For my readers, thank you for reading at all. For MKMMAers, especially, this is a supplemental post, and it’s very long. If you’re game, I’d love your feedback, as always.
Recently, my craniosacral therapist, Steve, once he had me aligned properly, said, “I have some homework for you. You feel the communication and the flow within you?”
When I answered, “Yes,” he said:
“Now, just walk around in that,” meaning that state of being at peace while being completely present.
“OK,” I thought, “I’ll give that a whirl.” I knew from experience how difficult the exercise would likely be, but I was game anyway.
During the next week, I failed miserably at walking around in a place of peace and communication with my body. My next visit to Steve saw me more misaligned than ever, together with being frustrated. The treatment helped, but it left me wondering what I was missing.
I knew I had attached effort to a non-effort process, but that didn’t seem to really address the core of my difficulty.
Enter my daughter Janel, who, for me many times, is my Hero’s Journey’s true spirit. She, seemingly coincidentally, often points me right back on track. This week was a good example.
Sunday, I interacted with her prior to her leaving for church (we attend different congregations of the same faith) about her upcoming presentation of a lesson. She said she didn’t know what she was going to do, and she felt distant from the lesson material. I offered some reassurance, then went about my duties.
On returning from church, Janel announced that her lesson had been a big success because she’d found a hook upon which to hang an appropriate classroom objective. It came from a TED talk she’d recently viewed about connection and vulnerability by Dr. Brené Brown, PhD. She gently insisted my wife and I view the talk, which we did.
[You can see it here, if you like. Its sequel, here, is also wonderful.]
Monday, as I reviewed Haanel’s Masterkey System Lesson 17 and meditated upon the same, the light really dawned.
In paragraph 17-6, Haanel says, “Concentration is much misunderstood; there seems to be an idea of effort or activity associated with it, when just the contrary is necessary.” My experience attempting to “walk around” in the still point is evidence of my previous misunderstanding. I don’t think I’m alone here, and my experience lends me empathy and compassion for similar mistakes others might make.
Haanel continues, “The greatness of an actor lies in the fact that he forgets himself in the portrayal of his character, becoming so identified with it, that the audience is swayed by the realism of the performance. This will give you a good idea of true concentration; you should be so interested in your thought, so engrossed in your subject, as to be conscious of nothing else. Such concentration leads to intuitive perception and immediate insight into the nature of the object concentrated upon.”
Haanel goes on in Lesson 17 to encourage one to make one’s desire part of the subconscious and, by meditation, to intuit the essence, echt or spirit of the thing. This is because once the essence is so intuited, one may own the concept, thing or virtue, awaiting only the full manifestation of the same as people, ways and means are attracted to make it so.
And, contrarily, obtaining a thing before one so “owns” it will make one’s possession temporary because he or she did not “earn” it by internalizing the essence or the spirit. Thus, there is no permanence in something for nothing, as lottery winners so often demonstrate.
Emotionalization of thought, especially of an “ideal” in Haanel’s language, is vital. And that is a practice which seemed largely to elude me. Without emotionalization, there is literally no way to effectively transmit an idea from the conscious to the subconscious.
As I pondered this, my intuition led me back to Dr. Brown, who states emphatically that we cannot selectively numb emotion. Therefore, when we numb any emotion, we numb them all.
And then I had it. An incident in early childhood had invited me, unintentionally, to believe that strong emotions were dangerous. And, further, that strong passions were difficult, if not impossible to control. You may recognize that some of the programming you’ve been offered is of the same type.
The corollary to that belief is pernicious. That if I possessed strong negative emotions or passions, I was a bad, dangerous person. Enter guilt, and then, upon the recurrence of such emotions, shame. Neither of those self-condemnatory practices was or is warranted, but my human nature succumbed even so.
Guilt is like this, per Dr. Brown: “I’m sorry; I made a mistake.” Guilt can be healthy, because it leads to positive change. Shame, on the other hand, is not. Shame misinferred from a childhood experience is often called toxic shame, and for good reason. Shame, per Dr. Brown again, is “I’m sorry; I am a mistake.”
All this made perfect sense as I knew from addiction recovery work that I had a tendency to numb or suppress difficult emotions.
Fortunately, Dr. Brown’s talk also offered a remedy. I could continue my Hero’s Journey by embracing vulnerability and learning to live “whole heartedly.” The essence of what I needed to do was to give myself permission (sound familiar?) to experience my life’s full emotional content. Not so easy, but possible.
Further pondering allowed the insight that, while my inner child could not easily deal with strong emotions and passions, as an adult, I could. I knew, for example, that fear is exhilaration deprived of oxygen. Thus, by being willing to assert control over naming my emotions, especially while breathing freely, I would be easily able to experience strong, vibrant emotional content and not be overcome. [Carolynn Sokil drew a similar conclusion, artfully expressed here.]
Not only would I not be overcome, my life would gain depth, texture and color. [Bill Knox expresses similar thoughts here.] And, by doing so, my inner child would more often feel invited out to play, and he would bring energy, vitality and a genuineness that might otherwise stay hidden.
My first couple days of this new life have been interesting.
• My subconscious demanded that I release some previously trapped emotions, though with an interesting twist. Instead of having to release one discreet emotion at a time, I was allowed to release two and three emotions simultaneously.
• Courage has been required. When my ankle complained (still healing from an Achilles tear), I said to myself, “I’m willing to experience all the pain of this experience.” And, surprisingly, the pain all but vanished.
• I can tell this is a practice, not a one-time change. But the change is totally worth it. As I open up to experience fear, anxiety, worry, etc., these emotions quickly dissipate, to be replaced by an amazing childlike wonder about the beauty and splendor of the world around me, including the people in it.
• Case in point about the people. A group meeting saw a suggestion for a tool to be created, and I was able to help the group easily reach consensus about the basic form the tool would take. In the discussion, no one seemed hurt, and everyone seemed pleased with the outcome. Harmony, anyone?
• My server at lunch announced she was in a contest to win a Keurig coffee maker. All I had to do to help her cause was complete a brief online survey. Normally, this idea would have been annoying and vexing, but this time was different.
Haanel finishes the lesson by encouraging the student to concentrate on a desired virtue, thusly, in 17-37. “Always concentrate on the ideal as an already existing fact; this is the germ cell, the life principle which goes forth and sets in motion those causes which guide, direct and bring about the necessary relation, which eventually manifest in form.”
I immediately knew how to focus my meditation. I wanted abundance, so I pondered about its essence or spirit. I wondered how I could find that essence. Intuition came almost immediately: “Just walk around in it.” I knew just what that meant.
Abundance, as all other virtues, lies within. To see it manifest, all we need do is to give ourselves permission. Last week’s kindness mastermind gave me great experience observing the law of growth’s effectiveness as I gave myself permission to see kindness, do kindness and be kindness.
Therefore, to manifest abundance, all I have to do is see abundance, as in the profligacy of nature (the evergreens in Seattle are amazingly beautiful), do abundance, as in gleefully adding an extra $1 to my server’s tip, and be abundant, as in the group meeting example above. I just “walk around” in the sense of abundance, and abundance manifests without stress or specific effort.
It’s nice knowing that I’ll get better at seeing abundance each day, and I know the spirit of abundance will very soon infuse my life so fully that I’ll be Haanel’s actor, unconsciously concentrating on my ideal. Join me, won’t you?