We are programmed to think that when something goes wrong, it's because we lack something: We assume the problem is that we don't have enough money, time, energy, happiness etc... But the more conscious I become, the more I'm noticing how many problems disappear when instead of trying to get more, I release that which no longer serves me. Instead of hunting for more energy, I can create more space in my life. For example, the problem of "not having enough time" simply fades away by giving up those activities which are not really important to me. By not wasting or leaking energy (by worrying and stressing, for instance), more energy is available for enjoying life. The saying "more is less" might not be true in every circumstance, but in general, I would say that quality is more important than quantity: The quality of time spent is more important than the amount spent; the quality of relationships certainly is more important than the quantity... Conscious living thus requires us to be honest with ourselves about what we really want, and bravery to follow that honesty.
Yesterday when I felt all wrapped up in gravity and tangled in the web of mass consciousness, I did one of the very few things that lift me back into clarity every single time: I surrendered and released my human will. I let go of external doing, of my desires, my future plans, of every single idea about who I am or who I should become, I let go of the worries and the fears, I let go of my passions, I let go of resisting my passions, I let go of resisting, supressing or fighting anything. I let go of my life purpose. I let go of all the meanings, until it didn't matter anymore.
Oh, I still felt all the emotions and thoughts sweeping through my body of consciousness, but instead of trying to organize them into any sort of order, I let them loose. I let them roam freely like wild horses. I let the storms of all my selves rage and whisper and swoosh around and within me, until one by one, their weight lifted up like hot air balloons released into the skies.
All the while, I sat still, very very still, and listened to my own breath. I sat for hours and relaxed into my beingness, into the company of my Self. I relaxed into pure presence. The more I relaxed, the more the limitations that had contained me so nicely faded into nothingness. Outlines erased, softly. Hard edges merged with the sweet depths of soul. I let myself fall into nothingness, with reckless abandon and total trust. Only a heartbeat remained, filling the stillness with vibrating life. And then I felt it: pure, unfiltered soul-love. I felt my love. A love that sprang from within me and spread into the farthest corners of my being. A love birthed from me and gifted to me. It felt like the most natural and real thing in the world. It was there without a cause, without a reason - it was there simply to exist.
My human self, now finding her voice again, asked: So this is it? I feel clear now, but I don't feel any purpose. Is this how it's going to be from now on? To this the voice within answered, 'of course there is purpose; the purpose is to love yourself and enjoy life'.
Oh please, I've heard this New Age cliché too many times, the human said.
'Yes, but did you get it? You are not here to learn how to enjoy life or to succeed at self-loving. You are here to receive the joys of life, and to feel the love of self that's already within you. You have tried so hard, but loving yourself has nothing to do with effort, or getting it right, or comparing your self-love with the self-love of others. The only way of loving self is allowing the love of self to be here.'
Somehow, even the practice of self-love had turned into an identity. Somewhere along the path, needing to love myself had become a chore on my to-do list: Go to uni, do yoga, love yourself... No more! I don't need to love myself; I have the freedom to love myself. I have the freedom to make choices that support me and that expand my joy of life. If that's not freedom, I don't know what is.
If and when I do self-loving acts, I don't do them because self-love is cool in the spiritual communities that I interact with. I'm not going to do it because it's healthy, either. I'm going to be healthier because I love myself, not the other way around. Maybe loving myself will make me less cool but give me a better sense of humour. Maybe people will envy me or roll their eyes at me. Maybe I will get ill, heart-broken, or disappointed by life despite loving myself (!), and that's okay, too. My self-love can co-exist with my imperfect human, in every molecule of my constantly changing form.
And when the noise starts ringing in my ears, and the waves of emotions rise high, I let the horses run wild and the storms rage proud, and I remember that every breath of my human life is a gift from my soul to me.
Life is my freedom, not a duty.
Today I'm posting the last excerpt from my upcoming book. In this chapter, called 'Spiritual First Aid', I list some simple tools or perspectives that are especially written for those moments when we feel anxiety related to our awakening and expansion.
I hope you've enjoyed all the excerpts, and stay tuned in for news about the book!
Hello friends, today I'm posting an excerpt of an interview from my upcoming book, Getting Real About Enlightenment. The topic is: The Meaning of Spirituality, and the interviewee is Jean Tinder, one of eight awakened humans who share their awakening experiences in my book.
"Kim: Is there something else that you would like to share about spirituality and what it means to you?
Jean: For me, spirituality is my life. Even calling it ‘spirituality’ separates it, but for the sake of discussion it’s easier to use a term like spirituality. Nothing is valuable to me unless it’s practical, something I can apply it in everyday life. I grew up in a very religious family and even as a child I would see people spouting theology, but then do the nastiest things in their life, and I knew it wasn’t right. For me, it has to have practical value every day. It can’t be a segment of my life, like going to church on Sunday and being a jerk the rest of the week. That never made sense to me. When I go to town or go shopping, I’ll do conscious breathing. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the energies, and if I remember to breathe, it helps immediately. The state you’re in can shift in a breath, when you breathe and radiate. It’s not that you try to crowd out other energies; rather, it’s like if you’re a candle flame, all the incoming energies make your flame flicker, but if you’re a blowtorch, the wind isn’t going to affect it. So whatever worldly experience I’m in, whether meetings or grocery shopping or traveling or anything, I try to remember to breathe my own essence and my presence, and to open my feelings. It’s important to me to practice what I preach; to either make it real or shut up. It boils down to integration of all the parts and pieces of myself, all the aspects, and that’s not a one-time thing that can be managed or forced. It’s an ongoing process. When emotions show up, like fear, doubt anger at someone else, or any of this stuff that we think is ours and have a problem with, it’s nearly always aspects coming up to be integrated. So what I do is just be with the emotion, let it be there, feel it, and breathe it in.
"The state you’re in can shift in a breath, when you breathe and radiate."
In the last ten years, I’ve had some terrifying moments financially, like the rent being due in two days and no money, no food, all these hopeless situations. There’s so much fear and it’s easy to panic, but I finally realized how important it is to just be with that fear, allow it, and breathe it in. We so often try to hold it away from us, but when you allow it to be, you’re actually allowing an unintegrated aspect to come home, maybe one that’s been causing havoc and keeping you in poverty. I’ve learned to simply be with what is in myself, to not try to fix my anger or frustration or anxiety, but allow myself to feel it, to embody it within me, for that’s when the alchemy happens. That is true transformation, not just mental processing or forcing yourself to be different (which doesn’t work anyway). It’s hard to explain, but you choose to remember who you are. It may sound strange, but that has been one the most practical and transformational things I have done for myself, allowing the integration of the aspects that have been causing the problems. Be okay with whatever you’re feeling; there is nothing you’ll ever feel that needs to be fixed, and by simply allowing, the situation will find its resolution."
5/7. Today I'm sharing about one of my favourite topics: the alchemy of enlightenment and what it means to go beyond duality. Of course this topic is endlessly deep, and thus not easy to describe in words, but I have given it a try anyway.
"Ultimately all spiritual paths lead to the same point: the marriage of light and dark. True metaphysical alchemy isn’t about turning black into white; what happens in the merging of light and darkness is that a third reality, a new perspective emerges – a reality in which light and darkness can co-exist in harmony, without having the charge, tension or polarization that they previously had. They are allowed and accepted to such an extent that they are no longer opposites, but rather two qualities that dance with each other, coming together and falling apart naturally, always expanding. As they dance together, they birth a new quality, which is clear energy. In other words, light and dark become neutral; they no longer carry the elements of “good” and “bad” attached to them. Darkness might exist in the form of feelings, such as a surge of sadness or anger, but it is no longer perceived as evil. Integrated darkness is no longer demonized or placed in opposition to light.
~ Everything beautiful can be twisted, but anything tainted can be transformed into something beautiful. ~
What causes pain is never darkness itself, but the separation from it. Pain is caused by our separation from our own aspects. Pain is a part within our psyche calling for our attention. Separation is the deepest illusion in this universe, and therefore it causes the deepest emotional pain. However, once we allow ourselves to reconnect with our own darkness (in other words, acknowledge it and accept that it is part of us, without judging it), all the pain is released from that aspect or experience. It doesn’t mean that this darkness then becomes light, but it becomes beautiful and meaningful – darkness becomes the shadow that gives your light its depth, and makes your light shine with even more brightness. At the moment of integration, you realize that all of us have elements of light and dark within us, and that darkness is something natural. You realize that darkness isn’t evil. This is the essence of spiritual alchemy..."
Dear friends, today I will post an excerpt from the chapter called 'it's all about Integration'. Some of you are very familiar with the concept of integration, and for others it's a new idea (although I bet all of you instinctively know the concept, even if you've never given it a name until now). If you're consciously walking the spiritual path, 'integration' will eventually become unavoidable, which is why I write about it extensively in this book.
~ Integration is synchronizing your past, present and future into one point of presence called I am here. ~
"Somewhere in the midst of all the chaos, you enter the next stage of awakening, where the reconnection of all your parts takes place. You thought it was about piecing your life back together, but it’s really about piecing all of you together. It’s so very human to see the small picture: your human self is doing whatever it can to heal, improve, save, protect or embellish the life of the human without being aware of the context or realizing what is really happening. It’s as if the human was so busy rearranging the furniture that it doesn’t notice how the plumbing is being redone, how the walls are in the process of being ripped down and the electricity is being rewired. And now the human is all covered up in dust and frustrated, because it doesn’t understand why the walls shake, why the lights keep flickering and why it’s so noisy. When you enter this phase of your awakening, it’s not enough to decorate your life a bit or to apply cosmetic changes to your human self; integration is about going to the core of you. You are literally, chemically, rewiring yourself. When we reconstruct a house, we accept all the mess, because we know that it’s temporary and we understand its necessity – what if you could apply that level of nonchalance to your inner reconstruction?
You’ll know that you’re entering this phase of your awakening, when you start to become conscious of your ‘shadow-self’ – the basement within the house of the ‘I am’.
The moment you consciously choose enlightenment (and you might have done that in a previous lifetime), you also choose integration: The integration of your Soul and all the scattered aspects of all your human lifetimes into one whole, embodied, multi-dimensional consciousness. Integration means welcoming all the lost, separated and polarized parts back home to your core (the Soul), until one day you realize that you’re not just white or black, but you are all the shades of the spectrum, just like everyone else, too. Other words for integration are shadow work, or healing. It is healing at the deepest level (as opposed to relieving, suppressing or eliminating merely the symptoms of imbalance). Integration is the most natural and effective way to heal on all levels: physical, emotional and mental. Unlike the methods of processing that are common in some approaches of psychotherapy, integration is not at all intellectual. Anybody who is healing themselves at the deepest levels – whether their wounds are physical or emotional – is doing integration, even if they are not consciously on a spiritual path or even if they don’t call it ‘integration’. In awakening, however, integration is inevitable. In addition to integrating your wounded aspects, in awakening specifically, you also integrate your divinity. Thus, it can be said that integration is truly the doorway to enlightenment.
Your shadow aspects are not some random ghosts haunting you, although it may feel that way because much like ghosts, your past will be catching up with you. Your past will come into your dreams at night, and flood into your memories during the day, until you give it some attention. When this happens, know that your past is only knocking on your door because it wants to be integrated. You don’t need to go digging for your past, because that will mess with the natural process of integration (and make your life more difficult) – just don’t ignore it when it naturally rises to the surface. Your current incarnation then becomes the anchor, the Holy Grail, and the home of all your experiences and facets. In other words, your ‘body of consciousness’ (that composite of your body, mind and spirit) becomes the vessel in which the alchemy of integration takes place. Awakening is not about you, the human aspect, returning home to your Soul/spirit/divinity, but rather it is about Soul returning to you, the ascendee (a term coined by master Tobias), and thus creating a new home in the here and now.
~ Your true Self isn’t higher, it’s underground. ~
Here goes excerpt 3/7. Today's glimpse into my upcoming book is taken from the chapter titled 'the Freedom of Self-Love'. As always, comments are welcome.
~ All spiritual paths eventually lead to self-love. ~
"Sometimes when we fall in love with someone, we are really falling in love with a lost part of ourselves that becomes visible to us through another person or through our connection with that person. This is especially the case with relationships that are very karmic, intense and challenging. One of the reasons why break-ups are so painful, is that we feel as if we have lost a part of ourselves. Yet from the wider perspective, you can never lose something that is truly yours. You can only lose sight of it. So if you feel that deep longing for a soulmate, consider if this is perhaps in fact an intense longing to be present with your authentic Self.
In contemporary spiritual literature, there is much controversy about the topic of self-love. As I see it, it’s not a choice between loving yourself versus loving other people and being loved by others. It’s a choice between exploring self-love versus not exploring it on a conscious level. Your self-love is never, ever away from the love that you can give to or receive from others – if it is, we are not talking about love. If you don’t know where to start regarding self-love, know that your Soul is the manifestation of pure self-love. Your Soul loves you without any limitations, so if you feel clueless in this area, ask Soul directly to show you what self- love feels like. Here are some other suggestions to help you explore self-love in practice:
~ Self-love is freedom at the deepest level. ~
Today's excerpt is from the chapter titled 'The Role of Life in Awakening'. If you didn't read the overview of the book yet, and would like to, click here. Enjoy and feel free to comment!
~ Your human life is the biggest distraction to your enlightenment - but it’s also the key. ~
"The question that all seekers sooner or later face is: ‘If I let go of the mind’s attempt to control my spiritual journey, then what is controlling this experience? What then determines my choices, and what do I need to focus on if I’m committed to my enlightenment?’ Personally, I have driven myself to the verge of madness with all these questions — until I realized that I don’t need to know where I’m going or how I’m going to get there. I don’t need to use any techniques, and I don’t even need to understand the science behind enlightenment. However, because the human always needs to focus on something, I found two practices to focus on to keep the mind out of my Soul’s way whilst allowing the unfolding of my awareness:
1. The first one is relaxation: Do whatever you can to relax mentally, emotionally and physically (but especially mentally). As profane and simple as it sounds, relaxing allows you to expand and open up to other dimensions of yourself and to release the mental hypnosis of mass consciousness. The mind will violently resist this act of relaxing, because (much like a soldier) it’s programmed to stay vigilant and tense. With time and practice, the mind will release its Chronic Stress Syndrome and adapt to this new state of balance and calm.
2. In addition to practising the art of relaxing, I have learned to assume that everything that happens in my life serves my enlightenment. For example, if I’m feeling hurt or anxious or stressed, that is my opportunity to apply my awareness to my everyday life. The more I bring these two dimensions of myself together (i.e. the more I allow my aware self and my human self to inhabit the same space), the more I’m allowing my embodied enlightenment. You don’t have to travel to other dimensions to connect with Spirit – instead the connection happens naturally as you bring your presence and awareness to whatever situation you are in. When you ground your spirituality like this, the artificial line between inner and outer experiences, between the spiritual and the mundane, becomes obsolete; you realize that your life is the only method you need to “practice” on the path to self-realization.
~ Be where you are with your awareness, and what you need will come to you. ~
If you are ready to be an embodied consciousness right now (not ready to get there, but ready to be there) follow the key of your life and be present with your experiences. See your life as a canvas, and all your experiences as raw material for you to create art with. Your so-called problems and challenges are like particularly delicious colours of oil paint, and now you can apply your consciousness (your skill of painting) to create an art piece.
Once you have stepped onto your awakening path consciously, every single experience you encounter will bring you closer to the realization of enlightenment. Basically, your choice of enlightenment + staying alive = self-realization. The quicker you accept this fact, the easier it will be – because then challenges become meaningful nuisances rather than pointless obstacles that need to be overcome. Like an artist, you will come to view those challenges as additional colours that enrich your palette."
As promised, I will share an excerpt from the upcoming book. Just a small note that if this book finds its way to you (which I hope it will), you might not resonate or agree with all of the content, since it includes my personal views which are quite spiritually radical. This is fine - you don't need to agree with all of the content to find parts of it useful. The book is in service to you, the reader, and my wish (as the author) is that one part or other supports you, either by providing clarity, inspiration or by offering a perspective that you might not have thought of before. So with that, enjoy the following excerpt, which was taken from the chapter titled 'the Fine Print of Awakening'.
"Awakening is synchronistically orchestrated elegant chaos."
"Nearly all humans live their life chasing the same ultimate goal: to feel better. In fact, most people going through spiritual awakening have stepped onto this path in the hope of finding happiness. However, what we must understand is that every human is a multitude of aspects, each with their own agenda. For example, your mind and your heart tend to have very different ideas about how to secure happiness. This is one of the reasons why we have difficulties making choices – because it’s not just one ‘us’ making the choice. To complicate matters further, we are to a large extent unconscious of these various aspects and their agendas. Until we start to awaken.
This is when things start to get particularly complex: We are becoming aware of the many different voices within us, all of them with different needs. We certainly are aware of the ego, which is our human identity and driven by the mind. Happiness, as defined by the ego, is a state of comfort and security and is usually created by the avoidance of unpleasant truths. Unlike true fulfilment, this superficial and fleeting satisfaction is nothing but a defence mechanism, a method to escape feeling our feelings. It’s almost comical how terrified humans are of their own feelings! The reason why this kind of artificial or illusory wellbeing is incompatible with awakening is that in awakening you start to open up (awaken) to all parts within you – not just the ones approved of by the ego.
Wanting to feel good is natural and healthy, however, the quickest way to feeling authentically “good” is allowing ourselves to feel whatever we are feeling in the moment, even (and especially) the unpleasant feelings. Being at ease with yourself is the natural result of awakening, but it certainly won’t make your ego happy! The free master isn’t continuously high on happiness; the free master doesn’t care whether they are happy or not in this moment, because they see a bigger picture, a deeper truth, a reality that extends beyond the physical world, and therefore can open their heart fully to life, no matter what is going on. The free master doesn’t fear losing anything, because they have realized that they exist beyond happiness, beyond loss, they exist no matter what. Awakening is about freedom, sovereignty, empowerment, integration and mastery, and it is so much bigger than mere human satisfaction.
It is important to discuss this distinction between temporary happiness and real fulfilment, since a great many people turn to spirituality in an attempt to fill the void within them or to distract themselves from their own darkness. Yet embodied, real-life spirituality isn’t about filling this inner void with happiness; it’s about exploring the void, and exposing it to the light of your consciousness.
In awakening, you don’t become “happy” – you release or integrate the things that have hindered you from living in your natural state of ease and grace. In awakening you will see that the answer doesn’t lie in gaining more energy (more power, more money, more success, more attention, etc.) but in gaining more clarity. True peace comes from having the clarity to discern the essential things in life from the inessential, from the self-love necessary to choose the essential, and from the courage to let go of the inessential. If you are looking for a shortcut to fulfilment – that is the shortcut (alternatively, you could practice Buddhism for about one hundred lifetimes). Just make sure to read the fine print before you open that Pandora’s box called awakening."