The TAO (the Dao)

“Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea.”
~Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching~thetaoqquote5.jpg

“Tao or Dao: 道 is a Chinese word meaning ‘way’, ‘path’, ‘route’… ‘Tao signifies the primordial essence or fundamental nature of the Universe. Tao is not a ‘name’ for a ‘thing’ but the underlying natural order of the Universe. It is thus ‘eternally nameless’ and to be distinguished from the countless ‘named’ things which are considered to be its manifestations.”    (posted on Ecological Consciousness)

I love Lao Tzu and Tao Te Ching quotes—they just feel good to me—like TRUTH feels when it resonates inside me.

Can’t say I am very learned in The Tao or Taoism, but I can say that what little I know, moontao5.jpgagain, feels more like a natural expression of myself in some way.

The Yin-Yang symbol (called the Taiji) is often used to represent the concept of the Tao—the in and out, the give and take, etc., often even representing the seeming polarity of the masculine or feminine principles.  But rather than as opposing forces, the pairings are meant to represent the complementary forces required to signify the wholeness or unity even in apparent duality—just as salt and pepper are simply condiments meant to enhance flavor, while still being distinct in their own attributes and coloring.taoquote67

I knew I could do an entire post with nothing but Lao Tzu or Tao Te Ching quotes because these abound everywhere and they still seem applicable to our present life.

The Tao Te Ching is a Chinese classic text traditionally credited to the 6th-century BC sage Laozi, or presently known as Lao Tzu. That’s a long time for catchy phrases to be hanging around and still be considered as ancient wisdom.

Even simple ones still have tremendous depth of meaning:

quotTao_Te_Ching_Ch_11.jpg

 

Wow…that one hit me in numerous ways—the positive and negative space references—the substance and emptiness aspects. The “It’s all in how you fill the emptiness” aspect that can be so significant to the vessel’s importance—just ask any psychologist the truth of that statement.

There is so much potential in that one simple quote.

Then there is one quote more applicable to what I normally write about on self-transformation:taoquote63

 

So while I may not know much about Taoism other than I really like the quotes of Lao Tzu, in some ways I feel that I really do know the TAO—which is the essence of the universe that expresses itself through us in unique and powerful ways, because that’s the part of my life that I like the best.

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“YOU Are the YOU-niverse”

With all the weekend precipitation received here I wish that I could say I had at least enjoyed the intense reading that this “quality inside time” allowed me.

diamondimage6.jpgInstead I can say I waded through two books that have long been sitting by my recliner. And the best thing I can say about both of them is that they can now be shelved away in my reference bookcase for future culling to Goodwill.

I love books, and I usually love good psychology/spirituality writers;  AND… I don’t like giving out bad reviews because any book critique is subjective and personally biased, BUT……..I think I want my money back from these two.

The first was A.H. Almaas book about the ‘Diamond Approach’ that he championed in psychology circles a few decades ago.

His book is called ESSENCE WITH THE ELIXIR OF ENLIGHTENMENT: The Diamond Approach to Inner Realization, …which sounded like something almaasbookessenceI’d love to read doesn’t it?  Yeah, that’s what I thought when I bought it.  Here we are defining reality and the unpinnings of the human experience: What is reality? What is spirituality? How does a human actually experience both?  What does it MEAN to do so?

Well maybe the copyright date of 1986 had more to do with this book’s pioneering appeal to introducing spirituality into psychology’s mental health approach in the early 1990’s than what it meant to me in the now, but I had to speed-read through it forcing myself to complete it.  Perhaps long ago in the newly-birthed spiritual movement in clinical psychology this book was considered influential and enlightening, but it did little for me in 2018, and THAT is what my review of it means for the present.

The other book I read was by one of the better-known spirituality writers of the last century: Deepak Chopra.  I can honestly say that I’ve read most books by Deepak, with chopragreenback.jpegsome books being better than others.  I still follow him on Facebook to hear his latest thoughts on our present-day situations.  I even commented on one of his articles awhile back (Nov. 22, 2017 – “How to Reset the Mind”) where he titled his article “Does the Human Mind Need a Fresh Start?”  I stated then that I thought his article was lengthy and involved, and sounded a bit “Buckminster Fullerish” where he tried to be so all inclusive and over-encompassing that it lacked focus and clarity.

Well, imagine him writing an entire 263-page book that same way explaining modern psychics and the latest Grand Unified Theory of Everything—the QUANTUM of life-as-we-know -it experience from his learned medical/spiritual perspective along with an astrophysicist, Dr. Menas Kafatos.  They call their new theory the “Qualia” Paradigm. It basically explains that the universe that we perceive is purely subjective and dependent on human perception to exist. Ok. We create our own reality—I do buy that part.

However in this book, it is goodbye string theory, adios to the Planck’s Quantum theory era with your waves and particles.

Here is all you ever thought you might want to know about the developmental history and modern theories of the Science of Physics and how to view/understand the world around us. Wow! What an undertaking, you might think. And it read just like that: What an undertaking to read this book.

The book is called: YOU ARE THE UNIVERSE: DISCOVERING YOUR COSMIC SELF AND youareuniversebook.jpgWHY IT MATTERS, by Deepak Chopra, M.D., and Menas Kafatos, Ph.D.   The best I can say about it is that at least I actually have a few penciled underlines in this one, whereas the Almaas book is crystal clear.

And I hate to fault Deepak for simply being Deepak. He tries so hard to explain spirituality against the more difficult aspects of modern physics and how to relate the spiritual experience into all of that equation-/math-dependent, empirical research environment that we define as the “scientific approach.”

He really tries to explain the nearly unexplainable about our present world; and I’m sure that I’ve gained a greater understanding about historical attitudes and approaches to the “What is life?” question that the scientific community has considered for centuries, ever since the overpowering Church institution relinquished its death-grip on “enlightened secular thinking.”

kafatosshoprapic.jpgBut Deepak being Deepak, gets wordy and lengthy and anecdotal and then one simile follows another simile, followed by analogies, followed by more similes and analogies because this stuff is hard to fathom any other way for those of us who are NOT into “physics” explanations and equations.

I’m glad he tried to dumb-it-down for those of us who might never have comprehended the basics of the physics theories any other way, but…. he doesn’t really convince this reader on his somewhat extrapolated theories other than I already believe what he’s trying to write. He doesn’t have to convince me.

And I don’t think his qualia principles and accompanying explanations are quitetimespacematterchopra.jpg the end-product of his own subjective, deductive logic.  But, again, good try Deepak.

On to the dusty bookshelf they both go.

“Blowciferousnous”

There.  I’ve created the perfect descriptor for politicians who try to cash in on tragedies just to get their own mugs on the evening news and to hear themselves “blowfuscate” about flagrant injustices occurring near them while pushing their own tainted agendas that helped create the very situation they are now railing against.  Most politicians in today’s world are nothing more than “blowciferous.”3ofhtenotsamekind.jpg

Political blowhards like to hear themselves talk—a lot! And they really prefer a captive audience like they can garner at press briefings after the latest school shooting. Senators, governors, the president—they all line up to so sadly address the cameras with meaningless platitudes and empty promises for a better tomorrow than today had unfortunately turned out to be.

Vociferousness is what they offer—a vocal outcry for pseudo-reform that isn’t really reform at all—just meaningless noise from a propagator whose sole purpose was to appear at the news conference itself—not to help those in the aftermath who are genuinely scared or are grieving with deep loss—but to step in front of the gathered crowd and act like they are taking charge of the situation, when instead they are the very people who have helped to create it.

Blowhards obfuscate—they shout their indignation to obscure the situation’s genuine meaning and manipulate the truth of what has actually occurred.

Blowciferous politicians bewilder their listeners with coarse banality and unintelligible logic. They portray themselves as champions for social change, when of course, they are just the opposite.  Status quo serves them far too well to support meaningful change in our society and culture.

santafehsshooting

 

Any tragedy deserves heartfelt sympathy, as do the people who are most affected by the loss of loved ones. To them there are no words that can ease the depth of their pain—no “our hearts and prayers go out to the families” bullshit spoken far too frequently and with less and less conviction each time repeated.

And absolutely NO ONE deserves self-serving politicians trying to cash in on the latest school shooting with no other remedy for protecting our kids than to “arm the teachers.”

In my humble opinion, NRA-loving politicians should be careful with those suggestions.

If you arm enough teachers as the primary solution to our most serious social problems, you might not be around long to witness the result of your actions because teachers are already pretty fed up putting their own lives on the line day after day—without receiving combat pay.  Even teachers have limited patience when their elected officials refuse to do their jobs.

The real solution:  Don’t add more guns to schools!

Make the change at the ballot box—change representatives.  Eliminate gun lobbies. Stop celebrating the gun culture.

It’s time for meaningful social change and time for a new breed of representatives of peace-loving people.

No more “blowciferous” politicians!  Tell them simply: “Do your job or be thrown out.”

And then actually DO IT.giffordsquote.jpg

“The Neurophysiology of Spiritual Guidance”

dr stephanie mines.jpgDr. Stephanie Mines in this TEDx Talk video says that “Clear (spiritual) guidance is an integrated, holistic neuro-chemical phenomenon that forever transforms the individual who experiences it, recalibrating the nervous system.” ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQOAxT8llto )

Mines is a psychologist who describes herself as “an advocate to clearing personal and collective trauma by unburdening the overwhelmed nervous system.”  She has a clinic and offers training in what is called The TARA Approach, which is an energy-releasing practice, such as releasing the trapped energies of shock or trauma for clients.

In this particular TED talk she elaborates on how to become more intuitive and Neuro+Resiliency.pngspiritually guided in your life: “Let your body become the tuning fork for harmonious efforts…(to make this a better world). …  (Spiritual) Guidance will tell you YOUR role …. Let guidance come to you. Accept it without regret. …Track your sensations carefully. … In that space between assumptions and conclusions, something new is waiting—that is guidance.  Guidance will cause you to give up the life you had planned and replace it with the life you are meant to live. …And you will accept that without regret.  And that will surprise you. ..It is in that very surprise that you know that guidance has found you. ”

Guidance is an expansive softening, whereas compulsion is tight and compressive.  True guidance always allows free will and brings a felt sense of spaciousness.  It feels good. …There is joy in the experience of guidanceGuidance is an organic, utterly human phenomenon. It thrives in the presence of creativity and honesty. …”

“Our task is to find it (TRUE Spiritual Guidance) and surrender to it.”

She is also a very vocal ecology advocate: “We all have the capacity to attune to the spiritual forces that are convening now at the crossroads of time. A call has already gone out from the Guardians of the Earth. Can you hear it? Please, don’t let anything interfere with the reclamation of your personal guidance. This is your whole priority.”

taraapproach3While this specific TED Talk video was focused on developing the ability to listen to your higher guidance and act from that direct knowing, I guess I’m more amazed at the multitude of folks working on their own in the world—folks that I was so unaware even existed, just doing their own versions of trying to help others in some way. Evidently Dr. Mines with her TARA Approach, mixes psychology with energy work to help clients get in tune with their own bodies to first recognize and then eliminate the energetic trauma packets still affecting the client’s energy field (and physical body).

As a REIKI teacher and practitioner, I can easily relate to this approach because during REIKI sessions when I am working on someone who tells me of a particularly sore or painful area on their body and I put my hands over that area (and I don’t even have to touch them), I can sometimes feel the flavor of the emotional sensation trapped in that area (like sadness, or fear, or anger, etc.).

I can kinesthetically FEEL them because they are energetic vibrations that my emotional body recognizes, plus I may get visual images in my mind of a scene in which the client and others participated. When I ask the client what this image that I’m seeing means to them, along with explaining the accompanying emotion that I’m feeling with the scene, they suddenly know what that body pain is and who it was directed at.

Then when we work through releasing the stuck energy in that part of the client’s body/energy field, the original pain washes away like magic. It’s amazing. I’ve actually seen it happen.vortex knots

So I understand what Dr. Mines is doing even if I don’t know exactly how she’s approaching it. Trauma and shock are disharmonious energies that are tangled in the client’s energy field that disrupt the natural energy flow through the body. If that energy flow is disrupted long enough, then health problems arise.

The point of the therapy, whether with REIKI or whatever Dr. Mines is doing, is to find the problem area, acknowledge what the client’s association and connections are to that problem, and then to clear them from the client’s energy field and body. Then the body can reestablish a more harmonious energy flow which leads to better physical/emotional health.

taraclimatechangeThe other main thing Dr. Mines seems to be focused on is the ecological crisis at present and to bringing increased awareness to resolving that. To that effort I wish her the best of luck and hope that this renewed publicity of critical ecological situations can get people activated to become climate advocates themselves.

Lots of folks are doing lots of positive things in the world. Why not join them?

 

Final Mention of the Psychotherapy and Spirituality Summit

Before I start the new year of 2018, I want to wrap a few more of the speakers from the 2017 Psychotherapy & Spirituality Summit mentioned previously.dianeheller.jpg

I also found these folks very interesting:

Diane Poole Heller, PhD, who often worked with Peter Levine on attachment theories and trauma resolution—especially working on relationship trauma, was very worth hearing.

She claims that attachment template starts in utero…it is the earliest blueprint for our sense of relationship and how we “attach” to others, which in this sense is the birth mother.

Each attachment style requires a different kind of interface with the client to work through it.

somatic attachment.png

The four attachment styles are secure attachment, avoidant attachment, ambivalent attachment, and disorganized attachment.

Secure attachment:  Biologically designed in all of us. It is the ideal of what constitutes security and safety—this is the baseline of desired attachment—feeling protected and loved, playfulness, confident. Have a capacity to trust, and this is when we feel accepted for who we are. The ideal state.

Avoidant attachment: One of parents may be distant and unattached or unapproachable. When this occurs there is not as much development of the baby’s right brain–the child seems to be living in an isolated bubble of existence.  The child becomes more independent and reliant on self rather than others because s/he had to be this way to survive. As adults, the person tends to dismiss relationships and feel more isolated in life—became more ambivalent toward others. Couldn’t relax into love because they were waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under them—hyper-alertness. As an adult they tend to avoid disappointment that felt inevitable in a relationship–so they avoid relationships.hellerblurb.jpg

Ambivalent attachment is being too focused on others. Too dependent on others for sense of well-being and acceptance–too clingy–too needy–feeling too weak to make it alone.

Disorganized attachment: This style is the result of parents who do “paradoxical injunction” with the child—the “Come here! No, go away!” “I love you—I can’t stand you.”  “You are so good. You are so bad.”  The child may be in a double-bind of never being able to please the parent or to know which behavior is the correct one that is rewarded rather than punished because rewards and punishments are confused to the point of not knowing if intimacy is a good thing or a bad thing. Is it pleasant or painful? Or is it both?

Heller cites a collaborative treatment method for trauma therapy that involves healing attachment issues, using Levine’s somatic trauma resolution, the Diamond approach of psychology mixed with spiritual inquiry, and the New Autonomic NS Understanding by Steven Porge, along with the latest innovations in neuroscience.

***

grof6.jpgThe one other presenter I will mention from that summit is Stanislov Grof who still is one of the most influential transpersonal realm explorers of the last 40 years. The transpersonal realms deal with ordinary and non-ordinary states of reality.

Stan Grof is far too important to contain in a paragraph or two here, but he is one of the main psychiatrists who explored the alternate reality experiences of LSD, shamanic trance, Kundalini activation, Near-death experiences, possessions states, channeling other spirits, etc.

At the end of the 20th century he helped to give those extra-sensory experiences a sense of legitimacy and professional acknowledgment. The bonafide mystical experience was his holy grail of inquiry and exploration. He made it a mainstream exploration for psychiatrists.grofquote2.jpg

Holotropic states of consciousness became his life’s work, and he and his wife Christina, created the “holotropic breath work” treatment to substitute for the psychedelic drugs of mescaline, LSD, or ayahuasca experience.

He still offers training in some of those techniques and provides great historical research into non-ordinary reality.

Thanks again Sounds True for allowing me to listen to these presenters for free!

“To Make You Feel My Love”

BJ song album.jpgI had this Billy Joel song (Bob Dylan lyrics) looping through my head this morning and couldn’t find it in my MP3 files on the computer, so I had to search for the old CDs.

Three searched locations later, I found the Billy Joel set from twenty years ago, which led me to think two things: One, how could I forget where I had last stashed all those old CDs since I have quite a collection? And two, how could they not be on my computer since I know I’ve copied them prior and nearly everything else was there?

By now I’ve forgotten why I wanted to hear the song. It had something to do with the thoughts going through my head when I considered writing this morning: “To make you feel my love.” Those same tuneful lyrics kept replaying between my ears.

Then it dawned on me. I was getting a message from the ethers. This is often how Spirit/departed loved ones communicate with us—in little song snippets.BJ MYFML.jpg

That possibility made me reflective of who it might be. Could even be angels or guides. So I listened closely to the song.

“When the rain is blowing in your face and the whole world is on your case, I can offer you a warm embrace, to make you feel my love.

When the evening shadows and stars appear, and there is no one there to dry your tears, I could hold you for a million years, to make you feel my love.

I know you haven’t made your mind up yet, but I would never do you wrong. I’ve known it from the moment that we’ve met, no doubt in my mind where you belong.

I’d go hungry, I’d go black and blue, I’d go crawling down the avenue. There is nothing that I wouldn’t do, to make you feel my love.

The storms are raging on the rolling sea, down on the highway of regret. The winds of change are blowing wild and free—you ain’t seen nothing like me yet.

I can make you happy—make your dreams come true. There is nothing that I would not do. Go to the ends of the earth for you, to make you feel my love.

There is nothing that I would not do, to make you feel my love.”

3writerssongs.jpgNice message on a morning when I needed it.Adele_-_Make_You_Feel_My_Love

Maybe I just need to listen to more Billy Joel (or Adele’s or Garth Brook’s version).

Maybe we ALL do.

Second Part on Pat Ogden, PhD from the S & P Summit

I wanted to complete this Pat Ogden review before more “info” comes through that I feel compelled to share. As mentioned in my earlier review of the summit itself, one of the patogden 5.jpgthings I liked most about some of these spiritual psychotherapy approaches was the more collaborative methods of therapy between client and therapist.  Pat Ogden was a main example of that.

Her stated belief was that you must trust your client’s inner wisdom (which the client may not be overtly aware of) to desire to heal non-harmonious aspects of themselves, so there is no need to push or force change with the client. You simply allow what needs to change to unveil itself as you work together. But you need to create a safe-haven (a safe and comfortable environment) for the work to unfold.

She believed in the principles of mindfulness and presence, meaning that mindfulness is an actual state of consciousness—where the observer and the observed are united within that state of mind; while presence is a state of beingness.

Being mindful is the ability to focus awareness within and outside the person all at same time, which is desirable at times, but it actually prevents you from being fully present in the body.  Mindfulness may be more the out-of-body experience while being present, is being well-grounded and right here, right now.

traumainterventions.jpgOgden’s work is a unity-focused therapy of client and therapist working together for better client outcomes.  She uses language reflective of the intention of unity— lak’ech-“I am another you.”   It’s a collaborative language of “we”ness in the client’s discovery process where you give the client an option, a say in what they will do together to help the client.  Frame it for them in ways that are easy to understand, and then give them the chance to say yes or no, let’s pursue that suggested exploration or let’s wait a week or so before we do.

Her focus is on holism. Her Sensorimotor Psychotherapy goal is to harness the wisdom of the body to liberate human potential, and the body holds tremendous potential for sensoimotor psy.jpgwisdom. She simply says to honor the intelligence of the body. Watch how a client is presenting herself.  What is the body language stating that the spoken words are not? Hunched shoulders means she is holding fear….so ask about that body message you are seeing.  “Why are you sitting so scrunched together? Are you hiding within yourself or unconsciously defending yourself from something you perceive around you?…Is there something you are afraid of—something you fear about this situation or about exploring those memories? Let’s get it out and look at it. Let’s see if it truly is threatening or just seemed that way for awhile.” (paraphrased)

She says one of the greatest gifts you can ever give is helping the client discover important things about themselves—what is meaningful to them.  Her goal is to help reveal the client to themselves—it’s all about self-discovery.

Ogden avoids diagnosis of a client and especially labeling them with a disorder because they too readily identify with the diagnosis and then become it.  Her stated example was Dissociative Identity Disorder…. It may not be a good thing to call someone this. It limits them—limits how they perceive themselves.

She believes in non-violent approaches. Don’t try to force a client toward an outcome. They resist and it may not be the right outcome anyway. Try another way if possible—make it more exploratory.  A lot of this involves more “undoing” bodypatternsthan doing—unlearning old ways of thinking and being, to allow new ones to emerge.

In her practice mindfulness is a critical skill that supports our way of being, and supports the importance of presence.  When we are focused on our bodies by using our minds to assess what we are feeling in the moment, and when we examine how we are executing the actions that we take in our lives, it establishes the principle of self-engagement. These are all building blocks of the “being present” experience.

Teaching clients how to pay attention to their own bodies and to learn to recognize their own body cues is important for recognizing what the body is telling them it actually needs for optimum mental and physical health. The client might misinterpret a current situation as to whether or not it is threatening, so you look for the natural body cues as to what their body, not their mind, is saying about it?bodyleadsushome.jpg

Helping clients look for their own body-reactions in situations helps them learn what is really happening to them as opposed to what is simply being triggered by a childhood memory, etc.   How we organize our experience—those earliest patterns of inner organization—are often how we first see a situation; and it starts with how we felt about a similar situation in our childhood—like whether or not we felt helplessness or fearfulness in that similar situation.

She believes that if we go in deeply enough to the inner depths of the client, the client’s natural higher consciousness will spontaneously reorganize them toward health.  Uncovering what is emotionally hiding within the client and preventing them from realizing their wholeness allows them to self-reveal and then to self-heal.

She simply becomes a container for love for the client—holding them in acceptance and process until their health is revealed.po7.jpg

Interesting lady, Pat Ogden. Good interview.

Thanks Sounds True for this psychotherapy/spirituality summit.