Being awake is a falling away of apparent solidity. When that happens there is no one to see it, no one left to be happy about it. There is only what is. The naturalness that is, always, even in spite of the hologram of a seemingly separate self and its finite and limited world.
If we look into life, we discover that wanting and the separate self are transitory and that they are a facet, an energetic expression, of something that never changes and never did change. Duality apparently appears within non-duality and it is all one. There is no reason for this, it is the exquisite mystery of life.
Awakeness, natural wondrous being, is ordinary, freely given every moment, mainly missed by the separate self. This ordinariness is a complete disappointment to the spiritual seeking mind that wants glamour and breakthroughs and enlightenment. The ordinariness and naturalness is a joke in the context of today’s new age ‘spiritual’ market place where endless options for ‘self-healing’ are for sale and endless variations of ‘how to be or realise non duality’ are offered, often innocently . Awakeness is the ultimate disillusion. It isn’t surprising that extreme despair can arise as life and personal hopes, dreams and dearly held beliefs are gradually seen through.
Being awake requires no effort at all –one cannot do anything to get close to what is already everything, already whole! Yet awakening does involve apparent response and investigation-awakening is a process. It is a very delicate dance and great care and clear reflection is a way to negotiate the ins and outs more smoothly. Authentic community can ease the pangs and when awakeness comes through glimpses, true guidance about how to live the new realisations and the refusals can be reassuring .
There is nothing ‘you’ need to be or become. There is no separate self to become more. So is healing irrelevant? Is meditation an unnecessary idea?
That seems to be an absurd and even arrogant assertion. Anything that allows more ease in life seems to be an intelligent thing to pursue. I would simply suggest that you see this for what it is and don’t be led into the lure of chasing ‘enlightenment’ (sadly there are many misguided teachers and teachings who will encourage this)– the ultimate stick to beat yourself up with and the one thing likely to push away everything that is longed for. Wanting and desire are a juice of life, they motivate movement and when these energies are thwarted, as they certainly will be, the pain of that can invite the one who imagines he or she is separate and has control of life, to enquire more deeply, perhaps for the first time. But even then, though the conscious mind may see that ‘taking life personally’ causes all its problems, the separate self constantly seeks a balm to ease the horror of endless wanting, endless dilemma, endless lack of fulfilment.
Meditation practice -if there is an inclination-can ease the painful contrasts between being and the intense fight of ‘me’ to survive. This is the reason the Aliveness Moving, Stillness Listening meditation is offered in Secret Garden. It is a structured space to be FULLY human, fully animal, fully alive beyond the roles and compromises of a Western life. It isn’t offered for the profound results that it undoubtedly appears to bring those who commit to it. More delusion can be created with trying and effort and belief that you ‘can get there’. It is so delicate. The meditation is offered simply as safe space to just be all that is arising without consideration, to be where you are, fully, in a glorious or not so glorious ‘yes’. Western culture tends to permit only a few aspects of being human to be commonly seen, or celebrated.
There is no one to awaken. ‘You’ can’t make it happen because the ‘you’ is insubstantial. The separate self does not have to be eradicated –though the seeking mind is usually driven by the unconscious belief that it should; It is perfect in its exquisite expression.
A paradox. Realisation alleviates suffering. And it is then seen that there is nothing to practice. This is so very different than not bothering to practice, the low energy apathy of the separate self and its resentful ‘what’s the point?’
In the structured ‘no interruptions’ space of this meditation there can be an embrace of the human stories which constellate around the pull of apparently endless wanting –for love, happiness, God, success, not feeling chaotic-the possibilities of wanting are truly endless! Human beings call wanting by many different names, such as fear, desire, jealousy, disappointment, rage. The pull of wanting for the separate self has more force than an articulated lorry! Some are honest about that force, some dare not see this, some try to hide it.
You grew up in a culture where keeping your head involved in all that you are doing, is normal. In Western sexuality, and living in general, too often the body does one thing and the head is busy doing another, whether in fantasy or simply a mind wandering to a forthcoming task or event, or the past.
Western education has normalised endless analysis and the disconnection of minds from bodies. People live in trance so much of the time, lost in thought (earnestly endeavouring to solve that ‘most important’ problem!) in order to save themselves from what they might feel and therefore from the whole of existence, from what is potentially wonderful and beautiful to us –life full on, happening in wholeness beyond time or place. Self-image is saved yet the possibility of living healed, and awake and whole in body and spirit is entirely lost. The child in us adults is only interested in the present, not concerned re tomorrow or yesterday, close to the eternal. Music as with touch, can only be appreciated in the present moment, we can only listen to the sound or feel the touch, that is here now. So, music and touch and play always invite us into this moment, into being. Human beings like to forget this, just too simple.
The meditation invites you into being fully present too, but I would suggest to a greater degree than can be safe or appropriate in any other context. There is a healing wave of energy travels up through all the chakras (energetic power centres) of the body. The energetic ‘journey’ is a map of human evolution. Unless every aspect of human nature is acknowledged, blocks occur and stem this healing tide. Energy is not free to move and invite the doors to every aspect of being human to open. Many people begin (with lots of hope and anticipation of benefits) then give up on meditation because it can release unpleasant or unacceptable feelings –but to give up is to miss the whole point Sometimes being with what you have been taught that you shouldn’t feel is precisely the gateway into opening to the limitless that has been longed for and was always simply here. Humility and committment is required then.
The meditation allows a totality of being with whatever is arising. Raw is real. Any veneer of polite appropriateness falls away quickly at the beginning phase of this meditation, and unleashes the potency of the wildness that any human heart is huge enough to receive. We are meant to be frightened when we are in danger and need to act to be safe, it is natural to get angry enough to mark and change what’s not OK, to grieve deeply enough to truly let go of what has been lost. It is the price we pay to live all we are. Free moveemnt of instinct and feeling allows the river of life to cleanse and flow.
This meditation first creates movement and freedom in the raw, uncivilised foundation, the first chakra in which there is a natural invitation to commit to the life granted you. This is your plug in to being, to embodiment, to earth. When these roots are at last acknowledged and permitted to move, the heart receives all the stories and wounds and dilemmas naturally, opening up to the stream. The healing flow of energy through the energy centres of the body dissolves stagnant and discordant energy. This zone of conscious alertness calms the nervous system, endocrine, hormonal system, heart rate, digestion and breathing. All of this can facilitate good physical health. You learn to trust your vital innate instincts, knowing when to engage and express and when to protect, when to close and when to open, when to give, when to receive, when to rest, when to act. Joy, clarity and creativity naturally arise.
Raw, instinctive, survival energy is transmuted by oceanic feeling and tenderness in the second chakra, by the power of boundaries and conscious choosing at the third chakra, by the endless spaciousness of the heart, the fourth chakra, so that creative expression and an authentic voice can arise. Then we can be stunned to discover that joy, ease and compassion are natural too.
Only when this oh so human ‘journey’ in being has occurred is a true letting go of the personal possible. Then energy is free to rise into the third eye and a bridge with infinity is available. And the final letting go of death at the crown is sweet dissolution. All that is left is mystery, wonder and light. Life, unconditional.
The final phase of the meditation is a receiving of the cascade of light back into the body. Life becomes a dance of light embodied, for no reason. Listening to life in stillness, the body, bones, organs and being bathe deeply in the healing energy of unconditional love. This may be a time of compassionate, accepting integration of all that is moving in the emotional body, the memory, the mind and its beliefs and desire to solve life. Loving care and attention can be given to what has been difficult. this is highly beneficial for psychological well being. Or it may be that there is empty space, the meditation becomes a metaphor of the journey nature is always urging, total immersion becomes dissolution. The Most Intimate is all there is.
When awakeness is, there is nothing of a ‘me’ there. The sensitivities, feelings, bodily sensations fully welcomed open the being to total immersion, that which cannot be described, and for which the word infinite is inadequate.
Totality of involvement and surrender, in dance, in meditation, or sport or making love, carries us beyond boundaries of self-and maybe the one we are with. As we learn to receive ourselves fully so we are able to dare to listen every moment with every cell of body and being, to life happening and, if relating is arising, to the ‘one’ we are with. You and me become meaningless. Stories disappear. Joy and Love simply are.
Perhaps it is helpful to offer this moving comment from a man who has practised the meditation for a few weeks now…..
”I’ve been doing the meditation once a week for a while now. Friday’s seem to work best for me, shaking anything that has stirred or got stuck during the week & allowing me to be more fully rested at the weekends. I hadn’t realised how much energy & unexpressed emotion would build up in my body in just one week.
It’s extraordinary how different the meditation is each time, it’s as if an intelligence underneath everything else is listening & keying into a different message every time. But there is a consistent experience to a part of the mediation at the moment – in the jungle I am always surrounded by monsters, shadow creatures that lurk in the dark ready to get me.
I’ve always been afraid of the dark. As a little boy laying in bed at night, my mind would convince me there was something lurking behind me & my imagination was so strong it would convince me I needed to check. It would usually conjure a werewolf with saliva dripping from snarling teeth, ready to rip me to pieces. Even the hairs on the back of my neck would betray me into feeling its breath close to me. I still get this feeling now & sometimes if I’m on my own at night, I still have to check.
But in my Friday morning meditations I can’t check, I don’t allow myself. I have to leave the blindfold on. And this means I have to feel the terror. I have to feel the unexpressed emotions that created these shadows in the first place. The rage of being abandoned by my mother, the rage of being bullied & ostracised for over 10 years at school – not feeling accepted, loved or safe during any of that time.
The first few times this happened in the meditation I just screamed & screamed & screamed. But after the screaming stopped something wonderful happened – the werewolf transformed back into a little boy & for the first time ever, he actually allowed me to hold & soothe him. I have been trying to do this for years, but I couldn’t reach him.
This incessant checking & searching for safety, has allowed these shadows to rule me & very nearly destroyed me and everything I hold dear. I created inner worlds & fantasies to hide from them, to do anything to protect myself from these shadows, but of course they just followed me into these inner worlds & turned them into terrifying places to be.
But these places are starting to fill with light. For the first time in my life I am able to soothe myself in a healthy way. My hands feel soft when I place them on my body & this softness spreads out from them, soothing my entire being.
I have been ‘working on’ healing these shadows for over 15 years now, but nothing has allowed me to go as deep as the meditation & reach this kind of healing. I am so grateful to Joy and Tim and everything I am discovering in this Secret Garden.”
Alaistair Howard-Dobson , Suffolk
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The core context of Secret Garden is shared directly only in the Most Intimate gatherings. In other Secret Garden events it is simply implicit, and an energetic transmission appears to happen. Most so-called non-dual teaching is inherently misleading and unhelpful. One cannot approach what is already whole, the separate self can do nothing to ‘achieve’ liberation. And all is well just as it is. Yet in the human journey it appears that healing and transformation happen. There is no meeting point between a talk which points to that beyond words and a profound and opening meditation, yet they complement each other, without the confusion that is endemic in ‘spiritual teaching’ today.
Waking up out of the dream, no matter how comfortable, may happen. Then That Most Intimate, embodied, appears, ordinary and wondrous.
Whether it does or not, apparent empowerment and increased ease in living the separate self on its oh so human journey can arise so that you dare to live the vulnerable, innocent mystery of what is unknown, all there is.