCKS: To actualize his karmic lessons, the Soulshaper surrenders to his emotional processes, making no distinction between his emotional life and his spiritual path. Although mindful of the perils of misidentification (the thinking that we are ONLY our identifications), he recognizes that the state of his incarnation is a direct reflection of the shape of his soul. Therefore he works hard on his stuff, clearing his emotional debris both because it creates space inside for his authentic self to emerge, and because inherent in those feelings and memories are the lessons he needs to grow in his spiritually. Although lessons can be pleasurable, they are often painful at this stage of our collective transformation- the ladder to heaven is made from broken rungs. Our ascension depends on our capacity to 'cell our soul', to bring our suffering through our emotional body until our spiritual lesson is birthed. Fully actualized, these lessons are the grist that grows the soul, karmic fodder for the mill of spiritual expansion. Karma yoga meets therapeutic process.
GOD IS IN THE PEOPLE: In its essence, Soulshaping is an immersion model. It is about jumping into life, immersing ourselves in our feelings and experiences in an effort to learn what we need to expand our soul's consciousness. It is about embodied spirituality. It is about 'feeling' God, not 'thinking' God. It is about healthy, selective attachment. It is about the inextricable relationship between the opening of the heart and the expansion of the soul (Open-bless-a-me). It is about heartfelt connection as the path to God, connection in all its forms: We-God.
BE REAL NOW: The Soulshaper is not seeking enLIGHTenment-a word that implies that the most advanced forms of consciousness are brightly lit, perpetually blissful. She is seeking enREALment: an inclusive consciousness that incorporates all planes of awareness at one time- shadow and light, subtle and gross realms, ego and soul, earth and sky, localized lens and archetypal wave. That is, a model that weaves the Eastern quest for the Eternal with the Western quest for Emotional and Mental Health. Unity Consciousness meets Self-concept on a bridge across forever.
A SOLE TO SOUL PHILOSOPHY: At the heart of 'Enrealment' is a vision of a human being that 'Ascends with both feet on the ground'. The Soulshaper understands that our ascension to the Godself can only be sustained if it is an embodied unfolding from the ground up. We begin with the root chakra- the quest for Om begins at home- and we work our way up from there. It is not enough for our feet to merely skim the ground. The mythic life begins with our feet planted on Mother Earth. With our soles firmly planted, our Soul has a leg to stand on in its efforts to go higher. As we develop a healthy ego and work through our chakras, we become organically present in our bodies and in the moment. From this stable presence emerges a natural and sustainable movement upward, toward God. Instead of settling for the occasional peak experience, we are now capable of sustaining a more heightened way of being. Sole meets soul on sacred footpaths..
HONORING THE UBS: The Soulshaper has faith in the Universal Broadcasting system, the dynamic and benevolent network of relatedness that brings lessons and messengers onto our path in an ongoing effort to grow our soul. He works hard to clarify his inner channel so that he can summon and receive what he needs more readily. He has no expectation that the universe will send him everything he asks for, but he does have faith that the UBS will send him just what he needs to grow to the next stage. If the universe is attuned to anything, it is attuned to our 'soulular state', how close or how far we are from honoring our divine purpose for this lifetime.
SOUL SUCCESS: The Soulshaper is ever conscious of the difference between egoic and soulful notions of achievement. She is governed by a notion of success that is directly linked to the actualization of her soul-scriptures: lessons, callings, authentic expansion. Material success is only meaningful to the extent that it reflects and actualizes her innate image.
ONLY SOUL KNOWS: The Soulshaper recognizes that only he can know his soul's path. Other may have opinions that are of value, others may call out to and remind him of his knowing, but only he holds the key to his kingdom. He is always his primary guru. In the same way, he will always attempt to give others back their own power, refusing to exploit their projections onto him as knower. At heart, the Soulshaper believes that every individual is here for a profound reason, however simple or humble it may outwardly appear. Through this lens, he strives to make the 'Presumption of Essence' in those he encounters. Instead of seeing individuals exclusively in terms of their adaptations and disguises, he seeks to honor and connect with the soulful being that lives at the core.
INCH WORMS: Although persistent, the Soulshaper recognizes that real change takes time. The Soulshaping journey is life-long and lives long. Growers are inch worms. The fall back to habitual ways is a natural part of the journey home. So long as we persist in sticking our head back out a little further each time, we continue to grow: Three steps forward, two steps back is progress.
GENDER BRIDGE: The Soulshaper does not see the world through a gendered lens, recognizing that the most inclusive soul contains all aspects of traditional gender roles in equal measure. Gender is just a way-station, an opportunity for the soul to embody particular archetypes and work through its karmic lessons. The ultimate being is poly-gendered. At some point, the assertive and the surrendered become indistinguishable.
SOULPOD-SEEKING: The Soulshaper understands the relevance of the 'soulpod' on her evolutionary path. The soulpod is that person or group of people whom our soul finds resonance with at any given moment. They are so often the key to our expansion. Although her growth may demand a disconnection from certain family and friends, she honors her ancestors wherever possible and attempts to see their actions in context. She honors those souls that established the foundation for her to go higher, those souls who died on battlefields so she could live, those souls who did anything positive to light her way. At the same time, she does not bypass her feelings or forgive the past arbitrarily, but only when that forgiveness is an organic manifestation of genuine emotional resolution.
GIFT BACK: The Soulshaper inherently understands that the individual soul is inextricably linked to the collective soul. We are each here as part of the sacred dance, stepping on each others toes and turning each other toward god, one clumsy step after another. Once he reaches a measure of soul satisfaction, the Soulshaper begins to actively look for ways to benefit other souls who are stumbling on the dance floor. He gifts back to the Universe that gifted him with this precious life. We are in this together. We are this, together.
Jeff Brown (www.soulshaping.com)
JUDGMENT IS BAD (wow, that was a judgment !) (The anti-judgment mantra)
Wisdom: Judgment has been a divisive and destructive force, often wielded as a weapon against those deemed different. It separates us, it undermines us, it perpetuates a dualistic framework of perception that fractures rather than heals. It is one of the primary roots of the poisonous tree. It is essential that we become conscious of our own judgmental tendencies and seek a more compassionate approach. Compassion is a much healthier and more productive path, one that enheartens humanity and brings us into connection with each other.
Perils: In its extreme forms, the anti-judgment mantra can actually perpetuate the dualistic madness it seeks to avoid by nullifying one’s freedom of thought and expression. It becomes a spiritual bypass mechanism, one where individuals repress valid and fair-minded perceptions because they fear that they are being “judgmental” toward others. When this happens, the individual becomes split between an unactualized inner knowing and an adaptation to an externally influenced “idea” of appropriate behavior. The anti-judgment mantra often works to the benefit of those who are seeking to repress freedom of expression and deflect personal responsibility for their own actions.
Grounded Perspective: To make a distinction between arbitrary, malicious judgment and grounded, intuition honouring, meaning-based discernment. The former destroys, the latter honors our intuition and supports our efforts to create a healthier reality. Not everything fits with who we are, or who we are becoming. The important thing is to enhearten our processes of discernment so that we are both honouring our own right to choose and emanating from a compassionate source spring. In other words, to do the least harm when we are making distinctions between what resonates and what doesn’t.
DESIRE/ATTACHMENT IS THE ENEMY OF A HEALTHY SPIRITUAL LIFE
Wisdom: For those of us who are so lost in our desires/attachments that we cannot stop getting in our own way, there is value in this extreme perspective. To be sure, there are times when well-boundaried detachment is necessary: when we need to be reminded of something beyond our localized lens, when we need a peek into a vaster reality, when we need to distinguish between that which serves us and that which derails us. Some of us need to detach from our desires in an extreme fashion in order to recognize/heal our pain bodies and come back to centre. This is particularly true for those with addictive patterns, and those unable to break destructive relational cycles.
Perils: When not implemented in a balanced manner, this perspective dissociates us from the heart of spiritual life- our felt experience. One of the rancid prongs of the spiritual bypass movement, the anti-attachment mantra becomes a technique for self-avoidance that can go too far, inviting seekers to define spirituality in heady, disembodied terms. Radical detachers often end up manifesting as automatons, seemingly calm and reasonable but not integrated in their humanness, a bubbling cauldron of repressed and unresolved feelings and memories.
Grounded Perspective: Selective attachment is the middle way. In the context of Soulshaping, ‘selective attachment’ is the process of sifting everything through an essential filter, connecting only to those experiences and relationships that support true-path. If something fits, we bring it on. If it doesn’t, we stay away. We embrace the idea that certain desires and attachments are healthy and soul-affirming under the right circumstances: How will we learn our lessons if we do not get involved? What is wrong with pleasure as a path? And we embrace the idea that non-attachment is the right path at other times: Why stay connected in the heart of unbearable suffering? Is separation not essential to individuation? Although we embrace the value of detachment practices as essential to the journey, the grounded perspective recognizes that to live in perpetual detachment is to miss the moment altogether. It is to trip out of the body that carries the karmic seeds for our transformation. It is to leave earth before our time. At some point, we need to come back down into our bodies and our personal identifications and work with what lives inside of us. Not identifying ourselves as our stuff, but identifying our stuff as a key to our transformation.
THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF SPIRITUAL LIFE IS (something called) ‘ENLIGHTENMENT’
Wisdom: Healthily characterized and construed, the quest for enlightenment is a noble path, reminding us that we have access to a wondrous and vast consciousness.
Perils: Although enlightenment has been broadly defined in the spiritual literature, it is often interpreted as a kind of pure consciousness; a 'heightened' and purified state of being that is detached from our everyday concerns. In its own way, this interpretation can actually invite us away from the karmic field of expansion itself- our daily life. On my journey, I have been exposed to all manner of definition- enlightenment as seen through the eyes of the head-tripper (mind as path), the bliss-seeker (en’light’enment= fleeing the pain-body, pleasure as path), the radical detacher (bypass as path), the all-knowing guru. Unfortunately, the head-tripper has removed the heart from the equation, the bliss-seeker mistakes the delights of self-avoidance for wholeness, the radical detacher has left the planet, and the all-knowing guru is usually too egoically bloated to taste from the tree of enlightenment. Its fruits only fall on those who have the good sense to know how little they know.
Grounded Perspective: A more grounded and balanced perspective would invite all aspects of the human experience into the equation. I prefer the term “Enrealment”, fundamental to my understanding of Soulshaping as path. Enrealment is the quest for a more inclusive consciousness, one that makes no distinction between our spiritual and earthly lives. It is about living in all aspects of reality simultaneously rather than only those realms that feel the most comfortable. Instead of tripping out of our earthly experience to find God, we find God everywhere – shadow and light, subtle and gross realms, grocery list and unity consciousness. Through this lens, spirituality is just another word for reality. The more authentically connected we are to all elements of reality, the more spiritual our experience. Be Real Now. Entirety as path..
Jeff Brown, Author of Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation (www.soulshaping.com)
EXPRESSING ANGER IS NOT SPIRITUAL AND NOT WELCOME
Wisdom– For obvious reasons, discouraging the inappropriate expression of anger is wise. In our efforts to shift from an animalistic to a civilized world, it has been necessary to put various laws and judgments in place around anger to ensure that others are protected.
Perils– In a mad dash to react away from the perils of anger, we went too far and lost a key piece of the emotional integrity and expression cycle. Anger is a legitimate emotion that signals that a person has been violated. By discouraging and shaming its organic experience/expression, we actually disrupt natural emotional rhythms and encourage inauthentic ways of being. In addition, repressing the emotions simply keeps the anger alive. The negativity goes underground, manifesting in a myriad of destructive forms, including passive aggressiveness, self-destructive behaviour and all manner of disease. By not saying “f*#k you,” we have f*#ked ourselves. In addition, the world improves when people experience/express legitimate anger because it communicates a message that certain things that are happening are not acceptable. As we move towards a higher collective vibration, appropriate anger shows us injustices that would not have even been noticed in earlier times. If we fully condemn healthy anger, we condemn ourselves to endure realities that are not healthy or forward-moving.
Grounded Perspective– Anger is no less spiritual than any other legitimate emotion. Spirituality simply means reality, and an inclusive spiritual experience includes access to a broad and vital range of authentic emotional states and avenues of expression. The important thing is to honor its wisdom and meaning in ways that are appropriate and not physically threatening. This can certainly include healthy and direct communication of anger (verbal, written, legal, boundary assertion etc.), and can also include various methods of embodied release. The important thing is to be true to the emotions, without doing needless harm.
EVERYTHING YOU DISLIKE IN ANOTHER IS A REFLECTION OF A PART OF YOU AND/OR SOMETHING YOU DISLIKE IN YOURSELF (‘The Mirror Defence’)
Wisdom– Understood properly, this perspective invites us to recognize the often reflective nature of reality. Quite often, our reaction to another is a projected response that is sourced in our own emotional material and patterns. Perhaps there is something in our response that can help us to better understand ourselves. For example, you may dislike someone’s passive aggressiveness because you are actually passive aggressive and you don’t want that reflected back to you.
Perils– When misused, the ‘mirror bypass’ invites us away from reality- the truth of how we really feel about someone’s characteristics/actions. Even if their characteristics are similar to our own, this doesn’t mean that we like those characteristics or have to embrace them in another. Quite often, this perspective is used as a defence against accountability by wrong-doers, who expertly shift the focus away from their own actions by turning the mirror back on those they have wronged “Look! It’s not me you dislike, It’s you!” Trickster gurus are particularly adept at these techniques. The guru claims that his (questionable) actions were not actually for his own benefit but done with the conscious intention of reflecting back to you the unresolved aspects of your own consciousness. If you felt betrayed, it was because you have issues around betrayal that you need to look at. *Try hitting on the guru’s girlfriend, and see what he says then.
Grounded Perspective– It is always good to consider the possibility that our reaction to another is sourced in our own projections and unresolved issues. At the same time, it is also perfectly fine to dislike something in another that does not resonate with who we are or with what we value. Yes, we can respect everyone’s right to be who they are, while also honouring our right to dislike some/all of their characteristics. We can also make the presumption of essence in everyone we meet- seeing individuals as fellow souls traveling through time- while simultaneously accepting that we don’t enjoy hanging out with their incarnation .
WE ARE “ALL-ONE”/DUALITY IS THE ENEMY OF A HEALTHY SPIRITUAL LIFE
Wisdom: Lost to the overwhelm and fragmentation of daily life, many of us forget that there is a unified field of consciousness beyond our localized awareness. We get trapped in our monkey mind, our neurotic anxieties, our sense of alienation from our environment and other people. The All-Oneness movement invites us to nestle into this vaster consciousness, to reach beyond limiting dualities and recognize our connection to an intertwined and interdependent network of expansion. This perspective is particularly helpful to those who are over-contained and rigidly boundaried, and unable to feel connected to anything ‘outside’ themselves.
Perils: When taken too far, the “All-One” Mantra can become a recipe for radical detachment and self-avoidance. Instead of recognizing our divine purpose and doing the individual work to actually become more connected and unified, seekers jump ship and swim in the vaster ocean, where they drown (together) in their unresolveds. One of the more complicated prongs of the spiritual bypass movement, the All-oneness mantra often removes the ego, body and emotional life from its vision of wholeness. In other words, it’s only All-One if it feels good. No shadows or hard shoes allowed on the dance floor, just light and easy dance moves. Not so much All-One, as All-Fun. Quite often, the spiritual bypass community encourages us to 'oneness' before we have a 'self' to come home to. Its backwards. We need to grow into a recognition of our individual significance before we can truly understand and surrender to our connection to unit y.
Grounded Perspective: There’s a sacred balance between our experience of unity consciousness and our connection to our individual path in the heart of it-separate voices inextricably woven through a choir of unified light. Yes, we are inextricably woven together, intertwined with the divine, connected with other, with the natural world, with the universe that sources this incarnation. But we’re not identical to everything and not everything is a perfect reflection of our unique self. Each of us has a unique and significant role to play in the heart of this universal dance. Divine Purpose, the true-path that is embedded in the bones of our being, cries out to be excavated and humanifest. When we embody our divine purpose, we shape the individual and collective soul to the next stage in its movement towards wholeness. The idea that we are all "one" takes on a whole new meaning when we find our unique place in the heart of it and interact with unity from an individuated and clarified purpose. It is an irony of the All-one movement that they often forget the need for individual experience/development in creating a non-dualistic reality (We are not attached at the waist for a reason). The more deeply we grow in our individual spirituality, the more genuine is our experience of unity. The healthier the individual consciousness, the healthier the collective. Although there is a dark side to duality, there is also a perfect side- the separate strands are where we do the work and a breeding ground for the soul’s expansion. We heal the dualities by honouring them and learning the lessons intrinsic to their form. To let go of duality, we must first establish our separateness. To truly taste from unity, we must learn where we end and the other begins.
Jeff Brown, Author of Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation (www.soulshaping.com)
(A) BY THINKING MORE POSITIVE THOUGHTS, I WILL ALTER MY EMOTIONAL STATE, POSITIVELY TRANSFORM MY REALITY, AND ATTRACT THE ABUNDANCE I SEEK
Wisdom– There is an interface between individual and universal consciousness. Let’s call it the ‘soulular phone’*. Too many of us have not been able to recognize this connection because of the circumstances of our lives. Under the right circumstances, positive thinking & positive energy can directly impact this relationship, and our calls for greater abundance may be met with open ears. The fact that so many people are willing to embrace this perspective suggests that some measure of optimism is beginning to creep into our inner landscapes. That we are even open to the idea of a benevolent listener, a Law of (Positive) Attraction, manifestation itself…is a positive sign. We are becoming more faith-driven, more hope-full, more open…
Perils– All too often, the positive thinking movement becomes a bypass of reality, a skimming of the surface of our inner lives. Too many have followed this approach to transformation and lost their way, making major life changes without the foundation to support them. The universe responds to authentic transformation- nothing feigned will do. If our positive thinking is incongruent with our emotional reality, if we have not done the real work to ready ourselves for humanifestation, then our wishes will fall on deaf ears, falling to the bottom of the fountain with the rest of the pennies. We need to get our emotional world consistent with our "positive thinking" in order for our requests and visualizations to be taken seriously by the “Universal Broadcasting System”*. If we are all blocked up with pain and anger, our "positive thoughts" will not be authentically sourced and organically positive. The more emotionally unresolved we are, the denser the message we transmit. Even if we get what we ask for, it may not come with the positive outcome we imagine (i.e. the guy who asks for a Rolls Royce, and then drives it into a hydro pole because what he really needed was to wake the f*#k up).
Grounded Perspective– There is a relationship between positive energy and humanifestation. The key to fortifying that link is to work through our barriers to positivity. Just thinking in another way is not enough for most of us. Instead, we do the painstaking inner work to clear our emotional debris and to learn the lessons that will ready us for our ultimate path. The clearer and more unified the inner channel, the more effective we are at humanifesting our callings and dreams. The real secret to humanifestation is being true to your soulshape, whatever that means to you. Abundance is simply that- the path we are each here to walk. When you make a request of the universe, be sure that your feelings, thoughts and spirit are truly aligned. Be sure to know who is doing the asking (who am I, really?) and make the request when you are truly ready to receive it. One important thing is ensuring that we align our requests with what we actually need on our Soulshaping journeys. Not what we “think” we need, but what we genuinely need to expand in our spirituality. The universe- the listening ear- knows the difference.
(B) THE ‘YOU MUST FORGIVE’ NEW AGE MANTRA
Wisdom– Frequently advocated by the new age movement, “The forgiveness mantra” wisely reminds us of the value of forgiveness. When we are able to forgive things that have happened to us, we are able to live more freely in our daily lives. Toxic emotions can do tremendous damage to us in every area of our life. And we can potentially transform our consciousness by moving through the emotions that lead to forgiveness. In the heart of the process may be key lessons that need to be learned, and shifts in our way of understanding reality.
Perils– The ungrounded spirituality movement often encourages people to forgive independent of organic emotional processes, as though forgiveness is merely a thought, or a concept. Some even go so far as to suggest that you must always heal the connection directly with the wrongdoers, and remain connected to them. The “forgiveness bypass”* (the tendency to avoid unresolved emotions by feigning forgiveness) is a self-distractive path that can lead to all manner of internal and relational distortion- internal splitting and confusion, passive aggressive behaviour, the toxic impact of unresolved emotions. The truth is that we cannot will ourselves into forgiveness. If we try to forgive before we have moved the feelings, inauthenticity blocks our path. We cannot be in the real, because we are not emotionally real. Our cells are still back there.
Grounded Perspective– Attempt forgiveness wherever possible, but not in a way that is unreal and premature. The challenge is to ensure that the forgiveness is authentic, and not a concept that we impose on our felt experience. Authentic forgiveness requires a genuine working through of the emotions and memories related to our experiences. If there is a chance of truly letting go, we must first see the processes of healing all the way through to their completion. At that stage, forgiveness may organically arise. In some cases, it will not. And that is perfectly fine. The most important thing is to be true to our own experience.
(C) WHATEVER HAPPENS IS INTENDED FOR THE HIGHEST GOOD/ “IT’S ALL GOOD” (THE ‘HAPPINESS BYPASS’)
Wisdom: This perspective can be particularly helpful to those of us who have a tendency to see the glass as half empty or those going through a particularly difficult time. Sometimes it is all good, and we cannot see it because our consciousness is too burdened and/or we are too lodged in our own experience of victimhood. And sometimes an experience reveals its benefits much later in time, or becomes more obvious as our understanding of the relationship between challenges and expansion gets more refined. If we learn to stay in the fire long enough, we will often find the needle of goodness in the heart of the karmic haystack.
Perils: Intrinsic to this perspective is the idea that the universe is always pulling the strings, intending every act for our ultimate good. Although this view can feel very comforting, I have my doubts about this. Sometimes it is not all good. Sometimes it is just plain bad. In the wrong context, the happiness bypass can detach us from our authentic emotional experience and float us down de-nial river, where we drown in our unshed tears. Even if there is a beautiful lesson at the end of our process, we may not recognize unless we can really feel into the tragic elements of the event(s). Shallow-dippers and bliss-trippers love the “All Good” Mantra because it feels momentarily pleasurable and allow them to bypass some of life’s challenges. But..
Grounded Perspective: Sometimes its all good. Sometimes its all bad. Sometimes its somewhere in between. Because the collective unconsciousness is still at a stage where its awakened by harshness, Its easy to make the assumption that every tragedy was Gods will. It isn’t. Sometimes people are just acting out their malevolence and manifesting their disconnect from true-path. Sometimes acts are just tragic errors in judgment. We may be so shocked by it that our armored hearts open, but that doesn’t mean they are acts intended by the universe for our highest good (if every tragedy is ‘all good’, why develop laws that protect humanity from insane behaviour?). There is necessary suffering, and there is also needless suffering. As we become more acquainted with our inner lives, we get better at making the distinction.
© Jeff Brown, Author of SOULSHAPING: A JOURNEY OF SELF-CREATION (www.soulshaping.com)
Those terms marked with an * are taken from the Soulshaping Dictionary at the end of ‘Soulshaping’.