Welcome. Mitakuye Oyasin: Musing on relationships is part of the Carnival of Healing this month. I am a long time supporter of the blog carnival and I want to extend a warm welcome to all the readers and participating bloggers.
Before I begin I want to start with something simple, a few breaths to get centered. I know it's not how we usually begin a blog post but today I feel it. One of my teachers Maria taught me a version of this exercise and this morning I return to it, as I have for almost 18 years.
Breathing in deeply through the nose, down into the navel --my friend Kau'i calls this the place of the soul-- holding it for a comfortable moment as we feel that breath fill all of our lungs, and then exhaling easily. Again, breath in, and out. Once more. Through the nose, into the navel, filling lungs, and out the mouth. Do it with ease.
Feel. This is who you are. That is breath, that is life, it is something that we share. It binds us together to the natural world, in a cycle of living. This is who you are.
Eyes open, look around you, see the light illuminate, see the darkness define. This is who you are.
Close your eyes and shut out the visual world, this mental space where thoughts flicker, and feelings flow, the mind concentrates. Listen, what do you hear? Close off the sound coming in, listen eyes closed, to your heart. Extend your senses, what do you feel? This is who you are. Eyes open, begin to touch, and feel with your hands, your skin, this sensation, this is who you are.
If you think about it a majority of living beings experience these same sensations, I can't speak for rocks but trees and plants even react to stimulus, they breath, drink, and feel. As does your dog, your grandmother, and your neighbor. We share breath, sensation, feeling, and for many sight, sound, taste, in some form or another. That we know of, we humans have a unique ability to look within and reflect.
These are the tools of relating. Taste, touch, feeling, smell, sight, listening, looking within.
"The whole thing in marriage is the relationship and yielding - knowing the functions, knowing that each is playing a role in an organism. One of the things I have realized - and people who have been married a long time realize - is that marriage is not a love affair.
"A love affair has to do with immediate personal satisfaction. But marriage is an ordeal; it means yielding, time and again. That's why it's a sacrament: you give up your personal simplicity to participate in a relationship. And when you're giving, you're not giving to the other person: you're giving to the relationship. And if you realize you are in the relationship just as the other person is, then it becomes life building, a life fostering and enriching experience, not an impoverishment because you're giving to somebody else ...
"This is the challenge of a marriage. What a beautiful thing is a life together as growing personalities, each helping the other to flower, rather than just moving into the standard archetype. It's a wonderful moment when people can make the decision to be something quite astonishing and unexpected, rather than cookie-mold products."
Joseph Campbell in conversation with Michael Toms, from "An Open Life"
Joseph Campbell speaks and I want to savor these words, "...knowing that each is playing a role in an organism." Entering into a relationship is creating a mutuality through love (in whatever form it takes) and then the life created between the synergy of two, or three, or five. Family, friend, lover, life-partner, husband or wife, we create something greater than self.
Our awareness opens and blooms when we enter into this place of love as we extend ourselves in trust, integral to creating an experience that takes ones singular perspective and blows out the walls of awareness to include another living being on a whole new scale while simultaneously opening us up to the rest of the world in some glowing and profound way.
You remember this feeling right? Someone may have even remarked on it when you first fell in love with someone, you had a glow. I remember once in the early years of my relationship with Brandon, on a date, a woman asking us who we were, what we were doing, and why we were so happy. We emit a frequency of energy that is unique when we are in love.
Just recently, while we were on vacation we got the usual question, "are you brothers?" I think people sense our closeness and awareness of one another, the synergy of a couple and maybe not consciously acknowledging our relationship they interpret our togetherness as family.
I'm musing on my relationships those near, friends and family, and far like the President, or people in other countries, and I'm contemplating our relationship. I'm even looking out on the news to people like Kirk Cameron and the extreme religious right. Who are they to me, I to them, who are we to each other? How do we relate? I am rolling around in the grass with the phrase "all my relations." When we are children our relationship with the rest of life might start as a love affair but as we age so does our relationship with living and I'm thinking that maybe it takes a bit more of what Joe was talking about, above, than just a love affair. It takes work, trust, and maybe even commitment.
This is then for 'All My Relations,' or in Lakota, Mitakuye Oyasin.
From my point of view I am in a relationship --psychological or "spiritual"-- with everyone in some degree because of our mutual dependency and origin, on and from, the planet; and so the binding spirit of life that we all share, including the earth that we walk on, the water and air that flows in and out of us, and our shared passages are what bind us together. Birth. Love. Pain. Learning. Growth. Death. I would even go so far as to say that we share the common bond of spirituality, but I want to define that word as the capacity to conceive and experience through ritual, direct revelation, path and communion something greater than our sense of self. If the idea of the planet doesn't do that for you, consciousness can reach and expand on whim or want, driven by a need for oneness or community, and find connection through the invisible flow that bonds one human being to another.
In my experience "spirituality" is not limited to church or mosque, grove, synagogue, or ritual fire. Love is spiritual, art is spiritual, as is eating, walking, talking, sleeping, sex, anger, and the host of all things that we do, do not do, take part or ignore, because my perspective is not limited to "god" being found in one time or one place. There is no limit to my connection because I was born into a life full of connections, on a world where all things are born, live and die related to one another.
When I find myself thinking that something might not be "spiritual" because it isn't "natural" or "fill in the blank" I try to catch myself.
"Hold on there..." I got to ask myself, who am I to make such a serious judgement based on my perception of invisibles, about someone else. I'm guilty of thinking it, sometimes even saying it to someone next to me, and occasionally writing it. For honesty's sake, and to keep the magic of foot in mouth disease alive, and for the joy (ha-ha-ha *that's sarcasm) of learning it provides, I will admit it.
I want to always return to my sense of connection. I did not always have it, tho I can say I have always had a sense of it, and I had to personally choose to educate myself in what I thought was the best way to move through the world. Challenging and affirming that sense of connection to all things not just in books, waxing on philosophy, or meditation, but in my daily life.
There goes the Love Affair...
I did not find my truth in Western Religions, although some Eastern concepts in Buddhism, Taoism, and animism ring bells for me, and so found my way by that which brought me closer to nature. For me religion as an institution has always been limiting, not because I have fundamental disagreements --and I do-- but because in large parts I feel that the institution of spirituality draw lines in the air, making the invisible that naturally connects us, separate us.
I don't intend to lay into a one-two punch over anyone's religious choices, because I celebrate that power to choose, because they are choices that human beings have willingly, or through indoctrination into beliefs by family, chosen to uphold.
This isn't an attack on religious people or Kirk Cameron. He's just the most recent television personality that has opened up his personal ideas on the national table, and after received the roar of public disapproval. They have, as Kirk Cameron and his like-minded followers and fans, their right to choose, and even complain or rally about how the rest of the world responds to their statements and ideas. Kirk's a big boy, he can deal with the consequences of his actions. That is his energy that he contributes to the rest of the world. In this instance, his way of relating.
Kirk's idea of spirituality appears to have drawn those invisible lines that divide. Yes there may even be something magickal there... cells divide, lands split and earth widens... that brings us a message about who we are as people. I read into things for meaning. That's me. That's why I write. I play on connections, and maybe this is why we've made such an issue about his thoughts and words about the Third Gender, the Two-Spirit, the "homosexual," or if you don't know by now 'me'.
Maybe people are upset because he's left the safe confines of his religion (where we have oneness through agreements) and entered the shared space of life (where there is oneness through diversity), and voiced something that the some of us did not agree with, a statement that insinuates that Kirk, like many, believes he has the answers and the right to life where others are sinners. A belief that says some of us do not have the right of equal social status. Kirk is relating that some people have the right to love sanctified by God, State, and Government, and some do not.
It's not very good relating. It's also an assumption, especially in the world today to keep peddling the belief that "my God is better than your God." And sometimes it's even a bigger assumption to think that we're all even talking about the same thing!
It doesn't feel part of the natural way. It is not breathing, feeling, touching, tasting, or knowing together. These are dividing thoughts.
So how do we, I, relate? It seems to me that we've spent the good majority of our human experience fighting to communicate, or even shut down the communication all together. Take the torch and beat down the door of those that disagree with us and burn the beasts. I know I am not the first one to raise my hand and say, "I'm tired of it, aren't you?" I don't mean anger (here), I mean hate. The venom to want to inflict hurt.
The justifications to demonize and so cause harm, all in the defense of ideals.
Where is the humanity factor in? Where is our ability to craft ideas and cultivate higher education, compassion and cooperation? Where does that go in the heat of things when the love affair we have with our beliefs is challenged and the real work that required to grow as a human being begins? Do we not have many examples of human dignity, social justice, compassion and love? Do we not have spiritual relatives, avatars historically and mythological who stood for the better being in all culture?
Where is the good in denial?
"I can have, and you cannot."
"These are special people, you are not."
It seems to me that we'll look back on times like these and think, as we usually do at those turning ponts, that we could have been better at relating, communicating, and understanding, and not taken the torch to things with a blow them up, drive them out attitude.
I know. I know. It's hard not to feel frustration, anger at injustice. How can we not gap at such a statement after we have lived through so many religious wars, extremism, persecution, and violence in the name of ideology. I can feel it and lately I've felt it a lot. I do my best to, as Caroline Casey says, "cool the head and warm the heart," by bringing the fire in the ideology down the heart center of relating. I don't always succeed, no I won't say that I do, but I do make the attempt. It's a growing process and any good path takes time and heart to cultivate. I get better at it, it's a practice not an achievement, and that means it is alive like I am and open for growing, learning, and expanding.
Have a heart
The soul may be in the belly, and it also may be the power to relate is in the heart, that is where the feeling of oneness and communion comes into the level of relating and connecting. When we take the time, as I did in the beginning of my post to breath, feel, experience the self as is, not as the ideas we want to present (live up to, enforce or defend), we are in the right place for relating.
In some integral ways "relating" is, as Joseph Campbell spoke about, the "organism." We don't automatically relate to everything and everyone, but I believe we can learn to understand and accept our relationship with one another. A relationship that is not defined by ideals but the reality that we are all in connected, already, and part of the organism of the planet. I do not feel or experience that idea as a loss of self, in fact when I get over the barrier of invisible lines I'm still me and you're still you, we're just now together instead of separated about things we believe.
We don't always have understanding but I think we do not need understanding as much as we need acceptance.
The chest that houses almost all of our vital organs, and at the place of our heart center where the physical heart beats, thrum-thrum-thrum, in concert with the lungs taking in air, blood flowing through the system.
The chest that connects the heart to head and arms and hands, this radius of energy there just below the collarbone and above the diaphragm, where the air we share circulates, I believe, is our place of relating to one another. Seems natural right? I mean there are different kinds of love, family, lovers, pets, parents, friends, and our experience of connection often begins at the heart, so I see it as a center where we send and receive with the rest of the world.
In the Light Body coursework there is a center here called the Mumin, a psychic point that filters and manages the vibration of energy we are filtering in. That energy filter than enters the heart, or Ranthia, and from here we can resonate the frequency of energy for example, for healing. The Mumin is at about the level of the diaphragm which interestingly functions to expand and contract for breathing, that function we do that relates to our beginnings on the blog, and in life. Working with this center I can adjust the frequency of energy coming in, it's an interesting and educational process.
Whether you work in the Light Body centers or not, I think the idea that we can shift our energetic frequency to emit a different vibration is found in a lot of mystical and magickal practices. I also think it's very helpful, an energetic practice relevant to our times of fierce disagreements. At the very least it shifts our energy, and personally I can say that is a very helpful tool to have because we are responsible for our own system and the creation or consequence of any of our actions.
If we practice shifting the frequency of our energy to the heart, communicating and relating to our relations, what would we (you, I, us, them) create? How would we connect?
Defining Our Frequency
I would like to suggest a few things that might help you to define the frequency of energy you are sending out. I've done this myself, using both of the examples below. You can try one or the other, do as you feel best.
Check your social network and your journal.
You probably have an online profile on a social network, a blog or an account of some sort, somewhere. Could be Facebook, or Twitter, maybe Yahoo or Google+.
I'm going to ask you to relate to yourself and it won't take much work, especially if you have a social networking profile. I think we can all look at a page, a post, blog or otherwise and read the tone (energy). That is the frequency of the writer/s, the poster or host. That is his or her energetic contribution. Energy as defined by idea (writing, art, speech, intention crafted into something) put out there and then felt (read, looked at, received). Take a look at a friends page, pick a random news site, check out your own.
Yes, your own!
Go back over the last few days or weeks, and look at your posts.
- What did you write?
- What did you link and post?
- What was the content? Were they similar? Were they different? How often did you post? Most importantly what is the feeling or tone of the posts, headlines, notes, and comments.
These define the frequency of your signal, the energy you are putting out into the world. This energy can be a very unconscious thing that is happening on your blog or posting page. These posts are telling because of a few reasons but most importantly they (1) become material because they have entered the Technosphere --the internet / electronic world-- and (2) what you communicated this energy with your posts and ideas and therefore cannot be taken back.
You let your ideas out and they have been read.
Sum them all up, overall, what is it that you have related? What signal did you take on, generate, and boost? How do you feel about it? Why do you feel that way? What did it serve?
Would you change it and how? You can apply the same line of inquiry to your non-tech life and I think it is especially helpful if you keep a journal in this instance because you can review your self in this way.
Take a look at your journal, emails, text messages. Apply the same inquiry. These communications are the literal, pun intended, expression of consciousness, and energy. Read them, observe, make a note of the tone.
Now try the exercise at the beginning of this post, bring yourself back to your senses and your environment. Breathing allows for some room, relax, unfold, get comfortable. You can also use your own breathing meditation to reach the same place, now look again at the content of your energy of relating and view it from a different perspective. What if it was your mother, sister, or brother sending out these messages?
Go bigger, what if it was someone in your community, a boss, a store owner, a politician? How would you feel? What if they were sending this frequency that you are broadcasting, to you?
Breathing can help create room for relating. Breathing naturally. Feeling with our senses and widening our perspective. Opening up the lungs, the heart, rolling back the shoulders, introducing greater amounts of oxygen to the body, mind, and spirit. Breathing can help you create some room between your thoughts and ideas, and in the mind where we have all the space and more than can be imagined, there is no need to crowd everything up together in a small corner of our being.
I am responsible for my consciousness, my energy, and my part of the relating.
During the 90's when I first move to Los Angeles, I worked for a wonderful woman, acting and directing coach by the name of Joan. I may have mentioned her in the past either in conversation or at Lifencompass.
Joan taught me a few bits of wisdom and I am reminded of one of them today. I had told her that I was afraid of public speaking, recently I had been to the Whole Earth Expo (or one of them, it's been a long time) to watch Dead Can Dance, Towards the Within, and listen Andrew Ramer take part in a panel on gay spirituality. During the question and answer part of the panel I raised my hand to ask.
To this day I cannot remember what I was going to ask. When the big microphone popped up in my face, and all eyes turned to me, my voice echoing around the room, I passed out into the chair. I know, right? It was only a momentary lapse of consciousness but enough to get me to pass on the question and sink, red-cheeked, into my chair.
I discovered that I had a small problem speaking in front of others. I related this story to Joan and she, in her way, stood and explained to me how she would enter the stage to perform or relate to other actors on the stage. She said that she began with a breath and focused her energy on what she was bringing to the audience, the energy and feeling that she wanted to communicate, and then singing or acting she would enter and deliver that energy to those who were watching. She then told me that this created a circuit between herself and the people she was performing for that delivered the energy to the audience, who in turn generated the energy and returned it.
The cycle of energy wouldn't work if Joan, or anyone, had come to the stage and received the energy of the audience first, she wouldn't be delivering [the vibration of] her gift or the tone of the art. I think in defining our frequency and knowing the energy that our consciousness is sending out to the world, to our relationships, to ourself even, and then making the choice to shift that frequency is like the actor stepping out on the stage delivering the gift of art in song, word, and deed.
It is creating the practice of being aware of what we are delivering. I know that all of this, for anyone, can go up in big flaming pile of poo but if we make it a practice, and not an absolute --aren't there enough of those?-- at least we have the willingness to be humble and try again.
Breath, naturally. Be conscious of your vibration, what you are sending out to those around you, and if you'd like, share your experience with me here at Lifencompass.
I hope this finds you well.
Carnival of Healing
Current Edition: Carnival of Healing #248 Hosted by Isabella Dove, Your Quantum Ally
Art, divination, and healing.
- Letting Go, Stirring It Up (jesuszen.wordpress.com)
- Lessons from my Ex Girlfriend (roguepriest.net)
- The Love Lives of Friends (open.salon.com)
- OM Number 1: Your Mighty Mighty Breath (ordinarymeditations.blogspot.com)
- Relationships and Time (createyourhealth.com)
- Exclusive: Kirk Cameron Responds to 'Hate Speach' (ABC NEWS)
- Kirk Cameron and Tolerance (FloatingLeafPress.com)