Saturday, March 22, 2014
The God I have encountered, and am with every morning, is a very strong, loving presence, with a love much stronger than anything I have encountered before. I make no effort to personify that presence, just be with it and carry it with me during the day. If I do that, I find evidence of that loving presence all around me. I can’t say I understand it, but I sense it in each of us and in our environment. I find no evidence of feelings like exclusivity or jealousy, feelings I associate with ego, within that presence, only love. I get no impression that humans are pitiful or sinful creatures, in fact those ideas seem to conflict with the love. I treasure that presence and will follow it anywhere or do whatever it leads me to do.
Friday, March 21, 2014
As I say in my website about the intellect & science, they “can [tell us how to] design computers, judge right and wrong, perform job functions, tell us to brush our teeth, perform scientific studies, provide us with an endless source of entertainment, remember the alphabet and tell us to keep our hand off of a hot stove. In short [they] can tell us how to get along in the world.” Clearly, no small task, however they are also limited. If we limit ourselves to intellect & science, as I have done in the past, we exclude things like love, intuition, God, connection and spirituality, a vast and very important part of reality. Historically, it is also clear that spiritual beliefs in the absence of science can lead to all sorts of superstitions and misconceptions. In my life, I am striving for a harmonious balance of these ways of viewing and living within reality.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Several years ago, I became aware of the importance of listening and the fact that my listening could be improved. I became aware that often I was attending to my own thoughts, judgments, criticisms and projections rather than attending to the speaker, thus reducing my ability to connect. In order to change my tendency, first I eliminated any physical distractions like TV, telephones, food or being in a busy environment. I made it a point to put everything down and face the person. I then began being mindful of when my thoughts were straying and brought my focus back to the present and listening. The process was difficult at first. Now my focus is much better. I still get distracted occasionally and apologize when that happens.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Over the past several years and within differing therapeutic settings, I have taken note of the importance of connection with clients and the benefits of establishing a sacred space. As in the example of my first experience, which I talked about two days ago, that requires the willingness of all participants. Love and non-judgmental total acceptance by me is also required. Under those circumstances, genuine growth, healing and resolution can take place. I recognize that my approach is decidedly non-clinical.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
I have never succeeded in aggressively and purposefully setting up a sacred space, a space where people feel and respect the love, a space where hurts and issues spontaneously resolve. I have succeeded in setting up the conditions for a sacred space, and then allowing it to happen. My experience is that setting up the necessary conditions requires the willingness of everyone present. Given that willingness, setting up the conditions for a sacred space within a sweat lodge ceremony involves blessing everything involved with tobacco and a sacred feather. For events like the group meeting mentioned yesterday, setting up the conditions for a sacred space involves self-disclosure and open vulnerability of the leader. In each case setting up the conditions for a sacred space involves the unspoken, unconditional, total acceptance of any and all aspects of the human condition; “when all the opposites meet within a man, good and also evil, light and also darkness, spirit and also body, brain and also heart, masculine focused consciousness and at the same time feminine diffuse awareness, wisdom of maturity and childlike wonder”.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Many years ago, during my first semester in social work school at the University of Maryland, I was in a clinical techniques class and the professor had asked me and other class members to each make a presentation to the class. I was to be the first presenter. The exact topic of the presentation is not important here. However, each presentation was to cover why we had selected a certain technique and I thought the presentation was to last around five minutes and be clinically oriented. I found out, as I was being introduced, that the professor intended for the presentation to last around forty-five minutes. Within that minute or so, as I was being intro-duced, I decided, very calmly, to go deep within myself and disclose parts of my own history, my own woundedness, and what the topic really meant to me, a decidedly non-clinical approach. I, very lovingly and openly disclosed my own emotional/spiritual truth and vulnerability. During the discussion after my presentation, several people spontaneously disclosed their own woundedness and others described various personal truths, many things that they had never, openly, disclosed previously. It was as if some sort of a spell had been cast over the class. As was pointed out to me when that semester ended, that openness lasted, to a lesser degree throughout that class. That was my first experience with setting up, what I now recognize to be, a “sacred space”. I was quite impressed and impacted by the obvious healing effect that it had on the class.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
As often happens, I was reminded today of the importance of a loving, compassionate connection for the process of healing to take place. It is often nice to provide some suggestions or advice, especially when requested, however, I have often found that resolution can be found within an atmosphere of loving, “receptive allowing”, where no advice is given. In many cases, all I need do is to listen, care and be present in a totally non-judgmental way and amazing things can then happen. As Claremont deCastillejo says “Whether he knows it or not his own receptive allowing will affect all those around him; rain will fall on the parched fields, and tears will turn bitter grief to flowering sorrow, while stricken children dry their eyes and laugh."