Jeff Brown, as seen on FoxNews.com, read on Good Morning America, heard on CBS, ABC.Au, NPR & New Dimensions
  • Order ‘Ascending With Both Feet On the Ground’ Here

  • Testimonials

    • Elizabeth Lesser, Author of Broken Open, and Co-Host Oprah's Soul-Series radio
      "Anyone who has ever tried to write about the spiritual journey knows how hard it is to find words that are big yet humble enough, serious yet light enough, full of drama and awe yet also stripped down and naked. This little book pulls it off. Jeff Brown has a most marvelous way with words--you think you're reading a joke, and it turns into a profound realization. Or you're following a complex thought to completion and suddenly it blossoms into a song and dance. I love learning about life and truth and love and purpose through the wizardry of Jeff's words. I think you will too."
    • Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Bestselling author of The Invitation
      "Jeff Brown stirs the soulful imagination with words that encourage, challenge and remind us what we are and why we are here. His aphorisms- soulshaping nuggets for the journey- come from the heart of his experience. Enjoy!"
    • Katherine Woodward Thomas, bestselling author of Calling in "The One" and co-leader of the Feminine Power Global Community
      "With great wisdom, depth, humor and warmth, Jeff Brown's brilliant offering pierces through the veil of pretense, and brings us to our knees before the refreshing alter of authenticity. His musings manage to offer both an elevated, delightful and invigorating perspective as well as gift us with a grounded, solid pathway home to the most true and tender parts of ourselves. A heartwarming and heart-opening read, this beautiful little piece of art rekindles an almost childlike faith in the possibilities present, while reminding us to do the very real work to actualize them."
    • Philip Shepherd author of New Self, New World
      "This book is fabulous- provocative, encouraging, and blazing with a clear-eyed truth that bows to no icons, only to the sweet, clear song of reality itself. There are enough sparks of wisdom in this book to ignite a blaze in the soul. Exhilarating, compassionate, in-sightful, these truth-soundings will vibrate in your being long after you have put them down. This is the kind of provocative companionship I cherish."
  • Order Soulshaping Here

    Buy the Book
  • Testimonials

    • Ram Dass, Spiritual Teacher, Best-selling auther of BE HERE NOW
      "Soulshaping does an EXCELLENT job of demonstrating how we can listen to and follow our soul's guidance in the midst of life."
    • Seane Corn
      International Yoga Instructor and Spiritual Activist
      "Soulshaping is a beautiful story of one mans spiritual journey that reveals the inspiring, yet often humbling, path of growth and self-transformation. Jeff offers us a raw, honest and humorous glimpse into the exploration of self, while also imploring us to celebrate the opening of the heart and the awakening of the soul- no matter where we are directed, what is revealed, or who shows up. I Highly recommend this book."
    • Tama J. Kieves Best-Selling Author of "This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love (How One Harvard Lawyer Left It All to Have It All!)"
      "This book is role call for the soul. Jeff Brown is the kind of writer that invites you to swim in gasoline and then provides a match. This is no self-help book. THIS IS A SUMMONS FROM THE MOUNTAIN TOP AND FROM THE TRENCHES. I am so grateful for Jeff Brown's journey, his absolute genius in writing, and the journey we are all on at this time."
    TESTIMONIALS

Tag: heart

APOLOGIES TO THE BATTERED CHILD (from a parent in process)

I apologize for beating you with my fists and feet when you were small and vulnerable. I apologize for wounding your body temple. I apologize for burning your hands, breaking your finger, scarring your flesh. I simply couldn’t see you, laying there in a pool of blood and sorrow. Blinded my own repressed rage, I saw an easy mark for my aggression. I saw a new host for my pain. I now understand that my abusiveness was a smokescreen for my own woundedness. A habit entrenched early in life, it felt easier to repeat the abuse than to heal it. And, in many ways, your aliveness reminded me of my own deadness- I had to shut you down so I could remain asleep. Below it all, I had so much love for you, my sweet child. I just couldn’t manifest it. I don’t ask for your forgiveness- you must be true to your own process first- but I do ask that you grant yourself permission to heal and to live a life that is liberated from my effects.

I apologize for attempting to dim your beautiful light. It was so bright that it threatened my own unmet need for attention- who would notice me, in your enlivened presence? Although I was chronologically older than you when we had you, I was actually emotionally regressed, trapped in an unhealed primal consciousness that ruled my behavior. I had grown up in a family of love starved narcissists, each of us clamoring to see our individual reflections in a too tiny pool of validation. With our lights hidden under a bushel of shame, no one ever felt seen. Stealing other people’s light became my misguided path of self-elevation, a misplaced attempt at boosting my diminished self-concept. I am so sorry for this attack on the integrity of your being. You had every right to embody your magnificence with dignity. You had every right to shine.

I apologize for vilifying and scapegoating you. I am sorry that I actively blamed you for my own misery. I couldn’t hold my self-hatred any longer- I needed to pass it on to someone else. You were the perfect recipient for my frustration- you couldn’t defend yourself. And, I remember the worst of it- telling you that my life would have been better if you had died instead of the daughter I lost. As I read these words, I find myself almost turning away from your picture- it is too much to imagine that I could leave you with that- but I stay and face your image. I face it not because I can change what I have done, but because I owe it to you to stay in the fire of my own regret.

I apologize for mocking you and repeatedly calling you names. I should have known the scars that insults leave on a vulnerable being- mockery was fundamental to my family dynamics. In the heat of desperate survivalism, insulting each other was a momentary relief from our chronic state of hopelessness. I am sorry for perpetuating that pattern at your expense. I only wish I could reach inside of you and take back the words I left there. I know that you internalized many of those insults and believed them to be true. I know that it shaped your lens. Please know that my message was entirely my own stuff. Please know that you are beautiful in my eyes. And, more importantly, please know that you are beautiful through your own eyes. Please heal the remnants of my madness.

I apologize for turning others against you and pitting you against your siblings. Lodged in a competitive world view, my reality was divided into territories- threats and protections, enemies and friends, them and us. The demons of duality- ne’er the twain shall meet. Through this fearful lens, differences were equated with threats to survival rather than opportunities for learning. Like snorting animals on the prowl, if you didn’t behave like us, you were the enemy. Because you were so different from the rest of us, I identified you as an enemy. I forgot our biological connection, our shared humanness, our karmic engagement. I forgot the bridge that existed between our hearts.

I am so deeply sorry that I left you alone in your developing years. I apologize for abandoning you when you needed me most. I remember your cries for contact, your tireless efforts to connect, your tearful eyes through the living room window as I drove away. I looked away, but I still felt you. I just couldn’t do anything about it. In many ways, I confused you with the bad marriage that produced you, a marriage that I longed to escape from so desperately. When I had you, I was so emotionally immature. There was so little space inside me for another person’s needs. As I grow into my real adulthood, I am able to empathize with your heartbreak. In the last years, I have spent much time growing into the parent you deserved. Please know that I have taken that journey seriously.

I want you to know that I see you better now. I see the fear that I left you with. I see the ways that it impacted on your life choices, emotional availability, patterns of self-distraction. I see the ways that self-doubt prevented you from fully owning your power. Despite my madness, some part of me noticed the ways that you shut down to cope- the shallowing of your breath, the armoring of your heart, the reluctance to be seen. But I also see the ways that you overcame. I see the ways that you championed your own cause. I see the ways that you converted your fear into hope. I see how hard you worked to grow yourself. I am proud of you in ways that words can never express.

Most of the greatest achievements on the planet are unknown to others- private overcomings, silent attempts at belief, re-opening a shattered heart. The real path of champions truly lies within- the transforming of suffering into expansion, the clearing of horrifying debris, the building of a healthy self-concept without tools. The greatest achievers have found a way to believe in something good despite being traumatized and fractured on life’s battlefields. You are one of them. You overcame me. No matter what else you accomplish in your life, you are already a champion.

I am grateful that you disconnected from me many years ago instead of coming back for more abuse. You realized that I couldn’t meet your parental needs and that you had to look elsewhere. You were so very right. By choosing to protecting yourself, you also created the conditions for my own transformation. In your absence, in your determined refusal to enable my patterns, I was forced to recognize my impact. At first, I resisted the learning, but the love I felt for you penetrated my defenses and left me with no other option but to do the work. That work took me far back in time- both to our time together and to my own early life. Ah, the Power of Then- the impact of unresolved feelings on our now consciousness. Try as I did to disarm them by witnessing them, it was entirely ineffective. You cannot heal and resolve your emotional material with your mind. Your emotional material does not evaporate because you watch it. You can only heal your heart with your heart. I had no choice but to go back down the path and re-claim my feelings. In this way, you were my greatest teacher- the one who gave me back my heart.

Over the years, my own emotional armour has melted away. I have lost the energy that I once had to distract from my truth. I have grown tired of my falsity, denials and projections. And something has grown within me- a willingness to see what I have done and to acknowledge where I have failed. I don’t know if I will have another incarnation to do it better, but I want to set a loving intention before I die. I want to be living in truth when I close my eyes on this lifetime. And some part of the truth is horrifying to me. I know what I have done. I know the violence in my heart. And I know the causal factors: the desperate survivalism that plagued my family line, the shutting down of my emotional current, the build-up of resentment. But I also know that I had a choice. I could hear the voice of love calling me away during those acts of violence, but I chose to continue. I was influenced by my childhood, but I alone chose my path. Before God and before you, I am accountable for those choices.

As our society crosses the bridge from survivalism to authenticity as our way of being, I have every faith that we will one day move from love. I have done it, and I feel confident that others will follow. As part of that process, I call on all bullies to step out of their comfort zone and make determined efforts to shift their abusive paradigm. To find the courage to face the source of their rage. To break the lineage of toxic conditioning. To find constructive ways to soften their edges. To steer the collective (un)consciousness in new directions. To learn healthy ways to channel their aggression. Don’t do it only for those who you are harming. Do it for yourself as well. There is no life with a closed heart.

I do not know how God will judge me. I do not know how you will judge me. I do know that I have done all I can to own my actions and to open my heart. I am on my knees before truth. Know that I understand if you choose to remain disconnected. I truly do. You have to be true to your own process. But also know that I am here for you if ever you choose to open the gate again. Nearly 50 years late, but the way is clear.

A former criminal lawyer and psychotherapist, Jeff Brown is the author of “Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation,” and the just released “Ascending with Both Feet on the Ground”. Endorsed by authors Elizabeth Lesser, Oriah Mountain Dreamer and Katherine Woodward Thomas, “Ascending” is a collection of Jeff’s most popular spiritual graffiti—quotes, soul-bytes and aphorisms frequently shared in social media. He is also the author of “Apologies to the Divine Feminine (from a warrior in transition)” and the producer and key journeyer in the new spiritual documentary- Karmageddon- which also stars Ram Dass, Seane Corn, David Life, Deva Premal and Miten. You can connect with Jeff’s work at www.soulshaping.com.

 

APOLOGIES TO MY (SWEET) BODY (from a head-tripper in transition)

APOLOGIES TO MY (SWEET) BODY (from a head-tripper in transition)

I apologize for hiding from you in my mind. I was a head-tripper extraordinaire, preferring the seeming safety of my thoughts to the often savage world of feeling. Although I was frequently called ‘absent-minded’, I was actually ‘absent-bodied’, living far outside the walls of the body temple. I grew up in a hateful family, and feeling into my body meant feeling into the horrible memories held in my tissues. Surviving by my wits allowed me to think my way through challenging circumstances and shielded me from pain. But my headiness came at a price- excessive analysis perpetuates emotional paralysis. My coping strategy became my blueprint for reality, alienating me from my real life. But I want to stop watching you from afar. I want to open the gate and come back in now.

I apologize for abusing you with toxic food, over-eating, workaholism. I wanted you drained and deadened so that I couldn’t feel you. If I enlivened you, I felt my emotions more strongly and my pain emerged. If I numbed you, my memories remained buried. Yet another self-distraction technique. I am sorry for those acts of misplaced aggression. I couldn’t hold you safe because I had never been held safe. I had to first forge self-love in the fires of life.

I apologize for shaming you, loathing you, hiding you, feeling embarrassed about you. I am sorry that I judged your seeming imperfections as oddities rather than reflections of the Godself. My attitude was a direct reflection of my own self-hatred, the internalized remnants of a shamed and vilified inner world. They told me I was ugly and I believed them. Characterized as the black sheep throughout my childhood, I took that message to heart, often perpetuating the shameathon at my own expense. As I work to bring my light out from under its bushel of shame, I see the wonder that is you shining through. Such a majestic temple, a living prayer to the Godself. If we don’t honour the temple, there will be no place to pray.

I apologize for looking for my spiritual life independent from you, as though God is a disembodied construct and not a felt experience. Like a good little head-tripper, I wanted to think God, rather than feel God. And so I looked for God on the skyways of detachment, mistaking self-avoidance for enlightenment itself. I went down this path for some time, seemingly calm on the outside, but a bubbling cauldron of unresolved feelings in the deep within. In truth, the closest I ever came to an inclusive consciousness were in those moments when I surrendered to you completely, blemishes and all. It is no accident that we are here in physical form- God is IN the people. I apologize for looking for God outside the temple walls.

I apologize for weighing you down with physical and emotional armour: rigid musculature, congealed rage, shallowed breath, a hardened heart. Perfectly conditioned as a lone-wolf male warrior, I preferred solidity to fluidity, weaponry to warmth. A slave to survival, I was built to move along the path like a machine, postponing rest and pleasure for a day that seldom came. With my armour intact, nothing and no one could touch me. But I was borrowing energy from my future. I was killing myself. Even now, I am under no illusion that I will shift this way of being easily. It is deep in me, deep in my memories of overcoming. But I will try, one shedding at a time. I will try.

I apologize for subjecting you to objectified, heart-severed sexuality. You are built for intimacy that is depth-full, unifying, indistinguishable from the God-self. Anything less is a perversion of your divine nature. But I all too often wanted it shallow and Godless. I wanted no bridge between my heart and genitals, my heart and hers. Even when I was going through my ‘tantra’ phases, I was still abusing you, because I was using my genitals as a bliss seeking missile and not a bridge to the divine. I was using sexuality to escape the moment rather than to deepen in connection. I am sorry that I abused you in this way. I am committed to enheartening my sexuality. I am committed to building the heart-genital highway within.

I am grateful for the so many ways that you kept me going even when my waking consciousness was completely alienated from you. If I had been ruled by my thoughts alone, I would be long dead, bouncing as I was from one heady tree-top to another. But you never failed me, never forgot me, never lost sight of where I really lived. You kept breathing me when I acted against you, when I shamed you, when I disowned you. You kept loving me, calling me back, keeping me afloat until I could meet myself. Such devotion. Deep bows..

I am particularly grateful that you carried me through the most destructive life stages. You healed the wounds and broken bones of early life. You shielded me from violence with your fists and feet. You got me out of bed when grief was immobilizing my spirit. You pulled me out of the fires of childhood hell, even when I re-created them throughout adulthood. You warmed me up, as I knocked on thousands of doors to sell windows in Canadian winters. You kept me awake through a sleepless trial law apprenticeship. You endured 3 decades of workaholism and over-compensation, with little rest. Dearest friend, how can I best honour you?

Thank you for being my authenticity-mometer, my temple of truth. How beautifully you carried my sacred purpose until I was ready for the hand-off. You reminded me with truth-chills whenever I walked in the right direction. You tripped me up with truth-aches whenever I dared to walk in someone else’s shoes. What is so remarkable is that you never failed to communicate with me when I was living a lie. I may not have been ready to listen, but you never abandoned your faith in my possibilities. I now know that my true-path is encoded in the bones of my being. Not a temple that I visit, but one that I am.

I look forward to the day when humanity fully embraces your divinity and recognizes the unity at the heart of creation. A unified consciousness still exists outside of our habitual awareness, but it sings to us from deep within, a symphony of God-music that is calling us home. Where body, mind and spirit appear to be flowing in disparate directions, they will soon be revealed as inextricable branches of the same waterway. On the river of Essence, everything flows in the same direction —towards the ocean of wholeness.

As we move closer to a unified consciousness, may we recognize the heart of the matter- our enheartened body temple. Enlightenment is not a head trip- it’s a heart trip, gusts of God blowing through the portal of the heart, the aortic love valve merging with the love that courses through the universal vein. As it turns out, it isn’t beginner’s mind we seek. Its’ beginner’s heart- the freshness of appreciation that flows through the open heart. If we want to expand our spiritual consciousness, we have to shake our heart tree often. Opening the heart unlocks the heart of the universe, and we see what is always before us. May we be committed to shedding the armour around our heart a little more with every breath.

I am writing you by the banks of a small river, watching Canadian Geese land, resting and readying for the next leg of their journey south. I watch them, settling into a body they never left, truly here. Time to surrender, sing the birds of pray. Then, when their body is ready, they rise again, rising on the wings of their love. I hear them, calling out to each other. Surrender! they cry, as they fly God home for the winter.

One day, I won’t write you as though you are independent of my waking consciousness. One day, I will pray to you, as you. One day, I too will fly to God without leaving the temple. Until then, please continue to hold me safe.

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

The Awakening Man: A Portrait of Possibility for Humankind

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.

A DIALOGUE WITH RAM DASS (Re-printed from Jan 07, 2009)

Ram Dass
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…








SOULSHAPING INSTITUTE- The School of Heart Knocks & Authentic Self-Revealing

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)

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

Physical

Jeff Brown/Soulshaping
PO Box 64
Acton, Ontario
L7J-2M2

When courier signatures are required, please contact us at: Issues@soulshaping.com

Email

To contact Jeff directly:
Jeff@soulshaping.com

*If you do not get a response to an email, RE-SEND to
Soulshaping@hotmail.com

Media Contacts:
Bookings@soulshaping.com

To arrange a private session, workshop, or speaking engagement:
Bookings@soulshaping.com

Technical problems w/email or website:
Soulshaping@hotmail.com

Copyright

© 2001 - 2013 Jeff Brown. All
rights heartfully (oh yah, and
legally...) reserved.

© 2010 Hadley Bushala (shifting clouds image)

© 2007 Kevin Ebi (livingwilderness.com) (picture in 'Contact Us' tab)
© www.rvandersteeg.nl (hugging book)

Search