Silence is a cool river of joy

Silence is cool. It soothes a warm body. Silence and stillness soothes the being. When we stop and we become quiet, the machinery of our world ceases to move us. We simply exist. In a moment of pure awareness, we notice the noise, the futile attempts at order, and we return to our self, and to Source. In such a moment we comprehend eternity and we know ourselves eternal.

It is the non-doing, the not trying, the effortless state of being that our world shifts and moves and gravitates towards us through all the chaotic order, a thread of pure perfection responding to the note of our being. For we are born into the harmony of the universe. It is only the human-made attempts to constrict and manipulate the universe that disrupts that harmony and stems the flow of our vibratory ease.

Imagine a beautiful river, gentle flowing through the passageway of wide open lands. Its banks are steep and lower in places. Fish swim in the deeper waters and grasses grow in the shallows. Its flow is a continuous rhythm to the beat of hills and earth, rains and sky, sun and the tides, and the cycles of nature. Harmony.

Imagine now human made traps set along the banks, designed to catch the fish. See how a road is built and the river diverted from the path of nearby houses. Watch as its waters recede, spread out in new ways, only to be blocked again. Perhaps a wall or a damn. Perhaps the ecosystem of the river becomes so interrupted that fish die, grasses become diseased and waters polluted.

Now consider that you are the river, and land, the sky, the rains, the sun, tides and the natural world is in harmony with you. You know who you are and you flow free. The rains come, you fill. The sun comes and you reduce. Sometimes you spread out. Sometimes you breathe in, but always you ebb and flow with the pulse of the land.

That is until the disruptions begin. And then the ebb changes, the flow alters, and before long the homeostatic relationship with the natural world becomes misaligned, damaged, dis-eased, sometimes destroyed.

That is how it is for us when we move out of alignment with the flow of the universe. The universe wants us to harmonise with it. It entreats us to move back into the fold of its cycles, rhythm and pulse. But there is far too much noise, far too much distraction and oh so much conditioning that prevents us. And this is how we lose our way. This is how we move out of alignment with our being – with the Source of all.

And try as we might, often times desperately, the more we thrash around attempting to return to that state of harmony, the more we flail as fish in the river caught in a net.

For it is not more activity that is required – it is stillness. It is quiet. It is openness and inner noticing that will allow us to hear our spirit talk, that will return us to our flow.

And when we are returned to that state of harmony, to our simply beingness, do we attract and create all that is in alignment with our soul’s evolution.

Why does this matter? Our soul’s evolution?

Because we are eternal beings. Because we cannot remain the same. Because we are expanding consciousness that has the spiritual power to create a world of harmony, and yet for all that this is possible as individuals and as a collective we choose fear, war, disease, poverty, hunger, struggle.

We are better than that, and there is a state, a plane in which we know that we are, and more… we care.

When you decide to remember who you are, where you came from and why you are here, you cannot but be compelled to turn around into the silence and to listen, and to change, and to return to harmony and then BE that change in the world.

Your peace is the peace of the world.

And it’s not that you incarnated so as to mend a broken world – you didn’t, or perhaps you did – but that is not why we incarnate, to have our human experience. It’s a gift. It’s a joy. This brief moment of individual living is the greatest joy. It’s only that we create discord and struggle, and find that we come into the physical world and have to navigate our way through it before we get the experience of human joy.

What if we learned to return to joy. And stay there. You do not shift, you are not moved, you do not stray, but return to joy every moment, every opportunity, every remembering. Joy.

And yes, there will be pain and sorrow and challenge in the world we have made, and it is important to meet each and every episode of emotion and circumstance and be supported in processing it well. And then how marvellous it will be if every now and then you remembered joy. And brought that into your sphere of living.

Even if at first you fake it – til you’re actually feeling it.  

An exercise that I like to practice each day is one in which I am like a balloon lifting up, only, I remain seated, but my mood is as if it has helium in it. You might like to try it…

  • Sit quiet a moment
  • Bring your awareness to your chest – in the centre where your heart chakra (energy centre) is
  • Now whether you feel like it or not, bring a small smile to your face
  • Now you are aware of your smile and your heart centre
  • Now imagine that both your smile and heart energy are growing – expanding up and out – so you might bring in a long breath and your chest rises and your mouth widens
  • And at the same time think on something that brings you joy – a child, a loved one, a dog or cat, a favourite activity, dance, music, play – whatever it is and use that as your balloon to rise higher and higher on the breath of air…

When I practice this each morning, I base it on a dream I had… I was standing in front of a group of men from religious order and Spirit said ‘show them’ and within me a tiny light ignited in my chest. With my eyes closed my energy rose higher and higher and grew wider and wider until it burst out into a blissful expanse of white light. Tears flowed from my dreaming eyes. I looked at the men and they understood my connection with the divine. When I awoke, my face was wet with ecstatic tears of connection – of bliss and joy. 

Joy raises our vibration and illuminates our path in a way no other emotion does. It creates our unfolding reality just as we designed it to when we we were non-physical.

I invite you today to sit a moment in the cool silence of joy.

Karolyne is a psycho-spiritual therapist, writer and teacher, living and working in Edinburgh, Scotland. Visit her website here and School of Intuitive Studies here. You can contact Karolyne via email
Painting by Corie Hinton

Spirituality Block? Body says hug a tree…

While chatting with a colleague today about our respective paths, we reflected on the significant turn in therapy towards relaxation and embodiment. While this is not necessarily new, and there are numerous therapy modalities that facilitate mindbody connection, we were interested in the context beyond therapy.

The promotion of topics such as relaxation, mindfulness, eastern energybody practices and body-thought-emotion awareness has exploded in popular culture.

Alongside this, the new-age, spirituality-growth/development paradigms have become part of our modern narrative.

When we considered these – embodiment and spirituality – we acknowledged that there is at times a gap that separates the two.

This gap is often trauma related.

Traumatic encounter is experienced by the whole person, and while thoughts, feelings, beliefs and emotions are impacted and shaped by trauma, the body is the vehicle that carries the experience.

Trauma often causes a person to dissociate or shift away from bodily awareness so as not to feel pain. It is a coping mechanism that we all have, and which serves us at times, but which later in life if trauma impact has not been addressed, reconnecting with felt, bodily experience can be difficult. 

If we come to a time in our life where we look for greater meaning and connection, we often turn to the spiritual – that which nurtures our sense of connection, reflection, and service.

And yet, when it comes to spiritual development and practice, many folk who have experienced trauma or who carry the energy of past-life trauma, find embodied awareness and expression challenging.

In this way, the trauma body can feel discomfort, resist, become sick, shut-down, exhibit dis-ease, and block or reduce the very connection that a person might seek.

For the individual cultivating her or his spiritual unfoldment there can be frustration, confusion, despair and hopelessness when confronted with seemingly unknown reasons for not expanding or progressing in desired ways.

Alongside this, there can also be great strength, perseverance, ingenuity, curiosity, resilience, hope and more.

Still, the blocks continue.

There can be embodiment – the physical, visceral, sensory awareness – without spiritual awareness.

But in order to meet and unfold spiritually, one has to be in body, have grounded bodily experiences in tangible, conscious ways that enable growth in this material world.

Why?

Because we live a material existence.

We may be spirit having a human experience, and our body may be a house of which we are a temporary custodian, but for the span of years that we are embodied, it is through this glorious vehicle that we come to know ourselves and the world of which we are part.

It is through our embodiment, every feeling, sensation, movement, disruption, pleasure, pain that we meet our spirit and the Source of creation.

But the two must be conscious. Being in body and being in spiritual connection – both must be equally and fully brought to awareness in order for your expansion and growth.

That means feeling. It means meeting the glitches and the hurt they cause. Every disruption, every hurt acknowledged and felt has the potential to self-dissolve or be released.

Energy therapies can help, and they too are more effective when embodied – when the individual assists in the work, feels the energy, becomes aware of the blocks, aids in the release, understands its origins, links any trauma with current day energetic and bodily experience, is aware.

It’s the same with body movement. Be aware in movement. What is body telling me, showing me, feeling me?

Awareness is key – body and spirit.

If this resonates and you haven’t found a practice, like yoga or body meditation, qigong or tai chi or similar, maybe locate a relaxation or body-scan recording online or an MP3. 

Any exercise, repeated practice that grounds you in bodily awareness will aid in your spiritual unfoldment. Again – it’s not enough to go through the motions – when you hug that tree, you have to feel the tree and all the delicious sensations running through hands, arms and body. 

And this is not just for folk who’ve experienced trauma – anyone wanting to develop spiritually will at some point, need to come to body awareness.

Get in touch if you have any questions. Meantime, give yourself a wee tap, tap, tap, head, neck, shoulders, arms, torso, bum, hips, legs… and really feel it… notice what body says about your attention.

After all, it’s one unique, glorious body per life – why not really make it a great friend.

Ancestors – Bridging into Authenticity

This weekend I was with companions remembering and honouring our ancestors. It was a deep and emotional experience for us, bringing the past forward, and the present back again, bridging and merging time.

It was my great-grandfather, Charles Duncan Rice, who came forward for me, and the more I moved into memory and the feel of this man, the closer we became.

From the experience of sitting quietly with his photograph and my inner vision of him, came a greater sense of knowing and understanding of his life. And from this came a profound feeling of family and belonging.

IMG_6553.JPG
Charles Duncan Rice 1872-1930

The more I let the feel and thoughts of great-grandfather Rice flow through me, the likenesses I detected between us and our life experiences increased. Charles Rice had beginnings that set him on a path. He received a scholarship for education, and became a teacher, philanthropist, scholar and orator. From all accounts, he was a learned, liberal, genuine man who was passionate about teaching and education for all. He lived in Peterhead, in Aberdeenshire, and was the Rector of Peterhead Academy for 3 decades. 

Sadly, he died suddenly, a heart attack, in his garden, aged 58 years. My grandma’s life took a drastic turn then and her ambitions to study medicine were curbed as the family took to surviving beyond their beloved Charles’ keep. She became a nurse instead, and put her healing efforts to much use in that capacity.

As the workshop afternoon went on, my kin drew nearer to me, such that I could feel his presence in spirit standing so close behind me. With the touch of his hand on my shoulder, the generations between us dissolved, and I knew him part of me – and myself part of him.

This weekend of ancestor connection made way for other realisations, primarily about how we distance ourselves from our Self.

It occurred to me that there is no distance between who we are and who we want to be; that the person we know deep within us, connected as we are to Source and our Soul-Self, is always available to us. Only self-alienation makes it appear not so.

The discord we feel between our inner knowing and our outer experience is a perception; a perception born of thoughts that wraps itself around feelings, convincing us that it is real. But this perception alienate us from our true Self. It creates a gap that isn’t actually there.

We are already, always united with our authentic Self.

It is only the perception of separation – of difference – that tells us otherwise.

And yes, if we are not self-alienating, then there is plenty ‘out there’ that will hold up a mirror to project difference onto us. If it’s not the media, educational or religious institutions, cultural norms, it is the people in our life – often our families, friends, work colleagues – who give us plenty of comparative material for us to self-deny, self-criticise and Self-separate.

What I realised over this weekend, is that it is up to us whether we want to accept the reflections and self-perceptions. It is up to us to decide whether we view ourselves ‘out there’ in the land of others’ ideas and perceptions of us or whether we decide to define and know ourselves ‘in here’, in the place of our true Self.

We can only be separated from our Self if our perception of ourselves does not marry up with who we feel we are. And as we know, perceptions and feelings have a long history of influence in our childhood and adolescent experiences. They are often reinforced by adult experiences that tell the same lies about us so that we lose sight of who we are. Still, there is a place deep within each of us who knows who we are. Sometimes that place reveals a quiet voice longing to be heard. Often it is a voice that has pleaded and cried out for years and years for us to listen.

Over the weekend, I learnt that one of the ways we can make our way back to that deep Soul place and live outwardly our inner truth, is by connecting with our ancestors. There, in a long, long line of people, there will be those with similar life experiences, hardships, traumas, dreams, habits, talents, skills, creative impulses, the same as you.

My idea of self-difference has served to separate me from the person I am in that I have thought no one will be interested in my ideas, my writing, my spiritual experiences. They couldn’t possibly understand or want to engage with my view of the world. And as such, I have shied away from expressing that view, that ‘me’; I have not offered her to the world as fully as I might.

Blending with my ancestor, great-grandfather Rice, gave me the experience, not just the awareness but the tangible experience of knowing that there is no separation. Now all I needed to do was blend my separated self with my internal self – the one who knows who she is.

As my ancestor moved closer to me, blended with me, I came to know and feel the I am who I am, and the distance I have created, which is quite simply a perception – a false one. I don’t need to fit into the mould of what I think the world out there expects me to be. I just need to be me. Along the way, I had allowed circumstance to be my excuse for separation and denial of my true self. My perceived difference, held in some respects as a badge of honour, in many ways served to keep me apart from my Self.

By closing the ancestral gap – in time and dimension – I was shown a roadmap to dissolve the gap between my distorted perception of my outer self, and my authentic Being.

It was an energetic experience. Just as Charles Rice had moved closer to me as I dwelled on him, I brought my self-projection to mind and went to that deep place within me – that core of Soul Self. And when I could hold the feelings of both in awareness, I gently shortened the cord of energy between us until we were very close. I then deepened my feelings of my authentic self by bringing to mind all that I love, adore, am passionate about at my core, and my faith, and I heightened those feelings. And then, I moved into the outer projection and we became one, and the projection dissolved in the energy of my Soul Self until only that beautiful truth remained.

You might be wondering why I simply didn’t cut the cord of energy connecting me to the projected, perception-self. Well, that would have been a short-term solution. Nothing would have changed in my thoughts or feelings, and new habits would have been all the harder to form. I had to raise the awareness, the feelings and emotional connection to my inner Light, so that I could irrevocably know what that Light feels like. I needed to blend with the lesser energy of the outward personality – the false perception – in order to feel it dissolve within the strength of my authenticity.

Now, that is not necessarily the end of the separated-self; like any new perception, it takes reinforcing in the face of daily counter-rhetoric. Supposedly, 90 days of repeated practice will form a new habit – and I intend to practice! Already, the Universe is sending me opportunities to fall back into my old ‘who I think I should be’ self. And I am kindly acknowledging them, passing them on, and gravitating towards other opportunities the Universe is offering me, and which invite me to be who I really am.

I’ll need to check in each time, and now I have a compass to guide me. Those heightened, authentic feelings that I reached in to find in that deep place, they will continue to show me the way best aligned with my Soul Self. I take that path because ultimately, that is why I am here, as you are, and once we begin to regularly walk it, the way becomes oh so much smoother.

So, I wonder if you have ancestors who might offer you self-acceptance and the opportunity to be your authentic self in the world. An ancestor who overcame adversity, who had particular qualities or even who had negative or unhealthy traits that highlight to you how change is possible… A long ago family member who can show you how to bridge the gap between the person you think you ought to be, and the person you know deep within you are.

Our ancestors are not simply distant memories or people who no longer exist. They are spirit, living energy that is not only part of us, but which may be touched, consulted and honoured. And they can teach us a great deal about how to live a connected, authentic life.

 

 

 

*Featured image from Becoming Ursa