Distant Healing – The Heart-Opening Technique

Many meditators, healers and people of goodwill are attracted to the idea of distant healing — that in meditation, contemplation and prayer we can help relieve suffering and pain at a distance.

But how exactly do we do this? I will share with you one golden rule, briefly list the most well-known techniques and then describe the strategy that I prefer.

First, the golden rule.

This is simple: Distant healing must always be done in a relaxed, calm and loving way. Otherwise, you may be sending agitated vibrations and energies. In particular, you need to monitor that you do not have any neediness that there be a healing.

If we are needy for healing, then we radiate neediness. Not useful.

So stay calm. The keynote is compassionate equanimity.

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The most well-known distant healing strategies are:

  • Kind thoughts
  • Sending healing energy (keep to the golden rule above and check you are not interfering)
  • Praying for help and intercessions from whichever tradition, gods, spirits, angels, saints, gurus, etc, who are in your culture.

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Then there is the heart-opening strategy that I prefer to use.

I like it because it is relevant to both suffering and the causes of suffering. It is also realistic about the fact that some illnesses and distress are chronic and long term, and that death is an inevitability.

This strategy is simple. It is a sense, a visualisation, a calm expectation that the hearts open of those who are suffering.

In the same way, the hearts open of those who create suffering.

In a calm state of compassionate contemplation, bring any person or situation of suffering into your loving awareness.

May your heart be open. May your heart be open. May your heart be open.

When someone’s heart opens, they move into a different mood. They connect with the benevolent flow of the universe. Their emotions and minds become more accepting and kinder. Healing at all levels becomes more accessible. Space is created for waves of grace.

There are other ways of practising this that may better suit you.

If for example you have a Christian background, then you may prefer some wording like this, which has the same effect: May the Christ within you awaken. Or May the Christ consciousness in you be fully awake.

From a Buddhist background, you might feel more at home with: May the Buddha within you awaken. Or May the Buddha consciousness in you be fully awake.

Of course, you are free to adapt the wording in whatever way works best for you.

Within the Buddhist tradition there is also the foundation prayer of Om Mani Padme Hum often translated as the Jewel in the Lotus. In many respects, this is a heart awakening mantra. Each of us is a lotus, a beautiful flower with stems beneath the water and roots deep into the earth. And within us is a jewel. Perceive it. Let it be fully present.

Again, this is congruent with the Hindu greeting of Namaste. I greet the soul within you. I greet your soul. I greet the Christ within you. The Buddha within you. The Goddess within you. All of these facilitate heart-opening.

Some people may prefer to work with the chakra system. You can sense-visualise-imagine the love petals of someone’s heart chakra opening with compassion and wisdom.

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I use this heart-opening approach when, in meditation, I send healing to the dictators and politicians who are oppressing their peoples. I sense their hearts opening. May your heart be open. I greet your soul.

Similarly, I use this strategy when contemplating those who are suffering with pain and fear. May your hearts be open. I greet your soul. Om mani padme hum.

Softly, gently, empathically, connect with suffering and sense heart-opening.

As always, you as an individual practitioner can explore and feel your way into the approach that is authentic for you.

Remember too to practise basic health and safety. Your fuel, inspiration and safety come from your connection with Spirit, by whatever name you call it. At the end of any healing, bring your focus fully home to your own body and close your energy field like a flower at night closing its petals.

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I honour and respect activists who work on the front lines to relieve suffering and create safe space for all life to grow and fulfil.

I also honour and support the meditators, contemplatives and prayer-workers who work with distant healing.

Three Crucial Skills for Exploring the Shamanic, Metaphysical and Mystic Worlds

Preparing to teach a coming course on metaphysics, I began to contemplate how best to introduce it. I like to unpack knowledge in a way that encourages personal experience. This means I take a person-centred approach, exploring what is the best for each individual. Yet at the same time there are always fundamentals.

So I want to suggest three fundamental skills that are crucial if you want to explore the subtle dimensions of consciousness and cosmos. They are:

•  Ability to enter an altered state of consciousness, often called a trance state

•  Staying observant, alert and intelligent whilst in the altered state

•  Sustaining a good mood that is compassionate, open-minded and open-hearted

 

Altered States and Trance

The crucial importance of a trance state is that it alters the electrochemistry of your brain, your sensibilities and consciousness. Fields of energy that are normally too subtle for the five physical senses to access, become perceivable.

Some people have involuntary experiences of these states when, for example, they faint or dissociate. They may experience a blur and thinning of the veils.

Many practitioners deliberately take themselves into altered states of consciousness using, for example, plant medicines, ceremony, hypnosis, devotional prayer, mantra and repetitive movement.  Others go into these altered states using more contemplative methods such as philosophical study, music, mathematics or meditation.

There is a simple fact here. It is not possible to explore metaphysics and the subtle worlds unless we go into an altered state of consciousness.

Alert and Intelligent

Whichever gateway into the altered state is used, the practitioner can only progress and expand further if they are able to stay observant, alert and intelligent. Watch an experienced shaman facilitating a group in a vision quest. The participants will be fully absorbed by the visions and phenomena. The shaman however is watchful and conscious, centred and grounded, able to lead and guide the experience. This is the difference between a beginner and an adept. The beginner is absorbed in the personal experience. The adept is alert and guiding, respectful of the mystery.

There are many dimensions and pathways in the subtle realms. Without alert and discerning intelligence, people may easily get stuck or lost in delusion.

Good Mood and Love

A good mood is also fundamental.

If the practitioner is over-serious, over-focused and earnest, this constricts the brain, clogs up the electrochemistry and sabotages the expansion of consciousness and altered state. It limits the practitioner to mental fields of energy boundaried by intellectual logic, which are interesting, but there is so much more beyond.

Yes, there are negative energies and what is called evil, but practitioners who are familiar with altered states continuously experience that there is a benevolent essence to the cosmos. You may call it love. To connect with fields and beings of higher energy, it is absolutely necessary to be in harmony with this benevolence and love. And the simple strategy for putting yourself in harmony with this goodness is for you yourself to be in a good mood. Without a good mood, human consciousness is simply blocked off from expansion.

 

Health and Safety

So there we have three fundamentals for exploring metaphysical dimensions.

•  Altered states of consciousness

•  Alert and intelligent

•  Good mood

Of course, be careful with the method you use for entering your trance states.

There is a middle way here. On the one side you need to be daring and courageous. On the other side you need to wear a health and safety helmet and not put yourself at risk.

It is a path of discernment and wisdom.

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Enjoy your psyche and the wonders of exploration.

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If you are interested in exploring this area more fully, my course in February may interest you. Click here

Three Meditation Strategies to Manage Mind Chatter

This blog has three insights to help us manage mind chatter in meditation.

They come from fifty years’ experience of practising and teaching meditation. Monkey mind is one of the most frequent concerns.

But first be realistic and less concerned. Mind chatter is completely normal.

Our brains are hardwired to create thoughts and narratives about every perception, cognition and experience. The average brain, it is estimated, has 100 billion neurons; and each neuron has 7000 synaptic connections with other neurons.  They are busy interacting, buzzing and thinking and they continue their activity, as dreams, even when we sleep.

So when we go into meditation and withdraw from external stimuli, it is completely natural that we will meet the whirring electrochemical activity of our grey matter and its billions of internal connections. It is naive to expect this all to stop just because we close our eyes and sit still.

Unfortunately newcomers to meditation often have this unrealistic expectation that their minds will easily calm down and  they feel like failures, often not continuing with their practice.

This expectancy has also been fuelled by an error in how meditation is often taught in the West. When eastern concepts were first translated into English, the concept of the void (sunyata) was frequently interpreted as meaning an empty and completely silent space. In fact, the void refers to an experience of cosmic spaciousness in which everything and nothing exists, and everything and nothing is welcomed. It is infinite and like an ocean.

When it comes to managing mind chatter the actual issues are:

  • Can you calm your impatience?
  • Can you step back with compassion and good humour to observe what your mind is doing?
  • Do you know how to assess your mind’s activity and guide it into something useful?

 (The image is Hieronymous Bosch: Visions of Tondal)

Impatience

There are a some crucial life skills needed by meditators.  One of them is the discipline and motivation to get into the groove of regular practice. Without regular practice we cannot develop the muscle memory and neural grooves that support our meditation practice becoming a comfortable and habitual rhythm.

But inside the discipline of regular practice the essential life skill we also need is patience. Patience — so that we continue to sit even when we feel triggered by irritability and feelings of impatience. So that we continue to sit and breathe even when we are jibed by internal judgments that we are wasting time or cannot do it properly. Patience when we are frustrated by monkey mind and find it difficult to flow into being at ease and calm.

All experienced meditators know that we have ‘bad’ days when mind chatter just does not stop. Any wise honest meditation teacher will own up that this happens to them sometimes. In my case it still occasionally happens after decades of practice. Why does it happen? There are several possible reasons. Unresolved karma and trauma in our psyches may be arising. We have been overstimulated by events. A global mood is influencing us. All this stuff is normal for human beings – and meditators are human beings.

To repeat, the most important strategy we can use here is patience. If we become impatient, it triggers neurochemistry which further stimulates the brain’s 100 billion neurons, just making things worse.

To help us develop patience there are many strategies, such as watching and guiding our breath, or repeating a mantra. Their core effect is an attitude of patience that then spills over into a calm mind and body.

One minute of patience, ten years of peace. Greek proverb

Witnessing with Good Humoured Compassion

Then there is that fundamental core part of meditation, which is the ability to mentally step back and observe everything and anything with compassion, care and good humour. This includes witnessing all the many sensations that arise in our bodies and, of course, being able to observe our own thoughts.

For many of us, therefore, the real issue with the chattering mind is not its chattering. The real problem is that we not able to step back and watch it with good humoured compassion.

One of my earliest teachers once said to me that there are two types of meditator — those who require the mind to be silent and those who can happily meditate with the mind burbling in the background. What is certain is that we have to develop that part of our psyche that can observe our minds at work. What shall we call it — higher mind, witness, observer, big mind, soul . . .?

In some militaristic schools of meditation there is a cold, abrupt and disciplined approach to developing this witnessing bigger mind. It is bootcamp enlightenment. Wake up! Observe! Witness!

This patriarchal approach to mindfulness has its source, I surmise, in those meditation traditions that are related to martial arts and to hierarchical monasteries and abbeys. This harsh approach of shock consciousness awakening can work well providing it is balanced with love and compassion.

The better, more appropriate and, I suggest, easier way into good-humoured self-observation is to develop an attitude of tolerance and kindness.

When stuff arises and the mind chatters, do not amplify the speeding brain electrochemistry with criticism and irritation. Instead drop down into an ambience of love and friendship. Ah. There I go again. Bless.  And this attitude then becomes the foundation and the mood that support our ability to witness.

Assess and Guide Your Mind

Finally there is a strategy that usually surprises students and colleagues.

When your mind is chattering away, ask yourself a simple question. Is my chatter useful? If the chatter is useful, let it continue and appreciate its value. If the chatter is not useful, then guide it into something that is constructive.

In my meditation today, before I started to write this blog, I found that my mind was exploring what I should write, contemplating different approaches. This is ironic, I thought. My chattering mind is chattering about managing chattering. However —I assess that  this is useful and creative. Where better to contemplate writing an article on monkey mind and meditation than in meditation?

This is the essence of contemplative meditation. We deliberately allow our minds to contemplate a subject for which we welcome insights and wisdom. This is classic meditation practice. The most profound school of Christian meditation, the Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, is precisely a series of contemplations on the life of Jesus. Buddhist meditation is sometimes described as enquiry.

In my own daily practice I welcome my mind contemplating what is happening in my life. I think of this as clearing my desk. I have many things in my life that deserve careful contemplation and consideration. Where better to ponder these things than in a meditative state where I am at ease, connected, watchful and caring? For example, difficult relationships can be explored in meditation, where there are no external stimuli muddying our clarity. In meditation we can contemplate our psychologies, patterns, woundings, ‘hungry ghosts’ and bring loving awareness to them.

And if you find yourself thinking about what to cook for dinner, you can assess whether that is a useful contemplation. It might be useful if you guided your thinking to include diet and wellbeing. The choice is yours. This is one of the great gifts of meditation. Inside the privacy of your silence you can do whatever you assess to be best for you.

I once queried an abbot who taught meditation and emptying. In your silence, I asked, don’t you contemplate your fellows and your visitors and explore what might best serve them? Of course I do, came the calm smiling response.

And there we have it — the internal emptiness has space for wise contemplative enquiry. We just need to be watchful and carefully guide ourselves.

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So to repeat the three strategies:

Be patient.

Develop good humoured and compassionate witnessing.

Assess your thinking and guide it to be useful contemplation.

New UK Register of Spiritual Caregivers

 

An unusual blog from me.

Below you will see the full text of a Press Release that has just been sent out to UK media by Will Gethin of Conscious Frontiers. 

I am hoping, as you read it, you will understand its significance. There will be follow-up eLetters from me about the UK Register of Spiritual Caregivers and the Compassion Dialogues. 

The biggest and most useful support you can give is through sharing the news with friends and colleagues 🙏

PRESS RELEASE – FOR PUBLICATION

UK’s first Register of Spiritual Caregivers is now available

A focussed resource for the ‘Spiritual Not Religious’ community, the new Register denotes a quiet revolution in the UK’s religious-spiritual landscape

Launch of monthly ‘Compassion Dialogue’ webinars begins 9 November, featuring Dr Robert Holden

 

The growing community of people who identify as spiritual-not-religious now has its own register of spiritual caregivers.

Initiated by the Spiritual Companions Trust, the new UK Register of Spiritual Caregivers – launched today on Tuesday 26 October – represents a formal step to achieve parity with traditional faith communities, whose carers can work voluntarily or professionally in healthcare, education, prisons and other relevant sectors.

Dr William Bloom, CEO of the Spiritual Companions Trust, says: ‘Our intention is for our new Register of Spiritual Caregivers to provide a complementary service to the compassionate care already given by the carers and chaplains belonging to traditional religious communities. We admire and respect the provision of traditional religious carers and will work cooperatively with them in all situations where people are in distress, suffering or seeking spiritual support.’

 Just how many people in Britain are in the spiritual-not-religious community is difficult to estimate. The most recent research conducted by the Pew Foundation in the United States indicates that 27% of the US population aligns with that identity.* The World Values Survey indicates similar numbers for all societies where there is a high degree of education and political freedom.** Research in 2013 indicated that about a fifth of people in the UK fitted into this category and, according to Professor Michael King of University College London, were more prone to mental health challenges.*** Indications from the recent UK Census indicate that increasing numbers are leaving traditional religions but are not identifying as agnostic or atheist.****

There will of course be people who dispute the research, but it is certainly clear that “spiritual but not religious” represents a major strand of belief across the West. 

The UKRSC will give this community access to spiritual carers who are aligned with their beliefs. At the same time, it gives providers of care and education, such as hospitals and universities, a reliable register of skilled people who can step into voluntary and professional roles associated with pastoral care and chaplaincy.

The UKRSC already has 70 members on its register, who can be found here: https://spiritualcompanions.org/find-an-sc/

According to the UKRSC the core skill needed by a spiritual carer is to be an impeccable and compassionate listener.

“The heart of spiritual care,” says Dr Bloom, “is to be a quiet and benevolent presence, always engaged and listening.” The first requirement therefore for members of the Register is that they have received a full training and achieved a qualification that includes rigorous and compassionate listening skills. This will include qualified counsellors, psychotherapists, medics, nurses and social workers. The second crucial requirement of the UKRSC is that their members have an open-hearted and open-minded approach to spirituality and are always willing to support any client in exploring their own person-centred approach to spirituality.

The UKRSC is a project of the Spiritual Companions Trust, an educational charity that pioneered the first mainstream vocational qualification in spirituality and health (Crossfields Institute Level 3 Diploma in Practical Spirituality & Wellness – Ofqual Register Qual No: 601/8673/2 Sector Subject Area: Health and Social Care).

Applications to be registered on the UKRSC are open now and can be submitted here: https://spiritualcompanions.org/join-ukrsc/

 

The Compassion Dialogues

To complement the launch of the register and provide relevant support, the UKRSC is hosting a monthly webinar, The Compassion Dialogues. Each webinar will feature a guest specialising in a particular field of care, who will be interviewed by Spiritual Companions Trust CEO, Dr William Bloom. Each conversation will explore how the guest first became interested in spiritual care, and their best insights and practices for delivering it.

Dr Robert Holden — Compassion & Forgiveness in Everyday Life — 9 November

Lisa Anthony — Caring for Students, Teachers, Patients and Clients — 14 December

Simon Stedman — Mainstream Business, Utopian Communities & Suicide Help Lines — 11 January

Kate Spohrer — End of Life and Green Funerals — 8 February

Prof Paul Gilbert — The Compassionate Mind — 8 March

 

These webinars are open to the public and are being held by donation.

 

More information about this series and the speakers can be found here: https://spiritualcompanions.org/compassiondialogues

 

William Bloom is available for interview. Contact: william@spiritualcompanions.org

For other media enquiries and to request press images, please contact Diana Brown, the Spiritual Companions Trust administrator: diana@spiritualcompanions.org

 

Resources for Editors

This press release and relevant photographs can be found in a Dropbox folder here:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/qkjc8vc2h6at6af/AAB0iBzY60LqCCDNVXVvHXTya?dl=0

 

Notes to Editors

Asterisked are the links to evidence for the size of the spiritual not religious community. 

*     https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/09/06/more-americans-now-say-theyre-spiritual-but-not-religious/

**   https://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/WVSContents.jsp

*** https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20888141

**** https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/28/the-guardian-view-on-post-christian-britain-a-spiritual-enigma

 

More information: spiritualcompanions.org

 

Vaccines Culture Wars – Creative or Suffering – How We Think Really Matters

Am just back from my motorbike journey to Wales and Scotland. I had a good time.

I walked up and down Snowdon. (My legs! Arghh.) The landscape of Snowdonia has a brilliantly happy vibe, full of joy. 

Scotland too was beautiful and the stay at the Findhorn Foundation inspirational.  The over-lighting spirit of the place is as strong and loving as ever, but the community members are understandably still orienting themselves following the effects of lockdown and the fires. I was intrigued by how they decide their next steps and make their policy decisions. This is always a challenge in utopian communities. Talking with Findhorn members set me thinking. . .

So here is one of my longer pieces – with a few diagrams to help illustrate my thoughts. It is all about thinking. Some thinking creates suffering.  And some thinking creates enjoyable flow. 

The Survival Dynamic

Here is an obvious idea. Our thoughts often have an emotional investment. This means that we want them to be respected, welcomed and appreciated.  And we feel threatened and aroused if our thoughts are disrespected or challenged.  

This is a good illustration of the Buddhist teaching that ‘desire is the source of suffering.’

We desire that our thoughts be respected. If our desire is not met, we experience suffering.

Thoughts + Feelings  = Emotional Investment  =  Arousal if disrespected or challenged.

The current arguments around covid vaccinations are uncomfortable examples of how unpleasant emotionally invested thinking can be. The power of the emotional charge can be intense. 

In a different world there could be a relaxed conversation between vaccine sceptics and vaccine advocates. This could be similar to how cooks might debate the best recipe for chocolate cake. The discussion could be passionate and noisy, but filled with creativity, flow and friendship.  

The crucial triggering difference between emotional thinking and friendly creative thinking is the instinctive biological dynamic of threat and survival.

In emotional thinking there is always an unconscious dynamic at work.  When our opinions are challenged, the vagal nerve is aroused. The gut becomes uncomfortable and acidic. Heart rate loses its integrity and breath loses its natural rhythm. The  brain goes into the electrochemistry of fight/flight. The endocrine system ditches its cocktail of wellbeing hormones and releases a flood of anxiety neuropeptides. 

As a result clear thinking is impossible. Feelings overwhelm the ability to be rational. Conversation becomes conflict.

Unconscious Triggers

 When people with an emotional investment in their thinking are challenged or disrespected, there is an instinctive arousal as they unconsciously perceive a threat to their survival. But why do people feel such a primal emotion when there is no actual attempt to kill them? 

My doctoral research was in identity politics and how we become glued to our sense of self.  This sense of identity can be so powerful that we may be prepared to die for it.  We can see this throughout history where people volunteer for death to maintain their ideology, religion and nationality.

The power of this sense of identity comes from the social and psychological safety it provides.  Think of any cultural clan — lads, ladettes, greens, tories, bikers, Trump-ists, Obama-ists, bankers, goths, billionaires, vegans  — and notice the psychological glue that binds them to that identity. It is not superficial. Through the processes of identification, internalisation and socialisation, it develops into a deep biological and neural groove.  Our identity provides a primal sense of security,  a compensatory  safety in a world where most infants, children, teenagers and adults experience endless micro-aggressions and mini-traumas, as well as full blown abuse.

Enmeshed in this sense of self are our ideas and our opinions.  Any challenge to our thinking can therefore be experienced as a threat to our identity and to our survival. Disrespect my clan and you disrespect me. 

In my home town of Glastonbury I know people who were once friends, but now avoid each other because of their disagreements over vaccines. On both sides they are so emotionally invested in their thinking that the biological imperatives of survival are triggered the moment they start discussing the topic. We can clearly see this too in politics, community processes, religion, identity and culture wars. These types of argument are deeply confrontational and uncomfortable.

Education, Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence

One solution of course is good education. Education not knowledge. 

At its best education teaches us how to enjoy thinking, how to explore and develop knowledge. Opinions based in beginner’s knowledge mature into thoughtful explorations, knowing that there is always new knowledge. New thoughts and perspectives are harvested through conversation, research, contemplation and being open to new insights. The further we go in education the more we appreciate the elasticity and infinite scope of knowledge and ideas.  

Mindfulness and meditation are useful too. They provide strategies that help us work with the feelings that may be triggered by challenging thoughts. Sitting in the calm of meditation we can bring into our awareness those thoughts that usually provoke and trigger us. Vaccines. Governments. Global warming. Difficult family members. Identity politics. Trump. The meditation strategy is straightforward:

We bring the provocative thought into our awareness.

We notice the uncomfortable arousal.

We compassionately welcome the feeling.  We breathe into it.  We calm and integrate it.

In this way we train our body and neural grooves to stay calm when experiencing challenge.

Noticing these feelings and managing them wisely is the heart of emotional intelligence.

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The first year groundhog day problem

Psychotherapy of course can be very helpful too in disengaging our thoughts from the unconscious, instinctive arousals of threat and survival. 

Imagine if politicians — for example the Labour Party extreme left or the Conservatives extreme right — enjoyed the benefits of psychotherapy. They would learn to have some distance from their feelings, opinions and glued-in identities. Emotional devotion to ideologies would be a thing of the past.

This approach would also be relevant to religious gatherings, conclaves and synods, so that fundamentalists would temper their passions.

But there can also be a negative side to psychotherapy when it comes to conflict and disagreements. 

I have experienced this in psychotherapy training centres, in intentional communities and in many couples. When discussing hot topics, we can get caught up in endlessly recycling our emotions. We can justify this by asserting that the release of our emotions is not only therapeutically beneficial, but also a vital and ‘authentic’ part of group process. 

This is what I call the ‘first year groundhog day problem.’

In psychotherapy and counselling trainings, the first year is usually about helping students recognise that emotions and feelings are driven by unconscious dynamics. In the first year we learn to identify and express these feelings, rather than deny and repress them.  Feel it – Express it – Release it.

In the second, third and fourth years, we then become skilled in recognising, managing and maturing these unconscious dynamics.  

But some folk stay stuck in the first year, endlessly recycling their emotions, justifying their behaviour as necessary and healthy, when in fact it is immature.  In this scenario groups, organisations and couples get stuck in emotional process. There is little clear thinking and painfully slow progress. 

This does not mean that there is no space for creative passion, especially in the face of abuse and injustice. But this passion needs to be conscious and guided by clear, reflective thinking. 

There is a place for emotional process. 

And there is a place for intelligent discussion. 

It can be difficult and exhausting to do them together.

The Spiritual Perspective 

In spiritual development, clean thinking without emotional attachment is a crucial stage on the journey towards more love, more compassion and more connection with the great mystery and beauty of life. It is about the expansion of consciousness and wisdom. 

In inadequate language, we might describe this as moving from lower to higher mind, from small to big mind. This means an expanding awareness of what our minds and hearts can access, perceive and cognise.

As a first step in consciousness expansion, it is absolutely necessary that we are able to step back, and observe ourselves with love and compassion. We watch our feelings and thoughts.  We witness.  We empty.  We expand. We reflect. The rational, higher mind, Plato suggested, is proof of the human soul.

Talking with my colleagues and students over the years, and from personal experience, I know that this is tough spiritual practice — being awake, being observant and compassionate, being embodied and aware, being comfortable with unknowing, being mindful and fully in the heart. 

This aspect of spirituality requires passionate motivation, discipline and a willingness to flow gracefully with the tides of the natural, psychological and spiritual worlds.

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So where does this leave us in the real world? 

It leaves us with the normal disciplines of being a better person. 

It reminds us to contain our emotional processes and guide them into suitable contexts. 

It reminds us that so many of humanity’s problems and abuses originate in bad thinking – thinking that is fuelled by unconscious and primal drives.

 We need those teachers who clap their hands a few inches from our faces and exclaim:  Wake up!

Moment by moment we are invited to be conscious and aware. This is not stern and earnest behaviour. It is beautiful and enlightening. Each breath brings new patterns.

*

I hope that is helpful.

Thinking in progress . . .

Follow Your Blissters Podcast

My friend Will Gethin has a great series of podcasts exploring the theme of The hero’s Journey. Ironically and realistically he has named his podcasts ‘Follow Your Blissters’.

In bi-weekly episodes, Will interviews people about their experience of living out The Hero’s Journey in their lives. His first interviews include Thomas Moore and Tim Freke. And he has just uploaded his interview with me. His burb includes this text: ‘In this interview, we uncover William’s intriguing journey from novelist, propagator of Sixties counterculture, honorary Hells Angel and academic to trailblazing pioneer of the modern UK holistic movement.’

You will find Will’s podcasts here: https://consciousfrontiers.com/podcast/